Baptism (see Grace, Means of, III) performed by heretics was a subject of controversy in the 3d-4th c. ch. The question was: Is heretical baptism, even if administered in the right form, true Baptism, or is it a mere ceremony? Cyprian* of Carthage held the latter view (Epistles 6974), which was shared by the Afr. Ch. Heretical baptism was rejected by several syns. at Carthage (e.g., 255256; see also Carthage, Synods and Councils of) and in Asia Minor. Stephen* I of Rome defended the validity of heretical baptism administered in the name of the Trinity.* This view prevailed. The Syn. of Arles* declared Trinitarian baptism by heretics valid; the 325 Council of Nicaea* recognized baptism of Novatians (see Novatianism) but rejected that of followers of Paul* of Samosata; the Syn. of Laodicea* did not require rebaptism of converts from Novatians and some other sects; a syn. at Carthage 348 sanctioned heretical baptism properly performed. Augustine* of Hippo defended the validity of heretical baptism as to form but denied it saving efficacy until the baptized person joined the true ch. If there is no absolute certainty on the validity of previous baptism, RCs gen. rebaptize conditionally. Luths. and most Prots. recognize Trinitarian baptism of other chs.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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