Skip to comments.Protestant Denominations, Catholics Sign Ecumenical ‘Mutual Recognition of Baptism’ Agreement
Posted on 02/24/2013 11:55:01 AM PST by daniel1212
Austin, Texas Leaders from several Protestant denominations met with representatives from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops last night to sign an ecumenical document agreeing to recognize each others baptisms.
The document, entitled These Living Waters: Common Agreement on the Mutual Recognition of Baptism, has been approximately four years in the making. The Presbyterian Church USA was reportedly the first to deliberate the move, followed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The Common Agreement affirms that both Catholic and Reformed Christians hold that baptism is the sacramental bond of unity for the Body of Christ, which is to be performed only once, by an authorized minister, with flowing water, using the Scriptural Trinitarian formula of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, wrote the bishops in a news release about the matter two years ago.
Therefore, if a person is baptized by a Catholic priest but later converts to a Protestant church, the denominations involved in the ecumenical gesture agree to accept the baptism and not ask that the person be baptized over again and vice versa.
The Common Agreement was signed last night in Austin, Texas by members of both the Presbyterian Church USA and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, as well as the Christian Reformed Church of North America, the Reformed Church of America and the United Church of Christ.
Writer Brian Cross says that while there has been somewhat of an alliance between Protestants and Catholics over the matter for centuries, disagreement has remained.
The Catholic Church has long recognized the validity of Protestant baptisms in which the person was baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, he explained. In the last ten or fifteen years, however, there were concerns among Catholic bishops regarding Protestant baptisms in which different names were substituted for the Holy Trinity, or in which a method of sprinkling was used that did not achieve any flow of water on the skin.
The Dutch and German Reformed traditions have generally recognized the validity of Catholic baptisms, as have most Presbyterian churches. The major exception to this were the Presbyterian churches in the United States since the time of James Henry Thornwell in the mid-nineteenth century, especially in the south. Thornwell argued that Catholic baptisms were invalid because Catholic priests were not lawful ministers of the Word, Cross continued. Some Reformed denominations in the United States remain on Thornwells side of that debate, and still do not necessarily accept the validity of Catholic baptisms.
While there remains debate over whether Protestants those who agree with Reformers such as Martin Luther, who rebuked and separated from the Roman Catholic Church with his 95 theses, a document that outlined his many concerns with the establishments traditions and teachings should agree to recognize Catholic baptisms, the greater question of whether Protestants and Catholics should engage in any forms of ecumenicism at all continues to be an issue among Christians.
Everybodys afraid to say that Roman Catholics are not Christians, and that if you make that statement, you are perceived as unloving or old school, stated Pastor Jon Speed of the Log College and Christ is King Baptist Church in Syracuse, New York. But, either were trying to hide what we believe about the Gospel, or we dont really believe it.
And the act of baptism itself does not ex opere operato make one forgiven or born again, regardless of whether one can exercise faith, thus regeneration can precede baptism, as the heart is purified by faith (which baptism expresses) and appropriates justification, (Acts 10:43-47; 15:7-9; Rm. 4:3-8) out of a broken and contrite heart. (Ps. 34:18)
Thus those baptized as infants are yet in need of their day of salvation, at which time of believing they are to be baptized. The paedobaptised are told they already are Christians .
See here and extensive debate which follows:
The Catholic church doesn’t look at infant baptism the same as it does baptism as a sign of salvation. Its equal in Baptist and other protestant churches (like the non-denominational church I attend) would be an infant dedication ceremony.
Other stories of interest:
Once again, 'man' saying what they 'think' which is opposite of what GOD SAYS. ....infants cannot fulfill the stated requirements of repentance and whole-hearted faith, (Acts 2:38; 8:36,37)
Preach it, Daniel!!
Gee, I wonder how all those jewish baby boys agreed to the covenant at 8 days old when they were circumcised?
Once, again, you are wrong.
And, BTW, they dedicate themselves to a ‘religion’, not to GOD!
When one dedicates himself to God, he listens/obeys God’s Word ALONE.
The Jewish covenant was to those born of Jewish parents. The Christian one is to those born again...
” Note this carefully. We began by saying that Abrahams faith was counted unto him for righteousness. When this happened, was he a circumcised man? He was not, he was still uncircumcised. It was afterwards that the sign of circumcision was given to him, as a seal upon that righteousness which God was accounting to him as yet an uncircumcised man! Gods purpose here is twofold. First, that Abraham might be the spiritual father of all who since that time, despite their circumcision, show the faith that is counted as righteousness. Then, secondly, that he might be the circumcised father of all those who are not only circumcised, but are living by the same sort of faith which he himself had before he was circumcised...
...Now this counting of faith for righteousness was not recorded simply for Abrahams credit, but as a divine principle which should apply to us as well. Faith is to be reckoned as righteousness to us also, who believe in him who raised from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, who was delivered to death for our sins and raised again to secure our justification.”
I always thought that infant baptism was a covenant that the parents make to raise a child iin a Christian home. Confirmation is when the child accepts the baptism.
In Scripture forgiveness of obtained by the kind of faith which baptism expresses, (Rm. 10:43; 15:7-9; Eph. 1:13) and thus baptism can be confessing with thy body that Jesus is Lord, as Rm. 10:9,10 teaches as regards confessing with the mouth.
Rome teaches that the operation of the sacraments, including baptism, produce their effects ex opere operato [by the act itself], and therefore by baptism an infant is regenerated and thus justified.
CCC 1213: Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua),4 and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.
Rome actually allows for salvation by pure unmerited grace in her baptism by desire, obtained through perfect contrition (contritio caritate perfecta, which, works ex opere operantis: Catholic Encyclopedia>Sanctifying Grace), but which is something that some in her Traditional sects disagree with.
If the contrition be perfect (contritio caritate perfecta), then active justification results, that is, the soul is immediately placed in the state of grace even before the reception of the sacrament of baptism or penance, though not without the desire for the sacrament (votum sacramenti). If, on the other hand, the contrition be only an imperfect one (attritio), then the sanctifying grace can only be imparted by the actual reception of the sacrament (cf. Trent, Sess. VI, cc. iv and xiv). Catholic Encyclopedia> Sanctifying Grace
Purely unmerited justification is understood as referring to the call of God in His prevenient grace, in which
“without any merits existing on their parts, they are called; that so they, who by sins were alienated from God, may be disposed through His quickening and assisting grace, to convert themselves to their own justification, by freely assenting to and co-operating with that said grace.” (Trent, Cp. V.)
And which justification of the impious is gained via baptism of sprinkling of water, typically as an infant, with formal justification being on the basis of an actual interior righteousness:
“the instrumental cause [of justification] is the sacrament of baptism, which is the sacrament of faith, without which (faith) no man was ever justified;..
For, although no one can be just, but he to whom the merits of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ are communicated, yet is this done in the said justification of the impious, when by the merit of that same most holy Passion, the charity of God is poured forth, by the Holy Spirit, in the hearts of those that are justified, and is inherent therein: whence, man, through Jesus Christ, in whom he is ingrafted, receives, in the said justification, together with the remission of sins, all these (gifts) infused at once, faith, hope, and charity.” (Trent, Cp. VII)
“by reason of a perfect act of charity elicited by a well disposed sinner, or by virtue of the Sacrament either of Baptism or of Penance” (the latter of which can be appropriated by proxy), the justified are “really made just [righteous], and not merely declared or reputed so.” (Catholic Encyclopedia>Salvation>Baptism)
Thus Abraham and all others must have been regenerated when God declared them righteous, versus faith being counted for righteousness, and whose life then confirmed this faith by works.
Then, via the sacramental system, grace is dispensed from Rome’s infinite Treasury of merit, that of Christ and of the excess merit of saints, and by cooperating with such the saved Catholic is “accounted to have, by those very works which have been done in God, fully satisfied the divine law according to the state of this life, and to have truly merited eternal life. (Trent, Cp XVI. http://history.hanover.edu/early/trent/ct06.html)
Although the sinner is justified by the justice of Christ, inasmuch as the Redeemer has merited for him the grace of justification (causa meritoria), nevertheless he is formally justified and made holy by his own personal justice and holiness (causa formalis). (Catholic Encyclopedia> Sanctifying Grace)
“Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification and for the attainment of eternal life (Catechism of the Catholic church, Part 3,
Life in Christ, Merit, 2010)
Canon 32 teaches, If anyone says that the one justified by the good works that he performs by the grace of God does not truly merit eternal life, and in case he dies in grace, the attainment of eternal life itself, let him be anathema.
As the RC gospel means that by God’s grace one becomes actually perfect enough to be with God, then except for canonized saints who attained this state, the RC salvation process includes an indefinite time in purgatory, but in which system the Church helps by granting indulgences out of the aforesaid Treasury of merit, which provides the contrite supplicant with the means of paying the debt owed for his sin, which otherwise
“must be expiated [atoned, be compensated] either on this earth through the sorrows, miseries and calamities of this life and above all through death, or else in the life beyond through fire and torments or ‘purifying’ punishments. (Indulgentiarum Doctrina; cp. 1. 1967)
CCC 1023: Those who die in God’s grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live for ever with Christ...(provided they were not in need of purification when they died . . or, if they then did need or will need some purification, when they have been purified after death...) http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p123a12.htm
And which plan also and very predominately features help thru a Queen of Heaven, one promotion for which states, “We were condemned through the fault of one woman; we are saved through the merits of another woman. Just as Eve was the root of death for everyone, so Mary was the source of life for everyone. (Ten Series of Meditations on the Mystery of the Rosary, by John Ferraro, Nihil Obstat and the Imprimatur)
But while Trent emphasized works meriting eternal life, even if they did not mean earn, while yet requiring one become perfect enough to see God, which they must presume the “good thief’ had attained while for other this could take centuries, in seeking common ground with Lutherans, a carefully worded statements were worked out which states,
4.3 Justification by Faith and through Grace
25.We confess together that sinners are justified by faith in the saving action of God in Christ. By the action of the Holy Spirit in baptism, they are granted the gift of salvation, which lays the basis for the whole Christian life. They place their trust in God’s gracious promise by justifying faith, which includes hope in God and love for him. Such a faith is active in love and thus the Christian cannot and should not remain without works. But whatever in the justified precedes or follows the free gift of faith is neither the basis of justification nor merits it.
38.According to Catholic understanding, good works, made possible by grace and the working of the Holy Spirit, contribute to growth in grace, so that the righteousness that comes from God is preserved and communion with Christ is deepened. When Catholics affirm the “meritorious” character of good works, they wish to say that, according to the biblical witness, a reward in heaven is promised to these works. Their intention is to emphasize the responsibility of persons for their actions, not to contest the character of those works as gifts, or far less to deny that justification always remains the unmerited gift of grace.
“Catholics ..teach as do Lutherans, that nothing prior to the free gift of faith merits justification and that all of God’s saving gifts come through Christ alone” (USA, no. 105).
Catholic doctrine knows itself to be at one with the Protestant concern in emphasizing that the renewal of the human being does not ‘contribute’ to justification, and is certainly not a contribution to which he could make any appeal before God.
“But the Council excludes the possibility of earning grace - that is, justification - (can. 2; DS 1552) and bases the earning or merit of eternal life on the gift of grace itself, through membership in Christ (can. 32: DS 1582). Good works are ‘merits’ as a gift.
JOINT DECLARATION ON THE DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION by the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/documents/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_31101999_cath-luth-joint-declaration_en.html
Do not forget that in the NT Book of Acts, WHOLE households were baptized and that DOES includes infants with the parents. So this should not be an issue.
Since baptism is an outward expression of an inward event, an infant can not be baptized.
They can be dedicated, but not baptized.
That is why each year at Easter Catholics RENEW the promises made at their baptism, so that is “the day of salvation” that you mentioned.
No infants are mentioned in those passages. That is speculation.
Well, technically maybe on the “parents” part, but in reality according to the Law of Moses he who is born of a Jew is a Jew” ~
Why wonder? GO TO GOD'S WORD! Praise God!
"A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical." Romans 2:28
"No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God." Romans 2:29
" The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live." Deuteronomy 30:6
" Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, circumcise your hearts, you men of Judah and people of Jerusalem, or my wrath will break out and burn like fire because of the evil you have done--burn with no one to quench it. Jeremiah 4:4
Get some historical perspective, infants would not have been included unless specifically written.
Historical definitions of “household” is not the modern definition.
Scripture passages that do back up that do support the practice of baptism to include infants:
Please see post number 17. Thank-you.
They did not, as there were no requirements to repent and believe, and instead circumcision of 8 day old males was explicitly commanded. And in Jewish distinction, they both circumcised and baptized.
And circumcision has only limited correspondence to baptism:
“In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. “ (Colossians 2:11-12)
The Christian “circumcision” of baptism signifies washing and regeneration, but unlike circumcision, repentance and faith were explicitly commanded preconditions.
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. “ (Acts 2:38)
“But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. “ (Acts 8:12)
“And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. “ (Acts 8:36-37)
And in contrast to circumcision, there is absolutely no command to baptize infants (but to “teach all nations, baptizing them”), nor are there any manifest examples of infant baptism, and in Acts 16 the subjects were those who heard the word, which does not mean unintelligible speech.
The Holy Spirit is neither negligent nor superfluous, and the contrast btwn the commands for circumcision and baptism, and absence of any manifest examples of paedobaptism is incongruous in the light of the cardinal importance Catholicism places on it.
But then again, teachings of Rome do not rest upon the degree of Scriptural warrant, only that they do not contradict it in their view, and this is another inherited tradition of men, which some CFs (for what little that is worth) counseled against.
J.B. Phillips? (Should always give source.) But see http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2990777/posts?page=19#19 above