Who first taught that infant baptism was wrong?


Since even Lutherans baptize infants, when did the the idea of needing to be an adult to be baptized first get introduced and become prevalent in Protestants. Who first taught this?


I believe it was the Anabaptists in the 1500’s, who first practiced it in a big way and condemned infant baptism although some claim that they, the Anabaptists, were an extension of such groups that had existed since the days of the early Church,

They claim that these groups had operated outside of the Roman and Orthodox Churches since the earliest days of the Church, and further claim that adult baptism was the norm in the early Church rather than the exception,

My own personal opinion is that the such practices became prevalent in Protestant circles in great part because they are different than what the Catholic Church practices.


Actually, didn’t Tertullian initially reject infant baptism, and later changed his mind?


it was the anabaptists.

it grew out of zwingli’s teachings, but even he was against re-baptizing people.

luther and calvin taught that as long as something doesn’t contradict the bible, it was okay (icons, stained glass, etc.).

zwingli taught that if it wasn’t IN the bible it was not permissible (or the more grammatically correct reverse… it is only permissible if it can be found in the bible).

zwingli’s teaching was MUCH more narrow than calvin and luther.

zwingli’s students took his teachings to their logical end and pointed out that there is no mention of an infant being baptized. therefore, it must not be permissible and all infant baptisms are invalid. all those people needed to be baptized again (hence, anabaptist).

zwingli even rejected this idea (more on the grounds that it would create chaos within society because their logic was basically his logic) and his students split from the reformed church (different from the reformers and the reformation as a whole) and became anabaptists.

baptists grew out of this as did mennonites and quakers.

many protestants today have picked up the “it is only permissible if it is stated in the bible” thinking… even though it was not the thinking of luther or calvin.


The first to reject infant baptism seems to be the Petrobrusians in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. source


pent << Actually, didn’t Tertullian initially reject infant baptism, and later changed his mind? >>

Many in the early Church thought it better for baptism to be postponed (because of its powerful effects), but as I understand none of them (including Tertullian) taught baptism should not be given to infants (i.e. the equivalent of the Protestant “baptist” position).

Article from my site on Tertullian and infant baptism

Phil P


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