In the following letter, Karl Barth says that he was baptized as an infant, and that he refused to be rebaptized for 79 years, and that paedobaptism is valid baptism! Karl Barth's repudiation of paedobaptism is infamous in The Teaching of the Church Regarding Baptism (1948) and in the Church Dogmatics IV.4 fragment (1967). However, Barth's argument for a more correct and important practice of Baptism is wrongly used to justify the divisive practice of Rebaptism. It should be noted that this letter was written near the end of Karl Barth's life, long after his revision of Christian Baptism had been initially inked.
To Mrs. Ludmilla Gowalezyk (Augsburg) [#1]
Basel, 7 April 1965
Dear Mrs. Gowalezyk,
That seventy-nine years ago I was baptized as an infant -- like the vast majority of all Christians from the third or fourth century on--is one of the many disorders from which the church suffers. I have opposed this disorder. But I have never maintained that baptism administered in this disorder is not valid baptism. What was said to me back then, unfortunately without my being asked or able to reply, was said, and therefore I do not see why I should replace that baptism by another and second one. I regarded and stiller egard it as more correct and important to take my one baptism very seriously. Part of this requires calling on the church to remedy the disorder in the future.
With friendly greetings,
[Note #1: As a member of a community teaching believer's baptism the recipient had expressed to Barth her pleasure at his repudiation of infant baptism and asked him why he did not have the courage to be baptized afresh.]
Karl Barth: Letters 1961-1968, trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley
Related: Christian Baptism, infant baptism, Karl Barth, Rebaptism