Splish Splash I was taking a dip in the Jordan
After speaking with my fellow Brothers and Sisters in Christ who are non-Catholics, I began to realize that what they equated to Baptism was in fact we called Confirmation. Let me walk through what we consider Confirmation for those who don’t know:
It has been variously designated: bebaiosis or confirmatio, a making fast or sure; teleiosis or consummatio, a perfecting or completing, as expressing its relation to baptism. With reference to its effect it is the “Sacrament of the Holy Ghost”, the “Sacrament of the Seal” (signaculum, sigillum, sphragis). From the external rite it is known as the “imposition of hands” (epithesis cheiron), or as “anointing with chrism” (unctio, chrismatio, chrisma, myron). The names at present in use are, for the Western Church, confirmatio, and for the Greek, to myron.
In more layman’s terms this is the affirmation of your acceptance of the Holy Spirit. It is the crowning of your Baptism. Where the roads split with Catholics and Non-Catholics is the Original Sin and Salvation aspects of this sacrament. Let us go into the specifics of this sacrament to first better understand the outward grace.
What is baptism? Baptism is derived from the Greek word, bapto, or baptizo, to wash or to immerse. Baptism in the Catholic Church is given as the washing away of original sin. Baptism isn’t to say that this person has accepted Christ into their lives. An infant cannot fully accept into their hearts this joy because obviously they know nothing about the purpose. That is where it falls onto the parents to be good stewards of their child’s faith. Why would we baptize a child? Why not just wait till they are older and more accepting?
In most non-Catholic denominations, baptism is almost referred to as a symbolic acceptance of your acceptance of Christ. Wow. If there was one teaching that fully was given from God it is that baptism isn’t simply the symbolic acceptance, it is that a spiritual effect. *Maybe that is where the split comes on infant baptism…hmmm…* Another area we differ is that you only need one baptism. The “Born Again” repetitive baptism is to deny your salvation. To say that you needed multiple baptisms would be to say that the saving grace the Lord offers you is able to leave. This is another topic for discussion. Let us first affirm that baptism isn’t symbolic with scripture as it pertains to the rest of this discussion:
Acts 2:38 – Peter (said) to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 22:16 – Now, why delay? Get up and have yourself baptized and your sins washed away, calling upon his name.’
Romans 6:1-4 – _What then shall we say? Shall we persist in sin that grace may abound? Of course not! How can we who died to sin yet live in it? Or are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life. For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection.
We know that our old self was crucified with him, so that our sinful body might be done away with, that we might no longer be in slavery to sin._
Col 2:11-12 – In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not administered by hand, by stripping off the carnal body, with the circumcision of Christ. You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
We can very quickly gather that in fact baptism is the outward sign of God’s grace upon us. It is through baptism that we receive the grace of Christ in our lives. No where do we read that only someone accepting or in complete understanding can receive this grace. To argue that infants cannot understand is null and void. What can’t they understand that would require them to wait?
Now we have to discuss this on the basis that the Bible is sola scripture or full and true. You cannot let your emotions get in the way of your understanding of the teachings of Christ. The disciples were not commanded to baptize only those over 14 or only people 5’5″. The Apostles were only sent to baptize the nations. The nations include everyone. To negate the teachings would require you to assume that the Apostles were crazy heretics.
Let us also look into the history of the Church. I think some misunderstanding occurs when we look back to the origins of Christ’s Church. We have documentation stating that in fact infants were baptized as early as 113 A.D. and that the there was no arguments until the Protestant Reformation. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, for over 1500 years not a soul argued the fact that infants should be baptized. Also let us glance at what many non-Catholics reaffirm as division among the Catholic Church as all this deserves is a slight glance: During the early Church there an argument about which day was the infant to be baptized…ASAP…or the 8th day as Jewish law for circumcision had stated. In 1500+ years there goes your one inter-Church disagreement on the subject :)
Lastly I would like to support this stance with scripture of baptisms occurring as infants and other young children in the Bible:
Acts 2:38,39 – Peter (said) to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him
Acts 22:16 – Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.
Matt. 19:14 – Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven. Can infants be excluded from baptism if Jesus specifically said let the children come to me? Seems kinda ballsy!
Luke 18:15–16 – Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God
Luke 18:15 in Greek – Prosepheron de auto kai ta brepha Definition of Greek word brepa; infants
Acts 16:15 – She was baptized, with her household. Unless you assume that household means her and just the people over 15…
Acts 16:33 – “…the same hour of the night . . . he was baptized, with all his family…” Once again does family just mean him and his wife?
1 Cor. 1:16 – I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. I guess Paul was just off his rocker with these 3 different verses :) He must have meant to say Adults only! SHEESH!