All churches missing the point?


Luke 23:39-43 states:

Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.” The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

The point: The criminal merely accepted Jesus and he was promised to go to heaven. He didn’t have to go through batpism or the rest of the sacraments. Does this contradict the Church?

Please don’t think I’m attacking the Church. I’m a devout Catholic, but these verses are thought- provoking and make me wonder if all we need to do to achieve salvation is just accept Jesus like the criminal did.

Thank you.


You may want to read this “baptism of desire”.


The Church recognises 3 types of Baptism

Trinitine Baptism with water

Baptism of desire, for those who want to be baptised but die before if takes place, and

Baptism of blood, which is when a catechumen or someone who has not been able to be baptised, is martyred for the Faith rather than give it up.


Remember Jesus himself was baptised, and circumcised, went around with his Apostles while they baptised (John 3) and commanded them to baptise all the world just before his Ascension.

He also faithfully observed most of the feast days, such as Passover, the Sabbath and most of the commandments of a faithful Jew. Why did he do so? Certainly he didn’t need to by any stretch of the imagination. But he did so to set an example to us. The sort of faith which saves us is a faith which is externally reflected in our actions. And in observance of the requisite rites and rituals as well, at least to some extent.

Rather than just a matter of us simply saying Lord Lord. You know he stated that not all who say ‘Lord Lord’ will be saved.

The thief is a very special case - a man very close to death himself. There simply was no time or ability for the thief to get down off the cross, get himself baptised and have Christ or the Apostles lay their hands on him. They, however, did all these things for their followers.


The Resurrection & Ascension hadn’t happened until 3 days after Jesus’ death on the Cross. The Salvific Act hadn’t been finished. Therefore; ‘Paradise’ Jesus was talking about was the Bosom of Abraham or Hades of the Old Testament. The Good Thief would be in Heaven 3 days after the death on the Cross happened and Jesus conquered the gates of Death.


I would argue that the actions of the “Good Thief” are far more than just accepting Jesus. I don’t know of anything greater that he could have done than speaking up in defense of our Lord Jesus Christ! We should always take into account the situation of the person professing his belief.

Part of the punishment of crucifixion was being mocked and ridiculed while you hung there near death. In ancient Rome it was considered patriotism to scorn those who had been crucified by the state by scoffing at them and throwing trash (or worse) on them. Most Jews of course didn’t participate in this activity, because they were not really willing supporters of Rome, but we clearly see the Roman soldiers ridiculing Jesus. And, if I can get inside the mind of the bad thief for moment, what better way to shift any scorn off yourself than to pick on somebody else.

This of course is exactly what the Good Thief does NOT do. He speaks on behalf of Jesus, defending the seemingly defenseless. Also, note that he does admit in front of Jesus his own guilt and just condemnation. While not of the form of present day confessions, I would accept this. It appears that Jesus did.


You can’t base your entire theology on one short quote from the Bible. What is described here is the first step on our journey towards heaven, and the last step if you die soon enough. Jesus Himself, tells us what else we have to do. Catholic theology is based on the teachings of the entire new testament, not just bits and pieces as are some denominations. For starters, go back and read Matthew 25, beginning at verse 31.


There is no contradiction. The Church teaches:
God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1257)


I forgot to finish my thought I was typing out… since Jesus would not have been raised from the dead till 3 days later, there were no Sacraments.


If a Protestant uses this passage as a jumping off point for a discussion about Catholicism, then I would mention a few points, most of which have already been made:

  1. The Church recognizes three kinds of Baptism, and only one of them is by water.
  2. The Apostles were baptizing before Jesus’ death on the cross, so it’s entirely possible that the “good thief” was baptized.
  3. During Confession, the priest stands in the place of Christ. At the scene of the Crucifixion, Christ Himself was there. It could be read that the scene between the thief and Jesus was a form of the Sacrament of Confession- all the more reinforcement for the sacrament.



The good thief was present at the sacrifice of Calvary. The Mass is a representation of that sacrifice, and thus essential for everybody, except those present at the event itself. Just as those present on that day in Dallas are the only Americans who can’t remember what they were doing when they heard that Kennedy had been assassinated.


So baptism by water is that only for babies or do adult or children get baptised?

And if so, is the the diping in water or like the babies and a sprinkle?:confused:


A person of any age who has not previously been baptised may be baptised and baptised either by immersion or by pouring.


You know papaspicy, I never really thought about the ridiculing that was part of the crucifixion process. Thank you for your insight. I learn something new every day coming to the CA forums.:newidea:


Well…If he could have he would have come down of the cross, repented of his sins, gotten Baptised, and gone into the world trying to sin no more. He was kinda stuck there.


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