Purification and consecration are two important concepts in Christianity that reveals the type of relationship and expectations that God has toward his followers. Baptisms began with John the Baptist in the Bible. John the Baptist was the first evangelist in the history of Christianity, who preached the coming of Christ. He was gifted with the ability to preach, and he had drawn thousands of people from around the countryside of Judah with his message of repentance and salvation in Jesus. John baptized many people as they accepted faith in Christ and even Jesus himself was baptized by him as well.
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The concept of a child being baptized isn’t a far-fetched idea since many early Christians also converted their whole entire households into the faith of Christ (see Christian verses). In the book of Proverbs, a passage of scripture reads “even a child is known by his deeds whether his way is evil or good”. Upon careful inspection, the Bible reveals many references to children being saved by God and showing faith in Jesus as well. Even Christ himself was seen acknowledging God at the temple when he was but a 12-year-old boy. Hebrew people were more than aware of the fact that their children could be evil and that not all children will automatically go to heaven when they die. Also noted, the Hebrews performed the practice of circumcision that was used to identify a person as a Jew. Since the first Christians were former Jewish believers, the idea of baptizing Christian youth definitely meant the same outward expression of their newfound faith in Christ.
As the early church began to grow and expand, the first believers began to develop doctrinal truths to stop heresy and false doctrine from infiltrating the church. One of the doctrines that they started was related to infant baptism. This particular ritual wasn’t documented until the 2nd century A.D. It is located on the Bible Timeline Chart between 50 A.D. and 250 A.D. Then early believers started to keep written records for children who were baptized.
The practice of infant baptism evolved over time before it became a standard practice within the Catholic Church. Some of the most notable members of the early Catholic Church were Polycarp and Justin Martyr. Both these famous Christian leaders were baptized when they were young children. A noted Church Father was named Irenaeus, and he stated that “Jesus came to save all men… including infants, children and youth”(see Against the Heresies II 22:4; the quote is paraphrased). His views were taken into consideration when the church began to develop doctrine on the matter. Origen another popular figure during the era of the early church also claimed that infants were to be baptized for the remission of sins. Ultimately, the concept of baptizing children was a natural part of a believer’s faith that began to take on some prominence when Christianity was first being developed. In the time, it has become a modern practice within many Catholic Churches.
Proverbs 20: 11 Even a child is known by his deeds
Colossians 2: 11 – 12 The New Circumcision
Acts 2: 39 Peter makes a reference to baptizing children
Acts 16: 15 Lydia converted with her household
Colossians 2: 11 – 12 The New Circumcision of the heart. Paul contrasts this with the former Jewish circumcision rituals.
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