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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Ivan Pinto March 22, 2012 at 9:23 AM

I have had a look at just one of the 4 DVD’s that you recorded in Mumbai and am very happy for my Lord Jesus that someone like you is gathering back what the devil is snatching away. Seeing and hearing you has given me great strength and also gives me the many answers that I can give to all these protestant groups who snatch away Catholics from the Roman Catholic Church.I will use these to get back my cousins who got snatched away. I am sure that the Holy Spirit will show and tell me what to do.

God bless you and your family abundantly Steve.


Fredy Pardo May 2, 2012 at 1:38 PM

Please put me in the nesletter.

Sister Terese March 27, 2013 at 8:01 AM

I met Steve and his wife when they first moved to Ann Arbor, MI. I don’t know if he remembers me, but I am one of the Benedictine sisters who lived on Earhart Road for years. Anyway, I am thrilled to have found the Catholic-Convert Forum and this blog. God bless you!

Les & Jill Taylor April 3, 2015 at 6:25 AM

God bless you, Stephen, for your apologetic efforts. We are presently reading your conversion story with great interest. One of the reasons is that we have a Baptist friend who is always asking us questions about why Catholic believe or do this or that. As a former Baptist, we wanted to try and understand your thought process as a Baptist in dealing with various theological issues on your journey home? One of the major ones deals with infant baptism. So, when we saw your article on the subject, we tried to download it without success – three times. Is there any way that the article could be e-mailed to us as we are very interested in reading it and sending a copy to our “separated betheran” for his consideration, although his usual response to our replies is that “I do not find it compelling.”

God bless,

The Taylors

By Steve Ray

Infant Baptism is a rite by which children who have not yet attained the age of reason are initiated into the Family of God—the Church. Original sin, which destroyed the life God in soul of our first parents, has been inherited by all their descendants. Infant Baptism remits the effects and stain of Original Sin while Sanctifying Grace is infused into the infant’s soul (CCC no. 1250). Even though the majority of Protestants practice Infant Baptism it is rejected by many others. The rite has a biblical foundation and can be traced back to apostolic times, though first explicitly mentioned in the 2nd century.

To grasp the background and origins of Infant Baptism we must understand the original recipients of the New Covenant. During the first years, the members of the Church were exclusively Jewish. The Jews practiced infant circumcision, as mandated to Abraham (Gn 17:12), reaffirmed in the Mosaic Law (Lv 12:3), and demonstrated by the circumcision of Jesus on his eighth day (Lu 2:21). Without circumcision no male was allowed to participate in the cultural and religious life of Israel.

The rite of circumcision as the doorway into the Old Covenant was replaced in the New Covenant with the rite of Baptism—both applied to infants. St. Paul makes this correlation: “In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ; and you were buried with him in baptism” (Co 2:11–12). The Catechism informs us that “this sign [of circumcision] prefigures that ‘circumcision of Christ’ which is Baptism” (CCC no. 527).

When Peter preached under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost he was speaking to a Jewish audience (Ac 2:5–35). Peter announced, “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children” (Ac 2:38–39). The Jews would have been dismayed had the New Covenant not included their children, especially since it was promised to them, and the New Covenant was to be an improvement over the Old in which they were included.

The New Testament frequently implies that adults and children were included in the rite of Baptism. For example, when the head of a household converted and was baptized, his entire household was also baptized with him (Ac 16:15, 33; 1 Co 1:16). The inference of course, especially based on Jewish understanding of the family and covenants, would include the aged, the adults, the servants, and the infants. If the practice of Infant Baptism had been illicit or prohibited it would surely have been explicitly forbidden, especially to restrain the Jews from applying Baptism to their infants as they did circumcision. But we find no such prohibition in the New Testament nor in the writings of the Fathers—a silence that is very profound.

Many commentators see an allusion to Infant Baptism in the words of St. Luke, “Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God’ (Lk 18:15–16). In the early Church this passage was understood as a command to bring the infants to Christ for Baptism. The very first time this passage shows up in Christian literature (c. 200), it is used in reference to Infant Baptism (Tertullian, De Baptismo 18:5). Even though Tertullian espoused a later baptism for children, he acknowledged that Infant Baptism was already the universal practice and does not try to avoid the interpretation of this verse’s reference to Infant Baptism. The Apostolic Constitutions (c. 350) taught that children should receive baptism based on the words of Jesus, “Do not hinder them” (VI 15.7)

In the middle of the second century Infant Baptism is mentioned not as an innovation, but as a rite instituted by the apostles. Nowhere do we find it prohibited and everywhere we find it practiced. Early in the nascent Church we have St. Irenaeus (c. 130–c. 200) who provides a very early witness to Infant Baptism, based on John 3:5. Irenaeus wrote, “For He [Jesus] came to save all through means of 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).

Origen (AD c. 185–c. 254) who had traveled to the extents of the Roman Empire wrote with confidence, “The Church received from the Apostles the tradition [custom] of giving Baptism even to infants. For the Apostles, to whom were committed the secrets of divine mysteries, knew that there is in everyone the innate stains of sin, which must be washed away through water and the Spirit” (Commentary on Romans 5, 9).

St. Augustine confirmed the ubiquitous teaching of the Church when he wrote, “This [infant baptism] the Church always had, always held; this she received from the faith of our ancestors; this she perseveringly guards even to the end” (Augustine, Sermon. 11, De Verb Apost) and “Who is so impious as to wish to exclude infants from the kingdom of heaven by forbidding them to be baptized and born again in Christ?” (Augustine, On Original Sin 2, 20).

Throughout Christian history, only a very few have opposed Infant Baptism. The opposition resides mainly in those of Anabaptist heritage which originated in the sixteenth century and who were strongly opposed by Reformers Martin Luther and John Calvin who both taught and practiced Infant Baptism. The Anabaptists’ opposition to the baptism of infants lies mainly in their belief—unsupported by Scripture and with no supporting evidence from the practice of the early Church—that one has to be of sufficient age to exercise personal faith in Christ and make a personal confession at baptism. Nowhere is this taught in Scripture that only adults can receive baptism. To hold this extreme view is to be outside the continuity of historical Christianity.

The Catechism summarizes the Church’s teaching: “Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism. . . . The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth” (CCC no. 1250).

Irenaeus’s quote: The Ante-Nicene Fathers ed. by Alexander Roberts and James Donald and arr. by Cleveland Coxe, D.D. (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1985), 1:391.)
Origen’s quote: The Faith of the Early Fathers, William Jurgens, Liturgical Press, 1979, vol. 1, p. 209.
Augustine’s first quote: The Catholic Encyclopedia, “Baptism”, Charles Herbermann, ed., Robert Appleton Co., 1907, vol. 2, p. 270.
Augustine’s second quote: Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 1st series, Philip Schaff, ed., Eerdmans, 1980, vol. 5, p. 244.

Recommended Reading:
Crossing the Tiber, Steve Ray, Ignatius Press, 1987.
New Testament Doctrine of Baptism, W. F. Flemington, London: SPCK, 1957
Infant Baptism in the First Four Centuries, Joachim Jeremias, Westminster Press, 1960.
Baptism in the New Testament: A Symposium, A. George, ed., London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1964.
Baptism in the New Testament, Oscar Cullmann, London: SCM Press, 1956.
Infant Baptism Considered, Richard Whately, London: John W. Parker, 1850.

Vivian April 9, 2015 at 3:46 PM

Great website.
Just wondering if I may use the 20 points of etiquette printed on March 17, 2015.
I am President of the Catholic Women’s League for our parish.
Periodically, I like to put in submissions for the community in our parish Church bulletin.
I plan to clear with our priest also….and
I would most definitely use your site and ‘with permission ‘.
Await a reply, Vivian

STEVE RAY HERE: Feel free to use with credit to tho original author.

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