SBC Baptism and reception into the Church

Greetings all,

I was reading up on the theology of the Sacraments of the Church and I have a question. I understand that for a Sacrament to be valid it must have proper form, matter, and intention.

I have read in numerous places that in regards to intention for the Sacrament of Baptism that the minister who is doing Baptism must intend to “do what the Church does” in order for the Baptism to be valid. I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church and was Baptized there when I was 10 years old. I have not yet been formally recieved as a Catholic though my faith is turning more and more in that direction.

Would I need to be conditionally Baptized before I was recieved into the Church? I actually have a VHS tape of my Baptism and can probably obtain a letter from my old church stating I was baptized if needed. My thinking though, is that the minister who did my Baptism believed that my Baptism was only a symbol and was not doing what the Church does when She Baptizes. Is there a lack of intention when it comes to the Baptisms of Churches who believe that Baptism is symbolic only and not a Sacrament?

Thank you all in advance for you responses, I can’t believe I just now thought of this after studying and reading for so long.

Due to the lack of intention, would my SBC baptism still be a valid Sacrament?

As to a Protestant minister’s intention…his intention would have been in the very least ‘to do what Christ commanded’ and even though his understanding was not full…or even though he did not believe that baptism was anymore than a symbol …this is enough.

to intend to fulfill the Command of Christ is to intend to do what the Church does…even if the person does not believe.

or to intend to do what Christians do…for a pagan may even baptize…

It is Christ who baptizes.

for the Church even declared very early on … 3rd century…that even the heretics baptize validly…and that even a pagan can baptize validly …and so when someone came into full communion with the Church Pope St. Stephen I decreed that they were not to be rebaptized…

so with our separated brothers…this would be the case as well…(even though they are in a different boat from formal heretics…)

However it would be good to watch the film with the Priest etc…make sure matter and form were correct…

and if some doubt still exists for you…you can be conditionally baptized…

an example is a caller who asked about his particular baptism on Catholic Answers not long ago --to Jimmy Akin…and it seems to have been the case in his particular case …that he should ask to be conditionally baptized…so it can happen

In general, the Catholic Church accepts Baptist church baptisms as valid. If there is any doubt regarding the validity of *your *baptism, your priest will discuss it with you.

I think watching the video with a Priest would probably be a good idea. I’m very thankful that my parents made that tape and that we still have it :-). That way there wouldn’t be any doubt as to what happened and the Priest can give his advice based on the facts. Thanks all for the responses.

There are some questions. Did the individual who baptized the OP use the correct Trinitarian formula? In other words, the person baptizing has to say, “I baptize you (name of the person) in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Water, either by immersion or pouring over the head, needs to be used. The intent also has to be there as well.

Does not have to say the persons name…

and it does not need to be these exact words…for example some use the older term in Eng. Holy Ghost…

but it can not be things like "I baptize you in the name of the creator…the redeemer and the sanctifier… :slight_smile:

Canon Law (Roman)

Can. 869 §1. If there is a doubt whether a person has been baptized or whether baptism was conferred validly and the doubt remains after a serious investigation, baptism is to be conferred conditionally.

§2. Those baptized in a non-Catholic ecclesial community must not be baptized conditionally unless, after an examination of the matter and the form of the words used in the conferral of baptism and a consideration of the intention of the baptized adult and the minister of the baptism, a serious reason exists to doubt the validity of the baptism.

§3. If in the cases mentioned in §§1 and 2 the conferral or validity of the baptism remains doubtful, baptism is not to be conferred until after the doctrine of the sacrament of baptism is explained to the person to be baptized, if an adult, and the reasons of the doubtful validity of the baptism are explained to the person or, in the case of an infant, to the parents.

I was baptised in a large baptismal pool and completely submersed under the water. I need to go back and watch the video over at my parents’ house.

I do clearly remember Pastor Bob saying something along the lines of, "In obedience to the command of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I Baptise you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Then I was dunked under the water.

I was reading on New Advent.org and have discovered also that the pronouncement of the words before being submersed and not at the same time might also be a concern.

bear in mind that the new advent ency. is from around 1909…so some things are going to have been resolved…in 100 years :slight_smile:

there can be a “moral unity” here (the immersion and the form). but i would still raise the question…

Video is even better documentation than most of us have. I see no reason why you would need conditional baptism, unless the video shows something other than a valid baptism (e.g. rose petals instead of water). :smiley:

The minister of your baptism could be a pagan who doesn’t believe Jesus ever existed or an atheist who considers baptism a tool of mental oppression. They *don’t *have to believe what the Church believes. They just have to intend to do what the Church does.

Maybe it would help you to give an example of an invalid intention. Imagine that you are staging a play based on the humorous story from the beginning of Boccacio’s Decameron about Abraham the Jew visiting Rome. The play ends with Abraham’s baptism: one of the actors will dunk another. This staged baptism may have valid matter and valid form, but it will not have valid intent: the purpose is not to baptize the second actor, but to act out a story about a character named Abraham. The baptism is only pretend. So if an unbaptized person plays the character Abraham, he’ll still be unbaptized at the end of the performance, even though he’s gone through the motions. There is no intention to really do what the Church does.

On the other hand, imagine two Muslim friends stranded on a deserted island. They know they are going to die. One says to the other: “I know you do not agree, but I wish to die a Christian.” The second says: “In truth, I think this is a terrible, blasphemous idea.” The first says: “I know you do not agree, but please baptize me just so I can have my dying wish.” So the second says: “This is foolishness, but for you I will do it.” Unlike the example with actors, this is a valid baptism. The second Muslim does not believe the Christian faith at all, but he does, for the sake of his friend’s dying wish, intend to do what the Church does.

With regards to SBC ministers, there is no question regarding intention. They do intend to baptize, to do what Christians do. They’re not just pretending. :slight_smile:

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