How can an infant be saved by baptism without faith in Jesus?


#21

[quote=Steven Merten]Hello justcatholic,

You are confusing faith with the Protestant missunderstanding of “faith”.

Faith, love and obedience are all one in the same.
[/quote]

That’s actually closer to the Protestant position. Catholicism traditionally has distinguished sharply between faith and love and has taught that you can have one without the other–something most of the Reformers (certainly including Luther) flatly denied.

Perhaps our earlier discussion would have gone better if I had challenged you to define the Protestant understanding of faith–because you don’t seem to understand it at all.

Edwin


#22

Bro Rich

              If you will read in your bible about those household baptisms, you will see that all those in those households **received the word** Paul spoke and rejoiced at his message. Only those capable of understanding Paul's gospel could react in that way. There is no mention of infants at all in these "household" passages.

              You asked, "Show me where Jesus said to only baptize adults?" This is easily understood by our Lord's commission to the apostles. He instructed them to preach the gospel and teach them or make disciples. Only persons that were capable to receive the apostles preaching could become disciples. Infants could hardly be made disciples. **Baptism always followed believing ** and not the other way around.

#23

[quote=justcatholic]Many Catholics were baptized when they were infants and yet as adults they are not leading Christian lives. Yet the church teaches infants baptized in a Catholic church are born again and are saved? How can someone be saved by water baptism and yet not profess faith in Jesus throughout their lives? :confused:
[/quote]

We baptize infants to cleanse them of original sin. Unlike some Protestants, Catholics do not believe in “once saved, always saved”.

We also have the sacraments of confession and the Holy Eucharist.

Shannin


#24

[quote=justcatholic]Many Catholics were baptized when they were infants and yet as adults they are not leading Christian lives. Yet the church teaches infants baptized in a Catholic church are born again and are saved? How can someone be saved by water baptism and yet not profess faith in Jesus throughout their lives? :confused:
[/quote]

Obviously if someone does not manifest (not just profess) faith in Jesus throughout their lives (taken as a whole–obviously we both agree that there’s no time limit and someone could come to Christ close to the end of their life) then they will not be saved. There’s no dispute about that. You do know, don’t you, that Catholics don’t believe in eternal security? Your question seems to imply OSAS and apply it to infant baptism, which no one (except possibly for some early Christian heretics mentioned by Augustine) has ever done (in fact, I’d argue that OSAS arose together with the denial of baptismal regeneration, though I’m not yet sure which caused which or if they were both caused by deeper convictions about predestination).

The question is not whether an adult can be saved without faith in Christ (I presume that you aren’t teaching infant damnation, so the status of infants is not in question here). The question is whether faith (or at least a profession of faith) must precede baptism.

In the first place, let’s make sure that we are talking about a profession of faith. That was your language, so I presume I’m safe in doing this, right? In other words, if someone professes faith in Christ and is baptized but later on decides that they were mistaken, you wouldn’t rebaptize them? (Some Baptists do this, but this becomes hopelessly subjective and–to borrow a line from the 39 Articles, there directed against transubstantiation–it “overthroweth the whole nature of a sacrament.”)

But traditionally Christians have seen an infant’s profession of faith as communal. The infant implicitly professes faith by being baptized in a Christian community and raised in the Faith. Obviously the adult most own this faith for himself or herself. But initially there is an implicit profession of faith in simply being raised as a Christian.

Note that I’m not talking about the working of the Holy Spirit in the heart, which of course must happen in the individual (though not apart from our participation in the Body). I’m talking about the profession of faith. Have you ever met a four-year-old raised in a Christian home who didn’t profess faith? (Of course if the four-year-old is taught to express this in terms of a conversion experience, he or she will do so, as I did.) My position may seem strange to you, but it’s psychologically accurate. To try to point out a moment when a child raised in a Christian home “becomes a Christian” is often pointless. That doesn’t mean that you inherit your Christianity, only that your personal appropriation of the faith of your parents is a gradual process (at least in many cases).

Of course the New Testament doesn’t talk about this. The New Testament doesn’t have anything to say about the children of Christian parents at all. That’s where having at least some trust in the Holy Spirit’s guidance of the Church is absolutely crucial.

In Christ,

Edwin


#25

Lost & Found

                  Your reference to John 3:3-5 does not mention water baptism at all. You are implying that or reading something in the text that is not there. When Jesus spoke of the new birth or being born again he spoke of **regeneration** of the person.Or the sinner becoming a new creature in Christ Jesus. This birth is a **work of grace from above ** and not of this world.

                  Baptism is a work of righteousness performed by pious men.Matt 3:15. The birth of water and spirit is the work of God the Holy Spirit. The water spoken of in verse 5  is "spiritual" and not physical. It is the cleansing act of the spirit in the human heart to give spiritual life to the sinner. Water baptism is not mentioned at all in the text.

#26

Contarini

             Your points are quite valid. A four yr old raised in a Christian home does not make him or her a Christian, no more than parking a VW in a garage and the next day hoping to find a rolls royce in it's place.

              Whether the individual is an adult or a child, one needs to have a basic understanding of the gospel and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved. This is so abundant in the New Testament that one is a fool to argue against it.

#27

[quote=justcatholic]This is so abundant in the New Testament that one is a fool to argue against it.
[/quote]

Take it back…

That wasn’t very nice.

:tsktsk:

A good number of people here are maintaining a large amount of charity in dealing with your questions.

You have come to a Catholic site- hoping to get answers, or stir debate. We will be glad to provide either here. But an argument does not make one a fool.

Shame on you.


#28

Shannin

           You state you baptize infants to remove "original sin". Where is that teaching found in the New Testament. The New Testament teaches that only the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin and not water baptism.I John 1:7.

            Your position is exactly what the Church of Christ teaches. That one cannot receive forgiveness from sin unless he or she is baptized in water.So according to your thinking, no matter how much faith a person would have in Christ and how sorrowful they might be, they couldn't receive forgiveness from God of their sins, because they have not been water baptized? This is not what the New Testament teaches. See John 3:16 and Acts 3:19 for examples.

#29

Justcatholic,

Obviously you didn’t understand my points–sorry for not being clearer. My point is that the four-year-old in question is a Christian by any criterion that we mere humans can judge. How the Holy Spirit is working in someone’s heart is impossible to know except insofar as it’s manifested by outward actions. And on that level of manifest actions all children raised by Christians are Christians until they become old enough to reject Christianity explicitly (whether by denying the intellectual content of the faith or by abandoning the Christian life). That is the truth expressed by infant baptism. Infant baptism says to God: “We are going to raise this child as a Christian to the best of our ability, but we know that we can’t make him/her a Christian, so we are asking you to take charge.” Every sacrament is an invocation of God’s promise–a handing over of our lives (or in this case the lives of our children) to the mercy of God. That’s why salvation through sacraments is not salvation by works but rather the exact opposite of salvation by works.

The question I’d like to hear you answer is whether, given what you have said, you believe that infants go to hell. If I were to take your remarks literally, I would think that they do. But I suspect that you don’t in fact believe this–that you believe that small children are innocent and go to heaven if they die before having reached an age of accountability. If you say *that, *then you do not in fact believe that explicit faith in Christ is necessary for infants and small children–since before they can talk they obviously have no way of professing such a faith, and before they can understand words and theological concepts they have no way of being instructed (as you insist is necessary). And from there we can talk.

Edwin


#30

Shian

         For one to deny that the New Testament teaches that one is saved by believing the gospel or good news of Jesus Christ is foolishness. I cannot take back what the apostle tirelessly preached. Rom 1:16

#31

[quote=justcatholic]Shian

For one to deny that the New Testament teaches that one is saved by believing the gospel or good news of Jesus Christ is foolishness. I cannot take back what the apostle tirelessly preached. Rom 1:16
[/quote]

Then I suggest removing yourself from the debate. Nothing that I have read here has anyone “denied that the New Testament teaches that one is saved by believing the gospel or good news of Jesus Christ.” So you now have two very large insults hanging over the heads of those here who are attempting to give you the answers you came here to find.

May the Holy Spirit give you the clarity you seek.


#32

Edwin

          The fate of un baptized infants has been debated throughout the centuries. Both John Calvin and St Augustine held to the position that unbaptized infants do not enter heaven at all. Others have said that all infants are covered by the blood of Christ in his atonement. Others believe as I do, the scriptures simply do not say. 

           So I cannot state emphatically something that is not plain in holy scripture. This lies in the counsel of God and I trust our God shall show mercy.

           But the main issue between you and I is not the fate of un baptized infants, but rather, do the scriptures reveal that infants were baptized at all? The clear answer is no. Baptism was only administered to those who received the word of the gospel.

#33

[quote=justcatholic]Many Catholics were baptized when they were infants and yet as adults they are not leading Christian lives. Yet the church teaches infants baptized in a Catholic church are born again and are saved? How can someone be saved by water baptism and yet not profess faith in Jesus throughout their lives? :confused:
[/quote]

Simple answer? Just because you were saved(baptism) doesn’t mean you are currently saved and certainly doesn’t guarantee that you will necessarily be saved and enter eternal life.

You seem to be confused regarding sin. We all sin, even if we are Christian. Whom do you think is immune from sin/sinning and where did you get this notion?

Phil


#34

[quote=justcatholic]Both John Calvin and St Augustine held to the position that unbaptized infants do not enter heaven at all.
[/quote]

Calvin did not believe this. See Institutes 4.15.22 (the very end of the section). He believed that the children of believers were saved whether or not they had actually been baptized.

[quote=justcatholic]Others have said that all infants are covered by the blood of Christ in his atonement. Others believe as I do, the scriptures simply do not say.
[/quote]

If you don’t know, then you can’t say what you said in your earlier post: “Whether the individual is an adult or a child, one needs to have a basic understanding of the gospel and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved.”

Look at how your argument works. You say that infants shouldn’t be baptized because they have not been instructed in the Faith and have not believed in Christ. Then you say that only those who have been instructed and have believed can be saved. That means that infants cannot be saved, period. If infants who have not understood or (actively, explicitly) believed the Gospel may possibly be saved–if you admit that Scripture doesn’t say one way or the other–then you must also admit that Scripture doesn’t positively say that only those who understand and receive the Gospel are saved. If Scripture said that, your dilemma would be resolved and you would have to believe that all infants are damned.

But if you say that this only applies to adults, or if you say that in some way infants can believe (as Luther speculated and Calvin came very close to suggesting as well), then your argument against infant baptism falls.

I don’t see, logically, how you can maintain both: that Scripture does not clearly teach that infants are damned and that Scripture does clearly teach that infants should not be baptized.

But the main issue between you and I is not the fate of un baptized infants, but rather, do the scriptures reveal that infants were baptized at all?

Of course that’s not the issue. We both know that Scripture doesn’t say anything clearly about the subject one way or the other. Given that we don’t know if the jailer’s “household” in Acts 16 included infants (it’s highly probable that it did, but Scripture doesn’t say), or if they were also baptized (it’s possible that “they were all baptized” refers implicitly to the adults; I have to grant you that because I think this is true of many of the general passages to which you appeal), neither of us can appeal to the explicit teaching of Scripture. That’s where the consensus of Christian tradition and the analogy of faith come into play. The issue here is what do you do when Scripture is silent?

One thing the household baptism does teach us, and that is that conversion to Christianity was often a communal rather than an individual matter. That alone, I think, seriously weakens your argument.

The clear answer is no. Baptism was only administered to those who received the word of the gospel.

But given that this clearly did happen in groups at times, we simply have no way of knowing whether or not infants were included among those who “received the word of the Gospel.” You assume that they weren’t, but that’s due to your cultural prejudices and is not in the text.

Edwin


#35

My goodness how you all make a simply thing so complicated!

The answer is: Because when you are Baptized the virtues of “Faith” “Hope” and “Charity” are infused.


#36

Edwin

       No, I did not assume anything, but stated simply what the New Testament says concerning household baptisms. All who were baptized in household baptism believed the word Paul spoke unto them. See Acts 16:34 for example.

        As far as Calvin is concerned, I heard he held to double pre destination and there are infants born who were not pre destined for salvation. 

         As for my position, I rely solely on what the scriptures say. The scriptures say nothing concerning the fate of un baptized infants. Yes, I strongly believe salvation lies in Christ and one must truly trust in Christ to obtain salvation. At least if the individual is mentally capable and chooses to do so. 

         Personally, I have spoken to Catholics who are **not** living a Christian life at all and simply come to mass once in awhile to do whatever their conscience dictates. I ask them about if they are living the Christian life and their answers are generally, "oh I'm Catholic, I was baptized Catholic as a baby." Many Catholics look upon their infant baptism or teenage confirmation as all that is necessary to be accepted in the Christian faith. Not realizing that only **constant faith ** in the person and work of Christ is what ultimately will save us.

#37

waxwaned

               And just where in scripture does it say that faith is infused in an infant at baptism? And better yet,  name one scripture where an infant was baptized by an apostle?

#38

Acts 3:38-39
Peter said to them, “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, For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call.”


#39

[quote=justcatholic]Personally, I have spoken to Catholics who are not living a Christian life at all and simply come to mass once in awhile to do whatever their conscience dictates. I ask them about if they are living the Christian life and their answers are generally, “oh I’m Catholic, I was baptized Catholic as a baby.” Many Catholics look upon their infant baptism or teenage confirmation as all that is necessary to be accepted in the Christian faith. Not realizing that only **constant faith ** in the person and work of Christ is what ultimately will save us.
[/quote]

Judgement is only reserved for God, not by us. One thing that I’ve discovered while reaffirming my beliefs as a Catholic is that, even with the nominally-adhering Catholic, one does not know the kind of work that God is doing to and within that person’s life through grace, and thus cannot judge that person on whether or not this person is “faithful.” I agree, one can show outwardly sins of faith to others (it is, after all, our calling by God), but we cannot truly know what God plans to do with that grace he gives each of us.

:cool:


#40

[quote=justcatholic]Bro Rich
When Jesus gave the great commission to his disciples, he didn’t just instruct them to go out and baptize everyone.

[/quote]

This is sloppy terminology. The great comission was given to the APOSTLES to MAKE DISCIPLES. If you are reading the bible with the same level of accuracy as you have demonstrated here, you will continue to misinterpret much. Your contention that “he didn’t instruct them to go out and baptize everyone” is meaningless. Here is Matthew 28: 19-20 NAB Go therefore and make disciples of ALL NATIONS, Baptizing them in the name of the Father…Son…Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all I have commanded you." So who is to be excluded?

Please review Matt28:19-20 above - richly provided to you by the Catholic Church. Baptism, and the exact manner it was to be done, is what is emphasized in the great commission - in no way would an unbiased observer conclude that “teaching” was the primary objective - at least not one with basic analytical skill. BTW, I don’t diregard the importance of teaching, but you are attempting to usurp (youll have to look it up) Baptism with teaching and that simply is not “the Gospel”

Then after they were taught the word of the gospel, they were to be baptized.

The WORD of the GOSPEL? What are you talking about? They are one and the same. Your statement is a redundancy. Only after the gospel message was written down and the Bible was referred to as the “word” of God could you potentially make such a distinction. You do realize that there was no written word of the “Gospel” for several generations don’t you?

You are clearly a theological giant beyond my skills and intellect.
I completely missed the part about the teaching being a PREREQUISITE to baptism - where, EXACTLY, is it? I was also under the ridiculous illusion that we were all infants at one time and that we were subsequently “taught to be disciples” - how silly of me…thank you for clearing that up :rolleyes:. BTW, what is the criteria we use to judge when we are “capable of understanding” the gospel - perhaps I have not achieved such competance yet…
Could you point me to a verse that provides guidelines?

Speaking without authority to do so,

Phil


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