Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume III/Ethical/On Baptism/XIV

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Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. III, Ethical, On Baptism by Tertullian, translated by Sydney Thelwall

Chapter XIV.—Of Paul’s Assertion, that He Had Not Been Sent to Baptize.

But they roll back an objection from that apostle himself, in that he said, “For Christ sent me not to baptize;”[1] as if by this argument baptism were done away!  For if so, why did he baptize Gaius, and Crispus, and the house of Stephanas?[2] However, even if Christ had not sent him to baptize, yet He had given other apostles the precept to baptize. But these words were written to the Corinthians in regard of the circumstances of that particular time; seeing that schisms and dissensions were agitated among them, while one attributes everything to Paul, another to Apollos.[3] For which reason the “peace-making”[4] apostle, for fear he should seem to claim all gifts for himself, says that he had been sent “not to baptize, but to preach.” For preaching is the prior thing, baptizing the posterior.  Therefore the preaching came first: but I think baptizing withal was lawful to him to whom preaching was.


  1. 1 Cor. i. 17.
  2. 1 Cor. i. 14, 16.
  3. 1 Cor. i. 11, 12; iii. 3, 4.
  4. Matt. v. 9; referred to in de Patien. c. ii.