Fact-checking Protestant claims about Baby Dedications and Infant Baptism

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Introduction

What is baby dedication?

GotQuestions: excerpt from What is baby dedication?
In the majority of Protestant denominations that practice it, child dedication is a symbolic ceremony undertaken by Christian parents soon after the birth of a child... The rite is intended to be a public statement by the parents that they will train their children in the Christian faith and seek to instill that faith in them. The congregation often responds through responsive reading or some other method to affirm that they, as a church family, will also seek to encourage the parents to bring up the child in the faith... While baby dedication is not an officially instituted ordinance of the church, there does not seem to be any conflict with Scripture as long as parents do not view it as assuring the salvation of the child.
MCLEAN BIBLE CHURCH (Washington D.C.): excerpt from CHILD DEDICATIONS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is child dedication?
Dedication is a church tradition. It is not taught in the Bible, as for example, are baptism and communion. It is a tradition that churches have developed to celebrate the birth or adoption of a child.

What’s the purpose of child dedication?
The word "dedicate" means to set aside or commit to a sacred purpose. The dedication means committing a child to God and God’s purposes. In one sense, this is what every Christian parent wants to do, but in another sense, parents can’t actually make this decision on behalf of their children – as much as they might wish to! Each child will one day have to make his or her own personal decision about whether or not to commit himself or herself to God. Parents can guide, teach, pray for, and lead their children, but parents cannot choose a life path for their child. So even though we speak of dedicating the child to the Lord, dedication is really a matter of parents dedicating themselves to the Lord. With that in mind, we see two primary purposes for dedication:

1) For parents, joined by their church community, to celebrate the birth or adoption of a child, joyfully thanking God for this new addition to the family and to the church community.
2) For parents to commit themselves publicly to raise their child in the nurture and love of the Lord, and for the church to pray for them in their awesome responsibility as parents.
Christianity Stackoverflow (Q&A Site): excerpt from What is the Biblical basis for baby dedications?
Historically, the purpose of the dedication is to replace some of the rituals and ceremonies of baptism when Protestants began to reject the notion of baptizing infants. In the Evangelical Covenant Church, newborns are either baptized or dedicated depending on the preference and conviction of the parents. (PDF source) The only substantive difference is that water and the names of the Trinity are required for baptism. Everything else proceeds on the same lines either way.
CompellingTruth: excerpt from Is baby dedication biblical? What is child / baby dedication?
The New Testament does not include a specific practice or any commands related to a baby dedication. Therefore, it is not commanded or required for the parents of a child. However, the practice can serve a very positive role and be a great encouragement to all involved...

The historical reason behind baby dedication in many Protestant churches emerges from the Protestant Reformation's break from the Catholic Church. Some traditions, such as the Anabaptist movement, rejected the practice of infant baptism, instead only baptizing those who had made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. However, parents still desired to dedicate their children to the Lord when they were born. Instead of a christening service, which might be inappropriately perceived as effecting salvation for a child, baby dedications became common.

Protestant Claims

Claim: The Bible shows Hannah dedicated Samuel as a baby

Sources of Claim

GotQuestions: excerpt from What is baby dedication?
The idea of dedicating a child to the Lord can certainly be found in the Bible. Hannah was a barren wife who promised to dedicate her child to God if He would give her a son (1 Samuel 1:11).
CompellingTruth: excerpt from Is baby dedication biblical? What is child / baby dedication?
The idea of dedicating a child to God can certainly be found in the Bible. For example, Hannah was a woman unable to bear a child. She prayed for a child and promised to dedicate him to the Lord if He would give her a son (1 Samuel 1:11).

Fact Check

1 Samuel 1:11 
And she vowed a vow and said, "O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head."
1 Samuel 1:23-28
Elkanah her husband said to her, "Do what seems best to you; wait until you have weaned him; only, may the Lord establish his word." So the woman remained and nursed her son until she weaned him. And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. And the child was young. Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli. And she said, "Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord."

Do modern child dedications make the vow that they will "give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head"? Do the parents leave the child to serve the Lord in the temple all the days of his life as a result of the dedication? Hannah's dedication was a one-off vow, not duplicated in scripture anywhere, and certainly not duplicated by parents in modern baby dedications

Claim: The Bible shows Jesus was dedicated as a baby

Sources of Claim

GotQuestions: excerpt from What is baby dedication?
The idea of dedicating a child to the Lord can certainly be found in the Bible... Luke 2:22 begins the account of Mary and Joseph taking Jesus to the temple after forty days in order to dedicate Him to the Lord. This was slightly more involved since it involved a sacrifice, but once again this ceremony did not indicate any level of salvation.
CompellingTruth: excerpt from Is baby dedication biblical? What is child / baby dedication?
The idea of dedicating a child to God can certainly be found in the Bible... Joseph and Mary took baby Jesus to the temple for a dedication (Luke 2:22), a common practice under the Jewish law.

Fact Check

Luke 2:22-24, 39
And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord") and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons"...  And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.

"According to the Law of Moses", "as it is written in the Law of the Lord", and "according to what is said in the Law of the Lord" should have been a tip-off that this was referring to something in the Old Testament. Indeed, when we look up the corresponding passages in the Old Testament, we see that this is not a child dedication akin to the modern practice. Instead, this is to complete Mary's ritual purification after childbirth, and to perform the redemption of the firstborn son.

Leviticus 12:1-8
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the people of Israel, saying, If a woman conceives and bears a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days...  And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised... Then she shall continue for thirty-three days in the blood of her purifying. She shall not touch anything holy, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying are completed...
And when the days of her purifying are completed, whether for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting a lamb a year old for a burnt offering, and a pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering, and he shall offer it before the Lord and make atonement for her. Then she shall be clean from the flow of her blood. This is the law for her who bears a child, either male or female. And if she cannot afford a lamb, then she shall take two turtledoves or two pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. And the priest shall make atonement for her, and she shall be clean."
Exodus 13:2
Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine.
Exodus 13:15
For when Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the Lord killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of animals. Therefore I sacrifice to the Lord all the males that first open the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.
Numbers 3:13b
On the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I consecrated for my own all the firstborn in Israel, both of man and of beast. They shall be mine: I am the Lord.

Claim: Baby Dedication is a Church Tradition

Sources of Claim

MCLEAN BIBLE CHURCH (Washington D.C.): excerpt from CHILD DEDICATIONS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is child dedication?
Dedication is a church tradition. It is not taught in the Bible, as for example, are baptism and communion. It is a tradition that churches have developed to celebrate the birth or adoption of a child.

Fact Check

Actually, it would be more correct to say infant baptism is the church tradition, and baby dedication has arisen to give Protestants (descended from Anabaptists) a form of infant baptism without water.

Christianity Stackoverflow (Q&A Site): excerpt from What is the Biblical basis for baby dedications?
Historically, the purpose of the dedication is to replace some of the rituals and ceremonies of baptism when Protestants began to reject the notion of baptizing infants. In the Evangelical Covenant Church, newborns are either baptized or dedicated depending on the preference and conviction of the parents. (PDF source) The only substantive difference is that water and the names of the Trinity are required for baptism. Everything else proceeds on the same lines either way.
CompellingTruth: excerpt from Is baby dedication biblical? What is child / baby dedication?
The New Testament does not include a specific practice or any commands related to a baby dedication. Therefore, it is not commanded or required for the parents of a child. However, the practice can serve a very positive role and be a great encouragement to all involved...

The historical reason behind baby dedication in many Protestant churches emerges from the Protestant Reformation's break from the Catholic Church. Some traditions, such as the Anabaptist movement, rejected the practice of infant baptism, instead only baptizing those who had made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. However, parents still desired to dedicate their children to the Lord when they were born. Instead of a christening service, which might be inappropriately perceived as effecting salvation for a child, baby dedications became common.

A strong argument could be made that infant baptism was the practice of the church from the time of the last Apostle around 100 AD. However, a clear and unambiguous argument can be made from 200 AD to 1500 AD of infant baptism as THE method of baptism for the church. See this appendix for full details and quotation sources. In summary:

Tertullian (~200 AD) argues that people should postpone baptizing their little children, because baptism washes away all your sins, and there are certain types of sin that can only be forgiven through baptism - so it is best to postpone baptism until later in life. Note that in doing so, he acknowledges that baptizing little children was the norm at his time.

Hippolytus (215 AD) says "Baptize first the children, and if they can speak for themselves let them do so. Otherwise, let their parents or other relatives speak for them."

Origen (248 AD) says "The Church received from the apostles the tradition of giving baptism even to infants. The apostles, to whom were committed the secrets of the divine sacraments, knew there are in everyone innate strains of [original] sin, which must be washed away through water and the Spirit."

Cyprian of Carthage (253 AD) details an argument whether infants should be baptized immediately, or after waiting several days (as with the old law of circumcision).

Gregory of Nazianz (388 AD) says "Do you have an infant child? Allow sin no opportunity; rather, let the infant be sanctified from childhood. From his most tender age let him be consecrated by the Spirit. Do you fear the seal [of baptism] because of the weakness of nature? [...] 'Well enough,' some will say, 'for those who ask for baptism, but what do you have to say about those who are still children, and aware neither of loss nor of grace? Shall we baptize them too?' Certainly [I respond], if there is any pressing danger. Better that they be sanctified unaware, than that they depart unsealed and uninitiated."

John Chrysostom (388 AD) says "For this reason we baptize even infants, though they are not defiled by [personal] sins, so that there may be given to them holiness, righteousness, adoption, inheritance, brotherhood with Christ, and that they may be his [Christ's] members."

Council of Carthage V (401 AD) notes that when an abandoned child, on account of its young age, could not say whether or not they had been baptized - they "should be baptized without scruple, lest a hesitation should deprive them of the cleansing of the sacraments."

Augustine (408 AD) says "The custom of Mother Church in baptizing infants is certainly not to be scorned, nor is it to be regarded in any way as superfluous, nor is it to be believed that its tradition is anything except apostolic."

Council of Milevum II (416 AD) says "[W]hoever says that infants fresh from their mothers' wombs ought not to be baptized, or say that they are indeed baptized unto the remission of sins, but that they draw nothing of the original sin of Adam, which is expiated in the bath of regeneration... let him be anathema [excommunicated]."

From 400 AD through 1500 AD infant baptism is the undisputed standard practice of the church.

Around 1523 AD, the Protestant Zwingli was preaching church reforms in Switzerland. Some of his young disciples felt he was not moving fast enough in his reforms. At one disputation in 1523 AD in Zurich, the discussion about the mass was about to be ended without making any actual change in practice. Conrad Grebel stood up and asked "what should be done about the mass?" Zwingli responded by saying the council would make that decision. At this point, Simon Stumpf, a radical priest from Hongg, answered saying, "The decision has already been made by the Spirit of God."

This incident illustrated clearly that Zwingli and his more radical disciples had different expectations. To Zwingli, the reforms would only go as fast as the city Council allowed them. To the radicals, the council had no right to make that decision, but rather the Bible was the final authority of church reform. Feeling frustrated, some of them began to meet on their own for Bible study. As early as 1523, William Reublin began to preach against infant baptism in villages surrounding Zurich, encouraging parents to not baptize their children. This movement started being called "Anabaptism", as they started re-baptizing all their members that had been baptized as babies.

Protestant Zwingli spent many years arguing with them, publishing many works defending the need for infant baptism and arguing his belief that re-baptism was unnecessary.

Around 1529 AD, Protestant Martin Luther notes in his large catechism: "That the Baptism of infants is pleasing to Christ is sufficiently proved from His own work, namely, that God sanctifies many of them who have been thus baptized, and has given them the Holy Ghost."

Around 1536 AD, Protestant John Calvin in his Institutes notes that "infants cannot be deprived of it [baptism] without open violation of the will of God."

Claim: No infants are baptized in the Bible

Sources of Claim

GotQuestions: excerpt from What does the Bible say about infant baptism / paedobaptism?
In the Bible, only believers who had placed their faith in Christ were baptized - as a public testimony of their faith and identification with Him (Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3-4)... With this in view, infant baptism is not a Biblical practice. An infant cannot place his or her faith in Christ. An infant cannot make a conscious decision to obey Christ. An infant cannot understand what water baptism symbolizes. The Bible does not record any infants being baptized.

Fact Check

The Bible never explicitly says we should administer the Lord's supper to women (the only examples are with men) - and yet nobody has any issues doing so.

While there is no explicit verse in the Bible that says "you should baptize babies", there is a clear underlying belief in covenant community and in households coming to faith together.

Acts 2:38-39
And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself."
1 Corinthians 7:14
For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
Acts 16:15
And when she was baptized, and her household...
Acts 16:33
...and was baptized, he and all his family... 
Acts 18:8
...believed on the Lord with all his house...
1 Corinthians 1:16
I baptized also the household of Stephanas
Acts 10:44
While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all them which heard the word". "Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Spirit as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.
Joshua 24:15
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord

Note in all these examples, nowhere is an exception made "except for the little children and infants". Even Jesus himself, when he gave the great commission, didn't set an age limit:

Matthew 28:19
Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...

In fact, Jesus thought highly of the children:

Matthew 19:14
Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
Mark 9:42
If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea.

If you combine the clear underlying belief in the bible of covenant community and households coming to faith together with the historical truth that the entire church practiced infant baptism for believing families from its very beginning until 1523 AD, then the default position should be belief in infant baptism, and those who do not believe in it should shoulder the burden of proof in attempting to prove it's NOT biblical.

Claim: Baptism for the New Covenant is not like Circumcision for the Old Covenant

Sources of Claim

GotQuestions: excerpt from What does the Bible say about infant baptism / paedobaptism?
Many Christians who practice infant baptism do so because they understand infant baptism as the new covenant equivalent of circumcision. In this view, just as circumcision joined a Hebrew to the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants, so baptism joined a person to the New Covenant of salvation through Jesus Christ. This view is unbiblical. The New Testament nowhere describes baptism as the New Covenant replacement for Old Covenant circumcision. The New Testament nowhere describes baptism as a sign of the New Covenant. It is faith in Jesus Christ that enables a person to enjoy the blessings of the New Covenant (1 Corinthians 11:25; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Hebrews 9:15).


Fact Check

Colossians 2:11-12
In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.

Just as circumcision was the "putting off the body of the flesh", so baptism is being "buried with Christ", "into death" (Romans 6:4).

Justin Martyr certainly saw this connection:

~150 AD, Justin Martyr in his DIALOGUE WITH TRYPHO, CHAPTER XLIII
And we, who have approached God through Him, have received not carnal, but spiritual circumcision, which Enoch and those like him observed. And we have received it through baptism, since we were sinners, by God's mercy; and all men may equally obtain it.

And in the time of Cyprian of Carthage, the argument was not whether circumcision of the Old Covenant paralleled baptism in the New Covenant - but rather how far the parallel ran. They argued on whether or not it extended to waiting 8 days to baptize an infant (as you would with circumcision), or baptizing them immediately.

~253 AD, Cyprian of Carthage in his Letters 64:2, 64:5
As to what pertains to the case of infants: You [Fidus] said that they ought not to be baptized within the second or third day after their birth, that the old law of circumcision must be taken into consideration, and that you did not think that one should be baptized and sanctified within the eighth day after his birth. In our council it seemed to us far otherwise. No one agreed to the course which you thought should be taken. Rather, we all judge that the mercy and grace of God ought to be denied to no man born... If, in the case of the worst sinners and those who formerly sinned much against God, when afterwards they believe, the remission of their sins is granted and no one is held back from baptism and grace, how much more, then, should an infant not be held back, who, having but recently been born, has done no sin, except that, born of the flesh according to Adam, he has contracted the contagion of that old death from his first being born. For this very reason does he [an infant] approach more easily to receive the remission of sins: because the sins forgiven him are not his own but those of another.

Claim: Immersion is the only valid method of baptism, and infant baptism is the origin of the unbiblical sprinkling and pouring methods of baptism

Sources of Claim

GotQuestions: excerpt from What does the Bible say about infant baptism / paedobaptism?
Infant baptism is the origin of the sprinkling and pouring methods of baptism - as it is unwise and unsafe to immerse an infant under water. Even the method of infant baptism fails to agree with the Bible. How does pouring or sprinkling illustrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ?

Fact Check

~70 AD, The Didache, Chapter 7
And concerning baptism, baptize this way: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. But if you have not living water, baptize into other water; and if you can not in cold, in warm. But if you have not either, pour out water thrice upon the head into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit. But before the baptism let the baptizer fast, and the baptized, and whatever others can; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before.
215 AD, Hippolytus of Rome in his The Apostolic Tradition, 21 (quoted from here)
If water is scarce, whether as a constant condition or on occasion, then use whatever water is available.

Appendix: Historical Belief in Infant Baptism

~100 AD | Didache

  • Recommends baptizer fast (implying adult), and speaks of the multiple modes of baptism being valid. Note that this early in the church, growth was exploding with adult converts, rather than newborn children born to believers.
And concerning baptism, baptize this way: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. But if you have not living water, baptize into other water; and if you can not in cold, in warm. But if you have not either, pour out water thrice upon the head into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit. But before the baptism let the baptizer fast, and the baptized, and whatever others can; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before.

- Quoted from The Didache, Chapter 7

~150 AD | Justin Martyr

  • Says many have been Christ's from childhood. Likens baptism to spiritual circumcision - and circumcision was done to infants.
And many, both men and women, who have been Christ's disciples from childhood, remain pure at the age of sixty or seventy years

- Quoted from The First Apology, Chapter 15
And we, who have approached God through Him, have received not carnal, but spiritual circumcision, which Enoch and those like him observed. And we have received it through baptism, since we were sinners, by God's mercy; and all men may equally obtain it.

- Quoted from DIALOGUE WITH TRYPHO, CHAPTER XLIII

~156 AD | Polycarp

  • Polycarp (a disciple of John the Apostle) was born in AD 69, and died AD 156 at the age of 86 or 87.
  • If he died at the age of 86 as his Martyrdom below indicates, and he says he served Christ 86 years, it follows that he has been serving Christ since an infant - implying he was baptized into Christ as an infant.
Then, the proconsul urging him, and saying, Swear, and I will set you at liberty, reproach Christ; Polycarp declared, Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me any injury: how then can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?

- Quoted from The Martyrdom of Polycarp, Chapter 9

~180 AD | Irenaeus

  • Says Christ came to save all through Himself - including infants.
For He came to save all through means of Himself - all, I say, who through Him are born again to God - infants, and children, and boys, and youths, and old men. He therefore passed through every age, becoming an infant for infants, thus sanctifying infants; a child for children, thus sanctifying those who are of this age, being at the same time made to them an example of piety, righteousness, and submission; a youth for youths, becoming an example to youths, and thus sanctifying them for the Lord.

- Quoted from Against Hereses, 2.22.4

~200 AD | Tertullian

  • Tertullian implies it's customary to baptize infants, but recommends postponing. His reasoning is that baptism washes away all your sins, and there are certain types of sin that can only be forgiven through baptism, so it was best to postpone baptism until later in life
And so, according to the circumstances and disposition, and even age, of each individual, the delay of baptism is preferable; principally, however, in the case of little children. For why is it necessary - if (baptism itself) is not so necessary - that the sponsors likewise should be thrust into danger? Who both themselves, by reason of mortality, may fail to fulfil their promises, and may be disappointed by the development of an evil disposition, in those for whom they stood? The Lord does indeed say, "Forbid them not to come unto me." Let them "come," then, while they are growing up; let them "come" while they are learning, while they are learning whither to come; let them become Christians when they have become able to know Christ.  Why does the innocent period of life hasten to the "remission of sins?" More caution will be exercised in worldly matters: so that one who is not trusted with earthly substance is trusted with divine! Let them know how to "ask" for salvation, that you may seem (at least) to have given "to him that asketh." For no less cause must the unwedded also be deferred - in whom the ground of temptation is prepared, alike in such as never were wedded by means of their maturity, and in the widowed by means of their freedom - until they either marry, or else be more fully strengthened for continence. If any understand the weighty import of baptism, they will fear its reception more than its delay: sound faith is secure of salvation.

- Quoted from On Baptism, Chapter 18

215 AD | Hippolytus

Baptize first the children, and if they can speak for themselves let them do so. Otherwise, let their parents or other relatives speak for them
- The Apostolic Tradition 21:16

248 AD | Origen

The Church received from the apostles the tradition of giving baptism even to infants. The apostles, to whom were committed the secrets of the divine sacraments, knew there are in everyone innate strains of [original] sin, which must be washed away through water and the Spirit
- Commentaries on Romans 5:9

253 AD | Cyprian of Carthage

  • Cyprian of Carthage details an argument whether infants should be baptized immediately, or after waiting several days (as with the old law of circumcision).
As to what pertains to the case of infants: You [Fidus] said that they ought not to be baptized within the second or third day after their birth, that the old law of circumcision must be taken into consideration, and that you did not think that one should be baptized and sanctified within the eighth day after his birth. In our council it seemed to us far otherwise. No one agreed to the course which you thought should be taken. Rather, we all judge that the mercy and grace of God ought to be denied to no man born... If, in the case of the worst sinners and those who formerly sinned much against God, when afterwards they believe, the remission of their sins is granted and no one is held back from baptism and grace, how much more, then, should an infant not be held back, who, having but recently been born, has done no sin, except that, born of the flesh according to Adam, he has contracted the contagion of that old death from his first being born. For this very reason does he [an infant] approach more easily to receive the remission of sins: because the sins forgiven him are not his own but those of another.
- Letters 64:2, 64:5

388 AD | Gregory of Nazianz

Do you have an infant child? Allow sin no opportunity; rather, let the infant be sanctified from childhood. From his most tender age let him be consecrated by the Spirit. Do you fear the seal [of baptism] because of the weakness of nature? Oh, what a pusillanimous mother and of how little faith! [...] 'Well enough,' some will say, 'for those who ask for baptism, but what do you have to say about those who are still children, and aware neither of loss nor of grace? Shall we baptize them too?' Certainly [I respond], if there is any pressing danger. Better that they be sanctified unaware, than that they depart unsealed and uninitiated
- Oration on Holy Baptism 40:7, 40:28

388 AD | John Chrysostom

You see how many are the benefits of baptism, and some think its heavenly grace consists only in the remission of sins, but we have enumerated ten honors [it bestows]! For this reason we baptize even infants, though they are not defiled by [personal] sins, so that there may be given to them holiness, righteousness, adoption, inheritance, brotherhood with Christ, and that they may be his [Christ's] members
- Baptismal Catecheses in Augustine, Against Julian 1:6:21

401 AD | Council of Carthage V

Item: It seemed good that whenever there were not found reliable witnesses who could testify that without any doubt they [abandoned children] were baptized and when the children themselves were not, on account of their tender age, able to answer concerning the giving of the sacraments to them, all such children should be baptized without scruple, lest a hesitation should deprive them of the cleansing of the sacraments. This was urged by the [North African] legates, our brethren, since they redeem many such [abandoned children] from the barbarians
- Canon 7

408 AD | Augustine

The custom of Mother Church in baptizing infants is certainly not to be scorned, nor is it to be regarded in any way as superfluous, nor is it to be believed that its tradition is anything except apostolic
- The Literal Interpretation of Genesis 10:23:39
 

416 AD | Council of Milevum II

[W]hoever says that infants fresh from their mothers' wombs ought not to be baptized, or say that they are indeed baptized unto the remission of sins, but that they draw nothing of the original sin of Adam, which is expiated in the bath of regeneration... let him be anathema [excommunicated]. Since what the apostle [Paul] says, 'Through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so passed to all men, in whom all have sinned' [Rom. 5:12], must not be understood otherwise than the Catholic Church spread everywhere has always understood it. For on account of this rule of faith even infants, who in themselves thus far have not been able to commit any sin, are therefore truly baptized unto the remission of sins, so that that which they have contracted from generation may be cleansed in them by regeneration
- Canon 3
 

~400 AD through ~1500 AD | Infant Baptism is a standard practice of the church during this time

From at least the 3rd century onward Christians baptised infants as standard practice, although some preferred to postpone baptism until late in life, so as to ensure forgiveness for all their preceding sins.
- Source
 

~1523 AD | [Protestant] Conrad Grebel & the Anabaptist movement against infant baptism

Summary
In the monogenesis view the time of origin is January 21, 1525, when Conrad Grebel baptized George Blaurock, and Blaurock in turn baptized several others immediately. These baptisms were the first "re-baptisms" known in the movement. This continues to be the most widely accepted date posited for the establishment of Anabaptism.
Details
Ana-baptism in Switzerland began as an offshoot of the church reforms instigated by Ulrich Zwingli. As early as 1522 it became evident that Zwingli was on a path of reform preaching when he began to question or criticize such Catholic practices as tithes, the mass, and even infant baptism. Zwingli had gathered a group of reform-minded men around him, with whom he studied classical literature and the scriptures. However, some of these young men began to feel that Zwingli was not moving fast enough in his reform. The division between Zwingli and his more radical disciples became apparent in an October, 1523 disputation held in Zurich. When the discussion of the mass was about to be ended without making any actual change in practice, Conrad Grebel stood up and asked "what should be done about the mass?" Zwingli responded by saying the council would make that decision. At this point, Simon Stumpf, a radical priest from Hongg, answered saying, "The decision has already been made by the Spirit of God."

This incident illustrated clearly that Zwingli and his more radical disciples had different expectations. To Zwingli, the reforms would only go as fast as the city Council allowed them. To the radicals, the council had no right to make that decision, but rather the Bible was the final authority of church reform. Feeling frustrated, some of them began to meet on their own for Bible study. As early as 1523, William Reublin began to preach against infant baptism in villages surrounding Zurich, encouraging parents to not baptize their children.

Seeking fellowship with other reform-minded people, the radical group wrote letters to Martin Luther, Andreas Karlstadt, and Thomas Müntzer. Felix Manz began to publish some of Karlstadt's writings in Zurich in late 1524. By this time the question of infant baptism had become agitated and the Zurich council had instructed Zwingli to meet weekly with those who rejected infant baptism "until the matter could be resolved." Zwingli broke off the meetings after two sessions, and Felix Manz petitioned the Council to find a solution, since he felt Zwingli was too hard to work with. The council then called a meeting for January 17, 1525.

Dissatisfaction with the outcome of a disputation in 1525 prompted Swiss Brethren to part ways with Huldrych Zwingli.

The Council ruled in this meeting that all who continued to refuse to baptize their infants should be expelled from Zurich if they did not have them baptized within one week. Since Conrad Grebel had refused to baptize his daughter Rachel, born on January 5, 1525, the Council decision was extremely personal to him and others who had not baptized their children. Thus, when sixteen of the radicals met on Saturday evening, January 21, 1525, the situation seemed particularly dark. The Hutterian Chronicle records the event:

After prayer, George of the House of Jacob (George Blaurock) stood up and besought Conrad Grebel for God's sake to baptize him with the true Christian baptism upon his faith and knowledge. And when he knelt down with such a request and desire, Conrad baptized him, since at that time there was no ordained minister to perform such work.

After Blaurock was baptized, he in turn baptized others at the meeting. Even though some had rejected infant baptism before this date, these baptisms marked the first re-baptisms of those who had been baptized as infants and thus, technically, Swiss Anabaptism was born on that day.
- Quoted from here

~1523 AD | [Protestant] Zwingli in support of infant baptism

Zwingli's views on baptism are largely rooted in his conflict with the Anabaptists, a group whose beliefs included the rejection of infant baptism and centered on the leadership of Conrad Grebel and Felix Manz. In October 1523, the controversy over the issue broke out during the second Zürich disputation and Zwingli vigorously defended the need for infant baptism and his belief that rebaptism was unnecessary. His major works on the subject include Baptism, Rebaptism, and Infant Baptism (1525), A Reply to Hubmaier (1525), A Refutation (1527), and Questions Concerning the Sacrament of Baptism (1530). Source

1529 AD | [Protestant] Martin Luther in support of infant baptism

That the Baptism of infants is pleasing to Christ is sufficiently proved from His own work, namely, that God sanctifies many of them who have been thus baptized, and has given them the Holy Ghost
- Source: The Large Catechism by Martin Luther
 

1536 AD | [Protestant] John Calvin in support of infant baptism

...infants cannot be deprived of it [baptism] without open violation of the will of God".
- Institutes of the Christian Religion 4, 16, 8
 

~1609 AD | [Protestant] John Smyth & the Baptist movement against infant baptism

Historians trace the earliest Baptist church back to 1609 in Amsterdam, with John Smyth as its pastor. [...]

In 1609, while still there, Smyth wrote a tract titled "The Character of the Beast," or "The False Constitution of the Church." In it he expressed two propositions: first, infants are not to be baptized; and second, "Antichristians converted are to be admitted into the true Church by baptism." Hence, his conviction was that a scriptural church should consist only of regenerate believers who have been baptized on a personal confession of faith. He rejected the Separatist movement's doctrine of infant baptism (paedobaptism). Shortly thereafter, Smyth left the group, and layman Thomas Helwys took over the leadership, leading the church back to England in 1611. Ultimately, Smyth became committed to believers' baptism as the only biblical baptism. He was convinced on the basis of his interpretation of Scripture that infants would not be damned should they die in infancy.

- Quoted from here.
 

1638 AD | [Protestant] John Spilsbury & the Baptist Movement against infant baptism, advocated believer's baptism by immersion

Position taken from here.