Infant baptism and orginal sin


#1

This is the first of what may be several threads addressing specific Catholic doctrines. As my questions about the “usual issues” of Transubstantiation, The Immaculate Conception, Papal Infallibility and Tradition have been and are being answered very well in my previous “Questions from your friendly neighborhood Protestant” thread, I don’t see a need to start a new thread about them. Here, then, is another doctrine I am wondering about: infant baptism and original sin.

While the Bible mentions people consecrating their children to God (Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple, etc…), I haven’t seen anything that says being immersed in or sprinkled with water can save a person. An infant is not aware enough to make a confession of faith, and it seems that in the Bible, baptism always accompanied a mature person’s desire to repent and believe (like with Phillip and the Ethiopian eunuch). I have been baptised (in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit), though not in the Catholic church, but this did not happen until I was aware of what I was doing and what I believed. The church I grew up in believes that baptism is a ceremony declaring a person’s public confession of faith in God and acceptance of Jesus. The immersion in water in and of itself does not save a person.

I have heard of stories of people panicking about getting their children to Mass to be baptised as soon as possible, out of fear that if their children die without having a priest sprinkle water on them, they will go to Hell. While I believe that we are born with the stain of original sin, I fail to see how water and a blessing, if not accompanied by the individual’s repentance and belief, can remove this stain. I don’t pretend to know the state of the souls of those who die before reaching the maturity required to believe. However, I don’t see how a child who died at birth is going to Hell, but a child who lived long enough to be sprinkled with water is saved from that.

This issue has been a difficult one for me to understand, and, as always, I very much appreciate your answers. God bless you all!


#2

First off, let me state, that this really isn’t a solely Catholic thing, infant baptism. I was raised Congregationalist & that is about as seperated as one could go back in the 1600s from the Catholic Church but still remain Christian. HOWEVER, I was baptised as a baby (my mom is ex-Catholic & she felt that I NEEDED to be). My Goddaughter is Lutheran, I am her Godmother (I don’t understand this, either, but, her mom & I were best friends, so… I hardly see her, anyway). I was there when she was a baby for her baptism.

Next, & I’m sure EVERYBODY else will do a better job explaining this, but, baptism is the new circumcision. Baby’s (male) were circumsized to show that they belong to God. Baptism took over for that.

IF you haven’t already, go here for more information. THIS may have all that you need.


#3

Keep in mind that while there are no direct references to infant baptism in the Bible (though entire households are baptized based on the faith of the parent - cf. Acts 16:31-33), there are no references to children, born of already converted parents, being baptised only once they reach the age of reason. Every occurence of baptism in the Bible is the result of conversion, which does take reason. Therefore, any converts today will undergo the same process as is found in the Bible.

Paul explicitly likens baptism to circumcision however in Col. 2:11–12, and the vast majority understood this to mean infant baptism. In fact, the only real dispute regarding baptism for 200 years was over whether babies should be baptized before or after 8 days old. This was because the custom of circumcision was done only after 8 days. The Church ruled this 8 day limitation was no longer necessary.


#4

Ah! I realize now that I misspelled “original” in my topic title. Oh well…

What both of you say does make sense, and I certainly don’t disagree with the practice. What I do disagree with is the belief that infants who somehow die before receiving baptism are sent to Hell (or perhaps Purgatory), while those who do receive it go straight to Heaven. Perhaps this isn’t what the church really believes. This, of course, would mark the very first time in history that a Protestant’s opinion of Catholic doctrine was based on incorrect information… :rolleyes:

I guess the idea that being an unwilling participant in a ceremony can have an effect on one’s eternal state sort of flies in the face of the Protestant belief that we are judged for our personal relationship with God, not for what someone else may or may not have done on our behalf.

Thanks for the information! I’m checking out that sacraments page right now. God Bless!


#5

[quote=The Iambic Pen]Ah! I realize now that I misspelled “original” in my topic title. Oh well…

What both of you say does make sense, and I certainly don’t disagree with the practice. What I do disagree with is the belief that infants who somehow die before receiving baptism are sent to Hell (or perhaps Purgatory), while those who do receive it go straight to Heaven. Perhaps this isn’t what the church really believes. This, of course, would mark the very first time in history that a Protestant’s opinion of Catholic doctrine was based on incorrect information… :rolleyes:
[/quote]

Well, while we do trust the innocent in God’s care & we trust in His Mercy, this is where the idea for Limbo came about. The Bible says one has to be PERFECT to get into Heaven (Jesus – “Be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect” & the book of Revelation says that “Nothing unclean will (or can…I don’t remember) enter it (Heaven.)” When born into original sin, one is NOT perfect, BUT, if one dies, even before one is really fully aware of their existance, is it really their fault? Should they be sent to Hell?!! OF COURSE NOT!!! It’s not fair!! BUT, it is just!!! God is just AND merciful. SO!! If one is not perfect…but, hasn’t really sinned…and cannot enter Heaven…but, never contributed to anything worthy of being damned…and doesn’t really have any sins to purge…what happens? Honestly, we still don’t know, but, as stated before, one entrust them to God’s Care.

I guess the idea that being an unwilling participant in a ceremony can have an effect on one’s eternal state sort of flies in the face of the Protestant belief that we are judged for our personal relationship with God, not for what someone else may or may not have done on our behalf.

Not to sound…antagonizing…or anything (not the word I wanted to use, but, needed to use my English skills to use a synonym for a word that would probably, if nothing else, get me suspended), but, there’s A LOT of Catholic doctrine that flies in the face of Protestant beliefs. BUT, don’t misjudge here. Just because somebody IS baptised DOES NOT MEAN THEY GET AN AUTOMATIC IN!!! If one is baptized & continues with the faith & lives it and believes it & loves it, then one has a good chance of getting into Heaven (remember, we don’t even believe as the Protestants do, in Once Saved Always Saved, so, even the baptised, can, do, & have lost salvation). AND, NOBODY ELSE can get you into Heaven. IT IS PARTIALLY a personal relationship with Jesus. ALSO, keep in mind, that because the Church does infant baptism, they do not SOLELY do infant baptism. AND, if one desires baptism, but, cannot BE baptised, I believe the Church rules that there is again, a VERY good chance of that person getting in through the Pearly Gates.

Thanks for the information! I’m checking out that sacraments page right now. God Bless!

No problem!!! :smiley:


#6

Infant Baptism is not directly said in the Bible but it is said that baptise the household members.

Baptism may only be done once. If you are baptist in the name of the Father, and of the SOn and of the Holy Spirit, even not in catholic church then you are baptist. you only need other ceremony like the salt thing etc.

Infants who died without baptism, as said in the CCC, “the church can only entrust them to the mercy of GOD, as she does in her funeral rites” -CCC 1261

Faith is important as Christians. "For all baptist, children or adult, faith must grow after baptism. " CCC#1254

For infants it requires a post baptismal cathechumenate.

For adults however, Cathechism must precede baptism.

Baptism freed us from darkness and from the original sin.

**1258 **The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament

-CCC


#7

Hi there Iambic Pen -

I’d like to say first that I hope the army doesn’t send you into war, but if it happens, I will pray for your safety, as I do all of our soldiers. You are a brave soul and I respect you for that.

Now to the thread - I have taken a quote from your original posting. The Catholic Church has maintained from the beginning that baptism is more than ceremony, although ceremony is a part of it. This is the difference between many protestant denominations and the Catholic Church, along with the Orthodox churches who believe the same as the Catholics.

The Catholic catechism explains plainly the effect of baptism -
vatican.va/archive/catechism/p2s2c1a1.htm
**

**Baptism in the Church **

**1226 **From the very day of Pentecost the Church has celebrated and administered holy Baptism. Indeed St. Peter declares to the crowd astounded by his preaching: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38) The apostles and their collaborators offer Baptism to anyone who believed in Jesus: Jews, the God-fearing, pagans. (Acts 2:41; 8:12-13; 10:48; 16:15) Always, Baptism is seen as connected with faith: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household,” St. Paul declared to his jailer in Philippi. And the narrative continues, the jailer “was baptized at once, with all his family.” (Acts 16:31-33)

**1227 **According to the Apostle Paul, the believer enters through Baptism into communion with Christ’s death, is buried with him, and rises with him:

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Rom 6:3-4; Col 2:12)

The baptized have “put on Christ.” (Gal 3:27) Through the Holy Spirit, Baptism is a bath that purifies, justifies, and sanctifies. (1 Cor 6:11; 12:13)

**1228 **Hence Baptism is a bath of water in which the “imperishable seed” of the Word of God produces its life-giving effect. (1 Pet 1:23; Eph 5:26) St. Augustine says of Baptism: “The word is brought to the material element, and it becomes a sacrament.” (St. Augustine, In Jo. ev. 80, 3: PL 35, 1840) Please note the scriptural quotes in the document. See that baptism actually incorporates us into Christ’s death and resurrection, going beyond mere ceremony. The belief and practice are fully supported by scripture.

In the different light of belief, you may now understand the practice of infant baptism differently. To continue -
**

**The Baptism of infants **

**
**1250 **Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called. (Council of Trent (1546): DS 1514; cf. Col 1:12-14) The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth. (CIC, can. 867; CCEO, cann. 681; 686, 1) So, fundimentally, the difference is that baptism is a spiritual cleansing and communion with Christ and not just ceremonial.

I hope this satisfies your question.

The peace of Christ be with you,
Subrosa
**


#8

HI Iambic,

The Church does not teach that unbaptized children go to hell. It believes that God will take care of them in his own way. Some theologians have thought that unbaptized children will enjoy a “natural” happiness, seeing God through his creation, rather than “face to face”.

As for the baptism of children, you have or will be presented with biblical and non-biblical evidence. But I personally cling to a simple truth: justification is a free gift; it cannot in any way be deserved. Neither by your act of faith nor in any other action. And, altough in an adult, an act of faith is required as a prerequisite, you cannot merit this grace. Free gift for an adult, free gift for a child. It is all the same.

Verbum


#9

Hello,

I am still in RCIA, so hopefully I don’t give you any wrong information. My teacher said that anyone can baptise another, as long as it is done in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So, I would assume that if there was some emergency, the parent or even the attending nurse could baptise the child and it would be sufficient.


#10

1 Peter 3:20-22 (New King James Version)

20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. 21 There is also an antitype which now saves us–baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,


#11

Thanks for the information! The main thing that has brought this issue to mind is a story I heard somewhere (I wish I could say exactly where; it might have been in my Medieval English Lit. class, or it might have been in some sermon or in something I read). It was about how in the Middle Ages, families would often bring their infant children out into the cold in the middle of Winter to go to mass, because they were afraid for the fate of their children’s souls if they were not baptized. Some children could not handle the cold and ended up dying. Now, whether this ever actually happened or not, I don’t know. I guess from a Protestant point of view, it seems silly to risk a child’s health (or life) for a ceremony. If this act of baptism actually was necessary in order for the child to go to Heaven, then certainly it was worth the risk. As always, thanks for your answers! God Bless!


#12

[quote=The Iambic Pen]Thanks for the information! The main thing that has brought this issue to mind is a story I heard somewhere (I wish I could say exactly where; it might have been in my Medieval English Lit. class, or it might have been in some sermon or in something I read). It was about how in the Middle Ages, families would often bring their infant children out into the cold in the middle of Winter to go to mass, because they were afraid for the fate of their children’s souls if they were not baptized. **Some children could not handle the cold and ended up dying. ** Now, whether this ever actually happened or not, I don’t know. I guess from a Protestant point of view, it seems silly to risk a child’s health (or life) for a ceremony. If this act of baptism actually was necessary in order for the child to go to Heaven, then certainly it was worth the risk. As always, thanks for your answers! God Bless!
[/quote]

**

to go to mass

**
First of all, a Baptism is not a part of the Mass. So we already know that the writer is misinformed or perhaps the same as the author of the Tooth Fairy Episodes.

Some children could not handle the cold and ended up dying.

Of couse, because blankets, shaws, hoods, etc. were either not invented yet, or Medieval people were not yet knowledgeable that cold can freeze and damage the flesh or respiration of infants! Right!
So, we have 2 Fairy tales so far.
Regarding infants, punishment, hell, etc.

  1. We are all born into our fallen nature. NO ONE has a right to heaven.
  2. No innocent human has a destiny to torment either.
  3. Hell is simply the ABSENCE of the Beatific Vision of God in the after life. Inclusively called Hell.
  4. Jn 3:5 says “shall not enter the kingdom of heaven”. It says NOTHING about Hell-Fire retribution or torment. This is an assumption by Prots toward the Catholic Faith on infants without Baptism.
  5. Receiving anything LESS than the full participation in the rewards of heaven is —hell.
  6. To receive those FULL UNDESERVED benefits, one must be “born AGAIN of water and the Holy Ghost…”
  7. Natural birth has NO reward of heaven attached to it, lest we pervert the words of the Redeemer to “unless a man is born, he shall NOT enter the kingdom”. Which of course the anti-infant-baptismists effectively do.
  8. Natural happiness is the destiny of the unbaptized infant, NOT supernatual happiness.
    An Analogy:
    I hand a child a Latin Vulgate Bible, and a musical toy. They will choose the musical toy, and never read a word or care about that Bible. Why, because they are INCAPABLE of appreciating the Latin Vulgate Bible. So, we take away the Bible, and OBJECTIVELY remove a source of knowledge unto salvation. Did we “deprive” the infant of something essential? Yes, but they could NOT make use of it, so it is not a source SUBJECTIVELY for that infant.
    Likewise, in the afterlife they may well receive all the accouterments of which a natural person is capable of enjoying, as opposed to the Supernatural ones of which they are NOT capable.
    This is a LONG way from “Hell-Fire torment”, yet still a punishment (hell) relative to what they COULD have accomplished by the Grace and Justification of baptism which DOES make us part of the Body of the Redeemer and removes the spiritual effects of Original sin (a deprivation of supernatural life).
    Perfectly reasonable, perfectly logical, perfectly scriptural, perfectly historical, perfectly Faithful to Our Lord, as all The Catholic Faith is…because it is Apostolic, not recent novelty.

May God Bless you forever in the Catholic, Apostolic Faith.
ps. We are getting clouds in north Texas, the first ones in 27 days of oppressive desert-like heat.
Glory to God, and His Mercy upon us N Texas sinners.
I just heard a crack of THUNDER as I ended the last sentence!


#13

Let’s maintain a high level of charity in all our responses to Iambic Pen. I have been following his posts with interest and he is asking very good questions and dealing in both honesty and charity. We should always make out answers in line with 1st Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you.

Your servant in Our Lord,
Michael Francis


#14

[quote=The Iambic Pen]Thanks for the information! The main thing that has brought this issue to mind is a story I heard somewhere (I wish I could say exactly where; it might have been in my Medieval English Lit. class, or it might have been in some sermon or in something I read). It was about how in the Middle Ages, families would often bring their infant children out into the cold in the middle of Winter to go to mass, because they were afraid for the fate of their children’s souls if they were not baptized. Some children could not handle the cold and ended up dying. Now, whether this ever actually happened or not, I don’t know. I guess from a Protestant point of view, it seems silly to risk a child’s health (or life) for a ceremony. If this act of baptism actually was necessary in order for the child to go to Heaven, then certainly it was worth the risk. As always, thanks for your answers! God Bless!
[/quote]

Hey IP!

I don’t know how accurate the story is, but guess we also have to realize that back then Westerners (unlike, say, the Japanese) felt that bathing was unhealthy and so that served to work against them in every area of health and that was probably more a factor in the infant death rate than exposure to weather, though it might well have exacerbated the problem.

Here is a good article on infant baptism and this is a great article that shows the ECF teachings on it as well. Then there is this link to all the sacramental articles that has more on Catholic baptismal teaching and the other sacraments.
Hopefully this will help you glean the better understanding that you are seeking.
Pax tecum,


#15

First of all, a Baptism is not a part of the Mass. So we already know that the writer is misinformed or perhaps the same as the author of the Tooth Fairy Episodes.

Well, this results from my misuse of the word “Mass.” I was saying “go to Mass,” in the same way I might say, “go to church.” My lack of knowledge does tend to show itself now and then… :slight_smile:

Let’s maintain a high level of charity in all our responses to Iambic Pen. I have been following his posts with interest and he is asking very good questions and dealing in both honesty and charity. We should always make out answers in line with 1st Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you.

I thank you very much! I have learned much on this forum, and I greatly appreciate all who have put up with my ignorance and answered all my questions. This has been an overwhelmingly positive experience. May God bless all of you!

The reason the infant baptism issue is such an important one to me is because of its importance in a human being’s eternal state. According to my understanding, ultimately all people will either be in Heaven or Hell (purgatory being a temporary state for those already going to Heaven). So, obviously infants must end up in either Heaven or Hell eventually. While I don’t necessarily believe they get an immediate free pass to Heaven, I also doubt that they are condemned to Hell. Where they end up is a mystery to me, but I trust God, who is merciful and just. So, the question ultimately is not, “Is God doing the right thing in regard to these infants?” because obviously He is. The question is what is the Church’s official stand on the issue.

God Bless!


#16

Iambic Pen,

Remember that Christ’s Paschal sacrifice is a more perfect fulfillment of the original Passover; the latter merely symbolized redemption from sin, while the former actually effected it. Is is so surprising that God would also more perfectly fulfill other important Old Testament rituals?

The Old Testament mikveh was symbolic of the washing away of sins, and to this day the Jews accept that symbolism. The waters of the mikveh are referred to as “living water”, and in the ancient world the baths were constructed so that no human hand touched the water – it was considered to come directly from the hand of God.

When Jesus was given a mikveh by John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit came and rested on Jesus; if we are, as Scripture says, baptised into Christ’s baptism, should we not then expect that some real spiritual event will be effected when we are baptised? And when Jesus said “If you knew to whom you are speaking, you would ask and I would give you living water”, would He not understand every nuance of meaning that that implied and intend to fulfill those meanings as only he could?

I find that the Catholic view of baptism is not only reasonable and consistent with scripture, but that it is vastly more gracious than anything I could have possibly imagined when I was a Protestant.

The teaching on infant baptism is close to my heart. My wife and I lost our first child very early in her pregnancy; our hearts were broken and I was very angry at God for a while. I got over it, and I trust Him to be just and merciful.


#17

[quote=The Iambic Pen]…I haven’t seen anything that says being immersed in or sprinkled with water can save a person.
[/quote]

Iambic Pen,

I posted in a rush above, and didn’t get a chance to address this point - you talk about “sprinkling”, but that’s not the Catholic way. Ours is more in line with the Didache (written in 70 A.D., disputed for the pre-cannon centuries of Christian tradition as being “inspired”, and sometimes refered to as ‘The Teachings of the Apostles’):

Chapter 7. Concerning Baptism. And concerning baptism, baptize this way: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. But if you have no living water, baptize into other water; and if you cannot do so in cold water, do so in warm. But if you have neither, pour out water three times upon the head into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit…

The normative way of Catholic baptisms (by Church mandate, followed or not) is full emersion! IF this cannot be accomplished, pouring is the next option. I have never read a baptism rite where “sprinkling” is called for. Even if it were, however, the following passage seems to prophesy such an event:

Ezekiel 36:25
Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.

The only Christian interpretation of this prophesy is as prophesying baptism, which washes away our sins (1 Pet 3:20-22), but we still don’t sprinkle. There is symbolism involved as well as efficacy, and drops of water just don’t cut it for the symbolic aspect.

As far as whether or not infants can be washed clean without a profession of faith…well…Eph 2:8-9 tells me that God’s gift of grace is free. There’s nothing we can do to merit it, not even “professing our faith”. Catholics believe so heartily in God’s free gift of salvific grace and the complete lack of our ability to do anything to merit it, that we baptize babies! Does anyone else you know believe that strongly that we can do nothing to merit God’s grace? What’s important is to keep in mind that the efficacy is reliant on “not imposing an obstacle to God’s grace” - in other words, not saying “I disbelieve”. You couldn’t force-baptize Muslims, for example; they actively disbelieve and in so doing present an obstacle to God’s grace. Babies present no such obstacle, and in not doing so there is no reason to believe that God’s grace wouldn’t flow freely.

Make any more sense?

God bless,
RyanL


#18

Whole households are baptized in Scripture (someone help me with the verse:o )–that would no doubt include young children.

You know, the main objection to infant Baptism is that people should choose to become Christian once they are old enough to really evaluate the choice. In practice, however, Protestants do not expose their kids objectively to all the different religions so that the kid can truly choose Christ himself. They raise their kids Christian from birth. From a Protestant point of view (ie sacraments are just symbolic), how is this any different than infant baptism?


#19

I

n practice, however, Protestants do not expose their kids objectively to all the different religions so that the kid can truly choose Christ himself. They raise their kids Christian from birth. From a Protestant point of view (ie sacraments are just symbolic), how is this any different than infant baptism?

Hmmh…that does put it in an interesting perspective. All parents raise their children to believe in the same truth they do (some believers in moral relativism may claim they do not do this, as they do not push any particular religion on their children; however, since moral relativism is its own philosophy, they in fact are raising their children according to their own beliefs). My Protestant upbringing certainly affects what I believe. That’s why many Catholic doctrines are difficult for me to accept.

In regard to infant baptism, I certainly do not see the practice as being somehow evil. I guess I’m still hitting a snag when it comes to the belief that baptism has any value for a participant who is unaware of what is going on. Since most Protestants believe that religious ceremonies are observed to remind us of things rather than to actually do anything in and of themselves, it seems odd to believe that a ceremony would do anything for an unwilling participant. All of that being said, I admit freely that I may be wrong, and I may in fact be close to changing my opinion. And I may or may not have said a definite statement in the previous sentence, which of course may or may not exist.

Okay, enough of that. :slight_smile: So, in this last week of Catholic Studies 101, I have learned much about Catholicism that I didn’t know before. I have also learned that many (if not most or all) of my objections to Catholicism were based on incorrect information. All of that being said, it is not an easy thing to consider the possibility that the faith I have been raised in may in fact be flawed. Catholics have always been “the others.” They may be nice and all, and many of them are certainly Christians, but most of them are either superstitious and ignorant or noncommittal “Christmas and Easter” types. As I begin to see that this is not the case, I come to the slightly uncomfortable conclusion that maybe I’m on the wrong side of the fence. As someone who was raised as a Protestant, who attended church every single Sunday (except for very rare exceptions), who was actively involved in Protestant groups growing up, who continued in such groups in college, and whose father was a Protestant minister, I approach this juncture with a bit of hesitation and anxiety.

So, all of this being said, I ask for your prayers. If Catholicism is indeed the truth, then obviously I desire to embrace it.

I close this post with a comment about my Evangelical Protestant upbringing. Because of it, I accepted Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for my sins; because of it, I learned to read the Bible and pray; because of it, I learned to know God and to be proud to be called “Christian.” My faith filled me with a desire to know God better and to do His will. That is why I am here. Some say that Protestants are simply heretics who have rejected the Church and wandered away out of rebellion. I challenge you to understand that this is not so. I cannot speak for the intentions of the Reformers, but I can speak of Evangelical Christians I know today. I know so many men and women whose hearts are on fire for God, who have devoted themselves to His service, who have gone on mission trips, who have become full-time ministers, who genuinely care about people, and who have led many people to a relationship with Christ. Perhaps their theology is imperfect, but their love for God and their desire to serve Him is true. The overwhelming majority of Evangelicals I know are not out to condemn Catholics. They desire, rather to see the world saved for God. I admire them and hope to be more like them. Perhaps Catholicism is true. If that is the case, then I pray that they, along with me, will return home to the Catholic Church. Until that day, I ask that you would see us not as your enemies, but rather as your brothers and sisters in Christ. Please pray that all Christians will know the truth and come together in perfect love for God, for each other, and for all people. I thank you for your prayers! May God bless you all!


#20

IambicPen, it’s great to have you here. I don’t think I’ve responded to your posts before, but I’ve read some of them, and you definitely have a spirit of humility in seeking the truth, which I really admire.

In regard to infant baptism, I certainly do not see the practice as being somehow evil. I guess I’m still hitting a snag when it comes to the belief that baptism has any value for a participant who is unaware of what is going on. Since most Protestants believe that religious ceremonies are observed to remind us of things rather than to actually do anything in and of themselves, it seems odd to believe that a ceremony would do anything for an unwilling participant.

I’m probably just restating what other people have already said, but in Colossians 2:11-12, baptism is seen as the fulfillment of circumcision. A child who was circumcised certainly had no idea what was going on, but circumcision did gain him inclusion in God’s covenant. In the same way, baptism gives both adults and babies a means to be members of God’s family. God initiates the relationship, and, as others have said, it is a free gift. To adults, God usually gives the gift of faith prior to baptism, but to children, God gives the gift of baptism, and through that the gift of faith. As the child gets older, he has to take the faith for his own. In Acts 2, Peter tells his audience, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him” (Acts 2:38-39).

I have also learned that many (if not most or all) of my objections to Catholicism were based on incorrect information. All of that being said, it is not an easy thing to consider the possibility that the faith I have been raised in may in fact be flawed. …I come to the slightly uncomfortable conclusion that maybe I’m on the wrong side of the fence. As someone who was raised as a Protestant, who attended church every single Sunday (except for very rare exceptions), who was actively involved in Protestant groups growing up, who continued in such groups in college, and whose father was a Protestant minister, I approach this juncture with a bit of hesitation and anxiety.

So, all of this being said, I ask for your prayers. If Catholicism is indeed the truth, then obviously I desire to embrace it.

You definitely have my prayers. May God guide you in your search for Truth, and may you who seek, find.

I close this post with a comment about my Evangelical Protestant upbringing. Because of it, I accepted Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for my sins; because of it, I learned to read the Bible and pray; because of it, I learned to know God and to be proud to be called “Christian.” My faith filled me with a desire to know God better and to do His will. That is why I am here. …I know so many men and women whose hearts are on fire for God, who have devoted themselves to His service, who have gone on mission trips, who have become full-time ministers, who genuinely care about people, and who have led many people to a relationship with Christ. Perhaps their theology is imperfect, but their love for God and their desire to serve Him is true. The overwhelming majority of Evangelicals I know are not out to condemn Catholics. They desire, rather to see the world saved for God. I admire them and hope to be more like them. Perhaps Catholicism is true. If that is the case, then I pray that they, along with me, will return home to the Catholic Church. Until that day, I ask that you would see us not as your enemies, but rather as your brothers and sisters in Christ. Please pray that all Christians will know the truth and come together in perfect love for God, for each other, and for all people. I thank you for your prayers! May God bless you all!

I agree with you that we need to understand that Evangelicals are not our enemies. I was baptized as an infant and raised Catholic, and I have never left. I have had many Protestant friends, even some who were surprised to find out that I was Catholic because they didn’t think Catholics could love God. For the most part, these people had a sincere desire to love God, and their dislike of Catholicism was based in ignorance rather than malice. I also want to thank you for recognizing that Catholics are not the enemies of Evangelicals or other Protestants, but that we are all brothers in Christ. I’ll definitely be praying for Christian unity as well.


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