Pagan Origin of Infant Baptism
by Bro. Steven Keeler
Catholics – Lutherans – Methodists – Episcopalians – Presbyterians – Eastern Orthodox
Nowhere in the BIBLE (or the Apocrypha) does anyone ever immerse babies or pour or sprinkle water on a baby’s head at any time for any reason!
INFANT BABTISM IS NOT IN THE BIBLE, and the Catholic Church admits it in their writings. Notice these quotations:
- NEW CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA (1967): “It makes little difference whether Scripture has any actual references to the practice of infant Baptism or not. Probably it can be conceded that no explicit references are to be found there.”
- CONFRATERNITY HOME STUDY COURSE: “There is no need for us to search through the New Testament to find instances where the Baptism of infants is described. In a little while we will speak about the content of the New Testament, and the relation of the Church and the Bible in the one Holy Spirit. For the moment, it is enough to know that the Holy Spirit, speaking through the living Church, Christ’s body, has taught that Baptism is necessary for every human being, infant or adult.”
- T. Bokenkotter, ESSENTIAL CATHOLICISM, p. 195: “It is only when we reach the second century that we find specific evidence of infant baptism. … In any case, within a hundred years after Augustine, infant baptism became the norm.”
- THE CATHOLIC ALMANAC: “The baptism of infants has always been considered valid and the general practice of infant baptism was well established by the fifth century.”
- Kohmescher, S.M., CATHOLICISM TODAY, p. 77: “Infant baptism is the common practice in the Catholic Church today. In the early centuries adult baptism was the common practice.” (Emphasis has been added to quotations.)
Q: IF INFANT BAPTISM IS NOT TAUGHT IN THE BIBLE….WHERE DID IT COME FROM?
A: “BAPTIZING” BABIES WAS A PRACTICE OF PAGAN RELIGIONS!
It was typical of the Catholic Church throughout its history to adapt the practices of pagan religions and “christianize” their rituals. The Catholic practices of
- rosary beads
- praying to statues
- popish garb
- terms “pontiff,” “father,” etc.
are not found in SCRIPTURE (some of the above are even CONDEMNED by the BIBLE; see Matthew 23:9; Exodus 20:1-4), but were PAGAN PRACTICES that the papists brought in to their Roman rites. In their efforts to convert the heathen it seems the heathen did as good a job of converting them!
THIS IS ALSO TRUE OF THE PRACTICE OF “BAPTIZING” BABIES. We present documentation here to show that INFANT “BAPTISM” WAS WIDESPREAD AMONGST THE PAGAN (NON-CHRISTIAN) RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD, LONG BEFORE THE ROMANISTS BEGAN PRACTICING IT.
- ENCYCLOPEDIA AMERICANA (1990): “Among the GREEKS AND ROMANS the newborn child was bathed and named, and recognized by the father as his own.”
- Eliade, ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RELIGION (1987): “In EGYPT, the Book of Going Forth by Day (17) contains a treatise on the baptism of newborn children, which is performed to purify them of blemishes acquired in the womb.”
- Hastings, ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RELIGION AND ETHICS (1958): “In UVEA, at the feast held after the birth of a child, his head is ceremonially sprinkled with water.”
- “Among the YORUBA NEGROES a priest is sent for at a birth and it is his duty to discover from the deities which ancestor means to dwell in the child, so that he may be called by his name. At the actual name-giving ceremony the child’s face is sprinkled with water from a vessel which stands under a sacred tree…. Such ceremonies are general in WEST AFRICA. Further south, among the MFIOTE people of Loango, when the child is three or four months old he is sprinkled with water in the presence of all the dwellers in the village, and is called by the name of an illustrious ancestor.”
- “…(A)mong the tribes of th GABUN(:) When a birth has taken place, the fact is announced by a public crier…. The people then assemble, and the child is brought out before them. The headman of the family or village sprinkles water upon it, gives it a name, and blesses it.”
- “Similar rites are found all over the MALAY ARCHIPELAGO, as the following instances will show. In SUMATRA, at the name-giving ceremony, the child is carried to the nearest running water by the men: there the father dips it and gives it a name.”
- “With the negritoes of the PHILIPPINES the mouth of the newborn child is filled with salt; after this the women hasten with it to the nearest brook, in which they bathe it. The name-giving occurs at the same time…. The use of salt occurs among several peoples as a ritual act, and is part of the baptismal ceremony of the Roman Church.”
- “The MAYAS believed that the ceremonial ablution washed away evil, hindered the influence of evil demons, and gave the child inclinations to good. … The priest then signed the child and sprinkled him with sacred water.”
- “…(T)he order of baptism among the AZTECS began, ‘O child, receive the water of the Lord of the world, which is our life; it is to wash and purify; may these drops remove the sin which was given thee before the creation of the world.”
- “The PERUVIAN rite had much the same purpose. A priest immersed the child in water, at the same time exorcizing evil spirits from it, and bidding them enter the water, which was then buried in the ground.”
- “…(W)ith the HINDUS, ritual ablutions were used to remove the guilt of sins when these were confessed to the priests.”
- “Among the TIBETAN AND MONGOLIAN BUDDHISTS the ceremony takes place from three to ten days after birth. Candles are lit on the house-altars, and over a vessel of water the lama repeats the consecration formulae. He then immerses the child in the water three times, signs it, and calls if by its name.”
- “In JAPAN the name is given to the child when it is a month old, water being at the same time sprinkled upon it.”
- “…(A)mong the CHINESE…to prevent a demon soul taking possession of the child’s body in the absence of its own soul, the mother mixes the ash of banana-skin with water, and paints a cross with this mixture on the sleeping child’s forehead.”
- “The heathen TEUTONS had a baptismal rite long before Christian influences had reached them. The ceremony took place immediately after birth, the father sprinkling the child, giving it a name, and consecrating it to the household god.”
- “…(T)he LAPPS…in heathen times, had a ceremony called laugo…. This consisted in bathing or sprinkling the child with water in when alder-twigs had been placed, while a name was given to it, and it was placed under the protection of Sarakha, the birth-goddess.”
IT IS THE TEACHING OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH THAT BABIES ARE BORN DEMON-POSSESSED AND NEED TO BE EXORCISED:
DAttwater, A CATHOLIC DICTIONARY; N.Y.: MacMillan, 1956; p. 44:
“At the solemn baptism of a child, it is first exorcised, signed with the cross and salt is administered…then…another exorcism….”
IN THE BOOK THE RITES OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (approved by the national conference of Catholic Bishops, published by authority of Pope Paul VI), we find several “PRAYERS OF EXORCISM AND ANOINTING BEFORE BAPTISM.” (pp. 380-381, 398)
According to the Catholic Church, “baptism is necessary for salvation” (CATHOLIC ALMANAC, 1985, p. 231).
Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists, and Presbyterians all sprinkle or pour water on babies, calling it “baptism.” Eastern Othodox churches immerse babies.
Catholic doctrine teaches that babies that die un”baptized” “cannot enter heaven” (NEW CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA, 1987). Augustine (died A.D. 430) taught that un”baptized” babies suffer pain in HELL! (McBrien, Catholicism, p. 1154).
DOES GOD KICK BABIES OUT OF HEAVEN BECAUSE NO ONE POURED WATER ON THEIR HEADS IN AN ACT OF PAGAN PRACTICE????? NO!
What does the BIBLE say about SALVATION? SALVATION IS BY FAITH, NOT WORKS:
- EPHESIANS 2:8-9. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”
- ACTS 16:31. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”
- JOHN 3:16. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
- JOHN 3:18. “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
- JOHN 3:36. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
(NOTE: Mark 16:15; Acts 2:38; 22:16, etc. do not mention WATER….see Matthew 3:11; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 4:4-5)
GETTING WET DOES NOT MAKE YOU RIGHT WITH GOD. SALVATION HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH JOINING A CHURCH: IT IS BY PERSONAL BELIEF IN JESUS CHRIST AS THE ONLY SACRIFICE FOR YOUR SINS.