The Catholics, Orthodox, and other churches make the claim that infant baptism was the normal practice of the early Christians. In this three-audio message set, Bercot demonstrates that believer’s baptism was the normative practice of the early Christians until the mid-third century. In fact, the evidence indicates it was still the predominant practice until the fifth century.
Bercot begins this series of messages with the baptismal instructions of Jesus and then looks at every baptism described in the Book of Acts. He demonstrates that these were all believer’s baptisms. He then looks at all the passages of Scripture that discuss the meaning of baptism—nearly all of which assume believer’s baptism.
Bercot then quotes from the primary writers of the second century and demonstrates that there is no concrete evidence of infant baptism in the second century. In fact, the universal belief in the second century was that infants and children are innocent, and therefore do not need baptism.
Bercot then looks at the quotations from the third century that are commonly brought forth by infant baptizers. He shows that nearly all of these quotes are talking about baptism of young children—not infants. In fact, there is only one quotation in all the pre-Nicene writings that specifically talks about infant baptism, and this is a quote from Cyprian in AD 250.
As Bercot shows, the evidence indicates that believer’s baptism was still the standard practice throughout the 4th century. It was not until the 5th century, when Augustine declared that all unbaptized infants are condemned to hell, that infant baptism became the normative practice, and it was eventually mandated by the state church.
This 4-CD series makes a powerful case that believer’s baptism is apostolic in origin and infant baptism is a later innovation.