Peter called for parents and children to be baptized in his first sermon @ Pentecost. But, what is the Church’s EARLEST historical record in regards to INFANT baptism ?
Catholic Answers has a paper on this [Early Teachings on Infant Baptism] … and the earliest supporter would appear to be Irenaeus, who wrote in 170-180’s AD. In Against Heresies [189 AD], he supports the idea.
Many other Church Father’s in 200-400’s period supported the idea.
However, Justin Martyr in 130’s wrote even earlier on Baptism within the Church … and there is no mention of it being the practice for infants. Justin writes very precisely about the Churches practices/traditions regarding both the Eucharist & Baptism in his Apologies Vol. 1. [chapter 61 for Baptism]
He spoke of Baptism as being a sacrament desired by the individual, which followed faith, prayer & fasting, and an expressed desire by the baptismal candidate to be ‘born again’. First the candidate would confess and repent of their sins … and then the baptism with Trinitarian formula would be conducted.
It was for the removal of sins formerly ‘committed’ by choice in this life.
"And this washing is called illumination, because they who learn these things are illuminated spiritually. But also in the name of J.C., who was crucified under P.P., and in the name of the H.S., who through the prophets foretold all things about Jesus, he who is illuminated is washed. "
Justin was a convert in Ephesus, just after time of John … and learned under Polycarp no doubt. For him not to speak directly to Baptism of Infants, and recount only of adult baptism is telling.
Perhaps Infant Baptism was not commonly practiced until the later times of Irenaeus ??
Anyone aware of historical accounts from other Church Fathers in support of baptism for infants at / before days of Justin ?