Understanding Roman Catholicism
Infant Baptism is one of the most critical doctrines of the Catholic church:
|"Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called. The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth." Pg. 319, #1250|
The Catechism tells us where this cornerstone doctrine originated:
|"The practice of infant Baptism is an immemorial tradition of the Church. There is explicit testimony to this practice from the second century on..." Pg. 319, #1252 (Emphasis author's)|
Here, the Catechism admits that this doctrine is not based upon Scripture. It is a man-made tradition. Paul's warning might fit well here:
|"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." Colossians 2:8|
Baptism in the Bible
What makes this practice especially disturbing is that the Bible does not record a single occurance of an infant being baptized. On the contrary, every mention of baptism involves people old enough to hear and receive the gospel.
Jesus was an adult when he was baptized:
|"... Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water..." Matthew 3:16|
Throughout the Bible, baptism always followed salvation. The Ethiopian eunuch who was led to salvation by Philip was an adult when baptized:
|"... they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him." Acts 8:38|
Others were baptized after they believed:
|"And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized." Acts 18:8|
After people heeded John the Baptist's message to "repent," they were:
|"... baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins." Matthew 3:6|
Obviously, newborn infants can not repent, believe or confess their sins. Therefore, they are never qualified to be scripturally baptized.
The Philippian jailer
When the Philippian jailer who guarded the Apostle Paul asked, "What must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30), Paul answered, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (v. 31)." After the jailer believed, Paul baptized him (v. 33).
When Peter preached in Acts, chapter two:
|"... they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." Acts 2:41|
When Philip preached to the people of Samaria, men and women were baptized, but no infants were baptized:
|"But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women." Acts 8:12|
If God's Word is so explicit that only those old enough to hear and receive God's Word should be baptized, then why does Catholicism demand that newborn infants be baptized? Is it to bring people into bondage to the church from shortly after their birth? You must settle this question in your own heart.
When you were baptized as an infant, were you really baptized, or did you just have some water sprinkled on you? It all depends on which side you will believe in - the Word of God or the traditions of men. Please keep in mind the words Jesus spoke to the religious leaders of His day:
|"Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition." Mark 7:9|
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Understanding Roman Catholicism © 1995 by Rick Jones