Is Roman Catholic Baptism valid?

Status
Not open for further replies.

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
[quote:e9d3e114b1][i:e9d3e114b1]Originally posted by kceaster[/i:e9d3e114b1]
[quote:e9d3e114b1]WCF Ch.28
II. The outward element to be used in this sacrament is water, wherewith the party is to be baptized, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, by a minister of the gospel, lawfully called thereunto.[9]

WCF Ch.27
IV. There be only two sacraments ordained by Christ our Lord in the Gospel; that is to say, baptism, and the Supper of the Lord: neither of which may be dispensed by any, but by a minister of the Word lawfully ordained.[10]

WCF Ch25
II. The visible church, which is also catholic or universal under the gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion;[2] and of their children:[3] and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ,[4] the house and family of God,[5] out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.[6][/quote:e9d3e114b1]

You must look at these in light of what is said about the sacrament itself, "XXVII:III. The grace which is exhibited in or by the sacraments rightly used, is not conferred by any power in them; neither does the efficacy of a sacrament depend upon the piety or intention of him that does administer it:[7] but upon the work of the Spirit,[8] and the word of institution, which contains, together with a precept authorizing the use thereof, a promise of benefit to worthy receivers.[9]

We cannot get wrapped around the axle about the outward administration. It is the inward that counts and it is precisely the inward that we cannot administer. The Holy Spirit baptizes.

In Christ,

KC [/quote:e9d3e114b1]

But KC, we [b:e9d3e114b1]must[/b:e9d3e114b1] get "wrapped around the outward administration" in one sense. You would not advocate that one who had been baptized in a Mormon church had Biblical baptism, would you? What about Jehovah's Witnesses? How about a Oneness Pentecostal group? You see the issue is not over Donatism, on that both sides are agreed. The issue is whether a sacrament can [b:e9d3e114b1]even be[/b:e9d3e114b1] a sacrament outside the Church. The unanimous answer of the Reformed Church in all its confession is "NO." We would not call it baptism if a bunch of people got together in my backyard and dumped water over someone, claiming to baptize them if they had no authority, would we? Would we call it the Lord's Supper if a parachurch group with no minister of the gospel served juice and crackers as the Lord's Supper?

What is at issue is whether the Church of Rome qualifies sufficiently in some bare minimalist sense as a church in order to legitimize its baptism. We can disagree over that, but that is the issue.
 

kceaster

Puritan Board Junior
Fred...

Quite right. I thought we were arguing only from a trinitarian RCC standpoint. It is only under these circumstances that I think Calvin and the WCF and Hodge would be arguing for accepting.

That is what I am arguing for as well.

In Christ,

KC
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
[quote:a979ca7282][i:a979ca7282]Originally posted by kceaster[/i:a979ca7282]
We cannot get wrapped around the axle about the outward administration. It is the inward that counts and it is precisely the inward that we cannot administer. The Holy Spirit baptizes.
[/quote:a979ca7282]

I agree with this principle if the baptism were done within the Christian community. But this assumes that Rome is a Christian Church and that their sacrament is a Christian sacrament. I guess I just don't see how Rome qualifies for either one. And if it is not administered as the bible commands it to be then is it a real baptism or just a manmade tradition?


[Edited on 9-25-2003 by puritansailor]
 

Drdad

Puritan Board Freshman
Pastor Way is right. I would view a RCC Baptism just the same as I would a Mormon Baptism. Both are heretical and both should not be seen as truly legitimate. We had a man converted from the mormon church in our church and we required him to be Baptized, even though he was baptized in their church.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Before we discount Calvin's views, we should remember that many who followed the Reformers were baptized in the Roman church, including Calvin and Luther. They saw their baptisms as real, in that the Spirit called them out of the Church which had become apostate, into a reformation of the faith. Just because the church had apostacized, that did not void the promises or the work of the Spirit.

Baptism is chiefly the recognition of the work of the Spirit in the heart of man, not the work of man's heart. Who is to forbid baptism if the witness of the Spirit's work is there? And who is to say that it is ineffective because it was administered by unfaithful men in an unfaithful church? And which of our own clerical people qualify under the regimen of such truth in faith, that we ourselves do disqualify ourselves with our little "isms"?

For if these objections hold, then ought not the Presbyterians veto any Baptist baptisms, and vise versa? Is this not the logical consequence of the arguments raised so far? Is it not also inconsistent to disqualify RC baptisms, and still hold to a universal Church, which transcends the denominational boundaries, and even invades the territory we usually assign to nether gloom? Is it not true that we recognize that there may indeed be true believers even in some of these apostate churches, because we believe in the efficacy and efficiency of the gospel, wherever it is preached, and under whatever pretext it is preached? And if we recognize that there is a church there, than can we forbid the work of the Spirit accomplished in these places form receiving the signs and symbols of His precious promises?

These are just my thoughts to add to the discussion. In the Reformed setting I was brought up in, Catholic baptisms were respected, but rebaptisms were not. These latter were regarded as denying the promises and work of the Spirit, and were severely dealt with.
 

Drdad

Puritan Board Freshman
THere is a radically different view between Baptists and Presbyterean debate than between RCC and orthodox Christianity.

My only question that has not been answered is this: would you accept someone who has been baptized in the mormon church without requiring them to be baptized again?

I can disagree with some points of Presbytereans but still recognize they are orthodox... I can't do the same for RCC's and Mormons.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Defintely not.

They are not a rightly constituted church. They do not worship the triune God, so their baptisms cannot be respected. Same with the JW's. These are not gatherings of people who worship the true God, nor are their officers then duly ordained.

But the point you are raising is that once the faithful had departed from the Roman church, could we still consider her a church at all, along with her officers, in spite of the fact that some may still be found among them who would be considered to be elect? Did they not reject the gospel and so lose their status as church?

I think we need to be careful about that, because God would not destroy Sodom if there were only a few faithful left in the city. And He kept His promises to David and to his people, even when it had become clear that they were not going to amend their ways, even when he sent them prophets and faithful leaders.

The RC church was once a church; the Mormons and JW's never were. Some of the far out Pentecostal-type churches never really were churches to begin with. We can not look for the work of Spirit in them, as much as in spite of them. But churches which once were true churches are of a different sort, in that the residual effect may still be there. God keeps faith even when we do not; God remains faithful to His Word even when we fall away. Baptism is a sign of the Spirit's work, not ours.




[Edited on 9-25-2003 by JohnV]
 

kceaster

Puritan Board Junior
Derick...

The reason I cannot categorically say that the RCC baptism is not sufficient is because I know that God has saved people in the RCC. For whatever reason He sees fit, they are still there. For other reasons, God brings them out. But when they have been baptized already and we know that they are saved, how are we adding to anything that has been done by God in their lives? Especially, since we have no mandate in Scripture to do so?

One well known writer is James McCarthy who wrote, "The Gospel According to Rome." He was raised a 4th generation Catholic. He has since been converted to Protestantism and has come out of the RCC. Why should he be baptized again? You could say that the first time was not done in accordance with Scripture and yet, how do we know that this baptism, even this one, was not effectual?

There are many Christians in the RCC. I think it is a sin for us to speculate on whether or not their baptism is acceptable. God has obviously made it effectual by regeneration. Why add to this work by baptizing them again?

They were baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Does man make those words effectual, or does God?

In Christ,

KC
 

wsw201

Puritan Board Senior
The RCC accepts all the creeds of the ecuminical councils, ie; Nicea, Chalcedon, etc. These are Orthodox creeds that all Christian churches hold to in order to be considered Christian. Mormons and JW's do not hold to these creeds of the Church. Now is the RCC "Reformed" Orthodox? No. Their theology is very screwed up. It is a works-righteousness theology. But then again, so are Protestant Arminian Churches. Todays Arminian Churches are basically Pelagian, which is another gospel. Based on what has been said so far about the RCC, why should any Church accept the baptism of a Church that is "RCC light"? If we are going to say that we would only accept the baptism from only a "True Church" as has been defined, then that leaves out a lot of what we might consider Christian Churches. In fact, why wouldn't the Baptists consider the Presbyterian Church as not a True Church? No Baptist Church I know of would accept my baptism since I was baptised as an infant. They would require me to be "baptised" (re-baptised) before they would consider me as a member. What about folks coming out of the Charasmatic/Word of Faith Churches? Talk about screwed up theology. Is a baptism done by Benny Hinn acceptable? Do any of these types of Churches accept the Nicene Creed?

The point Hodge makes concerning the Church is that under the definition of a True Church, there are very few true churches since most are mixed with some error whether in the Gospel preached or how the sacraments/ordinances are administered or whether there is actually any real discipline in the Church. That is why he makes a distinction between a True Church and a Christian Church.
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
[quote:d958bc7285][i:d958bc7285]Originally posted by wsw201[/i:d958bc7285]
The RCC accepts all the creeds of the ecuminical councils, ie; Nicea, Chalcedon, etc. These are Orthodox creeds that all Christian churches hold to in order to be considered Christian. Mormons and JW's do not hold to these creeds of the Church. Now is the RCC "Reformed" Orthodox? No. Their theology is very screwed up. It is a works-righteousness theology. But then again, so are Protestant Arminian Churches. Todays Arminian Churches are basically Pelagian, which is another gospel. Based on what has been said so far about the RCC, why should any Church accept the baptism of a Church that is "RCC light"? If we are going to say that we would only accept the baptism from only a "True Church" as has been defined, then that leaves out a lot of what we might consider Christian Churches. In fact, why wouldn't the Baptists consider the Presbyterian Church as not a True Church? No Baptist Church I know of would accept my baptism since I was baptised as an infant. They would require me to be "baptised" (re-baptised) before they would consider me as a member. What about folks coming out of the Charasmatic/Word of Faith Churches? Talk about screwed up theology. Is a baptism done by Benny Hinn acceptable? Do any of these types of Churches accept the Nicene Creed?

The point Hodge makes concerning the Church is that under the definition of a True Church, there are very few true churches since most are mixed with some error whether in the Gospel preached or how the sacraments/ordinances are administered or whether there is actually any real discipline in the Church. That is why he makes a distinction between a True Church and a Christian Church. [/quote:d958bc7285]

Wayne,

Here is the interesting thing for me. What are the marks of the church? They are:


  • [*:d958bc7285]The proper preaching of the Word
    [*:d958bc7285]The proper administration of the sacraments
    [*:d958bc7285]The proper use of discipline
    [/list:eek::d958bc7285]

    Now the problem is that the Roman communion fails all three of these tests. They fail them not per my judgment, but Calvin's. He says that instead of a "ministry of the Word" they have "compounded lies." They also have a "perverted government," which especially since Trent calls light darkness and darkness light. To hold to the gospel puts one under the perverted discipline of Rome ("whoever says that salvation is by faith alone...let him be anathama" ). Calvin also denies that the mass is the proper administration of the Lord's Supper. In fact, he declares it "the foulest sacrilege."

    Calvin also does not think it schism to leave Rome because she is not a true church "we run no risk of being dissevered from the Church of Christ." (See my post above for citations)

    Now what is odd for me, is that those who accept Romish "baptism" then wind up circulating a completely different standard, as you have just articulated. The standard then does not become intention or understanding of the sacrament, understanding of the gospel, the nature of a true church (else we would be beholden to return to Rome), or even the marks of a church. Now the "standard" is simply Trinitarian formula. This is as bare bones as possible, and in my mind is only the standard because it is the ONLY way in which the Romish whore bears any resemblance to a church, rather than the synagogue of Satan.
 

Drdad

Puritan Board Freshman
On the first note, I was a Roman Catholic and we even helped start a new RCC in Ona, WV.

Secondly, I think Fred T. Greco hit on something when he referred to the synogogue of Satan. The issue is not where the RCC agrees with us, the issue is whether or not they are heretical. Can you believe what they teach and still be saved? If they teach heresy, then they are of the synogogue of Satan. Thus, their Baptism is from Satan, not from God. The same applies to mormonism and JW's and so on and so forth.

The issue with other denominations are vastly different. Fred and I may disagree in many areas of theology but I would not discount his orthodoxy.

On another count, considering I am not a Paedo Baptist, I might be off a little in this understanding... but isn't infant Baptism supposed to be done by believing parent(s) for their child. If I were baptized as an infant yet my family did not believe... was my baptism genuine according to the Paedo Baptists?

Just curious.
 

Drdad

Puritan Board Freshman
One more thing:

Would you guys who think a RCC baptism is legitimate, would you allow a non-Christian to Baptise someone? I think Matthew 28:18-20 clarifies who can Baptize. It must first be a Christian who can teach and disciple.

I think the fear here is getting into Donatism. And granted, our Baptism is not dependent upon the person who Baptises, but on God. Yet, in some sense it does depend on the person... the person must be approved by the church in accordance to orthodox doctrine and that person should be able to teach the doctrine. Yet, if the man who Baptizes is found to be false, it was not dependent on Him.

Derick
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
There is a difference between a "true" church and a recognized church. It is not good for us to sit under the authority of the a false church because our faith can be thwarted by it. But the Spirit's work cannot be thwarted. If He calls someone to faith in such a church, who are we to deny that his baptism was effective? But we limit those who would be so recognized.

Where would you draw the line for truth and faithfulness? Even apostate churches still think themselves faithful to the Word. But many don't even begin with the Word. So Mormons and JW's do not qualify, even if we assent to RC baptisms. How do I regard the baptisms done in the Reformed churches which I left because of their apostate leadership? What about nephews and nieces still in those churches?

I think that maybe we are setting ourselves up for multiple baptisms if we only recognize baptisms done in churches which we deem truly faithful. I think it is a worse thing to rebaptize than to accept a RCC baptism.

So if we reject a RCC baptism, we had better be very certain that it was not effective. And if we do that, then we have know a man's heart.

So the question I would ask would be: does the denial of the validity of RCC baptism require a judgment on our part which the Word forbids us?
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
[quote:7068f5c7fb][i:7068f5c7fb]Originally posted by JohnV[/i:7068f5c7fb]
There is a difference between a "true" church and a recognized church. It is not good for us to sit under the authority of the a false church because our faith can be thwarted by it. But the Spirit's work cannot be thwarted. If He calls someone to faith in such a church, who are we to deny that his baptism was effective? But we limit those who would be so recognized.

Where would you draw the line for truth and faithfulness? Even apostate churches still think themselves faithful to the Word. But many don't even begin with the Word. So Mormons and JW's do not qualify, even if we assent to RC baptisms. How do I regard the baptisms done in the Reformed churches which I left because of their apostate leadership? What about nephews and nieces still in those churches?

I think that maybe we are setting ourselves up for multiple baptisms if we only recognize baptisms done in churches which we deem truly faithful. I think it is a worse thing to rebaptize than to accept a RCC baptism.

So if we reject a RCC baptism, we had better be very certain that it was not effective. And if we do that, then we have know a man's heart.

So the question I would ask would be: does the denial of the validity of RCC baptism require a judgment on our part which the Word forbids us? [/quote:7068f5c7fb]

John,

I think that the issue you raise is actually not that difficult. We look to the objective, rather than the subjective in churches. Just as when we speak of the fact that baptism is to be performed on the children of "believing" parents, we interpret it to mean those who have made a credible profession of faith (or as the confession puts it: "those that do actually profess faith in and obedience unto Christ" WCF 28.4) -- so we treat churches. We make a judgment about the church in a formal, objective fashion (has this church been declared apostate?) , not a subjective fashion (do I think it is apostate?).

I also disagree with your premise. Far worse a sin to neglect Christian baptism than to go through an additional rite that has no significance (i.e. rebaptism).
 

wsw201

Puritan Board Senior
Fred,

I understand your delimma regarding Calvin. I don't know the answer to it, but sometimes Calvin can get alittle convoluted in that he is not always systematic in his writing (sometimes I think its just a 16th century thing in how they presented their arguments). Setting Calvin aside for know, consider Hodge and his argument.

What Hodge is using is the definition of the visible church per the WCF in advancing his argument. My question is simply "is that valid"?

If we only use the definition of a "True Church versus a False Church", do we limit who we will consider Christians much less who's baptism will be acceptable. As I pointed out previously, the theology of a Protestant Arminian Church is not that much different from the RCC. Both are distorting the Gospel. Assuming a Baptistic Arminian Church, both reflect errors in the sacraments. In addition, Arminianism was condemned at the Synod of Dordt as heretical. And that verision of arminianism was not as bad as the Arminianism/Finneyism of today's Evangelical Churches.

Consider Hodge's point concerning definition:


[quote:775a46e8c6]
We may say that a church is a society in which the pure word of God is preached, the sacraments duly administered, and discipline properly exercised by legitimate officers. [b:775a46e8c6]This, however, is a description of a pure and orderly church, and not an enumeration of the essential attributes of such a body[/b:775a46e8c6]. If we use that description as a definition, we must exclude all but orthodox Presbyterians from the pale of the church. The eastern churches, the church of England, the Methodists, Baptists, Congregationalists would without exception be cut off. Every one of these classes of Christians fails, according to our standard, in some one or more of the above specifications. They are all defective either as to doctrine, or as to the sacraments, or as to the proper exercise of discipline, or as to the organs through which such discipline is exercised. This distinctions between a description and definition, between an enumeration of what belongs to a pure church, and what is necessary to the being of a church, is often disregarded.

Turrettin expressly makes the distinctions between "a true church," i.e., a church which conforms of the true standard of what a church ought to be, and a heretical, corrupt, and apostate church. True, in his use of the term, corresponds to orthodox or pure; not with real. A body, therefore, according to him may be a church, and yet not a true church. We adverted to this fact in our former article, and referred so distinctly to the statements of Turrettin that we are surprised to find Theophilus quoting from him as he does. "Since the church of Rome," says Turrettin, "may be viewed under a twofold aspect, either in reference to the profession of Christianity and of the evangelical truths which she retains, or in reference to her subjection to the pope, and to her corruptions both in matters of faith and morals, we can speak of her in two different ways. under one aspect, we do not deny she retains some truth; under the other we deny that she is Christian and apostolical, and affirm her to be anti-christian and apostate. In one sense, we admit she may be still called a CHRISTIAN CHURCH. 1st. In reference to the people of God, or the elect, who are called to come out of her even at the time of her destruction, Rev. xviii. 4. 2d. In reference to external form, or certain elements of a dispersed church, the vestiges of which are still conspicuous, as well as regards the word of God and the preaching thereof, which she still retains, although corrupted, as the administration of the sacraments, especially baptism, which as to its substance is there retained in its integrity. 3d. In reference to the evangelical truths, as concerning the Trinity, Christ the mediator, God and man, by which she is distinguished from a congregation of pagans or infidels. But we deny that she can be properly and simply (i.e., without qualification) be called a true church, much less the only and the catholic church, as they would wish to have her called."

It is very evident, therefore, that Rome, according to Turrettin, is to be viewed under two aspects; under the one she is a church, i.e., a body in which the people of God still are; which retains the word of God and the preaching of it, though corrupted, and the sacraments, especially baptism. Under the other aspect, i.e., as a papal body, she is not a church; i.e., her popery and all her corruptions are anti-christian and apostate. She is not therefore a true church, for a true church is free from heresy, from superstition, from oppressive regimen, from corruption of manners, and from doubt or diffidence.

When we turn to the Scriptures and to the common language of Christians, we do not find the word church used in senses which admit of being embraced under one definition. In other words, the essential attributes of the church, in the established sense of the term, are not its essential attributes in another equally authorized sense. Thus we are told that the church consists of the whole number of the elect who ever have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the head thereof. In this sense of the word, it is essential to the church that it consist of the elect only, and that it should include them all. That this definition is sustained by scriptural usage cannot be disputed. It is in this sense the church is the body of Christ, the fullness of him that filleth all in all. It is by the church, thus understood, God is to manifest to principalities and powers his manifold wisdom. This is the church which Christ loved, and for which he gave himself that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church. It would of course be absurd to contend that no society is a church which does not come under this definition.
[/quote:775a46e8c6]

Hodge goes through other definitional views of what constitutes a Church, but that would make this post way too long.

Based on Hodge's argument, JohnV's comments are valid.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
May I ask you a question Fred? Was Calvin rebaptized, along with those who followed in the Reformaton who came out of the Roman church? Did they not recognize the baptism they received?

Also, the Dutch Reformed used to teach that rebaptism was a heinous sin. It amounted to denying the Holy Spirit. Those who were rebaptized with a believer's baptism were put out of the church. I recall a few instances of that happening.

And again, I would like to emphasize that paedo baptism logically includes recognizing baptism done in the name of the Triune God, done in a Christian church (not necessarily a true church) because of the nature of the sacrament's meaning. When we baptize we are recognizing the work of the Spirit, not the heart of a man who receives it. The burning question is, "Who is to prevent them from being baptized if the promise of the Spirit is upon them?"

When a man confesses his guilt, and professes his faith, he does so before God and before the Church. The validity of it does not depend on the faithfulness of the church, as long as it represents the form of a duly constituted body of Christ, as cited from Turretin above. But even if such a church has become false, God is not, and it was still done before His face.

We can prove that a church has ignored a proper baptism, but how are we going to prove that God ignored it?

OK, that's more than one question. I got carried away. So far I still think that we should recognize RCC baptisms. But I am just fielding these objections because this is what I have been taught, and I have never worked through it before to this extent. You may be right, but I am not yet convinced. The question is certainly legitemate.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I would also like to qualify something from Hodge. The Bible does have some stipulations concerning Church, but by way of direct inference. If Paul was upset with the Galatian and/or Corinthian churches, he stilll recognized them as churches. And the seven churches of Revelation are also recognized as churches, even though some are to the point of having their lampstand removed. But God is the one Who removes it, not us.

Thus if the RCC bacame Unitarian, we could then assume it's lampstand had been removed. But while it has the rudiments of a properly constituted church, worshipping the Triune God, preaching the Word, administering the scasraments, and exercising discipline, (though it does not meet the standards of a true church) yet it is a Christian church nevertheless. And because it is, we can then recognize them as false. Otherwise they would be no church at all, and therefore it would be redundant to call them a false church.

The question still remains, however, concerning all the time that has passed and the ample opportunities given these churches to recognize the true gospel. And they have consistently rejected it. And we are now long past that generation of reformers who came out the RCC, though there are still some coming out to this day, and embracing the true Doctrine of Grace.

Though I am not convinced, yet I see the need for further investigation, and the weakness of my doctrine. Thanks to God, and to you all for your spiritual help in this.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Here is a website of reformation still happening in the RCC:
http://www.refcm.org

Look under Mission fields - Italy. The minister mentioned in the article must remain unnamed because of the particular setting he is in.

[Edited on 9-25-2003 by JohnV]
 

pastorway

Puritan Board Senior
Is a Synagogue of Satan ever to be considered a "Christian" church? Is a "church" that denies the very gospel itself in any way Christian just because they mouth the words, "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit" ??

The RCC believes this baptism regenerates. They believe that we are saved by faith and works. They offer for sale the forgiveness of sin. Where in the Bible is a "church" like this commended for being a "church" at all in any way?

They (the RCC) have left their first love. They have forsaken Christ and His Word. Their leaders are pawns of Satan deceiving the world and leading people to hell. People who they baptize with the "correct" words.

I do not doubt that God can save men in the RCC - but it is not because they are in the RCC. God saves His elect wherever they are - be it a sound reformed church, a cult, on the street, or in an back alley. Just because God saves people in the most awful places on earth does not then give any validity that "place" having the "right" to administer the "sacraments" of the Church of Jesus Christ.

How dare any of use give validity to anything Rome does - Calvin or no Calvin!! Hodge or no Hodge!!

The Bible says they are wolves. It says they lead men to hell. It says they are dangerous and shrwed. It says they will overturn the faith of many and lead the gullible astray.

To be always reforming is to denounce Rome and any other cult that defiles the gospel of our Lord.

So back to the question - Is a Synagogue of Satan ever to be considered a "Christian" church? Yes or No.

Phillip

[Edited on 9-25-03 by pastorway]
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
[quote:0181dbcc36][i:0181dbcc36]by pastor Way[/i:0181dbcc36]
Is a Synagogue of Satan ever to be considered a "Christian" church? Yes or No. [/quote:0181dbcc36]

I hear you Phillip. I too am concerned about that. But as a Presbyterian, who believes in paedo baptism, I also see the other point. It's a good question, although I can't help thinking it is also a trick question. The way you ask it leaves us with only one answer. But the logic which follows it leaves us with no alternative but to go back and rethink it. For where would we stop in rejecting baptisms done in the name of the Trinity?
 

Drdad

Puritan Board Freshman
Heresy is a good starting point at drawing the line. I would even go so far as to say the agreement that a few of the Puritans drew up in the early 1600's on what is and is not a true church (of which I would add a few.) When the Puritans of the early 1600's got together an drew up criteria on when they would fellowship the following is what they said. One person tried to limit it to the Apostle's Creed, but was rightly disputed by the rest of the group. I believe Owens and Baxter were a part of this meeting, but my history on this is a little vague (and my books are packed ready to move). Here is their line


[quote:068190eec8]
1. That the Holy Scripture is that rule of knowing God and living unto Him which whoso does not believe cannot be saved

2. That there is a God who is the Creator, Governor and Judge of the world, which is to be received by faith, and every other way of the knowledge of Him is insufficient.

3. That this God who is the Creator is eternally distinct from all creatures in His Being and Blessedness.

4. That this God is One in Three Persons or subsistences (God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit).

5. That Jesus Christ is the only Mediator between God and Man without the knowledge of whom there is no salvation.

6. That this Jesus Christ is the true God.

7. That this Jesus Christ is also true Man.

8. That this Jesus Christ is God and Man in One Person.

9. That this Jesus Christ is our Redeemer, who by paying a ransom and bearing our sins has made satisfaction for them.

10. That this same Lord Jesus Christ is He that was Crucified at Jerusalem, and rose again and ascended into Heaven.

11. That this same Jesus Christ being the only God and Man in One Person remains for ever a distinct Person from all saints and angels notwithstanding their union and communion with Him.

12. That all men by nature were dead in sins and trespasses, and no man can be saved unless he be born again, repent, and believe.

13. That we are justified and saved by grace and faith in Jesus Christ and not by works.

14. That to continue in any known sin upon what pretence or principle soever is damnable.

15. That God is to be worshipped according to His own will, and whosoever shall forsake and despise all the duties of His worship cannot be saved.

16. That the dead shall rise, and that there is a day of judgment wherein all shall appear, some to go into everlasting life and some into everlasting condemnation.

[/quote:068190eec8]
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I know what you are saying, Derrick. I feel the tension. Part of the difference is in our particular views on baptism. And I won't step over that line. I can see that the view you hold makes the demand it does upon you, and that you are fully convinced. Perhaps I don't understand it well enough to appreciate it as you do. I hope that you are assured that I am trying to understand it, and that if I still do not accept it, or do accept it, it will be for the reason that it is what I am persuaded is the truly Biblical understnding, just as I am assured of your personal integrity as well.

As such, I am content to just let it go at this for now. It seems that we are just arguing the same arguments over and over. Unless it becomes a true issue, that it comes up as a real life situation, we should just leave it as it is, perhaps. I just don't want to do anything to hurt our fellowship.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
[quote:c4aee399fb][i:c4aee399fb]Originally posted by JohnV[/i:c4aee399fb]

I hear you Phillip. I too am concerned about that. But as a Presbyterian, who believes in paedo baptism, I also see the other point. It's a good question, although I can't help thinking it is also a trick question. The way you ask it leaves us with only one answer. But the logic which follows it leaves us with no alternative but to go back and rethink it. For where would we stop in rejecting baptisms done in the name of the Trinity? [/quote:c4aee399fb]

This is a good point John in where to draw the line about the Trinity. But most reformed churches have already drawn the line. They accept Roman baptism (and Greek Orthodox), and reject other trinitarian baptisms from Mormons, JW's, oneness pentacostals, and cultic groups. Yet Rome is just as heretical as these groups, if not more. This is what confuses me about the issue for it seems to me to be inconsistent. If all that is required is the trinitarian formula then we can reject no baptisms from any group, who uses that name.

We reject the doctrine of the Mass even though the same elements are used as the Lord's Supper. But we reject it because the elements are not used according to the command of Scripture and Rome attaches heretical doctrines to the elements. We would claim anyone who partakes of it is commiting idolatry due to their heretical nature of the sacrament. Why do we not reject Rome's baptism based on the same criteria?

Also, others brought up the fact that the elect are still among them and saved out of Rome. Yet, they certainly are not saved by any effort of Rome because they do not preach the gospel but condemn it. These elect are saved because they either read Scripture for themselves or are exposed to the gospel through an outside influence. And the other "trinitarian" baptism groups also have elect who are saved out of them. Yet this fact does not matter in rejecting their baptism.

Also, just because Rome claims to believe in peado-baptism, doesn't mean they believe in biblical peado-baptism (no smart remarks from the Baptists please :wink1: ).
Rome claims to believe as we do in the apostle's creed of "the forgiveness of sins" yet we completely disagree about the nature of that forgiveness.

This is a practical matter. Many come to the reformed faith with these backgrounds and we must judge whether or not to administer baptism to these converts as Jesus commands us to do.
Some more thoughts...

Puritan Sailor
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Thoughtful comments, Puritan Sailor. Please note that I am not saying that the trinitarian formual is the only consideration. Many groups would not baptize in the names of the Trinity. So we need not bother about them. For if they do they still lack the recognition of being, or once having been a Christian church.

What I am concerned about is the work of the Spirit, not the work of man. My question would be not who I think should be recognized as baptized, but who the Spirit recognizes.

We have personally met that catholic man from Italy who received the gospel in the Catholic Church, recognizes the baptism he received, like Calvin did, and holds to the same promises that we do. He is now Reformed, but working in his own church. This is why I refer to an actual case in the post above. This man is a Christian, and he has been baptized.

I do not want to carry this too far, and be too dogmatic about it. It is not my place. This conundrum is like many other impasses we have concerning baptism. We do not know enough. I would like to continue studying the comments made in this and other threads, so that I can come to a better understanding of what baptism actually is, and why it is. It seems to me that this is the crux of the problem.

I always seem to be forgetting one thing.

















Ahhhh,....... make that two things. :duh:
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
[quote:029b50deea][i:029b50deea]Originally posted by JohnV[/i:029b50deea]
What I am concerned about is the work of the Spirit, not the work of man. My question would be not who I think should be recognized as baptized, but who the Spirit recognizes.
[/quote:029b50deea]

Your concerns are also making me more interested to study the topic even more :)
But and can't help but ask regarding the reference to the Catholic Reformed gentleman, was it the Holy Spirit working through a Christian baptism? Or was it the Holy Spirit working in him in spite of his pagan baptism?

And as Calvin so well pointed out with many other Reformers, we may distinguish the sacrament from the spiritual reality it points to, but we cannot seperate them. Certainly, a genuine convert has the baptism of the spirit and we rejoice in this, but he must also be baptized in water to fulfill the Lord's command to outwardly join the covenant and benefit from the means of grace.

If Rome's baptism is not valid, then this convert can't use it as a means of grace and so must be biblically baptized.
Even more thoughts....

Puritan Sailor
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
[quote:619a429501]But and can't help but ask regarding the reference to the Catholic Reformed gentleman, was it the Holy Spirit working through a Christian baptism? Or was it the Holy Spirit working in him in spite of his pagan baptism?
[i:619a429501]as asked by Puritan Sailor[/i:619a429501][/quote:619a429501]
Thank you for that question. I am in agreement with Fred, in so far that I think that there are some inconsistencies we have to work out. I just don't want to exchange one set of inconsistencies for another set. What the Confessions say, and what God's approved teachers say, require us to search more diligently than they did in answering such questions, and until we are sure that we are not jumping to conclusions. Some things may not make sense to us now, but if they made sense to such men as Calvin, and the fathers who wrote the Confessions, after the struggles and determination they demonstrated, I am just not going to discount it that easily.

As to the question, you should remember that to judge the Roman Catholic baptism as valid requires as much judgment on our part as judging it to be pagan. And again, you are concentrating on the men and the temmporal institutions.

It is one thing to judge a church for its' teachings and practices; it is another to judge whether or not God has any respect for them. For all the error which is involved in the RCC, are we so sure that God does not honour some baptisms which are done in His name, if even for the briefest of times the parents admitting their child for baptism believe? What I think is that there may indeed be people within that church who come to a knowledge of salvation, but the church uses its' authority to quench any progress made in the faith, for she wishes to receive the praise of men rather than God receive it. Therefore it is not good that anyone remain in that church, for the good of their spiritual life. That is why she is regarded as a false church, filled with depravity and wickedness. But that does not negate what is in the hearts of those whom the Spirit calls out of her, just as we have been at one time. And we did not seek rebaptism, through our Reformation fathers.

Nor is every RCC church the same. Some of the ones in my area are no different than the evangelical churches, as regards the simple preaching of the Cross of Christ and the Resurrection. Some are only outwardly RC. Since God does not let His Word return to Him empty, it follows that there may indeed be some activity of the Spirit in some of these churches, or rather in the hearts of some in those churches in spite of the churches.

I don't know if that answers your question, Puritan Sailor. I too have questions about it; and I am trying to present the case in favour because it still needs thinking through. As it stands, I will follow the fathers while I wrestle with it.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
[quote:0d730fb2cb][i:0d730fb2cb]Originally posted by JohnV[/i:0d730fb2cb]
Nor is every RCC church the same. Some of the ones in my area are no different than the evangelical churches, as regards the simple preaching of the Cross of Christ and the Resurrection. Some are only outwardly RC. Since God does not let His Word return to Him empty, it follows that there may indeed be some activity of the Spirit in some of these churches, or rather in the hearts of some in those churches in spite of the churches.
[/quote:0d730fb2cb]

I guess this has not been my experience with the RCC. I did not know there were any gospel preaching Catholics left. I thought the remainder were booted out by the end of the Jansenist controversy. At my Jesuit college, there was no mention anywhere of the gospel, except from a small Protestant group of students who met once and awhile for fellowship. So if there are still some gospel preachers left, then I will need to rethink my position too. Thanks for the discussion brother.
Puritan Sailor
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Here is a U2U to me from Me Died Blue, posted here with his permission. I think he has some interesting thoughts. Let's see if it provokes some further discussion.

[quote:4836d3daac]I completely agree with the perspective on the validity of RC baptism for which you argued throughout the earlier thread to which you referred Mark and I. However, in your last post in that thread, you said, "So if there are still some gospel preachers left, then I will need to rethink my position too."

I would venture to say that you don't in fact need to change your view (thus confessing some RC baptisms as valid) just in light of that fact. I say this because what the WCF says about the validity of baptism with regard to ecclesiology is that it must be administered "by a minister of the Gospel, lawfully called thereunto." Furthermore, the issue of lawful calling involves not the doctrinal soundness of the minister himself, but the lawfulness of his ordination, which is "by imposition of hands, and prayer, with fasting, by those preaching presbyters to whom it doth belong." Thus, if the institutional church that ordains a minister is a true church, then and only then is the minister "lawfully called," and thus qualified to administer the sacrament of baptism.

So even if there are some Gospel-preaching priests within the RCC today, it is not a true church as an institution, and therefore the priests' ordination was not valid, which means they have no biblical warrant to administer the sacrament of baptism.

For all I know, you may have kept the position you argued throughout the thread. I simply noticed that you said you'd have to rethink it in light of the fact that some RC priests still preach the biblical Gospel, but I believe that that still doesn't consitute their baptism as valid.
[/quote:4836d3daac]

The only criticism I would like to point out here is that ministers do not obtain there calling from the church but from God. The church only confirms it. For instance, who ordained John the Baptist? Just a thought.
 

rembrandt

Puritan Board Sophomore
It is weird coming in on the middle of this!

[b:e6a414b0ca]Let me first of all say that I [i:e6a414b0ca]embrace[/i:e6a414b0ca] my Roman baptism (as an infant).[/b:e6a414b0ca] Last night I was gazing at the picture taken at my baptism for the first time since I've converted! A beautiful site indeed!

[quote:e6a414b0ca][i:e6a414b0ca]Me Died Blue's U2U[/i:e6a414b0ca]
So even if there are some Gospel-preaching priests within the RCC today, it is not a true church as an institution, and therefore the priests' ordination was not valid, which means they have no biblical warrant to administer the sacrament of baptism.

For all I know, you may have kept the position you argued throughout the thread. I simply noticed that you said you'd have to rethink it in light of the fact that some RC priests still preach the biblical Gospel, but I believe that that still doesn't consitute their baptism as valid.[/quote:e6a414b0ca]

I think you should rethink the qualifications for a 'true church'. There are MANY Reformed theologians who believe Rome is a true church (in some sence), though very unlawful.

Let me also say that I think Rome is within the realm of the historic Christian faith in their [i:e6a414b0ca]basic[/i:e6a414b0ca] and most [i:e6a414b0ca]important[/i:e6a414b0ca] beliefs. I believe they preach the gospel, just in a very tainted and distorted way. When you think about it, we must also assume that many of the Church Fathers didn't preach the true gospel. Are you willing to say this?

Having a protestant understanding of justification is NOT necessary!!! Unless you want to say that all the baptisms performed prior to the Reformation were false. I believe, along with the Reformers, that Rome does dispense the true sacraments.

Paul
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Did the Church Fathers ever anathamatize the gospel?

Rome did - and does. Trent still stands to this day as a monument to her whoredom.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top