An evangelical once told me some typical BLTOOC (Bible-line-taken-out-of-context) that Paul said in 1 Cor 1:18 something like “Christ sent me not to baptize but to preach the good news of salvation”, that baptism is not part of the Gospel/good news. It appears that in the Douay-Rheims (newadvent.org/bible/1co001.htm) it’s actually line 17. Had a couple of questions here to help me with a good response.
The verse is a bit troubling in the “not to baptize” part. This can’t be exclusive? Preaching the Gospel to save souls is primary, but I’d think that baptism is also important. This would call into question the necessary baptism to babies, etc.
It’s not that Paul didn’t baptize…scripture records that he did. It’s that he saw his primary role as that of an evangelist.
Today, most baptisms are performed by priests and not by the bishops. Although Bishops are priests, their election to the episcopacy has given them a different primary function within the Church–though they may perform an occasional baptism now and them. Even the pope baptized a significant convert this Easter, but no one would say that baptizing is the Holy Father’s most important duty.
As for the baptism of infants, scripture does not give specific instructions either for or against the practice (though infant baptism can be inferred from numerous passages). The reason for this silence is simple: there was no need for Paul to speak of an obvious and well-known practice.
Similarly, there is no need for you to order a “hot dog *and *a bun”…you simply order a hot dog and the bun is understood as being included. Early Christians were told to “repent and believe the Good News”, but immediate baptism was understood to be that necessary means by which salvation occurred.
Remember, too, that Deacons are permitted to administer the Sacrament of Baptism in the Church. Really, any baptized Catholic may baptize if there is a grave risk of someone dying without the Sacrament. This was common in hospitals, especially if newborns were very sick and in danger of dying before a priest could arrive. I have a friend who is a convert, she is a nurse, and she said part of her RN training was learning how to properly baptize a baby if requested to do so. Hope this helps a bit, too.
the verse also highlights the order in which Jesus ranked the commissions to the apostles, go therefore and spread the good news to all nations, baptising them in the name of the Trinity, and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. as the GDC reminds us, that is the order in which we are to proceed with evangelization: first share the gospel, then baptize, then continue instruction until the baptized know and heed all the belief and practice of the faith.
Thanks for the responses. I especially like the last one, as I’d like to reflect upon some authority (the Bible, writings of the Fathers of the Church, etc.) I understand and appreciate the other responses too, though no direct reflection from an authoritative source was provided.
Actually. In the case of necessity, anyone, even a non baptized person can baptize with the required intention to baptize. That intention is to will to do what the Church does when she baptizes.
We know that the apostles did baptize by John 4: 1-3
Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself was not baptizing, just his disciples), he left Judea and returned to Galilee.
Your friend needs to look at the context of Paul’s words. He’s saying this with relief because he’s worried that the Corinthians are following those that baptized them instead of Jesus. Notice that the preceding verses to understand why Paul says this:
For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers, by Chloe’s people, that there are rivalries among you.*** 12 ****** I mean that each of you is saying, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.”****** 13 *** Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?*** 14 ****** I give thanks (to God) that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius,****** 15 ****** so that no one can say you were baptized in my name.***
And don’t forget Paul’s actions with the jailer in Acts 16. After the earthquake the jailer comes to believe.
He took them in at that hour of the night and bathed their wounds; then he and all his family were baptized at once.