Sunday, April 28, 2013

BAPTISM: MUST YOU KNOW THE PURPOSE OF BAPTISM? (Originally posted 10/14/05)

ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE, WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF BAPTISM AND MUST THE PERSON BEING BAPTIZED KNOW THAT PURPOSE?

"an appeal to God for a clean conscience" - 1 Pt. 3:21

Among churches of Christ, this is a question being debated. There are some preachers who are approving baptism even though the person did not know the Biblical purpose of baptism. These are people who were baptized "because the Bible said to" without knowing its purpose.

Just do it and don't ask why. Let's apply this to another Biblical to partake of the Lord's Supper. Do people eat the bread without knowing the meaning or reason for doing so? You can imagine they do. But is this acceptable? Certainly not, but since it is done each Lord's Day, the Christian can learn and partake of it next week for the right reason. When there's a clear meaning or purpose to partaking, ignorance is not acceptable.  The Lord's Supper is a remembrance of something very important and it must be partook with this in mind.

What matters is sincerity, right? Where's the example in Scripture of the sincere person who is saved when taught wrong? Apollos was a disciple and they were even called disciples in Ephesus but sincerity didn't save them, Acts 19:1-6. They had to be rebaptized. These "disciples" believed in Jesus and got baptized, just like Jesus commanded, and since it was John's baptism they received, it was also for forgiveness of sins. But God didn't give His blessing on the basis of their sincerity. To say that a person's baptism is valid even though taught wrong simply because they were sincere is presumptuous. Is it wise to grant that people are saved on a presumption?

Most every religion teaches the importance of obedience. Baptizing adults is a step in the right direction, and we have to assume that any adult getting into the water must be doing it "out of obedience to Jesus." But it is important to ask if God wants or asks for "obedience alone"? Someone will say, "But it's not "obedience alone" because they do have faith in Jesus." Do they? Do they have faith in Jesus' words? Do they have the faith of the people in Acts 2:41? Do they have the faith of the Eunuch in Acts 8? Do they have the faith of Saul in Acts 22:16? No, those Biblical examples are of people who were taught the purpose of baptism and entered baptism with the understanding that they were lost and needed God's salvation.

Imagine if Jesus commanded His disciples to eat some unleavened bread and fruit of the vine. And imagine that nowhere else in Scripture is the subject elaborated upon. If such were the case, then Christians would obediently eat and drink those items. They could even say they did it "in faith" because "Jesus said to". But they wouldn't know a meaning for it. Now consider that Jesus does say why to eat and drink these items and the the only proper reason for partaking of them is the reasons He gave. So if someone eats and drinks the emblems without knowing the reason Jesus gave, would you say it pleased God? How could you be sure to say yes? To say yes is to affirm what you don't know. It's would be presumptuous. Instead, what you should do is gently correct the person so that he partook of it in a way to please God.  If last week he partook in ignorance and then learned by your gentle teaching the true purpose of the Lord's Supper, then next Lord's Day he would correct why he partook. Likewise, baptism is an act of faith in the saving power of God. And to receive baptism for the wrong reason, or for "obedience" alone, would be unjustifiable.

Look at the following verses:
"having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead." (Colossians 2:12)

"For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ." (Galatians 3:26,27)
Note that from these verses baptism and faith are integral parts of salvation, and Colossians 2 shows that being "raised" (terminology for the new life in Christ, Col. 3:1) happened at Baptism "through faith in the working of God." Obviously, if one is "raised" at the baptism, it requires that God is at work in the baptism. But this passages says that their is faith is IN the working of God to raise you. Paul says that the person being baptized has his or her faith in the power of God to save. A person who is baptized for no other reason than "God said to" has a denominational understanding of baptism and does not have faith in the power of God to raise him. Paul very clearly, as can be seen in this verse and in Colossians 3:1, is speaking of the new life or new birth in Christ. Everyone in the Bible had this information when they were being baptized.

To the Galatians, Paul says something in 3:26 that nearly everyone agrees on: "we are sons of God through faith." Like Paul says to the Ephesians, salvation is by grace through faith. Anyone who says otherwise is either confused, deceived, or a liar. But Paul is not finished with the discussion as the very next verse says that being "clothed with Christ" occurs through baptism combined with faith. The Galatians were "sons of God" by faith, because they were "clothed with Christ" when they were baptized. Baptism is truly a faith act. This is not the same thing as doing it "because he said to". Baptism for any other reason cannot be about faith, because it is not based on the commanded purpose. Like someone once said, you cannot be taught wrong and be baptized right (see Acts 19:1-6).

A sense of urgency that denominational baptism doesn't include. Why does Biblical baptism come with a sense of urgency? In Acts 22:16, the man who was known as the Apostle Paul, who had been blind, praying, and fasting for three days, was told that it was urgent that he be baptized. Ananias said, "Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name", Acts 22:16. There are some obvious points to be learned from the text. As already said, there is a sense of urgency for Saul to get up and do something. Second, we may infer from the command by Ananias that Saul believes in Jesus and has repented of his sinful past. Third, Saul had not yet been Baptized. Fourth, Saul is not yet saved because he has not yet "washed away his sins." Fifth, washing away sins in baptism is the way to "call on the name of the Lord" for salvation. All these points are derived from this text. It's all very simple and straight forward. Baptism, when understood and acted upon correctly is an act of faith which brings about the release of sins by the gift of God.

Jesus said, "13 Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.", Mt 7:13,14.  People must seek the truth. Faith comes from hearing the word of Christ, Rom. 10:17. When people are taught error, and when they obey teachings not found in the Scriptures, then it is presumptuous to assume they are saved. We should do all we can to save these people by teaching them correctly. If they are honest and sincere, the simple truth will set them free. Baptism must be understood as they place where a sinner receives God's saving grace.

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In the comments below, Padziernik is Catholic and argues that Baptism is effectual in an of itself without understanding the person. Of course he speaks of an infants receiving effectual baptism without knowing it's meaning.

18 comments:

  1. Wow, “Baptism, ‘in and of itself, does not save anyone.” This is certainly not the historic Christian understanding of baptism. In the verse you cite from St. Peter, he presents the analogy of Baptism’s saving through water as Noah was “saved” through the ark:

    "Baptism . . . now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 3:21)

    This Old Testament event foreshadowed the New Testament reality. The Ark actually saved 8 people naturally. St. Peter points out that baptism saves people super-naturally. That is why he uses this analogy. St. Peter goes on to appeal to those who have been baptized to turn from sin:

    “Let the time that is past suffice for doing what the Gentiles like to do, living in licentiousness, passions, drunkenness, revels, carousing, and lawlessness of idolatry.” (1 Peter 4:3).

    Baptism is not merely “legal” (e.g. blind obedience to God). This seems to be the point of your post that you are trying to counter. I agree with out that this misunderstanding should be countered. However, you countered it with the necessity to understand as the pre-condition. This would be extrinsic to the reality of Baptism as presented in Sacred Scripture. Rather, Sacred Scripture presents baptism as something intrinsic. In other words, it produces a change in the person in and of itself:

    “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:11)

    Your pre-condition of “understanding” does not square with the command of Jesus himself and the practice of the first Christians baptizing children and infants.

    "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God" (Luke 18:16).

    I’m not sure why you are “hung up” that children and infants should not be baptized. If it is necessary for them, then they can gain eternal salvation. If not, then it does not “harm” them. To gain a deeper understanding of God’s Word, please try reading scripture that God can act without pre-conditions. After all, He is God. He can do what he wants.

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  2. Dear Sir,
    The "pre-condition" you speak of is not placed there by me. It is God who makes "faith", which comes by hearing (Romans 10:17), the pre-condition for an effectual baptism. I believe that baptism is a symbol that has power, probably as you do, but I believe the Scriptures show that it must be united with faith (Colossians 2:12 and Galatians 3:26,27 bear this out): which little innocent babies do not have (faith is the assurance of things hoped, the conviction of things not seen, Hebrews 11:1).

    Your entire discussion of Noah and the rest seems to completely miss the point that NOAH WAS A MAN OF FAITH (I invite you to read more on this in Hebrews 11). I don't question whether the supernatural was involved in God's salvation through the flood or in baptism, but faith must be present. The 1 Peter 3:21 says "baptism saves you", but he shows that baptism is also one's appeal to God for a clean conscience: hence, faith!

    And no one is trying to get in the way of children coming to God. The context shows that he is speaking of hindering them. By not sprinkling an infant we in no way, shape, or form hindering them from coming to God. In fact, when they come by their choice, it will be much more meaningful than what you apparently prescribe.

    Thank you for the comments.
    Dan

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  3. Well, Colossians 2:12 in context, Colossians 2:11-14…

    “In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision mage without hands, by putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ; and you were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, having cancelled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”


    Baptism is indeed united with faith and also the forgiveness of sins. Baptism brings about both faith in our souls and the forgiveness of sins. I understand that you’re trying to say that faith is necessary for baptism but the analogy that Paul uses when he compares baptism of the New Covenant as replacing circumcision of the Old Covenant does not bear this out. God does not expect the impossible from us. Surely he does not expect a profession of faith from an infant or a young child before the age of reason (which is commonly understood to be around 8 years old or so). If faith were a pre-condition, then it would be strange that he would use the analogy to circumcision of the Old Law. Except for converts to Judaism, circumcision for adults was rare. If Paul meant to exclude infants or young children then it is strange that he did not write about any such exclusion.

    I believe, along with other biblically-based Christians, that baptism is not a mere symbol. It actually does something. 1. It gives us faith 2. It forgives sins and 3. It raises us to a new life in Christ in accord with Colossians 2. Baptism also has symbolic dimensions, e.g. washing as a cleansing from sin etc.

    For Galatians in context, Galatians 3:23-28…

    “Now before faith came, we were confined under the law, kept under restraint until faith should be revealed. So that the law was our custodian until Christ came, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian; for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither slave nor free, there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    Paul explains that the New Covenant is superior to the Old Covenant. The law he refers to is the Mosaic Law. He explains that the New Covenant is open to all where as the Mosaic Law was simply a “custodian” of this reality up to the time of Jesus Christ. He does not present faith as a pre-condition to Baptism. Rather, in the language that he uses, he links the two together. We are indeed justified by faith. No argument here. However, in the language of Scripture, faith and baptism go together. The initial grace of faith comes from God and its supernatural infusion into a soul comes to us at baptism.

    Please understand that, if Baptism actually does something and makes us children of God and is in fact a way to God, as historic Christians understand, then not baptizing them in fact hindering them from coming to God. Jesus warned us clearly not to do this. Also, please understand that many do see “adult only baptism” clearly as a problematic attitude that is not grounded in Scripture.

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  4. Hello to all Commenters!

    I have a some questions for y'all.

    What is baptism? Is it sprinkling, pouring, immersion, or something else? What is the proof for any of these answers?

    Is faith an act of God whcih is imparted to a person at baptism? If so, can faith be imparted to a person without their knowledge? Could God impart faith to me in the shower or in a swimming pool? Would I be saved without even knowing it?

    If it is impossible to please God without faith and if he must impart faith to a person, is it then impossible to please God unless he allows me through the imparting of faith?

    Must a person seek God to be rewarded? What is the reward - faith or salvation - both? Can this person have faith in what they sought and found, or must they wait for God to impart the faith and salvation?

    I could go on with these questions because, as you can tell, I am confused. I look forward to your answers.

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  5. Dear Pazdziernik,

    You wrote: "Baptism is indeed united with faith and also the forgiveness of sins. Baptism brings about both faith in our souls and the forgiveness of sins."

    To say this is to indicate that you do not understand what Biblical faith is. I referenced Hebrews 11, which says Faith is about assurance and conviction and logically implies were are not speaking of something that involves infants.

    Faith is not the gift, according to Acts 2:38 and Acts 22:16, but forgiveness and a clean soul is.

    You say that faith is connected to Baptism because God gives it at Baptism? No, faith must precede Baptism if it is to be effectual. 1 Peter 3:21 says that "baptism now saves you" because the person receiving Baptism had the faith to "appeal for a clean conscience."

    The practice of your church does not follow the pattern of the New Testament. In Acts 2, the prophet Joel was quoted who said, "and everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Acts 2:21). Only a few verses later, the hearers were pierced to the heart (vs 37, something which does not happen to an infant) and asked what they should do. This is faith, and it is a faith which is leading to salvation, but it precedes the salvation. In the next verse they are told what to do. "Repent and be baptized each one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins,...." Now that is what we follow. We do not deny that salvation is a gift, nor do we ever suggest that it is on the basis of anything but faith, but it happens to believing, repentant sinners at the point of being immersed in a watery grave.

    Sir, you are coming at this subject all wrong. You continue to start on the false premise that infants are lost in sin. Infant Baptism is a logical step if that be the case, but as I have shown before, sin is an act of disobedience to God and not something you are born with. One might be born in a world of sin; one might be surrounded by sinful people; but it is only when we sin as they, they we become guilty of it.

    Here is the problem I see. The Bible speaks of one faith, but you have two. The Bible speaks of one sin, but you have two. You say that there is a faith that God gives and then there is a faith God requires, right? That makes no sense. That is, unless you disagree with Romans 5:1 and other places that say we are justified by faith, and without faith it is impossible to please God. I can see you saying yes to this, with the added caveate that God has given the faith to those who will be saved. But what then does it say of God if he doesn't give this required faith to everyone? It would necessarily mean that God is a respector of persons, that He is biased and partial: all of which He is not (Romans 2:11; Galatians 2:6; Ephesians 6:9). It is therefore logical that God requires one faith and we will be judged on the basis of having it. It is not given at baptism; it must be in the person prior to it.

    Faith comes from hearing the word, Romans 10:17. That is the one faith. The two faiths that you must offer, if you believe Romans 10:17, is not according to Scripture. I respectfully disagree with your position.

    And you offer two sins. One sin that man commits which are stated in passages like Romans 1:29-31, and Galatians 5:19-21. Sin, the one sin, is done by ommission or commission (Colossians 3:25; James 4:17). The very idea that there is a sin (which can be atoned for and forgiven in an infant) that one is stained with at birth is so contrary to the Gospel of Christ, that I am baffled that anyone could believe it.

    Circumcision and Baptism in Colossians 2:11,12. Because the two are shown to be analogous does not mean they are so in every way. The similarity has to do with the sharing the moment one becomes or enters the covenant relationship with God. In the old law it was on the eigth day of birth when the physical circumcision occured, and in the New Covenant it is at Baptism (when a person has faith and turns from sin, Acts 2:38) and the spiritual circumcision without hands occurs. But to apply the analogy to the age of the person is going too far. In the Old Law, the eighth day was problematic: just ask Jeremiah.

    "They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."

    When Israel walked around in a covenant relationship with God but did not know God, this was a problem. They entered the covenant without knowing the Lord and their parents failed to teach them. In the New Covenant, you first learn about the Lord in the Gospel and then you respond with repentance, confession, and Baptism. So your reasoning is faulty as you fail to stop when the analogy does. I do not want to come across as rude, but this original sin is confusing too many subjects, including the subject of New Testament Baptism.

    In the "intrinsic" value of Baptism, you overstate your own argument. You are correct that Baptism has power, but you go too far to say that it has power "in an of itself." Nothing has intrinsic power apart from faith in the individual. A prayer to God has no intrinsic power apart from faith. Faith is what gets my God's attention. Giving and doing good deeds have no intrinsic power apart from faith. The world does good deeds, but they do not please the Lord because they do not do it unto the Lord. They do not do it by faith. Even so, Baptism has no intrinsic power unless the one being Baptized has his or her faith, no longer in the world and vain things of it, in God to save (see 1 Peter 3:21 again, it is an appeal to God for a clean conscience).

    Baptism is a "legal" act and anti-grace/faith if the person receiving it does not have faith in God. I must be "hung up" on this subject of whether to Baptize infants or not because at a later age they will have to be untaught before they can be taught. They have to be untaught on sin before they can be taught on their sin. They have to be untaught on faith before they can be taught on Biblical saving faith. They will have to be untaught on so many things before they can be taught on the grace of God.

    And concerning your idea that "historic" Christianity supports your view is not supported. The ideas of original sin and sprinkling in place of Baptism is not traced back to the first century. Because a council in the fourth century decided on it, might make it an ancient belief, but it does not make it contemporary to the New Testament times.

    Finally, to 100 Yards. Thank you for your questions. They illustrate the problem that some people have. In Ephesians 2:8,9, "the gift of God" is not the faith, it is the "grace" that is the gift of God: which means "unmerited favor." The unmerited favor of God flows to those who have faith: salvation is through faith. Those who do not have faith, do not receive the unmerited favor. It is inconsistent and contrary to the Gospel to say, as some do, that God also gives the gift of faith, and makes salvation contingent upon it.

    If God gave the gift of faith, then no one would be seeking God until God gave them the faith to do so. If that were true, then God would be responsible for the damnation of all who He did NOT give grace to. Some would counter, "no, God is not to blame for their lost condition; their original sin which they got from Adam is to blame." Either way, if this were true, a majority of people would be going to hell either because they inherited someone else's sins and/or because God withheld the gift of faith from them. The entire argument falls apart. Thank you.

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  6. I do really appreciate your response. For lack of time I cannot comment on everything you wrote. However, be assured that I read it and understand where you are coming from.

    1. Jesus did not place any restriction on who may receive baptism, yet the position you advocate and support does. He did proscribe instruction and actual faith for adult converts:

    “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

    Given that he stressed its necessity for salvation (John 3:5), it makes sense that he did not place restrictions on it. The original types of Christians (Catholics) did not place any such restrictions on it either. The idea that baptism should be restricted to adults only is a recent idea in the history of Christianity. To say otherwise is to ignore history and consign this early and continuing biblically-based Christian teaching to oblivion.

    2. Romans 10:17 … “So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes from the preaching of Christ.” The Author of Romans (probably Paul) is addressing adult converts as the context indicates. He does not exclude infants or children below the age of reason. Surely, a profession of faith is not expected from infants or others incapable of accepting faith in an adult sense.

    So is “faith” only from “what is heard”? Scripture indicates otherwise: I agree that Noah was a man of faith, but what type of “faith” if he was yet to hear the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? This shows that “faith” is indeed used in different senses in Scripture. St. Paul does provide a definition of “faith” and in the normal course it does come through what is heard. However, it is not limited to “what is heard.” In the same way, faith is not limited to “what is heard,” baptism is not limited to “adults.”

    Are deaf people not able to be saved? Are the mentally ill, those who are mentally retarded, or others who are incapable of either hearing or making a profession of faith unable to be saved? Or to be baptized? I really hope that you don’t advocate withholding baptism from these categories of people? (Please don’t gloss over this question.) In the same way, infants are “mentally retarded” in the sense that they do not yet have an “adult faith.” Yet, you advocate withholding baptism from other categories of people.

    I know that “faith” is today most often synonymous with “belief” but its biblical exposition and reality are deeper and richer that you seem to present. Likewise the biblical exposition of baptism and its reality (and effects) are deeper and richer than you present.

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  7. Dear Padziernik,

    Let me respond again to new items you have brought up.

    You are correct that Matthew 28:19-20 is the command to make disciples of adults, baptizing them. It is also clear that John's baptism, an immersion in the Jordan and Aenon Rivers (because there was much water there) was adult baptism. "The crowds were going out to be baptized by him..." (Lk. 3:7), and "people were coming and being baptized" (Jn. 3:23). And it is clear that Jesus was speaking to an adult when he spoke of being "born again" of "water and the Spirit", (John 3:3-5). And it is clear that Jesus said that those who believe the Gospel and are Baptized, will be saved (Mk. 16:15,16). And it is clear that the 3,000 who were Baptized on the day of Pentecost were adults, since Luke writes "those who had received his word were baptized" (Acts 2:41). And it is clear that "men and women were being Baptized" in Acts 8:12. And it is clear that the Ethiopian Eunuch was an adult when "they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him" (Acts 8:38). And it is clear that the jailer was an adult when he was baptized in the middle of the night (Acts 16:33). And it is clear that the disciples in Ephesus, who had been taught wrong, were adults when Paul rebaptized them (Acts 19:5). And it is clear that Paul was an adult when Ananias came to him and said, "And now why do you delay, arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on His name" (Acts 22:16). And it is clear that the Romans were adults when they were buried with Christ in Baptism since Paul says later in the chapter that the conversion coincided with them being "obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness" (Romans 6:17).

    So these and other examples show is "the historic Christian understanding of baptism", that it was adults who were Baptized into Christ. This is clear and irrefutable. There is no denying that the examples of Baptism in the Bible New Testament church are of adults submitting to the command to be Baptized once they have heard and believed the Gospel.

    But where is the example of an infant being sprinkled? In the New Testament? No. That Jesus said "do not hinder the children from coming to me" is not an example of children being Baptized. That the households of Cornelius and the Philippian jailer were also baptized does not indicate that infants were Baptized or sprinkled. That Jesus desires all to be saved does not imply that children therefore are candidates for Baptism unless it is also proven that they are lost. There is no place that says children and infants are lost, in fact, Jesus said that His disciples must become like them!

    The Scripture is full of examples of Baptism being received by adults, but the examples of children and infants doing the same is not there. I have here referenced the "original types" of Baptism and they do not fit with what you say.

    You ask in reference to my previous comment: "So is 'faith' only from 'what is heard'?" Friend, I was quoting what the Apostle Paul said in Romans 10:17, where he specifically says, "Faith comes by hearing...." and earlier in the chapter he says, "How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? (Romans 10:14). But you say, "Scripture indicates otherwise". But you do not prove that it shows otherwise.

    Here is an example of faulty reasoning. You write:

    "So is 'faith' only from 'what is heard'? Scripture indicates otherwise: I agree that Noah was a man of faith, but what type of 'faith' if he was yet to hear the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? This shows that “faith” is indeed used in different senses in Scripture."

    In this you suggest you will prove that faith comes from something other than hearing with the question, "is 'faith' only from 'what is heard'?" That's a valid question, even though it was already answered with Romans 10. But a valid question, nevertheless. But then you proceed to discuss that there are different kinds of faith, instead of showing that faith comes from something other than hearing. In your discussion of Noah, you don't show that His faith was based on something other than hearing, but you say that it was a different kind of faith.

    In my previous discussion, I dealt with two issues which you here confuse. I pointed out that there was only one Biblical faith which justifies and I pointed out that it came through hearing the Word of God. But you argue that there is a different faith that comes through some other means. You try to prove that faith comes not only through hearing the Gospel (as revealed in the New Testament) and that that somehow proves that there is a different kind of faith? How do you know Noah didn't hear the Gospel: Abraham heard it prophetically (Galatians 3:8). Noah did not hear the Gospel as clearly as Matthew told it, but he did hear God and believed. You want this to prove that there are different kinds of faith so that you may justify infants having faith? You have a problem with this reasoning because the Hebrew writer says that faith is faith. The faith that the Christian must have to please God (Hebrews 11:6) is like the faith that Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and others had. They are not different kinds of faith; they are the same. Paul stronly makes the point in Romans 4 and Galatians 3 that the Gospel was preached to Abraham (Gal. 3:8) and unless our faith is like his, then we cannot be justified. These people heard the word of God and they responded in faith. The idea that you can prove a different faith for infants than what is called for in adults by showing that Noah didn't hear the Gospel is not an argument you can make. There is no evidence offered, but to the contrary: Noah's and Abraham's faith was like ours; or rather, the Believer's is like theirs.

    Then without proving different faiths, you continue on this false premise to prove that, "baptism is not limited to 'adults'." You might have an argument if you could prove that Noah was an infant. But since that is not the case, you have not made your case.

    Then you speak of other things that are not analogous, which I promise not to "gloss over." You ask, "Are deaf people not able to be saved?" Answer: yes. You continue: "Are the mentally ill, those who are mentally retarded, or others who are incapable of either hearing or making a profession of faith unable to be saved?" By the construction of your question, you equate the deaf and others who are "incapable of hearing" with the mentally retarded. They are not the same. The mentally handicapped are able to hear but are not capable of understanding the Gospel. But the deaf are able to "hear" through signing and are able to understand and respond to the Gospel. Such questions, by lumping dissimilar things together, makes impossible a logical, Biblical conclusion. Do you see this? To answer your question, if a person is a child or is child-like in mental faculties, their soul is safe though they do not have faith: they have no sin. But those who have sinned, whether or not they are deaf, need to hear the Gospel, believe and obey it (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; 1 Peter 4:16,17; Romans 10:16).

    Again, thank you for adding to the good discussion here. I know that God can use this to His glory.

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  8. Chill. It’s a blog, not a doctoral thesis. I certainly realize that a deaf person is not necessarily mentally handicapped as well. Give a person the benefit of the doubt that further editing may be required. For example, you initially responded “yes” to the question of “Are deaf people not able to be saved?” I’m not going to jump all over this. (Although, you did not respond directly, I think that you think that they are “saved” but don’t have “faith” and shouldn’t receive baptism.) I’m writing this from scratch; not cutting and pasting from a well-edited piece.

    It’s kind of disheartening to read that you pointed out the dissimilarity of similar things and cite this as an illogical conclusion rather than and illustrative list as a normal reading of it would be. Things are dissimilar because they are similar and not the same!

    The constraints that you place on the Sacred text and the burdens that you place on children are still not convincing from your interpretation of Sacred Scripture. Here are the limitations.

    1. Constraints
    Not understanding the reality of the defect of Original Sin. See, Genesis 3 and Romans 5:12-14. Not understanding the difference between this defect in a soul and actual sin in a soul. (You covered this in another bolg. It is very important but does not itself hinder the discussion of “who may receive baptism.”)

    Not understanding that the “circumcision of Christ” fulfills the circumcision of the Jews. See Colossians 2:11-13. There are many other N.T. citations that also show children were both included and welcomed welcomed in Judaism and likewise in Christianity. Both the O.T. and N.T. have a more communal aspect to family and faith, than the “God and me alone”, “faith alone”, “Jesus and me alone”, “the bible and me alone”, individualistic interpretations that are popular today.

    2. Burdens
    Baptism is a great defense against demonic activity and possession.

    The stigma that children are not really “welcomed” as members of the Christian community.

    Supernatural grace is infused into a child’s soul through baptism. Becoming a “new Creation” in Christ through baptism.

    These burdens and others are sadly well-known from experience. Yes, “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” (James 2:24). Nevertheless, baptism and its effects are a great source of spiritual energy to do such good works.

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  9. Concerning whether "deaf people not able to be saved", I answered "yes", but I misread your question, missing the negative, and meant that "yes", deaf people are able to be saved.

    This makes me wonder why you would even ask such a thing. I have never referred to anyone, adult or child, that could not be saved.

    And no I do not think deaf people are saved without "hearing" and obey ing the Gospel. This is stated clearly that they could "hear" through signing and could understand the Gospel. So why you would anything else (You wrote: "Although, you did not respond directly, I think that you think that they are 'saved' but don’t have 'faith' and shouldn’t receive baptism.") is a mystery unless you did not read my position.

    And dissimilar means "unlike", "unalike", "different", and it is incorrect to say, as you do, "Things are dissimilar because they are similar and not the same!" That is illogical. The deaf person is not at all like the mentally handicapped. They are not "similar and not the same!".

    And concerning the "constraints" I place on the Bible and "burdens" I place on children, you don't support your positions. The Word of God is the constraint and I place no burden on children or infants. The Colossians 2 and James 2 passages that you reference show once again that baptism with "faith" is the constraint, but you seem unwilling to acknowledge it. You do not answer my points. Jeremiah 31:31-34 says that things won't be as they were under the Old: "they all show know". Under the Old, an eight day old couldn't have faith and if the parents failed to teach them, they would not have it as an adult. But in the New, baptism is required to be united with faith to be effectual. That way they "know" when they are in the covenant. And it is your position that places a burden on infants by teaching that they are lost having been born with original sin. To say that not baptizing infants has creates a "stigma" that children are not welcomed is pure fiction. Children are especially precious to us as we do believe they are innocent of any sin. I do not have to quote the Catholic Encyclopedia to prove that your doctrine teaches they will suffer for sin if they die. So it is not me who puts a burden on children, it is the doctrine you are putting forth.

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  10. My previous posts are in accord with the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Here are some relevant quotations:

    Infants or young children don’t have a “mature faith” that is expected of adults:

    “Baptism is the sacrament of faith. But faith needs the community of believers. It is only within the faith of the Church that each of the faithful can believe. The faith required for Baptism is not a perfect and mature faith, but a beginning that is called to develop.”
    -Catechism of the Catholic Church (©1997), 1253.

    A good point that I “overlooked” was the fact that Catholics renew their baptismal promises often. The Sacrament can be received only once. Many non-Catholic communities such as your own have a valid baptism that is accepted by the Catholic Church:

    “For all the baptized, children or adults, faith must grow after Baptism. For this reason the Church celebrates each year at the Easter Vigil the renewal of baptismal promises. Preparation for Baptism leads only to the threshold of a new life. Baptism is the source of that new life in Christ from which the entire Christian life springs forth.”
    -Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1254.

    Children who die before they receive Baptism are not damned. The Catholic Church does not teach this. We are not Calvinists or Baptists:

    “As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: “Let the children come to me. Do not hinder them,” allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.
    -Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1261.

    I pray that someday you will see the baptism of children and infants as "urgent" as well.

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  11. As far as the “eighth day” thing goes (and I had to look it up) this was settled very early on in Christianity: The Council of Carthage (254 a.d.) condemned the opinion that infants should be withheld from baptism until the eighth day after birth. In fact, our current Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI was born on Good Friday and was baptized at the Easter Vigil the next day!

    Even today parents must teach their children or they will not have faith. We need to cooperate with the gift of faith that God gives us. Because someone looses it does not mean that God did not give it. For example, Adolph Hitler was baptized but his parents did not teach him the faith. It is obvious that he certainly did not have faith. Fidel Castro was baptized but seems to be slowly finding his way back to the faith. Recent reports indicate that he wants the terrible crime of abortion eradicated in Cuba! Deo gratias!

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  12. Greetings,

    First, let me ask that you not copy and paste from another editing program into this comment window. If you do, then at least make sure that the quotation marks and apostrophes are html. If you look at your past posts, some of it is hard to read (at least this is so in Internet Explorer).

    Now concerning what the Catholic Church says about unbaptized infants: your reference to them being turned over the mercy of God offers nothing but that they are in the lost condition. But what the Catholic Encyclopedia says at the beginning of its article on "Unbaptized Infants" is contrary to what you say:

    "The fate of infants who die without baptism must be briefly considered here. The Catholic teaching is uncompromising on this point, that all who depart this life without baptism, be it of water, or blood, or desire, are perpetually excluded from the vision of God. This teaching is grounded, as we have seen, on Scripture and tradition, and the decrees of the Church.... (Entire Article)"

    Catholics might say they call on the mercy of God in such matters, but their official line on this matter says otherwise. And it is only logical that they must since they believe in inherited sin. I mean, where is the Scripture that says that the unbaptized, unwashed, can receive God's mercy?

    And concerning your response to my examination of Colossians 2:11ff on similarity and dissimilarity of circumcision and baptism, you only offer that historic opinion from the middle 3rd century. That is not a satisfactory support to someone who looks to Scripture as authority.

    And your entire last paragraph, where you admit that the these people must be taught, who were "baptized" as infants, only makes my point; or rather, it makes the point of Jeremiah 31:31-34. Catholics have turned and made "baptism" a legalistic work where, as you put it, grace is infused, even when there is no faith. You completely miss Jeremiah's point, and the one I spent some time on, that under the New Covenant it will not be like this. You must first hear the Gospel, and then in faith respond by turning from sin and being immersed into Christ.

    And you did not answer a very good point that I made. When you stated in an earlier post that infant baptism the historic understanding of the practice. I looked at the New Testament understanding, that historic understading on Baptism, and did not see infants being baptized. You did not respond to this. The clear picture is that adults were being baptized and not infants. But you can only quote 3rd and 4th century decisions and cannot give solid evidence from Scripture. What you do with Scripture is offer interpretation which contradicts clear commands and examples.

    Again, thank you.

    p.s. And where in Scripture is it supported that infants don't have to have the "mature faith" that is required of adults?

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  13. 1. The New Advent site, which is a really good site for Catholic information, uses the 1917 edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia for many (most?) of its entries. The 1917 version has more entries and is more detailed than other Catholic reference works in the category of “encyclopedia.”

    WARNING: What follows may be shocking!

    Well, Catholic doctrine develops. The Holy Spirit guides the Church to understand truths of the faith deeper and more clearly as Christ promised. God’s revelation through his Word is once-and for all. Nevertheless, its treasures are unpacked over time as the Church meditates and seriously studies it. It is not a continuing revelation. Over time we come to different certainties at different levels and specific formulations can be made and so forth.

    The fate of unbaptised infants is one such area. The 1997 Catechism of the Catholic Church, an authoritative teaching document, surely takes a more positive view of the fate of unbaptized infants than previous magisterial pronouncements and Catholic theological works.

    Nevertheless the 1917 entry is not in contradiction to the 1917 Catechism. “Blood, water, or desire” suffice for baptism. Over time, meditation on the “Baptism of desire” allowed the more positive position to come to light. In short, that they would have desired baptism, if they had the chance, needs to be considered. “Water” doesn’t apply. “Blood” (martyrdom) has not applied to date. However, with the widespread practice of abortion, we may see the Catholic Church apply this criteria to aborted infants in the form of a future teaching. This is another aspect that could develop as well.

    Nevertheless, the 1917 entry clearly states that the fate of unbaptized infants is not known with certainity:

    “Many Catholic theologians have declared that infants dying without baptism are excluded from the beatific vision; but as to the exact state of these souls in the next world they are not agreed.”

    They could be in heaven, but without the full vision of God.

    Nevertheless, the 1917 entry clearly cites Pope Innocent III, that an unbaptized child can not suffer the pains of hell:

    “’The punishment of original sin, is the deprivation of the vision of God: of actual sin, the pains of hell.’ Infants, of course, can not be guilty of actual sins.”

    2. Some more Scriptural evidence on infant baptism:

    “She was baptized, with all her household” (Acts 16:15)

    “without delay he and all his were baptized” (Acts 16:33)

    “Yes, and I did baptize the household of Stephanas.” (1 Corinthians 1:16)

    Nothing is found to exclude infants. I wrote earlier how the Jews and other converts to the Church in the N.T. were much more family friendly and accepting of the communal aspect of faith. Today, people tend to be more individualistic and self-reliant. The criteria that you should apply to the N.T. is to place it in the context of that time; not to continue to apply the N.T. restrictions for adult converts to infants. Infants can not have the same criteria applied to them as adults. God does not expect the impossible from either adults or infants.

    3. Jeremiah is a prophetic text. Prophesies can be fulfilled in many ways. The same prophecy can be fulfilled in many ways as well. Jeremiah 31:31-34 in context … Jeremiah is prophesying about a new covenant that the Lord will make. It will be deeper than the present covenant. So deep that it will be written on our hearts. Knowing the Lord God will not longer be at an intellectual level, but will go deep into the heart of men and women. God himself will likewise, in his relationship to us, correspond in the same way. So much so that he will not even “remember” our sins. God is God and has all-prefect knowledge of us and of our sins, yet in the new covenant he will “forget” our sins. This is a really really deep. (I can’t help but thinking here about actually receiving Christ in Holy Communion after we receive his forgiveness through the absolution of his priests. The Lord “forgets” our sins and we are united to himself. THIS is the depth of communion that the Lord has in mind for his new covenant! Amazing how much God loves us and wants to be with us!) Thanks for pointing this text out.

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  14. The text looks fine in my browser (Safari). I tried Explorer (Microsoft) and saw the corruption you mentioned. Not all browsers are equal. I'll check later to see how it looks in Netscape (a free alternative to Explorer to consider).

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  15. Dear Pazdziernik,

    I have to say that your explanation is a fine example of sophistry. But for someone who clings to the inspired Scripture, the problem becomes clear.

    Yes, this explanation you offer is "shocking" indeed. Your idea that the Bible's "treasures are unpacked" over time is an injustice to the inspired Word of God. So a hundred years ago, the "treasures" were still locked away causing the Catholic church (see reference in Catholic Encyc) to take the very hard position that "unbaptized" children would not see God? You use a bit of sophistry then to make a distinction between not seeing God and suffering eternal punishment. I don't buy it and I don't think anybody could who has read the Bible. Hebrews 12:14 says the unsanctified "shall not see the Lord." This is a euphemism for going to hell. Those who are "unsanctified" are not holy and what is not holy cannot see or come before God's presence. This is a false distinction you put forward between not having a "vision of God" and going to hell. Biblically speaking, they are the same.

    The Catholics new understanding on this doctrine is not a refinement of what was taught in 1917, but it is a complete contradiction to it. That position as seen in the online Catholic Encyclopedia is an odious position. These unfolding treasures you mention ought to show you the error of trusting in traditions. To smooth it over as if the modern interpretation is just a deeper and clearer undertanding on the subject is not an honest thing to do. This error must be admitted to along with a return to New Testament Scripture. Otherwise, we can accurately predict what odious doctrines of today will be altered a century from now under the guise of "treasures being unpacked." This explanation of unfolding understanding is an age old tool for revision. It is more accurate to describe any position that is contrary to the New Testament Bible as human failings of pride and self-will.

    You finally respond to what I offered as the true historical understanding of Baptism: "Some more Scriptural evidence on infant baptism: "She was baptized, with all her household" (Acts 16:15)... "without delay he and all his were baptized” (Acts 16:33)..."Yes, and I did baptize the household of Stephanas." (1 Corinthians 1:16)...[You conclude] Nothing is found to exclude infants...."

    And nothing, absolutely nothing, is found to include them! I don't want you to take this wrong, but your error is eisegesis, where you read into the text whatever you fancy. There is also nothing in these passages to exclude dogs and cats from being baptized, but surely we should not baptize them! I am not intending to be flippant or unkind, but accuracy is demanded. The examples you give have nothing to say about infants!

    And concerning whether the same criteria "can't be applied to infants (i.e. need for faith) that are applied to adults", this is the best that human wisdom can offer? Where does this come from? This is so easy for you to just make up exceptions, and call it "treasures being unpacked", but I, on the otherhand, am constrained to speak what the Bible speaks. You build your case for infant baptism on evidence that doesn't exist -- except in your unfolding traditions. And then upon those things you build more traditions.

    THE CRUX OF THE PROBLEM.
    YOU AND I CAN NEVER COME TO A MEETING OF THE MINDS UNTIL YOU AGREE TO FOLLOW THE SCRIPTURE AND NOTHING ELSE. WE CANNOT AGREE BECAUSE YOUR AUTHORITY IS NOT THE WORD OF GOD. YOUR AUTHORITY IS NOT EVEN THE WORD OF GOD PLUS 2,000 YEARS OF TRADITION; FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES, YOUR AUTHORITY IS AN EVER EVOLVING, EVER UNPACKING, CATHOLIC TRADITION. I KEEP APPEALING TO SCRIPTURE BUT YOU CAN'T AGREE ON SCRIPTURE BECAUSE SCRIPTURE ISN'T CLEAR ENOUGH TO SUPPORT YOUR POSITION. YOU CAN ONLY FIND THE DOCTRINES YOU HOLD TO IN TRADITIONS OF MEN. WE DON'T HAVE THE SAME AUTHORITY AND SO WE KEEP GOING IN CIRCLES. I MAKE PERFECTLY GOOD ARGUMENTS FROM THE BIBLE AND YOU MAKE PERFECTLY GOOD ARGUMENTS FROM TRADITION, BUT THE TWO DON'T AGREE. HERE IS A TIP FOR YOU: IF YOU ARE GOING TO CONVERT SOMEONE, YOUR GOAL MUST BE TO FIRST CONVERT THEM TO ACCEPT THE EVOLVING TRADITIONS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, BECAUSE ONLY THEN COULD THERE BE AGREEMENT ON THESE SUBJECTS. WE HAVE A DISAGREEMENT OVER AUTHORITY. I DON'T AGREE WITH YOURS AND YOU DON'T AGREE WITH MINE. IT'S THAT SIMPLE.

    I WISH THERE WOULD BE A BETTER OUTCOME TO OUR DEBATES, BUT I DON'T SEE MUCH HOPE FOR IT.

    LET US PRAY FOR GREATER UNDERSTANDING OF THE INSPIRED TEXT.

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  16. Using all capitals is rude and is akin to “shouting.” Please refrain from using this type of communication in the future. It is really against standard netiquette. Also, this type of text is hard on the eyes.

    THE CRUX OF THE PROBLEM._YOU AND I CAN NEVER COME TO A MEETING OF THE MINDS UNTIL YOU AGREE TO FOLLOW THE SCRIPTURE AND NOTHING ELSE.

    I would hope not. I have approached your blog on your terms by using Sacred Scripture as the foundation for discussion.

    WE CANNOT AGREE BECAUSE YOUR AUTHORITY IS NOT THE WORD OF GOD. YOUR AUTHORITY IS NOT EVEN THE WORD OF GOD PLUS 2,000 YEARS OF TRADITION; FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES, YOUR AUTHORITY IS AN EVER EVOLVING, EVER UNPACKING, CATHOLIC TRADITION.

    The topic of authority is an important one but does not need to be the prerequisite for either discussion or agreement. I did not bring up the topic of authority in my posts. Rather, I presented evidence, mainly in response to you, that others have understood the verses and related topics that you focused on in a different light.

    I KEEP APPEALING TO SCRIPTURE BUT YOU CAN'T AGREE ON SCRIPTURE BECAUSE SCRIPTURE ISN'T CLEAR ENOUGH TO SUPPORT YOUR POSITION.

    In my estimation, I presented sufficient Scriptural support. In general, sometimes Scripture is not as clear on a topic as we would like it to be. At other times it could be in tension. This is why we have the full fields of biblical science and theology and so forth.

    YOU CAN ONLY FIND THE DOCTRINES YOU HOLD TO IN TRADITIONS OF MEN.

    Sacred Tradition is distinct from “TRADITIONS OF MEN.” It is part of God’s Word. In fact, it is the oral component. Sacred Scripture is the other part of God’s Word. It is the written component. I presented to you evidence from Sacred Scripture, although I could also have approached it more from Sacred Tradition. I could also have approached it from the magisterium of the Church. Since, I sensed early on that you don’t really neither comprehend Sacred Tradition as Catholics, among other Christians, understand Sacred Tradition nor accept the magisterium, I decidedly kept to arguments from Sacred Scripture.

    WE DON'T HAVE THE SAME AUTHORITY AND SO WE KEEP GOING IN CIRCLES.

    Really? I thought I went deeper and deeper into the Sacred text in my postings.

    I MAKE PERFECTLY GOOD ARGUMENTS FROM THE BIBLE AND YOU MAKE PERFECTLY GOOD ARGUMENTS FROM TRADITION, BUT THE TWO DON'T AGREE.

    You did indeed make some “PERFECTLY GOOD ARGUMENTS”. I also argued from Sacred Scripture.

    HERE IS A TIP FOR YOU: IF YOU ARE GOING TO CONVERT SOMEONE, YOUR GOAL MUST BE TO FIRST CONVERT THEM TO ACCEPT THE EVOLVING TRADITIONS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, BECAUSE ONLY THEN COULD THERE BE AGREEMENT ON THESE SUBJECTS.

    Thanks for the tip.

    WE HAVE A DISAGREEMENT OVER AUTHORITY. I DON'T AGREE WITH YOURS AND YOU DON'T AGREE WITH MINE. IT'S THAT SIMPLE.

    Authority is an important topic. Maybe you could bring it up as the topic of another post.

    I WISH THERE WOULD BE A BETTER OUTCOME TO OUR DEBATES, BUT I DON'T SEE MUCH HOPE FOR IT.

    I’m not exactly sure what outcome you are expecting. It’s your blog. You can use it as you see fit.

    LET US PRAY FOR GREATER UNDERSTANDING OF THE INSPIRED TEXT.

    Amen brother!

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  17. Dear Pazdziernik,

    You are right, that was rude to use capital letters. And you are right, this is my blog and I can decide how information is handled here.

    But I must say that it you have been very rude to continue to support your points without Scripture. You quote from everything but use very little Scripture. You will be asked not to do this again. Please support your Christian beliefs with Bible only. Thank you.

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  18. Dear Pazdziernik,

    We are told in Scripture to not add or take away from it. But you add and take from it every time you rely on Catholic catechisms, various council decisions, and writings of Popes and others.

    You justify this practice by quoting Paul who said to heed the traditions handed down to them. Here is your problem:

    1. The traditions handed down to them, oral teachings and etc., cannot be different than what the Holy Spirit inspired the apostles and prophets to speak. Why?

    2. If the "traditions" Paul spoke of are different than the things the Holy Spirit included in the finalized New Testament, then there would never be a way to know if something was an addition or subtraction to Scripture. Every false way that is practiced today could be supported in the same manner as employed by you. Oh, why do you allow nullification of marriage when there was no infidelity? Oh, that must have been covered in the traditions. Right? Oh, why do you suppose there is intrinsic power in the bones, and teeth, and other body parts of dead saints and in the art that is hung in Catholic churches? Oh, that must have been covered by Paul in the traditions. I get it, even though it sounds curiously similar to idol worship. Why do you teach that men can die unsaved but be sprung from a place called purgatory (can't find that in the Bible, hmmm) by the works of the living? Oh, I understand now, Paul and Peter must have passed this on in the oral teachings. I suppose you don't allow other religious groups this same privilege to claim oral tradition for their peculiar teachings not found in the New Testament.

    You must tell the truth if you are going to post here. You said, "I did not bring up the topic of authority here." But you did. Every time you failed to support your doctrine with Scripture, but instead offered something else, you brought up the subject. My point was and is that we can't come to agreement because you keep drawing from something else you deem as important or more important the the New Testament.

    1. You make claims to Baptism that are not found in Scripture. You talk of the "intrinsic" power of Baptism and "grace being infused at Baptism" but you can't show Scripture for this. I pointed out a whole list of examples from the N.T. where adults were baptized after they had faith, but you came back and said God doesn't require faith of infants, and you imagine that there must have been infants in those households that were baptized. I showed you what is the "historic understanding on baptism" and you offered nothing but mentions of households being baptized! That is guesswork and not permitted by serious Bible students. This is the best you can do? You then point out that Jesus loved children and warned against forbidding them to come to him. And that I have a "hang up" against infants from being baptized. No, I have a hangup with people speaking where the Bible doesn't speak. The Bible truth is what constrains me and constrains what I may believe. You argue with fallacies. I have no hangup with children because I believe they are saved and have no sin. You argue that because Jesus loved children that He meant for them to be Baptized. That does not logically follow. But you venture away from the clear text and assure us all that Jesus meant that those children were dirty with sin and to quickly sprinkle some water on them. And if they can't yet walk, go ahead and break the pattern of immersion and sprinkle them though they have no faith and can't "come to Him" on their own.

    2. You have scant evidence for your doctrines and so when forced to give more, you quote from Pope Innocent and from Catechisms which are not inspired Scripture. If, and only if, they represented the traditions that Paul handed down, don't you think that somewhere in Scripture it might say something akin to "'blood, water, or desire', suffice for baptism"? No, what we have here is not tradition that Paul spoke; what we have here is additions to the Scripture (You sly one, and you didn't bring up the topic of authority). The same is true when we discuss the proper mode of Baptism, the action of the Greek word for Baptism is clear enough: it means to immerse, submerge, plunge, and pictures a burial and uniting with Christ in His death. But your Catholic tradition is not to be found in any New Testament book. No, your tradition of sprinkling a baby cannot fall under anything but addition or subtraction from Scripture. The action of the Greek word is explicit and does not allow for a different action. Jesus said for the sinner to be buried or submerged in a watery grave, but Catholic tradition made the arbitrary and unjustified decision to allow for the ailing and the infant to be sprinkled with water. There is no New Testament tradition to support this practice.

    I'm sorry for being so rude in the last post. I will never use capital letters again if you will promise to support what you believe with the inspired Word of God.

    Thank you.

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