Catholic witnessing the unnecessary re-baptism of a relative

I have a cousin who was baptized in the same protestant church I was. We were baptized very similar to Catholics; sprinkling, and trinitarian. I am still stuck in that church for a bit longer, hints “closet catholic”. However my cousin is being “re-baptized” at another protestant church which is the same denomination; community-(non-denominational).:smiley: In this church however she is getting dunked, and not baptized directly for original sin, but repentance. I was wondering would there be anything wrong with a Catholic, or Catholic believer like myself to witness this invalid baptism. I am debating going in order to show support for her, although i’ll make it clear that i see it as unnecessary. I see it as a chance to practice what I preach and support her because i will expect the same support when I enter RCIA and am confirmed (hopefully next year). I don’t see her actions as a sin, obviously because she was not brought up Catholic and would not understand. Ironically her mother was non-denom, then Latin Rite Catholic, then baptist, then non-denom again. Pray for Her.

Personally, I would not attend if it was possible. By attending something invalid, you are putting your support behind it. Unless you make it clear to everyone there that you don’t think this is necessary, they will assume you support her.

Remind her of Ephesians 4:4-5, which says pretty clearly that we have one baptism. If she just wants to get washing in front of everyone to show that she wants to repent, fine. But it’s not baptism.

I don’t see it as a issue…It is there heart before the Lord…He knows what is going on…There are many out there who baptized as a child follow scripture as the had a conversion experience when they were older…They really understood now what it is all about…

This is essentially John the Baptist’s baptism of repentance. The regenerating Sacramental Baptism instituted by Christ made any and all “baptisms of repentance” unnecessary at best and heretical at worst. It is an aberrant practice in Christianity and I would avoid it for spiritual reasons. It appears to be an ersatz form of Sacramental confession/reconciliation. There is no substitute for that which Jesus instituted.

It would not be right to witness this. The Scriptures are clear that there is only ONE Baptism. The Early Church was clear that those who leave the faith or Church and then return were not to be re-Baptized.

Guess what?

NOBODY ever “really understands what it is all about.” Not even you. Not even I.

To say that you have to “really understand” for God to work through the Sacraments, or anything else, is the heresy of Gnosticism.

Sorry about that , guess I wasn’t really clear…I’m speaking of they understood they heard the gospel message like happened in the early church…They understood to repent and be baptized…All part of a born anew/conversion experience…The NT was full of these experiences…

What you will be witnessing will be a mockery of her true baptism. It would not be loving to go support her in this. The loving thing to do is to show her where the Bible says “One Lord, one Faith - ONE BAPTISM”.

Amen! :thumbsup: And, here it is, from the KJV, which they should have no problem with:

Ephesians 4:4-6 (King James Version)

“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

I don’t think she should expect you to attend her “re-baptism” any more than you should expect her to attend your confirmation.

Just make it clear to her that you believe in one baptism for the remission of sin, and that both the Bible and the Catholic Church you aspire to enter teach that she has already had it. Then back it up.

People are attracted to clarity of religious doctrine because there’s so little of it out there. Other people in your family will take notice that you are willing to stand up for what you believe. It could turn out to be a great opportunity for evangelization!

Since Baptism is what God does to us (not the other way around), it would be like telling God that He got it wrong the first time.


I’m not so sure you would send the right message by skipping. You have to weigh the reality that the ‘rebaptism’ is not sacramental with the fact that this is your friend who is attemtping to live out the gospel as best she knows how.

If we all refused to be parts of people’s lives whenever we disagreed with them, we’d soon all be pathetic geeks passing life by tapping on keyboards… :o

I say go and be clear, but undefensive, about how sincere christians disagree on what baptism is, what it does and how to treat it. You’re there to support a friend, not endorse the action. It’s not like they are sacrificing chickens here folks…

Yes, and if she feels now that she had a conversion experience…She is following NT scripture of repentance and baptism…I did the same thing and I had a pretty radical conversion experience…

Who here advised to refuse to be part of the friend/relative’s life???

Skipping one mockery, heretical “ceremony” is just that - “Sorry, as a Catholic I cannot attend, but I will pray for you and see you at lunch next Tuesday”.

No, the re-baptizer is ignoring the NT where we are taught “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism!!!” and where Jesus gave Peter the keys, etc.

Perhaps I read this thread too quickly and I missed something… Why are you “stuck” in that faith at all. Unless someone is forcing you to be there you don’t have to be. In fact, if you believe that what they believe is heretical (in the eyes of the Church) then you shouldn’t want to spend anytime there. Chances are, the things that this Church believes contradict the Catholic Faith and the actions (such as this baptism) go agains the beliefs of the Church as well.

If you believe what the Church teaches then I suggest finding a Catholic parish, going to Mass there, and entering the RCIA program. Granted, you will not be able to receive Communion, but if you believe the Church’s teachings on the Real Presence then you have never truly received Communion anyways.

So I guess that means you only ever are allowed to be baptized one(did they need John’s baptism also)( are water and Spirit baptisms inclusive) time in your life…So someone baptized as a baby and becomes and atheist never has to repent and be baptised according to the scripture…I actually know people who have did this. Their are godly, spirit filled people. Very committed to Christ…Even Catholic friends acknowledge this in their prot. friends…

Thanks for all of your good advice. I have decided not to attend the “re-baptism” of my cousin. However, this does not mean I reject her or anything. BTW I am “stuck” in a protestant church because I’m still too young to convert on my own, so that’s that. Yet personally my faith is completely Catholic, so for now I am learning the virtue of patience.

The difference is that your understanding of baptism is strikingly different from the catholic definition. Since the very beginning of christianity, catholics have understood baptism to be a sacrament, in other words a visible/sensible manifestation of God’s Grace acting in our lives. Sacramental baptism changes the person via the Grace of God, not the merely the faith of the believer. This is why, from the beginning, entire households were baptised upon conversion (which included infants and small children). Grace is a gift from God, freely given in the sacraments and in other ways as God chooses to see fit. How we respond to it is our job.

Many protestants after Luther began to reject the idea of sacrament as an outgrowth of the idea that ‘works’ is anything with a physical manifestation to it and salvation is about faith alone. In such an understanding, baptising an infant would make no sense since the infant can’t comprehend enough to have faith. In this vision, baptism is merely an ordinance, a public statement that reflects an inner reality that has already come to be.

The two views of baptism are so different that its really a shame to use the same word for the two utterly different ideas.

Yes, that’s exactly right. Even St. Paul did not rebaptize those who had been baptized with John’s baptism; rather, he laid hands on them to give them the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation.

So someone baptized as a baby and becomes and atheist

Is still baptized, yes.

Baptism leaves an indelible mark on the soul that can never be erased.

never has to repent and be baptised according to the scripture.

They would repent and they would renew the graces of their Baptism in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. :slight_smile:

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