Baptism Necessary or Unnecessary?


#1

I am debating a protestant on this topic. I have provided the historical case on the issue with the help of the Fathers, however he is trying to use the fathers for his position. I don’t have much time to critique the entire post so I was hoping to get some help from any of you.

The first thing I notice is that Justin Martyr is discussing baptism prior to Christ. I don’t know the background of the letter of Justin so I am not sure what his point is in his writing. Anyhow, here is the post:

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Justyn Martyr
Chapter XIV.-Righteousness is Not Placed in Jewish Rites, But in the Conversion of the Heart Given in Baptism

By reason, therefore, of this laver of repentance and knowledge of God, which has been ordained on account of the transgression of God’s people, as Isaiah cries, we have believed, and testify that that very baptism which he announced is alone able to purify those who have repented; and this is the water of life. But the cisterns which you have dug for yourselves are broken and profitless to you. For what is the use of that baptism which cleanses the flesh and body alone? Baptize the soul from wrath and from covetousness, from envy, and from hatred; and, lo! the body is pure. Those who have repented first.

It seems he thought salvation was attained through:

"For Isaiah did not send you to a bath, there to wash away murder and other sins, which not even all the water of the sea were sufficient to purge; but, as might have been expected, this was that saving bath of the olden time which followed26 those who repented, and who no longer were purified by the blood of goats and of sheep, or by the ashes of an heifer, or by the offerings of fine flour,** but by faith through the blood of Christ, and through His death, who died for this very reason,** as Isaiah himself said, when he spake thus: `The Lord shall make bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the nations and the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God.

The First Apology of Justin LXI
As many as are persuaded and believe that what we teach and say is true, and undertake to be able to live accordingly, are instructed to pray and to entreat God with fasting, for the remission of their sins that are past, we praying and fasting with them. Repenting through prayer to Christ.

and may obtain in the water the remission of sins formerly committed, there is pronounced over him who chooses to be born again,** and has repented of his sins, the name of God the Father and Lord of the universe;** Repenting first then being baptized.


#2

Proof that Christianity in medieval times was some what less than Christian, but more about forced and false convictions.

History of the Christian Church, Schaff, 1910 edition
The mediaeval Christianization was a wholesale conversion, or a conversion of nations under the command of their leaders. It was carried on not only by missionaries and by spiritual means, but also by political influence, alliances of heathen princes with Christian wives, and in some cases (as the baptism of the Saxons under Charlemagne) by military force. It was a conversion not to the primary Christianity of inspired apostles, as laid down in the New Testament, but to the secondary Christianity of ecclesiastical tradition, as taught by the fathers, monks and popes. It was a baptism by water, rather than by fire and the Holy spirit

the vast Roman state could not so easily and quickly lay aside its heathen traditions and customs; it perpetuated them under Christian names. The great mass of the people received, at best, only John’s baptism of repentance, not Christ’s baptism of the Holy Ghost and of fireSpirit. The preceding instruction amounted to little or nothing; even the baptismal formula, mechanically recited in Latin, was scarcely understood.

History of the Christian Church, Schaff, 1910 edition
In strictness, not a single one of the ante-Nicene fathers fairly agrees with the Roman standard of doctrine in all points. Even Irenaeus and Cyprian differed from the Roman bishop, the former in reference to Chiliasm and Montanism, the latter on the validity of heretical baptism.

The fact that the ante-Nicene Fathers barely agree with each other regarding Roman Catholic doctrine is very curious and very unsettling. The reason being we know for a fact that the Apostles agreed upon the doctrines that were being taught by themselves. We know that when they didn’t agree that they eventually did. They corrected each other; however this is a different subject and was mentioned only to show that the early church Fathers are unreliable sources to draw historical information from regarding early Christian practices.

Here is some more of the same:

History of the Christian Church, Schaff, 1910 edition
Among the dogmas repudiated were transubstantiation and the sacerdotal theory of the priesthood. The validity of infant baptism was also quite widely denied, and the Cathari abandoned water baptism altogether. The worship of the cross and other images was regarded as idolatry. Oaths and even military service were renounced. Bernard Guy, inquisitor-general of Toulouse and our chief authority for the heretical beliefs current in Southern France in the fourteenth century, says946 that the doctrine of transubstantiation was denied on the ground that, if Christ’s body had been as large as the largest mountain, …

Emperor Constantine founder of Roman Catholicism:
History of the Christian Church, Schaff, 1910 edition
from Romanism to Protestantism, have so wavered between their old and their new position that they might be claimed by both. With his every victory, over his pagan rivals, Galerius, Maxentius, and Licinius, his personal leaning to Christianity and his confidence in the magic power of the sign of the cross increased; yet he did not formally renounce heathenism, and did not receive baptism until, in 337, he was laid upon the bed of death.

The “conversion” of the Emperor Constantine, though not followed, till he was dying, by baptism, led not merely to the toleration but to the protection and, as it…

The Ben. note appositely points out that any astonishment, such as expressed by Tillemont, at the consecration of a neophyte, is quite out of place, in view of the exigencies of the times and the practice of postponing baptism. **St. Ambrose at Milan and Nectarius at Constantinople were not even “neophytes,” but were actually unbaptized at the time of their appointment to their respective sees. **“If there is any one among the lately baptized,” argues the Ben. note, is tantamount to saying “If there is any one fit to be bishop.” 4 e’i/te e’n baquw=. This is understood by Balsamon and Zonaras to include Presbyters, Deacons, and sub -deacons; while the ministry conferred without imposition of hands …

St. Ambrose was unbaptized before his given office, does that not mean that he shouldn’t of have been considered for office? By all accounts, biblically and Roman Catholically it seems this was the case


#3

[quote=michaelgazin]Proof that Christianity in medieval times was some what less than Christian, but more about forced and false convictions.

History of the Christian Church, Schaff, 1910 edition
The mediaeval Christianization was a wholesale conversion, or a conversion of nations under the command of their leaders. It was carried on not only by missionaries and by spiritual means, but also by political influence, alliances of heathen princes with Christian wives, and in some cases (as the baptism of the Saxons under Charlemagne) by military force. It was a conversion not to the primary Christianity of inspired apostles, as laid down in the New Testament, but to the secondary Christianity of ecclesiastical tradition, as taught by the fathers, monks and popes. It was a baptism by water, rather than by fire and the Holy spirit

the vast Roman state could not so easily and quickly lay aside its heathen traditions and customs; it perpetuated them under Christian names. The great mass of the people received, at best, only John’s baptism of repentance, not Christ’s baptism of the Holy Ghost and of fireSpirit. The preceding instruction amounted to little or nothing; even the baptismal formula, mechanically recited in Latin, was scarcely understood.

History of the Christian Church, Schaff, 1910 edition
In strictness, not a single one of the ante-Nicene fathers fairly agrees with the Roman standard of doctrine in all points. Even Irenaeus and Cyprian differed from the Roman bishop, the former in reference to Chiliasm and Montanism, the latter on the validity of heretical baptism.

The fact that the ante-Nicene Fathers barely agree with each other regarding Roman Catholic doctrine is very curious and very unsettling. The reason being we know for a fact that the Apostles agreed upon the doctrines that were being taught by themselves. We know that when they didn’t agree that they eventually did. They corrected each other; however this is a different subject and was mentioned only to show that the early church Fathers are unreliable sources to draw historical information from regarding early Christian practices.

Here is some more of the same:

History of the Christian Church, Schaff, 1910 edition
Among the dogmas repudiated were transubstantiation and the sacerdotal theory of the priesthood. The validity of infant baptism was also quite widely denied, and the Cathari abandoned water baptism altogether. The worship of the cross and other images was regarded as idolatry. Oaths and even military service were renounced. Bernard Guy, inquisitor-general of Toulouse and our chief authority for the heretical beliefs current in Southern France in the fourteenth century, says946 that the doctrine of transubstantiation was denied on the ground that, if Christ’s body had been as large as the largest mountain, …

Emperor Constantine founder of Roman Catholicism:
History of the Christian Church, Schaff, 1910 edition
from Romanism to Protestantism, have so wavered between their old and their new position that they might be claimed by both. With his every victory, over his pagan rivals, Galerius, Maxentius, and Licinius, his personal leaning to Christianity and his confidence in the magic power of the sign of the cross increased; yet he did not formally renounce heathenism, and did not receive baptism until, in 337, he was laid upon the bed of death.

The “conversion” of the Emperor Constantine, though not followed, till he was dying, by baptism, led not merely to the toleration but to the protection and, as it…

The Ben. note appositely points out that any astonishment, such as expressed by Tillemont, at the consecration of a neophyte, is quite out of place, in view of the exigencies of the times and the practice of postponing baptism. **St. Ambrose at Milan and Nectarius at Constantinople were not even “neophytes,” but were actually unbaptized at the time of their appointment to their respective sees. **“If there is any one among the lately baptized,” argues the Ben. note, is tantamount to saying “If there is any one fit to be bishop.” 4 e’i/te e’n baquw=. This is understood by Balsamon and Zonaras to include Presbyters, Deacons, and sub -deacons; while the ministry conferred without imposition of hands …

St. Ambrose was unbaptized before his given office, does that not mean that he shouldn’t of have been considered for office? By all accounts, biblically and Roman Catholically it seems this was the case
[/quote]

It would help if you would read up-to-date historical sources and not a work from 1910 written by an evangelical anglican with anti-catholic prejudices.


#4

[quote=DreadVandal]It would help if you would read up-to-date historical sources and not a work from 1910 written by an evangelical anglican with anti-catholic prejudices.
[/quote]

Do you know much about the author? I’m unfamiliar with him.


#5

[quote=michaelgazin]Do you know much about the author? I’m unfamiliar with him.
[/quote]

Schaff was a decent historian, but he was an evangelical Anglican with a bias against Rome. Also, there has been a great deal of progress in the scholarship dealing with Church history, especially the patristic era and the medieval period, in the last 30 years. Schaff was writing in a time when Adolph Harnack’s work was still dominant. Harnack was known for articulating the thesis that Greek paganism had corrupted the original, pure Judaistic Christianity. The result of this was, according to Harnack, Roman Catholicism. While Harnack was a brilliant man, he was overly influenced by certain idealistic methodologies that were dominant in the 19th century and close analysis of ancient texts have shown that his split between Jewish Christianity and hellenistic paganism was much too simplistic. Its certainly fine to read Schaff. Just know that he is writing in 1910 and, to some extent, his views reflect the spirit of the times. The same is true of Church history today. That is why we should always be a little reserved in our acceptance of the latest theories concerning the “historical Jesus,” the development of doctrine, and the evolution of hte Church. We may find that 50 years from now our theories are quite out of sync with the evidence.


#6

In the Catholic church there is no such thing as
Baptism of MERE water. In Catholic baptism, when the
Trinity is invoked as the water is poured over the person’s head,
the Holy Spirit comes down into the person and effects regeneration, the baptism by the Holy Spirit. Schaff was way off base in what he asserted.

Baptism is necessary for salvation.
But for those who INTEND to be baptized but for some reason are unable to, (say, for instance, they get hit by a truck on their way to being baptized), “baptism of desire” will avail them unto salvation, according to the Catechism of the Council of Trent.

Love,
Jaypeeto3


#7

[quote=DreadVandal]Schaff was a decent historian, but he was an evangelical Anglican with a bias against Rome. Also, there has been a great deal of progress in the scholarship dealing with Church history, especially the patristic era and the medieval period, in the last 30 years. Schaff was writing in a time when Adolph Harnack’s work was still dominant. Harnack was known for articulating the thesis that Greek paganism had corrupted the original, pure Judaistic Christianity. The result of this was, according to Harnack, Roman Catholicism. While Harnack was a brilliant man, he was overly influenced by certain idealistic methodologies that were dominant in the 19th century and close analysis of ancient texts have shown that his split between Jewish Christianity and hellenistic paganism was much too simplistic. Its certainly fine to read Schaff. Just know that he is writing in 1910 and, to some extent, his views reflect the spirit of the times. The same is true of Church history today. That is why we should always be a little reserved in our acceptance of the latest theories concerning the “historical Jesus,” the development of doctrine, and the evolution of hte Church. We may find that 50 years from now our theories are quite out of sync with the evidence.
[/quote]

Thanks for that info!


#8

[quote=Jaypeeto3]In the Catholic church there is no such thing as
Baptism of MERE water. In Catholic baptism, when the
Trinity is invoked as the water is poured over the person’s head,
the Holy Spirit comes down into the person and effects regeneration, the baptism by the Holy Spirit. Schaff was way off base in what he asserted.

Baptism is necessary for salvation.
But for those who INTEND to be baptized but for some reason are unable to, (say, for instance, they get hit by a truck on their way to being baptized), “baptism of desire” will avail them unto salvation, according to the Catechism of the Council of Trent.

Love,
Jaypeeto3
[/quote]

Thanks Jaypeeto. Do you have any comments about Justin Martyr’s quotes. Of course Justin has other writings about being born again through baptism, but instead of having a copy and paste war, I would like to succinctly show him why Justin Martyr’s quotes above don’t mean what he thinks they mean.

Peace


#9

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