Why didn't the thief on the cross need to be baptized?

My Protestant pastor posed this question to me in a theological discussion and I didn’t know the answer. In trying to come up with one I dug myself into a theological hole. Can you help me climb out?

Thanks,
BG

Dear BG,

When parents insist that their children drink milk with dinner, does this mean that the parents themselves must forgo a glass of wine for milk? Of course not! They are not bound by the restrictions they place on their children. Nor is God!

Baptism is God’s idea. Certainly, He has the authority to use it or not. He can offer eternal life to His children……any……which……way……He chooses.

As for the thief, the Catholic Church would say that he had baptism of desire. See: catholic.com/thisrock/2000/0002chap.asp

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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