2 Questions on the Early Church and Scripture

I was debating with my friend whos Protestant and I was saying how Baptism’s necessary to salvation, and gave her numerous Church Fathers (as early as 80 AD) reinforcing it’s necesity. So she claimed that they all diverted from truth and they “must have” lost it after the apostles.

  1. I don’t know how to respond to her belief that Jesus’s disciples all believed in “faith alone”, then the Church Fathers perverted the doctrine right after they died, then for 1500 years til Martin Luther, the Church got salvation completely wrong. That idea’s so absurd, I don’t know how to respond. Any thoughts?

  2. She also wrote that because Paul never wrote about Baptism as saving people, it didn’t. How do I respond?

I hate to say it, but is she one of those “don’t cast your pearls before swine” people?

The only other people I know of who say the Church lost it after the apostles are the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Muslims. Tell her she’s no different and see what she has to say for herself.

I would say let the baptism issue go for now, because it’s a bit nitpicky and ultimately it hangs on whether or not the Church lost it.

  1. Many protestant misunderstand what Catholics mean by salvation through faith and works. It’s not as though the catholic thinks that by doing good works they can earn salvation. Salvation is a free gift by God through grace. However it does not mean that is the end of the story. We believe that we comply with grace by works prepared for us by Christ and that he gives us the means in order to complete those works (Phil 2: 12-13). When a builder takes on a new apprentice the employee has not earned his position but received the free gift of employment. By himself the apprentice cannot complete the work expected of him. Yet his employer trust that with the right guidance and help the apprentice can handle the required work and thus merit/ keep his employment status. The only scripture that says faith alone condemns it if it is without works (James 2:24). Paul stats,” God will give to each according to his works”. To those that “persists in doing good seek glory, honour and immortality, he will give eternal life” (Rom 2:6-8). Jesus himself never advocates the doctrine of faith alone. Ask your friend to explain the separation of the sheep and goats (Matt 25: 31-46).

  2. Paul writes in Rom 6:4 that we have died to our former selves in baptism in order that we are raised from the death and receive a new life. Jesus said in John 3:5 that no one can have eternal live unless they are “born a new” through spirit and water (baptism). Obviously the two verses are consistent with each other. Paul also travelled to see Peter in order that Paul’s doctrine was the same (Gal 2:9). He may have opposed Peter but not because of Peters teaching but because Peter failed to practice what he preached as stipulated in Acts 15. Peter, consistent with Paul and Jesus wrote “baptism now saves you” (1st Peter 3:21).

Some times when arguing from church history does not help use the bible. 

youtube.com/watch?v=ykU8Ku4ENDs

youtube.com/watch?v=wlcinxP56AE&feature=related

Frankly it has been my expreience that such people cannot be convinced by any argument whether scriptural or not. If Not Scriptural they put no trust in it for that reason, if it is Scriptural then they tell you that you understand the citation wrong. :shrug: It really becomes a no win situation. Only the Holy Spirit can open her eyes.

However, in regards to question one, I would fall back on the same argument I would use with a Mormon. She is using a bible canon (NT) that was established around 400 AD by Ecumenical Church Councils - Long after she claims error had entered the Church. Therefore she is basing her entire theology (Bible alone) on a canon that was established by (in her view) an already corrupted Church.

Realize though that this line of argument will not likely make a dent in her position. As I said earlier, nothing really will. The best you can do is to plant a few seeds that will perhaps later grow through teh action of the Holy Spirit.

Peace
James

I had a pretty powerful conversion experience…I wasn’t water baptized til a year later.
I got up from my knees after a time of repentance and committing my life to Christ and felt a weight lifted from my shoulders…I went home and felt washed and clean and felt bathed in a cocoon of love…This lasted for hours…My coworker/druggie friend had the same experience the same year and was water baptized much later…Right off the bat our coworkers wondered what happened to us as we were changing our lives and talking about Jesus right from the get go…Were we saved at the moment of our confession/repentance and choosing to follow Christ or was it only down the road after we were water baptized…Seemed pretty clear to us
that we were in Christ right from the start…Peter preached his first evangelistic message and three thousand were saved that day and added to the church…I’m willing to bet they weren’t all water baptized at that same moment yet they were added to the church that day…We tend to put God in a box and think He only works according to our formula, that isn’t always the case…

Acts 2:41 They therefore that received his word, were baptized; and there were added in that day about three thousand souls.

John 3:5 Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Mark 1:4 John was in the desert baptizing, and preaching the baptism of penance, unto remission of sins.

Acts 19:4-6

4 Then Paul said: John baptized the people with the baptism of penance, saying: That they should believe in him who was to come after him, that is to say, in Jesus.
5 Having heard these things, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6 And when Paul had imposed his hands on them, the Holy Ghost came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

Seems pretty obvious that they WERE baptized with the baptism of Water and the Holy Spirit.

As to the OP. These people can only be converted to the truth by fasting and prayer. Remember that there is nothing you can do to convert them to understanding of the truth. It is only God who enacts any true conversion. So dont be discouraged, keep living the Truth (Christ) and shining Christs love into the world and remember that you are the conduit God uses to bring His Grace into the world.

Step 1)Pray for her
Step 2) when you are done, pray for her again.
Step 3) repeat steps 1 and 2 until God enacts her conversion (not necessarily to the true faith, but to a true understanding of God’s word).

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"Acts 2:41 They therefore that received his word, were baptized; and there were added in that day about three thousand souls.

John 3:5 Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Mark 1:4 John was in the desert baptizing, and preaching the baptism of penance, unto remission of sins.

Acts 19:4-6

Seems pretty obvious that they WERE baptized with the baptism of Water and the Holy Spirit. "

Hey I stand corrected, Sorry, I apologize for that…I should have just stuck to my personal experience…I have no problem with baptism it’s part of our maturity…I’m
just relaying what happened in my conversion experience…I just see God working
outside of our formulas…

Thank you for your humilty here.
As to "formula’s it should be remembered thet, as far as salvation goes, Goe made the “fomulas”. In this regard it is more a matter of our properly understanding the formula’s than in God working outside of them.

In the case of baptism, conversion in the spirit must always begin before water baptism. Otherwise no one would willingly get baptized. Yet, while this inward change must begin before the outward sign, the outward sign of baptism is still a necessary part of the formula according to Christ Himself. That is unless some extra ordinary circumstances prevent it.

Perhaps I can equate it to your conversion story this way. You commented that after your conversion, your coworkers immediately noticed a change in you. This change must have been manifested by certain exterior acts like no longer cussing, or drinking or gossipping etc. These acts, generated by your new interior peace, made an impression on others.
Baptism is, in a sence, the exterior act of committment to Christ that you have already made in your heart. It tells others of your committment. It physically and corporially, as well as spiritually, binds you into the Church. And, because it is sacramenta, this act, or “work” done out of Love for and obedience to Christ, merits many graces just as other works of charity do, not for our merit, but for our Love for Him who Loves us.

Peace
James

=Hiskid1973;6929188]I had a pretty powerful conversion experience…**I wasn’t water baptized til a year later.**I got up from my knees after a time of repentance and committing my life to Christ and felt a weight lifted from my shoulders…I went home and felt washed and clean and felt bathed in a cocoon of love…This lasted for hours

That doesn’t mean that you were “saved” at that moment and you were “saved” forever no matter what sins you may commit in the future…
That was God’s grace moving you toward HIm. Catholics call that active grace. We see active grace here: "the Spirit breathes where it will and you hear his voice and you know not when he comes and where he goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” John 3:8
To get this transalation you have to go to the original Greek. In Greek the word for “wind” is pneuma {pnyoo’-mah} which means Spirit and the Greek word for “sound” is phone (fo-nay’) which means voice. That is how Jerome translated it in the 4th century.

You were born again when you were water baptized in the name of the Father , the Son and the Holy Spirit. It was at that point that grace was infused into your soul and you became a child of God.

So say I would have died a week later in a car wreck, you don’t think I would have been saved after I repented of my sins and choose to belief on His name?Also, I haven’t forgot about your question, I’ll get back to you this week…Anyway, I still think we try to contain the Lord saying He only does things this way or that…He knows how to get us where He needs to in His timing…God Bless

Sorry to the OP for the rabbit trail…

If that were the case, that inner conversion must be enacted before baptism, then how can the Catholic Church baptize infants? And how could Paul tell people to go and baptize their entire family? No requirement for conversion, although that is implicitly understood, just go and baptize your family?

The issue is not with those who, for whatever reason, cannot be baptized or who pass on before baptism. The issue is with those that deny the necessity of baptism either by publicly denying its efficacy at enacting our entry into the Body of Christ and the deposition of the Holy Spirit in us, or by completely refusing baptism (which implicitly contains the first).

Your case is not unique, I know many people with similar experiences, but your case is also not the rule. Conversion of the heart is not required prior to baptism unless one is of age to make that decision. If that were the case, then your baptism could be invalidated by future refusal or sin and that is just not possible. It is preferable that an adult would have a conversion experience that is lived out prior to baptism, but that would exclude those who are baptized on their deathbed with no chance for an outward conversion.

In the case of children (infants) they cannot make that decision, but their parents faith and oath to raise their children with the faith is acceptable. If you want better discourses on Baptism, there are some great ones in the library here.

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Also Paul teaches that through baptism we have died with Christ and our re-entry into the world is in a sense our coming into new life with Christ.

Acts 2:38 “But Peter said to them: Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

Acts 8:12 “But when they had believed Philip preaching of the kingdom of God, in the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.”

Acts 10:48 “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then they desired him to tarry with them some days.” Note that he did not request that they be baptized, it was a command

Romans 6:3-11

3 Know you not that all we, who are baptized in Christ Jesus, are baptized in his death?
4 For we are buried together with him by baptism into death; that as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.
6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin may be destroyed, to the end that we may serve sin no longer.
7 For he that is dead is justified from sin.
8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall live also together with Christ:
9 Knowing that Christ rising again from the dead, dieth now no more, death shall no more have dominion over him.
10 For in that he died to sin, he died once; but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God:
11 So do you also reckon, that you are dead to sin, but alive unto God, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

When you use the word “do penance” is that the same as repentance?
He says " repent" first and then baptism…I have no issues with baptism after repentance, but then you say this : "Conversion of the heart is not required prior to baptism’’. To me the conversion of the heart id the acknowledgment of my sin, repenting of it and choosing to follow Him…Maybe we are just misunderstanding each other with our word usage ?

Sorry to the OP for the rabbit trail…

This is a good question.
My response was to a person who had a conversion experience after tehy came to the age of reason. At that point, no one could baptize him against his will.

As for infant baptism, this is done for the remission of original sin. it also stands as an external committment on the part of the parents and Godparents to raise the Child in the faith.
Later, when the Child has reach the age of reason, we perform another ceremony called confirmation, and repeat our baptismal vows, and the bishop lays hands upon us to receive the Holy Spirit and enter fully into the “royal priesthood” of believers.

Adults and teens who enter the Catholic Church, are baptized and confirmed immediately.

As a parallel, in judaism, a boy is circumsized as an infant. Later he becomes a “man” at his Bar-mitsvah (sp?)

Peace
James

What happens there before the baptism? Are they asked if they acknowledge their sin and choose to repent of their way and follow Christ…I mean they just don’t say I want to be baptized and your church does it…Like I shared, I am not used to and processes I heard the scriptures and the Holy Spirit brought me under deep conviction. Thanks for the charitable dialogue…

Acts 2:38 “But Peter said to them: Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

Acts 8:12 “But when they had believed Philip preaching of the kingdom of God, in the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.”

Acts 10:48 “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then they desired him to tarry with them some days.”

Romans 6:3-11

3 Know you not that all we, who are baptized in Christ Jesus, are baptized in his death?
4 For we are buried together with him by baptism into death; that as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.
6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin may be destroyed, to the end that we may serve sin no longer.
7 For he that is dead is justified from sin.
8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall live also together with Christ:
9 Knowing that Christ rising again from the dead, dieth now no more, death shall no more have dominion over him.
10 For in that he died to sin, he died once; but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God:
11 So do you also reckon, that you are dead to sin, but alive unto God, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Is “do penance” the same as repentance? No. CCC quote:

(1434)The interior penance of the Christian can be expressed in many and various ways. Scripture and the Fathers insist above all on three forms, fasting, prayer, and almsgiving,31 which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others.

You are absolutely correct in your understanding of a “Conversion of the heart”, but how can that be a requirement since Christ taught us to have the faith of Children and to suffer the little ones to come unto him? We should refuse the cleansing of original sin to children because they cannot have a true conversion event (in most cases)? That does not make a whole lot of sense IMHO.

Penance is the outward sign of internal repentance. There are two types of repentance, perfect and imperfect.
SIMPLE EXPLANATION: Perfect repentance is that repentance which comes about out of pure love for God. Imperfect is that repentance which comes about out of fear of just punishment.

THIS is most likely just a semantic argument, I agree. But, I adamantly disagree with the statement that conversion is an absolute requirement to receive baptism, since baptism is that Sacrament which cleanses us of sin, original and actual. In cases where actual (personal) sin is absent (infants) it still effects the cleansing of original sin.

Also, as James explained below, in Judaic tradition, infants were circumcised at 8 days to signal their entrance into the Tribe/family/people chosen by God. Paul teaches in 2 Collossians 2:11-12

11 In whom also you are circumcised with circumcision not made by hand, in despoiling of the body of the flesh, but in the circumcision of Christ:
12 Buried with him in baptism, in whom also you are risen again by the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him up from the dead.

So if Baptism is the New Circumcision (the circumcision of Christ since Christ is the savior of the physically circumcised and the uncircumcised) and Circumcision enacted the infants entry into judaism (in a sense) then how can we refuse to follow this? God commanded us to be baptized for cleansing of sins and reception of the Holy Spirit, Paul then defines baptism as the new circumcision which was performed on the 8th day of life, so how can we refuse that.

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Your understanding of the requirements TO BE baptized as an adult is in line with that of our Holy Mother Church. The disagreement (small though it is) is over infant baptism… I am not sure how we digressed to this, but I am pretty sure it was my fault :thumbsup: so I apologize for the hijacking.

Yea, I guess your right…Hey I’ll take half the blame, you are answering me…:wink:
There is so much to how we enter the church…I was on the outside and entered in from a powerful conversion experience…I devoured the scriptures and saw the life changed by the heart conversions…I saw conversions of house who chose believe
knowing babies must be involved but not specifics to if the actual babies were immersed…My own beloved daughter at somewhere between 6-7 felt conviction in heart of her sin wanting to ask Jesus to change her heart…We tend to believe along the lines of our own responses to the message of the Cross…Grace and peace to you…Hijacking over back to topic…

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