A false argument from Archbishop Hughes against the baptism of all believers

Reading the book “Four Kinds of Water Baptism” written by the Baptist W. H. Murk, I met the following interesting quote which the author proudly quotes as a proof against the baptism of all believers (I mean, the baptism of all who believe in Christ and are in the New Covenant, including the infant children of Christian believers, and not just saved believers). I quote from the above mentioned book:

“Archbishop Hughes gives the following interesting word: “It does not appear from the Scripture that even one infant was ever baptized; therefore Protestants should reject, on their own principle (i.e. that the Scriptures are the only rule of faith and practice) infant baptism as an unscriptural usage.””

It is interesting that a Baptist is quoting a Roman Catholic like Hughes in support of his doctrine on baptism, but I will leave this inconsistency aside in the limit of this article. For now, let us consider how superficial and corrupted is the thought of this Archbishop.

Imagine: he says that just because the Apostles didn’t directly state that we should baptize infants or that infants were ever baptized, then infants should not be baptized… I don’t know what kind of a corrupted logic this is, especially that the Protestant principle of Sola Scriptura does not mean this at all! Sola Scriptura does not mean that whatever is not directly mentioned in the Bible should be rejected as wrong. Martin Luther defined Sola Scriptura clearly. Let me quote Martin Luther, and follow well how he defines Sola Scriptura (I will emphasize the concerned part):

“Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or by evident reason—for I can believe neither pope nor councils alone, as it is clear that they have erred repeatedly and contradicted themselves—I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one’s conscience is neither safe nor sound. God help me. Amen.”

(Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms; as quoted in Heiko Oberman, Luther: Man Between God and the Devil.)

So Sola Scriptura does not mean that we should abstain from using “evident reason” to link the different principles of the Bible and to conclude doctrines that ARE biblical, and yet are NOT stated directly or literally in the Bible. Indeed, Sola Scriptura also means that only the Bible interprets the Bible, so if some other passages of Scripture related to baptism show that we should baptize the infant children of Christians, then we disobey the Scripture if we do not do so.

Now, if we use the logic of that heretical Roman Catholic Archbishop, Hughes, then we should not believe in the Trinity, because it is not directly stated in the Bible… And we should not believe in original sin, because we never read the words “original sin” in the Bible… As a matter of fact, what this confused Roman Catholic is doing is to present a caricature of the Reformation’s doctrine of Sola Scriptura, and this Baptist author is proudly quoting him, not knowing that with this he is showing his own ignorance of what Sola Scriptura means, and he is encouraging the wrong reasoning of Roman Catholics concerning this very important doctrine of the authority of God’s Word.

And before I close this article, I will state a silly argument similar to the one the Archbishop Hughes stated, and let’s see if another “Murk” will use it to invent another wrong doctrine similar to the doctrine of Baptists concerning baptism:

It does not appear from the Scripture that even one woman participated in the Lord’s Supper. In the last night before His crucifixion, the Lord only had the Apostles with Him when He made the Lord’s Supper; we do not see that any woman participated in the Lord’s Supper there or anywhere in the whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. Therefore Protestants should reject, on their own principle (i.e. that the Scriptures are the only rule of faith and practice) women’s participation in the Lord’s Supper as an unscriptural usage.”

I hope no other “Murk” will now use this silly argument of mine to begin a new heresy called “Lord’s Supperists”…

Grace be with you!
Disciple of Jesus Christ


More on this weblog on Baptism:

“… one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5)

What did the Church Fathers believe about baptism?


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