Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #21: “Not to Baptize but to Preach”

Today, we continue with our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. In this last of his four chapters dealing with baptism, the Catholic apologist attempts to refute Protestants’ argument that the apostle Paul was sent “Not to Baptize but to Preach.”


The Roman Catholic church teaches that baptism is essential for salvation while evangelicals teach that baptism is an ordinance and a believer’s public testimony of their identification with Jesus Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. As Broussard points out, some Protestants use the verse below as a proof text to dissociate baptism from salvation:

“For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” – 1 Corinthians 1:17

Evangelicals ask, if baptism is necessary for salvation, then why didn’t the apostle Paul prioritize baptizing people during his ministry?

Broussard states that in his letter to the Corinthians, Paul had observed that many in the church had identified themselves with various ministers according to who had baptized who, and that Paul expressed gratefulness (vv.14-16) for having baptized only a few and not being a part of the regrettable factionalism.

But Broussard then points out that Jesus Christ commanded all of the apostles, which would later include Paul, to baptize:

“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.” – Matthew 28:19

Since Paul was commanded to baptize, Broussard suggests that the apostle’s statement, “Christ did not send me to baptize,” is hyperbolic speech; that Paul’s intended meaning was that it doesn’t matter who baptizes a person, not that he dismissed the alleged salvific nature of baptism.

Broussard argues that Paul couldn’t have been dismissing the essentiality of baptism since he affirmed its necessity in Romans 6:3-4:

“3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”

In answer to Broussard, while in 1 Corinthians 1:14-17, Paul is certainly addressing the cultish factionalism associated with baptism that was plaguing the church at Corinth, it would have been inconceivable for him to use the words that he did, “For Christ did not send me to baptize,” if baptism were a part of the Gospel and a requirement for salvation. It’s significant that when Paul wrote a detailed outline in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 of what he considered the Gospel, he conspicuously did not include baptism.

Broussard interprets the baptism that’s referred to in Romans 6:3-4 as physical baptism whereas Paul is certainly referring to spiritual baptism/immersion in Christ that comes only by trusting in Him as Savior by faith alone. This metaphorical spiritual immersion/baptism in Christ is referred to many times in the New Testament:

“But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.” – 1 Corinthians 6:17

The Catholic practice of the pouring of water over an infant’s head has absolutely no basis in what Paul wrote in Romans 6:3-4.

Has Broussard convinced us that baptism is necessary for salvation? Not hardly. Broussard can’t even convince himself of the necessity of baptism because as a Catholic he MUST also uphold the RCC’s dichotomous teaching that all unbaptized non-Catholic religionists and atheists may also merit Heaven if they are “sincere” and “good.”

“Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience.” – Lumen Gentium,  para. 16, Second Vatican Council, November 21, 1964

Broussard guilefully omits any mention of that teaching in his four chapters on the necessity of baptism. This deliberate omission is gapingly underhanded and dishonest.

Is baptism necessary for salvation?

Next week, Broussard continues his twelve-part section on the Sacraments with the first of four chapters on the Lord’s Supper and the communion elements with, “God Will Cut Off the Person Who Eats Blood”

30 thoughts on “Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #21: “Not to Baptize but to Preach”

  1. Thank you very much, Tom, for your take on Broussard’s views on “physical” baptism in contrast to the “spiritual” baptism in Christ Jesus that Paul implied. This is a great resource for me, when the time comes, GOD willing. 🙂👍

    Liked by 2 people

      1. My pleasure, Tom. This is a cross to carry too, since we have an inclination to make them aware but they might totally reject it and reject any future attempts to persuade them. Arming myself with your resources.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Baptism and the sacraments necessary for salvation, yet a Muslim or even Atheist who doesn’t have the sacraments can be saved by being “good”. LOL.

    Again, so what’s the point of becoming a Romanist?

    Vatican II: But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Moslems, these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day. Nor is God Himself remote from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, since he gives to all men life and breath and all things (cf. Acts 17:25–28), and since the Saviour wills all men to be saved (cf. 1 Tim. 2:4). Those who, who through no fault of their own, do not know the gospel of Christ or His Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience—those too may achieve eternal salvation. Vatican Council II The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, Austin Flannery, O.P., General Editor (Boston: St. Paul Editions, 1980), Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium II:16, p. 367.

    Paul VI: 3. The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth,(5) who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting. DECLARATION ON THE RELATION OF THE CHURCH TO NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS, NOSTRA AETATE, POPE PAUL VI ON OCTOBER 28, 1965

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I used 1 Cor. 6:17 as an example of being “in Christ” spiritually in the same way we should interpret Romans 6:3-4 spiritually. Broussard tries to make Romans 6:3-4 into a proof text for baptismal regeneration.

      Liked by 1 person

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