Talk:Infant baptism

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NPOV and Complications[edit]

Okay, I just reread the article again and I have to say that it has been made far more complicated, unclear, and convoluted because defenders of Believer's Baptism have had their opinion inserted at almost every possible turn. At the most fundamental level, the point of an article in a reference work is to explain the subject. In this case, the goal is to answer the question: What is infant baptism? When I write I often imagine person from a non-Christian culture, like a Muslim or a Hindu coming to Wikipedia to find out what infant baptism is. So the goal is to explain to the read what infant baptism is, who practices it, how it is practiced, and why it is practiced. this may include explaining criticisms of infant baptism *BUT* when explaining criticisms gets so frequent and excessive that it starts to get in the way of the main goal of explaining what infant baptism is, then it has gone too far.

Opponents of infant baptism should exercise some discipline. They don't have to have their arguments against every tenet of infant baptism included in the main body of the article *IF* doing so undermines answering the question: what is infant baptism. In the case of this article, it really looks like that is happening. If you want to criticize infant baptism, why not put it in the "Arguments against Infant Baptism" section in the article? Look at very controversial politics articles like Hillary Clinton or George W. Bush. These article have a section on criticism and those sections usually link to a larger article just about criticisms. We should follow that same model. If you want to challenge the arguments and assumptions in favor of infant baptism, shouldn't that mainly be done in a special section or in a whole article dedicated to explaining criticisms of infant baptism? Not everything that can be said about baptism has to be said in *THIS* article. There are other articles on this topic including: Baptism, Believer's baptism, Aspersion, Affusion, etc. and we can create whole new article that link from here (e.g. Arguments against Infant Baptism.

When one contradicts every little point the "second" they are laid out to explain what infant baptism is, you make the article a big, unwieldy, muddy mess. Its like someone asking you to explain orally what infant baptism is and while you are explaining, one of your buddies constantly cuts you off to argue with the point you just made. At some point you are going to ask your friend to wait until you are finished explaining before he criticizes because you can't answer the question at this rate.

So, I propose that we: (1) include a few critical points in the body, (2) actually USE the "Arguments Against Infant Baptism" section, (3) create a whole new article just for the purpose of explaining the arguments against infant baptism, and (4) keep most of the "debate" against infant baptism OUT OF THE MAIN BODY of the article and put them instead in criticisms section and the criticism article. Then, people who just want to know what the heck infant baptism is, aren't forced to read a confusing treatise that reads more like the transcript of an oral debate than an encyclopedia article. NPOV doesn't require every article to read like the text of a very sloppy oral debate.--GFrege 01:07, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Please Observe NPOV[edit]

I have observed that there are many individuals with a pro-Catholic or pro-paedobaptist point of view who seem to want to use this article as a forum for proselytizing for their particular faith. One frequent editor even admits in this talk section that he's motivated to protect the Catholic faith. Earlier comments on this article suggest that pro-credobaptists have also disregarded NPOV in earlier drafts. Wikipedia exists to provide a free source of information, one that will hopefully prove trustworthy and reliable. I have personally worshiped in Anglican, Baptist, Quaker, and Congregational churches, and have no ax to grind with any church's practice. The desire of some editors to defend and validate their tradition's practices detracts from the truthfulness of this article. Please, let's all commit ourselves to providing an objective voice, as much as we can, and contributing positively to a truthful, informative article. --ManicBrit 02:41, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Making Progress[edit]

Dear Friends:

Let me submit that all of the folks currently involved in this article has strong viewpoints, some on the credobaptist side, some on the infant baptism side. Let me also submit that evidence of this is how disorganized, convoluted and contentious this article has gotten.

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, but a strange one, built by committees made up of ever-changing lists of volunteers. The only way, in my experience, that any progress can be made on controversial articles is if a group of editors work together and one issue at a time. It is of little use to throw out multiple issues and engage in the debate over all of them at once. It was very difficult for me to manage to follow what everyone has been saying for that reason.

So, I'd like to work one section at a time, writing to the stated goals of Wikipedia in sections such at WP:Summary style, WP:NPOV, WP:MOS. Let me suggest that rather than trying to argue all of this out in the abstract, we go at this one section at a time and with a draft or drafts to suggest. --CTSWyneken(talk) 11:57, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

History Section, Opening Paragraphs[edit]

New Proposed Drafts[edit]

Shorter[edit]

There is no consensus among scholars concerning the date at which infant baptism was first practiced: two schools of thought view differently the situation in the first century.Some believe that first-century Christianity practiced infant baptism,[1] while others believe that first century Christianiy did not practice infant baptism.[2] All agree that the church practiced infant baptism with some opposition from the third century until the sixteenth.[3]

Longer[edit]

There is no consensus among scholars concerning the date at which infant baptism was first practiced: two schools of thought view differently the situation in the first century.

Some believe that first-century Christianity practiced infant baptism.[4] They argue that infants were included in the group baptisms reported in the book of Acts, that evidence shows the practice was established by the second century and that the early Church viewed infant baptism as a custom inherited from the apostles.[5]

Others believe that first century Christianity did not practice infant baptism.[6] They find no explicit evidence for the practice in the New Testament and that infant baptism was practiced infrequently during the second-century.[7]

Comments[edit]

I personally favor the shorter, which gives all the necessary information, without giving room for apologists of either school to expand it. Please feel free to add alternative drafts below and use headings to mark them off from discussion. --CTSWyneken(talk) 12:24, 1 March 2007 (UTC)


(comments by Lima relocated here to keep clarity in which drafts say what)

On the Short Version

  • What opposition was there from the third century until the sixteenth? Tertullian alone? Then you must say: "All agree that the Church practiced infant baptism from the third century onward, with no questioning of its validity until the sixteenth century." Tertullian was no credobaptist. Lima 14:19, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
You are welcome to present your own version of this material, of course. On the point, I'm thinking not only Tertullian, but the Cathars and Waldensians at least. Keep in mind the point behind this draft is to be short and to cover the whole waterfront and to do it in language that is not convoluted. --CTSWyneken(talk) 17:41, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
Did the Cathars and Waldensions rebaptize? If not, they did not question the validity of infant baptism. Lima 05:41, 2 March 2007 (UTC) An Anabaptist site says of the Waldensians "They were not fully convinced infant baptism was biblical or appropriate, but they seem rarely to have abandoned it" (even this site, which would obviously be pleased to be able to say the Waldensians denied the validity of infant baptism, states that the Waldensians in general practised it, and no group among them seems to have rebaptized those who had been baptized as infants). And the Cathars, who thought material things like water were evil simply did not baptize, as understood in this article, and so cannot be said to have in any sense opposed infant baptism (see, for instance, Cathars). I admit I still feel annoyed at how, instead of giving some consideration to my suggestions for correcting his text, CTS just responded by telling me, in effect, "Run off and make a text of your own." As if "All agree that the Church practiced infant baptism from the third century onward, with no questioning of its validity until the sixteenth century", which seems to be precise, clear and exact, were frightfully more convoluted than the statement, "All agree that the church practiced infant baptism with some opposition from the third century until the sixteenth", which is open to two misinterpretations: that there was credobaptist opposition to infant baptism all through that long period - and maybe, furthermore, that the opposition lasted only until the sixteenth century! I wrongly presumed that CTS would welcome collaboration and retouch his draft if any defects in it were brought to his attention. Perhaps it is best that I should just withdraw. Lima 13:44, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
Please stop making comments as if I am not here. Talk to me directly. Also, you misunderstand me. What I am suggesting is that you offer another version or a revision that you think is better. This is an invitation to help us find language we all can live with. So, again, if you can't live with the text, suggest a change. As far as the substance of what kinds of dissent from the practice, if any, were present in the intervening centuries, I'll do some research. At present, our article says there were and I have simply summarized that. --CTSWyneken(talk) 15:13, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

On the Longer Version

  • Surely you don't mean to say that "they find no explicit evidence ... that infant baptism was practiced infrequently during the second century." Or do you? Lima 14:19, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
Please do not use an argumentative tone. It is not helpful. If there's an implication in the way the text is phrased, please propose a correction. On this point, no, it's not meant to imply anyone believes there is not explicit evidence of infant baptism in the 2nd century. I'll take a look at it later and see what can be done to change it -- unless someone suggests something between now and when I have time. --CTSWyneken(talk) 17:41, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
I am sorry that the way I expressed this thought offended CTS. I only meant him to see clearly the implications of what he had written. Lima 05:41, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
  • a) They don't necessarily argue that infants were included in those particular group baptisms: only that infants may well have been included even on those famous occasions. Dramatic occasions are not the only ones on which infants are/were baptized. Lima 14:19, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
  • b) They argue that the practice was pacifically in possession by the second century. (They say no evidence whatever is found of any controversy about the practice or that it was done only infrequently.) Lima 14:19, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
You are, of course, welcome to suggest alternate language. Do you have a draft for us? --CTSWyneken(talk) 17:45, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
I thought - was I wrong? - that the most constructive way was not to offer completely different drafts and lead the discussion in a whole set of different directions, but to suggest amendments to the existing draft, which is exactly what I did. Do I have to write out the whole of the amended section of the CTS draft? Well, here it is: "Some believe that first-century Christianity practiced infant baptism.[4] They argue that infants may well have been included even in the group baptisms reported in the book of Acts, that evidence shows the practice was pacifically in possession by the second century and that the early Church viewed infant baptism as a custom inherited from the apostles." Okay? Lima 05:41, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Here in response to the request of CTS that I "offer another version or a revision that you think is better" is the text that I mistakenly thought I had already indicated:

Shorter version: There is no consensus among scholars concerning the date at which infant baptism was first practiced: two schools of thought view differently the situation in the first century. Some believe that first-century Christians practiced infant baptism, while others believe that they did not. All agree that the Church practiced infant baptism from the third century onward, with no questioning of its validity until the sixteenth century.

Longer version: There is no consensus among scholars concerning the date at which infant baptism was first practiced: two schools of thought view differently the situation in the first century.

Some believe that first-century Christians practiced infant baptism. They argue that infants may well have been included even in the group baptisms reported in the Acts of the Apostles, that evidence shows the practice was pacifically in possession by the second century and that the early Church viewed infant baptism as a custom inherited from the apostles.

Others believe that first-century Christians did not practice infant baptism. They find no explicit evidence for the practice in the New Testament and argue that infant baptism was practiced only infrequently during the second century.

I have placed this text here in humble acceptance of CTS's polite request. (I am not addressing him alone, for I do not make comments as if the other participants were not there.) However, I do believe that his draft is now dead, and needs no further comment. Lima 05:38, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Alternative Proposal[edit]

Here is a ROUGH alternate proposal:

Christian scholars from denominations that practice infant baptism, contend that the history of infant baptism begins with the practice of baptizing whole families, described in the Book of Acts. Pedobaptists argue that these whole-family baptisms imply that infants may have been baptized from the very beginning of Church history. The idea is that it is possible, if not likely, that these families contained small children.

The earliest extra-biblical record of infant baptism is made by Origen (185-254 A.D.): "Every soul that is born into flesh is soiled by the filth of wickedness and sin... In the Church, baptism is given for the remission of sins, and, according to the usage of the Church, baptism is given even to infants. If there were nothing in infants which required the remission of sins and nothing in them pertinent to forgiveness, the grace of baptism would seem superfluous." (Homilies on Leviticus 8:3 ...

Comments

(1) The proposals are all wrong headed. Isn't it more straightforward and clear to explain what we know about infant baptism rather than what we don't know. Why start out saying "there is controversy and disagreement over the history...?" We could literally do that with every paragraph in most articles in Wikipedia. Right now it reads: "Infant baptists say this but credobaptists reply this but pedobaptists reply this way...." Its absurd!

The virtue of this type of introduction is two-fold:

a. It tells us about infant baptism and hints at why it is practiced rather than telling us what credobaptists believe is wrong with it. Again, the basic question this article is supposed to answer is NOT: what do credobaptists think about the case for infant baptism? It is: what is infant baptism? We should include arguments against infant baptism in the section designed specifically for criticisms.

b. It is NPOV because it doesn;t claim that household baptisms ARE the first infant baptisms just that pedobaptists THINK they are. And, that is completely true. We have reported the facts about pedobaptism in a NPOV way that doesn't get into the absurd: "This whole predobaptists believe X, but credobaptists think X is dumb, but pedobaptists think credobaptism is dumb, but...."


(2) Its a big mistake, and unfair, to have a running commentary of credobaptist replies throughout the entire article ON INFANT BAPTISM. It is almost just as bad to start out with "This topic is so controversial, and confusing..." Just answer the question: what is infant baptism and do it in a way that is NPOV by making it clear that we are reporting what pedobaptists believe and not claiming that the belief is true. I suggested one way.--GFrege 18:24, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

I agree that it doesn't serve well to have a point-counterpoint style throughout the article. That is something I also oppose. However, it is the policy of Wikipedia to express both sides of issues that are in dispute and do so by citing reliable sources. Whether we like it or not, the origin of infant baptism is in controversy in the scholarly community. We need to represent both views in one way or another. I am open to any proposal that does that without taking sides in the discussion.
Please note that our drafts do not say it is confusing or so controversial. It says scholars do not agree -- which they do not. Unless we punt the whole issue of the first century (certainly an option) we need to even-handedly express both views. The problem with omitting that view point is we will be periodically challanged that it is POV because we do not express the opposite view. We leave the article up for continuous grief by doing this. --CTSWyneken(talk) 20:48, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
Concerning your draft, I have no problems with the text of the first paragraph, providing the viewpoint of others is represented. I do, however, oppose adding a full quotation, since it is likely to lead to adding one after another until we have a quote book. --CTSWyneken(talk) 20:51, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
First, you haven't addressed a point I have made in several posts on this topic: almost every article in Wikipedia involves disagreements over the content of the article. I don't see other articles ruined by qualifying every jot and tittle by people who disagree with the main topic of the article. Read the Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush]] articles. Do you think there is argument, dispute, and controversy surrounding those topics? Those articles don;t have pro and con positions running through the text. If some point is particularly controversial, then we should note it. But the history of infanft baptism is not more or less controversial than the theology or biblical justification for it. It simply clutters and over qualifies the article.
Wikipedia policy does not require us to write an article that calls undue attention to the process of debate. We don't have to exalt form over substance or style over content. I can imagine a reader saying "stop wasting my time telling me the topic is controversial and answer the dang question: what is infant baptism?" Should we then go to Believer's Baptism and insert language into the article that calls attention to the fact that every point is disputed? Why just this article on infant baptism? We are supposed to write and article that is NPOV. It doesn't require that we do it with horrible unclear writing.
Second, Wikipedia explain NPOV this way:

Wikipedia has an important policy: roughly stated, you should write articles without bias, representing all views fairly. Wikipedia uses the words "bias" and "neutral" in a special sense! This doesn't mean that it's possible to write an article from just one point of view, the neutral (unbiased, "objective") point of view. That's a common misunderstanding of the Wikipedia policy. The Wikipedia policy is that we should fairly represent all sides of a dispute, and not make an article state, imply, or insinuate that any one side is correct. It's crucial that we work together to make articles unbiased. It's one of the things that makes Wikipedia work so well. Writing unbiased text is an art that requires practice. The following essay explains this policy in depth, and is the result of much discussion. We strongly encourage you to read it. http://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Neutral_point_of_view--draft&oldid=756#Executive_summary

Third, NPOV require that we "not make an article state, imply, or insinuate that any one side is correct." My proposal, named "Alternate proposal" does exactly this. It does not imply or insinuate that infant baptism was practiced in the early church. It says that pedobaptists think it was practiced in Acts. It meets the NPOV of Wikipedia without doing what no other good articles on controversial topics do: namely, wasting space with words pointing out that every topic is controversial.
Fourth, regarding the use of quotations, we need to distinguish between quotes from original sources and quotes from secondary sources. Quoting from secondary sources is not typically a appropriate for an encyclopedia article in the humanties. The quote I included is a standard bit of original source material that is debated in books by scholars and theologians on both sides of the debate and is not just quoting a book by the champion for "my side" of the dispute like others are doing. --GFrege 21:13, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
There seems only two options that fulfil wikipedia's NPOV guidelines. First, as suggested by CTSWyneken, remove all references to first-century practice from history, and place them in the controversy section, leaving only firm evidence of practice from the second-century onwards. Second, include references to both schools of thought in history. We need some sort of consensus.
For what it’s worth, I’m happy with both the short and long drafts suggested by CTSWyneken.--Traveller74 23:31, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
Why are those the only two options? I have absolutely no idea how you conclude that. Can you make an argument for your claim or are you just going to assert it? I have made arguments. I have appealed to other articles as examples. What I get in response is a credobaptist claiming that the only option is to let his view run throughout the article, how convenient. We can do something along the lines of what I said, write that article in a way that doesn't claim pedobaptism is correct. I gave a specific example of how to do that.--GFrege 00:50, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
[outdenting] First of all, please note that I've said I do not want a "these guys say this, those guys say that" treatment of the whole article. I believe that NPOV requires both views to be cited when speaking about the first date infant baptism was practiced. No more, no less. I think we can do this based on either your language or mine.
As far as articles that attempt to cover multiple views of conflicting scholarship, I've been involved in at least a half dozen directly. Please take a look at the article Martin Luther and the article Jesus for starters. There are many articles like these where a lot of heat and controversy have lead to the stating of the opinions of multiple schools of thought. There are others where no such controversy exists. This is one where constant give and take is needed to keep constant edit wars from ensuing. My point for advocating for the two drafts I've proposed is to summarize the state of scholarship clearly and without language that will start a ... your side has X quotes, ours only Y... silliness. --CTSWyneken(talk) 01:22, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
But both of your proposals begin with the "one side says this...another side says that" pattern. Both sides need to be represented. But both sides don't need to be represented in every section. As long as the article does not endorse or imply that a particular view is correct, then it is NPOV. Why don't we have an article the reads along the lines of my proposal, where we explain what pedobaptists generally believe without the article endorsing its truth, and then raise the credobaptist arguments against the historicity of pedobaptism in the criticism section of the essay. So we would have the article, in this case the history section, take this form: "Pedobaptists contend that household baptisms are the first infant baptisms" and then later in the criticism section "Credobaptists argue that household baptisms aren't evidence for infant baptism and infant baptism didn't really start until the 3rd century" (for example). This kind of format allows a more straight forward explanation of infant baptism, one that doesn't die the death of a thousand qualifications. Be as hard as you want on infant baptism but in the proper place not initially while one is just trying to get the pedobaptist position on the table. Once the idea is on the table, have at it. I even think some criticism is reasonable in the main body in appropriate circumstances. To everything there is a season but I also think for everything there is a place.--GFrege 02:34, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
As stated the two options above are all that I can see, that would allow the article to comply with wikipedia's NPOV guideline.
All the good articles state the facts, nothing more, nothing less. The fact is, like it or not, multiple views of conflicting scholarship do exist with this particular subject. To omit one side, or the other is hardly NPOV.--Traveller74 06:51, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
I didn't suggest that we follow the pattern throughout the article, just at this one section. Traveler's argument is just one reason. The other is to have the best chance at peace on this point. --CTSWyneken(talk) 12:16, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, because this is the only section where there is no consensus. Good point, the rest of the topic has substantial agreement :-) BTW, reread the NPOV policy i linked to above. It specifically says (in a paragraph I did not quote) that minority views do not have to have the same representation as majority views because that could mislead readers into thinking that a minority view is more widespread than it actually is. Like it or not, credo baptism is a minority view (there are 1.2 BILLION Catholics, 300 Million Eastern Orthodox, 70 Million Anglicans, etc). Letting baptists have a running commentary is POV against infant baptism. Go ahead, please follow the link to NPOV policy and read the WHOLE policy.
Whatever policy we adopt here we should make sure we do on the credobaptist page to make sure both articles are NPOV. I am sure Traeller74 won't have any complaints with an infant baptist giving a running commentary throughout the Baptism and Believer's Baptism articles, criticizing each an every argument and claim in the very same paragraph the argument is presented. To that end, I propose all editors of this article also adopt both the Baptism article and the Believer's Baptism article so we can all make sure all three articles are treated in the same NPOV way. Agreed?--GFrege 20:04, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
First, please note the NPOV calls on us to represent all significant, scholarly views, not the majority of Christians or those who call themselves Christians. I've read enough of the scholarly material on the subject to know that both views are significant -- so much so it is difficult to determine which is in the majority on this point. In fact, Traveler has cited a Catholic scholar who advocates infant baptism, but does not believe it was practiced in the first century. Joachim Jeremias, a prominent Biblical scholar, also asserts that infant baptism was not practiced until the second century, but advocates it. G. R. Beasley-Murray, the author of Baptism in the New Testament cites a half-dozen others and claims the majority of scholars of all confessions hold the same. I'm not convinced, since I can cite an equal number of scholars with a few minutes to research, but the point is both schools are significant on this particular point. --CTSWyneken(talk) 21:46, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
Second, it is really a good idea to add the position of the advocates of infant baptism to the believer's baptism article. Why not? --CTSWyneken(talk) 21:48, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

The third paragraph of the History section is muddled beyond salvaging. Someone will have to rewrite it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.255.32.2 (talk) 01:19, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

Concerns about NPOV and Improper Citing of Source Material[edit]

I have a concern about NPOV creeping into this article. I was wondering why Traveller74 was refusing to compromise and why he kept inserting secondary quotes into the article. So, I went and looked at his edits in other articles. It is relatively clear from his edits that he is a Jehovah’s Witness (JW). That’s fine. There is nothing wrong with that, whatsoever. However, when you look at his edits a pattern emerges.:

(1) He clearly tries to insert a Jehovah’s Witness' POV into the religious articles. Its one thing to try to be NPOV but fail, like we all do. It’s another thing entirely to try to insert the JW POV. He even inserts language with idiosyncratic usage unique to JWs into articles. For example, Jehovah’s Witness prefer to use “Christendom” rather than “Christianity” (in some of their polemical works it becomes clear that they do this to make a distinction between true Christianity, on the one hand, and Christendom, on the other). I was surprised to see that the Infant Baptism article, which I spent a lot of time working on over the years had the words “Christian” changed to “Christendom” in the introduction of the article when referring to denominations that practice infant baptism (the implication being that Christianity doesn't practice infant baptism but Christendm does). I am sure it is not a coincidence that, in fact, Traveller74 did change the intro from "most Christians practice infant baptism" to "most of Christendom." (For examples of this use of the term "Christendom" see: http://www.watchtower.org/library/pr/article_04.htm and http://www.watchtower.org/library/w/2004/3/1/article_02.htm (read the text under the subheading entitled "They Are United By Love").

Examine his edits for yourself in articles like Baptism, Christian cross, Christianity (check out his contributions page at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/Traveller74). So, I am concerned that JW POV and rhetorical language are being smuggled into these articles. We should all strive to make sure that this article is NPOV and that includes making sure that Travellor74 doesn’t allow subtle changes to slant the article towards a JW POV.

(2) I have also noticed that he quotes a lot from secondary sources, particularly encyclopedia like the Encyclopedia Britannica and the Catholic Encyclopedia. Anyone familiar with Jehovah’s Witnesses and will immediately recognize a favored polemical method of the Bible Watchtower and Tract Society. Many of their books and apologetic works employ the exact strategy of quoting encyclopedias (most non-JW apologetic works that I am familiar with rarely if ever quote encyclopedias but JW literature does it a lot). This concerns me for two reasons. First, we may have copyright issues on our hands if Traveller74 is copying material from Watchtower literature but not citing it. I think he should assure us that he is not citing Watchtower material without citing it. Traveller74 should assure us of this. If he tells me he is not citing copying materials from Watchtower books, I am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt. Even if you cite the source or a quote, if you didn’t actually read it in the source you are citing but instead read that quote in a different book, say a book by the Watchtower, you should indicate that is where you are getting it from (e.g. Smith, Fred Why Infant Baptism is Bologna, cited in Watchtower Book).

Second, using secondary quotes, in the humanities is taboo. One should quote from original source material when doing historical work. In high school, one can quote from secondary sources in a history paper because no one expects high school students to read original source material. In graduate school and in reference works, like an encyclopedia, one should stick to quoting the original documents. So, for example, in an encyclopedia its okay to write “Thomas Jefferson wrote ‘X” but not okay, except is special circumstances, to write “Scholar Fred Smith says that Thomas Jefferson believed X.” An encyclopedia, like Wikipedia, shouldn’t take on the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society habit of quoting secondary sources, as an encyclopedia Wikipedia has a different purpose, and , hence, a employs a different standard and writing style.

(3) We all have biases. However, some religious organizations are particularly seen as inflexible and unwilling to comprise. I currently attend a church that is part of a denomination that is sometimes seen this way (although my theology is actually closer to a different family of denominations). When someone comes to Wikipedia with strong opinions and an inflexible attitude, there is no reason why the rest of use should allow that person a veto over an entire article.

In conclusion, it is important that every perspective be properly represented in this article but that doesn’t mean any one person should, just by being stubborn and inflexible, have a veto. I am more than willing to compromise and I have made a specific proposal to that end. I have seen other compromise and make specific proposals too. However, some editors seem less willing to compromise and that’s not conducive to a truly NPOV article.

Nothing I said was intended as a personal attack on Traveller74. I just noticed a consistent POV being inserted into the text. I also noticed the practice of inserting secondary quotes that aren’t appropriate for a reference work and raise the concern of not properly citing source material. I hope I didn’t offend Traveller74. Obviously, he and his perspective should be included in this article but neither should this article be held hostage to that perspective. My hope is that my observations will help us all be more able to recognize NPOV problems as they arise. I mean nothing personal and hope you don;t take it that way.--GFrege 21:21, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Please do not attack fellow editors, GFrege. It is uncivil and does not assume good faith. We are here to work together and not engage in ad hominem. I suggest that you concentrate on content. --CTSWyneken(talk) 21:37, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
I am not attacking him. I am calling attention to the fact that one editor keeps inserting a particular POV into the text. The reason that I am pointing this out is so that we can avoid a POV article. Calling attention to someone's bias is not an attack. What's more of a personal attack: pointing out someones bias or accusing someone of ad hominem attacks?--GFrege 21:50, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
When you are directing your comments to who a person is and not what is being written, trying to reduce the person's influence by bringing in a matter they prefer to keep private, it is called an ad hominem attack. If you would prefer, I'll ask an admin to render an opinion on the matter.
What I'm asking you, nicely, to do is to focus on the issue at hand.
By the way, if you have trouble with the term "Christendom," why not change it? It is an old fashioned word and I do not think it communicates well. --CTSWyneken(talk) 21:56, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
All I am saying is that a particular user seems to be inserting a particular POV into the article, so be aware of it. That's it. You asked why I don't just edit "Christendom" in the article. I want to avoid an editing war, by solving our differences here and not with back and forth editing in the article. Also "Christendom" is not just an old fashioned word. It is used in a particular way in JW writings and teachings to mean something like "so called Christianity" or "false Christianity". Imagine my surprise when I see an apparent JW label denominations that baptize infant as "Christendom" rather than use the prior term "Christians."
We are talking about how to proceed on the historical section. I address a particular user's edits and his proposal on how to proceed because it seems to be "throwing a monkey wrench" into the works. I point it out to say: (1) be cognizant of his biases, (2) surely one person shouldn't be allowed to block the entire direction of the article. Is he the president, does he have veto power?, (3) his concerns are getting disproportional representation. His view is a tiny minority view about infant baptism. There are about 2.2 billion Christian in the world. The VAST majority of them practice infant baptism (1.2 billion Catholics, 300 million Eastern Orthodox, 70 million Anglican, and that doesn't include Lutherans and Presbyterians etc). Wikipedia policy states that giving a minority a view disproportional representation is itself an NPOV violation:

We need not give minority views as much or as detailed a description as more popular views, in articles comparing the views. We should not attempt to represent a dispute as if a view held by only a small minority of people deserved as much attention as a very popular view. That would in fact be misleading as to the shape of the dispute. If we are to represent the dispute fairly, we should (in most if not all cases) present various competing views in proportion to their representation among experts on the subject, or among the concerned parties. http://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Neutral_point_of_view--draft&oldid=756#Executive_summary

Minority views on infant baptism, like Jehovah’s Witness' view, should be fairly representatives but JWs don't get to FRAME the presentation, that is NPOV by allowing a minority view disproportional representation in the discussion.
In conclusion, all I am saying is that a particular viewpoint is being inserted into this article and that secondary sources material is being quoted inappropriately. Be aware of it. I don't see any personal offense and was trying to avoid personal attacks while at the same time raising awareness of these concerns.--GFrege 23:10, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
With all due respect, all editors here, regardless of their background, are invited to participate in editing Wikipedia articles. Also, all viewpoints of editors are not relevant. It is our task to reflect what reliable sources have to say about an issue. Atheists can, and have, edited the article on Jesus for example.
In the case of the word Christendom, for example, it really does not matter if it was supplied by a Jehovah's Witness or a Lutheran. What matters is what it means to a reader, if that meaning is supported by reliable sources and if significant alternate viewpoints are present if they exist.
Having said that, I think our readers would find the term rather antique and many would not understand it. For that reason, I think we need to find a different way of saying that the majority of Christians practice infant baptism.--CTSWyneken(talk) 02:43, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
I explicitly said that ALL views are welcome and should be represented. Everyone is welcome at the table. But that doesn't mean that anyone is welcome to dominate the structure and content of an article. As the Wikipedia NPOV definition states, minority view are just that-- the views of a minority. They should be fairly, accurately, and PROPORTIONALLY represented. Editors should also refrain from using too many secondary quotes, particularly when they are not directly citing them from a source they have personally read but it a third party source. I am not sure why you find those two points objectionable. Oh well, I guess some people go out of their way to be offended--GFrege 04:24, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
[outdent] The problem is making people the issue, not the text of the article. So, let's talk about the article, not the editors. Do you have an alternate phrase for Christendom? I'll support a change in it, since I find it too antique for our purposes. --CTSWyneken(talk) 10:52, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
Is there anything simpler than to change "Most of Christendom practices" to "Most Christians practice"? Lima 11:11, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
If you think this is all about one word, you have misread the discussion. I mentioned inappropriate citing of secondary sources and a pattern of a particular POV framing and shaping the discussion in a disproportionate way. I cited the use of "Christendom" as one piece of evidence for the JW POV creeping in not as the main focus of concern. It surprises me how much people on Wikipedia sometimes TRY to misread, misinterpret and misunderstand people. I can only guess how I will be misinterpreted next. I half expect someone to say: "So, are you saying people should kill infant and eat them for breakfast?" Yeah, thats what I am saying, exactly! Crazy kids! :-)--GFrege 19:43, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
I think you missed that I've been saying all along that we need to improve the citations. If we could just settle on the rewrite of the history section, as I have said, I will correct the citations. I do not accuse you of deliberately ignoring this, so please do not bring such charges of others here. That fact is that a lot of details are lost in conversation when paragraph upon paragraph are written on talk pages.
Did you miss that Lima and I agree with you on the Christendom issue. Unless there is an objection, let's move it to the article. --CTSWyneken(talk) 01:08, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
Okay, Lets move on then :-)--GFrege 04:40, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
Done. --CTSWyneken(talk) 12:44, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Back to History[edit]

The last proposal made was by Lima. Here it is:

Shorter version[edit]

There is no consensus among scholars concerning the date at which infant baptism was first practiced: two schools of thought view differently the situation in the first century. Some believe that first-century Christians practiced infant baptism, while others believe that they did not. All agree that the Church practiced infant baptism from the third century onward, with no questioning of its validity until the sixteenth century.

Longer version[edit]

There is no consensus among scholars concerning the date at which infant baptism was first practiced: two schools of thought view differently the situation in the first century.

Some believe that first-century Christians practiced infant baptism. They argue that infants may well have been included even in the group baptisms reported in the Acts of the Apostles, that evidence shows the practice was pacifically in possession by the second century and that the early Church viewed infant baptism as a custom inherited from the apostles.

Others believe that first-century Christians did not practice infant baptism. They find no explicit evidence for the practice in the New Testament and argue that infant baptism was practiced only infrequently during the second century.

Comments[edit]

Other than the clause: "with no questioning of its validity until the sixteenth century," which suggests to the average person that no voices opposed infant baptism in this period, I like the shorter version. I'm willing to let that issue go for the moment until we can document it or the existence of other opinions. I have no energy to debate the word "validity" which I believe too technical a term for average readers, who might conclude no one opposed infant baptism in any way, when we have the well-documented opinion of Tertullian to the contrary. Anyway, I'm willing to accept it as is until I can do some reading. --CTSWyneken(talk) 12:54, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

In response to CTS's observations, what about changing the phrase in question to: "and only in the sixteenth century was the claim first made that people baptized as infants must be rebaptized"? That, in terms certainly not too technical for average readers, is what "validity" means.
I myself, as is evident, would prefer to have any proposed amendments of individual phrases examined separately. But as requested by CTS, I write out the whole of:

Shorter version[edit]

There is no consensus among scholars concerning the date at which infant baptism was first practiced: two schools of thought view differently the situation in the first century. Some believe that first-century Christians practiced infant baptism, while others believe that they did not. All agree that the Church practiced infant baptism from the third century onward, and only in the sixteenth century was the claim first made that people baptized as infants must be rebaptized.

I presume I do not need to write out also the not yet modified longer version, but I am willing to do that too, if required. Lima 16:53, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
I think we should just state the consensus view rather than pointing out there is a dispute. Every section is a dispute, pointing it out just clutters the writing by stating the obvious. An NPOV way is to just state the lowest common denominator that everyone agrees on. This is what my proposal below tries to do.
So, here is what I think the section should say. Notice that: (1) the quotes are original historical source materials not secondary sources and that the quotes are standard peices of evidence debated in most books on infant baptism. (2)It is NPOV because it sums up where most scholars agree and it doesn't actually take a position on when infant baptism was first practiced. If you think something is NPOV in this proposal, please tell me exactly which portion you think takes a position on the truth of infant baptism:
MY PROPOSAL (for the entire section):
Scholars from the traditions that practice infant baptism contend that indirect evidence for baptizing children exists within the New Testament. They cite occasions from the Book of Acts when whole households were baptized. However, both proponents and opponents of infant baptism agree that such passages do not explicitly state that those families included infants or young children were baptized. The New Testament is mostly silent on this controversy.
The earliest extra-biblical reference to baptism occurs in the Didache (c. 100 A.D.), the Epistle of Barnabas (c. 130 A.D.), and the Shepherd of Hermas (c. 150 A.D.). Those who oppose infant baptism argue that all of these works describe the practices surrounding baptism in ways that imply it is adults that are baptized. The Didache, for example, directs that candidates for baptism be instructed and fast for two days:

"Concerning baptism, baptize thus: having first recited all these precepts, baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. ... Before a baptism, let him who baptizes and him who is baptized fast, and any others who may be able to do so. And command him who is baptized to fast one or two days beforehand"[8]

The earliest uncontested historical record of infant baptism is recorded in the works of Origen (185-254 A.D.):

"Every soul that is born into flesh is soiled by the filth of wickedness and sin... In the Church, baptism is given for the remission of sins, and, according to the usage of the Church, baptism is given even to infants. If there were nothing in infants which required the remission of sins and nothing in them pertinent to forgiveness, the grace of baptism would seem superfluous."[9]

Thus, from the 3rd century until the 16th century, infant baptism was a commonplace practice of Christian churches. During this period, a relatively small minority of Christians disputed the practice but the controversy surrounding infant baptism started in earnest in the 16th century, when the Anabaptists challenged the biblical warrant for this practice.--GFrege 20:52, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Comments[edit]

Thank you for offering your version. The languge is clear and understnadable and not unduly slanted in any obvious way. I still prefer Lima's short version for two reasons, however. In my opinion, it is far too long, is not in summary style nor encyclopedic in nature (it defends the view of the proponents of infant baptism rather than describe it) and does not include the opinions of historians that believe infants were not baptized. The article is bloated and poorly written in its current state as is. If we do not include opposition views at this point, we are asking for an edit war. If we include quotations, I fear the article will baloon further and we will have a quote book on our hands. I suspect that I will not change this opinion. What do others think? --CTSWyneken(talk) 23:20, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

I would rewrite this draft as follows:

It is agreed that by the second century Christians baptized infants, and that this was standard practice at least from the third century onward, although some preferred to postpone baptism until late in life, since baptism was seen as remission of all the sins of the baptized person. Only in the sixteenth century was the claim first made that people baptized as infants must be rebaptized.

Whether infants were baptized in the first century is disputed. Explicit statements for or against are not found in the New Testament, and there is no agreement on whether the mention in the Acts of the Apostles of cases when whole households were baptized implies that the young children too were baptized. The earliest extra-biblical accounts of the rite, those of the Didache (c. 100), the Epistle of Barnabas (c. 130), and the Shepherd of Hermas (c. 150), describe baptism of adults. However, other only slightly later writings indicate explicitly that infants too were baptized: Irenaeus (c. 130–202) speaks of infants being "born again to God" and three passages of Origen (185–c. 254) mention infant baptism as normal practice. Tertullian (c. 155–230) too, while advising that baptism be postponed at least until after marriage, mentions that it was customary to baptize infants, with sponsors speaking on their behalf.

Lima 05:42, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Punt first Century Approach[edit]

Taking a cue from Lima, there is also this kind of approach open to us:

As early ae the second century, the Christian Church practiced infant baptism. All agree that baptizing young children was standard practice from the third century onward, and only in the sixteenth century was the claim first made that people baptized as infants must be rebaptized. --CTSWyneken(talk) 23:20, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

This approach makes perfect sense. There is no room for argument, as neither side can gainsay. Brilliant idea!--Traveller74 07:06, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Lima's revision[edit]

It is agreed that by the second century Christians baptized infants, and that this was standard practice at least from the third century onward, although some preferred to postpone baptism until late in life, since baptism was seen as remission of all the sins of the baptized person. Only in the sixteenth century was the claim first made that people baptized as infants must be rebaptized.

I'd prefer to avoid passives, since it is harder to read, and doctrinal statements, since we're opening ourselves up to possible edit wars over it. So, while I have no problems with the above as far as content goes, I'd still prefer my version, at least until we can determine what scholarship says about dissent or critism of the practice. Does anyone else have an opinion on this one? --CTSWyneken(talk) 11:41, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
I, on the other hand, agree with GFrege that it is much better to cite primary sources, as he did, rather than to refer to "scholarship". The very word "scholar" is loaded, and you can find "scholars" who support almost any idea about almost anything. If the passive-voice "It is agreed that" is a problem for CTS, it can be omitted, although it seems to me to be no worse than the vague "All agree that" (who are those "all"?)

Shorn of all non-quotation passives, the GFrege-Lima text (admittedly more Lima than GFrege) becomes:

It was standard practice from at least the third century onward for Christians to baptize infants, although some preferred to postpone baptism until late in life, so as to ensure forgiveness for all their preceding sins. Until the sixteenth century nobody taught that it was necessary to confer baptism again on people baptized as infants.

While Christians baptized infants in at least part of the second century too, there is a dispute about the first century, with some saying that first-century Christians did baptize infants, others that they did not. The New Testament contains no explicit statement for or against either view, and there is disagreement on whether accounts in the Acts of the Apostles of the baptism of whole households are implicit indications of the baptism of young children. The earliest extra-biblical accounts of the rite, those of the Didache (c. 100), the Epistle of Barnabas (c. 130), and the Shepherd of Hermas (c. 150), describe baptism of adults. However, other only slightly later writings indicate explicitly that Christians baptized infants too: Irenaeus (c. 130–202) speaks of infants being "born again to God" and three passages of Origen (185–c. 254) mention infant baptism as normal practice. Tertullian (c. 155–230) too, while advising postponement of baptism until after marriage, mentions that it was customary to baptize infants, with sponsors speaking on their behalf.

This draft thus becomes GFrege-Lima-with input from CTS. Lima 13:20, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

I cannot support the second paragaph in this draft, since we're back to the "explicit" language, which invites edit war. The same thing happens when you start listing sources in the open text. I can hear the cries of lack of balance already. This paragraph will likely be accused of being original research, since it is the opinion of an editor here and not that of published sources. That's where the scholarship comes in. We use reliable sources and summarize what we find there. Whether we like it or not, that's the reality of the Wikipedia experiment.
Also, if we're going to do the first century, then I prefer the earlier version that we were working on. There is no need for the summary language, if we're going into the disagreement anyway.
Finally, it is, in my opinion, weak language to start a section with a pronoun that has not antecedant. --CTSWyneken(talk) 15:17, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

1. Simplest thing first: we can avoid starting a section with an impersonal pronoun, what CTS calls a pronoun without antecedent:

From at least the third century onward Christians baptized infants as standard practice, although some preferred to postpone baptism until late in life, so as to ensure forgiveness for all their preceding sins. Until the sixteenth century nobody taught that it was necessary to confer baptism again on people baptized as infants.

While Christians baptized infants also in at least part of the second century, there is a dispute about the first century, with some saying that first-century Christians did baptize infants, others that they did not. The New Testament contains no explicit statement for or against either view, and there is disagreement on whether accounts in the Acts of the Apostles of the baptism of whole households are implicit indications of the baptism of young children. The earliest extra-biblical accounts of the rite, those of the Didache (c. 100), the Epistle of Barnabas (c. 130), and the Shepherd of Hermas (c. 150), describe baptism of adults. However, other only slightly later writings indicate explicitly that Christians baptized infants too: Irenaeus (c. 130–202) speaks of infants being "born again to God" and three passages of Origen (185–c. 254) mention infant baptism as normal practice. Tertullian (c. 155–230) too, while advising postponement of baptism until after marriage, mentions that it was customary to baptize infants, with sponsors speaking on their behalf.

2. Now would CTS specify what statement in the second paragraph is slanted or non-factual, so that we can adjust that too. Surely not what it says about New Testament passages: it just says there is no agreement about their significance for infant baptism. The early second-century accounts that describe baptism of adults? The later second-century accounts that speak of infant baptism as practised then? I think these are all undeniable facts objectively stated. They do not favour either view about the first-century situation. They really only state facts about the second century. Those who believe there was no infant baptism in the first century will interpret those facts as the start of something new. Those who believe there was infant baptism in the first century will interpret those facts as indicating the continuance of an established practice. The summary does not favour the first school by saying that these practices "first appeared" in the second century (a slanted expression). Nor does it favour the second: it refrains from mentioning the fact that there is no record of any Early Christian saying that the practice that certainly existed already in the second century was a novelty. If there is something non-objective in all this (other than the silence about the absence of complaint about novelty), would CTS point it out, so that it can be fixed.

3. Why on earth should it be considered better to quote some nineteenth- or twentieth-century author who says what he (perhaps wishfully) thinks the situation was back then, rather than quote someone who actually experienced the situation back then and who thus is undeniably a more reliable source? In other words, why should quoting Origen be considered original research but not quoting Professor Ichweißnichtwer or l'Abbé Untel or Dr Fulano? Lima 17:08, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

I think you're misunderstanding what I'm trying to say. Let me see if I can explain.
I favor one of two alternatives for this section:

<b;ockquote>1. A short overview of the two positions on the practice of infant baptism, like the short one we came close to fashioning before Gfrege expressed a concern about putting two competing positions throughout the article. I don't think such a paragraph is out-of-place and it does express fairly a real disagreement among people who have studied these this. I prefer that solution.

2. Since Gfrege, after much discussion, still had misgivings about this approach, I crafted the "from as early as the second century..." solution. This one may be the best we can do, for certainly we'll see Gfrege continue to object or someone appear with the same position at a later date.

3. The main problem with your current revision is that it does both. The result is an out of order treatment of history, combined with something that will be objectionable to this editor. What I'm saying on this point is that we should do one or the other, not both.

4. On the scholarship question: the reason why we must cite (notice I did not say quote) modern sources is that is Wikipedia policy. Why not quote sources from the early church? Because in doing so, it is our interpretation of their words that is going into the article. In Wikipedia terms, this is original research, the opinion of someone not published, and so in Wikipedia terms, not reliable. The argument is that, since they have spent a lifetime studying these things, their opinion is more likely correct than yours or mine. </b;ockquote>

Does this help? --CTSWyneken(talk) 12:23, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
1. Does the latest draft not express to the extent necessary the two positions?
Yes and more than necessary. --CTSWyneken(talk) 15:02, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
What the latest draft says of the two positions (there is a dispute about the first century, with some saying that first-century Christians did baptize infants, others that they did not. The New Testament contains no explicit statement for or against either view, and there is disagreement on whether accounts in the Acts of the Apostles of the baptism of whole households are implicit indications of the baptism of young children)is slightly longer than the earlier "Shorter Version" (There is no consensus among scholars concerning the date at which infant baptism was first practiced: two schools of thought view differently the situation in the first century. Some believe that first-century Christians practiced infant baptism, while others believe that they did not), which to my mind invites editors to elaborate it precisely because it is in such general terms, but is shorter than the "Longer Version" (Some believe that first-century Christians practiced infant baptism. They argue that infants may well have been included even in the group baptisms reported in the Acts of the Apostles, that evidence shows the practice was pacifically in possession by the second century and that the early Church viewed infant baptism as a custom inherited from the apostles. Others believe that first-century Christians did not practice infant baptism. They find no explicit evidence for the practice in the New Testament and argue that infant baptism was practiced only infrequently during the second century). Lima 19:20, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
2. Does the latest draft not meet GFrege's misgivings? To me it seems to do so at least as well as the draft that he himself proposed. I'd like to hear from him now.
I would, too. From the way that I read what he wrote, not at all. It puts opposing views into this paragraph when he's been arguing all along that we should not have opposing views here at all. He would, if I understand him correctly, like to have only the position of those who believe infant baptism was practiced in the first century.--CTSWyneken(talk) 15:02, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
It seems to me that GFrege put more about opposing views into what he called MY PROPOSAL above than I have put in the revised draft. Lima 19:20, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
3. Sorry, I don't understand "it does both". As for the order, I thought it would be good to state first what is accepted by all, and talk about divergences only afterwards; but it will be easy to change to another order, if that is preferred.
It does both, because it weaves together the version that states just what is agreed as fact with the version that outlines the two main opinions on the history of the practics in the first century.--CTSWyneken(talk) 15:02, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
As I have already said, it is easy to put the two-sentence mention of the opposing views about first-century practice at the beginning. Problem, if it is a problem, solved. Lima 19:20, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
4. Since CTS is more familiar than I am with the statements of Wikipedia policy, would he please quote for me the parts of it that say that citations of Early Christian writers are not allowed in Wikipedia. These writers have certainly been published. Over and over again. Notice too that I did not say "quotations". In the draft there is only one very short quotation, which I thought helpful, but that can be removed if necessary. Whose opinion on whether infants were baptized at about the year 200 is more likely to be correct, Origen's or Professor So-and-so's? Indeed my aim was to avoid expressing opinions, but as far as possible to state bald facts and let the readers apply their own opinions to them. Lima 13:23, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
I don't think I've stated clearly what I mean. It's not that quotes from the fathers are not allowed. It is interpreting them in the article that is Original Research. So, for example, if I quote John 3:16, I'm allowed to do so. If I say that John 3:16 means that God says Jesus died for the whole world, it is original research, because it is my opinion that the passage means this. If I quote Billy Graham saying this and cite the place he says it, then it is acceptable, because Billy Graham is a WP:Reliable Source. The point is not that the fathers are not good evidence -- they are. It is that my opinion or yours as to their significance are private, lay opinions according to the Wikipedia rules.
If we go with a form of the two positions on the first century, what I'm saying is that we simply cite a source that takes one position or the other. It makes the final version more challenge-resistant to do it this way. Frankly, having gone over this for a few weeks, I'd like the final version to be as permenent as Wikipedia articles can be.
Having said all of this, I do not mind including citations to the fathers in the footnotes. I do think there is a chance that someone might object with them even being there, but it is slight.
You are welcome to read through the policy and guideline pages I've cited and linked above several times now. If you want specific references, you'll have to wait until I have the time to look. Or you can ask an admin for their opinion of what I've said -- either way. --CTSWyneken(talk) 15:02, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
I have not found any prohibition against, for example, citing Origen (with the exact citations, and perhaps quoting his exact words, in a footnote) as saying that infants were baptized in the Church he knew. The draft only states this fact, without attaching any interpretation to it. It is the same as citing one or more of the Gospels as saying that Jesus was baptized. Lima 19:20, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

It seems to be time to set forth the draft summary of the history of infant baptism as modified in response to CTS's observations:

Some hold that, in the first century, Christians did not baptize infants, other that they did even then. The New Testament contains no explicit statement for or against either view, and there is disagreement on whether accounts in the Acts of the Apostles of the baptism of whole households are implicit indications of the baptism of young children.
The earliest extra-biblical accounts of the rite of baptism, those of the Didache (c. 100), the Epistle of Barnabas (c. 130), and the Shepherd of Hermas (c. 150), describe baptism of adults. However, other only slightly later writings indicate explicitly that Christians baptized infants too: Irenaeus (c. 130–202) speaks of infants being "born again to God" and three passages of Origen (185–c. 254) mention infant baptism as normal practice; Tertullian (c. 155–230) too, while advising postponement of baptism until after marriage, mentions that it was customary to baptize infants, with sponsors speaking on their behalf.
From at least the third century onward Christians baptized infants as standard practice, although some preferred to postpone baptism until late in life, so as to ensure forgiveness for all their preceding sins. Until the sixteenth century nobody taught that it was necessary to confer baptism again on people baptized as infants.

Is there anything non-objective in this? To me it seems to be merely a statement of bald facts, now placed in chronological order. Lima 13:14, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

I prefer to return to the first short draft, for reasons stated above (especially since the second paragraph above is OR) and that the latest is not as well written. I'll not be able to contribute much beyond that for at least a week, as real life is insanely busy right now.--CTSWyneken(talk) 13:28, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
What does "OR" mean? Does "the latest" mean the third paragraph, which has been changed only in position, or something else? Indeed, the only significant change in all the writing is the chronological placing: first century; second and beginning of third; from third to first claim that infant baptism was no baptism at all. Lima 14:21, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
Original Research.--CTSWyneken(talk) 17:20, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
My preferred version:

There is no consensus among scholars concerning the date at which infant baptism was first practiced: two schools of thought view differently the situation in the first century. Some believe that first-century Christians practiced infant baptism, while others believe that they did not. All agree that the Church practiced infant baptism from the third century onward, with no questioning of its validity until the sixteenth century.

I do not see a need for more detail that that. --CTSWyneken(talk) 17:24, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
The first two sentences express exactly the same idea three times, namely that it is disputed whether first-century Christians baptized infants. There is thus far too little in this for a section headed "History". So little, in fact, that it would be a constant invitation to editors to flesh it out with other matter.
A smile for CTS's acceptance of the word "validity", which on 4 March he thought "too technical a term for average readers". Lima 06:01, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm just trying to deal with the first and maybe second century. We have been after this endlessly. I still don't like valid but I do not have the time to take another month at this. Also, please talk to me directly. It feels confrontationl to me when you address me in the third person, which I'm sure you do not mean to be. --CTSWyneken(talk) 11:06, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Allegation of "original research"[edit]

Some hold that, in the first century, Christians did not baptize infants, other that they did even then. The New Testament contains no explicit statement for or against either view, and there is disagreement on whether accounts in the Acts of the Apostles of the baptism of whole households are implicit indications of the baptism of young children.

The earliest extra-biblical accounts of the rite of baptism, those of the Didache (c. 100), the Epistle of Barnabas (c. 130), and the Shepherd of Hermas (c. 150), describe baptism of adults. Other slightly later writings indicate explicitly that Christians baptized infants too: Irenaeus (c. 130–202) speaks of infants being "born again to God" and three passages of Origen (185–c. 254) mention infant baptism as normal practice; Tertullian (c. 155–230) too, while advising postponement of baptism until after marriage, mentions that it was customary to baptize infants, with sponsors speaking on their behalf.

From at least the third century onward Christians baptized infants as standard practice, although some preferred to postpone baptism until late in life, so as to ensure forgiveness for all their preceding sins. Until the sixteenth century nobody taught that it was necessary to confer baptism again on people baptized as infants.

(The exact citations, with links, will be given in footnotes)

CTS says this text contains original research. According to the Wikipedia definition, "original research is material that cannot be attributed to a reliable source. The only way to demonstrate that material is not original research is to cite reliable sources that provide information directly related to the topic of the article, and to adhere to what those sources say." The draft cites for its statements clear unambiguous reliable sources that anyone can check. What more is needed to show that it is not original research? Does anyone imagine, for instance, that to say that the Didache describes baptism of adults is original research, when anyone can see that it does describe baptism of adults? What more reliable source about what is in the Didache than the Didache itself? Lima 06:01, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Please stop talking about me in the third person... I'll explain this one more time. It is original research because we are interpreting what the passages from the ancient fathers mean. We need to cite a scholar or ten (on this point, likely more are available) that makes the points in this paragraph. I'm not going to explain it again, since I have too much else to do. --CTSWyneken(talk) 11:13, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
We don't need a scholar or ten, or anybody else at all, to tell us what the Didache says. The paragraph reports what the Didache says, doesn't interpret it. It reports facts, doesn't make points. Lima 12:35, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
These phrases are interpretive: "The earliest extra-biblical accounts of the rite of baptism...", "describe baptism of adults. However, other only slightly later writings indicate explicitly that Christians baptized infants too", "and three passages of Origen", "too, while advising postponement of baptism until after marriage, mentions that it was customary to baptize infants, with sponsors speaking on their behalf..." Without citing scholars, they are Original Research, because you are interpeting the sources directly. I don't particularly like this rule, but rules are rules. So, why not just cite sources for them rather than drag this out? --CTSWyneken(talk) 12:43, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
Apart from the word "however", which I have now removed, I see nothing in the above text that can be called interpretation. Do I need to cite a scholar or ten in order to state that the Constitution of the United States lays down that the Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate? Surely a direct link to the text of the Constitution is better than citations of thousands of scholars. Where is there interpretation in the statement that the Didache etc. describe baptism of adults? That is just fact, easily verifiable fact, free of interpretations such as "this shows that ..." The statement that the US Constitution says that the Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate is also a statement of fact. I don't see any reason why the statement about the US Constitution should be banned unless accompanied by citations of a scholar or ten. Nor do I see any reason why the statement about the Didache should be banned.
Is someone perhaps casting doubt on the statement that the three sources quoted are the earliest extra-biblical accounts of the rite of baptism. Surely nobody holds that these accounts are in the Bible, not outside it, and does anyone know of any earlier extra-biblical account? As for the sources that mention infant baptism, anyone who can do simple subtraction can tell that they are only slightly later. The three passages of Origen clearly state what is attributed to them, just as the US Constitution states what is attributed to it. The same holds for Tertullian. Lima 13:33, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
I will not argue it with you any longer. If you want another opinion, please feel free to seek it out. My opinion is not going to change. I believe the passage is original research. As far as the first paragraph, you are welcome to post it as is to replace the first century discussion in the article, since no one else seems ready to challenge it. On the second one, if you do not wish to document it and you put it in the article, I'll simply add a "citation needed" tag. I'm sure someone else will supply the documentation. --CTSWyneken(talk) 13:56, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
It is surely illegitimate to delete citations and then insert {{fact}} to demand citations! Lima 05:33, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
What reasonable person would add "{{fact}}" to the statement: The US Vice President is, according to the Constitution, President of the Senate.<ref>"The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate" (Constitution of the United States, section 3, clause 4)</ref>? Lima 07:54, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm not going to explain any further why the fact tags are necessary. Just one note: I did not delete citations. I deleted the quotations, which I've already outlined above why they should not be in the article. Unless you have something new to say on the matter, I will await other opinions. --CTSWyneken(talk) 10:40, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, even if there is no desire to go into the reasons "why fact tags are necessary" for statements from Origen, why not at least go into the reasons why a fact tag is not necessary for the statement from the US Constitution? Lima 11:24, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
At 20:46 yesterday CTSWyneken replaced two sourced paragraph in the History section with two paragraphs of his own invention to which he added, three times, "{{fact}}", thus admitting that his own text was unsourced! He also added "{{fact}}" several times to the other paragraph, ignoring the citations that it gives for all its statements! To crown his action, he gave as his edit summary "rv see reasons on talk page", and yet does not discuss the matter here on the talk page, only saying: "My opinion is not going to change"! What are we to make of that?
Or was he claiming to give reasons on the talk page for the other change he made at the same time, undoing Eugeneacurry's edit? Since for that too he gives no reason, I think it best to restore the page to how it was before he made his latest changes. Lima 05:20, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Lima simply refuses to follow Wikipedia rules on Original Research, citation, verifiability and reliable sources. He is not ready to accept language that will minimize the chance that a long debate will appear again over these very words down the road. In addition, he doesn't seem to want others to enter this discussion, since he keeps removing the {{fact}} tags that will bring them here. Until the text is stable, there is no point enhancing it with the citations that are easily at hand for me. Until then, I will neither go over the same arguments with him for another two weeks, nor waste my time in adding documentation.
Do others have an opinion on these matters? --CTSWyneken(talk) 11:07, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
CTSWyneken simply refuses to explain how, in spite of his personal interpretation of Wikipedia rules on Original Research, which he says outlaws citations of early Christian writers, it is nonetheless legitimate to cite the US Constitution. He also simply refuses to explain why he replaces with two paragraphs that cite nobody two paragraphs that cite no early Christian but instead cite scholars such as John Calvin. The text that does have citations should obviously stay in place at least until he finds citations for the text he wishes to put in its place.
CTSWyneken also simply refuses to explain why he reversed Eugeneacurry's edit, which seems to have nothing to do even with CTSWyneken's interpretation of Original Research.
Do others have an opinion on these matters, which CTSWyneken refuses to discuss? Lima 11:31, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Might be a little off topic, however, isn't the Didache usually referred to as non-Biblical rather than extra-Biblical? --Traveller74 04:59, 17 March 2007 (UTC)
To me, at least, "extra-Biblical" gives the idea of "an early Christian writing that Christians did not include in the New Testament" or "a Jewish writing similar to and of about the same period as those in the Bible, but not included in the Bible". "Non-Biblical" could apply to any writing whatever that is not in the Bible, such as the US Constitution; but I think some use the term "non-Biblical" with the implication of "contrary to the Bible", and so its POV overtones would make it less suitable for speaking either of the US Constitution or the Didache. Lima 05:23, 17 March 2007 (UTC)
Conversely, "extra-Biblical" gives the idea of a writing that is somehow supporting the Bible, an idea that many would argue against. Surely there is a more NPOV term? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Traveller74 (talkcontribs)
I don't really believe anyone ever used "extra-Biblical" in that sense. Would a commentary on the Bible, written today, and supporting the Bible, be referred to as "extra-Biblical". Some of the rather early apocryphal gospels that have been played up by the media recently could, I think, be referred to as "extra-Biblical" (i.e. they didn't "make it" into the Bible), but some of them, as the same media have stressed, contradict the Bible rather than supporting it. Lima 05:01, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Significance of infant baptism[edit]

Regarding the clause "although they would differ widely as to its meaning and significance," my intention in placing this at the specific location that I placed it was to acknowledge that those who practice paedobaptism disagree about its meaning. For example, a Roman Catholic baptizes an infant under the presumption that the child's original sin is thereby removed. A Presbyterian, on the other hand, baptizes an infant upon no such basis. That is the distinction I wish to make. To place the following sentence a paragraph lower is fine: "Different interpretations are found within both groups about the significance of baptism." But the wording and location of this sentence fail (IMO) to delineate the difference that I originally intended to convey.—Emote Talk Page 21:12, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Emote's explanation of his insertion convinces at least me that it is out of place in the part of the article that merely gives a list of the principal Christian groups that do practise infant baptism and another list of those who reject it. If the insertion goes into the question of original sin, it concerns not infant baptism, but baptism. And at least I, perhaps others too, needed to have its meaning spelled out for me by Emote: for easy intelligibility it would have to be given in greater detail and would thereby add excessive length to the lead. There is a whole section later headed "Differences among paedobaptists"; but putting the insertion into the first of the two lists and having nothing similar to go with the second seems to me to have a POV tinge. If the insertion can be allowed, then we should also restore the undeniable factual statement that all the ancient Christian traditions do practise infant baptism, a statement that has been removed on POV grounds.
For the present, I return this part of the article to the status quo ante. Lima 05:06, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
I agree the clause should go for several reasons, mostly stylistic. First, I think we need to keep the article as simply written as possible. Second, the article already has a larger discussion of the same point later on. We should keep it out of the lead because it is redundant. Also the clause feels a slight repetitve later on. DJPJ.
Let's move on to the larger task of reducing the size of the aricle, tightening up the lsnguage, etc. before we expand the lead. --CTSWyneken(talk) 11:33, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

State of the article[edit]

As alerted to me by CTSWyneken, there seems to be renewed interest in this article so I thought I'd drop by and see how it was going, having spent some time on it a while back. I've still not got the time to do any proper work on it, but thought I'd point out where perhaps people's efforts would be best directed.

The main problem with the article is still the "pedobaptism versus credobaptism" section, which is still fundamentally the essay that it was when I first came to the article. It doesn't even introduce the "debate" as being an issue related to pedobaptism, and the fact that it's a debate reflects some of the comments above, that it's not encyclopedic. If anything, the section should state why credobaptist denominations actively reject pedobaptism, and nothing more. There seems to be a much more balanced, encyclopedic approach in the Baptism article, which this article should really aim to complement, and could draw a lot directly from.

On a similar vein, I would delete every one of the external links currently in the external links section if I had something to replace them with. They all represent opinion essays, none of which are from sources I would call authoritative. There is a similar theme with the quality of the references. There still aren't any links to any official statement or doctrine from churches or church organisations which are the real sources that should dictate what should and shouldn't go in an encyclopedic review of the theology behind the subject.

Compared to these points, the history section looks pretty polished, so good luck sorting them out. BigBlueFish 23:58, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

References[edit]

IMHO, one of the most distressing things about Wikipedia is lack of references. I am going to take the "Methodist" section and reference it out to our offical statement on Baptism -- By Water and the Spirit. I like the amount of references in the Lutheran section and will attempt to do the same in the Methodist section. There also are a few mis-statments that I am going to fix (i.e. church membership is delayed until confimation -- what is implied in the baptism is entry into the family of God, not the local church congregation.) Reverend Mommy 16:12, 12 March 2007 (UTC)candlemb

Fantastic! Please also feel free to rewrite. --CTSWyneken(talk) 17:19, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm a divinity student at Duke Divinity School and feel that there are some misrepresentations of the Methodist point of view. I agree that there could be some references to "By Water and the Spirit." By calling it a "means of grace" and "symbolic" seems to be a contradiction. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.128.182.56 (talk) 18:19, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

What's a Church?[edit]

According to the 3rd paragraph, Jehovah's Witnesses and Latter-day Saints seem to be considered traditions under what is loosely referred to as a 'church'. As far as I know, neither of them can confess the Apostle's Creed, or agree with the Christian understanding of the Trinity, the humanity and divinity of Jesus, and so on. The previous two paragraphs also seem to set the tone that the introduction is concerned with Infant baptism in relation to the Christian churches. I would like to go so far as to say that a "church" (as used in its first instances in the Greek manuscripts of the NT writings) is a congregation or fellowship of believers in Jesus Christ as exemplified in the New Testament by its writers, not the "revelations" of say, Joseph Smith. That being said, there needs to be a clearly understood comment that lets the reader know that the Christian churches do not consider Jehovah's Witnesses and the Latter-day Saints to be part of the Christian fellowship of believers. --Monasticknight 21:54, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

My poor opinion is that it is best to leave this text just as it is: "as do ..." states neither that the groups in question have, nor that they lack, the quality that Monasticknight denies them, but that others claim for them. Lima 05:22, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Yes, many Christians consider these groups as entirely different religions (including me) for the reasons you've stated. However, Wikipedia rules work on the basis of self-identification. So, from the perspective here, since they call themselves Christian, they must be allowed to call themselves such. Our page is a compromise that keeps them at some distance from the traditions that confess the content of the three ecumenical creeds, but does not imply they are not Christian. If it's any comfort, the Jews have the same problem with Jews for Jesus and Muslims with Christianity defined as monotheistic. If you can think of a way to keep from calling JWs a church (which they would object to) and without implying that the LDS are not a church (which they call themselves) while mainaining the balance we have, please go for it. --CTSWyneken(talk) 10:55, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for the comment. I see now the dilemma. It is peculiar however. If I was to say that I am an elephant and writing my elephant points of view, that would be false, whether I was to believe it or not. Of course, JW's and Mormon's believe they are the true Church despite what Christians would have to say about it. It seems to be general consent that in order to belong to the Church, or the Body one must affirm the Nicene, or Apostle's Creed, which neither JW or Mormon can acknowledge. Can't win 'em all I guess.
Interesting to note that Jehovah's Witnesses in particular hold the majority of Christians fail to meet criteria of being Christian, as defined by Jesus Christ, using their interpretation of the NT. And often quote Matthew 7:13 and Matthew 13:24-30, interpreting the broad road, and the weeds as mainstream Christianity. So, yes, as has been said, self-identification avoids this can of worms. --Traveller74 03:21, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Original Research Flag[edit]

Most of this article lacks citations, especially when generalizations are made, as in the second paragraph of the History section. If you've come here in response to the flag, please help by adding citations in appropriate places. Also, some of the citations are incomplete, lacking author, title, publisher, place, date, page number and/or reference number citations. --CTSWyneken(talk) 12:31, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

It seems to me that precisely the second paragraph of the History section is replete with very precise citations for all its statements. Should the tag be removed?
The placing of the other tag also does not appear to have been justified on the Talk page. Lima 16:27, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

A practice and a doctrine[edit]

Recently, MishaPan changed part of the article's intro from

"Most Christian denominations believe and accept the doctrine of infant baptism."

to

"Most Christian denominations practice infant baptism."

With the reason Infant baptism is a practice, not a "doctrine", per se.

I would submit that it is both a practice and a doctrine. While the original sentence may not have been the most precise way to phrase it, I think it is important to indicate here that it is a doctrine. Perhaps the sentence should be amended to read:

"Most Christian denominations believe in and practice the doctrine of infant baptism." Earthsound 06:18, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

MishaPan was right in saying that infant baptism is not a doctrine but a practice. It is the correctness of infant baptism, not infant baptism itself, that can be called a doctrine. As a compromise, why not: "Most Christian denominations believe in and practice infant baptism"?
Better still would be: "Most Christians believe in and ..." There are said to be approximately 38,000 Christian denominations, so who can tell what "most denominations" believe or practise? On the contrary, no great effort of mathematics is required to tell what is the belief and practice subscribed to by "most Christians". Lima 07:10, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
Again, I disagree. I believe it can be easily established that infant baptism is both a doctrine and a practice. The debate over whether it is proper (or correct) or not does not diminish that fact. The ideas, teachings and beliefs surrounding infant baptism can be best described as doctrine. The act of sprinkling or immersion is a practice.
Having said that, I think that in the present context, it could best be phrased as:
"Most Christians adhere to the doctrine of and practice infant baptism."
With regard to what most denominations believe: most denominations fall under more broad categories, such as Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Lutheranism, Presbyterianism, Methodist, Baptist, Pentecostalism, Unitarianism, etc. Though I am not aware of an exhaustive study on the extant variations within Christianity along with a comparison of their various beliefs and practices, I don't think it is an insurmountable task. I agree that it is reasonable to assert "most Christians" rather than "most Christian denominations" here. Earthsound 19:45, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
The action or practice of baptizing infants is surely not a doctrine. One might as well say that kneeling for prayer is a doctrine. There are doctrines associated with baptizing infants: the doctrine held by most Christians is that baptism of infants is valid and effective for salvation; the doctrine held by a minority of Christians is that baptism of infants is of no avail. These doctrines, both of them, are about infant baptism. They are not infant baptism. Lima 18:30, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

Lutheranism[edit]

Since when is baptism limited to Lutherans? It is far more than that!!

--Sophroniscus 00:26, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

State Churches[edit]

The question of whether churches which support paedobaptism tend to be 'state churches' is irrelevant theologically. It would appear to be an attempt to frame the matter in terms of a theology which did not exist at the time when Christians started to baptize their children.

--Sophroniscus 00:22, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

I restored this paragraph. Sophroniscus' reasoning is faulty. The fact that infant baptism was used as form of citizenship in the medieval and renaissance periods is beyond dispute, and is supported by reference to mainstream book on church history and theology. This article is about infant baptism as a practice - that includes its historical usages and cultural meanings as well as the theology underpinning it. In my opinion, Sophroniscus removes these references because Americans dislike church-state partnerships and thus this historical fact seems to denigrate his faith tradition. However, we have no such animosity here in Britain, and historical facts should be available for readers.

--ManicBrit 07:22, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

My reasoning was correct. I will not play games with you, however, and will simply state my reasons...

Infant baptism predates state churches[edit]

The first Christian state dates from Gregory the Illuminator's efforts in Armenia. As a result, in AD 301, Armenia became the first country to adopt Christianity as its state religion. But the practice of Infant Baptism clearly predates that time. Instead, it is derived from churches that were under widespread persecution by pagan states.

The Creed of Constantinople[edit]

Many of the churches you name subscribe to the Creed of Constantinople. It clearly states

And [I believe] in one, holy, catholic and apostolic church...

No church which professes the Creed of Constantinople is theologically speaking a state church, regardless of its relationship with a state.

Hierarchical Communion[edit]

Instead of entanglement with governments and political systems, churches are defined in terms of Hierarchical communion, something which your analysis ignores.

Persecution[edit]

There is no evidence that any of the churches named would change their practice if they were subject to persecution. In fact, the evidence shows the opposite.

Paedocommunion[edit]

That Paedobaptism was practiced in the early church is clear. Equally clear is the fact that Paedocommunion was also practiced. Indeed, Paedocommunion is still practiced among the Eastern Churches. The practice abandoned in the West, due to the extreme clericalism of the Roman Church. The churches which now refuse to allow paedobaptism are simply following the same sort of clericalism, whether they realize it or not. It was clericalism, not state churches which have restricted the access of families and children to the Sacred Mysteries. Ministers do not wish to minister to children because they think of themselves as Very Important People and Very Important People simply do not minister to babies.

Real life[edit]

As you note, I live -- and have lived -- in the United States. Nevertheless I know that such concerns are irrelevant to the life of at least one church named, the Roman Catholic Church. A Catholic from any country can walk into a Catholic church in another country with virtual certainty that he will be able to participate in the Sacred Mysteries. National boundaries are irrelevant.

Experience[edit]

Although a Roman Catholic my godparents are, in fact, Maronite (Lebanese) Catholics; my two children received Holy Chrism in a Ruthenian Catholic Church (Slavic), with the full approval of the local Roman Catholic hierarchy; we frequently participate in a Syro-Malabar Catholic Church (Indian) where we may freely receive the Sacred Mysteries. I feel perfectly comfortable there, a white man, among Indians. Not only do those churches practice Paedobaptism, but -- thank goodness -- the aforementioned Ruthenian Catholic Church has restored the ancient practice of Paedocommunion. When attending that church, we frequently see babies receiving the Eucharist. Praise God, that these ancient practices still exist in the year, 2007, in spite of the corruptions of the modern world!!

Insult me if you must[edit]

ManicBrit claims that...

Sophroniscus removes these references because Americans dislike church-state partnerships and thus this historical fact seems to denigrate his faith tradition.

How quick we are to judge people about whom we know nothing!! People may insult me or not as they please, but I have no such judgment regarding ManicBrit or anyone else. I would suppose ManicBrit simply to be a person expressing his honest beliefs.

I care about the continuation of the Gospel in the modern era. I care about the unity of the Church. I care nothing for any government. Indeed, the government under which I suffer is far from my affections.

I removed those references because they are demonstrably false and clearly irrelevant. But -- as I said, above -- I will not play games with you. I would simply argue that you ought to reword your assertions with greater concern for the truth, historical and theological.

--Sophroniscus 23:59, 24 October 2007 (UTC)


why is there alowed so many points against infant baptism?????and why are not lutherans alowed to use our plain spoken apologetics to reply ??? if one looks at the beleivers baptism article they delite any theological replys that are so plain spoken that easly shows they are wrong .

is both articles under their control????? or is their a love afair going on with some of the missouri synod or wels pastors and their beliefs ?it appears so .because the ones who could knock theem in the head dead are not doing so . neutriality what a bunch of hogwash, but it would at least be nice to be treated fairly.after all protecting infant baptism is protecting Gods grace and how he justifys us the ungodly sinner. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 65.127.141.196 (talk) 14:09, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Sophronicus' Clear Lack of NPOV Ruins This Article[edit]

It is obvious that Sophronicus does not have a NPOV on this issue. He is determined that the practice of infant baptism be framed solely in terms of Catholic theology, and that no attempt to made to explore how the practice has affected cultures and nations where it was adopted. This is, to my mind, a great tragedy - national churches have played a substantial role in the histories of their various cultures. No one would seriously argue that we can study the history of the UK, for example, without examining the role of the Anglican Church in society. The practice of infant baptism, whatever its motivations may have originally been, has played an important role in the maintenance of these institutions. Whether such practices, which clearly divide society into "us" and "them" and stress the group-identity of the community over the free choice of the individual, naturally lead to persecution and violence or not is a matter to be decided by the reader. Historical facts should speak for themselves.

Furthermore, the theological arguments in favor of the practice are vastly overstated in this article (for example, it's questionable whether early Christian authors like Origen really described the baptism of infants when they talked about the baptism of children, and the same applies to passages in the New Testament that speak of "household baptisms"), while the "arguments against" section seems particularly weak, given the large number of Christians who dispute it. Sophronicus has indicated that he is motivated by his Eastern Catholic faith, and obviously watches this page and edits it to his liking without regard for NPOV.--ManicBrit 15:36, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Sophronicus has laid out his rational for what he includes. He admits his bias. NPOV does not mean no viewpoints, but rather equal time to viewpoints of equal influence.
  1. I read that entire section about "state churches" and am left wondering what is the point of including it. It is theologically irrelevant. The history section covers everything that a summary requires. (The state qua official record keeper started in the Seventeenth century. Prior to then the church usually was the only record keeper. For some purposes, church records are still considered to be "official" records.)
  2. State churches did play a role in influencing the country they were in, but that role is utterly irrelevant to the practice of infant baptism. (I'll also point out that the only church to be asked to be a "state church" twice has an abhorrence of paedobaptism. Said church has totally rejected such offers on at least three separate occasions--- usually soundly scolding the government in public for making that request.)
  3. If you think the arguments in favour are overstated, go read the sources that are cited. Then come back and correct them if warranted. Christian groups that do not practice paedobaptism are a clearcut minority. I'll also point out that all of the groups that practice paedobaptism also have rituals for adult baptism. The arguments in favour are to demonstrate why they hold such a belief.
  4. Section 3.3 Paedobaptism versus credobaptism pretty much covers the points against paedobaptism. If you can find citable sources against the practice, then include them. jonathon 20:17, 25 October 2007 (UTC)


To Jonathan:

The fact that infant baptism is often closely associated with institutions that define cultural identity for a nation is something that is very relevant to understanding the practice of infant baptism in its cultural and historical contexts - and something that has been recorded by church historians and sociologists from a variety of traditions. Religion is not a matter of theology alone, but of history, culture, and politics, among other things. One could just as easily note that groups which reject infant baptism are often those that seek to separate themselves from the mainstream society, for good or ill. This is certainly true of early Baptists and Anabaptists. I do not understand the desire to limit this article purely to theology, while ignoring the historical and sociological dimensions of religious practice. This article is not labeled "Infant Baptism (Theology)" or "Baptism (Catholic Teaching)". It is simply labeled "Infant Baptism," which implies that it is appropriate to add facts about any aspect of the practice. I suspect that the desire to remove all non-theological observations about the practice is motivated by an urge to obscure what is, according to modern American sensibilities, an embarrassing aspect of the practice's past. For what it's worth, the article on believer's baptism does not share this article's limitations - it notes that adult baptism often takes the role of a rite of passage in the southern U.S., where Southern Baptists, Pentecostals, and Church of Christ form the majority.

Sophronicus has contributed comments to this article that are marked with exclamation points and use words like "clearly." While no one expects perfect neutrality, I think we can all agree that such language undercuts Wikipedia's credibility.--ManicBrit 00:08, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Paedobaptism is a theological issue. The sociocultural aspects to it are incidental --- mere side-effects of a theological belief and practice. I could make a far stronger case that it is the "High Churches" that practice paedobaptism than "State Churches". Understanding the difference between 'High Church' and "Low Church" is far more important in understanding the historical and cultural context of paedobaptism than the effects of "State Church".jonathon 06:05, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

My Answer[edit]

I can not, of course comment on what Sophronicus may have said or done. I can only answer for what I wrote.


In my humble opinion, it is preferable to give sound reasons for one's own beliefs than to attack someone else's beliefs. I believe I have done that. The reasons I gave were, of course, my own. Perhaps that my arguments are not worthy of respect. Who am I to say? I certainly do respect the beliefs of those who disagree with me. I have no desire to judge anyone involved in this exchange.


I am more-or-less Catholic. But I abhor what the Western Church became during the Middle Ages, due to its excessive clericalism and scrupulosity. I certainly am not arguing that only Western or Catholic theology is relevant.


My objection to the term state church has nothing to do with politics, whether American or otherwise. I do not know that the therm high church is any better. My essential objection is that the distinction is in my humble opinion, the interjection of a point of view into an article which should be neutral. I can conceive of no other reason that a Post hoc ergo propter hoc argument should be presented.


That is not to say that there may be some perfectly acceptable and reasonable way to present the social concerns which ManicBrit has presented. Thus, addressing ManicBrit I wrote...

I would simply argue that you ought to reword your assertions with greater concern for the truth, historical and theological.

I can not conceive how that implies any lack of neutrality on my part.


It might be possible to argue something about the Sociology of Paedobaptism, for example, as a separate heading. I wonder, however, if any of us is truly knowledgeable about the subject. I can not claim to be knowledgeable about sociology in general. I don't mean speculation, but something that can be seriously argued by sociologists. I would think it would be a difficult field of research, since the subject would be closely connected with other subjects and it would be difficult to unravel the the effects of Paedobaptism from other social phenomena. But who am I to say?

--Sophroniscus 20:53, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Circumcision[edit]

The idea that Baptism is somehow related to Circumcision is untenable. The Jews are not Muslim. They do not circumcise girls. But Christians do baptize girls.

I realize that there are many very respectable theologians who have made that link. But clearly baptism is more closely related to the Jewish practice of the Presentation of a child in the Temple than any possible relation to circumcision.

--Sophroniscus 00:27, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Regardless of whether you have a clearer understanding of the analogies than very respectable theologians, if the comparison to circumcision is made and has been recognised by peers then it is Wikipedia's job to explain that. BigBlueFish (talk) 00:17, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

The idea is not untenable: circumcision may be applied only males but it was given to all of Israel as a sign and seal of the covenant, which women were a part of as much as men. Not only have respectable theologians made this link, but respectable Catholic theologians have made this link, including St. Thomas Aquinas. Further, as early as 253 Cyprian reports unanimous agreement amongst bishops about this relationship. On the other hand, no respectable theologian has ever linked baptism and infant presentation. And if girls are a problem for the circumcision link, all children after the firstborn are a problem for this link. Only the firstborn was presented in the temple. Lastly, as the covenant signs of the old testament are replaced by the covenant signs of the new (passover for lord's supper) we need something to replace circumcision and serve as a sign and seal of the covenant; what if not baptism does this? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 129.62.119.81 (talk) 16:09, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Membership Statistics[edit]

I thank Lima for his contributions in tidying up the church membership data. I felt that I should add that the statistical practices of the Roman Catholic and other churches results in a large percentage of the population of various countries being counted as religious adherents, when in actuality many British, Italian, French, and other citizens do not practice their religion, except for birth, weddings, and death. This isn't to laud credobaptist churches - indeed, the article I cited begins with the fact that the politically-active Southern Baptist denomination in the United States exaggerates its membership. It is just to reinforce the fact that church membership statistics are unreliable, and that different traditions use different logic in determining who is and is not a Christian. This gives the reader a better understanding of the trends in global Christianity. --ManicBrit 16:05, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

"There are three types of lies - lies, damn lies, and statistics."

I have no idea what you mean by "the statistical practices of the Roman Catholic and other churches." So far as I am aware, Catholic statisticians use the same mathematical methods that other statisticians use. Please do explain.
It is said that Christianity is virtually dead in much of Europe. Personally, I would lay the blame for that on practical materialism and modernism. But who am I to say? Sociology is so incredibly complex.
Last Sunday I heard a protestant minister on radio saying that the most interesting developments regarding Christianity are now occurring in the third world countries. I have no idea where he stood on the question of paedobaptism versus credobaptism. I suspect he favored the latter. He speculated on the reasons for the phenomenon. He seemed to agree with me. Certainly he did not point to statistical practices for the explanation. Nor did he say it was related to any particular baptismal practice.

--Sophroniscus 22:25, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

The issue is how individuals are counted, not statistical analysis. Every religious organization uses a different set of criteria to determine who to include, and who to exclude:
  • One church considers as members only those who have given a tithe that year;
  • A second church considers as members everybody who was baptized and confirmed in that church;
  • A third church will define as members only those who indicate each year that they consider themselves to be members of the church;
  • A fourth church will count everybody who attends a service during a specific month as a member --- including first time/one time visitors;
  • A fifth church will only count those who participate in communion as members;
  • A sixth church will only count meeting places, not people;

jonathon 02:02, 2 November 2007 (UTC)


Perhaps, but it is not clear to me what ManicBrit is getting at in saying...
many British, Italian, French, and other citizens do not practice their religion, except for birth, weddings, and death.
and the reference to the "politically-active Southern Baptist denomination" makes it really unclear what we are discussing, theology, politics or statistics -- or some mystical combination thereof.
I need clarity in order to evaluate things, you see, and ManicBrit seems to be anything but clear.
--Sophroniscus 03:54, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
It is the distinction between those who are apparently observant, and those who are apparently non-observant, then extrapolating from that a hypothesis that may or may not be reflected in reality. jonathon 08:07, 12 November 2007 (UTC)
If all one looks at is raw statistics, I suppose one might come to all sorts of conclusions. Clearly the Western Church in Europe and North America is facing serious problems. But -- in my humble opinion -- orthodox belief is still alive in the Eastern Churches -- both Eastern Catholic Churches and Eastern Orthodox Churches, in the third world, in some within the so-called Charismatic movement and in the Traditionalist Catholic movement, as well. So there is life yet in the ashes of the modern world.
The Evangelical Orthodox Church is an interesting case. It was founded by Evangelical Protestants in the Campus Crusade for Christ. They started looking at the historical roots of the Church and eventually came into union with the Antiochian Orthodox Church. Who knows where the Holy Spirit may lead?
--Sophroniscus 23:56, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

baptism of Christian infants?[edit]

I read over the history section, and the big open question is when children of Christians started being baptized. We have early Christian accounts of children being baptized, but the first references (at least) are likely to relate to pagan children. In the NT, children of Christian parents, or even of a single Christian parent, were already clean and not in need of being cleansed in baptism. It would seem that pagan children would be baptized earlier, and somewhere along the line even Christian children started being baptized. When is the first clear reference to infant baptism as we know it today, that is, baptism of Christian children? Where did it start and why? Anyone know? Leadwind (talk) 05:55, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

This seems incorrect. I know of no evidence that supports the claim that Christians ever baptized pagan children who were not the child (or perhaps grandchild) of a believer. Second, early accounts indicate that it was believer's children who were baptized. This can be seen from five considerations: 1) Origen states "EVERY soul that is born into flesh is soiled by the filth of wickedness and sin. . . . In the Church, baptism is given for the remission of sins, and, according to the usage of the Church, baptism is given even to infants. If there were nothing in infants which required the remission of sins and nothing in them pertinent to forgiveness, the grace of baptism would seem superfluous," [emphasis mine] 2) Tertullian, addressing the argument that Christ said "let the little children come . . ." says "let them become Christians when they are able to know Christ" and why would pagans be planning to let their children become Christians? 3)We find evidence of children baptized "in a hurry" when death was certain, occasionally with grandparents stepping in to present them before the church so that "they might die as Christians," this makes little sense if it was not the children of Christians who were baptized 4) If the supporters of infant baptism are correct then likely household baptisms included or could have included infants and these infants were baptized on account of their parent's belief. 5)Similarly, if infant baptism is proper, circumcision likely prefigures baptism, and it was offered to the children of the faithful.

Thus, it seems unlikely that the earliest references are to baptism of pagan infants. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 129.62.119.81 (talk) 23:53, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

Free Methodists and infant baptism[edit]

I have deleted Free Methodist from the “Denominations and religious groups opposed to paedobaptism” listing. This is common misconception, even among some Free Methodist members. While paedobaptism is not widely practiced by them, Free Methodists traditionally view it as valid and acceptable. It’s possible that some congregations may now oppose it, but a good citation would be in order. 24.250.196.34 (talk) 22:53, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

I found the Free Methodist Church USA Pastors Handbook Which includes a service for infant baptism. [1]24.250.196.34 (talk) 16:57, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Please remember NPOV and NOR[edit]

Hello, there have been many edits to this article recently that in my view go against these Wikipedia policies. Compare the edit history here. I don't want to just revert them because I think they were done in good faith, but I think this article needs to be rewritten. Thank you. LovesMacs (talk) 23:49, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

I too think they should be reverted, but since they deal with Lutheran uses, I left them to some Lutheran to deal with. Lima (talk) 06:58, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Baptist as Protestant[edit]

Baptist are not from the line of Luther, therefore, we are not "Protestant". We have been our own since Jesus' teachings took hold on the world. Our history can be traced back that far.

74.204.1.36 (talk) 03:39, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Unfortunately, there exits no historical documentation or reliable sources to confirm that, so wikipedia cannot say so.Farsight001 (talk) 03:49, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
Baptism can culturally be tracked back to John Smyth (Baptist minister), no farther. Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 08:04, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

terrible article[edit]

Very poorly written, pushing a heavy protestant agenda and not doing it very elegantly either (which isn't surprising). The article is substandard, even for Wikipeida. 193.188.47.23 (talk) 09:41, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

Request for External Link[edit]

Dear Wikipedia,

I would like to request to have a page of my website linked in this section. It would fit best in the section in favor of infant baptism. In my opinion my website offers the following benefits:

- Because I have studied baptism over the last 30 years, the material on the website is very well researched. - The book Believer's Baptism is an important book on the topic, currently at the forefront of the debate between believer's baptism and infant baptism; this site includes a paper responding to that book. - A regular schedule of emails are being sent throughout the next year to over 1,000 Baptist seminary professors, over 1,000 paedobaptist pastors and a growing number of websites for critique and input. - This website is professional in format and is easily navigated. - This website has been analyzed for search engine optimization and it continues to improve consistently.


The page to be linked is:

http://dialogos-studies.com/Dialogos/baptism/infant_baptism.htm

If you have any questions on this you can reach me at herb@dialogos-studies.com.

Thank You,

Herb Kraker

75.40.242.73 (talk) 01:16, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

These posts are addressed by Wikipedia, correct?? 205.159.94.61 (talk) 21:19, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Why here?[edit]

Why is it that opposition to infant baptism is discussed in this article, not in Paedobaptism versus credobaptism debate? Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 08:17, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

Forced baptism[edit]

I see no discussion of forced baptism, I mean, infant baptism without the consent of the parents/tutors. What are the theological views on it as distinguished from baptism with consent? I am thinking about cases like Edgardo Mortara's. What are the opinions on baptisms agreed upon by one of the parents but not both? --Error (talk) 21:19, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

I added the following to See also:
User:Farsight001 deleted them. Still I think that the topics should be mentioned in the article.
--Error (talk) 00:07, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
Why? For one thing, forced conversion is, as the article says, against the will of the subject. This article is infant baptism. At worst, infants have NO will on the subject, so it cannot be against their will. I highly recommend you read that article.
As well, an emergency baptism is not a forced baptism, and Mortara was 6 when all that went down, so not an infant, and thus outside the scope of the article. Likewise with the last part - they were not infants. So I see little to no relevance to this article.
On top of all that, articles cannot mention everything ever said on the subject. While you might find the subjects of forced conversion rather awful, they are not statistically significant aspects of faith, so their inclusion in any article not already about that subject is probably going to be discouraged as unnecessary detail.Farsight001 (talk) 04:36, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
There is a similarity. From the section on arguments against infant baptism:
Some oppose baptism of children as ostensibly incorporating them into the church without their own consent. This, however does not absolve the responsibility of biblical parents to raise their children in the training and admonition of the Lord within the cultural context of the church.
The validity of a baptism without consent is under some of the objections against forced and infant baptism. Some churches have required consent of the baptized, others required consent of the parents and others didn't require consent.
About Mortara, our article does not say when he was baptized (before 6 or maybe never), but I guess he didn't give consent.
And the quotations of Aquinas distinguish the case of children with or without the use of reason.
--Error (talk) 21:55, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
"without consent" is not the same thing as "forced". I can borrow my roommate's car while he's not looking, thus doing so "without consent", or I can hold a gun to his head and force him to hand over the keys. The two situations are almost nothing alike.Farsight001 (talk) 02:49, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

Age[edit]

The article is unclear about under which age baptism is "infant baptism". The definition from Infant says:

infant is typically applied to young children between the ages of 1 month and 12 months; however, definitions may vary between birth and 1 year of age, or even between birth and 2 years of age.

but I guess that children much older would be considered not ready by credobaptists. Believer's baptism says that some churches allow 8- or 9-years-old children to be baptized. --Error (talk) 22:05, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

Incorrect Information about Evangelical Free Church[edit]

The article states that the Evangelical Free Church is opposed to infant baptism. This is an outright factual error, and needs to be corrected. In the Evangelical Free Church, both views of infant and believers baptism are permitted. It has been a subject of ongoing debate as this source shows.[10] Gregory Y (talk) 13:27, 24 April 2015 (UTC)

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  1. ^ Scholarly reference here
  2. ^ Scholarly reference here
  3. ^ Scholarly reference here
  4. ^ Scholarly reference here
  5. ^ Scholarly reference here
  6. ^ Scholarly reference here
  7. ^ Scholarly reference here.
  8. ^ The Didache, 7:1,4
  9. ^ From a Homilies on Leviticus 8:3
  10. ^ http://go.efca.org/sites/default/files/resources/docs/2013/03/ministerial_forum_summer_2005.pdf