The church has received from the apostles the tradition to give baptism even to infants. For those who were entrusted with the divine mysteries knew that all men have the natural pollution of sin, which must be washed away through water and the Spirit. No man is free from the defilement of sin, even if he is one day old. Since the inborn uncleanness is washed away through baptism, little children also come to be baptized. For unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. (Origen, "Commentary on Romans," V. 9)I have a question for credobaptists or for anyone who holds that pedobaptism is invalid: If the early church held infant baptism to be of apostolic origin, on what basis would you deny that it is of apostolic origin? And if it is of apostolic origin, is there any valid basis for a Christian to reject it? Here we may see different constructions of Sola Scriptura come into play. Lutherans hold to the primacy of Scriptures but are still informed by the witness of the early church, especially in cases where the early church explicitly cites the apostles' teachings not elsewhere written.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Origen and the baptism of infants
In the recent debates over pedobaptism and credobaptism, Dr. Pursiful makes brief mention of Origen's comments on the subject. In the interest of broadening the discussion, I would like to cite Origen more fully: