15 August, 2009

Discussion with Ernie about Baptism, the use of sacramentals and exorcism.

(Ernie) I see you have taken my answers and teisted the meaning of what I said, much like the Pharisees and Saducees did to Jesus.

(Cristoiglesia) No, I simply responded to what you stated. I made no attempt to twist anything you said. Perhaps you could give an example of those twisting of your statements.

Ernie) Ok, answer me this; does the Catholic church baptize babies? The Church does not recognize this, because Jesus is our example of baptism, going under the water. Plus, since baptism is an act of one's faith, it cannot be performed on a baby, because he/she doesn't know what is happening, so it cannot be an act of their faith.

(Cristoiglesia) Yes the Catholic Church has baptized infants from Pentecost onward. We see several instances in Scriptures where whole families were baptized. The example of whole families would certainly include infants. So, the Church does recognize the baptism of infants because the Church has done this from the beginning which was Pentecost. There is nowhere in Scriptures that anyone is forbidden from being baptized nor should there be since Jesus stated that baptism is necessary for salvation. Also, baptism is the circumcision of the New Covenant that brings one into the familial relationship with God.

You say that Jesus is our example by going under water but this is not biblical. You referenced the following to support your contention:

Mat 3:16 And Jesus being baptized, forthwith came out of the water: and lo, the heavens were opened to him: and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon him.

Mar 1:10 And forthwith coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens open and the Spirit as a dove descending and remaining on him.

Act 8:36 And as they went on their way, they came to a certain water. And the eunuch said: See, here is water: What doth hinder me from being baptized?

Act 8:37 And Philip said: If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. And he answering, said: I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Act 8:38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still. And they went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch. And he baptized him.

Act 8:39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord took away Philip: and the eunuch saw him no more. And he went on his way rejoicing.

Act 8:40 But Philip was found in Azotus: and passing through, he preached the gospel to all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.

Looking at the Scripture you provided we find no evidence of Jesus being baptized by immersion or anyone else. It simply says He walked out of the water after being baptized. There is nothing here that indicates that He may have been immersed.

The only place in early writings where we find any instruction on baptism is in the first century writing of the “Didache” which is also known as the “Training of the twelve”. It says to baptize in living water by immersion, pouring or aspersion. No one knows how Jesus was baptized as to the methodology because there is no biblical, historical or Patristic evidence as to how it occurred whether by immersion, pouring or aspersion.

Appealing to Scriptures and adding to them by saying that they specifically support one method of Baptism over another is adding to what the Scriptures actually say.

Now you say that baptism can only be an act of faith and I would assume that the reason you conclude this is because the only time baptism is spoken of explicitly is in relation to adult baptism but as I said before in the Bible the baptism of children is implicit in the baptism of entire families. It does point to the understanding that baptism is the new circumcision and that the act of faith is, like circumcision, done by the parents. They would have understood that being outside of God’s family and still under the influence of original sin is danger to eternal life. Especially since the teaching of Jesus is that this is necessary for eternal life.

In further analysis of your contention that baptism must follow an act of faith we must not only look at infants but also at others who have no ability to act on faith which implies that a certain level of reason and intellect unencumbered by illogical thought. Of course, we must notice here that such a restriction implies that faith comes from reason and intellect. But Jesus gave us at least one example in John 6 when speaking of the belief in His instructions to “eat His Body and drink His Blood” of the necessity of the belief that the bread and the wine are truly, actually and substantially the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord comes from the Spirit and that no amount of intellect or reason can bring us to true faith.

There is no doubt when Jesus spoke in unambiguous language that we must be baptized to be among the elect in heaven that He was not saying that only those of a certain intellect and reason could be saved. His offer of salvation is for everyone and is offered to infants, mentally impaired and mentally ill. All are included in the salvific plan as all have the law circumcised on their hearts whether they have the ability to recognize it or not. Also, infants have no actual sins to confess but benefit from baptism by removing the stain of original sin and being one in the family of God. So, infants do not have actual sin to confess but like adults with reason and intellect they do have a need for God’s salvific grace imputed by baptism.

Joh 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him: Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Joh 3:4 Nicodemus saith to him: How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born again?

Joh 3:5 Jesus answered: Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Joh 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh: and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Joh 3:7 Wonder not that I said to thee: You must be born again.

Here is additional writing of mine on the subject from elsewhere in this blog that provides more Scripture evidence:


(Ernie) There are many other inconsistencies in the Catholic belief, such as holy water and exorcism. While we are to cast out demons, it doesn't involve holy water, or some ritual. Jesus said come out of him/her, nothing more, nothing less.

(Cristoiglesia) You have already seen the use of Holy Water as a sacramental in the water of Baptism in my explanation of infant baptism. Obviously from Jesus’ perspective water is important in the cleansing of sin and as a defense of sin.

Obviously you have never seen or participated in an exorcism if you believe it is a simple act of evoking the name of Jesus and the demon responds immediately to the command. It requires fasting of the participants and also requires that they have the authority to confront the demon or demons on behalf of Jesus. A priest does all things in persona Christi which means in the delivering of the Sacraments we are the hands and the mouth of our Lord. This is one reason why validly ordained priests in apostolic succession are so important and necessary. Sometimes direct authority from Christ is necessary to provide for the faithful in the delivering of God’s grace through the Sacraments and in confronting demons.

Act 19:11 And God wrought by the hand of Paul more than common miracles.

Act 19:12 So that even there were brought from his body to the sick, handkerchiefs and aprons: and the diseases departed from them: and the wicked spirits went out of them.

Act 19:13 Now some also of the Jewish exorcists, who went about, attempted to invoke over them that had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying: I conjure you by Jesus, whom Paul preacheth.

Act 19:14 And there were certain men, seven sons of Sceva, a Jew, a chief priest, that did this.

Act 19:15 But the wicked spirit, answering, said to them: Jesus I know: and Paul I know. But who are you?

Act 19:16 And the man in whom the wicked spirit was, leaping upon them and mastering them both, prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

Obviously, according to the previous Scriptures, there is much more is involved than you thought in regards in regards to authority, preparation and methodology. Remember in the Church dwells the fullness of truth and not in the sects in protest of Christ’s Church who have left the protection of the teaching authority of the Church. The Bible teaches that not everything that Jesus taught to the apostles is contained in Scriptures. Most of the teaching of Jesus is passed down through apostolic succession and this is but one example of the errors that occur in understanding by the heretical teaching of Sola Scriptura by Protestants. As you see it can be a very serious error.

(Ernie)I do not agree that the Catholic church represents the Church, because of the many practices that do not agree with scripture.

(Cristoiglesia) If there were in fact Scriptures that are not in agreement with Catholic teaching and practice I would agree with you as would most Catholic Christians and would reject the Church for Judaism or Atheism. Because such realization would make Jesus a liar and a pretender to being the Messiah prophesied. All of the veracity of Christianity through Christ’s testimony would be destroyed. Jesus’ promises about His Church would be lies.

He said His Church was built on the foundation stones of the twelve apostles and that foundation is built upon by apostolic succession. We see this in action in the book of Acts.

He said His Church would endure for all times when He said that the “gates of hell will not prevail against His Church.”

He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane that we all be one in His Church as He and the Father are one in a plea for unity as His will.

The Bible further states that the Church is the “pillar and foundation of the Church”.

For the first 1500 years the only Church was the Church that gathered around the valid bishop in apostolic succession until the reformers decided to usurp this authority given by Christ to the apostles for their own doctrines and churches of men; in doing so, the Protestants deny Christ’s veracity in creating an enduring Church and His authority given to His Church for teaching. Outside of the Church founded by Jesus and the disciples there is no authority or assurance of veracity.

(Ernie)Please post this on your blog, and give scriptures to support your beliefs. Here are my references: Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:10, Acts 8:36-39, Matthew 8:16-17, Mark 5:8-13, and Acts 16-18.

(Cristoiglesia) Done! Thank you for you commentary and the continued opportunity to respond to your misunderstandings of Jesus’ and the disciples teaching through the Church. Anytime you need help in understanding what Jesus taught I will be pleased to help. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

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