Pope Francis on Better to be an Atheist

Recently it has been widely reported that Pope Francis said, “it is better to be an atheist than a hypocritical Catholic.” The actual quote, while similar, is not that – AND – he’s actually stating that OTHER PEOPLE say that when confronted with hypocritical or fake Catholics!  Here’s the actual quote, in context:

“But what is scandal? Scandal is saying one thing and doing another; it is a double life, a double life. A totally double life: “I am very Catholic, I always go to Mass, I belong to this association and that one; but my life is not Christian, I don’t pay my workers a just wage, I exploit people, I am dirty in my business, I launder money…’ A double life. And so many Christians are like this, and these people scandalize others.

“How many times have we heard – all of us, around the neighborhood and elsewhere – ‘but to be a Catholic like that, it’s better to be an atheist.’ It is that, scandal. You destroy. You beat down. And this happens every day, it’s enough to see the news on TV, or to read the papers. In the papers there are so many scandals, and there is also the great publicity of the scandals. And with the scandals, there is destruction.” (Vatican Radio, qtd on churchpop.com)

So, while he does not disagree with the sentiment, he didn’t say those words as from himself – but that is what others think and/or say when they see hypocritical / fake Catholics. He is also saying that those hypocritical Catholics are causing scandal. So while not saying those words himself – he is highly critical of those who profess the Catholic Faith but don’t LIVE the Catholic Faith.

2 Peter 2:21 says: For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them.

Jesus also said, in Matthew 7:21 – “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.”

Note, just SAYING you’re a Catholic is not enough!  You must DO the will of the Father to enter into Heaven.


Source:
churchpop.com, retrieved 2/28/2016 from: https://churchpop.com/2017/02/23/no-pope-francis-did-not-say-its-better-to-be-an-atheist-than-a-bad-catholic/

Posted in Atheism, Pope Francis, scandal, SMW | Leave a comment

Pope on Super Bowl LI

Well, some are critical of Pope Francis’ address to Super Bowl LI and while some of their reasoning is justified, and while I don’t agree with the manner in which this pope speaks some of the time – I find it a bit scandalous for “faithful Catholics” to be making their dissatisfaction public over what he didn’t say or could have said.

Could he have addressed sex trafficking which allegedly hits a high on the night of the Super Bowl? Could he have specifically mentioned “Jesus” in his talk? Could he have talked about the dubia or other matters of concern for the faithful? Sure, but in this 50 second vlog he chose to focus upon the symbolism of coming together in solidarity and peace. He spoke of sacrifices to be made. He spoke of putting others before ourselves. Could I find fault with Pope Francis’ message? If I chose to, yes. Could I find positives with his message? Yes, and that is what I chose to do.

The Super Bowl is an opportunity for us to come together and discuss things civilly and perhaps discuss the morality – or lack thereof – in the commercials and the halftime show. 

Posted in Pope Francis, SMW | 2 Comments

They Were Warned

It must be recognized that the errors of Luther began before he nailed the 95 Theses to the door of the Catholic Church in Wittenberg, but it is that date, October 31, 1517 which is remembered by Protestants as the birth of Protestantism.

The Lord, our God desires that we be one, just as He and the Father are One. Luther’s act set into motion a schism which continues to divide the Church to this day – AGAINST the Will of God!

John 17:22 – Jesus said: “And the glory which thou hast given me, I have given to them; that they may be one, as we also are one.”

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Sola Scriptura Revisited

http://effectualgrace.com/2016/10/10/sola-scriptura-five-part-series/ (presentation of a 5 part series by James White posted by John Samson).

SW: In listening to White’s recent presentation he does cover many things we’ve already discussed here on the CathApol Blog – and he freely admits, much of this ground is already covered.  The topic he believes no Catholic apologist has ever defended is the nature of Sacred Tradition.  Karlo Brousard, the apologist White is answering to in the above linked series, says, according to White, that there is a difference in the nature between Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. Well really, is there?

SW: White likes to point out what sola scriptura is, and more importantly what it is not. He claims that many Protestant apologists get stuck because they attempt to defend something which sola scriptura is not – in other words, a Straw Man. White believes that many a time the non-Catholic apologist allows the Catholic apologist to define what sola scriptura is and they end up debating that instead of what sola scriptura actually is. He lists examples like, “sola scriptura contains all truth, so when we see truth outside of Scripture – sola scriptura is proven false;” and then states, “since Scripture does not tell us the color of St. Matthew’s eyes or the menu they had in April of the second year of Jesus’ ministry, Scripture is lacking and thus we need Sacred Tradition to fill in the gaps” (I’m paraphrasing a bit there). The problem I have with these statements is that I have NEVER heard or seen a Catholic apologist use those arguments! I’ve seen White throw them out before as to belittle the Catholic position – but I have never seen said arguments. Now I’m not saying said arguments have never been made – and I would agree with White that many Protestant apologists really don’t know what sola scriptura means – which is understandable. There are several variations on the definition of sola scriptura, they even debate among themselves the difference between “sola” and “solo” scriptura!  (Linguistically speaking, the only difference in those Latin words is one is masculine and the other feminine and since “scriptura” is feminine, the “proper” phrase is “sola scriptura” so “solo scriptura” is not only contrary to Scripture, it is contrary to Latin grammar).  That some or even many apologists are confused is not incomprehensible. This is why, in the course of my debates (several have been with White in the past) I don’t use other people’s definitions – I use White’s definition. White’s definition is “sola scriptura is the teaching that Scripture alone is the sole infallible rule of faith for the church.” He bases that statement on the nature of sola scriptura – that it is “God breathed” (in Greek, “theopneustos”) and since nothing else is “God breathed,” that Scripture, and Scripture alone, holds the highest spot in authority and teaching for the church. I believe I am accurately representing White here.

SW: Let’s take a page from White’s book(s) and define Sacred Tradition as to what it is and more importantly, what it is not. Let’s start with what it is not.  Sacred Tradition is not expressed in every personal opinion of popes and/or Church councils whether ecumenical or non-ecumenical. White brings out the fact that there is no dogmatic decree on the Canon of Sacred Scripture until the 16th century at the Council of Trent. I agree with him on this point. Then he goes on to point out that though the non-ecumenical councils of Rome, Carthage and Hippo, late in the 4th century, named the Canon, that there were even popes after 382 AD which disagreed with the inclusion of “the apocrypha” (not really the best term here, and White knows this – the more proper/accurate term is “deuterocanonical”).  382 was the year St. Jerome was commissioned to translate the ancient texts into the Vulgate, but it wasn’t completed until 405 AD. This is significant because the Council of Trent refers to Jerome’s Vulgate as “the” Canon.

SW: What then IS the nature Sacred Tradition?  Sacred Tradition is the oral teachings of Jesus Christ to the Apostles. It is that which has been believed and taught from the beginning, but was not necessarily written down until there became a need for it to be formally defined. A prime example of this is the Blessed Trinity. You will not find the word “trinity” in Scripture and the closest you will find it being scripturally expressed is in 1 John 5:7-8, which while theologically sound and accurate, is also known as the Johannine Comma and is believed to be a later addition to the text as “the comma” is not found in the earliest of the manuscripts we have of 1 John. The fact is, the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity was not dogmatically defined until the Nicean Council about 300 years after Jesus and the Apostles walked the earth. Several heresies arose in those first 300 years, some denying the Trinity AND using Scripture to support their denials (Arianism being among the greatest of these heresies). Ultimately it would be the sacred authority of the Catholic Church along WITH Scripture which defined the Blessed Trinity and not Scripture Alone. The point is, when it was defined the Church stood on what was the teaching of Jesus and the Apostles, and guided by the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete, she defined the Blessed Trinity to end the debate/argument among faithful Christians.

https://apologeticsandagape.wordpress.com/2016/11/08/sola-scriptura-series-by-dr-white/ (Ken Temple summary of White’s series)

Ken Temple’s (KT) additional comments (in purple):

There are a few points that I would have added into the already excellent material.
(1) Dr. White made an excellent point about 2 Thessalonians 2:15, that the verb, “you were taught” is past tense, so it cannot include things like the (2) Bodily Assumption of Mary (1950) or (3) the Immaculate Conception of Mary ( 1854) or (4) the infallibility of the Pope ( 1870) nor certain dogmatic decrees of the Council of Trent (1545-1563) – the ones against Protestantism and justification by faith alone.  I would add (5) also Purgatory, which all the elements of it only came together after Gregory the first, bishop of Rome from 590-640 AD.   (6) He made a good point that John Henry Cardinal Newman knew this, that is why he had to come up with his “development of doctrine” theory of the Roman Catholic Church.

SW: Let’s take a look at Mr. Temple’s points.

  1. That 2 Thes. 2:15 uses a past tense verb is not troublesome to the Catholic apologetic.  First off, just because something wasn’t in writing at the time does not mean it was not taught and/or believed.
  2. In 51-52 AD the Blessed Mother may not have finished the course of her life on earth. From “Scripture Alone” we cannot say for sure when her passing was – but I’m certain no Protestant believes she did not pass.
  3. The Immaculate Conception is deduced from Scripture, especially the point of her being named “Full of Grace.”  Yes, Protestants argue that the title does not necessarily equate to the Immaculate Conception – but their arguments do not negate the scriptural basis of Catholic teaching. 
  4. We must not forget that Scripture also records that both St. Peter alone and the council of bishops (the Apostles being our first bishops) were granted the authority to bind or loose whatsoever they chose to – and said binding not only was bound on Earth, but also in Heaven. Therefore, the infallibility of the Pope (St. Peter’s successor) and the Council of Trent (an ecumenical council of bishops) can be validly argued to have infallible authority – are based in Scripture.
  5. Likewise, there are several scriptural references which support the doctrine of Purgatory.
  6. That doctrine developed cannot be validly equated to the doctrine/teaching not previously existing.  The fact that definitions of doctrine became necessary at various times throughout Christian history is not an argument against the doctrines already existing – in fact, the definitions simply define pre-existing teachings so that the faithful can have certainty in these teachings.  To paraphrase St. Augustine, after Rome has (infallibly) spoken, the cause (for argument) has ended.  (Sermon 131).

KT continues:

KT: 1. I would add something about the early date of 1 Thessalonians, and 2 Thessalonians 2:15 (51-52 AD) and so the oral traditions include things written earlier in Galatians (49-50 AD), and 
2.. also, it seems certain that the oral traditions that Paul is saying are binding there in 2 Thessalonians 2:15, were all later written out in the rest of the NT books – Romans, Ephesians, 1-2 Corinthians, Colossians, Philippians, John, Acts, Luke, (even by other authors in Hebrews, Matthew, John, Mark, Peter, James and Jude – “the faith once for all delivered to the saints”, (Jude 3), etc.

SW: There is nothing in any of those (later) books which states all oral traditions were included in them!  Mr. Temple’s eisegesis is clearly pointed out in this fact. Since he is slinging verses, how about considering 3 John “13 I have much to write you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. 14 I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.”  St. John, the Apostle who wrote much, did NOT what to put everything in writing! He wanted to wait until he could speak to them, face to face – orally.  Mr. Temple’s use of Jude 3 has nothing to do with sola scriptura as Jude is referring to a specific situation of those who have turned against the Lord and are infiltrating the faithful to try and get them to turn away also (so much for once saved, always saved too, but that’s a whole different topic) and certainly Temple is not implying that the tiny book of Jude contains ALL which is necessary to be taught and learned for salvation! Is he? Also, that Galations might include things “spoken” of in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 does not say there were not other things passed on by word of mouth and NOT written, such as our example from 3 John 13-14, a much later epistle.
Let us continue…

KT:  Acts 15:19 – the apostle James, the half-brother of Jesus, says, “I judge” – Dr. White made a great point:  “but James, don’t you know “the Vicar of Christ” is seated here right next to you?” The fact that Peter was right there with him, shows there was no such thing as a Pope; and Peter was not the “first Pope.”

SW:  St. James was the Bishop of Jerusalem, I don’t think even our Protestant detractors deny this fact, and as such – he was “responsible” for the Council of Jerusalem, regardless of the fact that the “Vicar of Christ” (a title which comes later) is sitting there with him.  The fact of the matter is that it was St. Peter who stood up and ended the debate!  St. James “judgment” is simply affirmation of what St. Peter already declared!

KT:  3.  also, I would point out that 2 Tim. 3:16-17 is expanding “the sacred Scriptures” of v. 15 from OT to all Scripture; even NT books written later.

SW: I, for one, do not deny the sufficiency or profitablility of Scripture – which is spoken of in 2 Tim. 3:16-17, but sufficiency is not the point of the debate – “sola” is!  That Jim-Bob’s Bike Shop can sufficiently supply the cyclist with everything he needs doesn’t mean that Billy-Bob’s Bike Shop cannot do just as good a job supplying the cyclist.  A claim of sufficiency (satis scriptura) or profitability does not validly answer the challenge the adherent to sola scriptura is presented with.

KT:  4.  Paul already put Gospels on same level as Torah in 1 Timothy 5:18. “Paul is enlarging on the previous reference . . especially by his use of πασα.”  (πασα = pasa = “all”) George Knight, Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles, p. 448

SW: This is a non-argument in the sola scriptura debate – I am not aware of any Christian who does not put the Gospels on the same level as the Torah. The bigger point here is not just the Gospels, which among Christians were widely accepted as Scripture, but also the Epistles which were also accepted as Scripture – as well as some of the other books which were included in early canons of Scripture, but ultimately rejected as such in the late 4th century (and they are still good reading, just not “on the same level as Torah”).

SW: In summary, the best that White, Samson and Temple can come up with is an argument for satis scriptura – which Catholics do not deny! What we, Catholics, do deny is sola scriptura – and what’s more is, Scripture itself does not teach sola scriptura! That said, in light of the fact that Scripture itself teaches us that Scripture is NOT the sole infallible rule of faith for the Church in Matthew 16:18-19 and Matthew 18:18, we have “the other pen” (also an argument White likes to make) so Scripture certainly is NOT alone so far as infallibility is concerned.


Thus, when a pope speaks ex cathedra (defining something to be part of Sacred Tradition) or an ecumenical council infallibly defines a teaching, this puts Sacred Tradition, not above or below Sacred Scripture, but equal to Sacred Scripture as both are infallible. White can no longer claim that no Catholic apologist has or will defend the nature of Sacred Tradition (and I am not the first to do this).

In JMJ,
Scott Windsor<<<

Posted in James White, John Samson, satis scriptura, sola scriptura, The Other Pen | Leave a comment

What Does Baptism Do

What does baptism do?  We know through Scripture that baptism makes us members of the Body of Christ.   For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.” (1 Cor 12:13)

Baptism brings us in communion with each other by becoming members of the One Body of Christ.

For all of you who were baptized into Christhave clothed yourselves with Christ.

(Gal 3:27)

We are brought into the Body of Christ, the Church.

And he is the head of the body, the church(Col 1:18)

and,

And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (Eph 1:22-23)

Since we are baptized into the one body of Christ and we now know that Christ’s Body is the Church means that baptism brings us into the Church.  And this is why there is no salvation outside the Church because there is no salvation outside of Christ.

Baptism is the New Covenant fulfillment of the Old Covenant symbol of circumcision.  As the Hebrews circumcised those for entrance into God’s Covenant with Israel, so too does the New Covenant fulfillment of circumcision bring entrance into the New Covenant of God to His Church through baptism.

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. (Col2:11-12)

If eight-day old children could enter the Old Covenant through circumcision via the faith of their parents how much more so can infants become adopted children of God through the New Covenant circumcision, baptism?  The New Covenant is much more inclusive than the Old seeing as the New can include the gentiles as opposed to those of the line of Abraham.

We have seen that baptism fulfills the Old Covenant practice of circumcision (Col2:11-12).  Baptism was prophesied by Ezekiel to bring graces through the sprinkling of water (Ez 36:25-27) and washes away sins (Ez 36:26; Acts 2:38). 

What else is baptism for?  Well, is baptism necessary for salvation?  The answer, very plainly is YES.  …eight in all, were saved through water.  This prefigured baptism, which saves you now.” (1 Pet 3:20-21).  Pretty simple.  As plain as it can get.  Jesus taught this also in the Gospel of John

Jesus answered and said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born again.” Nicodemus doesn’t understand and so Jesus repeats himself, He says “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.

One is born again through baptism, and that through baptism one can enter the kingdom of God, the Church…

And so we see that baptism brings Graces from God (Acts 2:38), washes away sins (Acts 2:38), we enter into a covenant with God through baptism (Col2:11-12), we become Christians through baptism (1 Cor 12:13) by becoming members of the Church as through a door (Eph 4:4).  And baptism is instituted by Jesus Christ when He sent out the disciples to “Make disciples of all nations, baptizingthem in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Mat 28:19)

Please take the time to read what the Early Church believed about baptism and you’ll find a unanimous consensus on baptismal regeneration and the acceptance of infant baptism. 

God Bless
Nathan

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Slogan Salvation

All to often we hear statements from our challengers which are more like slogans. Slogans are fine to get one to think about the deeper message of the slogan – but all too often we find in apologetics, especially among Protestants, they seem to embrace the slogan itself and not go any further.  Let’s examine The Five Solas, which are embraced by nearly all of Protestantism.  Not only embraced, but these are foundational to most Protestants, some saying that if fault can be found in even one of these – that they should return to Catholicism.  Hmmm.  Consider as well, these terms are in Latin, the official language of the Catholic Church (yes, it still is) yet these terms are virtually, if not wholly, unheard of in the first 1500 years of Christendom!  One would THINK if they are so foundational that the Church Fathers, especially the Latin Church Fathers, would have not only spoken of these terms, they would have spoken IN those terms – and they simply do not.

Slogan 1:  Sola Fide
The anti-scriptural concept of Faith Alone.  Whoa!  What am I talking about?  Protestants will argue that St. Paul teaches this throughout his epistles, but what they don’t realize is that in virtually every case, St. Paul is contrasting faith with “works of the law” and clarifying that works of the law cannot save you but it is faith in our Lord Jesus Christ which saves.  What they tend not to look into – or ignore if they’ve encountered Catholic apologists – is the fact that St. Paul is not preaching Faith Alone for as St. James teaches “faith without works is dead.”  Can a dead faith save anyone?  No!  Faith, if it is saving faith, is never alone!  Another interesting point here, again ignored by most Protestants, is that the ONLY place the words “faith” and “alone” are used together in Scripture is in flat out denial of the 16th century invention of sola fide.  All “Bible believing Christians” ought to flee from any group or leader who professes the lie of sola fide.

One of my criticisms in this article is that most Protestants don’t go beyond the slogan to see what it really means however, not all do that.  Some do examine these to seek out deeper meaning.  Ironically, especially with sola fide, we find the rationalizations end up in double-speak (rendering the argument contradictory and useless).  For example, while greatly respected in most Protestant circles, Dr. R.C. Sproul examines sola fide and comes to the conclusion that “we are saved by faith alone, but not a faith which is alone.”  So which is it, Dr. Sproul?  Is it alone or is it not alone?  The term sola fide states it is alone, so to contradict that, regardless of the rationalizations, makes sola fide invalid if it is “a faith which is not alone.”

Slogan 2: Sola Gratia
OK, well this one is not anti-scriptural as sola fide is, but what does it mean?  Sola gratia means “by grace alone,” and in concept – that is a true statement for Catholics as well.  It IS by His Grace that we are saved, and none can be saved outside His Grace.  Does this mean we do not DO anything in the economy of salvation?  Well, unless you’re an adherent to an extremist interpretation of predestination (typically among Calvinists) which is represented by the “U” in TULIP (Unconditional grace or election), you would reject the view of having to do nothing.  Even the ACT of ACCEPTING the grace is an ACT of DOING something. Therein lies the chief separation between most of Christendom and the Calvinists. While Catholics would accept that the grace is limited in who would receive it, the grace is not limited as to who COULD receive it.  “For God so loved the world…” not just part of the world, but the whole world… “He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall be saved.” (John 3:16). Note, the CHOICE to believe is left to man.  The passage does not say, “that whosoever God has chosen to believe in Him…” it states “whosoever,” so that this GIFT is freely given to any and ALL who may accept it, or reject it.  Back to the point here though, Catholics do not reject a proper understanding of sola gratia.

Slogan 3: Sola Christus
This is a statement that we are saved by (Jesus) Christ alone.  Again, this is not a statement or slogan which Catholics disagree with!  It is purely or solely through Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross, and more importantly His Resurrection on the Third Day, by which all of mankind was redeemed.  Jesus Christ paid the price in full, our redemption is made!  All we must DO is ACCEPT the FREE GIFT which He has given to the world. Those who reject this GIFT are rejecting their salvation.

Slogan 4: Sola Deo Gloria
Translation, “Glory to God alone.”  In Catholicism the honor we reserve to God alone is called “latria.” It is wrong to give latria to anyone besides God Himself. Now does this mean we are not to give honor (glory) to anyone else?  Do we not “honor” those whom we consider “heroes” who have given their life for others, or risked their life to save another?  The use of titles, like “doctor” or “teacher” or “professor” or “rabbi” are forms of glory/honor we freely give to others.  This slogan is hypocritically used by ignorant Protestants who do not consider other forms of honor/glory which even they give to others stemming from a lack of understanding of the Catholic differentiation between latria and dulia (which is honor given to those who are not God).  So, while Catholics would not wholly reject sola deo gloria, if we’re going to use Latin, the more accurate slogan would be “sola deo latria.”

Slogan 5: Sola Scriptura
And we come to the fifth of the Five Solas, and another anti-scriptural slogan.  Whether you accept the broader “If it’s not in Scripture, we don’t have to believe it” position or the more precise, “Scripture alone is the sole infallible word of God,” the fact is neither can be found in Scripture!  So if the former, since it is not found in Scripture, you don’t have to believe it! If the latter, since it is not found in Scripture – THIS slogan is not infallible.  The root of this teaching stems from those who left the authority laid down by Jesus Christ who selected The Twelve and further commanded that they go out and do as He did.  The Twelve, our first bishops, did as He commanded and went out and selected others to serve and guide His Church.  Then comes the revolt of the 16th century and these new leaders, having rejected the authority Jesus Christ established, created a “different gospel,” to fill the void they created. And, to make it clear that they would not yield to Christ’s authority, they invent this slogan that only Scripture is infallible.

Now, if this were simply not found in Scripture that would not make it “anti-scriptural,” as I have earlier labelled it, so what makes this slogan anti-scriptural?  If Scripture is truly the sole infallible source for the Church – then Scripture should not be telling us of ANOTHER infallible source – yet it does! I am reminded of my discussions/debates with Dr. (oh, that intolerable use of glory, honor, title again) James White who made the challenge for us to show him “the other pen.”  Well, having done this many times before, let us do so again.  That “other pen” is revealed no less than two times in Scripture wherein a single man, Peter is given this infallible authority and later the whole council of the Apostles are given this same infallible authority.  Of course I speak of Matthew 16:18-19 and Matthew 18:18.  Unless you are conceding that error (something fallible) can be bound in Heaven, then you must concede that these men were given infallible authority AND said authority is recorded IN Scripture – thus “Scripture alone” is not the “sole infallible source of authority for His Church.”  Therefore sola scriptura is a lie and is anti-scriptural, for Scripture itself opposes it!

In Conclusion
As I originally stated, the use of slogans is not necessarily a bad thing – but limiting ones apologetic to “slogan salvation” is.  What do those slogans actually entail?  Is faith ever REALLY alone if it is a “saving faith?”  What do we MEAN by Grace Alone?  Can we really rationalize our way around a lie like sola scriptura?  If you’re going to use slogans, can you REALLY defend your use of them, or do you just fall back on the slogan, over and over again?  I believe a fuller examination of any of these slogans will bring you to the truth of the Catholic Faith, if not right away – someday, if you’re being honest with yourself.

AMDG,
Scott Windsor<<<

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Infant Baptism

Is Baptism Something for Infants?
It is indeed fitting that this article follows the previous one posted on January 1st, the Feast of the Circumcision of our Lord.  Why?  Because baptism has replaced circumcision in the New Covenant!  St. Paul makes it clear that baptism is the “circumcision of Christ.”  
In whom also you are circumcised with circumcision not made by hand, in despoiling of the body of the flesh, but in the circumcision of Christ:  Buried with him in baptism, in whom also you are risen again by the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him up from the dead.” Col. 2:11-12
According to Jewish Law (Genesis 17:10-14 and Leviticus 12:3) states that circumcision is to take place on the eighth day after the male child is born.  This was a sign of the keeping of God’s Covenant with His People. No one would argue that a child of 8 days old is not an infant – thus this “sign” was made upon an infant who made no choice in the matter – it was a decision by his parents.  Likewise, baptism, being “the circumcision of Christ” is a decision made by Christian parents for their children (and no longer just a sign among male children, baptism is for male and female alike).
Note as well, is the act of faith an operation of the person being baptized, or is it “the operation of God?”  St. Paul makes it clear, the operation is that of God!  With that in mind, does it matter if the person being baptized decided to be baptized or not? Is God less empowered to act/operate if the person being baptized is an infant?  Certainly not!
Believers Baptism?
Some will try to argue that the only baptism spoken of in Scripture is that of a “believers baptism,” that is – one has accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and THEN are baptized. Other wording may include that baptism is only for the regenerated (born again).  Certainly there are examples of this in Scripture but along with the above evidence that baptism replaces circumcision as the covenant sign of the New Covenant, we also have at least three examples of “entire households” being baptized.  (Acts 16:15, Acts 16:33 and 1 Cor. 1:16).  In none of these examples are the children or infants excluded. We could challenge those who accept only this “believers baptism” of the “regenerated” with a question of how many in their church/community are unregenerated?  What happens to children who have not been baptized and die before receiving baptism?  If only the regenerated can receive baptism – are all those children lost and damned to hell forever?
All Were Baptized in Moses
St. Paul tells us clearly that ALL the People of Israel were baptized in the cloud and in the sea.  The reference clearly being the crossing of the Red Sea wherein the whole people, from the aged to the infant, were, in St. Paul’s wording “baptized.”  (1 Corinthians 10:1-2).
Can Parents/Sponsors Speak For Children?
Scripture teaches us that a believing wife sanctifies (makes holy) her unbelieving husband, and likewise a believing husband sanctifies an unbelieving wife.  Not only that, through this the children are also made holy! 

For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the believing wife; and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the believing husband: otherwise your children should be unclean; but now they are holy. 1 Corinthians 7:14 DRB

If even an unbelieving spouse can be made holy AND thereby the children are made holy by the believing spouse – then certainly the parents can represent their children at baptism – just as they did under the Old Covenant in circumcision.
St. Cyprian (c. 250 AD), in answer to those who were opposing infant baptism even at this early date writes:
But in respect of the case of the infants, which you say ought not to be baptized within the second or third day after their birth, and that the law of ancient circumcision should be regarded, so that you think that one who is just born should not be baptized and sanctified within the eighth day, we all thought very differently in our council. (Epistle 58.2)
In fact, this whole letter is written in favor of infant baptism.  Read it here:   http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/050658.htm
In Conclusion
The relationship between circumcision and baptism is made clear in Scripture.  Baptism is the circumcision of Christ.  The Law of the Old Covenant was that circumcision was to be performed on infants who were 8 days old.  There is nothing indicating that this practice should change in the New Covenant with baptism.  Baptism makes clean the recipient, not cleansed from dirt – but cleansed from the stain of the sin of Adam – which we are all born into. (1 Peter 3:21).  It is not the water which cleanses, that’s just the sign, rather it is God who does the work – or “operates” in baptism.  Clearly also in Matthew 19:14 we are not to suffer the little children from coming to Him, and forbid them not.  Those who would argue against infant baptism are forbidding the little ones from coming to Him.
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