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705Re: Baptism.

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  • drthomas_joseph
    May 5, 2002
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      Dear 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,
      we sing:

      "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
      book. I
      > did check the website that I was refered to.
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