RE-baptized??? What’s that all about?

Last week, I was listening to the 11/5/18 podcast of the “Called to Communion” Catholic talk radio show and at the 5:20 mark, moderator, Tom Price, read a question from Katrina, a listener, who asked, “When a baptized person leaves the Catholic church and then attends a non-denominational or any Protestant church, why are those folks re-baptized?”

The show’s host, David Anders, then made the claim, as he often does, that the Catholic church is much more magnanimous and charitable than Protestants regarding baptism because it recognizes the baptisms of Protestants as “valid” while evangelical Protestant churches do not recognize Catholic baptism as valid and will ask that ex-Catholics be “re-baptized.”

Of course, Catholics and born-again Christians view baptism QUITE differently. Catholics see baptism as a sacrament by which a person is inducted into the church. The vast majority of Catholics are baptized as infants. When a priest says the prescribed trinitarian formula and sprinkles water over the baby’s head, it’s claimed the infant has their original sin wiped away and is spiritually reborn and begins a lifelong process of attempting to merit their salvation through the church’s sacraments and by obeying the Ten Commandments. Catholics teach that anyone can baptize an infant, even an atheist, and the baptism will be valid just as long as the precise trinitarian formula and water are used.

In contrast, Bible Christians believe that after a person repents of their sin and accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone, they should follow the Lord by being baptized as a public profession of their faith. By being buried (immersed) in the water, we identify with Christ’s death and burial, and by being raised from the water we identify with His resurrection. Baptism is not a sacrament that regenerates anyone, it’s a public testimony of faith in Christ. Infants cannot be baptized since they are unable to comprehend the Gospel. My Catholic infant baptism was absolutely meaningless and worthless. Only after I accepted Christ as Savior by faith alone as an adult was I able to follow Him in believer’s baptism at an evangelical church. Children are also able to be baptized if they are old enough to comprehend the Gospel and genuinely repent of their sin and accept Christ as Savior by faith alone.

“So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” – Acts 2:41

As the above verse points out, trusting in Christ comes first, then baptism. Catholic churches are not being more magnanimous and charitable by recognizing Protestant baptisms as valid. Baptism must follow genuine repentance and acceptance of Christ as Savior by faith alone. Catholic baptism is not Biblically valid, which is why ex-Catholics who accept Christ as Savior by faith alone are baptized validly in evangelical churches.

The evolution of Catholic doctrine has forced Catholicism into a bizarre dichotomy. In centuries past, the church taught that only those who were baptized could merit Heaven. In modern times, the church has allowed that people of other religions could also merit Heaven. Pope Francis has stated that even atheists can be saved if they follow their conscience and are “good.” So while Catholics still insist that baptism is a requirement for salvation, they grant that those who were never baptized through no fault of their own, can also be saved.

As with many other doctrines, Catholicism makes the ritual and ceremony THE THING. It’s not the ritual that saves, it’s repenting of sin and trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone that saves.

See the helpful article below for further study:

Believer’s Baptism
https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/80-370/believers-baptism

Note: The Roman Catholic church does not accept as valid the baptisms of the Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses.

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27 thoughts on “RE-baptized??? What’s that all about?

  1. Hi Tom. Obviously, I agree with this. This is the very foundation of what makes a Baptist a Baptist in the first place. We don’t ever refer to Baptism as a sacrament; it is an ordinance. It is a pictorial ordinance of our own death, burial and resurrection in Jesus Christ, and imparts absolutely no special grace to us. It is done in obedience to His command to do so and His example in doing so. Here is a thought to ponder, though. Sometimes it seems that in our effort to distance ourselves from faith systems that do teach that Baptism confers some sort of grace, that we may have gone to the opposite extreme and allowed it to become not nearly as important as it really is. If we claim salvation, and yet we decline to submit in obedience and be Baptized, then I think we may have a problem. Just thinking here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Wally. I agree with what you’ve written. While baptism isn’t salvific and doesn’t impart graces, the Lord commands us to follow Him in believer’s baptism immediately after we accept Him as Savior. I also question how a person could genuinely trust in Christ but then refuse to be baptized as a public testimony of their faith in Christ.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s pretty much what MacArthur was saying 20 years ago about disingenuous conversions, and everybody jumped on him for teaching “Lordship salvation.”

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  2. Towards the end of the post you made a good point about the tension within Catholicism today concerning baptism; on the one hand it is a sacrement needed for salvation then other than there’s an ecumenical incluvisim in recent Catholic theology that’s universalistic in it bent; hard to reconcile the two!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Yes, more than a few Catholics have undoubtedly concluded, “Since the pope says good atheists are going to Heaven, then I don’t need to waste my time with all of that religious rigmarole.” I think many Catholics still baptize their babies as a family/cultural/tribal event rather than out of a personal belief that it accomplishes anything. The same parents who have their infants baptized generally skip mandatory weekly mass and yearly confession.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, sister! I “appreciate” that the host of the Catholic radio show I listen to clearly differentiates between the Catholic teaching and the evangelical teaching on various doctrines such as baptism, which often spurs me to “respond” via a posting. No one is helped by downplaying the differences as many try to do these days.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Tom, you know that you are misleading people, true? Whether one likes the Catholic Church or not, that is where the meaning, form and matter for every Sacrament was decided. Without the Catholic Church, no “Bible Church” can even use the word “Sacrament” with any kind of meaning or authority as pertaining to the power which Christ gave to the original and succeeding valid authorities. Sorry, but you can’t reinvent or deconstruct a structure which belongs to the Church.

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      1. Tom, many lack faith and right instruction. To teach the truth is a natural imperative; to know what is true is a natural right. It is good to encourage and teach; it is not good to discourage and mislead.

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      2. Conservative Catholics say pope Francis is misleading people and Francis says conservative Catholics are misleading people. They’re both misleading people. I’ll stick with God’s Word.

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      3. God’s Word established a person to lead the Church and promised that the gates of Hell would not prevail. That is God’s Word speaking. But, many lack faith, even in His words.

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      4. Naturally, the Catholic hierarchy extrapolates from Scripture the basis for its existence. But how can one infallible pope, Francis, contradict the teaching of previous infallible popes on communion for remarried divorcees, intercommunion with Protestants, and capital punishment? It’s a rhetorical question because we’ve been through this before and I already know your answer will be a non-answer.

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      5. Oh, Tom. We can’t refute 1950 years of well documented proof including over 30 failed anti-papacies, and a mass exodus of protesters seeking the right denomination, one of many splinter organizations.

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      6. The Pharisees claimed the seat of Moses and a tradition that spanned 1400 years, but with all of their ritualism, ceremony and self-righteous legalistic religiosity they also missed the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

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  4. I sat under a wonderful bible teach who explained that water baptism was never meant for Gentiles. It was something Jews did/do. They are always washing. John the Baptist, Jesus and the apostles all taught repentance and baptism for the forgiveness of sins. This however was not Paul’s gospel. Paul said he was glad he didn’t baptize but few people in his early ministry. We see baptism fading away by the time Paul wrote Eph. There is only one baptism today: baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Baptizer, not man. Ephesians 4:5 says: one Lord, one faith, one baptism. Thoughts anyone?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Country Boy, I do have some thoughts. First, the water Baptism as practiced by the Jews for those converting to the Jewish faith, and water Baptism as we practice it today are not the same, nor were they intended to be the same. You are correct about the washing, and that baptism was indeed reflective of the ritual washing of the day. While some of that remains symbolically, the primary point of Baptism as practiced in the New Testament is to picture the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, and thus us ad new creations. I actually have some issues with you separating what Jesus and the Apostles taught from what you called “Paul’s Gospel.” Paul doesn’t have a Gospel; he simply taught the Gospel as he was given by Jesus. In light of that, water Baptism is clearly taught as our Lord Himself submitted to it in obedience to His Father. He did this to set an example and a command for us that we do this also. Paul’s reference to being glad he didn’t Baptize was not an indication that this was no longer important; it just meant he did not do that as a matter of his own personal ministry. I do agree about the Holy Spirit, as we are all indwelt by the Holy Spirit at the moment of our conversion and regeneration; but, this is not related to water Baptism as practiced today. New Testament water Baptism imparts no grace, but is simply an act of obedience that provides a picture of our own death to sin, burial or our sin, and resurrection to new life.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Wally, I realize you addressed this reply to Country Boy, but I wanted to say thanks for doing the “heavy lifting” by presenting the Baptist/New Testament teaching. After writing the draft rebuttal to the error of baptismal regeneration today, my brain is fried and I couldn’t lift a wet noodle.

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      2. From John the Baptist to Pentecost there was one baptism–water baptism (for Israel) (Mark 1.4; John 1.31). Jesus was a Jew under the law.
        During the period of time recorded in Acts there were two baptisms–water (Acts 2.38) and baptism with or in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1.5; 2.38; 1 Corinthians 12.13).
        At the present time there is one baptism (Ephesians 4.5). This is the baptism by which we are baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection (Romans 6.3-5) and into His body (1 Corinthians 12.13). This baptism is different from the baptism with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. At Pentecost, Christ was the Baptizer (Matthew 3.11; Acts 1.5). But for Christians, the body of Christ, the Holy Spirit is the baptizer. He baptizes us into Christ and his body (1 Corinthians 12.13; Titus 3.5-7). Water baptism today is just church tradition. I was baptized years ago because the church I attended requires it in order to be a member. If it were an act of obedience, then why didn’t Paul say so? Why did he stop baptizing?

        btw in Romans 2:16 and 2 Timothy 2:8 Paul said: “my gospel” although he was referring to the Gospel of grace that the risen Christ had taught him.

        God bless!

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