- May 5, 2002Dear Rajesh,
As you have noted, the New Testament does not explicitly require or
forbid infant baptism. As the Oxford Encylopaedia of the Christian
Church (1997, p. 831) notes, the tradition is at least as old as 3rd
century and universally practised until 16th century when the
practice was rejected by the Anabaptists. This indicates that the
early fathers of the church never considered infant baptism to
contradict scripture. Matthew 28:19 (Therefore go and make disciples
of all nations, baptizing them in the name ...) cannot be
extrapolated to infer that only adults who have accepted and
confessed faith in Christ can become disciples of Christ, nor does it
necessarily imply that one has to follow the other. At baptism, the
god-parent assumes the responsibility to raise the infant as a
disciple of Christ. As one of the Syriac baptismal liturgies
notes: "Instead of the womb of Eve which produced children who are
mortal and corruptible, may this womb of water produce children who
are heavenly, spiritual and immortal." That is precisely the intent
of infant baptism.
After noting that the Bible does not take a position on infant
baptism, it is suprising that you say that tradition contradicts the
Baptism gives birth to "spiritual children" and Church raises them
up. In the hymn of Mor Ya`qub of Sarug (c. 451-521) at the beginning
of the consecration of water for baptism, set to the meter of quqoyo,
"Come, hear and I will narrate to you, Halleliuah,
who sees the two beautiful sisters, like
the pure baptism and the Holy Church:
One gives birth and the other brings up,
the new and spiritual children.
When baptism brings forth the spiritual child through water
The Holy Church receives it and gives to the Lord, Halleluiah,
the spiritual child."
Indeed in the case of infants, discipleship follows baptism.
Thomas Joseph, Ph.D.
Web Master, Syriac Orthodox Resources
Technical Editor, Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies
--- In SOCM-FORUM@y..., "Rajesh Philipos" wrote:
> Thank you for repling to my query.
> I do not read Malayalam (can speak, though) so I might not get the
> did check the website that I was refered to.
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