Help me defend infant baptism!


#21

Thanks for all your help.

I think the best info. is St. John the Baptist leaping for joy, because it voids her argument of “they can’t accept Christ then, so how do they get baptized.”


#22

Originally Posted by Fiat
*Yet, interestingly, John the Baptist leapt in his mother’s womb as the Holy Virgin approached Elisabeth.

Fiat*

[quote=mercygate]Yo! Fiat! That’s my line! :thumbsup: But it requires kind of a contemplative reading of Scripture.
[/quote]

lol. You guys are truly great. I gotta admit that I enjoyed these posts greatly.

Okay, okay. I concede. You win.

One remarkable fetus leaped in his mother’s womb and *that *one fetus completely obliterates the ridiculous notion that the countless ***billions ***of Catholic babies who are baptized couldn’t possibly understand what they’re being baptized for or the significance of what they’re doing. That one scripture nullifies every shred of evidence I was able to produce to illustrate the fact that adults were baptized only when they understood the significance of baptism.

You know, before I get thoroughly and brutally attacked for what I just wrote, I’m going to now offer a sincere apology for anybody who reads this and is put-off or offended. I guess you’d have to be an outsider peering into the Catholic brain to see why these explanations just make people want to…:banghead:

I don’t expect ANYBODY in this forum or on this site to understand my frustration… and that’s cool. I try and try to understand Catholic reasoning. I honestly do. Countless people have already suggested that I do intense study on apologetics (which I’ve actually been doing for YEARS before I even became a member here) and I’ve heard many Catholics out, even when they’ve not wanted to grant me the same courtesy.

It’s because I love you all so much that I will continue to try to wrap my brain around these explanations until, perhaps someday, my mind is thoroughly programmed to accept what I read and hear. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve heard some decent explanations for certain traditions, but so far, most of what I’ve heard just sounds like Bible loopholing; finding an “out” amidst overwhelming scripture that appears to contradict.

Again, I know that might come off as offensive and, though you really might not believe this, it’s not my intent. I vented with sarcasm at the top. I admit that fully, but trust me when I say that it wasn’t malicious. It’s the kind of sarcasm one exhibits while lightly chuckling, shaking their head as they look to the clouds and saying, “You’ve gotta be kidding me.” So, if anybody out there would still like to chew me out, the floor is yours.
[size=2]May God bless each and every one of us. :amen: [/size]


#23

Christian WAB,

Do you believe grace is a free gift?

Have you ever met a baby who turned down a free gift?

Jesus loves the little ones. :slight_smile:


#24

[quote=ChristianWAB][size=2]May God bless each and every one of us. [/size]:amen:
[/quote]

Even babies :slight_smile:


#25

WAB – nobody argues that the early Church baptized adults. Duh. But to claim that the case about “households” being baptized is “loopholing” – especially in the Jewish context of bringing babies into the covenant on the 8th day – just smacks of obduracy.

And the John the Baptist thing doesn’t do anything except reflect a deep contemplative truth: faith is a gift. A free unmerited gift. And full, rational consent is not the essential issue.


#26

ChristianWAB,

Your dismissal of what has been presented to you is amusing because you are so absolutely sure of yourself. You have belittled the scriptures that were presented to you and blow them off as if they indicated nothing. You have presented an interpretation and nothing more. Catholics not only have an interpretation of scripture that fits infant baptism, but they also have history on their side. Apparently, every Christian got this wrong from the get go until rather late in history when some nay sayers arose.

You have simply interpreted the scriptures according to your particular protestant tradition. Your interpretation does not coincide with all of protestantism let alone the long standing Christian practice of infant baptism that was part of Christian practice from the time of the apostles.

Your arguments are fabricated in a vacuum that lacks historical data, and yours is merely one more interpretation of scripture based on your own biases. Try reading the following for some historical reference: bringyou.to/apologetics/a26.htm


#27

One other thing should be pointed out concerning John the Baptist. The scripture not only says that he leeped in Elizabeth’s womb, but it also says in Luke 1:15 that “…he[John] will be filled with the Holy Spirit,** even from his mother’s womb.**”

Surely, this says something about what an infant is able to receive from God that has nothing to do with intellectual development and the ability to make cognitive choices. Most protestants teach that John the Baptist was “saved” while he was still in Elizabeth’s womb. Furthermore, Jesus admonishes the disciples for protesting when people brought their babies to him. In Luke 18:15-16 it says that "People were bringing **even infants ** to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they sternly ordered them not to do it. But Jesus called for them and said, **“Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them;” **

When you examine everything associated with baptism escpecially the forgiveness of sins(including original sin), and the receiving of the Holy Spirit, it becomes pretty clear that infants can and should be baptized. It is for this reason that infants have always been baptized except within certain protestant denominations. Lutherans, Anglicans, and to some degree Methodists happen to agree with infant baptism. The divergence of opinion on infant baptism exists only in protestantism and has never existed prior to the reformation.

Catholics will remain convinced of the appropriateness and necessity of the practice based on scripture and the constant teaching of the Church and its sacred tradition.


#28

You have asked: How does one go about defending infant baptism scripturally?

This is my grandmother (independant baptist) who proclaims it invalid, so the argument needs to be solid and meaty.

I am a convert to Catholicism, growing up Southern Baptist and I’d say the best way to approach a Baptist is will a plethora of Scripture. Perhaps it would be a good idea for you to read one of the tracts put out by Catholic answers found here:

www.http://www.catholic.com/library/Infant_Baptism.asp

Look up the verses and really try to memorize them verses like Acts 22:12, 2:38, 1 Peter 3:18-21, John 3:5 and most importantly Colossians 2:11-12 which explicitly shows that baptism replaces the OT circumcision which was done on the eighth day and was done with human hands. Now we have the circumcision done without human hands which is baptism.

**Colossians 2:11-12 “In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not administered by hand, by stripping off the carnal body, with the circumcision of Christ. ****You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.” ** 1 Peter 3:18-21 “For Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the spirit. In it he also went to preach to the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient while God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons, eight in all, were saved through water. This prefigured baptism, which saves you now. It is not a removal of dirt from the body but an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” ****
**Remember your grandmother will most likely want you to show her explicitly from the Bible where it says to baptize infants. Certainly the concept is yet a whole host of Protestant words aren’t explicitly found in Scripture i.e., Sunday School, Trinity, incarnation, original sin although the concepts could be. **


You could convey to her that if baptism brings us into the new covenant Col 2:18-21, and Jesus said we have to be born of water [refering to baptism] and the spirit and…if baptism now saves us Acts 2:38 and most of all in Acts 16:14-15 it implicitly assumes infants were baptised since contraception wasn’t as prelevant as is in today’s society and many had young children. It says Lydia “and her household had been baptised” this assumes young children too!



Acts 16:14-15 "One of them, a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth, from the city of Thyatira, a worshiper of God,listened, and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what Paul was saying. After she and her household had been baptized, she offered us an invitation, “If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my home,” and she prevailed on us."
Also let her know that many Protestants baptize infants i.e. Lutherans (some) Methodists, Episcopalians, and Reformed Christians. I have a good friend who is a pastor of a United Reformed Church who baptises infants. Hope that helps.

christi simus non nostri (let us belong to christ and not to ourselves)

rc


#29

Thank you Bishopite and all of you.

ChristianWAB, thank you also for trying to help. What I think you have found on these forums is a stiff opposition to your views on infant baptism not only because some people on here can be stubborn, but also because you are doing what I like to refer to as “doctrine questing.”

Having grown up Lutheran, and having Baptist, Methodist, etc. relatives, I’ve seen what the majority of protestants do. These protestant faiths (all of them really) define scripture by what their doctrinal views are based on an interpretation of scripture that backs it up. This is the opposite of how Catholic doctrine came about.

The Bible itself defined Catholic doctrine since the first and second century on. The RC Church’s doctrine encompasses the whole of the scriptures, leaving nothing out and no stone unturned. This cannot be honestly said of most protestant faiths. It’s not that you can’t offer me your opinion on whether or not it is, it is only that I already know the main pillars and intricate details of the Baptist thought and find it lacking in several areas.

I have been raised a pretty serious Lutheran. Even today, as I convert to Roman Catholicism, I still look up to Martin Luther (albeit for different reasons than originally). I have a great grasp and understanding of the protestant mindframe when it comes to the larger denominations. I have friends who are Baptist ministers, Pentecostal Pastors, Lutheran Seminarians, etc. etc.

In other words, I would not be “close minded” to your arguments, as I’m sure others would also not be, but you have to understand that reguardless of what we say you have been quite disrespectful of some central legs with Catholicism stands on…

  1. One being scripture (in your above statement – scripture (no matter how small the selection) proves exactly what it says, it is divine truth and revelation. You cannot as a real christian deny the importance of one single letter, let alone such an important thing as John the Baptist as an unborn child leaping for joy and receiving grace.)

  2. Sacred Tradition. Whether you like it or not, tradition does mean something in religion. Without it, you would not even have some facets of your own faith, including the doctrine of the holy trinity, the “age of reason”, etc. While these things are based in scripture, you must understand that they are what they are today because of the tradition and writings of early church fathers that were, oh yeah, Catholic.

  3. History. Yes, Catholicism stands on history, as a giant of history itself. To deny this church’s historical validity is to look at a blue sky and claim its brown. Whether or not you believe/agree with Apostolic Succession, it exists both in scripture and in real historical fact. The Roman Catholic Church has it. The Eastern Orthodox Church has it. Historically they have had their bishops and priests laid hands upon by those who followed after the apostles, just like they were instructed to do by Jesus Christ himself. Why does the Baptist Church and countless other protestant churches deny apostolic succession? Because it gives validity to the RC Church, and deny’s their own doctrine. Yet another example of defining scripture by one’s own doctrine.

I was not all that different from you two years ago. But eventually I got over myself (I’m not trying to be ugly). I stopped believing that I could interpret scripture better now than the early church fathers could (this is ridiculous in concept – the tradition of the apostles was still in full bloom for generations after their deaths, it still is today!) I also decided to explore my own denominations objections of the Catholic faith (for instance) and soon found them to be lacking in credibility, something that led me to do indepth studies of scripture (which further discounted much protestant doctrine).

Pray for the Lord to guide you in your studies.
Domine, dirige nos. (Lord, direct us.)


#30

Think also in terms of covenant history. There are six completed (last one at the end of time) and each time the covenant expands.

  1. Adam & Eve-- God makes with man and woman
  2. Noah–with family (including children)
  3. Abrahan–with tribe (including children)
  4. Moses–with nation (including children)
  5. David–with national kingdom (including children)
    6.Jesus–universal Church (including children)

To say that the penultimate covenant somehow switches gears and now excludes children is biblically inconsistent.

Scott


#31

[quote=ChristianWAB] It’s the kind of sarcasm one exhibits while lightly chuckling, shaking their head as they look to the clouds and saying, “You’ve gotta be kidding me.” So, if anybody out there would still like to chew me out, the floor is yours.
[/quote]

Wow! You’ve just completely defined **my **frustration when I hear someone try to say that unless an individual has reached the age of reason, they cannot receive the grace associated with baptism. This is unfathomable to me!

And now, I shall politely bang my head on a wall. :banghead:


#32

LOL…now you know EXACTLY how I feel when I read your posts (among others’ as well), I’m sure a large majority of us feels the same way when reading the counter…oh well.

This isn’t intended to be uncharitable, I just wanted you to know that you are not alone in this feeling.

Peace of Christ be with us.


#33

This was very well said, IMO. :slight_smile:

[quote=St.Curious]Thank you Bishopite and all of you.

ChristianWAB, thank you also for trying to help. What I think you have found on these forums is a stiff opposition to your views on infant baptism not only because some people on here can be stubborn, but also because you are doing what I like to refer to as “doctrine questing.”

Having grown up Lutheran, and having Baptist, Methodist, etc. relatives, I’ve seen what the majority of protestants do. These protestant faiths (all of them really) define scripture by what their doctrinal views are based on an interpretation of scripture that backs it up. This is the opposite of how Catholic doctrine came about.

The Bible itself defined Catholic doctrine since the first and second century on. The RC Church’s doctrine encompasses the whole of the scriptures, leaving nothing out and no stone unturned. This cannot be honestly said of most protestant faiths. It’s not that you can’t offer me your opinion on whether or not it is, it is only that I already know the main pillars and intricate details of the Baptist thought and find it lacking in several areas.

I have been raised a pretty serious Lutheran. Even today, as I convert to Roman Catholicism, I still look up to Martin Luther (albeit for different reasons than originally). I have a great grasp and understanding of the protestant mindframe when it comes to the larger denominations. I have friends who are Baptist ministers, Pentecostal Pastors, Lutheran Seminarians, etc. etc.

In other words, I would not be “close minded” to your arguments, as I’m sure others would also not be, but you have to understand that reguardless of what we say you have been quite disrespectful of some central legs with Catholicism stands on…

  1. One being scripture (in your above statement – scripture (no matter how small the selection) proves exactly what it says, it is divine truth and revelation. You cannot as a real christian deny the importance of one single letter, let alone such an important thing as John the Baptist as an unborn child leaping for joy and receiving grace.)

  2. Sacred Tradition. Whether you like it or not, tradition does mean something in religion. Without it, you would not even have some facets of your own faith, including the doctrine of the holy trinity, the “age of reason”, etc. While these things are based in scripture, you must understand that they are what they are today because of the tradition and writings of early church fathers that were, oh yeah, Catholic.

  3. History. Yes, Catholicism stands on history, as a giant of history itself. To deny this church’s historical validity is to look at a blue sky and claim its brown. Whether or not you believe/agree with Apostolic Succession, it exists both in scripture and in real historical fact. The Roman Catholic Church has it. The Eastern Orthodox Church has it. Historically they have had their bishops and priests laid hands upon by those who followed after the apostles, just like they were instructed to do by Jesus Christ himself. Why does the Baptist Church and countless other protestant churches deny apostolic succession? Because it gives validity to the RC Church, and deny’s their own doctrine. Yet another example of defining scripture by one’s own doctrine.

I was not all that different from you two years ago. But eventually I got over myself (I’m not trying to be ugly). I stopped believing that I could interpret scripture better now than the early church fathers could (this is ridiculous in concept – the tradition of the apostles was still in full bloom for generations after their deaths, it still is today!) I also decided to explore my own denominations objections of the Catholic faith (for instance) and soon found them to be lacking in credibility, something that led me to do indepth studies of scripture (which further discounted much protestant doctrine).

Pray for the Lord to guide you in your studies.
Domine, dirige nos. (Lord, direct us.)
[/quote]


#34

[quote=Pax]ChristianWAB,

Your dismissal of what has been presented to you is amusing because you are so absolutely sure of yourself. You have belittled the scriptures that were presented to you and blow them off as if they indicated nothing. You have presented an interpretation and nothing more.
[/quote]

Due respect, but that’s exactly what most Protestants say about Catholicism.

Protestants quote all kinds of scripture to Catholics, but more oftentimes than not, they’re either dismissed for using a “personal interpretation” or explained in such a roundabout way that you almost forget what the question was by the time it’s been answered.

It doesn’t surprise me to know that the Catholic church advises everybody not to apply a personal interpretation to the scriptures, but to let THEM decide on the meaning. That’s very convenient, because it allows the Catholic church to build an institution that can boast of unwaivering doctrines throughout the ages. I’m just thankful that the church no longer goes around sparking Inquisitions and killing dissenters like they did a few hundred years ago.

By the way, I haven’t belittled any scriptures, but merely pointed out that to assume children are involved in that ONE household that was baptized is a bit irresponsible. I’m keenly aware of how scripture can be taken out of context and twisted, which is why I’m so adamant about people needing to read everything; not just dribs and drabs. Check the entire Bible with regards to baptism and you won’t find ONE example of an infant being baptized. Not ONE.

To disqualify an interpretation just because it doesn’t come from the Vatican is like giving them free license to make up whatever rules they want under the umbrella of one scripture (Matthew 16:18) that, in and of itself, is highly disputed for its true meaning.

I have no problem with parents wanting to baptize their own infant if it makes them feel better, but I believe that, when the infant comes of age and can truly understand the meaning of baptism, I feel that he or she should be given the option to have a real BELIEVER’S baptism.

And before anybody goes off by saying that’s what Confirmation is for, I got news for you. Confirmation meant little if nothing to most of my friends when we had it (age of 18). We just repeated what we were instructed to repeat and proceeded to celebrate and continue on in our sinful and unrepentant lives.

Very few, if any of us, really appreciated the meaning of the words we were being asked to repeat and, trust me, this is not uncommon.


#35

ChristianWAB,

First of all, be advised that the Catholic Church allows a great deal of latitude in reading the scriptures and interpreting the word. The Church has only infallibly declared the meaning of a handful of passages. You need to study up on this point.

You said that in our arguments for infant baptism that we depended upon “one household” being baptized in scripture as our evidence that children must have been involved. Please be advised that there were a number of households spoken of. These include the household of the Roman jailer, the household of Lydia, and the household of Stephanes. In none of these accounts are children or infants said to be excluded.

Your statement concerning confirmation is particularly interesting to me. You mentioned that it meant little to you and your friends at eighteen. When I was confirmed it meant a lot to me. Two of my sons felt as you do. My youngest son, now in college, was the exact opposite of them. It meant a great deal to him. My oldest son is now 30, the next one 24 and the youngest 19. The youngest was confirmed at age twelve or thirteen and is very spiritual. The older two are indifferent to their faith and religion in general. I have talked to many people who feel as you do. What all of them have in common is that they somehow blame the Church and abandoned it because they did not seem to be connected to Jesus at that time in their lives. What they fail to realize is that they would have lacked the connection “wherever” they were. You can be self centered rather than God centered, whether you’re a Catholic, Jew, Muslim, Protestant, Hindu, or whatever.

The problem is not the Church. The problem is the individual. God does not want his children to spiritually starve and He will extend His grace to people even if they have left the one true church. He wants the flock to be one, and He will seek out sheep that have left the fold wherever they are. When they finally respond it is a mistake for them to “assume” that they are home when they may have strayed a great distance away.

You made a reckless remark about the church and doctrines. I used to be a cafeteria catholic. After some grace filled moments I eventually turned a corner and left the “me” and “my” out of the equation. This was fine except that I needed to satisfy the intellectual side of the issues as well. I began digging into every point and question that I had, and then followed up with an analysis of every Protestant doubt and question thrown my way. Careful study of the issues, the reasons, the scriptures, and the arguments led me in every case to the conclusion that the Church was right. Believe me, I scrutinized things thoroughly and I was totally satisfied with what I found.

In retrospect the hardest part was swallowing my own pride. Please keep in mind that I am not accusing you or others of pride…I am only relating my own story and letting you get a glimpse of some of my personal experience. Our faith is precious and each of us holds it dear. It is sometimes difficult to look over the barriers and appreciate the truth where you sometimes least expect it. For me, it was realizing that the truth of the Church, with its two thousand years of Christian wisdom, dwarfed my puny ideas and understandings even though I thought I knew better.


#36

ChristianWAB,

Let’s assume for the moment that we are at a scriptural impasse because of equally plausible interpretations concerning infant baptism. Isn’t it reasonable to then seek out what has historically been the practice of Christians throughout the ages? Wouldn’t the practices of the earliest Christians and the writings of the earliest Church leaders lay to rest the issue? Afterall, we are separated from Jesus’s institution of baptism by more than two thousand years.

You need to check into this because the constant practice of Christianity for over two thousand years says a great deal about what is correct and what is meant in the scriptures. The earliest writings concerning baptism show that children and infants were baptized. Try reading this short piece at: reformationtoday.tripod.com/chemnitz/id43.html


#37

If the Protestant view on baptism were true, how would a severely hadicapped person ever receive baptism? If a person is not capable of understanding at any age, would they be forever ineligable for baptism?


#38

[quote=jazzman]If the Protestant view on baptism were true, how would a severely hadicapped person ever receive baptism? If a person is not capable of understanding at any age, would they be forever ineligable for baptism?
[/quote]

Careful, jazz; most Protestants baptize infants. It is only a sub-group that rejects the practice.


#39

[quote=ChristianWAB]Originally Posted by Fiat
Yet, interestingly, John the Baptist leapt in his mother’s womb as the Holy Virgin approached Elisabeth.

Fiat

lol. You guys are truly great. I gotta admit that I enjoyed these posts greatly.

Okay, okay. I concede. You win.

One remarkable fetus leaped in his mother’s womb
[/quote]

“Fetus” jumped in the womb? Usually that is a tip off that somene is pro-abortion. Not to get off topic but just curious-do you believe life is sacred even in the womb?


#40

[quote=ChristianWAB] I believe that, when the infant comes of age and can truly understand the meaning of baptism, I feel that he or she should be given the option to have a real BELIEVER’S baptism.

[/quote]

There are many passages which implicitly refer to infant baptism. Many of these passages, (from the OT and NT), have been brought to your attention, but your personal interpretations will not allow you to understand. :frowning: Scripture and Sacred Tradition corroborates the Catholic, Orthodox, and many protestant practice of infant baptism. The major affiliation that practices “believer’s baptism” is the baptist church (and some non-denominationalists–but their slant is usually baptist).

The anabaptists, brethren, and baptists suddenly came along around the 1600’s and declared that infant baptism is a false practice. Were these people suddenly enlightened by an interpretation of Scripture that had escaped all others for over 1600 years? I think not.

When I see my baptist friends with their young children, and I realize that the children have not yet received the beautiful graces of baptism, it grieves my heart. Some of these children, (ages 6-9), can quote and understand Scripture. They often verbally profess their love for Jesus Christ. Yet their church says “NO! The proper age for baptism is usually no younger than 12 years old.”

Unfathomable!!! :eek:


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