Baptism Now Saves You…So Says Scripture, So Says the Early Church!

Here is one of the most hotly debated doctrines in modern Christianity. Most, non-Catholic Christians deny that Baptism actually does anything, put is purely a public sign of their commitment to Christ. But, in the Early Church it was not so. The Early Church Fathers recognize that first one comes to Faith by a gift of initial Grace and then one is Baptised in the waters of regeneration to free the believer from the death of original sin and personal sin to that point and be born again as a new creation in Christ.

Many Modern Fundamentalist and Evangelical Christians, will agree with Catholic Christians that a spiritual regeneration by the Holy Spirit (or the “new birth”) is necessary for salvation (e.g. John 3:3-8; 2 Cor 5:17; Titus 3:5), but they will usually disagree that the Sacrament (or what some call “ordinance”) of Baptism is the means or vehicle by which the Holy Spirit regenerates and saves the person, and all sins committed prior to Baptism are forgiven and washed away by the power of Christ (John 3:5; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom 6:1ff; 1 Cor 6:11; Gal 3:27; Eph 5:26f; Col 2:11ff; 1 Peter 3:21; etc). There are exceptions of course, but even among those who identify with this or that denomination do not hold consistent teaching with one another. Many will even see baptism as a “work” as if we are somehow trying to save ourselves by getting baptized.

Many of these non-Catholic Christians suggest that accepting or “receiving Christ” as one’s “personal Lord and Savior” by faith alone is what our Lord meant in John chapter 3. The Sacrament of Baptism is seen as merely a “symbolic” gesture with no inherent spiritual efficacy.

Catholics, while not denying the importance of the “personal relationship” with Jesus Christ (you cannot get much more personal than receiving Christ in the Holy Eucharist) and clearly emphasizing a holy life after Baptism, understand the Gospel text on “born again” as a reference to the Sacrament of Baptism. Catholics see our Lord’s words that one must be “born of water and the spirit” as clearly equated by Jesus himself with the phrase “born again” (compare verses John 3:3,5,7). The surrounding context of the first four chapters of John’s Gospel also show that by “water and the Spirit” that water Baptism is what our Lord meant (cf. John 1:29ff; 3:22ff; 4:1ff), which Sacrament was instituted by Christ himself at the Great Commission where he commanded Baptism in the name of the Blessed Trinity (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16). This is shortly followed by St. Peter the Apostle’s command to be baptized in order to receive the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). Catholics accept the plain and literal meaning of the biblical texts.

The Catholic understanding of Baptism is also the unanimous teaching of the earliest Christians who immediately followed the apostles. Every Christian, all the Church Fathers, bishops, and saints who lived after the apostles (and some while the apostles were still alive) interpreted our Lord’s words in John chapter 3 that to be “born again” and “born of water and the Spirit” refers to the Sacrament of Baptism. There are no exceptions.

Sadly, as with most protestant doctrines, they see salvation as an either/or proposition. Either you are saved by faith alone, or you are saved by a work, they reject any kind of “work” so therefore it must be faith alone. The Catholic Church completely agrees that salvation is a total and complete gift from God alone. However, the mind of the Early Christians and the Catholic Church is not an either/or prospect, but a both/and solution. Once we are given the completely unmerited gift of faith, we then respond to that gift by obeying the command of Jesus to repent and be baptised for the forgiveness of sins. When we are baptised we descend into the tomb with Christ and rise a newly born again creation from the tomb, with Christ.

Before I get into what the Early Church taught on Baptism, I want to show you what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches. The wonderful thing about the Catechism is that it gives copious references to Scripture see the footnotes, the Early Church Fathers and the Councils. See the footnotes. There is no guessing where the teaching comes from and to where in scripture it is referencing. Just an interesting note, I have often asked my protestant family and friends to read that Catechism and they will say they have. But, when I ask them what the Catechism says about “Baptism” in this case, they will tell me, “Oh I know what your Church teaches, that it’s a work and you are earning heaven.” Obviously they did not read this. See for yourself.  (My comments in green)

Catechism of the Catholic Church on Baptism

1213 Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua), and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.”

Clearly the Church sees that Baptism is the First gift of God after that of initial Faith and that we  freed from sin and  born again in water and spirit. We are regenerated and made new. 

1214 This sacrament is called Baptism, after the central rite by which it is carried out: to baptize (Greek baptizein) means to “plunge” or “immerse”; the “plunge” into the water symbolizes the catechumen’s burial into Christ’s death, from which he rises up by resurrection with him, as “a new creature.”1

We die to sin and rise with Christ a new creation. Notice that this is referring to Scripture: 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15; Cf. Rom 6:34; Col 2:12

1215 This sacrament is also called “the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit,” for it signifies and actually brings about the birth of water and the Spirit without which no one “can enter the kingdom of God.”2

This is referring to the following Scripture.

Titus 3:5 – “…not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy, he saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the holy Spirit”

Jn 3:5 – “Jesus answered, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.”

1216 “This bath is called enlightenment, because those who receive this [catechetical] instruction are enlightened in their understanding . . . .”3 Having received in Baptism the Word, “the true light that enlightens every man,” the person baptized has been “enlightened,” he becomes a “son of light,” indeed, he becomes “light” himself:4

See Jn 1:9; 1 Thess 5:5; Heb 10:32; Eph 5:8.

The following passage sums all this up nicely. The Church is definitely not teaching that we earn our way to heaven by doing a work of baptism, but that baptism is a free unmerited gift from God. He washes us, renews us, seals us and adopts us into His family and in doing so we consecrate our lives to Him who saves us.

Baptism is God’s most beautiful and magnificent gift. . . .We call it gift, grace, anointing, enlightenment, garment of immortality, bath of rebirth, seal, and most precious gift. It is called gift because it is conferred on those who bring nothing of their own; grace since it is given even to the guilty; Baptism because sin is buried in the water; anointing for it is priestly and royal as are those who are anointed; enlightenment because it radiates light; clothing since it veils our shame; bath because it washes; and seal as it is our guard and the sign of God’s Lordship.5

Baptism in the Church

1226 From the very day of Pentecost the Church has celebrated and administered holy Baptism. Indeed St. Peter declares to the crowd astounded by his preaching: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”6The apostles and their collaborators offer Baptism to anyone who believed in Jesus: Jews, the God-fearing, pagans.7 Always, Baptism is seen as connected with faith: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household,” St. Paul declared to his jailer in Philippi. And the narrative continues, the jailer “was baptized at once, with all his family.”8

See the footnotes from the Acts. Believe, Repent and Be Baptised. This is repeated over and over in scripture.

1227 According to the Apostle Paul, the believer enters through Baptism into communion with Christ’s death, is buried with him, and rises with him:

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, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.9

The baptized have “put on Christ.”10 Through the Holy Spirit, Baptism is a bath that purifies, justifies, and sanctifies.11

There it is, straight from Paul’s mouth.

1228 Hence Baptism is a bath of water in which the “imperishable seed” of the Word of God produces its life-giving effect.12 St. Augustine says of Baptism: “The word is brought to the material element, and it becomes a sacrament.”13

Saint Augustine explaining the sacramental aspect of Baptism, how the Word of God affects us through the material world.

1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. 14 He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.15 Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.16The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

This is important. God gives us the normal means by which “we” are commanded to come to him, but that does not mean that God is bound to operate only within those means. Sometimes people get so caught up in all this and put God in a box to conform to their own understanding of things. God always has the power to act outside of the parameters He has established for us.

1262 The different effects of Baptism are signified by the perceptible elements of the sacramental rite. Immersion in water symbolizes not only death and purification, but also regeneration and renewal. Thus the two principal effects are purification from sins and new birth in the Holy Spirit.17

The following are going to be talking about the effects of Baptism. This is an argument that you may often hear, “Well since I have already professed Jesus as my Lord and Savior why is it necessary to believe that baptism is anything other than a symbol, I already have been given the gift of faith.” Read below why it is so important.  

For the forgiveness of sins . . .

1263 By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin.18 In those who have been reborn nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God, neither Adam’s sin, nor personal sin, nor the consequences of sin, the gravest of which is separation from God.

1264 Yet certain temporal consequences of sin remain in the baptized, such as suffering, illness, death, and such frailties inherent in life as weaknesses of character, and so on, as well as an inclination to sin that Tradition calls concupiscence, or metaphorically, “the tinder for sin” (fomes peccati); since concupiscence “is left for us to wrestle with, it cannot harm those who do not consent but manfully resist it by the grace of Jesus Christ.” 19 Indeed, “an athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.”20

In other words, just because our sins are forgiven and we are made new in Christ, does not mean we are immediately released from the temporal effects of those sins. Sin affects everyone in the world. Suffering, illness, death, weakness in character are all things we still need to endure and wrestle with to help us grow in faith. This is where sanctification comes in. (We will save that for another post) 

“A new creature”

1265 Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte “a new creature,” an adopted son of God, who has become a “partaker of the divine nature,”21 member of Christ and co-heir with him,22 and a temple of the Holy Spirit.23

1266 The Most Holy Trinity gives the baptized sanctifying grace, the grace of justification:
– enabling them to believe in God, to hope in him, and to love him through the theological virtues;
– giving them the power to live and act under the prompting of the Holy Spirit through the gifts of the Holy Spirit;
– allowing them to grow in goodness through the moral virtues.
Thus the whole organism of the Christian’s supernatural life has its roots in Baptism.

Just because we have faith does not mean we are at the moment Justified. If we do not repent and receive baptism we are still carrying around original sin and personal sin upon our soul. We receive the grace of Justification and then are given the graces needed to begin growing in a life of virtue.

Incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ

1267 Baptism makes us members of the Body of Christ: “Therefore . . . we are members one of another.”24 Baptism incorporates us into the Church. From the baptismal fonts is born the one People of God of the New Covenant, which transcends all the natural or human limits of nations, cultures, races, and sexes: “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.”25

1268 The baptized have become “living stones” to be “built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood.”26 By Baptism they share in the priesthood of Christ, in his prophetic and royal mission. They are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that [they] may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called [them] out of darkness into his marvelous light.”27 Baptism gives a share in the common priesthood of all believers.

1269 Having become a member of the Church, the person baptized belongs no longer to himself, but to him who died and rose for us.28 From now on, he is called to be subject to others, to serve them in the communion of the Church, and to “obey and submit” to the Church’s leaders,29 holding them in respect and affection.30 Just as Baptism is the source of responsibilities and duties, the baptized person also enjoys rights within the Church: to receive the sacraments, to be nourished with the Word of God and to be sustained by the other spiritual helps of the Church.

1270 “Reborn as sons of God, [the baptized] must profess before men the faith they have received from God through the Church” and participate in the apostolic and missionary activity of the People of God.

Since once we are baptised we are no longer a slave to sin and ourselves, we are now reborn and sons and daughters of God. If we truly understand this we would see that this means submitting to His authority* and will for our lives. (*See my post on Early Evidence for the Primacy of Peter and His Successors.

The sacramental bond of the unity of Christians

1271 Baptism constitutes the foundation of communion among all Christians, including those who are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church: “For men who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in some, though imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church. Justified by faith in Baptism, [they] are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.” “Baptism therefore constitutes the sacramental bond of unity existing among all who through it are reborn.”

Once we are baptised we are incorporated into the One Body of Christ. We are bonded sacramentally to Him and to one another.

An indelible spiritual mark . . .

1272 Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, the person baptized is configured to Christ. Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ. No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation.31 Given once for all, Baptism cannot be repeated.

1273 Incorporated into the Church by Baptism, the faithful have received the sacramental character that consecrates them for Christian religious worship. The baptismal seal enables and commits Christians to serve God by a vital participation in the holy liturgy of the Church and to exercise their baptismal priesthood by the witness of holy lives and practical charity.

1274 The Holy Spirit has marked us with the seal of the Lord (“Dominicus character”) “for the day of redemption.”32 “Baptism indeed is the seal of eternal life.”33 The faithful Christian who has “kept the seal” until the end, remaining faithful to the demands of his Baptism, will be able to depart this life “marked with the sign of faith,”34 with his baptismal faith, in expectation of the blessed vision of God – the consummation of faith – and in the hope of resurrection.

Upon receiving Baptism, God marks us as His own with a seal. I encourage you to look up the scriptural references in all of the above for a clear understanding of where this is all coming from. That is the wonderful thing about the Catholic Church, it uses ALL of scripture in context with itself, not just selected passages to draw conclusions that are often contradictory of other passages. 

The Early Church on Baptism

Now let’s take a look at what several of the Early Church Fathers actually taught about Baptism and let’s see if it lines up with what the Catholic Church teaches. Again, I am going to stick with just those Church Fathers who are pre-Constantine to show that this teaching existed from the very beginning.

In the Epistle of Barnabas we see that there is a strong connection made between Baptism and the Cross of Christ. He explains that Baptism is necessary for the remission of sins. Also note when he says, “Here he is saying that after we have stepped down into the water, burdened with sin and defilement, we come up out of it bearing fruit, with reverence in our hearts and the hope of Jesus in our souls.”

Barnabas

Now let us see if the Lord has been at any pains to give us a foreshadowing of the waters of Baptism and of the cross. Regarding the former, we have the evidence of Scripture that Israel would refuse to accept the washing which confers the remission of sins and would set up a substitution of their own instead [Jer 22:13; Isa 16:1-2; 33:16-18; Psalm 1:3-6]. Observe there how he describes both the water and the cross in the same figure. His meaning is, “Blessed are those who go down into the water with their hopes set on the cross.” Here he is saying that after we have stepped down into the water, burdened with sin and defilement, we come up out of it bearing fruit, with reverence in our hearts and the hope of Jesus in our souls. (The Epistle of Barnabas, 11:1-10 [A.D. 70]).

In the following by the Shepherd of Hermas I can see many of the essential elements of the Catholic teaching on baptism. Repentance, baptism for the remission of sins, put to death sin and come alive in Christ and be made new creation for the Kingdom of God. It’s all there.

The Shepherd of Hermas

“I have heard, sir,” said I, “from some teachers, that there is no other repentance except that which took place when we went down into the water and obtained the remission of our former sins.” He said to me, “You have heard rightly, for so it is.” (The Shepherd 4:3:1-2 [A.D. 140])

They had need [the Shepherd said] to come up through the water, so that they might be made alive; for they could not otherwise enter into the kingdom of God, except by putting away the mortality of their former life. These also, then, who had fallen asleep, received the seal of the Son of God, and entered into the kingdom of God. For, [he said,] before a man bears the name of the Son of God, he is dead. But when he receives the seal, he puts mortality aside and again receives life. The seal, therefore, is the water. They go down into the water dead [in sin], and come out of it alive. (ibid 9:16:2-4)

Saint Justin Martyr explains the teaching of why we should be baptised, for the remission of sins. Then he explains how it is to be done. Then he follows up with if we don’t do it, we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Oh, and he also explains that the reason for doing this…because he learned it from the Apostles!

Saint Justin Martyr

Whoever is convinced and believes that what they are taught and told by us is the truth, and professes to be able to live accordingly, is instructed to pray and to beseech God in fasting for the remission of their former sins, while we pray and fast with them. Then they are led by us to a place where there is water; and there they are reborn in the same kind of rebirth in which we ourselves were reborn: In the name of God, the Lord and Father of all, and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they receive the washing with water. For Christ said, “Unless you be reborn, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” …The reason for doing this, we have learned from the Apostles. (The First Apology 61 [A.D. 148-155])

As you can see, the teaching was consistent. Saint Theophilus of Antioch teaches the same as the others of his contemporaries. Interestingly enough, I have not been able to find ANY Church Father who just taught that we are saved by just professing Jesus as  Our Lord and Savior and that Baptism is just a symbolic public act.

Saint Theophilus of Antioch

Moreover, those things which were created from the waters were blessed by God, so that this might also be a sign that men would at a future time receive repentance and remission of sins through water and the bath of regeneration — all who proceed to the truth and are born again and receive a blessing from God. (To Autolycus 2:16 [A.D. 181])

Saint Irenaeus, in the following, is explaining how baptism transforms us, just as Naaman was cured of leprosy by being bathed. He explains how because of sin we too are lepers that need the “cure” of baptism to be renewed and made clean in Christ. He is also quoting John 3:5 showing the absolute importance as a command from Christ Himself. It is essential, not optional.

Saint Irenaeus

“And [Naaman] dipped himself…seven times in the Jordan” [2 Kings 5:14]. It was not for nothing that Naaman of old, when suffering from leprosy, was purified upon his being baptized, but [this served] as an indication to us. For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean, by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord, from our old transgressions, being spiritually regenerated as new-born babes, even as the Lord has declared: “Except a man be born again through water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Fragment 34 [A.D. 190])

Again, Tertullian, more of the same teaching. Baptism regenerates, we are freed from sin, and it is essential. I hate to be repetitive but I think this makes my point, the Church Fathers were unanimous in their teaching. Nothing like what modern protestants believe existed in the teachings of the Early Church.

Tertullian

A treatise on our sacrament of water, by which the sins of our earlier blindness are washed away and we are released for eternal life will not be superfluous…..taking away death by the washing away of sins. The guilt being removed, the penalty, of course, is also removed…..Baptism is itself a corporal act by which we are plunged in water, while its effect is spiritual, in that we are freed from sins. (On Baptism 1:1; 5:6; 7:2 [A.D. 200-206])

…no one can attain salvation without Baptism, especially in view of the declaration of the Lord, who says: “Unless a man shall be born of water, he shall not have life.” (On Baptism 12:1 [A.D. 200-206])

Saint Clement of Alexandria goes into a bit more greater detail of what actually happens when we are baptised. I love his explanation that we receive the illumination, the holy light of salvation to be able to see God clearly. Again, a complete gift from God!

Saint Clement of Alexandria

When we are baptized, we are enlightened. Being enlightened, we are adopted as sons. Adopted as sons, we are made perfect. Made perfect, we become immortal….”and sons all of the Most High” [Psalm 82:6]. This work is variously called grace, illumination, perfection, and washing. It is a washing by which we are cleansed of sins; a gift of grace by which the punishments due our sins are remitted; an illumination by which we behold that holy light of salvation — that is, by which we see God clearly; and we call that perfection which leaves nothing lacking. Indeed, if a man know God, what more does he need? Certainly it were out of place to call that which is not complete a true gift of God’s grace. Because God is perfect, the gifts He bestows are perfect. (The Instructor of Children 1:6:26:1 [A.D. 202])

Origen shows that the precursors to Baptism and the Eucharist in the Old Testament are made complete in the New. In baptism, he concurs that it is a water of regeneration. He also explains that the church received from the Apostles the teaching that we must baptize infants because everyone is born with the stain of original sin and we must be washed of that sin by the water and the Holy Spirit. That somehow, those two are essential in the conferring of the sacrament.

Origen

Formerly there was Baptism, in an obscure way….now, however, in full view, there is regeneration in water and in the Holy Spirit. Formerly, in an obscure way, there was manna for food; now, however, in full view, there is the true food, the flesh of the Word of God as He Himself says: “My flesh is truly food, and My blood is truly drink” [John 6:55]. (Homilies on Numbers 7:2 [A.D.244])

The Church received from the Apostles the tradition of giving Baptism even to infants. For the Apostles, to whom were committed the secrets of divine mysteries, knew that there is in everyone the innate stains of sin, which must be washed away through water and the Spirit. (Commentaries on Romans 5:9)

Saint Cyprian of Carthage has a lot to say on Baptism and how it affects our life. It is essential, not an option and not a symbol. It is efficacious, it changes us. We are created new. We are Born Again!

Saint Cyprian of Carthage

But afterwards, when the stain of my past life had been washed away by means of the water of re-birth, a light from above poured itself upon my chastened and now pure heart; afterwards through the Spirit which is breathed from heaven, a second birth made of me a new man… Thus it had to be acknowledged that what was of the earth and was born of the flesh and had lived submissive to sins, had now begun to be of God, inasmuch as the Holy Spirit was animating it. (To Donatus 4 [A.D. 250])

[When] they receive also the Baptism of the Church…then finally can they be fully sanctified and be the sons of God…since it is written, “Except a man be born again of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (Letters 71[72]:1[A.D. 250])

[It] behooves those to be baptized…so that they are prepared, in the lawful and true and only Baptism of the holy Church, by divine regeneration, for the kingdom of God…because it is written, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (Letters 72[73]:21[A.D. 250])

The Seventh Council of Carthage confirms that the teaching of the Church by A.D. 256 was that if you have come to receive the gift of Faith, then you must be baptised to receive the gift of salvation. It is not an option. Again, keep in mind this is before Constantine, so no one can say that it was only after the Church was “taken over” by Constantine that the Church was “Catholic” and taught these things. Notice also here the Church is referred to as the Catholic Church.

Seventh Council of Carthage

And in the gospel our Lord Jesus Christ spoke with his divine voice, saying, “Except a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” …Unless therefore they receive saving Baptism in the Catholic Church, which is one, they cannot be saved, but will be condemned with the carnal in the judgment of the Lord Christ. (c. A.D. 256)

Final Words…

The teaching on Baptism that I have gone through, the teaching that the Church teaches today is the very same teaching that was taught in the beginning of the Church. The teaching has not changed. The teaching is consistent with Scripture. All of the Church Fathers who taught on Baptism all taught that baptism is a sacrament by which grace is actually given as a free and unmerited gift. Again, I challenge anyone to show me evidence of how the Church has changed their teaching on this doctrine. They will not be able to without twisting and turning quotes and scripture, because the Church hasn’t. The Church is the same as it was in the beginning.

Catholic speaker, teacher and author, Ken Hensley said the following:

“Ken, if you were to travel back through time into the early centuries of the Church, would you oppose all these Fathers, saying, ‘You are all wrong in your interpretation of the New Testament passages on baptism and I am right. Baptism is just a sign and I’m starting my own Baptist denomination.’ Would I say this and separate myself from them? Or would I join them?”

I would ask you the same question. Many say the Early Church Fathers are not important, but that is to stick your head in the sand and ignore the fact that these are the teachings of the Church directly after the Apostles, many taught and handed down the teachings of the Church directly from the Apostles. To deny that, is to ignore the blatant Truth. To say that the Church went into apostasy less than one generation is a ridiculous argument. If that was so, then how can we believe anything that anyone teaches about the Christian faith. And don’t give me that “I follow the Bible Alone” malarky, because as I have said over and over again… no one, I repeat, no one reads the Bible in vacuum without the influence of “teachers.”

Come out of denial and accept the Truth! The Truth will set you free!


More resources:

The Church Fathers on Baptismal Regeneration by Bryan Cross

Catechism of the Catholic Church on Baptism

Baptism Saves You by Fr. Dwight Longenecker

How the Early Church Drove Me Toward Catholicism by Ken Hensley


FOOTNOTES

  1. 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15; Cf. Rom 6:34; Col 2:12.
  2. Titus 3:5; Jn 3:5.
  3. St. Justin, Apol. 1,61,12:PG 6,421.
  4. Jn 1:9; 1 Thess 5:5; Heb 10:32; Eph 5:8.
  5. St. Gregory Of Nazianzus, Oratio 40,3-4:PG 36,361C.
  6. Acts 2:38.
  7. Acts 2:41; 8:12-13; 10:48; 16:15.
  8. Acts 16:31-33.
  9. Rom 6:3-4; cf. Col 2:12.
  10. Gal 3:27.
  11. 1 Cor 6:11; 12:13.
  12. 1 Pet 1:23; cf. Eph 5:26.
  13. St. Augustine, In Jo. ev. 80,3:PL 35,1840.
  14. Jn 3:5.
  15. Mt 28:19-20; cf. Council of Trent (1547) DS 1618; LG 14; AG 5.
  16. Mk 16:16.
  17. Acts 2:38; Jn 3:5.
  18. Council of Florence (1439): DS 1316.
  19. Council of Trent (1546): DS 1515.
  20. 2 Tim 2:5.
  21. 2 Cor 5:17; 2 Pet 1:4; cf. Gal 4:5-7.
  22. 1 Cor 6:15; 12:27; Rom 8:17.
  23. 1 Cor 6:19.
  24. Eph 4:25.
  25. 1 Cor 12:13.
  26. 1 Pet 2:5.
  27. 1 Pet 2:9.
  28. 1 Cor 6:19; 2 Cor 5:15.
  29. Heb 13:17.
  30. Eph 5:21; 1 Cor 16:15-16; 1 Thess 5:12-13; Jn 13:12-15.
  31. Rom 8:29; Council of Trent (1547): DS 1609-1619.
  32. St. Augustine, Ep. 98,5:PL 33,362; Eph 4:30; cf. 1:13-14; 2 Cor 1:21-22.
  33. St. Irenaeus, Dem ap. 3:SCh 62,32.
  34. Roman Missal, EP I (Roman Canon) 97.
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