Thursday, January 30, 2014

Faulty Logic from the Good Guys?!: Are Head-Coverings Required at Mass?

I am in the process of putting together an article about why women choose to wear head coverings, despite the abuses they suffer for this humbling act of reverence. But while researching some background information, I have found at least 2 traditional Catholic websites using faulty logic to make a claim that head coverings are actually still required by the Church. They put forward several great arguments (it almost seems as though 1 of them might have copied from the other), but one of the arguments is simply false and seriously diminishes their credibility in their witness.

Don't get me wrong. I am 100% in support of women wearing veils at Mass. But trying to force the issue with this faulty logic will only harm credibility and potentially push people away.

One argument hinges on Paul's First Epislte to the Corinthians. While it's a good argument for head coverings in a subjective sense, there is nothing there that currently obligates, per se, a Catholic woman to cover. One person understands this as an ordinance for the whole Church, where another sees it as Paul pointing out cultural customs in a particular region. Theologians and lay people can argue all day long about whether it is a requirement to "cover" or not, but the fact remains that Catholics are not bound by opinions...we are bound by the Laws and Doctrines given by Christ's Church through the Magesterium. And, as it turns out, the Magesterium didn't bind any woman, at the 'whole-Church-scale', to veil until the 1917 Code of Canon Law. Nowhere else in any Council will you find such a requirement. So, while the appeal to Scripture is a good one, and one which I happen to agree with, it doesn't represent a current binding law on the entire Church faithful. We can, and should, use this Scripture to point out the REASONS Paul used in order to show the importance of humility and respect. But it fails when trying to show it as some obligation for Catholic women to cover their heads at Mass, unless you also want to defend that women should be silent in Church, or that a woman can excuse herself from the obligation by shaving her head. While that would be a bit ridiculous, it would at least be logically consistent.

There are other arguments made that are mostly appeals to emotion and holiness. These are also great arguments in my opinion, in fact they are the strongest ones. But these do not represent a current binding law on the entire Church faithful either. As strong a reason of "humbling yourself before Christ, Who is truly present in the Eucharist" is, it doesn't make for a binding law. Should every woman desire to cover her beauty to keep from distracting men's attention from the Lord? Sure! But again, this does not make for a binding law on all the Catholic faithful. So, what DOES?

The Code of Canon Law in 1917 bound all the faithful to the following:

Canon 1262

§1. It is desirable that, consistent with ancient discipline, women be separated from men in church.

§2. Men, in a church or outside a church, while they are assisting at sacred rites, shall be bare-headed, unless the approved mores of the people or peculiar circumstances of things determine otherwise; women, however, shall have a covered head and be modestly dressed, especially when they approach the table of the Lord.

The key point that is typically honed in on is "...women...shall have a covered head...".

"SEE!" they say. "It says women have to wear a veil!" Well, no, it says they have to have a "covered head", which could include a veil, but can also include any manner of covering. That may be a minor detail, but it's an important one if someone would rebuke a woman for wearing a hat, or a handkercheif, or anything else that might cover her head, as opposed to a chapel veil. But here's something very important, and this is where the articles I read go astray and simply get it wrong. Both articles in question claim that this law was never revoked, or "abrogated". They list a few Canons in the current Code of 1983 that seem to support their position on the surface, but they completely neglect to read the introduction to the Code, which says in Canon 6:

Can. 6 §1. When this Code takes force, the following are abrogated:
1/ the Code of Canon Law promulgated in 1917;...

...and then lists other ordinances that were also abrogated/abolished. Now, the fact is that the covering of women's heads was already largely being ignored by this time. However, whether it was right for women to stop covering before 1983 is a different matter altogehter, and it's not a relevant to anyone who reached the age of reason after 1983.

The Canons used by the authors of these articles are Canons 20, 21, 27 and 28. Here is what those Canons say:

Canon 20 A later law abrogates or derogates from an earlier law, if it expressly so states, or if it is directly contrary to that law, or if it integrally reorders the whole subject matter of the earlier law. A universal law, however, does not derogate from a particular or from a special law, unless the law expressly provides otherwise.

Canon 21 In doubt, the revocation of a previous law is not presumed; rather, later laws are to be related to earlier ones and, as far as possible, harmonized with them.

Canon 27 Custom is the best interpreter of laws.

Canon 28 Without prejudice to the provisions of can. 5, a custom, whether contrary to or apart from the law, is revoked by a contrary custom or law. But unless the law makes express mention of them, it does not revoke centennial or immemorial customs, nor does a universal law revoke particular customs.

And here is why that is all irrelevant when it comes to head coverings at Mass:

Their use of Canon 20 only refutes their own position because they neglected to read Canon 6. Canon 6 DOES "expressly provide otherwise" when it says the 1917 Canon is "abrogated". The use of Canon 20 becomes ever WEAKER when pushed further because there is NO CURRENT LAW to compare the old to. You can't "derogate" (subtract from/diminish) a law that no longer exists...that has been "abrogated". There is no parallel law for head coverings in current Code of Canon Law. Where is the liturgical law that we would have to compare to the old Canon to see if there is a derogation?? It doesn't has been "abrogated".

Use of Canon 21 in their argument falls flat for the same reason: this Canon is written in the context of the entire section of Canons 7-22, and is, by its very language, in regards to parallel laws where doubt exists as to the harmony of those laws or the revocation of the older by the newer. But there is no "later law" in regards to the covering of a woman's has been "abrogated" per Canon 6.

Canons 27 and 28 don't apply in this case because once head-coverings became the Law, in 1917, it was not considered a "custom" was LAW. That law has been abrogated.

Now, is my testimony about Canon Law trustworthy? I'm not a Canon Lawyer, so I won't claim to infallibly understand it all. But the only Canon Lawyer whose opinion on this matter I could find said essentially the same thing I just did. I have yet to find any Canon Lawyer that would agree with those who believe Canon 1262 in the 1917 Code is not "abrogated".

How theologians want to interpret 1Corinthians is a matter for theologians. WE are only bound by what the Magesterium binds us to. And the Magesterium does not bind women to covering their heads at Mass. It used to, from 1917 to 1983. But in 1983, they abrogated that law. Is the covering of a woman's head a noble and humble practice to show reverence to our Lord? You bet it is!! And there are PLENTY of good reasons and logical arguments to use to support veils and head-coverings. But trying to force the issue with abrogated laws, laws which do not exist, only hurts the effort, dimishes our credibility and pushes people away in our attempt to witness.

The reality is, if ANY of the Canonical explanations given by the authors of the articles "prove" that veiling is still in force...a law we are bound to, then we are equally bound to accept that men and women must sit separately in the Church. That law is in the EXACT SAME 1917 Canon as the requirement to "cover", and is presented as no less a custom as the covering of heads. My question to them is: "Why are men and women no longer required to sit separately in Mass?" Whatever answer they give will be the exact same reason women are not required to veil. Anything else is logically inconsistent.

Links to the articles in question: for "The Veil" in their pamphlets section)

Pertinent sections of Code of Canon Law:
Canons 1-6
Canons 7-22
Canons 23-28

Jimmy Akin explains in depth:

The only Canon Lawyer whose response to the issue I found:

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Don't Redefine Terms to Make an Argument!

It can happen in ANY argument. You and your friend/spouse/opponent/whatever are discussing or arguing a topic, and suddenly you find that the terms have been redefined, presumably so one of you doesn't have to admit to being wrong. Most people reading this may actually be guilty of this...I know I have in the past.

Here's a recent example of what I'm talking about. In the Catholic Church (since 33 AD) we have been charged with the mission to "go and preach the Gospel to all nations [to all creation/creatures]..." (Mk 16:15-16). We see examples of this in the Epistles of the New Testament. How it looks in the NT, and how it has looked for 2,000 years, is the Church meeting people where they are and bringing them to Truth for the purpose of Christian unity. The Church has used the term "ecumenism" to describe this effort (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 816 and 821). "Ecumenism", as it has been explained in the Church anytime it has been mentioned AT ALL, is always defined by this drive for unity without compromising Truth. So uniform is this understanding of ecumenism in the Church, that when efforts of unity are undertaken at the EXPENSE of Truth...when Truth is watered-down to gain some false sign of is called "false ecumenism" or "indifferentism".

Yet, not more than a day ago, I saw a friend of mine post a brief article titled, "Ecumenism is Synonymous with Religious Indifferentism". Having redefined "ecumenism", he then proceded to show where the Church has condemned "ecumenism" and that "ecumenism" is a false and heretical teaching of Vatican II. His supporting sources for his claim?? All he could point to were writings of Popes that condemned "indifferentism" and other such attitudes that would attempt unity at the expense of Truth (a.k.a. FALSE ecumenism). So, I argued that the Church has never in its 2,000-year history condemned "ecumensim", rather it has condemned the false notion of unity which has been called "false ecumenism" or "indifferentism". I asked the question, several times and in several ways, "Why are you trying to redefine "ecumenism" to make it into "indifferentism"?" I never got an answer, but I think I made my point. He was redefining the term (or blindly accepting someone else's redefinition) and the position he held could only be defended by doing so. Why? I suppose only he knows, and he hasn't answered that question yet. My guess, judging by the source he kept linking to, is that he is simply accepting some other guy's redefinition of terms in an effort to jump on the holier-than-thou bandwagon...but that's just my fallible opinion.

We see this in several arguments theses days: "marriage", "homosexuality", "forgivness", "judging", "sin", "birth control", "Church", "prayer", "worship", "faith", "helping with the dishes"...all receiving a new "definition" in order to support one or the other person's argument. Some of these terms have concrete definitions, others may be more variable. For the more concrete terms, we should stick with what it is, if we really want a reasonable debate. For the variable, the parties arguing should, at the very least, agree on what is to be understood by the term BEFORE they argue about it. Otherwise, we only argue with a wall. Sometimes there may be flexibility in defining a term, other times there is not. Once an understanding is agreed upon, stick with it. If it turns out that you agreed to a definition that you no longer agree with (perhaps after having done some deeper research), then let the other person know and find out if they are willing to start over with that new understanding. But once a definition has been set or agreed upon, do NOT redefine the terms in order to make an argument. You will lose credibility and end up defending a logically inconsistent position. Don't redefine terms to make an argument!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

What is an Apologist?

When I first heard the term, it was worded as “Apologist for the Catholic Faith”. I couldn’t help the thoughts of some guy walking around apologizing for his Christian views popping into my head. I wanted to ask what exactly he’d be apologizing for…maybe for offending people with his beliefs?

Usually when you hear the term “apologist” or “apologetics”, a name is associated with it. You might be familiar with Peter Kreeft, Scott Hahn, Tim Staples, John Martignoni or William Lane Craig. And most people who have done any historical research will have heard of Augustine of Hippo, Justin Martyr, Thomas Aquinas, or Ignatius of Antioch. These men could all be considered apologists in one way or another. But what does that mean, and where does the word come from?

Apologetics involves giving a reasoned defense for one's faith, and apologists are people who do that. The word comes from the Greek "apologia", which means to make a defense for one's opinions, position, or actions. It describes what a lawyer would do for his client in court, defending his client’s position or "apologizing". In recent times we use this word to describe a person saying he/she is sorry for having done wrong. But in the ancient world this was not so. Peter uses this word in Scripture in 1Pet 3:15, "...Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you...". "Make a defense" in this verse (some translations say "give an answer " or "give an account") is translated from the Greek "apologia". The same root word used in Acts (in this case, "apologeomai") where we read, "...And Alexander motioned with his hand, wishing to make a defense to the people" (Acts 19:33). So, using the Biblical understanding of the word, we can see that apologetics involves making a reasoned defense for the faith, and describes those who do this valuable and necessary work.

So, what kinds of apologetics are there? Several I suppose. The two most important to me would be Christian apologetics and Catholic apologetics. Christian apologetics is the reasoned defense of the Christian faith; giving explanations of what we believe as Christians, and why, to non-Christians. The goal of Christian apologetics is two-fold: to win converts to Christ and to help fellow Christians to better understand and be able to explain their faith. Catholic apologetics, on the other hand, involves not only Christian apologetics, but also the giving of a reasoned defense for the Catholic faith as a whole to those who are not Catholic or don't understand Catholic Christianity. The goal of Catholic apologetics is three-fold: to win converts to Christ and to help fellow Christians to better understand and be able to explain the Catholic faith...AND, sadly in recent decades, to show that the Catholic Church is not only Christian, but is THE original Christian Church. Regardless of how you want to describe it, however, apologetics is giving a reasoned defense for our faith.

Is everyone called to this task? Well, yes and no. Naturally there will be people who are not gifted at public speaking or engaging in any manner of debate without it turning ugly. That’s not to say that apologetics necessarily has to involve formal debate or public speaking, but a person must at least be comfortable enough to intelligibly discuss their faith openly and honestly with their friends, families, co-workers, or whoever else might call us to account for our faith. And let’s face it, some of us have a short fuse and become impatient with others. It’s in these cases where we can safely say that not EVERYONE is called to pro-actively engage in apologetics. However, EVERYONE MUST be prepared to give some reasoned account for their faith. Even if it’s just a quick “I believe ‘this’ because…and if you have further questions I recommend ‘this book’ [or website, or article, or friend who can discuss it, etc…] because I’m not great at explaining it…”. Another answer that we must all be prepared to give is one I had realized until I heard it from John Martignoni: “I don’t know, but I will find out and get back to you [in person, with a book, over email, with a tape/CD, etc…]”. Part of avoiding frustrations and blowing our own fuses necessarily involves being able to admit when we don’t know something.

Then who IS called to be an apologist? ‘Anyone and everyone’ is called to this mission, to at least some degree, of defending the faith in some way or another. We might not be as talented and learned as Peter Kreeft or William Lane Craig while showing atheists how reasonable Christianity is. We might not be as eloquent and beautifully spoken as Scott Hahn when explaining the book of Revelation or that the Eucharist is the New Testament. We might not have put years of study and research into learning the faith and recognizing the heart of the issues and asking the important questions like John Martignoni, or in recognizing how to be charitable in our arguments like Mark Brumley. But ALL of us are given this mission in 1Pet 3:15.

"Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is right? But even if you do suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame (1Pet 3:13-16).

"Always be prepared", he tells us, "to make a defense to any one", ANYONE, "who calls us to account for the hope that is in [us]". Each and every one of us is called to be prepared to give a reasoned defense, an "apology", for the hope within us. How do we do that? We have to KNOW our faith first...or at the very least know where to find the answers and be able to intelligibly bring the information from 'point A to point B’. We don't have to be perfect at it, and we don't have to know all the answers 'right now'. But we need to constantly learn our faith so that we can be ready give that reasoned explanation for what we Christians believe.

Of course, there is an ending to that verse that is paramount: "yet do it with gentleness and reverence". The best-studied apologist in the world, even with every Scripture passage memorized and the entire history of Christianity engrained in his head, will be an absolute FLOP if he has not made an attempt at "do[ing] it with gentleness and reverence" (some translations use "respect" or "modesty" or "meekness and fear"). Apologetics not only involves giving that reasoned defense, but it involves a method of delivery that is gentle, patient and respectful.

I think that pretty well answers what an apologist is and what he/she does. The next question is, are YOU ready to be one when someone calls you to account for your faith?

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Church Fathers on: Baptism as it Pertains to Salvation and Regeneration

The following are quotes from some of the earliest Christians (from the 1st - 6th centuries, and this list is not even close to being a comprehensive list from that time period) regarding the necessity of Baptism. A special thanks is in order to Catholics Answers for putting these all in one location for easy reference. At the bottom I will provide the link to the article that these are in, as well as quotes from even two of the "fathers of the Reformation".


"‘I have heard, sir,’ said I [to the Shepherd], ‘from some teacher, that there is no other repentance except that which took place when we went down into the water and obtained the remission of our former sins.’ He said to me, ‘You have heard rightly, for so it is’" (The Shepherd 4:3:1–2 [A.D. 80]).

Justin Martyr

"As many as are persuaded and believe that what we [Christians] teach and say is true, and undertake to be able to live accordingly . . . are brought by us where there is water, and are regenerated in the same manner in which we were ourselves regenerated. For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water. For Christ also said, ‘Except you be born again, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven’ [John 3:3]" (First Apology 61 [A.D. 151]).


"Happy is our sacrament of water, in that, by washing away the sins of our early blindness, we are set free and admitted into eternal life. . . . [But] a viper of the [Gnostic] Cainite heresy, lately conversant in this quarter, has carried away a great number with her most venomous doctrine, making it her first aim to destroy baptism—which is quite in accordance with nature, for vipers and.asps . . . themselves generally do live in arid and waterless places. But we, little fishes after the example of our [Great] Fish, Jesus Christ, are born in water, nor have we safety in any other way than by permanently abiding in water. So that most monstrous creature, who had no right to teach even sound doctrine, knew full well how to kill the little fishes—by taking them away from the water!" (Baptism 1 [A.D. 203]).

"Without baptism, salvation is attainable by none" (ibid., 12).

"We have, indeed, a second [baptismal] font which is one with the former [water baptism]: namely, that of blood, of which the Lord says: ‘I am to be baptized with a baptism’ [Luke 12:50], when he had already been baptized. He had come through water and blood, as John wrote [1 John 5:6], so that he might be baptized with water and glorified with blood. . . . This is the baptism which replaces that of the fountain, when it has not been received, and restores it when it has been lost" (ibid., 16).


"[P]erhaps someone will ask, ‘What does it conduce unto piety to be baptized?’ In the first place, that you may do what has seemed good to God; in the next place, being born again by water unto God so that you change your first birth, which was from concupiscence, and are able to attain salvation, which would otherwise be impossible. For thus the [prophet] has sworn to us: ‘Amen, I say to you, unless you are born again with living water, into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.’ Therefore, fly to the water, for this alone can extinguish the fire. He who will not come to the water still carries around with him the spirit of insanity for the sake of which he will not come to the living water for his own salvation" (Homilies11:26 [A.D. 217]).


"It is not possible to receive forgiveness of sins without baptism" (Exhortation to the Martyrs 30 [A.D. 235]).

Cyprian of Carthage

"[T]he baptism of public witness and of blood cannot profit a heretic unto salvation, because there is no salvation outside the Church." (Letters 72[73]:21 [A.D. 253]).

"[Catechumens who suffer martyrdom] are not deprived of the sacrament of baptism. Rather, they are baptized with the most glorious and greatest baptism of blood, concerning which the Lord said that he had another baptism with which he himself was to be baptized [Luke 12:50]" (ibid., 72[73]:22).

Cyril of Jerusalem

"If any man does not receive baptism, he does not have salvation. The only exception is the martyrs, who even without water will receive the kingdom.
. . . For the Savior calls martyrdom a baptism, saying, ‘Can you drink the cup which I drink and be baptized with the baptism with which I am to be baptized [Mark 10:38]?’ Indeed, the martyrs too confess, by being made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men [1 Cor. 4:9]" (Catechetical Lectures 3:10 [A.D. 350]).

Gregory Nazianz

"[Besides the baptisms associated with Moses, John, and Jesus] I know also a fourth baptism, that by martyrdom and blood, by which also Christ himself was baptized. This one is far more august than the others, since it cannot be defiled by later sins" (Oration on the Holy Lights 39:17 [A.D. 381]).

Pope Siricius

"It would tend to the ruin of our souls if, from our refusal of the saving font of baptism to those who seek it, any of them should depart this life and lose the kingdom and eternal life" (Letter to Himerius 3 [A.D. 385]).

John Chrysostom

"Do not be surprised that I call martyrdom a baptism, for here too the Spirit comes in great haste and there is the taking away of sins and a wonderful and marvelous cleansing of the soul, and just as those being baptized are washed in water, so too those being martyred are washed in their own blood" (Panegyric on St. Lucian 2 [A.D. 387]).

Ambrose of Milan

"But I hear you lamenting because he [the Emperor Valentinian] had not received the sacraments of baptism. Tell me, what else could we have, except the will to it, the asking for it? He too had just now this desire, and after he came into Italy it was begun, and a short time ago he signified that he wished to be baptized by me. Did he, then, not have the grace which he desired? Did he not have what he eagerly sought? Certainly, because he sought it, he received it. What else does it mean: ‘Whatever just man shall be overtaken by death, his soul shall be at rest [Wis. 4:7]’?" (Sympathy at the Death of Valentinian [A.D. 392]).


"There are three ways in which sins are forgiven: in baptism, in prayer, and in the greater humility of penance; yet God does not forgive sins except to the baptized" (Sermons to Catechumens on the Creed 7:15 [A.D. 395]).

"I do not hesitate to put the Catholic catechumen, burning with divine love, before a baptized heretic. Even within the Catholic Church herself we put the good catechumen ahead of the wicked baptized person. . . . For Cornelius, even before his baptism, was filled up with the Holy Spirit [Acts 10:44–48], while Simon [Magus], even after his baptism, was puffed up with an unclean spirit [Acts 8:13–19]" (On Baptism, Against the Donatists 4:21:28 [A.D. 400]).

"That the place of baptism is sometimes supplied by suffering is supported by a substantial argument which the same blessed Cyprian draws from the circumstance of the thief, to whom, although not baptized, it was said, ‘Today you shall be with me in paradise’ [Luke 23:43]. Considering this over and over again, I find that not only suffering for the name of Christ can supply for that which is lacking by way of baptism, but even faith and conversion of heart [i.e., baptism of desire] if, perhaps, because of the circumstances of the time, recourse cannot be had to the celebration of the mystery of baptism" (ibid., 4:22:29).

"When we speak of within and without in relation to the Church, it is the position of the heart that we must consider, not that of the body. . . . All who are within [the Church] in heart are saved in the unity of the ark [by baptism of desire]" (ibid., 5:28:39).

"[According to] apostolic tradition . . . the churches of Christ hold inherently that without baptism and participation at the table of the Lord it is impossible for any man to attain either to the kingdom of God or to salvation and life eternal. This is the witness of Scripture too" (Forgiveness and the Just Deserts of Sin, and the Baptism of Infants 1:24:34 [A.D. 412]).

"Those who, though they have not received the washing of regeneration, die for the confession of Christ—it avails them just as much for the forgiveness of their sins as if they had been washed in the sacred font of baptism. For he that said, ‘If anyone is not reborn of water and the Spirit, he will not enter the kingdom of heaven’ [John 3:5], made an exception for them in that other statement in which he says no less generally, ‘Whoever confesses me before men, I too will confess him before my Father, who is in heaven’ [Matt. 10:32]" (The City of God 13:7 [A.D. 419]).

Pope Leo I

"And because of the transgression of the first man, the whole stock of the human race was tainted; no one can be set free from the state of the old Adam save through Christ’s sacrament of baptism, in which there are no distinctions between the reborn, as the apostle [Paul] says, ‘For as many of you as were baptized in Christ did put on Christ; there is neither Jew nor Greek . . . ‘ [Gal. 3:27–28]" (Letters 15:10[11] [A.D. 445]).

Fulgentius of Ruspe

"From that time at which our Savior said, ‘If anyone is not reborn of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven’ [John 3:5], no one can, without the sacrament of baptism, except those who, in the Catholic Church, without baptism, pour out their blood for Christ, receive the kingdom of heaven and life eternal" (The Rule of Faith 43 [A.D. 524]).

And just for fun, here are a couple examples of Luther and Calvin:

Martin Luther

"This fountain [in Zech 13:1] might well and properly be understood as referring to Baptism, in which the Spirit is given and all sins are washed away." [Luther's Works, ed. Jaroslav Pelikan, St. Louis: Concordia, 1973, 20:331]

[regarding Acts 2:37-41] "Who is to be baptized? All nations, that is, all human beings, young and old are to be baptized...Little children should be baptized when they are brought to Baptism by those who have authority over them. How do you prove that infants, too, are to be baptized? Infants, too, are to be baptized because they are included in the words 'all nations'; [and] because Holy Baptism is teh only means whereby infants, who, too, must be born again, can ordinarily be regenerated and brought to faith( Mk 10:13; Jn 3:5-6)." [Luther's Small Catechism, rev.ed., St. Louis: Concordia, 1965, 172-73]

[regarding Gal 3:27] "He must put off his old activities, so that from sons of Adam we may be changed into sons of God. This does not happen by a change of clothing or by any laws or works; it happens by the rebirth and renewal that takes place in Baptism, as Paul says, 'As many of you as were baptized have put on Christ'...Paul is speaking about a 'putting on', not by imitation by birth. He does not say: 'Throuhg Baptism you have received a token...that is what the sectarians [Anabaptists] imagine when they make Baptism a mere token, that is, a small and empty sign." [Luther's Works, 26:352-53]

John Calvin

"Doubtless the design of Satan in assaulting infant baptism with all his forces is to keep out of view, and gradually efface, the attestation of divine grace which the promise itself presents to our eyes...Wherefore, if we would not maliciously obscure the kindness of God, let us present to him our infants, to whom he has assigned a place among his friends and family, that is, the members of the Church." [Institutes of the Christian Religion, closing of Chapter 16 which is devoted to defending infant baptism, 1536, trans. Henry Beveridge, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1983, 2:554]

[regarding Rom 6:3-4] "Paul proves his assertion that Christ destroys sin in His people from the effect of baptism, by which we are initiated into faith in Him. It is beyond question that we put on Christ in Baptism." [Calvin's New Testament Commentaries, 1540, trans. Ross Parker, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1980, 8:122]

Link to the CA article from which I grabbed the ECF quotes: (These can also be found in William Jurgens "Faith of the Early Fathers" volumes 1-3, and many other historical works which provide the early Christian writings.)