How to "Sell" Baptism to My Husband


#1

Well I have a problem. My husband and I are Protestants (me less so than him, it’s complicated) and he is not baptised. I asked him if he wanted to get baptised, and he said maybe. But I know it will never happen unless an act of God occurs to get him down to the baptismal place.

I don’t think he will ever become Catholic, I would at least like for him to be baptised! I am baptised and I think it is SO important for so many reasons but I just don’t how to explain this to him.

I said that it is a way to show that you have turned from your sins and are publicly accepting Christ. He said he feels like he’s already done all that, just in different ways, and doesn’t “need” to be baptised. I told him Jesus didn’t “need” to be baptised either but he did it anyway because it’s the right thing to do. And he said that was for the benefit of the people around him. Well!

I’ve pretty much dropped the subject entirely this past month cause I don’t like to argue or nag. How do I sell the idea of baptism to my husband? I pray for him but I don’t know what else to do. I don’t see how anything bad could possibly come from him being officially baptised, and I fear for his soul if he won’t do it.


#2

Baptism is a Sacrament which cleanses us from original sin, makes us Christians, children of God, and heirs of heaven.

A. The conditions Our Lord has laid down for the gaining of this inheritance are:

1.(1) That we receive, when possible, the Sacraments He has instituted; and

2.(2) That we believe and practice all He has taught.

This is from the Baltimore Catechism. It’s wonderful that your husband has turned from his sins. I can’t imagine why he would not receive baptism. It is very easy to do. If he knows Christ wants him to be Baptised, it’s wrong to put it off.
It’s very hard to guess why he won’t…


#3

[quote=Christian4life]Well I have a problem. My husband and I are Protestants (me less so than him, it’s complicated) and he is not baptised. I asked him if he wanted to get baptised, and he said maybe. But I know it will never happen unless an act of God occurs to get him down to the baptismal place. I don’t think he will ever become Catholic, I would at least like for him to be baptised! I am baptised and I think it is SO important for so many reasons but I just don’t how to explain this to him.
[/quote]

Complicated- you bet. confusing too. How can he be protestant if he isn’t Baptised? Are you baptised protestant or Catholic? Are you thinking of enrolling in RCIA? I’d like to help but im lost.


#4

Like GoodKnight, I’m not sure exactly of the specifics of what you are asking. However, I would point out the words of Christ himself regarding the importance of Baptism:

“John 3:5 Jesus answered: Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

[size=2]Water baptism is not symbolic, it is absolutely necessary to enter the kingdom of God…whether one is Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant.
[/size]


#5

If your husband and you consider yourselves Protestant, then your husband is logical in his reasoning. From the perspective of Protestantism, depending on the faith community one attends (or even doesn’t attend), it may be considered completely optional. Short of an authoritative voice such as that found in the Catholic Church, anyone may pick and choose any interpretation one chooses. This is one of the (many) flaws of Sola Scriptura.

I and others here can tell you the reasons why all Christians until (and even in the early years of) the “Reformation” accepted the biblical teaching of the necessity of regenerative baptism, but if your husband is Protestant, he can rationalize it away in any number of ways, primary of which is his own interpretation.

For what it’s worth, here are some links:

Of Water and the Spirit:
The New Birth Is Not by Faith Alone
catholic.com/thisrock/2000/0012fea5.asp

The Church Fathers On The Necessity of Baptism
catholic.com/library/Necessity_of_Baptism.asp

Protestant Writers On the Necessity of Baptism
catholic.com/thisrock/1997/9702word.asp


#6

Do you and your husband attend church regularly?


#7

You did good by backing off the subject until you collect your ducks in a row, hopefully, I might have some furhter ducks for you to line up: I would say to him:

“Baptism is your open sign to the world AND to yourself of a willingness to be born again and again and again; Baptism is merely that initial ‘first step’ towards a long long journey, a start of a communications with one’s soul and your creator … are you willing to begin this process?”


#8

[quote=GoodKnight1443]Complicated- you bet. confusing too. How can he be protestant if he isn’t Baptised? Are you baptised protestant or Catholic? Are you thinking of enrolling in RCIA? I’d like to help but im lost.
[/quote]

Sorry. I will try to be more specific. You don’t have to be baptised to be a protestant. You don’t have to do anything to be a protestant, really. That’s one thing I don’t like about it.

I was baptised protestant I guess you could say, in a Baptist church, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Before that I was baptised as a mormon at age 8 because my dad is a mormon. It took me a long time and soul searching to decide whether to be baptised again (after the one in the mormon church), but I finally did and I’m glad because it was completely my decision the second time. But that’s beside the point.

I am kind of lost between protestantism and catholicism right now. I don’t know which one is better. I see good and bad in both, and it is confusing for me. But I have to be a protestant right now because my husband is totally against me becoming Catholic. He is just not okay with Catholicism at all and he would really look down on me if I did. It would cause a lot of stress in my marriage so if I do become Catholic I want to be 100% certain I’m doing the right thing first. Confusing as that may be. I do pray about it.


#9

Convert Patty Bond has some very significant reflections on this topic:

I’ve been working on this presentation about the difference in language between Catholics and Protestants. While it is possible to define words and their different meanings to each group, what is very difficult is to explain the difference in perspective that those words represent. Maybe a personal example will help explain what I mean.

I’m presently working on the word “baptism.” Baptism is a word that is defined in a multitude of ways across the Christian spectrum. Where I came from (I was a Baptist) it was just something we did to identify ourselves with Jesus Christ. Because He was baptized and He instructed us to be baptized, we were baptized out of obedience. It was often described as “putting on the uniform” of a Christian so that the world would identify us as Christians. Odd, really, since the vast majority of the world has no idea if you have been baptized or not. Once your hair is dry, who would know? Especially in baptist circles where certificates of baptism and even baptismal records kept at the chruch are often neglected and ignored. If you doubt me, ask a few baptist to Catholic converts who have struggled to prove they were baptized. We just don’t think much of it.

Ten years ago I became aquainted with a lady who was Presbyterian. She was one of the strongest Christians I had ever met. The only problem I had with her was that she had been baptized as an infant, and then “saved” as an adult, and refused to be re-baptized because she believed her baptism as a child was valid. I won’t get into Presbyterian doctrine, but she belived that her baptism brought her into the new covenant of Christ. I really struggled with what I saw as disobedience on her part because she would not be re-baptized.

Then five years ago, when I began studying the Catholic faith, I really struggled with the concept of infant baptizm as opposed to what baptists refer to as “believers baptism.” As baptists, baptism was seen as purely symbolic, non-effectual, and optional. In fact, we said that if you were not already “saved” when you entered the waters, all you were going to get out of baptism was wet.

Then I encountered the writings of the early Fathers of the Church and realized that baptism had always been seen as a sacrament that washed away original sin and imparted the grace of God making the baptized a new creation; a child of God. Here are just a couple of quotes:

Justin Martyr
*“And we, who have approached God through Him (Christ), have received not carnal, but spiritual circumcision, which Enoch and those like him observed. And we have received it through baptism, since we were sinners, by God’s mercy; and all men may equally obtain it.” *

"Then they are brought by us where there is water, and are regenerated in the same manner in which we were ourselves regenerated (were reborn). For, in the name of God, the Father . . . and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water. For Christ also said, 'Except ye be born again, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven . . . "

St. Irenaeus
"For He came to save all through means of Himself - all, I say, who through Him are born again to God, - infants, and children, and boys, and youths, and old men."

I can still remember wrestling with these words. What made these early Christians think that they should baptize their infants? What good did they think that did?

At this point I had come to peace with Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist, but the concept of sacrament was still so new that I still did not quite get how God has chosen to use matter to impart grace in our lives. But one day as I was driving across the desert here in Phoenix and wrestling with the Early Fathers, in one moment the Holy Spirit made sense of it all. I was driving along and suddenly burst out - “Because it’s a sacrament! It’s effective by the power of God! And who would not want their child to be brought into the family of God as quickly as they had been brought into the human family? It’s a sacrament!” Suddenly the word “sacrament” made sense and from there the whole Catholic faith made sense.

God had taken me on a five year journey to finally understand that one word. Words can be defined, but understanding their deep meaning often takes a changed vantage point and that can take years and requires the work of the Holy Spirit. That is another reason why understanding the written text of the scriptures is not sufficient to understand the Word of God. Without the proper vantage point (Sacred Tradition) words are just symbols without a definite meaning, open to the interpretation of the reader.

Original post can be found at:
envoymagazine.com/EnvoyEncore/#2167


#10

You cannot force an adult or persuade him or nag him or trick him into baptism. What is required is a process of conversion that leads him to want baptism and the other sacraments. I assume that if he identifies with a Christian denomination he lives a virtuous life, according to his standards, so it is not a question of conversion from a sinful or pagan state. But it is a conversion in a sense that it means a change of direction. Your best bet is to attend to your own spiritual welfare, whether or not that includes RCIA and exploring the Catholic faith, and be the best Christian you can. You will make for of an impression by actions than by words.


#11

[quote=puzzleannie]You cannot force an adult or persuade him or nag him or trick him into baptism. What is required is a process of conversion that leads him to want baptism and the other sacraments. I assume that if he identifies with a Christian denomination he lives a virtuous life, according to his standards, so it is not a question of conversion from a sinful or pagan state. But it is a conversion in a sense that it means a change of direction. Your best bet is to attend to your own spiritual welfare, whether or not that includes RCIA and exploring the Catholic faith, and be the best Christian you can. You will make for of an impression by actions than by words.
[/quote]

I believe he will not go to heaven if he refuses to be baptised.


#12

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