Friday, February 13, 2015

ANF V: Cyprian Epistle LVIII

Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 5

Cyprian: Epistle LVIII

I'm covering this Epistle as a stand-alone because of how critical it is. Basically, assuming that what I've read so far in the 19th century ANF series is fairly representative of what we actually have from the ancient church, this is the first time we have a clear articulation concerning infant baptism. That said, this letter clearly suggests an early form of baptismal regeneration--something which is only rarely separated from the practice of baptizing infants. (If you want my own thoughts on the issue, see here.) Cyprian argues that the church need not wait until the eighth day to baptize just because that was the practice with regard to circumcision (and so removing one support of contemporary infant baptism--the connection with circumcision). Indeed, we really shouldn't withhold "grace" from anyone! Which again is a perfectly logical conclusion from the practice...

This epistle should be read, but not embraced.

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