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Page 417

    as a sign of the covenant, be also admitted into the Christian church; and be distinguished from the children of unbelievers as was done in the old covenant or testament by circumcision, instead of which baptism is instituted in the new covenant."

    -Heidelberg Catechism, Q. and A. 74 (1562)

    "Not only those that do actually profess faith in and obedience unto Christ, but also infants of one or both believing parents ought to be baptized."

    -Westminster Confession of Faith: XXVII (1640)

    "To whom is baptism to be administered?
    "Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible church, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to Him; but infants of such as are members of the visible church are to be baptized."

    -Shorter Catechism: Q. and A. 95 (1647)

The Baptist's references to Tertullian (160-220 A.D.), as a church father who opposed infant baptism, are misleading. He recommended postponing baptism until later, but for entirely different reasons than the anti-paedobaptists of today. Tertullian was not a Baptist; he believed that baptism washed away all past sins of the baptized. Due to this false belief, he recommended that people wait until later adulthood to be baptized in order that all their sins of youth could be washed away by baptism. His advice is actually another proof that the church regularly practiced infant baptism in his day.

In short, for eighteen hundred years before Christ, the church circumcised believers and their children; and for fifteen hundred years after the command of Christ, the church regularly baptized believers and their children. No significant theologian or church opposed or rejected infant baptism on the grounds used by today's Baptists until the Anabaptists in 1522. Menno Simons, a Dutch priest, assisted in organizing many of the Anabaptist groups and tempering several of their extreme beliefs and strange practices; however, he retained their views regarding baptism -that only believer's baptism by immersion is a proper baptism.

Why did no one question the validity of infant baptism in .1,500 years of New Testament church history?


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