Interesting Article on Infant Baptism in the Early Church

Anthony N.S. Lane has an article in Tyndale Bulletin (2004) regarding the practice (or non-practice, depending on your position!) of infant baptism in the early church.  While this is definitely not a new discussion (picked up recently here), Lane provides an interesting approach in this paper.

Here is the abstract:

The direct evidence from the first century is insufficient to establish conclusively whether or not the apostolic church baptised babies. An alternative approach is to look at the practice of the post-apostolic church and to ask what must have happened in apostolic times to account for this later development. Unequivocal evidence is not found until the beginning of the third century and for the next two centuries and more we see a variety of practice, with the children of Christian homes being baptised at any and every age. Significantly, no one claimed that anyone else’s practice was unapostolic or wrong in principle. Given that oral tradition offered real, though limited, access to the past, the most natural explanation is that this acceptance of a variety of practice goes back to apostolic times.

Take it for what it’s worth, but it struck me as an approach that isn’t typically wheeled out in the present-day debate between “credo” and “paedo” baptists.


1 thought on “Interesting Article on Infant Baptism in the Early Church”

  1. That’s a really interesting article! I felt I learned a lot about the history of baptism in the early church, and I think his conclusions make a lot of sense. It seems like we too often expect everything in the early church to be a lot more “cut and dry” than it probably actually was.


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