Hi All --- get back to this discussion....
Let me see if I can summarize this --- and especially in regard to infant baptism:
We know that without God taking the initiative in our salvation (and his grace conferred on us), man is unable to respond appropriately in faith to him by our OWN efforts alone. Essentially because our eyes our "blinded". This is why we need grace --- which is precisely what the COuncil of Orange stated (in response to the heresy of Pelagianism)
Presumably: Calvinists believe it is God's arbitrary "election" that removes those blinders -- so that they can then believe (except, I'm not sure I understand the logic that the "Elect" STILL must beleve, and respond in faith. That doesn't seem to square either with the ideas of "Irresistable Grace" and "Perseverance" of the elect).
Catholics believe that for infants (or children unable to commit ACTUAL, personal) sin, the "blinders" are essentially removed by baptism.
Is this accurate?
I WAS, in fact, baptized as an infant in the Lutheran church --- and yet, I lived a life of pretty active sin in my teen years, with little awareness of God in my life.
At age 18, I made a commitment of faith and essentially "gave my life over" to Christ. Some might say the reason I was able to even respond in faith to God was because of my initial baptism. Perhaps: And yet, I'm pretty sure there are many out there who "come to faith" in God without having been first baptized as an infant.
So -- I guess I can agree that baptism is "normative" for all people to be saved -- and yet, based on the stories of many people out there ---- MANY come to Christ in the "extraordinary way" by simply "repenting and asking Jesus into their lives" (although, Protestants would call this the "ordinary way".