Postponing baptism--yea/nay? question for any schooled catholic

Greetings, I am a new poster non catholic, married, male, age 64 with a pentecostle neighbor with a ‘faith only’ doctrine. :frowning: subject baptism. what is allowed ‘teaching’ when answering the following questions

can you tell a man going off to war that yes he can be saved now and wait to be baptised when he returns from war?

can you tell a unmarried person they can be saved now and wait to be baptised when the can share the experience with their new spouse.?

can you tell a small child that yes they can be saved now, and wait till they are 'mature enough (say 14) to be baptised since it is so complicated and so serious a ceremony?

my answer was no,no and no. Baptism is essential for ‘entering’ a saved state/status/joining/entering/addition to the rolls/born again/yadayada and may not be postponed as if it is non-essential to salvation and just a church ceremony commaned/suggested/tradition,etc.

Funny. About the topic, I mean. It has been running through my head how many people won’t get into heaven because they have not been baptized… What happened to baptism? Has it been hijacked by churches? I believe the Catholic church is the one Jesus started and the one that tries to follow his teachings most closely…
But what did he say about Baptism? Unless you are born again of water and the spirit you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

I’m worried about all the people who are not baptized because they don’t want to belong to one church or another… Think how many people hate the Catholic Church. They wouldn’t want to be part of it so they wouldn’t get baptized in the Catholic faith. It’s the same for the other churches. So, because they don’t want to BELONG to a church, they can’t get baptized and therefore will be excluded from heaven??? How sad. How sad.

I wish I knew an answer. If John the Baptist were here maybe he could help. Of course, he only baptized with water… but no one had to join a “church” to get baptized. See the problem?

I say don’t postpone baptism. It is very important according to Jesus. It is VITAL! How can we tell people how important it is??? At least, let’s pray about it…

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive
those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil. Amen

I would like to add that there is only 1 Baptism (If properly done in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, with water either by sprinkling or immersion) this Baptism is the ONE called by Jesus, handed down by His Apostles and the Bishops since the beginning.

This is why if a person is Baptized in a protestant church and later swims the Tiber coming home the Catholic Church his Baptism is considered valid.

The Catholic Church will not ever re-Baptize any one. If there is doubt on the validity of the original Baptism, the priest CAN perform a “conditional” Baptism.

And of course the Catholic Church teaches that we should Baptize any one as soon as possible if there is grave matter involved.

The baptism practiced by John the Baptist was not Christian baptism (which is conferred in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit), and the two are not comparable. John’s baptism was a sign of repentance, and could be repeated. The Sacrament of Baptism, instituted by Christ, places an indelible mark on the soul, and removes original sin. It can not be repeated under any circumstance.

You do not ‘have to join a “church” to get baptized’. Baptism makes you part of the Church, whether you want to or not. If you do not want to be part of the Church, then you do not want to be baptized.

Edit: To the OP: I would say that one should never delay baptism for reasons such as you describe, especially not if one is about to join a war effort, to go into surgery or other things that could end one’s life. To be clear, I’m not saying one would by necessity perish if one dies unbaptized - it is commonly thought by Catholics that salvation may be possible even without baptism, through extraordinary means of salvation. But yet, there simply is no good reason to delay baptism.

Additionally, you can’t be “saved now” and later be baptized. Salvation isn’t a singular event in one’s life, but a process, starting in faith and baptism. It is complete when you stand before God in Heaven. For this reason, a Catholic never says “I am saved”, but “I hope for salvation”.

Water Baptism is a necessity by means and precept, but not an absolute necessity as there is also Baptism of desire and blood. But it would be wildly irresponsible to gamble with one’s soul by delaying Baptism by water.

What your friend is arguing is contrary to all that Scripture relates about baptism. He forgets that baptism is, as you say, necessary for salvation. Think also of all the historical records of baptisms in Acts of the Apostles. Baptism was never deferred. It was always administered after conversion as soon as the sacrament was available.

On top of that, it is hard to say that one both desires baptism and puts it off for no reason.

Exactly. :thumbsup:

Where can you go if you want to be baptized but not be part of a church? I’m thinking of the people who have preconceived notions about church anyway. Beliefs such as the following…

  1. Church people are hypocrites.
  2. There are so many churches, who knows which is right.
  3. My family never was into church.
  4. I can get to heaven by just being a good person.
  5. etc…

These people are going to be lost, right???

It’s not true that if you don’t want to be part of a church then you don’t want to be baptized to get to heaven, is it? Did the eunuch that Phillip spoke to want to be part of a church? Where will he find a church in Ethiopia? (I hope I got the right bible story… )

I wish everyone would be baptized like Jesus said. I don’t know how to get there from here…

Firstly, no, these people are not “going to be lost”. As Catholics, we never say that someone “is going to be lost”. We cannot know that. Only God does.

Yes, baptism is necessary for salvation according to the Church. However, through extraordinary means, the Church teaches that salvation is possible even without physical baptism. The Church always saw unbaptized martyrs as baptized through the “baptism of blood”. Later, we acknowledged the “baptism of desire”, which can apply not only to those who die as catechumens, but also those who seek good and are of good will, but through no fault of their own never reach the Catholic faith. Someone who is not baptized because of factors you describe, could fall into this group if their ignorance of what baptism entails is inculpable.

As for the Ethiopian eunuch, when St. Philip explained the Scriptures to him, he explained the Gospel. According to the Gospel, baptism makes you part of the Church. Not “a church”. It makes you part of the Church. Whether there was at the time a bishop and hence a local church in Ethiopia is irrelevant - the Church is universal. He would still be part of it if he went to the moon.

When the eunuch asked if he could be baptized, he knew this. He therefore did not only ask to be baptized, he asked to become a part of the Church. And he was made part of the Church.

So yes, it is true that if you do not want to be part of a church, then you do not want baptism. At least, the person does not want Christian baptism. Christian baptism always makes the baptizand part of the Church. It cannot be separated.

And lastly, again, you need to understand that going to heaven or not is not as simple as you describe. Yes, baptism is necessary for salvation, but those who are saved without water baptism are still baptized through blood or desire, and therefore they are also part of the Church. Perhaps without knowing so themselves, but they are still part of Her. This is what the ancient teaching “there is no salvation outside the Church” means: Not that all non-Catholics will go to hell, but that all salvation flows through the Church.


Thank you, Rin. Your response gave me some comfort for the unbaptized. Still I’m going to pray that ALL might be baptized into Christ Jesus and He will draw them into Heaven to be with Him… :slight_smile:

I will join you in that prayer - but it is also a prayer that all will be one with the Church :slight_smile:

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