[Article IX(IV):] Of Baptism

Written in Latin by Philip Melanchthon (1531)

Translated from the Latin into German by Justus Jonas (1531)

English Translation by Ambrose and Socrates Henkel (1851), Revised by W. F. Lehmann (1854)

Link to Bente/Dau Translation from Latin (1921)

[1(51)] Our opponents also agree to the ninth article, in which we confess that Baptism is necessary to salvation, and that the Baptism of infants is not fruitless, but necessary and salutary. [2(52)] And as the Gospel is preached in its purity and with all diligence among us, we have enjoyed (God be praised) a great benefit and blessed fruit, because the Anabaptists have gained no ground in our churches. We praise God, that our people are fortified by his Word against the ungodly, riotous mobs of these evil men; and while we have put down and condemned many other errors of the Anabaptists, we have especially contended for, and maintained against them, the blessings of infant Baptism.

For it is altogether certain that the divine promises of grace and of the Holy Spirit, belong not only to adults, but also to children. Now, the promises do not apply to those that are out of the church of Christ, where there is no Gospel nor Sacrament. For the kingdom of Christ exists only, where the Word of God and the Sacraments are found.

It is, therefore, a truly Christian and necessary practice, to baptize children, in order that they may become participants of the Gospel, the promise of salvation and grace, as Christ commands, Matt. 28:19: "Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them," etc. Now, as grace and salvation in Christ are offered to all, so Baptism is offered, both to men and women, to youths and infants. Hence it certainly follows that we may and should baptize infants; for in and with Baptism, universal grace and the treasure of the Gospel are offered to them.

[3(53)] In the second place, it is clear that the Lord God approves the Baptism of young children. The Anabaptists, who condemn such Baptism, therefore teach false doctrine. But it is manifest that God approves the Baptism of young children, from the fact that he gave the Holy Spirit to many who were baptized in their infancy; for there have been many holy men in the church, and they were not baptized otherwise.