Some readers may recall last year’s brief exploration of the self-described views of some Eastern Orthodox communicants that they have a different view of sin from the Roman Catholic tradition. They maintained that all humans were sinners by virtue of being human who cannot escape sin - - rather than the idea that all humans are guilty of sin at the moment of birth because they contained the first sin(s) of Adam and Eve. One surprising discovery in this discussion was that some Eastern Orthodox communities (notably the Russian branch) were more interested in harmonizing the Orthodox traditions with the Roman Catholic traditions.
But perhaps the Big surprise was learning that the Eastern Orthodox communities frequently discuss how their reasons for Infant Baptism differ from the Roman Catholic reasons. To be frank, I found Eastern Orthodox discussions for infant baptism to be rather confusing. But I learned enough to realize the real hunt for interesting discussion would be with the American Baptists !!!
The Problem: If Evangelicals insist that Evolution doesn’t allow for Original Sin. . . why don’t Evangelical Baptists insist on Infant Baptism?
Catholics baptize infants so that, even if they die as infants, their original sin has been washed away.
So does Baptist doctrine about NOT baptizing infants mean that infant baptism is useless? Or is Baptist doctrine that prior to coming of moral age, an infant is free of sin?
"Historians trace the earliest Baptist church back to 1609 in Amsterdam, with John Smyth as its pastor. Three years earlier, while a Fellow of Christ’s College, Cambridge, he had broken his ties with the Church of England. Reared in the Church of England, he became “Puritan, English Separatist, and then a Baptist Separatist,” and ended his days working with the Mennonites.He began meeting in England with 60–70 English Separatists, in the face of “great danger.”
" The persecution of religious nonconformists in England led Smyth to go into exile in Amsterdam with fellow Separatists from the congregation he had gathered in Lincolnshire, separate from the established church (Anglican). Smyth and his lay supporter, Thomas Helwys, together with those they led, broke with the other English exiles because Smyth and Helwys were convinced they should be baptized as believers. In 1609 Smyth first baptized himself and then baptized the others."
“In 1609, while still there, Smyth wrote a tract titled “The Character of the Beast,” or “The False Constitution of the Church.” In it he expressed two propositions: first, infants are not to be baptized; and second, “Antichristians converted are to be admitted into the true Church by baptism.” Hence, his conviction was that a scriptural church should consist only of regenerate believers who have been baptized on a personal confession of faith. He rejected the Separatist movement’s doctrine of infant baptism (paedobaptism).”
Under the Wiki header of “Infant Baptism” we find this discussion:
"The earliest reference to infant baptism was by Irenaeus (c. 130–202) in his work Against Heresies. Due to its reference to Eleutherus as the current bishop of Rome, the work is usually dated c. 180. Irenaeus speaks of children and infants being “born again to God.”
" This reference has been described as “obscure.” Three passages by Origen (185–c. 254) mention infant baptism as traditional and customary. While Tertullian writing c. 198–203 advises the postponement of baptism of little children and the unmarried, he mentions that it was customary to baptise infants, with sponsors speaking on their behalf."
" The Apostolic Tradition, sometimes attributed to Hippolytus of Rome (died 235), describes how to perform the ceremony of baptism; it states that children were baptised first, and if any of them could not answer for themselves, their parents or someone else from their family was to answer for them. From at least the 3rd century onward Christians baptised infants as standard practice, although some preferred to postpone baptism until late in life, so as to ensure forgiveness for all their preceding sins."