Reformers Supported Infant Baptism

Protestant Reformer Martin Luther


While most who believe in a literal interpretation of scripture oppose the concept of infant baptism, many are unaware that Martin Luther and other Protestant Reformers not only embraced it, they also condemned the Anabaptists for rejecting it.

Anabaptists were even condemned as “dippers” because the Anabaptists insisted upon baptizing (baptize means to immerse or even dip) people who professed Christ even if they received infant baptism.

Even though Catholics accept and promote infant baptism, The Catholic Encyclopedia noted:

Infant baptism has, however, been the subject of much dispute. The Waldenses and Cathari and later the Anabaptists, rejected the doctrine that infants are capable of receiving valid baptism, and some sectarians at the present day hold the same opinion (Fanning, William H.W. Transcribed by Charles Sweeney, S.J. Baptism. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume II. Published 1907. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Some affiliated with the Waldenses, Cathari, and even the Anabaptists were part of the Church of God (please see the article The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3).

Furthermore The Catholic Encyclopedia also recognizes:

Persons rejecting infant baptism are frequently mentioned in English history in the sixteenth century (Weber N.A. Transcribed by Robert H. Sarkissian. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume II. Published 1907. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Yet, some of the most important Protestant reformers embraced infant baptism and condemned those who opposed it.

Martin Luther taught:

“Why are babies to be baptized? A. Babies are to baptized because they are included in the words ‘all nations’ (Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation. Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, 1986, p.202).

Martin Luther also got these statements confirmed,

Article IX: Of Baptism. Of Baptism they teach that it is necessary to salvation, and that through Baptism is offered the grace of God, and that children are to be baptized who, being offered to God through Baptism are received into God’s grace. They condemn the Anabaptists, who reject the baptism of children (The Confession of Faith: Which Was Submitted to His Imperial Majesty Charles V. At the Diet of Augsburg in the Year 1530. by Philip Melanchthon, 1497-1560. Translated by F. Bente and W. H. T. Dau. Published in: Triglot Concordia: The Symbolical Books of the Ev. Lutheran Church. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, pp. 37-95.)

Thus Martin Luther not only encouraged infant baptism, his supporters condemned those who opposed infant baptism.

Nor was he the only one.  Sadly, notice the following account:

Calvin, who could smile with complacency over the tortures of those who refused to be governed by his own opinions; and Zuinglius, who, when questioned regarding the fate of certain Anabaptists, replied,

“Drown the Dippers” (Davis, Tamar. A General History of the Sabbatarian Churches. 1851; Reprinted 1995 by Commonwealth Publishing, Salt Lake City, p. 106).

Condemning Anabaptists, calling for your drowning, and other such policies of the early Protestant “reformers” shows that they reformed themselves away from the teaching of Jesus.  They sadly became persecutors (for more information, please also see Persecutions by Church and State).

The Bible itself shows that those who received John’s baptism had to be “re-baptized” (Acts 19:3-5) and that those baptized needed to repent–that is something that infants simply cannot do.

Recall that the Apostle Peter taught,

Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38)

And the Bible shows:

Then those that gladly received his word were baptized (Acts 2:42).

Christian baptism cannot include those who cannot repent–and God does have a plan for those who die before they have a real opportunity for salvation (please see Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis).

In the 20th century, Herbert Armstrong (a COG leader) wrote:

Should Children Be Baptized? One cannot be baptized until after he has fully REPENTED. Only those who BELIEVE, both the true GOSPEL (the Message Jesus preached, which is the Kingdom, or Government of God) and on JESUS CHRIST as personal Saviour, can be baptized (see Acts 2:38; 8:37; 16:31). Children have not reached that maturity where they have the self-discipline to truly repent, and believe (Armstrong H. All About Water Baptism. 1948, 1954, 1972 edition).

In the 21st Century, the Living Church of God, which does not baptize infants, teaches:

Baptism by immersion
After God calls us and brings us to repentance, and we accept Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, the next vital step to salvation is water baptism. One should be baptized (Acts 2:38; 8:35-39; 9:1-18) as a sign of total surrender to God and of a willingness to bury the old self (Romans 6:3-6). (Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs. Living Church of God, 2002).

I was baptized as a helpless little infant — unable even to discern my left hand from my right hand, let alone able to grasp the enormity of sin and deeply REPENT of my sins and accept Jesus Christ as my Savior. Was I, then, a true Christian?Of course not! (Meredith RC. Christian Baptism. LCG Booklet, 2005).

Several articles of possibly related interest may include:

Baptism and the Early Church Was it by immersion? Did it include infants?
Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible? Though he is known for his public sola Scriptura teaching, did Martin Luther’s writings about the Bible suggest he felt that prima Luther was his ultimate authority? Statements from him changing and/or discounting 18 books of the Bible are included. Do you really want to know the truth?
Lies Where did they originate? What was really the first lie? What happens for lies?
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert W. ArmstrongThis article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between in the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the Living Church of God is NOT Protestant. Do you really know what the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther taught and should you follow his doctrinal example?
Hope of Salvation: How the Living Church of God differ from most Protestants How the Living Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background.
Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis Do you believe what the Bible actually teaches on this? Will all good things be restored? Does God’s plan of salvation take rebellion and spiritual blindness into account?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Living Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions. Português: Qual é fiel: A igreja católica romana ou a igreja viva do deus? Tambien Español: Cuál es fiel: ¿La iglesia católica romana o La Iglesia del Dios Viviente? Auch: Deutsch: Welches zuverlässig ist: Die Römisch-katholische Kirche oder die lebende Kirche von Gott?
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

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