Debate with a Protestant on Baptism


#1

I’m in a polite debate/discussion with an evangelical Christian on the nature of baptism. As you might expect he believes it is symbolic and that our “being born again” is when we repent and ask Jesus to be our personal savior. I’m trying to defend the Church’s teaching on baptism being a sacrament through which we enter the Body of Christ and become born again. His website is linked below. I would appreciate your guys’ comments on his material. Thanks.

biblejim.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=15


#2

He is wrong, Jesus is right.:thumbsup:


#3

[quote=Malachi4U]He is wrong, Jesus is right.:thumbsup:
[/quote]

If this argument fails to persuade him, ask your friend what Jesus meant by (Jn. 3:5), " "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit**." You know, not too many figurative sentences begin with, “Amen, amen, I say to you…”:slight_smile:

Furthermore, why did Peter stipulate (Acts 2: 38), “***Repent and be baptized, *every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the holy Spirit.”

Here, you have two references, said rather plainly, to Water and Spirit. There are numerous other references, both Old Testament and New that state the case just as well.

But I’d start with these two references.

Good Luck,

Notworthy


#4

Hey there College Kid!

In my opinion, you need to go back a little in your debate with your friend.

First, you need to agree upon the issue of authority. In all my dialogue with Protestant friends, I have learned to always start at this point, and not go any further until this has been established.
Until you have authority sorted out, you will just be exchanging verse for verse with this person. It will just be their opinion against yours (or the Church’s hopefully :slight_smile: ) until the cows come home.

I am in the beginning stages of dialogue with 2 very knowledgeable Protestants right now, and I have made the point at the outset that we will not go into any other area of discussion until we have exhausted the issue of authority.

This has been well received and agreed upon.

I can’t see any point of discussion on anything else, except perhaps Faith Alone, until you both agree on who is the rightful interpreter of any verse of the Bible.

I hope this helps you out. I think you will find your friend will agree to start back at this point too.

I once spent 90 mins on the phone with a Protestant friend going around in circles through all the usual objections e.g. Baptism, Purgatory, Indulgences, Confession etc, because there was no final authority that we had as common ground. The conversation went nowhere.

May God bless you and your efforts. :thumbsup:


#5

Karl Keating’s CATHOLICISM AND FUNDAMENTALISM is a great book for apologetics (explaining the faith). There are suggestions for how to approach various subjects, and Keating gives a quick explanation of many of the differences in beliefs between Catholics and non-Catholics.

As an aside, he makes the point right in chapter one, that Fundamentalist’s don’t necessarily take the Bible literally, as some commonly think, and Catholics do take the Bible literally in some well-documented instances.

Keating emphasizes the point of a previous post about authority. Be aware that most protestant and fundamentalist points of view are or contain attacks on the authority of the Church. You should have Keating’s book (about $18 with shipping at amazon.com, as I recall) on hand if you are serious about taking this on.

Specifically, my recollection is that Keating says that protestants don’t take Baptism as a sacrament, but as an ordinance of Christ to be followed – as has been stated in other posts.


#6

Obviously, playing bible ping-pong or volleying proof texts isn’t going to really go very far, but there is some pretty plain Scriptural text about Baptism.

Baptism confers grace. It is not a work. As we are physical and spiritual beings, it is only proper that God would institute physical ways of receiving his grace.

John 3:5 5 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.

Rom 6:3-8 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-- because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Gal 3:26,27 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

1 Pet 3:21 Baptism now saves you.

**Ti 3:5 **he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

**1 Cor 6:11 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. **

Acts 2:38; 22:16** Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.**

16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’

Eph 5:26 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,
(Note that the word does not mean what is written. The word is meant as the eternal Logos, Christ.)


#7

the problem i run into when discussing this, and
several other beliefs, is that even our own
catechism says that there will be people who are
’saved’ who were never baptised…

so, i usually end up saying that since i am
Catholic, baptism is required for me, because
it is part of the whole truth of my faith…

whether or not it is ‘required’ of another person
or faith, is up to God…

i know this might sound like a cop out, but i have
found that when i explain it like this, a lot of times
rather than ending the discussion, then the issue
of ‘whole truth’ becomes the topic, and then i am
more able to discuss things like authority,
tradition and belief…

:slight_smile:


#8

With respect to John 3:5, to illustrate that Jesus is indeed referring to water baptism (since many Protestants will attempt to deny this), you may want to point out to him verses 22 and 23, where Jesus then goes out and participates in doing what He spoke about it verse 5, namely, baptizing. Though there is some question whether or not Jesus actually did the baptizing or if His disciples did, that’s actually irrelevant insofar as it demonstrates that Jesus was actually referring to baptism earlier in the passage.

You may also want to draw his attention to Romans 6:4, which also describes baptism as the means by which one is brought to “newness of life” (“newness of life” simply being another way of saying “born again”), “We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.”

1 Peter 3:21 may be useful as well, at least with respect to demonstrating with biblical evidence that baptism is more than merely “symbolic.” Because it, too, speaks of baptism as having a very real affect on the one being baptized, “This prefigures baptism, which saves you now.”

In light of the above passages, it’s pretty difficult for one, basing his beliefs on the Bible alone, to cling to the idea that baptism is merely “symbolic” and has no real affect on the one being baptized.

Finally, you should ask him two things. One, where is his (biblical) evidence in support of the idea that baptism is merely symbolic? And two, where is his historical evidence to support this idea? In other words, can he point to any ancient Christian writings (pre-Reformation), outside of Scripture, that supports the belief that baptism is symbolic only? That should keep him busy for a while. :yup:


#9

I see that while I was composing my post Dan-Man already pointed out the verses I mentioned. :thumbsup:


#10

[quote=captaincoog]Hey there College Kid!

In my opinion, you need to go back a little in your debate with your friend.

First, you need to agree upon the issue of authority. In all my dialogue with Protestant friends, I have learned to always start at this point, and not go any further until this has been established.
Until you have authority sorted out, you will just be exchanging verse for verse with this person. It will just be their opinion against yours (or the Church’s hopefully :slight_smile: ) until the cows come home.

I am in the beginning stages of dialogue with 2 very knowledgeable Protestants right now, and I have made the point at the outset that we will not go into any other area of discussion until we have exhausted the issue of authority.

This has been well received and agreed upon.

I can’t see any point of discussion on anything else, except perhaps Faith Alone, until you both agree on who is the rightful interpreter of any verse of the Bible.

I hope this helps you out. I think you will find your friend will agree to start back at this point too.

I once spent 90 mins on the phone with a Protestant friend going around in circles through all the usual objections e.g. Baptism, Purgatory, Indulgences, Confession etc, because there was no final authority that we had as common ground. The conversation went nowhere.

May God bless you and your efforts. :thumbsup:
[/quote]

captaincoog is right on this point and I’ll go further and say that by playing verse vs. verse you are tacitly accepting Sola Scriptura as the final authority. Not good.

Scott


#11

[quote=captaincoog]Hey there College Kid!

In my opinion, you need to go back a little in your debate with your friend.

First, you need to agree upon the issue of authority. In all my dialogue with Protestant friends, I have learned to always start at this point, and not go any further until this has been established.
Until you have authority sorted out, you will just be exchanging verse for verse with this person. It will just be their opinion against yours (or the Church’s hopefully :slight_smile: ) until the cows come home.

I am in the beginning stages of dialogue with 2 very knowledgeable Protestants right now, and I have made the point at the outset that we will not go into any other area of discussion until we have exhausted the issue of authority.

This has been well received and agreed upon.

I can’t see any point of discussion on anything else, except perhaps Faith Alone, until you both agree on who is the rightful interpreter of any verse of the Bible.

I hope this helps you out. I think you will find your friend will agree to start back at this point too.

I once spent 90 mins on the phone with a Protestant friend going around in circles through all the usual objections e.g. Baptism, Purgatory, Indulgences, Confession etc, because there was no final authority that we had as common ground. The conversation went nowhere.

May God bless you and your efforts. :thumbsup:
[/quote]

I don’t want to sidetrack this thread (honestly!), but I think you have made a very important general point here. Could you just summarise the main points about agreeing authority for interpreting the Bible.
If you think this is sidetracking too much I’ll start a seperate thread.


#12

[quote=Scott Waddell]captaincoog is right on this point and I’ll go further and say that by playing verse vs. verse you are tacitly accepting Sola Scriptura as the final authority. Not good.

Scott
[/quote]

True . . . to an extent, in that authority is, always, the root issue. But convincing the average Protestant that the Catholic Church is the true authority when it comes to Christian doctrine is, to say the least, a daunting task. While I don’t mean to advocate “verse slinging” as an exclusive means of discussion, since that’s usually a dead-end street, we sometimes have to meet people “where they are,” so to speak, and utilize whatever common ground exists. This common ground is, in most cases when having dialogue with a Protestant, the Bible. Moreover, simply meeting one on the common ground of Scripture is not equivalent to tacitly accepting the Bible (or, more accurately, one’s personal interpretation of it) as being the sole rule of faith. Recognizing that Scripture is useful and utilizing it as a helpful tool in discussion does not equate with accepting Sola Scriptura. In fact, any attempt to have a meaningful discussion with a Protestant regarding Christian doctrine, without using at least some scriptural references, is about the only thing that is even less effective than “verse-slinging” alone. There needs to be a balanced approach and mixture of Scripture, logic/reason and historical evidence. All of these will, eventually, if the conversation progresses, ultimately point to the authority of the Church, of course.


#13

All your guys’ respsonses have been very helpful, thank you. Did anyone get a chance to check out the guy’s website? Some of its confusing, and some of it I honestly don’t know how to refute. As for only debating bible verses and tacitly excepting sola scriptura, I know this is true to an extent and I don’t like it since I accept Tradition along with the Bible, but you have to understand where this guy is coming from. I actually debated with him some on the mall at my college campus. When I mentioned Martin Luther, I got the impression he didn’t even know who I was talking about at first. He thought I was talking about Martin Luther King, Jr.


#14

Have you Protestant friend name one, just one, ‘born again’ Protestant experience by just one apostle, any one will do.

Now that this debate is over and he lost move on to something else that is actually in the Bible, even his missedited and abridged version of it.:thumbsup:


#15

[quote=Malachi4U]Have you Protestant friend name one, just one, ‘born again’ Protestant experience by just one apostle, any one will do.

Now that this debate is over and he lost move on to something else that is actually in the Bible, even his missedited and abridged version of it.:thumbsup:
[/quote]

does it say in the bible which apostles were baptised??

i remember Paul was, but what about the original 12? does
it mention any of them being baptised?

:slight_smile:


#16

[quote=captaincoog]Hey there College Kid!

In my opinion, you need to go back a little in your debate with your friend.

First, you need to agree upon the issue of authority. In all my dialogue with Protestant friends, I have learned to always start at this point, and not go any further until this has been established.
Until you have authority sorted out, you will just be exchanging verse for verse with this person. It will just be their opinion against yours … until the cows come home.

[/quote]

Listen to the voice of EXPERIENCE :thumbsup:


#17

[quote=Malachi4U]Have you Protestant friend name one, just one, ‘born again’ Protestant experience by just one apostle, any one will do.

Now that this debate is over and he lost move on to something else that is actually in the Bible, even his missedited and abridged version of it.:thumbsup:
[/quote]

My guess is he would respond that they had their “born again” experiences when they became believers, and so for all the rest of the disciples. I wouldn’t know how to counter that other than by showing him Jesus’ and the Apostles’ exhortations for disciples to be baptized, and instances of disciples being baptized and receiving the Holy Spirit. Again I can’t emphasize enough that I would like to point to the early church fathers’ references to water baptism being regenerative as evidence of the Sacrament but I’m pretty sure this guy will ONLY argue and accept arguments from the Bible, maybe with the exception of certain Protestant authors/ministers like Charles Finney, I don’t know. When debating him in person he very assertively announced that he had studied the Bible for 40 years. The way I see it, he thinks he knows the Bible inside and out, and that it contains everything you need to know for salvation; that organized religion isn’t an essential part of the process.


#18

[quote=captaincoog]Hey there College Kid!

In my opinion, you need to go back a little in your debate with your friend.

First, you need to agree upon the issue of authority. In all my dialogue with Protestant friends, I have learned to always start at this point, and not go any further until this has been established.
Until you have authority sorted out, you will just be exchanging verse for verse with this person. It will just be their opinion against yours (or the Church’s hopefully :slight_smile: ) until the cows come home.

I am in the beginning stages of dialogue with 2 very knowledgeable Protestants right now, and I have made the point at the outset that we will not go into any other area of discussion until we have exhausted the issue of authority.

This has been well received and agreed upon.

I can’t see any point of discussion on anything else, except perhaps Faith Alone, until you both agree on who is the rightful interpreter of any verse of the Bible.

I hope this helps you out. I think you will find your friend will agree to start back at this point too.

I once spent 90 mins on the phone with a Protestant friend going around in circles through all the usual objections e.g. Baptism, Purgatory, Indulgences, Confession etc, because there was no final authority that we had as common ground. The conversation went nowhere.

May God bless you and your efforts. :thumbsup:
[/quote]

What would you present as the bare minimum points to make concerning authority, or the concessions that one would desire?


#19

Sorry for the delay in replying to the two requests for a summary of authority. I have been away from the computer for a few days.

Don’t worry, I am recovering from it!

Going back to the issue of authority, the starting place to begin is the NT canon. Both sides agree on the 27 books that make it up. Beyond that, there is a world of opinion, as you know. Apart from all of our reasoning etc, prayer for the person is needed. They will have built up a hardness of heart against the Church and her teachings.

I would think it is best to simply ask tough questions and wait for a reply. This may be better than telling them the “right” answers yourself.

For example:

Where did the NT canon came from?

Who decided it?

Is it an inerrant canon?

Was the Church infallibly guided by the Holy Spirit when the council was in session?

Am I bound today by a declaration made 1700 years ago by church leaders?

Going by scripture alone, how do you know the answers to any of these questions?

Questions similar to this are great ways to get the other person to think it out for themselves. They all have the same direction to them, that is, “Who has authority?”.

The point is, that if the Church had authority to declare the canon and it became binding, and was guided by the Holy Spirit back then, then this same Church must be the same one that our Lord promised the gates of hell would not prevail against. It must be the same Church He promised to send the Holy Spirit to in order to guide them into all truth. It must be the same one He promised to be with until the end of the world. It must have been a highly visible church, since all the Christian world at the time submitted to the canon it decided, and the church was identifiable in her beliefs and practices. Debate over the canon was finished. It must be something that could be found easily to day, in order for all of Christ’s prophetic promises to be fulfilled in her.

Who else qualifies?

Once this has been sorted out, then all the various opinions on this verse and that verse become insignificant. The only thing to find out is “what does the Church teach on this subject?”

Hope this is helpful.

CC


#20

The problem with this sort of thing is that it takes an enourmous amount of time, and you have to read every sentence carefully for hidden errors or assumptions.

For example his website starts with an extract from Chafer (whoever he is and what authority does he have anyway) ** “Since by Spirit’s baptism the greatest transformations are wrought in behalf of the believer…”** Now I wouldn’t accept that for a start. It’s water baptism that does this.

The he says
**"JESUS SAID:
Acts 1:5. “for John baptized with water, but you should be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

The old covenant is out.  John is dead. 
The new is beginning. Jesus' departing words must be important.     "

**I’m not a theologian but I don’t think the old covenant was negated or “out”. That’s dispensationalism.

Then he says
** The one baptism is the same baptism Paul refers to 1 Corth 12:13
"For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body"

**Now Jesus said they would be baptised ***with ***the Holy Spirit

Paul says above "For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body"
The amplified Bible puts it this way "“For by [means of the personal agency of] one [Holy] Spirit we were all, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free baptised [and by baptism united together] into one body, and all made to drink of one [Holy] Spirit”

So in water baptism the power that makes it effective is the Holy Spirit. This is not the same as baptism with the Holy Spirit, which for Catholics should be at Confirmation by the laying on of hands by one of the apostolic succession. He doesn’t understand the significance of these two seperate sacraments.

Then again:
****Mark 16:15-16 15)… And he said to them, "Go into the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
16) "He who believes and has been baptized shall be saved;

(Spiritual baptism  Acts 1:5...   1 Corinthians 12:13...   Ephesians 4:5)      

The result of correct believing is baptism and the result of baptism is salvation. (They happen simultaneously) **

**He can’t acept that the line in Mark 16:16 has an and in it.

Then again he says:
** All believers are disciples in the sense that they are being taught of God through the indwelling Spirit and what ever instrumentality the Spirit may employ.
**
But the in a sense bit suddenly disappears and it becomes disciple=believer.

It’s full of this sort of rubbish. If you really want to challenge it you will have to pick at every line, every quote he makes.


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