Intro: Oikobaptism

All Christians are “baptists” in some sense of the word because all Christians practice baptism in one way or another. Some baptize believers only, some baptize believers and their children. Some baptize and rebaptize. Some baptize by immersion, some by sprinkling, some by pouring. But there is more to baptism than meets the eye.

Historically, the vast majority of Christians have practiced paedobaptism, while others have practiced credobaptism only, and a minority have practiced “re-baptism”. Behind all these baptismal practices[1] stands oikobaptism–the ancient practice of household baptism.

The purpose of this series of posts is to make a case for oikobaptism as the original apostolic practice and tradition. Whether the apostolic practice of oikobaptism continued into the post-apostolic era and beyond is irrelevant. The concern here is whether oikobaptism was an apostolic practice. If so, what does that mean for us?

My approach here is to consider oikobaptism from four different angles.

Part One explores some of the Theological definitions of household and baptism in the creeds, confessions, and catechisms of the Christian church.

Part Two explores the Biblical foundations of oikobaptism in the canon of the Holy Scriptures.

Part Three explores some of the Historical developments of oikobaptism in the post-apostolic period of the Church.

Part Four explores a few Pastoral applications of oikobaptism for the church.[2]

If it can be shown biblically, theologically, and historically that oikobaptism was (at least part of) the apostles’ practice, then that will be reason enough to call Christians and churches to change their baptismal practices and conform to the apostolic standard.

Next: Theological Definitions


[1]               With the exception of “rebaptism” for which there is no biblical support. Some cite Acts 19:1-7 as support for rebaptism. However, in that story disciples of John the Baptist were not Christians who were “rebaptized” as Christians. They were “Baptists” who became “Christians” by means of Christian baptism on the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. This was required by the prophet John (who said “believe in the one coming after me”) and the apostle Paul (who asked “into whom were you baptized?”). So they were simply baptized into Christ not baptized into Christ again.

[2]               This series is an adapted and revised version of a paper I wrote for Dr Sinclair Ferguson at Redeemer Seminary in May 2012.

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