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Non-Catholics Section: Baptism

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Non-Catholics Section:

The Sacrament of Baptism

Sources: Various

Important Notice: Items herein may not apply to all persons. References and translations may vary. We make no guarantees regarding any item herein. Do not take items out of context. Do not inflict harm on yourself or others, break laws, take unsuitable/incautious or inappropriate/drastic actions, or take figurative items literally. Use of site is at your own risk and is subject to our terms of use. For more terms information, see below and click here


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Do You Think Baptism is Unnecessary?

Do You Think Baptism is Merely an External Sign?

Do You Condemn Infant Baptism?

Do You Think Baptism Must Be Administered By Immersion?

Question

Comments

Do You Think Baptism is Unnecessary?

Consider:

* If Baptism is unnecessary, why does Christ require it as a condition of salvation ["Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit" (Jn. 3:5)]?

* If Baptism is unnecessary, why does Scripture say that persons are saved through water (cf. 1 Pt. 3:20-21)?

* If Baptism is unnecessary, why did Jesus commission the Apostles to baptize ["Then Jesus approached and said to them, 'All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.'" (Mt. 28:18-20)]?

* If Baptism is unnecessary, why Does Jesus say that "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved" (Mk. 16:16, emphasis added)?

* If Baptism is unnecessary, why did Peter - under the influence of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost - instruct his hearers to be baptized (see Acts 2:38-41)?

Do You Think Baptism is Merely an External Sign?

Consider:

* If Baptism is merely a sign and does not itself cause regeneration, why does Christ require it as a condition of salvation ["Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit" (Jn. 3:5)]?

* If Baptism is just a sign, why does Scripture say that persons are saved through water (see 1 Pt. 3:20-21)?

* If Baptism is a mere sign, why does St. Paul say that baptism washes away sin (cf. Acts 22:16)?

* If Baptism is just a sign, why does St. Paul say that persons are saved through baptism (see Ti. 3:5)?


Did You Know...?

The Catholic Church does not teach that the water in baptism has any intrinsic power, but rather that God uses the water to effect what is signified by the water (that is, a cleansing). "If, therefore, there is any grace in the water, it is not from the nature of water but from the Spirit's presence there." (St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church, c. 375 A.D.)

Do You Condemn Infant Baptism?

Consider:

* If a person inherits original sin without their consent, why should their consent be required to remove it?

* If it is wrong to baptize infants, why were whole households baptized in Scripture (Acts 16:15, Acts 16:33, 1 Cor. 1:16)?

* If you condemn infant baptism because a person cannot consent to it, you must also condemn adult baptism of insane persons as they also cannot consent to it.

* If you reject infant baptism because the child cannot consent to it, do you also condemn the ancient Jews for circumcising infants without their permission?

* If it is wrong to baptize infants, why did the earliest Christians baptize infants? Did you know that early Church records indicate that children were baptized just days after their birth?

* "You didn't ask to be born, you didn't ask to have original sin... If you were born with a physical birth defect, would you expect your parents to wait until you were older to correct it?"

* If you condemn infant baptism, how do you suppose that infants can be saved when Jesus clearly says that "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit" (Jn. 3:5, emphasis added)? Do you condemn all children even though Jesus says "Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these" (Mt. 19:14)?

* If you reject infant baptism, you are essentially rejecting Original Sin - the very reason the Messiah was promised in Gen. 3:15! Note: For more on original sin, click here.

* If it is wrong to baptize infants, why did the Church receive this tradition from the apostles? "The Church received from the Apostles the tradition of giving Baptism even to infants. For the Apostles, to whom were committed the secrets of divine mysteries, knew that there is in everyone the innate stains of sin, which must be washed away through water and the Spirit." [Origen ("the greatest scholar of Christian antiquity" - although he would eventually be excommunicated and be regarded as a heretic), c. 245 A.D.)]

* If you would not refuse baptism to the most grievous of sinners who repent, why would you withhold it from infants who have no personal sins to repent of? "If, in the case of the worst sinners and of 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 approach more easily to receive the remission of sins: because the sins forgiven him are not his own but those of another." (St. Cyprian of Carthage, c. 251 A.D.)

* Where does Scripture say infants shouldn't be baptized?


Did You Know...?

The Catholic Church has always practiced infant baptism. There have been some abuses, however, which were not condoned by the Church. For example, some persons delayed baptism until their death - not because this is what the Church taught, but because these persons wanted to live a "morally lax" life and then be cleansed immediately before they died. This allowed them to live as they wanted and forgo tough penances that they otherwise would have had to complete. Not only was this practice not condoned by the Church - and contrary to the proper Christian spirit - but it actually endangered their souls since they may have died without receiving baptism.


What the Catholic Church Teaches...

"That this law [regarding Baptism] extends not only to adults but also to infants and children, and that the Church has received this from Apostolic tradition, is confirmed by the unanimous teaching and authority of the Fathers. Besides, it is not to be supposed that Christ the Lord would have withheld the Sacrament and grace of Baptism from children, of whom He said: Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to me; for the kingdom of heaven is for such; whom also He embraced, upon whom He imposed hands, to whom He gave His blessing. Moreover, when we read that an entire family was baptized by Paul, it is sufficiently obvious that the children of the family must also have been cleansed in the saving font. Circumcision, too, which was a figure of Baptism, affords a strong argument in proof of this practice. That children were circumcised on the eighth day is universally known. If then circumcision, made by hand, in despoiling the body of the flesh, was profitable to children, it is clear that Baptism, which is the circumcision of Christ, not made by hand, it is also profitable to them. Finally, as the Apostle teaches, if by one man's offense death reigned through one, much more they who receive abundance of grace, and of the gift, and of justice, shall reign in life through one, Jesus Christ. If then, through the transgression of Adam, children inherit original sin, with still stronger reason can they attain through Christ our Lord grace and justice that they may reign in life. This, however, cannot be effected otherwise than by Baptism." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"(For) they assert that baptism is conferred uselessly on children... We respond that baptism has taken the place of circumcision... Therefore as 'the soul of the circumcised did not perish from the people' [Gen. 17:4], so 'he who has been reborn from water and the Holy Spirit will obtain entrance to the kingdom of heaven' [John 3:5]... Although original sin was remitted by the mystery of circumcision, and the danger of damnation was avoided, nevertheless there was no arriving at the kingdom of heaven, which up to the death of Christ was barred to all. But through the sacrament of baptism the guilt of one made red by the blood of Christ is remitted, and to the kingdom of heaven one also arrives, whose gate the blood of Christ has mercifully opened for His faithful. For God forbid that all children of whom daily so great a multitude die, would perish, but that also for these the merciful God who wishes no one to perish has procured some remedy unto salvation... As to what opponents say, (namely), that faith or love or other virtues are not infused in children, inasmuch as they do not consent, is absolutely not granted by most... some asserting that by the power of baptism guilt indeed is remitted to little ones but grace is not conferred; and some indeed saying both that sin is forgiven and that virtues are infused in them as they hold virtues as a possession not as a function, until they arrive at adult age... We say that a distinction must be made, that sin is twofold: namely, original and actual: original, which is contracted without consent; and actual which is committed with consent. Original, therefore, which is committed without consent, is remitted without consent through the power of the sacrament; but actual, which is contracted with consent, is not mitigated in the slightest without consent... The punishment of original sin is deprivation of the vision of God, but the punishment of actual sin is the torments of everlasting hell..." (Pope Innocent III, 1198-1216 A.D.)

Do You Think Baptism Must Be Administered By Immersion? 

Consider:

* If Baptism must be administered by immersion, why do the earliest Christians refer to other methods of administration? For example, consider the following second century writing: "Baptize as follows: After first explaining all these points, baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, in running water. But if you have no running water, baptize in other water; and if you cannot in cold, then in warm. But if you have neither, pour water on the head three times in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." ('Teaching of the Twelve Apostles', 2nd century A.D.)

* If baptism by immersion was necessary, why are there pictures in the catacombs (the early Christian burial grounds) showing baptismal water being poured?

* If you take the bible as your sole rule of faith, why do you insist on baptism by immersion when the bible doesn't give specific instructions for baptizing?

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