Westboro Baptist Baptism?

Would the Church consider Westboro Baptist baptism valid even though they’re a hate group? Since they’re Baptist, they obviously baptize older persons (8 and beyond) and since they’re Baptist I presume they believe in the Trinity and conduct believers baptism in Trinitarian formula. So if they were to baptize, would they be conducting valid baptism despite being a hate group?

Yes, the power of the Holy Spirit will be present in the sacrament if it is conducted using the proper form and matter. Assuming that to be true, the attitudes of the pastor or group administering the sacrament will not affect validity. It does seem strange that a hateful group could bring someone into the Body of Christ, but it’s God’s guarantee of the presence of Jesus in the sacrament that is honored with that.
Sadly, as happens even in Catholic baptisms with adults, the grace is often lost quickly after if the person gets into hateful sins.

great answer, reggie

Thank you!

I would have to say No. How can a pastor with so much hate in his heart be a man of God and baptize people in the Trinitarian formula? Do you really think the Spirit of God resides in this man and his followers? Jesus told us to love thy neighbor but they have no love for anyone but themselves. All we can do is pray for people like this.

Well, if you believe that a Trinitarian baptism is efficacious, then it doesn’t matter who does the baptizing, does it?


I would say “yes”, but the thing is, how many Catholic converts do you know that come from the Westboro Baptist Church? Somehow, I never see them on The Journey Home on EWTN (and they have some pretty obscure denominations!)

Well, if a Catholic priest in a state of serious sin can hear a confession and give absolution as we believe, then I’d think a minister of a Protestant denomination baptizing in the name of the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit, even though his soul is stained with the serious sin of hate, performs a valid baptism.

My :twocents:

Strictly speaking the above is one of the hallmarks of the rigorous heresy of Donatism who held that the efficaciousness of the sacraments were dependent on the faultlessness of the minister (aka ex opere operantis). As Catholics we believe that the sacraments are effacious ex opere operato (through the work worked) regardless of the sanctity of the minister. A priest that confects the Eucharist while in a state of mortal sin does not invalidate the Eucharistic miracle as it is through Christ and not the minister that the sacrament flow. Likewise if someone harbors hate, that has no bearing on the validity of baptism. If they intend to baptize, use water and the Trinitarian formula it is assumed to be valid. Unless you can show that their hate means they worship a different God then their response to God’s love is immaterial to the validity of baptism.

From an Orthodox perspective, it would be an empty frame devoid of benefit until filled with grace on their being received into the Orthodox Church by Chrismation. Alternatively, they could be received by baptism. It would be up to the bishop.

The sacraments can only be confereed within the Church

St. Teresa of Avila went to confession to a priest who had a mistress. She was aware that the sacrament was effective and would bring her grace.

And, thanks be to the Lord, because of her sanctity she was instrumental in bringing him to repentance.

The degree of virtue or lack of virtue of the minister of baptism does not affect the validity of the sacrament, contrary to the position of the Donatists. The reason is that God is always faithful, and God is the one that channels grace through the visible action of baptism. The minister is a creature and possesses no such power. If all other factors of the baptism are fulfilled - the use of water and the invocation of the Trinity for the forgiveness of sins - then the sacrament is just as valid as if it were ministered by the Pope.

Of course, if the person receiving baptism themselves holds views that are gravely contrary to the Gospel, then this would be need to be resolved. The Holy Spirit continues to actively work in converting & sanctifying us until the day we die. Nobody on Earth is ever fully converted.

the westboro baptists really aren’t Baptists at all, you are making a lot of presumptions about their beliefs or sacramental protocols.

Just because they carry a moniker shared by a major denomination, that really says nothing about them at all.

I think you’d have to be a lot deeper into westboro’ism to assert they are "trinitarian’ and determine what that means to wbc folks

probably be a lot wiser just to see if someone converts & the matter becomes relevant. after all, they are sort of small, unstable and liable to change

Being a non American I really have no idea what the Westboro Church is all about apart from a quick search on Youtube.

Part of me would like to visit to get a clear indication of the type of people they are in their fullness and what makes them tick. (I might have to hide my Catholicism if the anti-Catholic allegations are true).

My understanding of baptism is that the desire and form is what makes the sacrament valid so I would say the baptism would be valid

Looking on their website was a very odd and sad thing. I won’t link to it, but if you’re really curious a google search is easy enough.

There is nothing about their beliefs that I could find a part from a brief mention of them being “primitive Baptist” and adhering to TULIP: Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints.

Mainly their website is taken up with their assertions that God hates gay people and because the US tolerates gay people that must mean God hates the US. Their message is bizarre.

sit tight, sooner or later there will be a funeral near you they are interested in and they’ll make the trip.

i wouldn’t worry about what the phelps clan thinks of me or catholics in general

I see what you guys are saying. I was just speaking what I thought. But the same would apply to a catholic priest in living in mortal sin. Apologies.

what you’re referring to is the donatist heresy.

but this was already determined, the sinfulness of the doesn’t mean his sacraments are invalid at all.

of course,in the case of wbc’ers, we really don’t have enuf info about their religious beliefs or even if they baptise at all,

Ummm, they’re Baptists. My guess is that they baptize.

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