1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

The Necessity of Baptism

Discussion in 'Catholic DIR' started by Scott1, Oct 7, 2004.

  1. Scott1

    Scott1 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2004
    Messages:
    8,303
    Ratings:
    +950
    Christians have always interpreted the Bible literally when it declares, "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 Pet. 3:21; cf. Acts 2:38, 22:16, Rom. 6:3–4, Col. 2:11–12).

    Thus the early Church Fathers wrote in the Nicene Creed (A.D. 381), "We believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins."

    And the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "The Lord himself affirms that baptism is necessary for salvation [John 3:5]. . . . Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament [Mark 16:16]" (CCC 1257).

    The Christian belief that baptism is necessary for salvation is so unshakable that even the Protestant Martin Luther affirmed the necessity of baptism. He wrote: "Baptism is no human plaything but is instituted by God himself. Moreover, it is solemnly and strictly commanded that we must be baptized or we shall not be saved. We are not to regard it as an indifferent matter, then, like putting on a new red coat. It is of the greatest importance that we regard baptism as excellent, glorious, and exalted" (Large Catechism 4:6).

    Yet Christians have also always realized that the necessity of water baptism is a normative rather than an absolute necessity. There are exceptions to water baptism: It is possible to be saved through "baptism of blood," martyrdom for Christ, or through "baptism of desire", that is, a conscious or even unconscious desire for baptism.

    Thus the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "Those who die for the faith, those who are catechumens, and all those who, without knowing of the Church but acting under the inspiration of grace, seek God sincerely and strive to fulfill his will, are saved even if they have not been baptized" (CCC 1281; the salvation of unbaptized infants is also possible under this system; cf. CCC 1260–1, 1283).

    As the following passages from the works of the Church Fathers illustrate, Christians have always believed in the normative necessity of water baptism, while also acknowledging the legitimacy of baptism by desire or blood.



    Hermas
    "‘I have heard, sir,’ said I [to the Shepherd], ‘from some teacher, that there is no other repentance except that which took place when we went down into the water and obtained the remission of our former sins.’ He said to me, ‘You have heard rightly, for so it is’" (The Shepherd 4:3:1–2 [A.D. 80]).

    Justin Martyr
    "As many as are persuaded and believe that what we [Christians] teach and say is true, and undertake to be able to live accordingly . . . are brought by us where there is water, and are regenerated in the same manner in which we were ourselves regenerated. For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water. For Christ also said, ‘Except you be born again, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven’ [John 3:3]" (First Apology 61 [A.D. 151]).

    Tertullian
    "Happy is our sacrament of water, in that, by washing away the sins of our early blindness, we are set free and admitted into eternal life. . . . [But] a viper of the [Gnostic] Cainite heresy, lately conversant in this quarter, has carried away a great number with her most venomous doctrine, making it her first aim to destroy baptism—which is quite in accordance with nature, for vipers and asps . . . themselves generally do live in arid and waterless places. But we, little fishes after the example of our [Great] Fish, Jesus Christ, are born in water, nor have we safety in any other way than by permanently abiding in water. So that most monstrous creature, who had no right to teach even sound doctrine, knew full well how to kill the little fishes—by taking them away from the water!" (Baptism 1 [A.D. 203]).

    "Without baptism, salvation is attainable by none" (ibid., 12).

    "We have, indeed, a second [baptismal] font which is one with the former [water baptism]: namely, that of blood, of which the Lord says: ‘I am to be baptized with a baptism’ [Luke 12:50], when he had already been baptized. He had come through water and blood, as John wrote [1 John 5:6], so that he might be baptized with water and glorified with blood. . . . This is the baptism which replaces that of the fountain, when it has not been received, and restores it when it has been lost" (ibid., 16).

    Hippolytus
    "[P]erhaps someone will ask, ‘What does it conduce unto piety to be baptized?’ In the first place, that you may do what has seemed good to God; in the next place, being born again by water unto God so that you change your first birth, which was from concupiscence, and are able to attain salvation, which would otherwise be impossible. For thus the [prophet] has sworn to us: ‘Amen, I say to you, unless you are born again with living water, into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.’ Therefore, fly to the water, for this alone can extinguish the fire. He who will not come to the water still carries around with him the spirit of insanity for the sake of which he will not come to the living water for his own salvation" (Homilies 11:26 [A.D. 217]).

    Origen
    "It is not possible to receive forgiveness of sins without baptism" (Exhortation to the Martyrs 30 [A.D. 235]).

    Cyprian of Carthage
    "[T]he baptism of public witness [desire] and of blood cannot profit a heretic unto salvation, because there is no salvation outside the Church." (Letters 72[73]:21 [A.D. 253]).

    "[Catechumens who suffer martyrdom] are not deprived of the sacrament of baptism. Rather, they are baptized with the most glorious and greatest baptism of blood, concerning which the Lord said that he had another baptism with which he himself was to be baptized [Luke 12:50]" (ibid., 72[73]:22).

    Cyril of Jerusalem
    "If any man does not receive baptism, he does not have salvation. The only exception is the martyrs, who even without water will receive the kingdom.
    . . . For the Savior calls martyrdom a baptism, saying, ‘Can you drink the cup which I drink and be baptized with the baptism with which I am to be baptized [Mark 10:38]?’ Indeed, the martyrs too confess, by being made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men [1 Cor. 4:9]" (Catechetical Lectures 3:10 [A.D. 350]).

    Gregory Nazianz
    "[Besides the baptisms associated with Moses, John, and Jesus] I know also a fourth baptism, that by martyrdom and blood, by which also Christ himself was baptized. This one is far more august than the others, since it cannot be defiled by later sins" (Oration on the Holy Lights 39:17 [A.D. 381]).

    Pope Siricius
    "It would tend to the ruin of our souls if, from our refusal of the saving font of baptism to those who seek it, any of them should depart this life and lose the kingdom and eternal life" (Letter to Himerius 3 [A.D. 385]).

    John Chrysostom
    "Do not be surprised that I call martyrdom a baptism, for here too the Spirit comes in great haste and there is the taking away of sins and a wonderful and marvelous cleansing of the soul, and just as those being baptized are washed in water, so too those being martyred are washed in their own blood" (Panegyric on St. Lucian 2 [A.D. 387]).

    Ambrose of Milan
    "But I hear you lamenting because he [the Emperor Valentinian] had not received the sacraments of baptism. Tell me, what else could we have, except the will to it, the asking for it? He too had just now this desire, and after he came into Italy it was begun, and a short time ago he signified that he wished to be baptized by me. Did he, then, not have the grace which he desired? Did he not have what he eagerly sought? Certainly, because he sought it, he received it. What else does it mean: ‘Whatever just man shall be overtaken by death, his soul shall be at rest [Wis. 4:7]’?" (Sympathy at the Death of Valentinian [A.D. 392]).


    www.catholic.com
     
  2. Scott1

    Scott1 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2004
    Messages:
    8,303
    Ratings:
    +950
    Matt. 28:19-20 - Jesus commands the apostles to baptize all people "in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit." Many Protestant churches are now teaching that baptism is only a symbolic ritual, and not what actually cleanses us from original sin. This belief contradicts Scripture and the 2,000 year-old teaching of the Church.

    Acts 2:38 - Peter commands them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ in order to be actually forgiven of sin, not just to partake of a symbolic ritual.

    Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 2:38 - there is nothing in these passages or elsewhere in the Bible about baptism being symbolic. There is also nothing about just accepting Jesus as personal Lord and Savior in order to be saved.

    Mark 16:16 - Jesus said "He who believes AND is baptized will be saved." Jesus says believing is not enough. Baptism is also required. This is because baptism is salvific, not just symbolic.

    John 3:3,5 - unless we are "born again" of water and Spirit in baptism, we cannot enter into the kingdom of God. The Greek word for the phrase "born again" is "anothen" which literally means begotten from above. See, for example, John 3:31 where "anothen" is so used. Baptism deals with the matter of salvation, not just symbolism.

    Acts 8:12-13; 36; 10:47 - if belief is all one needs to be saved, why is everyone instantly baptized after learning of Jesus?

    Acts 16:15; 31-33; 18:8; 19:2,5 - these texts present more examples of people learning of Jesus, and then immediately being baptized. If accepting Jesus as personal Lord and Savior is all one needs to do to be saved, then why does everyone in the early Church immediately seek baptism?

    Acts 9:18 - Paul, even though he was directly chosen by Christ and immediately converted to Christianity, still had to be baptized to be forgiven his sin. This is a powerful text which demonstrates the salvific efficacy of water baptism, even for those who decide to give their lives to Christ.

    Acts 22:16 - Ananias tells Paul, "arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins," even though Paul was converted directly by Jesus Christ. This proves that Paul's acceptance of Jesus as personal Lord and Savior was not enough to be forgiven of his sin and saved. The sacrament of baptism is required.

    Acts 22:16 - further, Ananias' phrase "wash away" comes from the Greek word "apolouo." "Apolouo" means an actual cleansing which removes sin. It is not a symbolic covering up of sin.

    Rom. 6:4 - in baptism, we actually die with Christ so that we, like Him, might be raised to newness of life. This means that, by virtue of our baptism, our sufferings are not in vain. They are joined to Christ and become efficacious for our salvation.

    1 Cor. 6:11 - Paul says they were washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, in reference to baptism.

    Gal. 3:27 - whoever is baptized in Christ puts on Christ. Putting on Christ is not just symbolic. Christ actually dwells within our soul.

    Col. 2:12 - in baptism, we literally die with Christ and are raised with Christ. It is a supernatural reality, not just a symbolic ritual. The Scriptures never refer to baptism as symbolic.

    Titus 3:5 - He saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit. This is a powerful text which proves that baptism regenerates our souls and is thus salvific. Regeneration is never symbolic.

    Heb. 10:22 - in baptism, our hearts are sprinkled clean as our bodies are washed with pure water. Baptism regenerates us because it sanctifies our souls.

    1 Peter 3:21 - Peter expressly writes that baptism, corresponding to Noah's ark, is what actually saves us; it is not just symbolic or superficial like a bath. Also, the phrase "not as a removal of dirt from the body" is in reference to the Jewish ceremony of circumcision.

    Mark 16:16 - Jesus says that he who believes and is baptized will be saved. However, the Church has always taught that baptism is a normative, not an absolute necessity. There are some exceptions to the rule because God is not bound by His sacraments.

    Luke 23:39-43 - the good thief, although not baptized, shows that there is also a baptism by desire, as Jesus says to him that he will be in paradise. It should also be noted that when Jesus uses the word "paradise, " He did not mean heaven. Paradise, from the Hebrew "sheol" meant the realm of the righteous dead. This was the place of the dead who were destined for heaven, but who were captive until the Lord's resurrection.

    Matt. 20:22-23; Mark 10:38-39; Luke 12:50 - there is also a baptism by blood. Lord says, "I have a baptism to be baptized with" referring to His death. Hence, the Church has always taught that those martyred for the faith may be saved without water baptism (e.g., the Holy Innocents).

    Mark 10:38 - Jesus says "are you able...to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?," referring to His death.

    1 John 5:6 - Jesus came by water and blood. He was baptized by both water and blood. Martyrs are baptized by blood.
     
Loading...