Rebaptism The ancient Church, if it did not openly declare against the repetition of baptism, certainly refused to rebaptize, and supported its position by assigning, not one, but many reasons. It especially maintained that there is no example of rebaptization in Scripture; and as baptism succeeds to circumcision, which was the entrance and seal of the old covenant, and could not be repeated, so baptism, being the sign and seal of admission to the new covenant, the breaches of this covenant are not to be repaired by repeated baptisms. There were in the early Church some heretics who rebaptized, such as the Marcionites; but the Catholic Church disapproved of the practice. In one of Cyprian's epistles there is a question referred to Stephen, bishop of Rome, whether it was necessary to rebaptize heretics who sought admission to the Catholic Church; or whether it should be deemed sufficient, proceeding upon the acknowledged validity of their baptism, to receive them with the simple ceremony of imposition of hands and ecclesiastical benediction. The Roman bishop acceded to the latter opinion. The African bishops, on the other hand, declared the baptism of heretics to be null and void, and would not recognise their confirmation at the hands of a Catholic bishop as sufficient for their reception into the Church. They demanded another baptism, to be followed by the usual confirmation, notwithstanding the Church of Rome persevered in maintaining that the baptism of heretics, provided only that it had been administered in due form, was valid and sufficient and ought not to be repeated. Farrar, Theol. Dict. s.v. In the modern Church rebaptism is practiced by the Romanists and the Anglicans. The latter deny the validity of other Protestant bodies if such oppose the divine right of apostolical succession. The Baptists, of course, recognise as valid only immersion, and not infrequently repeat this ordinance if it has been performed by persons known as Paedobaptists (q.v.). See Hagenbach, Hist. of Doctrines, ii, 364 sq.; Hofling, Lehre von der Talufe (Erlang. 1846). SEE ALSO ANABAPTISTS; SEE BAPTISM.

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