Baptism In The Early Church

I’ve recently been posting citations from the Early Church Fathers / Patristics (as well as some major reformers) related to the practice of baptism. In these posts, we have seen most clearly that the practiced mode, or method, of baptism was by far that of Biblical immersion. Many of the Patristics (and even Reformers) were quite clear about the definition of immersion – being submerged in water just as Jesus was submerged into the earth in His Burial. In several of the other posts, we looked at how baptism of infants was treated. The very earliest post-New Testament teaching document that we have, The Didache (from ~150 or earlier), did not include any mention that infants were to be baptized. The very next writing we are aware of, which was by Tertullian around 201, actually stated his disagreement that infants were to be baptized. There are, of course, other things they stated which are not found in Scripture – such as how many times should one be immersed and for what reasons are they immersed thrice.

Below, you can find the posts in the series (in chronological order) so that you can see them for yourselves.

The Didache (~150): Baptism is by Immersion and for Converts
Tertullian (201): Baptism is By Immersion
Tertullian (~208): Baptism Should Be By Immersion
Hippolytus on Baptism (Infants and Adults) – Should We Follow His “Apostolic Tradition”?
Cyprian: Baptize By Immersion
Cyril of Jerusalem (350): Baptism is by Immersion
Basil (375): Baptism is by Immersion
Canons of the Apostles (4th Century): Immerse Thrice or Forsake the Bishopric
Gregory of Nyssa (~375): Baptism Should be by Immersion
Gregory Nazianzan (381): It’s Better to Wait to Baptize Children
Leo the Great: Immersion Imitates Lying in the Tomb
Jerome (397): Jesus Was Baptized by Immersion
In response to “Augustine: Infant Baptism Is The Apostolic And Universal Practice Of The Church”
Sozomen (440): Baptism is By Immersion
Gregory the Great (~600): Baptism is by Immersion
John of Damascus (~730): Baptism by Three Immersions Reflects Christ’s Entombment
Martin Luther (1519): Restore the Practice of Immersion
Martin Luther (1520): Baptism By Immersion Was Instituted By Christ
Zwingli (1525): Baptism By Immersion Signifies Christ’s Death and Resurrection
John Calvin: Baptize Means to Immerse
Francis Turretin: Immersion Properly Signifies Baptism

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