Malankara World

What Shall I Do To Be Saved?

By Rev. Dr. Curian Kaniyamparambil

Question 53. Was there infant baptism in the Early Church?

  1. Biblical scholars believe that there was infant baptism in the early church. The Biblical encyclopedia supports this (pages 761 and 762). The New Testament does not say anything specific about infant baptism. But there are lots of evidence to show that infant baptism existed in the early churches. If infant baptism is incorrect, will early church fathers that learned directly from the apostles, perform infant baptism?

  2. Even though it is not specifically written in the New Testament that infants should be baptized, we cannot say that this was not practiced during the apostolic times. The New Testament is not a book of observances of the early church. The New Testament does not mention in detail the procedures regarding the appointment of elders, and about the Last Supper; likewise it does not detail about baptism (It is discussed in the apostolic traditions). The New Testament was not the early Church's procedural book.

  3. It is a fact that Jews circumcised their infants. So it is possible that the early converts who were Jews believed that their infants should also be baptized.

  4. Cornelius was baptized, along with his close friends (Acts 10:24), and Lydia was baptized with her whole family (Acts 16:15), and the prison keeper was baptized with his family (Acts 16:33). How can we say that there were no infants in any of these families? Certainly the Bible does not say family except infants?. On the contrary the Greek words used in these sentences represents a class that includes the adults, infants, servants, and slaves.

(Also refer to 'Faith of Early Church Fathers')

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