The Apostolic Origins of Infant Baptism

When I was Protestant, this was typical of the arguments against infant Baptism:

infant baptism - not a teaching of the primitive catholic church but a later innovation which became universal around the fifth century.

And yet one of the earliest Church Councils (Carthage in 252) debated whether to wait 8 days before baptizing.
The Church certainly didn’t expect people to wait until some fuzzy “age of reason” to be baptized, in part because it has always taught the regenerative nature of Baptism, the reality of original sin, and the necessity of Baptism as the normative means of entering into the New Covenant, and it has never out and out taught that this was to be witheld from infants.
So, the question for discussion is, if infant Baptism was an innovation, where is the historical proof? Where is the opposition to such an ‘innovation’?

I wrote a little essay here about this question of Baptism as it relates to history. Most of my sources come from the book “Believers baptism” which is a scholarly book that makes a case in response to “Joachim Jeremias, The Origins of Infant Baptism: A Further Study in Reply to Kurt Aland.”

It’s not an anti-Catholic book but is rather well respected and well sourced.

You can find the book here:

You can see the thread I made here:

I only sought to prove the exact contrary of what you’re saying and it’s that it is rooted in history.

As far as I know, there is none – even before 252, there are people who comment on infant baptism positively.

[quote=“St. Irenaeus of Lyons”]For he came to save all through himself—all, I say, who through him are born again to God—infants, and children, and boys, and youths, and old men [Against Heresies 2:22:4 (c. **A.D. 189


[quote=“St. Hippolytus of Rome”]The children shall be baptized first. All the children who can answer for themselves, let them answer. If there are any children who cannot answer for themselves, let their parents answer for them, or someone else from their family [Apostolic Tradition 21 (c. **A.D. 215


[quote=“Origen of Alexandria”]Every soul that is born into flesh is soiled by the filth of wickedness and sin. . . . 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. If there was nothing in infants that required the remission of sins and nothing in them pertinent to forgiveness, the grace of baptism would seem superfluous [Homilies on Leviticus 8:3 (c. **A.D. 249


An early Christian inscription reads:

Sweet Tyche lived one year, ten months, and twenty-five days. Received [the grace of baptism] on the eighth day before the Kalends [the first day of the month]. Gave up her soul on the same day [Christian Inscriptions, no. 27 (c. **A.D. 250


And another one:

Florentius erected this monument to his well-deserving son Appronianus, who lived one year, nine months, and five days. Since he was dearly loved by his grandmother, and she saw that he was going to die, she asked of the Church that he should depart from the world a believer [Christian Inscriptions, no. 40 (c. **A.D. 250


As you can see, that charge you heard of the 5th century is utterly false, from a historical point of view.

FYI, these quotes are from Jimmy Akin’s Fathers Know Best, in case anyone was wondering. :smiley:

Have you read one of the translations of the Didache since that thread? I hope so, because it’s fascinating.

Thank You, I have the book, great reference. God Bless, Memaw

What am I missing? Maybe I haven’t.

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