Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

The Early Church Fathers on Baptism - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
Stay Catholic ^

Posted on 02/16/2007 1:40:35 PM PST by NYer

The Early Church Fathers believed that being baptized was being born again. They baptized both adults and infants and they used three methods; immersion, pouring and sprinkling.

The Didache

After the foregoing instructions, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living [running] water. If you have no living water, then baptize in other water, and if you are not able in cold, then in warm. If you have neither, pour water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Before baptism, let the one baptizing and the one to be baptized fast, as also any others who are able. Command the one who is to be baptized to fast beforehand for one or two days (Didache 7:1 [ca. A.D. 70]).

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, and instructed to pray and to entreat God with fasting, for the remission of their sins that are past, we pray and fast with them. Then they 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 of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit [Matt. 28:19], they then receive the washing with water. For Christ also said, "Unless you are born again, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (First Apology 61 [A.D. 151]).


He [Jesus] came to save all through himself – all, I say, who through him are reborn in God; infants, and children, and youths, and old men. Therefore he passed through every age, becoming an infant for infants, sanctifying infants; a child for children, sanctifying those who are of that age . . . [so that] he might be the perfect teacher in all things, perfect not only in respect to the setting forth of truth, perfect also in respect to relative age (Against Heresies 2:22:4 [A.D. 189]).


[N]o one can attain salvation without baptism, especially in view of the declaration of the Lord, who says, "Unless a man shall be born of water, he shall not have life" (On Baptism 12:1 [A.D. 203]).

When we are about to enter the water — no, just a little before — In the church and under the hand of the bishop, we solemnly profess that we renounce the devil and his pomps and his angels. Thereupon we are immersed three times (The Crown 3:2 [A.D. 211]).


Where there is no scarcity of water the stream shall flow through the baptismal font or pour into it from above; but if water is scarce, whether on a constant condition or on occasion, then use whatever water is available. Let them remove their clothing. Baptize first the children, and if they can speak for themselves let them do so. Otherwise, let their parents or other relatives speak for them (The Apostolic Tradition 21:16 [A.D.215]).

Recognitions of Clement

But you will perhaps say, 'What does the baptism of water contribute toward the worship of God?' In the first place, because that which has pleased God is fulfilled. In the second place, because when you are regenerated and born again of water and of God, the frailty of your former birth, which you have through men, is cut off, and so . . . you shall be able to attain salvation; but otherwise it is impossible. For thus has the true prophet [Jesus] testified to us with an oath: "Verily, I say to you, that unless a man is born again of water . . . he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Recognitions of Clement 6:9 [A.D. 221]).


The Church received from the apostles the tradition of giving baptism even to infants. The apostles, to whom were committed the secrets of divine sacraments, knew there is in everyone innate strains of [original] sin, which must be washed away through water and the Spirit (Commentaries on Romans 5:9 [A.D. 248]).

Cornelius I

As [the heretic Novatian] seemed about to die, he received baptism in the bed where he lay, by pouring. . . . (Letter to Fabius of Antioch 6:43 [A.D. 251]).


[l]t behooves those to be baptized . . . so that they are prepared, in the lawful and true and only baptism of the holy Church, by divine regeneration, for the kingdom of God . . . because it is written "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (Epistles 72 [73]: 21 [A.D. 252]).

As to what pertains to the case of infants: You [Fidus] said that they ought not to be baptized within the second or third day after their birth, that the old law of circumcision must be taken into consideration, and that you did not think that one should be baptized and sanctified within the eighth day after his birth. In our council it seemed to us far otherwise. No one agreed to the course which you thought should be taken. Rather, we all judge that the mercy and grace of God ought to be denied to no man born" (Letters 64:2 [A.D. 253]).

In the saving sacraments, when necessity compels and when God bestows his pardon, divine benefits are bestowed fully upon believers, nor ought anyone be disturbed because the sick are poured upon or sprinkled when they receive the Lord's grace" (Letter to a Certain Magnus 69(76):12 [A.D. 254]).


The Church was redeemed at the price of Christ's blood. Jew or Greek, it makes no difference; but if he has believed, he must circumcise himself from his sins [in baptism (Col. 2:11-12)] so that he can be saved . . . for no one ascends into the kingdom of heaven except through the sacrament of baptism.... "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (On Abraham 2:11:79-84 [A.D. 387]).


It is this one Spirit who makes it possible for an infant to be regenerated . . . when that infant is brought to baptism; and it is through this one Spirit that the infant so presented is reborn. For it is not written, "Unless a man be born again by the will of his parents" or "by the faith of those presenting him or ministering to him," but, "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit." The water, therefore, manifesting exteriorly the sacrament of grace, and the Spirit effecting interiorly the benefit of grace, both regenerate in one Christ that man who was generated in Adam (Letters 98:2 [A.D. 408]).

TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Orthodox Christian; Theology
KEYWORDS: baptism
Please allow a few minutes to post some of the Scriptural references. Thank you!
1 posted on 02/16/2007 1:40:36 PM PST by NYer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...

In keeping with guidelines posted by the Religion Moderator, we are posting this thread (and future ones) a series on the Early Church Fathers, as a Catholic/Orthodox Caucus. Protestants are welcome to post comments but restraint from attacks, would be appreciated. This thread is posted to inform, support and defend the historic orgins of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

2 posted on 02/16/2007 1:41:30 PM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer
Scriptural Basis

I. Born Again in Water Baptism

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.



II. 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 “believer’s 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 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.



III. Infant Baptism

Gen. 17:12, Lev. 12:3 - these texts show the circumcision of eight-day old babies as the way of entering into the Old Covenant - Col 2:11-12 - however, baptism is the new "circumcision" for all people of the New Covenant. Therefore, baptism is for babies as well as adults. God did not make His new Covenant narrower than the old Covenant. To the contrary, He made it wider, for both Jews and Gentiles, infants and adults.

Job 14:1-4 - man that is born of woman is full of trouble and unclean. Baptism is required for all human beings because of our sinful human nature.

Psalm 51:5 - we are conceived in the iniquity of sin. This shows the necessity of baptism from conception.

Matt. 18:2-5 - Jesus says unless we become like children, we cannot enter into heaven. So why would children be excluded from baptism?

Matt 19:14 - Jesus clearly says the kingdom of heaven also belongs to children. There is no age limit on entering the kingdom, and no age limit for being eligible for baptism.

Mark 10:14 - Jesus says to let the children come to Him for the kingdom of God also belongs to them. Jesus says nothing about being too young to come into the kingdom of God.

Mark 16:16 - Jesus says to the crowd, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved." But in reference to the same people, Jesus immediately follows with "He who does not believe will be condemned." This demonstrates that one can be baptized and still not be a believer. This disproves the Protestant argument that one must be a believer to be baptized. There is nothing in the Bible about a "believer's baptism."

Luke 18:15 – Jesus says, “Let the children come to me.” The people brought infants to Jesus that he might touch them. This demonstrates that the receipt of grace is not dependent upon the age of reason.

Acts 2:38 - Peter says to the multitude, "Repent and be baptized.." Protestants use this verse to prove one must be a believer (not an infant) to be baptized. But the Greek translation literally says, "If you repent, then each one who is a part of you and yours must each be baptized” (“Metanoesate kai bapistheto hekastos hymon.”) This, contrary to what Protestants argue, actually proves that babies are baptized based on their parents’ faith. This is confirmed in the next verse.

Acts 2:39 - Peter then says baptism is specifically given to children as well as adults. “Those far off” refers to those who were at their “homes” (primarily infants and children). God's covenant family includes children. The word "children" that Peter used comes from the Greek word "teknon" which also includes infants.

Luke 1:59 - this proves that "teknon" includes infants. Here, John as a "teknon" (infant) was circumcised. See also Acts 21:21 which uses “teknon” for eight-day old babies. So baptism is for infants as well as adults.

Acts 10:47-48 - Peter baptized the entire house of Cornelius, which generally included infants and young children. There is not one word in Scripture about baptism being limited to adults.

Acts 16:15 - Paul baptized Lydia and her entire household. The word "household" comes from the Greek word "oikos" which is a household that includes infants and children.

Acts 16:15 - further, Paul baptizes the household based on Lydia's faith, not the faith of the members of the household. This demonstrates that parents can present their children for baptism based on the parents' faith, not the children's faith.

Acts 16:30-33 - it was only the adults who were candidates for baptism that had to profess a belief in Jesus. This is consistent with the Church's practice of instructing catechumens before baptism. But this verse does not support a "believer's baptism" requirement for everyone. See Acts 16:15,33. The earlier one comes to baptism, the better. For those who come to baptism as adults, the Church has always required them to profess their belief in Christ. For babies who come to baptism, the Church has always required the parents to profess the belief in Christ on behalf of the baby. But there is nothing in the Scriptures about a requirement for ALL baptism candidates to profess their own belief in Christ (because the Church has baptized babies for 2,000 years).

Acts 16:33 - Paul baptized the jailer (an adult) and his entire household (which had to include children). Baptism is never limited to adults and those of the age of reason. See also Luke 19:9; John 4:53; Acts 11:14; 1 Cor. 1:16; and 1 Tim. 3:12; Gen. 31:41; 36:6; 41:51; Joshua 24:15; 2 Sam. 7:11, 1 Chron. 10:6 which shows “oikos” generally includes children.

Rom. 5:12 - sin came through Adam and death through sin. Babies' souls are affected by Adam's sin and need baptism just like adult souls.

Rom. 5:15 - the grace of Jesus Christ surpasses that of the Old Covenant. So children can also enter the new Covenant in baptism. From a Jewish perspective, it would have been unthinkable to exclude infants and children from God's Covenant kingdom.

1 Cor. 1:16 - Paul baptized the household ("oikos") of Stephanus. Baptism is not limited to adults.

Eph. 1:1; Col. 1:2 - Paul addresses the "saints" of the Church, and these include the children he addresses in Eph. 6:1 and Col. 3:20. Children become saints of the Church only through baptism.

Eph. 2:3 - we are all by nature children of wrath, in sin, like all mankind. Infants are no exception. See also Psalm 51:5 and Job 14:1-4 which teach us we are conceived in sin and born unclean.

2 Thess. 3:10 - if anyone does not work let him not eat. But this implies that those who are unable to work should still be able to eat. Babies should not starve because they are unable to work, and should also not be denied baptism because they are unable to make a declaration of faith.

Matt. 9:2; Mark 2:3-5 - the faith of those who brought in the paralytic cured the paralytic's sins. This is an example of the forgiveness of sins based on another's faith, just like infant baptism. The infant child is forgiven of sin based on the parents' faith.

Matt. 8:5-13 - the servant is healed based upon the centurion's faith. This is another example of healing based on another's faith. If Jesus can heal us based on someone else’s faith, then He can baptize us based on someone else’s faith as well.

Mark 9:22-25 - Jesus exercises the child's unclean spirit based on the father's faith. This healing is again based on another's faith.

1 Cor. 7:14 – Paul says that children are sanctified by God through the belief of only one of their parents.

Exodus 12:24-28 - the Passover was based on the parent's faith. If they did not kill and eat the lamb, their first-born child died.

Joshua 5:2-7 - God punished Israel because the people had not circumcised their children. This was based on the parent's faith. The parents play a critical role in their child's salvation.



IV. Pouring and Sprinkling versus Immersion

Ezek. 36:25 - Ezekiel prophesies that God "will 'sprinkle' clean water on you and you shall be clean." The word for "sprinkle" is "rhaino" which means what it says, sprinkle (not immersion). (“Kai rhaino eph hymas hydor katharon.”)

2 Kings 5:14 - Namaan went down and dipped himself in the Jordan. The Greek word for "dipped" is "baptizo." Here, baptizo means immersion. But many Protestant churches argue that "baptizo" and related tenses of the Greek word always mean immersion, and therefore the Catholic baptisms of pouring or sprinkling water over the head are invalid. The Scriptures disprove their claim.

Num. 19:18 – here, the verbs for dipping (“baptisantes”) and sprinkled (“bapsei”) refers to affusion (pouring) and sprinkling (aspersion), not immersion.

Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16 -John the Baptist prophesied that Jesus will baptize ("baptisei") with the Holy Spirit and fire. In this case, "baptisei" refers to a "pouring" out over the head. This is confirmed by Matt. 3:16 where the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus' head like a dove and Acts 2:3-4 where the Holy Spirit descended upon Mary and the apostles' heads in the form of tongues of fire. In each case, in fulfilling John the Baptist's prophecy, the Lord baptized ("baptizo") in the form of pouring out His Spirit upon the head, not immersing the person.

Matt. 20:22-23; Mark 10:38-39; Luke 12:50 - Jesus also talks about His baptism (from "baptizo") of blood, which was shed and sprinkled in His passion. But this baptism does not (and cannot) mean immersion.

Mark 7:3 - the Pharisees do not eat unless they wash ("baptizo" ) their hands. This demonstrates that "baptizo" does not always mean immersion. It can mean pouring water over something (in this case, over their hands).

Mark 7:4 - we see that the Jews washed ("bapto" from baptizo) cups, pitchers and vessels, but this does not mean that they actually immersed these items. Also, some manuscripts say the Jews also washed (bapto) couches, yet they did not immerse the couches, they only sprinkled them.

Luke 11:38 - Jesus had not washed ("ebaptisthe") His hands before dinner. Here, the derivative of "baptizo" just means washing up, not immersing.

Acts 2:41 - at Peter's first sermon, 3,000 were baptized. There is archeological proof that immersion would have been impossible in this area. Instead, these 3,000 people had to be sprinkled in water baptism.

Acts 8:38 - because the verse says they "went down into the water," many Protestants say this is proof that baptism must be done by immersion. But the verb to describe Phillip and the eunuch going down into the water is the same verb ("katabaino") used in Acts 8:26 to describe the angel's instruction to Phillip to stop his chariot and go down to Gaza. The word has nothing to do with immersing oneself in water.

Acts 8:39 - because the verse says "they came up out of the water," many Protestants also use this verse to prove that baptism must be done by immersion. However, the Greek word for "coming up out of the water" is "anebesan" which is plural. The verse is describing that both Phillip and the eunuch ascended out of the water, but does not prove that they were both immersed in the water. In fact, Phillip could not have baptized the eunuch if Phillip was also immersed. Finally, even if this was a baptism by immersion, the verse does not say that baptism by immersion is the only way to baptize.

Acts 9:18; 22:16 - Paul is baptized while standing up in the house of Judas. There is no hot tub or swimming pool for immersion. This demonstrates that Paul was sprinkled.

Acts 10:47-48 - Peter baptized in the house of Cornelius, even though hot tubs and swimming pools were not part of homes. Those in the house had to be sprinkled.

Acts 16:33 - the baptism of the jailer and his household appears to be in the house, so immersion is not possible.

Acts 2:17,18,33 - the pouring of water is like the "pouring" out of the Holy Spirit. Pouring is also called "infusion" (of grace).

1 Cor. 10:2 - Paul says that the Israelites were baptized ("baptizo") in the cloud and in the sea. But they could not have been immersed because Exodus 14:22 and 15:9 say that they went dry shod. Thus, "baptizo" does not mean immersed in these verses.

Eph. 4:5 - there is only one baptism, just as there is only one Lord and one faith. Once a person is validly baptized by water and the Spirit in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit with the intention of the Church (whether by pouring or immersion), there is no longer a need to rebaptize the person.

Titus 3:6 – the “washing of regeneration” (baptism) is “poured out” upon us. This “pouring out” generally refers to the pouring of baptismal waters over the head of the newly baptized.

Heb. 6:2 – on the doctrine of baptisms (the word used is “baptismos”) which generally referred to pouring and not immersion.

Heb. 10:22 – the author writes, “with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience.” This “sprinkling” of baptism refers to aspersion, not immersion. The text also parallels 1 Peter 3:21, which expressly mentions baptism and its ability to, like Heb. 10:22, purify the conscience (the interior disposition of a person).

Isaiah 44:3 - the Lord "pours" water on the thirsty land and "pours" His Spirit upon our descendants. The Lord is “pouring,” not “immersing.”

2 Thess. 2:15 - hold fast to the tradition of the Church, whether oral or written. Since the time of Christ, baptisms have been done by pouring or sprinkling.



V. Original Sin

Gen. 2:17 - the day you eat of that tree, you shall die. Adam and Eve ate of the tree, and they spiritually died. Some Protestant communities ignore or deny the reality of original sin. But if there is no original sin, then we do not need a Savior either. The horrors of our world testify to the reality of original sin.

Gen. 3:14-19 - God's punishment for eating of the tree was cursing satan, increasing women's pain in childbirth, and condemning man to toil and labor for his whole life.

Job 14:1,4 - man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? All humans are afflicted with original sin, and this includes babies as well. This is why the Catholic Church has baptized babies for 2,000 years.

Psalm 51:5 - I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. We have inherited Adam's sin from the moment of our conception. This is why babies need baptism – to wash away the original sin inherited from Adam and Eve.

Rom. 5:12 - sin came into the world through one man, Adam, and death came through this sin. This sin affects all people, men and women, babies and adults. Through the merits of Jesus Christ, we have the sacrament of baptism to wash away the sin that came through Adam.

Rom. 5:14 - death reigned from Adam to Moses, born from Adam's original sin. This is a mystery we do not fully understand, but we must all acknowledge our propensity toward evil and our need of God.

Rom. 5:16 - the judgment following one single trespass brought condemnation for all. This means all have inherited the sin of Adam, and all must be washed clean of this sin in the waters of baptism.

Rom. 5:19 - by one man's disobedience many were made sinners. Original sin is passed on as part of the human condition, and only God in the flesh could atone for our sins by the eternal sacrifice of Himself. Through this sacrifice, God has re-opened the doors to heaven, and through baptism, we are once again made children of God.

1 Cor. 15:21 - for by one man came death. In Adam, all die. In Christ, the new Adam, all now may live.

Eph. 2:1-3 - we were all dead through sin and all lived in the passions of our flesh until Christ came to save us.



3 posted on 02/16/2007 1:45:09 PM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Interesting that you should bring up this topic.

4 posted on 02/16/2007 2:16:51 PM PST by GoLightly
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: GoLightly

Thanks for the link. I'm on dialup at home and a pdf file takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r to download. Can you summarize it for visitors to this thread? Much appreciated.

5 posted on 02/16/2007 3:34:05 PM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: GoLightly; NYer

Even though it is in pdf format, I want to encourage everyone to read Fr. Dragas' presentation to the Orthodox/Catholic dialog cited in GL's post. Fr. George is the premier Orthodox theologian, to my mind, in America today. He is the most "orthodox" of the Orthodox professors at The GOA seminary at Brookline, Ma. I know him well; he has served at our parish and was the most influential professor of our parish priest. He is my also my much respected and beloved friend.

6 posted on 02/16/2007 3:51:47 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Just for the record, Orthodoxy baptizes by triple immersion and, as we all know, rejects the Western notion of Original Sin.

A question, NYer. Why do the Latin sites you refer to have such a fascination with Origen, a man whose speculations lead him into apostasy as a Gnostic heretic?

7 posted on 02/16/2007 3:54:48 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: NYer; redgolum; Enosh; lightman; crazykatz; JosephW; lambo; MoJoWork_n; newberger; ...

Catholic/Orthodox Caucus ping on Baptism

8 posted on 02/16/2007 3:56:20 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kolokotronis
For the record, the Baptismal liturgy of the Lutheran Book of Worship provides two formulae for the application of the water: "N, I Baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" or "N is Baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit". The notes on the liturgy attribute the later to Eastern sources.
9 posted on 02/16/2007 4:02:35 PM PST by lightman (The Office of the Keys should be exercised as some ministry needs to be exorcised)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: NYer; Kolokotronis
From Luther's Large Catechism A.D. 1528-29. My favorite parts are in bold.

Holy Baptism

1] We have now finished the three chief parts of the common Christian doctrine. Besides these we have yet to speak of our two Sacraments instituted by Christ, of which also every Christian ought to have at least an ordinary, brief instruction, because without them there can be no Christian; although, alas! hitherto no instruction concerning them has been given. 2] But, in the first place, we take up Baptism, by which we are first received into the Christian Church. However, in order that it may be readily understood, we will treat of it in an orderly manner, and keep only to that which it is necessary for us to know. For how it is to be maintained and defended against heretics and sects we will commend to the learned.

3] In the first place, we must above all things know well the words upon which Baptism is founded, and to which everything refers that is to be said on the subject, namely, where the Lord Christ speaks in Matthew 28, 19:

4] Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

Likewise in St. Mark 16, 16: 5] He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

6] In these words you must note, in the first place, that here stand God's commandment and institution, lest we doubt that Baptism is divine, not devised nor invented by men. For as truly as I can say, No man has spun the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord's Prayer out of his head, but they are revealed and given by God Himself, so also I can boast that Baptism is no human trifle, but instituted by God Himself, moreover, that it is most solemnly and strictly commanded that we must be baptized or we cannot be saved, lest any one regard it as a trifling matter, like putting on a new red coat. 7] For it is of the greatest importance that we esteem Baptism 8] excellent, glorious, and exalted, for which we contend and fight chiefly, because the world is now so full of sects clamoring that Baptism is an external thing, and that external things are of no benefit. But let it be ever so much an external thing, here stand God's Word and command which institute, establish, and confirm Baptism. But what God institutes and commands cannot be a vain, but must be a most precious thing, though in appearance it were of less value than a straw. 9] If hitherto people could consider it a great thing when the Pope with his letters and bulls dispensed indulgences and confirmed altars and churches, solely because of the letters and seals, we ought to esteem Baptism much more highly and more precious, because God has commanded it, and, besides, it is performed in His name. For these are the words, Go ye, baptize; however, not in your name, but in the name of God.

10] For to be baptized in the name of God is to be baptized not by men, but by God Himself. Therefore, although it is performed by human hands, it is nevertheless truly God's own work. From this fact every one may himself readily infer that it is a far higher work than any work performed by a man or a saint. For what work greater than the work of God can we do?

11] But here the devil is busy to delude us with false appearances, and lead us away front the work of God to our own works. For there is a much more splendid appearance when a Carthusian does many great and difficult works; and we all think much more of that which we do and merit ourselves. 12] But the Scriptures teach thus: Even though we collect in one mass the works of all the monks, however splendidly they may shine, they would not be as noble and good as if God should pick up a straw. Why? Because the person is nobler and better. Here, then, we must not estimate the person according to the works, but the works according to the person, from whom they must derive their nobility. 13] But insane reason will not regard this, and because Baptism does not shine like the works which we do, it is to be esteemed as nothing.

14] From this now learn a proper understanding of the subject, and how to answer the question what Baptism is, namely thus, that it is not mere ordinary water, but water comprehended in God's Word and command, and sanctified thereby, so that it is nothing else than a divine water; not that the water in itself is nobler than other water, but that God's Word and command are added.

15] Therefore it is pure wickedness and blasphemy of the devil that now our new spirits, to mock at Baptism, omit from it God's Word and institution, and look upon it in no other way than as water which is taken from the well, and then blather and say: How is a handful of water to help the soul? 16] Aye, my friend, who does not know that water is water if tearing things asunder is what we are after? But how dare you thus interfere with God's order, and tear away the most precious treasure with which God has connected and enclosed it, and which He will not have separated? For the kernel in the water is God's Word or command and the name of God, which is a treasure greater and nobler than heaven and earth.

17] Comprehend the difference, then, that Baptism is quite another thing than all other water; not on account of the natural quality but because something more noble is here added; for God Himself stakes His honor, His power and might on it. Therefore it is not only natural water, but a divine, heavenly, holy, and blessed water, and in whatever other terms we can praise it,—all on account of the Word, which is a heavenly, holy Word, that no one can sufficiently extol, for it has, and is able to do, all that God is and can do [since it has all the virtue and power of God comprised in it]. 18] Hence also it derives its essence as a Sacrament, as St. Augustine also taught: Accedat verbum ad elementum et fit sacramentum. That is, when the Word is joined to the element or natural substance, it becomes a Sacrament, that is, a holy and divine matter and sign.

19] Therefore we always teach that the Sacraments and all external things which God ordains and institutes should not be regarded according to the coarse, external mask, as we regard the shell of a nut, but as the Word of God is included therein. 20] For thus we also speak of the parental estate and of civil government. If we propose to regard them in as far as they have noses, eyes, skin, and hair, flesh and bones, they look like Turks and heathen, and some one might start up and say: Why should I esteem them more than others? But because the commandment is added: Honor thy father and thy mother, I behold a different man, adorned and clothed with the majesty and glory of God. The commandment (I say) is the chain of gold about his neck, yea, the crown upon his head, which shows to me how and why one must honor this flesh and blood.

21] Thus, and much more even, you must honor Baptism and esteem it glorious on account of the Word, since He Himself has honored it both by words and deeds; moreover, confirmed it with miracles from heaven. For do you think it was a jest that, when Christ was baptized, the heavens were opened and the Holy Ghost descended visibly, and everything was divine glory and majesty?

22] Therefore I exhort again that these two, the water and the Word, by no means be separated from one another and parted. For if the Word is separated from it, the water is the same as that with which the servant cooks' and may indeed be called a bath-keeper's baptism. But when it is added, as God has ordained, it is a Sacrament, and is called Christ-baptism. Let this be the first part, regarding the essence and dignity of the holy Sacrament.

23] In the second place, since we know now what Baptism is, and how it is to be regarded, we must also learn why and for what purpose it is instituted, that is, what it profits, gives, and works. And this also we cannot discern better than from the words of Christ above quoted: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. 24] Therefore state it most simply thus, that the power, work, profit, fruit, and end of Baptism is this, namely, to save. For no one is baptized in order that he may become a prince, but, as the words declare, that he be saved. 25] But to be saved, we know, is nothing else than to be delivered from sin, death, and the devil, and to enter into the kingdom of Christ, and to live with Him forever.

26] Here you see again how highly and precious we should esteem Baptism, because in it we obtain such an unspeakable treasure, which also indicates sufficiently that it cannot be ordinary mere water. For mere water could not do such a thing, but the Word does it, and (as said above) the fact that the name of God is comprehended therein. 27] But where the name of God is, there must be also life and salvation, that it may indeed be called a divine, blessed, fruitful, and gracious water; for by the Word such power is imparted to Baptism that it is a laver of regeneration, as St. Paul also calls it, Titus 3, 5.

28] But as our would-be wise, new spirits assert that faith alone saves, and that works and external things avail nothing, we answer: It is true, indeed, that nothing in us is of any avail but faith, as we shall hear still further. 29] But these blind guides are unwilling to see this, namely, that faith must have something which it believes, that is, of which it takes hold, and upon which it stands and rests. Thus faith clings to the water, and believes that it is Baptism, in which there is pure salvation and life; not through the water (as we have sufficiently stated), but through the fact that it is embodied in the Word and institution of God, and the name of God inheres in it. Now, if I believe this, what else is it than believing in God as in Him who has given and planted His Word into this ordinance, and proposes to us this external thing wherein we may apprehend such a treasure?

30] Now, they are so mad as to separate faith, and that to which faith clings and is bound, though it be something external. Yea, it shall and must be something external, that it may be apprehended by the senses, and understood and thereby be brought into the heart, as indeed the entire Gospel is an external, verbal preaching. In short, what God does and works in us He proposes to work through such external ordinances. Wherever, therefore, He speaks, yea, in whichever direction or by whatever means He speaks, thither faith must look, and to that it must hold. 31] Now here we have the words: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. To what else do they refer than to Baptism, that is, to the water comprehended in God's ordinance? Hence it follows that whoever rejects Baptism rejects the Word of God, faith; and Christ, who directs us thither and binds us to Baptism.

32] In the third place, since we have learned the great benefit and power of Baptism, let us see further who is the person that receives what Baptism gives and profits. 33] This is again most beautifully and clearly expressed in the words: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. That is, faith alone makes the person worthy to receive profitably the saving, divine water. For, since these blessings are here presented and promised in the words in and with the water, they cannot be received in any other way than by believing them with the heart. 34] Without faith it profits nothing, notwithstanding it is in itself a divine superabundant treasure. Therefore this single word (He that believeth) effects this much that it excludes and repels all works which we can do, in the opinion that we obtain and merit salvation by them. For it is determined that whatever is not faith avails nothing nor receives anything.

35] But if they say, as they are accustomed: Still Baptism is itself a work, and you say works are of no avail for salvation; what, then, becomes of faith? Answer: Yes, our works, indeed, avail nothing for salvation; Baptism, however, is not our work, but God's (for, as was stated, you must put Christ-baptism far away from a bath-keeper's baptism). God's works, however, are saving and necessary for salvation, and do not exclude, but demand, faith; for without faith they could not be apprehended. 36] For by suffering the water to be poured upon you, you have not yet received Baptism in such a manner that it benefits you anything; but it becomes beneficial to you if you have yourself baptized with the thought that this is according to God's command and ordinance, and besides in God's name, in order that you may receive in the water the promised salvation. Now, this the fist cannot do, nor the body; but the heart must believe it.

37] Thus you see plainly that there is here no work done by us, but a treasure which He gives us, and which faith apprehends; just as the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross is not a work, but a treasure comprehended in the Word, and offered to us and received by faith. Therefore they do us violence by exclaiming against us as though we preach against faith; while we alone insist upon it as being of such necessity that without it nothing can be received nor enjoyed.

38] Thus we have these three parts which it is necessary to know concerning this Sacrament, especially that the ordinance of God is to be held in all honor, which alone would be sufficient, though it be an entirely external thing, like the commandment, Honor thy father and thy mother, which refers to bodily flesh and blood. Therein we regard not the flesh and blood, but the commandment of God in which they are comprehended, and on account of which the flesh is called father and mother; so also, though we had no more than these words, Go ye and baptize, etc., it would be necessary for us to accept and do it as the ordinance of God. 39] Now there is here not only God's commandment and injunction, but also the promise, on account of which it is still far more glorious than whatever else God has commanded and ordained, and is, in short, so full of consolation and grace that heaven and earth cannot comprehend it. 40] But it requires skill to believe this, for the treasure is not wanting, but this is wanting that men apprehend it and hold it firmly.

41] Therefore every Christian has enough in Baptism to learn and to practise all his life; for he has always enough to do to believe firmly what it promises and brings: victory over death and the devil, forgiveness of sin, the grace of God, the entire Christ, and the Holy Ghost with His gifts. 42] In short, it is so transcendent that if timid nature could realize it, it might well doubt whether it could be true. 43] For consider, if there were somewhere a physician who understood the art of saving men from dying, or, even though they died, of restoring them speedily to life, so that they would thereafter live forever, how the world would pour in money like snow and rain, so that because of the throng of the rich no one could find access! But here in Baptism there is brought free to every one's door such a treasure and medicine as utterly destroys death and preserves all men alive.

44] Thus we must regard Baptism and make it profitable to ourselves, that when our sins and conscience oppress us, we strengthen ourselves and take comfort and say: Nevertheless I am baptized; but if I am baptized, it is promised me that I shall be saved and have eternal life, both in soul and body. 45] For that is the reason why these two things are done in Baptism, namely, that the body, which can apprehend nothing but the water, is sprinkled, and, in addition, the word is spoken for the soul to apprehend. 46] Now, since both, the water and the Word, are one Baptism, therefore body and soul must be saved and live forever: the soul through the Word which it believes, but the body because it is united with the soul and also apprehends Baptism as it is able to apprehend it. We have, therefore, no greater jewel in body and soul, for by it we are made holy and are saved, which no other kind of life, no work upon earth, can attain.

Let this suffice respecting the nature, blessing, and use of Baptism, for it answers the present purpose.

Of Infant Baptism.

47] Here a question occurs by which the devil, through his sects, confuses the world, namely, Of Infant Baptism, whether children also believe, and are justly baptized. Concerning this we say briefly: 48] Let the simple dismiss this question from their minds, and refer it to the learned. But if you wish to answer, 49] then answer thus:—

That the Baptism of infants is pleasing to Christ is sufficiently proved from His own work, namely, that God sanctifies many of them who have been thus baptized, and has given them the Holy Ghost; and that there are yet many even to-day in whom we perceive that they have the Holy Ghost both because of their doctrine and life; as it is also given to us by the grace of God that we can explain the Scriptures and come to the knowledge of Christ, which is impossible without the Holy Ghost. 50] But if God did not accept the baptism of infants, He would not give the Holy Ghost nor any of His gifts to any of them; in short, during this long time unto this day no man upon earth could have been a Christian. Now, since God confirms Baptism by the gifts of His Holy Ghost, as is plainly perceptible in some of the church fathers, as St. Bernard, Gerson, John Hus, and others, who were baptized in infancy, and since the holy Christian Church cannot perish until the end of the world, they must acknowledge that such infant baptism is pleasing to God. For He can never be opposed to Himself, or support falsehood and wickedness, or for its promotion impart His grace and Spirit. 51] This is indeed the best and strongest proof for the simple-minded and unlearned. For they shall not take from us or overthrow this article: I believe a holy Christian Church, the communion of saints.

52] Further, we say that we are not so much concerned to know whether the person baptized believes or not; for on that account Baptism does not become invalid; but everything depends upon the Word and command of God. 53] This now is perhaps somewhat acute, but it rests entirely upon what I have said, that Baptism is nothing else than water and the Word of God in and with each other, that is, when the Word is added to the water, Baptism is valid, even though faith be wanting. For my faith does not make Baptism, but receives it. Now, Baptism does not become invalid even though it be wrongly received or employed; since it is not bound (as stated) to our faith, but to the Word.

54] For even though a Jew should to-day come dishonestly and with evil purpose, and we should baptize him in all good faith, we must say that his baptism is nevertheless genuine. For here is the water together with the Word of God, even though he does not receive it as he should, just as those who unworthily go to the Sacrament receive the true Sacrament, even though they do not believe.

55] Thus you see that the objection of the sectarians is vain. For (as we have said) even though infants did not believe, which, however, is not the case, yet their baptism as now shown would be valid, and no one should rebaptize them; just as nothing is detracted from the Sacrament though some one approach it with evil purpose, and he could not be allowed on account of his abuse to take it a second time the selfsame hour, as though he had not received the true Sacrament at first; for that would mean to blaspheme and profane the Sacrament in the worst manner. How dare we think that God's Word and ordinance should be wrong and invalid because we make a wrong use of it?

56] Therefore I say, if you did not believe then believe now and say thus: The baptism indeed was right, but I, alas! did not receive it aright. For I myself also, and all who are baptized, must speak thus before God: I come hither in my faith and in that of others, yet I cannot rest in this, that I believe, and that many people pray for me; but in this I rest, that it is Thy Word and command. Just as I go to the Sacrament trusting not in my faith, but in the Word of Christ; whether I am strong or weak, that I commit to God. But this I know, that He bids me go, eat and drink, etc., and gives me His body and blood; that will not deceive me or prove false to me.

57] Thus we do also in infant baptism. We bring the child in the conviction and hope that it believes, and we pray that God may grant it faith; but we do not baptize it upon that, but solely upon the command of God. Why so? Because we know that God does not lie. I and my neighbor and, in short, all men, may err and deceive, but the Word of God cannot err.

58] Therefore they are presumptuous, clumsy minds that draw such inferences and conclusions as these: Where there is not the true faith, there also can be no true Baptism. Just as if I would infer: If I do not believe, then Christ is nothing; or thus: If I am not obedient, then father, mother, and government are nothing. Is that a correct conclusion, that whenever any one does not do what he ought, the thing in itself shall be nothing and of no value? 59] My dear, just invert the argument and rather draw this inference: For this very reason Baptism is something and is right, because it has been wrongly received. For if it were not right and true in itself, it could not be misused nor sinned against. The saying is: Abusus non tollit, sed confirmat substantiam, Abuse does not destroy the essence, but confirms it. For gold is not the less gold though a harlot wear it in sin and shame.

60] Therefore let it be decided that Baptism always remains true, retains its full essence, even though a single person should be baptized, and he, in addition, should not believe truly. For God's ordinance and Word cannot be made variable or be altered by men. 61] But these people, the fanatics, are so blinded that they do not see the Word and command of God, and regard Baptism and the magistrates only as they regard water in the brook or in pots, or as any other man; and because they do not see faith nor obedience, they conclude that they are to be regarded as invalid. 62] Here lurks a concealed seditious devil, who would like to tear the crown from the head of authority and then trample it under foot, and, in addition, pervert and bring to naught all the works and ordinances of God. 63] Therefore we must be watchful and well armed, and not allow ourselves to be directed nor turned away from the Word, in order that we may not regard Baptism as a mere empty sign, as the fanatics dream.

64] Lastly, we must also know what Baptism signifies, and why God has ordained just such external sign and ceremony for the Sacrament by which we are first received into the Christian Church. 65] But the act or ceremony is this, that we are sunk under the water, which passes over us, and afterwards are drawn out again. These two parts, to be sunk under the water and drawn out again, signify the power and operation of Baptism, which is nothing else than putting to death the old Adam, and after that the resurrection of the new man, both of which must take place in us all our lives, so that a truly Christian life is nothing else than a daily baptism, once begun and ever to be continued. For this must be practised without ceasing, that we ever keep purging away whatever is of the old Adam, and that that which belongs to the new man come forth. 66] But what is the old man? It is that which is born in us from Adam, angry, hateful, envious, unchaste, stingy, lazy, haughty, yea, unbelieving, infected with all vices, and having by nature nothing good in it. 67] Now, when we are come into the kingdom of Christ, these things must daily decrease, that the longer we live we become more gentle, more patient, more meek, and ever withdraw more and more from unbelief, avarice, hatred, envy, haughtiness.

68] This is the true use of Baptism among Christians, as signified by baptizing with water. Where this, therefore, is not practised, but the old man is left unbridled, so as to continually become stronger, that is not using Baptism, but striving against Baptism. 69] For those who are without Christ cannot but daily become worse, according to the proverb which expresses the truth, "Worse and worse—the longer, the worse." 70] If a year ago one was proud and avaricious, then he is much prouder and more avaricious this year, so that the vice grows and increases with him from his youth up. A young child has no special vice; but when it grows up, it becomes unchaste and impure, and when it reaches maturity, real vices begin to prevail the longer, the more.

71] Therefore the old man goes unrestrained in his nature if he is not checked and suppressed by the power of Baptism. On the other hand, where men have become Christians, he daily decreases until he finally perishes. That is truly to be buried in Baptism, and daily to come forth again. 72] Therefore the external sign is appointed not only for a powerful effect, but also for a signification. 73] Where, therefore, faith flourishes with its fruits, there it has no empty signification, but the work [of mortifying the flesh] accompanies it; but where faith is wanting, it remains a mere unfruitful sign.

74] And here you see that Baptism, both in its power and signification, comprehends also the third Sacrament, which has been called repentance, 75] as it is really nothing else than Baptism. For what else is repentance but an earnest attack upon the old man [that his lusts be restrained] and entering upon a new life? Therefore, if you live in repentance, you walk in Baptism, which not only signifies such a new life, but also produces, begins, and exercises it. 76] For therein are given grace, the Spirit, and power to suppress the old man, so that the new man may come forth and become strong.

77] Therefore our Baptism abides forever; and even though some one should fall from it and sin, nevertheless we always have access thereto, that we may again subdue the old man. 78] But we need not again be sprinkled with water; for though we were put under the water a hundred times, it would nevertheless be only one Baptism, although the operation and signification continue and remain. 79] Repentance, therefore, is nothing else than a return and approach to Baptism, that we repeat and practise what we began before, but abandoned.

80] This I say lest we fall into the opinion in which we were for a long time, imagining that our Baptism is something past, which we can no longer use after we have fallen again into sin. The reason is, that it is regarded only according to the external act once performed [and completed]. 81] And this arose from the fact that St. Jerome wrote that repentance is the second plank by which we must swim forth and cross over after the ship is broken, on which we step and are carried across when we come into the Christian Church. 82] Thereby the use of Baptism has been abolished so that it can profit us no longer. Therefore the statement is not correct, or at any rate not rightly understood. For the ship never breaks, because (as we have said) it is the ordinance of God, and not a work of ours; but it happens, indeed, that we slip and fall out of the ship. Yet if any one fall out, let him see to it that he swim up and cling to it till he again come into it and live in it, as he had formerly begun.

83] Thus it appears what a great, excellent thing Baptism is, which delivers us from the jaws of the devil and makes us God's own, suppresses and takes away sin, and then daily strengthens the new man; and is and remains ever efficacious until we pass from this estate of misery to eternal glory.

84] For this reason let every one esteem his Baptism as a daily dress in which he is to walk constantly, that he may ever be found in the faith and its fruits, that he suppress the old man and grow up in the new. 85] For if we would be Christians, we must practise the work whereby we are Christians. 86] But if any one fall away from it, let him again come into it. For just as Christ, the Mercy-seat, does not recede from us or forbid us to come to Him again, even though we sin, so all His treasure and gifts also remain. If, therefore, we have once in Baptism obtained forgiveness of sin, it will remain every day, as long as we live, that is, as long as we carry the old man about our neck.

10 posted on 02/16/2007 4:14:28 PM PST by lightman (The Office of the Keys should be exercised as some ministry needs to be exorcised)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: lightman

"The notes on the liturgy attribute the later to Eastern sources."

Good catch, my friend. The formulae point up the difference between the Latin and Orthodox Churches on the nature of grace, especially sacramental grace. A similar difference is seen in the words of absolution used in the sacrament of confession.

11 posted on 02/16/2007 4:15:22 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Kolokotronis; NYer
immersion, pouring and sprinkling.

Unlike many of my colleagues, I consider all three methods valid.

Were this a normal open thread, the above statement would likely get me tarred and feathered.

But, such situations can be entertaining. Cast a cynical eye towards any wedding and imagine the Throwing of the Bride's Bouquet gone terribly wrong and there you have a good mental image of tossing the "Dunker/Sprinkler" issue into mixed company.

As to the baptism of infants, you know my position and can probably guess my replies to NYer's commentary on Scripture above. Thus, I hold my peace on that issue.

12 posted on 02/16/2007 4:30:22 PM PST by Enosh (†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Kolokotronis
rejects the Western notion of Original Sin.

How do the Orthodox view it?

13 posted on 02/16/2007 4:35:18 PM PST by mockingbyrd (peace begins in the womb)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: mockingbyrd

"rejects the Western notion of Original Sin.

How do the Orthodox view it?"

That there is no such thing. Instead, we refer to the sin of Adam or ancestral sin which is not our sin at all nor is it "on" our souls at our conception but rather the corruption wrought by Adam;s sin is passed on to us sort of in our spiritual DNA. For this reason, when speaking of the baptism of infants, many of the Fathers comment that for them Baptism is not for the remission of their sins but rather for initiation into the Body of Christ by symbolically dying with Him and rising into new life with our potential for theosis, lost in the Fall, restored.

"Are we only dying with the Master and are we only sharing in His sadness? Most of all, let me say that sharing the Master's death is no sadness. Only wait a little and you shall see yourself sharing in His benefits. 'For if we have died with Him,' says St. Paul, `we believe that we shall also live together with Him.' For in baptism there are both burial and resurrection together at the same time. He who is baptized puts off the old man, takes the new and rises up, `just as Christ has arisen through the glory of the Father.' Do you see how, again, St. Paul calls baptism a resurrection?" +John Chrysostomos

14 posted on 02/16/2007 4:49:55 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: NYer

The article gives the history of the reception given to Roman Catholic converts to the Orthodox Church. Whether or not a baptism was recognized & why was the key issue explored.

15 posted on 02/16/2007 6:24:34 PM PST by GoLightly
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: 2ndMostConservativeBrdMember; afraidfortherepublic; Alas; al_c; american colleen; annalex; ...

16 posted on 02/16/2007 7:51:04 PM PST by Coleus (Roe v. Wade and Endangered Species Act both passed in 1973, Murder Babies/save trees, birds, insects)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Another wonderful thread!

17 posted on 02/16/2007 8:06:18 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer
The Early Church Fathers

The Early Church Fathers on The Church (Catholic Caucus)

Early Church Fathers on (Oral) Tradition - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus

The Early Church Fathers on Apostolic Succession - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus

The Early Church Fathers on Purgatory - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus

The Early Church Fathers on Salvation Outside the Church [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]

The Early Church Fathers on Mary’s Perpetual Virginity - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus

The Early Church Fathers on The Primacy of Peter/Rome (Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)

The Early Church Fathers on Hell - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus

The Early Church Fathers on Intercession of the Saints - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus

The Early Church Fathers on The Real Presence - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus

The Early Church Fathers on Confession / Reconciliation - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus

The Early Church Fathers on the Immaculate Conception - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus

The Early Church Fathers on Justification - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus

The Early Church Fathers on Contraception - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus

The Early Church Fathers on Baptism - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus

18 posted on 02/16/2007 8:10:48 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Kolokotronis

So do the Orthodox view man's nature as fallen, or corrupt, since Adam, but that there's no sin, per se, to be washed away in baptism? At least with infants?

19 posted on 02/17/2007 8:22:15 AM PST by mockingbyrd (peace begins in the womb)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: mockingbyrd

"So do the Orthodox view man's nature as fallen, or corrupt, since Adam, but that there's no sin, per se, to be washed away in baptism? At least with infants?"


20 posted on 02/17/2007 11:59:07 AM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson