This is mainly addressed to my Catholic brothers and sisters. As some of you know, I attend a Baptist church (as well as Mass on Saturdays) and at my Baptist church our high school pastor and I got into a discussion concerning the Sacraments. Of course, Baptists hold that Baptism and Communion are but ordinances, unnecessary for salvation. I have actually written a short paper on the subject to our youth pastor at his request (it called for Baptism’s necessity but at the time I was more skeptical about its sacramental value). Anyway, he asked me why I thought the Eucharist was so very important to Catholics. I responded, “Because it is the source and summit of their faith.” He smiled. *“Deeper …” *I thought. “Because of its sacramental value?” “Bingo, man!” He continued speaking to me about how if Christ’s redemptive work was sufficient, then why would we need his grace channeled through the Sacraments? “What’s more,” he asked, “where in Scripture to you see these rites presented as media for the bestowal of grace?” I quoted 1 Peter 3:21 since it speaks of the salvific grace of God being bestowed upon the participant, and we went on from there.
He asked if an old man on his deathbed who had just realized he was a sinner, repented, and believed in Christ was considered saved, even if he was incapable of receiving baptism and then perished. I said, “Yes.” “Then there’s an exception to the rule,” he said, “and that causes me to be skeptical.” As we went on and on, I brought up the point that James called for faith to be worked out in active obedience and I openly questioned the genuineness of one’s faith who knew of the baptismal ordinance but refused (was not incapable, but outright refused). It was at this point our conversation was interrupted.
He told me he liked the way my mind worked and we’d talk later. He’s an incredibly intelligent person (who could out-debate me any day), a genuine Christ Follower, and I don’t doubt these things about him in the least. However, I think he is misled here.
**Can someone give me some examples from the Scriptures of instances where we see the Sacramental value of Baptism and Communion in particular, **as these are the rites he acknowledges? I’d like to expand my understanding on these subjects now. In highschool I hope to go to a very good (excellent, really) Catholic school, and of course the theology curriculum there covers the Sacraments, but for now I must admit here my ignorance.