Skip to comments.The Million-Dollar Infant Baptism
Posted on 03/08/2007 10:53:14 AM PST by Alex Murphy
Several weeks ago I had the unique experience of witnessing my first infant baptism. I suppose that one statement says a lot about my own spiritual background in that I managed to live 54 years without ever seeing an infant baptism in person. I was raised Baptist and have spent my ministerial career serving in churches that practiced believers' baptism by immersion. Those are the circles in I have moved and felt most comfortable. And yet when all of Christendom is taken in consideration, that position is decidedly in the minority. Catholics, the Orthodox, Lutherans, Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and all the Reformed churches practice infant baptism. I witnessed my first one while preaching at a Reformed church in Elmhurst, Illinois. And I even had a personal connection because it happened that years earlier I had married the first couple whose children were being baptized that day.
The pastor began by asking the parents if they were true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. He also asked them to affirm their commitment to raise their children in the church and to teach them the Word of God. His comments were essentially no different than the ones I make whenever I do a child dedication. Just before the baptism itself, he used a fascinating illustration. Suppose, he said to the parents, that a rich uncle came to you this morning and said, "I'm giving each of your children a check for a million dollars." You would be thrilled and your children would be blessed even though they wouldn't understand the significance of it. The check would guarantee your children's financial future. However, a million-dollar check is useless unless the person who receives it also endorses it and deposits it in the bank. If you never endorse it, the million dollars never really becomes yours. Infant baptism, he said, is like that. It's like a million-dollar check in that it brings the promises of God to the child but those promises are of no effect unless the child personally comes to faith in Jesus Christ. I am paraphrasing but I think that's a fair summary of the pastor's words.
Then he dipped his hands in the water of the baptismal font, placed it in the forehead of each child, and if I'm not mistaken, he did it three times, saying that it was done in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. All in all, it was a beautiful and simple ceremony. I was glad to be there to observe it. Those of us who hold to believers' baptism tend to have several major objections to infant baptism. Two are biblical and one is more pastoral in nature.
1) There is no example of infant baptism in the New Testament.
2) There is no command to baptize babies in the New Testament.
3) Many people who have been baptized as infants believe they are going to heaven because a priest or a pastor sprinkled some water on their forehead when they were a few weeks old.
It is #3 that is our chief objection. Too many people trust in their church connection (and thus in their infant baptism) who give no evidence at all of knowing Christ personally, trusting him, loving him, serving him, following him and obeying him, They never darken the doors of any church and seem to have no spiritual interest, yet they believe they are going to heaven because they are "members of God's family" by virtue of infant baptism. Sometimes they are even told that by church leaders.
Thats why I liked the million-dollar illustration. It makes clear that no one goes to heaven because water was sprinkled on them when they were a baby. And by implication, it teaches that infant baptism does not and cannot save. It is Christ who saves by faith. We are saved when we "believe in the Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 16:31).
The pastor quoted the words of Jesus who said, "Let the little children come to me and do not forbid them" (Matthew 19:14). I smiled wryly and thought of Spurgeon's sermon Children Brought to Christ, and Not to the Font, but that was just my "inner Baptist" coming out.
Christians differ in our understanding of baptism, and it is not likely that we will agree on this until we get to heaven. For a good recent summary of various views, see the brand-new Understanding Four Views on Baptism, edited by John Armstrong and featuring presentations (and rebuttals) by representatives of the Baptist, Reformed, Lutheran and Christian Church/Church of Christ positions.
I remain convinced that believers' baptism is scriptural, but at the same time I recognize that thoughtful Christians disagree over this issue. I suppose (this is my "inner Baptist" coming out again) that if you have to have infant baptism, I like the way the pastor did it, with a strong emphasis on the fact that the children are not saved by baptism and must later come to personal saving faith in Christ. I can have happy fellowship with Christians of that conviction and will also be happy to baptize those children again (or for the first time, from my point of view) when they trust Christ as Savior.
One other note. This week I have enjoyed reading a delightful little book by Stephen J. Nichols called The Reformation: How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World. In his chapter on John Calvin, he notes that "only two heresies were punishable by death in the Holy Roman Empire--heresies relating to the Trinity and the insistence on believers' baptism (in the place of infant baptism)" (p. 80). That made me sit up straight. Great issues are at stake in the baptism debate and I do not wish to minimize them. Where the gospel is faithfully preached and believed, we can recognize that we are truly brothers and sisters in Christ despite our deeply-held convictions in certain areas. We will sometimes have to agree to disagree and even to worship in different churches while still extending the hand of Christian fellowship across the watery divide of baptism.
That being the case, I tend to believe baptism is not essential for salvation although I am unclear if that is the reformed Baptist's stance. What do you believe in this regard?
Although it may not be explicitly correct to do so, I call myself both a Southern Baptist (because that is the church I attend) and a Reformed Baptist (because that is my theology). My understanding is that all in both groups would agree with you and say that baptism is not essential for salvation. God commands us to be baptized and we seek to obey Him. However, none of the elect are "unelected" because they have not gone through the ordinance. Some of the elect have also never taken the Lord's Supper. It is the same.
A believer's baptism is required for membership in my church, and I would imagine it would be the same for any, or most, Reformed Baptist churches. However, I think it would probably be a matter decided on a church by church basis.
If someone is living a life of blatant, public sin, I would hope this would put their church membership in peril.
Yes, in my church we have specific by-laws covering this situation. Correction would be sought first, but expulsion is available. So, a leftist Democrat who publicly advocated the "right" of abortion probably would be asked to repent or leave.
Campion:"21 There is also an antitype which now saves us: baptism"
I looked up the precise definition of antitype:
Antitype - something that is foreshadowed by a type or symbol.
This definition, along with the ENTIRE scripture (which you so aptly ommitted), causes me to come to a different conclusion from yours. Here is the complete passage:
There is also an antitype which now saves us--baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
It appears that baptism as used in this verse is analogous to the phrasing "baptized by the spirit" or "baptized in the blood". In other words, this baptism is not intended as the sacrament of dipping in water. This phrase is "baptism through the resurrection of Christ".
The antitype in this case is not savlation by water, but salvation THROUGH water. The water is not what saved, it was salvation out of the water. Certainly the flood water rising up around Noah did not save him - in fact it was his very peril. The key to this verse in Peter is that the resurrection of Christ is the emphasis, not baptism - the true saving power is in Christ.
No Catholic would imagine they are going to heaven based on Baptism.
But some "Born Again" Baptists sure do.
Any author who believes that Catholics believe that Baptism alone guarantees their way to Heaven has never spent 2 minutes in Catholic Sunday School.
Thanks for the clarification.
I understand, but wouldn't baptism serve to make you a member of a particular sect and thus unlikely to look at the beliefs of other sects? I think it would.
I'm speculating of course, but I think because there is so little difference among us in doctrine that it would be more a result of geography. IOW, a job transfer and the closest Reformed Church is Baptist.
"And many, both men and women, who have been Christ's disciples from childhood, remain pure and at the age of sixty or seventy years..." Justin Martyr, First Apology, 15:6 (A.D. 110-165).
"And when a child has been born to one of them, they give thanks to God [baptism]; and if moreover it happen to die in childhood, they give thanks to God the more, as for one who as passed through the world without sins." Aristides, Apology, 15 (A.D. 140).
"Polycarp declared, 'Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me injury: how then can I blaspheme my King and Saviour?" Polycarp, Martyrdom of Polycarp, 9 (A.D. 156).
"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." Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 2,22:4 (A.D. 180).
"I, therefore, brethren, who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord." Polycrates, Fragment in Eusebius' Church History, V:24:7 (A.D. 190).
"And they shall baptise the little children first. And if they can answer for themselves, let them answer. But if they cannot, let their parents answer or someone from their family." Hippolytus of Rome, Apostolic Tradition, 21 (c. A.D. 215).
"[T]herefore children are also baptized." Origen, Homily on Luke, XIV (A.D. 233).
"For this reason, moreover, the Church received from the apostles the tradition of baptizing infants too." Origen, Homily on Romans, V:9 (A.D. 244).
"Baptism is given for the remission of sins; and according to the usage of the Church, Baptism is given even to infants. And indeed if there were nothing in infants which required a remission of sins and nothing in them pertinent to forgiveness, the grace of baptism would seem superfluous." Origen, Homily on Leviticus, 8:3 (post A.D. 244).
"But in respect of the case of the infants, which you say ought not to be baptized within the second or third day after their birth, and that the law of ancient circumcision should be regarded, so that you think one who is just born should not be baptized and sanctified within the eighth day...And therefore, dearest brother, this was our opinion in council, that by us no one ought to be hindered from baptism...we think is to be even more observed in respect of infants and newly-born persons " Cyprian, To Fidus, Epistle 58(64):2, 6 (A.D. 251).
"It shows no crease when infants put it on [the baptismal garment], it is not too scanty for young men, it fits women without alteration." Optatus of Mileve, Against Parmenium, 5:10(A.D. 365).
"Have you an infant child? Do not let sin get any opportunity, but let him be sanctified from his childhood; from his very tenderest age let him be consecrated by the Spirit. Fearest thou the Seal on account of the weakness of nature?" Gregory Nazianzen, Oration on Holy Baptism, 40:17 (A.D. 381).
"Be it so, some will say, in the case of those who ask for Baptism; what have you to say about those who are still children, and conscious neither of the loss nor of the grace? Are we to baptize them too? Certainly, if any danger presses. For it is better that they should be unconsciously sanctified than that they should depart unsealed and uninitiated." Gregory Nazianzen, Oration on Holy Baptism, 40:28 (A.D. 381).
"'Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.' No one is expected: not the infant, not the one prevented by necessity." Ambrose, Abraham, 2,11:79 (A.D. 387).
"We do baptize infants, although they are not guilty of any sins." John Chrysostom, Ad Neophytos (A.D. 388).
"And if any one seek for divine authority in this matter, though what is held by the whole Church, and that not as instituted by Councils, but as a matter of invariable custom, is rightly held to have been handed down by apostolical authority, still we can form a true conjecture of the value of the sacrament of baptism in the case of infants, from the parallel of circumcision, which was received by God's earlier people, and before receiving which Abraham was justified, as Cornelius also was enriched with the gift of the Holy Spirit before he was baptized." Augustine, On Baptism against the Donatist, 4:24:31 (A.D. 400).
"While the son is a child and thinks as a child and until he comes to years of discretion to choose between the two roads to which the letter of Pythagoras points, his parents are responsible for his actions whether these be good or bad. But perhaps you imagine that, if they are not baptized, the children of Christians are liable for their own sins; and that no guilt attaches to parents who withhold from baptism those who by reason of their tender age can offer no objection to it. The truth is that, as baptism ensures the salvation of the child, this in turn brings advantage to the parents. Whether you would offer your child or not lay within your choice, but now that you have offered her, you neglect her at your peril." Jerome, To Laeta, Epistle 107:6 (A.D. 403).
"Now, seeing that they [Pelagians] admit the necessity of baptizing infants,--finding themselves unable to contravene that authority of the universal Church, which has been unquestionably handed down by the Lord and His apostles,--they cannot avoid the further concession, that infants require the same benefits of the Mediator, in order that, being washed by the sacrament and charity of the faithful, and thereby incorporated into the body of Christ, which is the Church, they may be reconciled to God, and so live in Him, and be saved, and delivered, and redeemed, and enlightened. But from what, if not from death, and the vices, and guilt, and thraldom, and darkness of sin? And, inasmuch as they do not commit any sin in the tender age of infancy by their actual transgression, original sin only is left." Augustine, On forgiveness of sin and baptism, 39 (A.D. 412).
"The blessed Cyprian, indeed, said, in order to correct those who thought that an infant should not be baptized before the eighth day, that it was not the body but the soul which behoved to be saved from perdition -- in which statement he was not inventing any new doctrine, but preserving the firmly established faith of the Church; and he, along with some of his colleagues in the episcopal office, held that a child may be properly baptized immediately after its birth." Augustine, Epistle 166:8:23 (A.D. 412).
"'C. Tell me, pray, and rid me of all doubts, why little children are baptized?
A. That their sins may be forgiven them in baptism." Jerome, Against the Pelagians, 3:18 (A.D. 415).
"Likewise, whosoever says that those children who depart out of this life without partaking of that sacrament shall be made alive in Christ, certainly contradicts the apostolic declaration, and condemns the universal Church, in which it is the practice to lose no time and run in haste to administer baptism to infant children, because it is believed, as an indubitable truth, that otherwise they cannot be made alive in Christ."
Augustine, Epistle 167,7,21 (A.D. 415).
"Canon 2. Likewise it has been decided that whoever says that infants fresh from their mothers' wombs ought not to be baptized...let him be anathema." Council of Carthage, Canon 2 (A.D. 418).
"Concerning the Donatists it seemed good that we should hold counsel with our brethren and fellow priests Siricius and Simplician concerning those infants alone who are baptized by Donatists: lest what they did not do of their own will, when they should be converted to the Church of God with a salutary determination, the error of their parents might prevent their promotion to the ministry of the holy altar." African Code, Canon 47/51 (A.D. 419).
"[T]his concupiscence, I say, which is cleansed only by the sacrament of regeneration, does undoubtedly, by means of natural birth, pass on the bond of sin to a man's posterity, unless they are themselves loosed from it by regeneration." Augustine, On Marriage and Concupiscence, 1:23 (A.D. 420).
"Believest thou this?...When a newborn child is brought forward to receive the anointing of initiation, or rather of consummation through holy baptism." Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on John, 7 (A.D. 428).
"Question XIX. Concerning those who after being baptized in infancy were captured by the Gentiles, and lived with them after the manner of the Gentiles, when they come back to Roman territory as still young men, if they seek communion, what shall be done?
Reply: If they have only lived with Gentiles and eaten sacrificial food, they can be purged by fasting and laying on of hands, in order that for the future abstaining from things offered to idols, they may be partakers of Christ's mysteries. But if they have either worshipped idols or been polluted with manslaughter or fornication, they must not be admitted to communion, except by public penance." Leo the Great [regn. A.D. 440-461], To Rusticus, Epistle 167 (A.D. 459).
"But with respect to trine immersion in baptism, no truer answer can be given than what you have yourself felt to be right; namely that, where there is one faith, a diversity of usage does no harm to holy Church. Now we, in immersing thrice, signify the sacraments of the three days' sepulture; so that, when the infant is a third time lifted out of the water, the resurrection after a space of three days may be expressed." Gregory the Great [regn. A.D. 590-604], To Leander, Epistle 43 (A.D. 591).
We believe Jesus gave us two clear ordinances, neither of which imparts Grace so we don't call them sacraments. These ordinances are Baptism, a one time event, and Communion, a life long practice done in remembrance of our Saviour Jesus Christ. Because Baptism does not impart Grace it is not essential for salvation. We do not require Believer's Baptism to be a member at my church, but it is strongly encouraged.
John 1:32 - when Jesus was baptized, He was baptized in the water and the Spirit, which descended upon Him in the form of a dove. The Holy Spirit and water are required for baptism. Also, Jesus baptism was not the Christian baptism He later instituted. Jesus baptism was instead a royal anointing of the Son of David (Jesus) conferred by a Levite (John the Baptist) to reveal Christ to Israel, as it was foreshadowed in 1 Kings 1:39 when the Son of David (Solomon) was anointed by the Levitical priest Zadok. See John 1:31; cf. Matt. 3:16; Mark 1:9; Luke 3:21.
John 3:3,5 - Jesus says, "Truly, truly, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." When Jesus said "water and the Spirit," He was referring to baptism (which requires the use of water, and the work of the Spirit).
John 3:22 - after teaching on baptism, John says Jesus and the disciples did what? They went into Judea where the disciples baptized. Jesus' teaching about being reborn by water and the Spirit is in the context of baptism.
John 4:1 - here is another reference to baptism which naturally flows from Jesus' baptismal teaching in John 3:3-5.
Acts 8:36 the eunuch recognizes the necessity of water for his baptism. Water and baptism are never separated in the Scriptures.
Acts 10:47 - Peter says "can anyone forbid water for baptizing these people..?" The Bible always links water and baptism.
Acts 22:16 Ananias tells Saul, arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins. The washing away refers to water baptism.
Titus 3:5-6 Paul writes about the washing of regeneration, which is poured out on us in reference to water baptism. Washing (loutron) generally refers to a ritual washing with water.
Heb. 10:22 the author is also writing about water baptism in this verse. Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Our bodies are washed with pure water in water baptism.
2 Kings 5:14 - Naaman dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, and his flesh was restored like that of a child. This foreshadows the regenerative function of baptism, by water and the Holy Spirit.
Isaiah 44:3 - the Lord pours out His water and His Spirit. Water and the Spirit are linked to baptism. The Bible never separates them.
Ezek. 36:25-27 - the Lord promises He will sprinkle us with water to cleanse us from sin and give us a new heart and spirit. Paul refers to this verse in Heb. 10:22. The teaching of Ezekiel foreshadows the salvific nature of Christian baptism instituted by Jesus and taught in John 3:5, Titus 3:5, 1 Peter 3:21 and Acts 22:16.
Baptism is Salvific, Not Just Symbolic
Matt. 28:19-20 - Jesus commands the apostles to baptize all people "in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit." Many Protestant churches are now teaching that baptism is only a symbolic ritual, and not what actually cleanses us from original sin. This belief contradicts Scripture and the 2,000 year-old teaching of the Church.
Acts 2:38 - Peter commands them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ in order to be actually forgiven of sin, not just to partake of a symbolic ritual.
Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 2:38 - there is nothing in these passages or elsewhere in the Bible about baptism being symbolic. There is also nothing about just accepting Jesus as personal Lord and Savior in order to be saved.
Mark 16:16 - Jesus said "He who believes AND is baptized will be saved." Jesus says believing is not enough. Baptism is also required. This is because baptism is salvific, not just symbolic. The Greek text also does not mandate any specific order for belief and baptism, so the verse proves nothing about a believers baptism.
John 3:3,5 - unless we are "born again" of water and Spirit in baptism, we cannot enter into the kingdom of God. The Greek word for the phrase "born again" is "anothen" which literally means begotten from above. See, for example, John 3:31 where "anothen" is so used. Baptism brings about salvation, not just a symbolism of our salvation.
Acts 8:12-13; 36; 10:47 - if belief is all one needs to be saved, why is everyone instantly baptized after learning of Jesus?
Acts 16:15; 31-33; 18:8; 19:2,5 - these texts present more examples of people learning of Jesus, and then immediately being baptized. If accepting Jesus as personal Lord and Savior is all one needs to do to be saved, then why does everyone in the early Church immediately seek baptism?
Acts 9:18 - Paul, even though he was directly chosen by Christ and immediately converted to Christianity, still had to be baptized to be forgiven his sin. This is a powerful text which demonstrates the salvific efficacy of water baptism, even for those who decide to give their lives to Christ.
Acts 22:16 - Ananias tells Paul, "arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins," even though Paul was converted directly by Jesus Christ. This proves that Paul's acceptance of Jesus as personal Lord and Savior was not enough to be forgiven of his sin and saved. The sacrament of baptism is required.
Acts 22:16 - further, Ananias' phrase "wash away" comes from the Greek word "apolouo." "Apolouo" means an actual cleansing which removes sin. It is not a symbolic covering up of sin. Even though Jesus chose Paul directly in a heavenly revelation, Paul had to be baptized to have his sins washed away.
Rom. 6:4 - in baptism, we actually die with Christ so that we, like Him, might be raised to newness of life. This means that, by virtue of our baptism, our sufferings are not in vain. They are joined to Christ and become efficacious for our salvation.
1 Cor. 6:11 - Paul says they were washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, in reference to baptism. The washing of baptism gives birth to sanctification and justification, which proves baptism is not just symbolic.
Gal. 3:27 - whoever is baptized in Christ puts on Christ. Putting on Christ is not just symbolic. Christ actually dwells within our soul.
Col. 2:12 - in baptism, we literally die with Christ and are raised with Christ. It is a supernatural reality, not just a symbolic ritual. The Scriptures never refer to baptism as symbolic.
Titus 3:5-7 He saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ, so that we might be justified by His grace and become heirs of eternal life. This is a powerful text which proves that baptism regenerates our souls and is thus salvific. The washing of regeneration saves us. Regeneration is never symbolic, and the phrase saved us refers to salvation. By baptism, we become justified by His grace (interior change) and heirs of eternal life (filial adoption). Because this refers to baptism, the verse is about the beginning of the life in Christ. No righteous deeds done before baptism could save us. Righteous deeds after baptism are necessary for our salvation.
There is also a definite parallel between John 3:5 and Titus 3:5: (1) John 3:5 enter the kingdom of God / Titus 3:5 He saved us. (2) John 3:5 born of water / Titus 3:5 washing. (3) John 3:5 born of the Spirit / Titus 3:5 renewal in the Spirit.
Heb. 10:22 - in baptism, our hearts are sprinkled clean from an evil conscience (again, dealing with the interior of the person) as our bodies are washed with pure water (the waters of baptism). Baptism regenerates us because it removes original sin, sanctifies our souls, and effects our adoption as sons and daughters in Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 3:21 - Peter expressly writes that baptism, corresponding to Noah's ark, now saves you; not as a removal of dirt from the body, but for a clear conscience. Hence, the verse demonstrates that baptism is salvific (it saves us), and deals with the interior life of the person (purifying the conscience, like Heb. 10:22), and not the external life (removing dirt from the body). Many scholars believe the phrase "not as a removal of dirt from the body" is in reference to the Jewish ceremony of circumcision (but, at a minimum, shows that baptism is not about the exterior, but interior life). Baptism is now the circumcision of the new Covenant (Col. 2:11-12), but it, unlike the old circumcision, actually saves us, as Noah and his family were saved by water.
Again, notice the parallel between Heb. 10:22 and 1 Peter 3:21: (1) Heb. 10:22 draw near to the sanctuary (heaven) / 1 Peter 3:21 now saves us. (2) Heb. 10:22 sprinkled clean, washed with pure water / 1 Peter 3:20-21 saved through water, baptism. (3) Heb. 10:22 from an evil conscience (interior) / 1 Peter 3:21 for a clear conscience (interior). Titus 3:6 and 1 Peter 3:21 also specifically say the grace and power of baptism comes through Jesus Christ (who transforms our inner nature).
Mark 16:16 - Jesus says that he who believes and is baptized will be saved. However, the Church has always taught that baptism is a normative, not an absolute necessity. There are some exceptions to the rule because God is not bound by His sacraments.
Luke 23:43 - the good thief, although not baptized, shows that there is also a baptism by desire, as Jesus says to him that he will be in paradise. It should also be noted that when Jesus uses the word "paradise," He did not mean heaven. Paradise, from the Hebrew "sheol" meant the realm of the righteous dead. This was the place of the dead who were destined for heaven, but who were captive until the Lord's resurrection. Hence, the good thief was destined for heaven because of his desire to be with Jesus.
Matt. 20:22-23; Mark 10:38-39; Luke 12:50 - there is also a baptism by blood. Lord says, "I have a baptism to be baptized with" referring to His death. Hence, the Church has always taught that those martyred for the faith may be saved without water baptism (e.g., the Holy Innocents).
Mark 10:38 - Jesus says "are you able...to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?," referring to His death.
1 John 5:6 - Jesus came by water and blood. He was baptized by both water and blood. Martyrs are baptized by blood.
So when you say that baptism is salvific, do you imply it is necessary for salvation or that it guarantees salvation.
In other words, if I am baptized in the presrcibed manner, is my salvation secured?
No more so than being raised in a church that practices adult baptism would.
A child raised in a Baptist church would be more likely to remain a baptist in adulthood; a child raised a Methodist is more likely to remain a Methodist. The fact the Methodist was baptised as an infant and the Baptist was not is likely to be the least relevant factor in future membership.
And, not being quite sure what you mean by sect (belief system or denomination), whether an Orthodox Presbyterian , for example, remains one or joins the PCA or the ARP will more likely turn on geographic availability rather than baptism.
It's necessary for salvation. The only two "exceptions" according to Catholic teaching are baptism of desire (meaning someone aspiring to be baptized in the Catholic faith dies before actually receiving it) and baptism by blood (meaning martyrdom for the faith, though not baptized).
I was told by a group of RC posters that they were insulted by the term denomination. I am not willing to concede the language, so I began using the term sect to differentiate various Christian churches. No hidden meaning behind the term.
Actually, the Justinian Code, dating from the late Roman Christian Emperor--and practiced throughout medieval Europe up into the Reformation (and why they burned heretics) made RE-BAPTISM a capitol offense, not simply being baptized later than infancy. Of course everyone was expected to baptize their infants, and to not do so was seen in those days as a form of political rebellion--treason, besides heretical. I do not think however not baptizing infants was automatically punishable by death--what was shocking (and REALLY considered heretical, treasonous and schismatic) was being baptized as an infant and then being re-baptized as an adult. Such people, named Anabaptists in the Reformation, were indeed executed.
As a pedo-baptist, what I would like from baptists is an acknowledgment that my baptism (and that of the great majority of Christians today, and throughout history) is an authentic baptism--even though they firmly believe infancy is not the best time for baptism.
I may be wrong, but I believe that even in baptist churches, if a person, baptized there as an adolescent, later becomes authentically born-again (due to a false conversion earlier) they are not required (though they may be permitted) to be baptized again. The earlier baptism is valid, even though at that time they were not actually committed personally to Christ. Practice may vary from church to church, but this scenario sounds likely. In any event, unity in the gospel could be increased if, while sticking to one's conviction on when baptism should be administered--others' baptisms are recognized--conditional, of course, as it should be for everyone, that a person has evidenced a personal committment to Christ. I recognize a baptist's baptism as valid, all I ask is that he do the same for mine--even though he himself does not practice or approve of infant baptism.
To just throw some fuel on the fire let me make a couple more points, using the logic from the article:
1)There is no example of women taking communion or being baptized in the New Testament (even though it has been universal practice, as far as we can tell, from the beginning). Should we therefore deny communion and baptism to women?
2) There is also no explicit command to serve communion to women or to baptize them...only universal practice, so, since its not in the bible, why should we do it?
3) Many baptists think that once they are baptized, they are definitely going to heaven, and they apostatize, due to such false assurance. Same issue as with those baptized as infants....
Obviously, I'm not calling for #s 1 or 2, it's just a way to make a point. If something is not specifically exemplified or commanded in the New Testament, that alone does not make it wrong.
Yes, that makes perfect sense to me.
Because Baptism does not impart Grace (not salvational) I don't get "bent out of shape" over infant Baptism. If done in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost I don't see why it would not be "valid". However, the distinction I see between "Believer's Baptism" and "Infant Baptism" is that in "Infant Baptism" the individual has no idea what's going on, has no say in whether they want it done or not, and has not thought through why they should be baptized.
As a Baptist, I've been a member in churches that you must have had a believers Baptism to be a member and also in churches where this is not a requirement. I prefer the churches that require it, but that's a personal preference.
3) Many baptists think that once they are baptized, they are definitely going to heaven, and they apostatize, due to such false assurance. Same issue as with those baptized as infants....
I've never seen this, but anything is possible. I've been a member in a couple Baptist churches and in all of them there was a process to being allowed to be Baptized. You must make a public declaration of Faith and repentance. Then you must attend Baptism classes, typically 2-3 months on Sundays, and then you would be Baptized.
Baptist churches are in a free association with one another. They are not a part of a centralized command and control structure. Thus some practices vary from church to church. It's pretty safe to say that in those that require classes no one is confused about the difference between an ordinance and a sacrament.
So you are just insulting protestants to be politically correct to your RC friends?
I doubt very much I have any RC FRiends.
How is the term sect insulting?
Webster's dictionary: Sect [sekt] n. religious group.
Here are some excerpts from a RC site discussing 'sect':
"In the Acts of the Apostles it is applied both in the Latin of the Vulgate and in the English of the Douay version to the religious tendency with which one has identified himself (xxiv, 5; xxvi, 5; xxviii, 22; see xxiv, 14). The Epistles of the New Testament disparagingly apply it to the divisions within the Christian communities. The Epistle to the Galatians (v, 20) numbers among the works of the flesh, "quarrels, dissensions, sects"; and St. Peter in his second Epistle (ii, 1) speaks of the "lying teachers, who shall bring in sects of perdition". In subsequent Catholic ecclesiastical usage this meaning was retained"
"With the rise of Protestantism and the consequent disruption of the Christian religion into numerous denominations, the use of the word sect has become frequent among Christians. It usually implies at present disapproval in the mind of the speaker or writer. "
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