The beliefs of Saint Augustine of Hippo

Saint Augustine expressed in “On Marriage and Concupiscence” that he believed that when someone is born they are born of the world but through baptism they can become born of God instead. He felt that until a person was baptized their lives were weighed down with sin. He concluded the same was for children. They needed to be baptized so that their lives were not full of sin.

Because of the above, Saint Augustine felt strongly about Infant baptism. He believed this would remove or wash away the sins of the children.  Saint Augustine was baptized in Milan in the year of 388. This was the first recorded incident where he expressed his belief in infant baptism.  Interestingly enough, the Bible does not support any of his doctrines. Other than, being baptized as an adult as was he.

The Bible gives us an example of a proper baptism, the proper view of what clears away sins and when the practice of infant baptism originated.

Mark 1:9,10  sates: “In the course of those days Jesus came from Nazareth from saw the heavens being parted, and like a dove, the spirit coming down upon him.”

The above scripture explains that when Jesus was baptized he was completely immersed in water. The ED RO Bible Version uses immersed instead of Baptized. There was no sprinkling of water over his head.  It is the belief that Jesus  is the founder of Christianity and that he set the way for Christians. It later shows in verses 10 [quoted] and 11 [not quoted] that the heavens opened up in approval. A dove came down and the voice of God was heard saying that Jesus was his beloved son whom he’d approved.

Acts 8:38 states: “They both went down into the water, both Phillip and the Eunuch; and he baptized him“.

This  scripture speaks of the Eunuch and Phillip. Phillip immersed the Eunuch completely under water.  The ED RO uses, once again the word “Immersed”

Matthew 28:19 states: “Go therefore and make disciples… baptizing them…”

Here  is where Jesus instructed his disciples to go out and make disciples of persons, baptizing them.

Acts 8:12 “But when they believed Phillip, who was declaring the good news of the kingdom of God and of the name of Jesus Christ, they proceeded to be baptized, both men and women.“

This states that Men and Women were baptized upon hearing the teachings of Phillip.

The Bible sets out that it is to be men and women who are baptized. They are to be immersed completely in water. There are no examples recorded in the Bible of a baby being baptized.

That takes us to the question of, even though no records of infant baptism was recorded, was there any held by the first century Christians? Origen stated in his Commentary Selections From the Commentaries and Homilies of Origen, Madras; India; 1929, that it was a church custom that was finally confirmed in 253 CE.  He said: “It is the custom of the Church that baptism be administered even to infants.”

Religious Historian Augustus Neander wrote: “Faith and baptism were always connected with one another…….the practice of infant baptism was unknown in the first century….it was first recognized as an apostolic tradition in the third century.”

There were no infant baptisms and there were no baptisms made by sprinkling of water on the head recorded in the Bible nor were they performed by the first century Christians.

This leaves the forgiveness of sins through baptism. Saint Augustine believed that in order to receive forgiveness of sins, a person must be baptized. This would make the person God’s. He used 2 Cor. 5:14 and Romans 5:6 to explain this believe.

2 Cor. 5:14 states: “For the love the Christ has compels us, because this is what we have judged, that one man died for all, so then all had died.”

Romans 5:6 states: “For indeed, while we were yet weak, Christ died for ungodly men  at the appointed time.”

His reasoning thus came from the point of view that being baptized would save them because they’d be ‘saved’. Both these scriptures state that it is Jesus who died to save us from sin. Further scriptures point out what saves mankind from sin and death.

1 John 1:7 “…and the blood of Jesus his son cleanses us from all sin.“

This shows that it is Jesus’ spilled blood that saves mankind from sin and death.

Mathew 3:11: “I for my part, baptize you with water because of your repentance. But the one coming after me is stronger than I am. Whose sandals I am not fit to take off…”

This is the account of John the baptizer who began baptizing prior to Jesus becoming the Messiah. John states that there is someone greater coming. Baptism for these individuals did not free them from sin. Baptism, John says, was for repentance of sin.  It wasn’t until after Jesus’ death that freedom from sin would be something that could be attained.

In Genesis we read that Adam sinned and  in Romans 5:12 it says: “ That is why, through one man, sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.”

Here we read that through Adam all men sinned and fall short of God. It would take a sinless man’s death to counteract this.

In conclusion, Saint Augustine held a strong belief in baptism at an early age to free a person from sin. He felt infants should be baptized. The Bible states that to be baptized, a person was always old enough to repent of sins to God and to accept Jesus as their savior. Saint Augustine followed the custom of sprinkling water onto an infants head. This practice was not customary for the First Century Christians. It was not a Bible Teaching. The Bible states “Complete Immersion.”  Saint Augustine believed that baptism clears away sin and makes the person belong to God.

The Bible teaches that Jesus’ death is what clears sin for all. It is his blood. Infant baptism is not a Biblical Teaching. Saint Augustine’s ideas were not in complete line with what the Scriptures state on when a person should be baptized nor was his theory on why they should be baptized accurate.