Unbaptised believers

Born into a church where I was ‘dedicated’ rather than baptised, I have nevertheless known the Lord pretty much my entire life. Now as an adult I certainly intend to get baptised, but as my title suggests I am also considering Catholicism which is slightly postponing things.

Anyway, I’d like to know more about the Catholic Church’s view of unbaptised Christians, especially those who have known and worshipped Jesus for many years.

  1. Are unbaptised Christians considered Christians by the Church? Are unbaptised believers somehow still mystically connected to the Body of Christ, or is water baptism absolutely necessary? (Possibility of a baptism of desire while alive prior to water baptism?)

  2. All those years that I have confessed my sins to God, did it mean nothing? Do I have no forgiveness without water baptism? Is there no point in me confessing sin to God? Can I even have a proper relationship with God? Do baptised Christians have an easier time of living holy lives than unbaptised Christians?

  3. Are unbaptised believers somewhat lacking in spiritual gifts and graces than baptised believers? Can unbaptised believers be filled with the Holy Spirit, and if not, to what degree can they feel the Holy Spirit, can they receive spiritual gifts? Is it possible to be filled prior to water baptism, from a baptism of desire perhaps?

Thanks all.

The church believes in what is known as an baptism of desire. If one truly wishes to be baptized but is not the desire to be unity with God through baptism is recognized but when possible an actual baptism should take place. God knows your heart join your heart with his in the sacrament of baptism

Hey Sultan,

1.) Part of the initiation into the Christian life is receiving Baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Belief in the gospel and life of Jesus must accompany the graces given to us through Baptism. That’s wheather you are an infant or adult.

When you ask ‘absolutely’ necessary, I would say no. There can be reasons of no fault of your own as to why you did not receive Baptism. You also may be in the preparation stage of seeking Baptism (which is what I would like to think of you as ;))

2.) I would never think your sincere repentant heart was ever in vain! The Lord certainly has heard your prayers. Maybe you have been slow to follow His commands, but you have been given grace. All men, like yourself, have been forgiven. Accepting all the graces of this new life God offers man requires participation. This involves belief/faith, conversion (initial and continual), Baptism, prayer, Holy Communion, good works (charity).

Easier time? Yes and no ;)…yes, because without Baptism (actual or through true desire) we cannot do the Lord’s will. No, because this life in Jesus demands struggles and suffering. Yet, deep joy comes from these struggles and sufferings, like no other substitute can offer.

3.) yes, baptism offers grace in itself. The Holy Spirit will guide the unbaptized to Baptism. And is even waiting for the believer to accept this washing.

Peace
Michael

Wow!

What an excellent response!:thumbsup:

  1. I’m not sure but I think unbaptized believers preparing for baptism such as you describe are called catechumens, if not in the formal sense, at least in an informal sense. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1249, “Catechumens ‘are already joined to the Church, they are already of the household of Christ, and are quite frequently already living a life of faith, hope and charity.’ ‘With love and solicitude mother Church already embraces them as her own.’”

  2. Whether or not your serious or mortal sins were forgiven depended on the type of sorrow or contrition you manifested afterward. If the contrition you manifested for your sins was perfect, i.e., motivated by a love of God, then you can be assured that they were forgiven. If imperfect, i.e., motivated by some other reason, such as a fear of hell, then they were probably not forgiven. Your lesser or venial sins were probably forgiven because of your prayers, fastings and acts of charity.

  3. Though God has bound graces to his sacraments, he is nevertheless free to bestow his graces upon whomever he chooses, whenever he chooses. Consider the exceptional case of Cornelius and his companions in Acts 10. They received the gift of the Holy Spirit prior to their water baptism.

  1. Normally the word “Christian” is used only for those validly baptized. There isn’t really a concept of an unbaptized Christian as “Christian” normally means “Baptized”. That being said, those that believe in the teachings of the Church or Jesus or search for truth definitely have a relation to the Church even if they are not baptized.

  2. Confessing sins to God is never in vain and God certainly is listening. But being non baptized is an gravely deficient situation. As I said, there is no real concept of an unbaptized Christian per se. Being Baptized is the initiation into the Christian faith, it is the font of rebirth where we are born into God’s family and made members of his Church,

  3. God can send whatever graces he wants to anybody. He is God. But being without water Baptism is a lacking that can not be emphasized enough.

The concept of baptism of desire has long been recognized by the Church but should be followed by the water baptism that Christ commands.

  1. All those years that I have confessed my sins to God, did it mean nothing? Do I have no forgiveness without water baptism? Is there no point in me confessing sin to God? Can I even have a proper relationship with God? Do baptised Christians have an easier time of living holy lives than unbaptised Christians?

It is hard to know the answers to all these questions. Follow Christ’s teaching to pursue Baptism and His other sacraments, which do provide sanctifying grace.

  1. Are unbaptised believers somewhat lacking in spiritual gifts and graces than baptised believers? Can unbaptised believers be filled with the Holy Spirit, and if not, to what degree can they feel the Holy Spirit, can they receive spiritual gifts? Is it possible to be filled prior to water baptism, from a baptism of desire perhaps?

Once again, difficult to answer for individuals. We can certainly hope that God has mercy on the ignorant. Catholics (and all apostolic Christians) do believe that those protestant groups who teach that baptism is somehow optional are making a very grave error. Reject modernist ideas. Follow the unbroken teaching of Christ, His Apostles, and His Church and you won’t have to worry.

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