Early Baptism Doctrines

Hi,

Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve done much posting. But I do have a question that I know some here could help me with.

I’m generally aware of 4th century and onward teachings about the sacrament of baptism. But, as I’m considering what was said in a book I’m just about to finish a book by a Reformed man about the authority of the “regula fidei” being necessary for the proper understanding of Scripture, and he relates the regula fidei (Rule of Faith) primarily to the Niceno-Constantinoplian Creed, and the faith of the 1st - 3rd Century Fathers, I was wondering,

“Just what did the early, Apostolic through 3rd Century Fathers teach about Baptism?”

Great, so that’s my question. If you’re going to hold to the Nicene Creed, then you have to understand it the way the writers and their teachers understood it, including “One Baptism for the remission of sins.”

Ok, thanks. Any quotes and discussion appreciated…

Robert

Catholic Answers has a good article on the Trinitarian Baptism at the link below. (I tried to past some on Infant Baptism I found elsewhere but I kept getting administrator errors. :hmmm: ) Thanks and God Bless.

catholic.com/library/Trinitarian_Baptism.asp

Infant Baptism:
catholic.com/thisrock/2002/0201frs.asp

Is this what you had in mind?

NEW TESTAMENT:“There is … one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph 4:4, 5)

“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38)

“be baptized and wash away your sins” (Acts 22:16);

BARNABAS (A.D.70):

“Concerning the water,…that baptism which leads to the remission of sins,…we indeed descend into the water full of sins and defilement, but come up, bearing fruit in our heart” (Epistle of Barnabas, ch.11)

Hermas (A.D. 150):

"And I said, ‘I heard…that there is no other repentance than that which takes place, when we descended into the water and received remission of our former sins.’ He said to me, “That was sound doctrine which you heard; for that is really the case.’” (The Shepherd, Fourth Commandment, ch.3)

Justine Martyr (A.D. 155):And for this [rite of baptism] we have learned from the apostles this reason. Since at our birth we were born without our own knowledge or choice, by our parents coming together, and were brought up in bad habits and wicked training; in order that we may not remain the children of necessity and of ignorance, but may become the children of choice and knowledge, and may obtain in the water the remission of sins formerly committed, there is pronounced over him who chooses to be born again, and has repented of his sins, the name of God the Father and Lord of the universe; he who leads to the layer the person that is to be washed calling him by this name alone. For no one can utter the name of the ineffable God; and if any one dare to say that there is a name, he raves with a hopeless madness. And this washing is called illumination, because they who learn these things are illuminated in their understandings. And in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and in the name of the Holy Ghost, who through the prophets foretold all things about Jesus, he who is illuminated is washed. (First Apology, chap. 61)

Irenaeus of Lyon (A.D. 180):

For the baptism instituted by the visible Jesus was for the remission of sins…" (Against Heresies, bk.1, ch. 21)

[quote=Reformed Rob]“Just what did the early, Apostolic through 3rd Century Fathers teach about Baptism?”

[/quote]

The short answer? They taught:

  1. Baptism is a true sacrament instituted by Christ.
  2. The baptism of John was not a sacrament.
  3. The remote matter of baptism is natural water.
  4. The proximate matter of baptism is the washing in water.
  5. There is witness to the washing having been done by immersion, infusion, and aspersion.
  6. The triple washing is not of necessity: but it is a usage of great antiquity.
  7. In the form of baptism it is essential that there be a distinct expression of God as One and Three.
  8. Baptism conferred in the name of Jesus, lacking the trinitarian formula, is held to be invalid.
  9. Any man, using the requisite matter and form and having the intention of baptizing, can validly confer Baptism, but he does so licitly only when he does so in a case of necessity.
  10. Even heretics can baptize validly.
  11. Baptism is necessary for all in respect to salvation, whether they be infant or adult.
  12. In the case of infants or adults, martyrdom can take the place of actual Baptism in water.
  13. A fit subject for Baptism is any person not yet baptized.
  14. The Church has always acknowledged that even infants are capable of receiving Baptism.
  15. The effect of Baptism is spiritual regeneration, which consists of the remission of every sin with the punishment due it, and the infusion of first grace.

These are from “The Faith of the Early Fathers” by William A. Jurgens, and are supported by references to teachings from the first, second, and third century Fathers.

Anything specific you’d like a supporting quotation for?

jb

Yes, those were all very helpful. A friend of mine has a yahoo group, and I asked the same question there. He’s my Catholic friend, and I’m sure he will have several quotes, probably several of the same set forth here.

Jordan,

I would be very interested in seeing quotes for:

  1. The baptism of John was not a sacrament.

  2. Even heretics can baptize validly.

  3. Baptism is necessary for all in respect to salvation, whether they be infant or adult.

  4. The effect of Baptism is spiritual regeneration, which consists of the remission of every sin with the punishment due it, and the infusion of first grace.

Hey, while someone is willing, a guy might as well ask, right??

I’ll check out those links also, thanks, Slinky!!

[quote=Reformed Rob]I would be very interested in seeing quotes for:

  1. The baptism of John was not a sacrament.

  2. Even heretics can baptize validly.

  3. Baptism is necessary for all in respect to salvation, whether they be infant or adult.

  4. The effect of Baptism is spiritual regeneration, which consists of the remission of every sin with the punishment due it, and the infusion of first grace.
    [/quote]

  5. Tertullian (ca. 200-206 A.D.):

"Even the Lord Himself said that the Spirit would not descend on any other condition, but that He should first ascend to the Father.What the Lord was not yet conferring, of course the servant could not furnish. Accordingly, in the Acts of the Apostles, we find that men who had “John’s baptism” had not received the Holy Spirit, whom they knew not even by hearing. (Baptism, 10)

  1. Pope St. Stephen I (ca. 255 A.D.):

“If, therefore, someone comes to you from any heresy whatsoever, let nothing be renewed except that which has been handed down, namely that the hand be imposed on him in penance; for the heretics themselves, quite properly, do not baptize those who come to them from each other, but simply admit them to communion.” (Apud Cyp. Epist. 74, 1)

" But the name of Christ," (Stephen) says, “accomplishes much toward the faith and sanctification of Baptism, so that whoever has been baptized anywhere in the name of Christ, immediately receives the grace of Christ.” (Apud Cyp. Epist. 75, 18)

  1. Justin Martyr (ca. 155 A.D.):

“But there is no other [way] than this,–to become acquainted with this Christ, to be washed in the fountain spoken of by Isaiah for the remission of sins; and for the rest, to live sinless lives.” (Dialogue with Trypho, Ch. 44)

Origen (ca. 244 A.D.):

" Every soul that is born into the flesh is soiled by the filth of wickedness and sin. …And if it should seem necessary to do so, there may be added to the aforementioned considerations the fact that in the Church, Baptism is given for the remission of sins; and according to the usage of the Church, Baptism is given even to infants." (Homilies on Leviticus, 8)

  1. Justin Martyr (ca. 148-155):

"Then they are brought by us where there is water, and are regenerated in the same manner in which we were ourselves regenerated. For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water. For Christ also said, "Except ye be born again, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Now, that it is impossible for those who have once been born to enter into their mothers’ wombs, is manifest to all. And how those who have sinned and repent shall escape their sins, is declared by Esaias the prophet, as I wrote above; he thus speaks: “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from your souls; learn to do well; judge the fatherless, and plead for the widow: and come and let us reason together, saith the Lord. And though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white like wool; and though they be as crimson, I will make them white as snow. But if ye refuse and rebel, the sword shall devour you: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” (First Apology, 61)

Most of these you should be able to find on line, and there are plenty more if these don’t satisfy you. If I can be of any help, I am most willing, but for now, I need to get some sleep.

Blessings,
jb

Hey, wow!! Great. Maybe I’ll have a challenge for you later, but it’s late for me as well and I better get some sleep.

Rob

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