Catholic Baptism vs. Protestant Baptism

I was just talking to my Baptist friend, and I brought up baptism… and I was discussing how someones mom I know wouldnt let them get baptized (in a protestant church) when they were a teenager because they had only attended the church a couple of times, this person however believes in Jesus etc…
My friend then replied to me- “well what is baptism”.

  • I know that baptism in the Protestant vs. Catholic sense of things is different because Protestants feel like they choose to get baptized. Anyways- she told me that this person would have no idea what they are doing only going a couple of times to church… clearly she would not approve of infant baptism (I dont think we’ve discussed this).

My question is why is there such a different belief between Protestants and Catholics on baptism, what does my friend technically believe instead of what Catholic believe?

-I dont mean this to offend anyone, but I find it strange how a lot of Protestants claim that we dont get to chose whether or not we get baptized, yet 80% of the Protestants I know are between the ages of 7-10 when they get baptized. I’m pretty sure I didnt have a “choice” in having my First Holy Communion, it was just something we were supposed to do in second grade. Which is technically the same thing that happens for them, they get baptized because their “parents, society” etc, has decided that that age frame is the right time to get baptized…

Not intending to speak for others, but my impression is they view Baptism not unlike you and I view Confirmation, requiring the age of reason to believe and accept Christ as savior. Generally, they do not see Baptism as a sacrament, having a salvific nature, and providing forgiveness of sins. You and I would say Baptism is an act of God, is necessary to salvation, and that it contradicts scripture to deny it to infants. They would say that Baptism should affirm saving faith. Once again, my own impression.


My Protestant veiw on Baptism is a simple one really. Before learning a bit about Catholicism words and phrases like sacramental, and age of reason seemed foreign to me.

I choose to get baptized at the age of fourteen. It was my decision and no pastor would have told me no or refuse to preform it. No one is forced into getting baptized and parents do not baptize there children at young ages. It’s strictly the individuals choice, whenever they feel ready.

Baptisim to us is cleansing. Above the water you are ‘unclean’… Stained with sin. Once submerged your sins are washed away, your slate is washed clean so you may be a better Christian. A fresh start so-to-speak. If you commit sin after baptisim you just pray for forgiveness.

For those who fall from the Chruch after baptism and had commited lots of sin, and then later rejoined the Church… I’ve heard of people being re-baptized, but it doens’t happen often. Usually they just pray for forgiveness.

It’s definetly different from Catholic Baptism.

The age of reason is at about 7. This is why kids recieve First Communion then.
Baptism confers grace, but most non-Catholics don’t believe.

Catholics do believe that baptism confers grace, and non-Catholic Christian itsn’t baptized again when they decide to become Catholic.

For those Protestant traditions in which baptism is a sacrament (such as mine), baptism is a means of grace.

In my tradition, Christian baptism is baptism. There is no distinction between Catholic and non-Catholic, as long as it is validly performed (i.e., the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).

Correct, and Lutherans believe essentially the same thing. No one Baptized in the trinitarian form is rebaptized when joining a Lutheran Church, either.


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