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Augustine & Baptism

  • Date Submitted: 03/15/2010 09:06 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 58.8 
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Saint Augustine remains one of the most influential authors of Western thought. His works examine the Christian life by confessing his own faults, ceaselessly questioning God and searching for life’s answers with constant curiosity. The deeper meanings found throughout his books still puzzle many readers today, despite the centuries of difference. His followers come from many backgrounds, not only from his own Catholic faith, but also reformed theology. His supporters admire the intellectual beauty found throughout Augustine’s works, especially Confessions, where he writes of his own conversion, criticizing his old earthly views. Many statements of his are absolutely correct although some seem questionable. But his critiques on the issue of baptism are totally relevant and worth full commendation. This paper will reveal the problems with baptism as practiced during Augustine’s time, explain Augustine’s refusal of it, and extensively prove the legitimacy found throughout Augustine’s report.
    In Augustine’s time, men would receive their baptism as soon as possible before death. This was because baptism was viewed as the cure to stop any more sins. People were baptized right before their deaths, leaving no chance for any possible future sins to occur. During Augustine’s childhood, when he was suffering and close to death, Augustine was almost baptized, but when he started getting better, he wasn’t. Augustine remarks on this situation: “How much better for me if I had been quickly healed and if, thanks to the diligent care of my family and my own decisions, action had been taken by which I received the health of my soul and was kept safe under the protection which you would have given me. Certainly much better.” (Augustine, Confessions, Book 1, Chapter 18) His criticism of late baptism continued. Augustine felt that by being neglected of baptism, he was being “encouraged” in sin, for the “reigns were slackened”. In other words, Augustine felt that if he had been...


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