Saturday, April 3, 2010

Baptism

So not this weekend (because it's Easter) but next weekend the baby is getting baptized. This makes me think about the controversy surrounding infant baptism. My hubby has been baptized twice as a result of this. He was first baptized as a Catholic infant and then later as a teenager in the Baptist church. In the Catholic church, we recognize all baptism except those by Jehovah's witnesses and Mormons because they don't baptize in the trinity.

From what I understand in some Protestant churches you can have your infants baptized. Like Episcopalians baptize their children. Other Protestant's don't which adds to the confusing questions of "Are you saved?" "How long have you been saved?" and "Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?" or alternatively "Have you accepted Jesus into your heart?" When I answer that I have been saved and give the date as one month after my birth, people give me a double take. Then I explain that I am Catholic as was baptized as an infant.

Then the controversy ensues. "Catholics aren't saved if they are baptized as infants. How can infants accept Jesus? They don't understand." This angers me because I don't remember a time in my life when I didn't know Jesus. And although infants are learning, they know more than we give them credit for. My son is 2 months and he knows the difference between Mom and Dad. I do believe that infants know who God is.

And what's worse to me is that people have to be baptized twice because infant baptism isn't recognized. So a person who grew up knowing Jesus converts and has to then accept Jesus and be "born again" for the second time. It doesn't make sense to me.

I don't understand why babies can't know Jesus. And I don't understand why babies are denied God's grace. I guess that I just don't understand. It's Easter; it just seems wrong.

6 comments:

  1. I believe God accepts those that are baptized when infants. Jesus says in the Bible "if all will come to me like little children" and "having faith like a child". Children don't over analyze God and what Jesus came to do for us. however certain religions do put emphasis on being baptized or "born again" because (since I am a Baptist) we believe it is a symbol to all the world that we have openly accepted Jesus as our Savior and repented of our sins and turned away from our old life of sin. When we are baptized no matter what religion, it's just water. Plain water. Nothing special. but I do believe it is important when older to admit that we are sinners and believe that Jesus came to die for the world's sin and confess before God and others that without God's grace we would be nothing. It's really a whole gray area for me in a way. If you are baptized as an infant, that doesn't mean that you will accept Jesus as your Savior later on. Lots of parents have their children "sprinkled" or baptized as babies, yet never step foot in a church again. Just my opinion, but I do believe that there comes a time when one should be "born again" and ask for TRUE repentance. And nothing against Catholics at all, some of of my closest friends and coworkers (including my boss) are Catholic. But, I've never understood why one must confess to a priest. That is why Jesus came. The veil of the temple was torn when Jesus died, therefore we were then allowed to go straight to The Source and ask for forgiveness. Just my opinion.

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  2. Yeah it makes no sense to me either (the not recognizing infant Baptism). Esp when you look at the history. There's evidence of it being done from the very beginning. And the Bible says whole families were Baptized, not just "the adults". Eh..

    Hope all goes well next week. Is funny, the Baptisms are something I look forward to from the beginning of pregnancy (or before).

    As for the comment above (about infants not necessarily sticking with it) - the same can be said of adults. I know several people who were Baptized in various denominations as adults and have completely wandered away. It happens. Sad, but still. Just saying/doing something once doesn't equal a free ticket, its the beginning of a journey. I'll step off my soapbox though ;-) (and I mean no offense by my statements either btw... I have a lot of Baptists, among others, in my family & close friends).

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  3. Agreed. A lot of people get baptized at various times in there lives and then walk away.

    As far as confession, it's our Biblical interpretation of James 5:16.

    "Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful."

    Some denominations have altar calls. We just confess our sins to a righteous priest. We don't believe that the priest "saves" us like Jesus did. We just believe that he acts as a voice for Jesus when he says that we are forgiven.

    As for penance, it's really just praying or if you stole something to give it back (or make peace with the person etc). It's not that we do something to be forgiven; it's just setting things straight. I think any pastor would tell his congregant to pray to God and to return the stolen item.

    Bottom line, all Catholics still have to ask for forgiveness from God. And we still have to receive forgiveness directly from God. The priest is just our righteous confessor.

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  4. Very well put.. I usually compare (or used to in college lol) it to a counselor. Some people pay a lot of money to get stuff out. We have confession. A little more complex than that, but still...

    And while I have "heard of" some odd penances, I've never personally gotten one that didn't have something to do with what I was confessing like you explained. Seen a lot of priests (moved a lot) and it always includes praying about it & doing something about it. Plus (you kind of touched on this) during confession there's a point where we pray with the priest to God asking for forgiveness.

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  5. Regardless of religion, I believe and KNOW that God knows our hearts. Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Penecostal,ect. we all serve the same God, we just serve in different ways. In the end, all that matters is where our hearts are. Only God knows that.

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  6. That's true. What's in your heart matters. Some people go to confession without really feeling remorseful. Usually it's because they are made to do so.

    I always feel better and closer to God after confession. It's healing, but I know that a lot of Catholics feel like it's a punishment because of some bad priests. I suppose that's where confession gets a bad rep.

    It's considered to be healing not a punishment. God doesn't want to hurt us; he wants to heal us.

    And I've always believed in being Ecumenical which is why I get so angry that as a child I was told that I was not a Christian. It was hurtful and false. But I've moved past that. Many of my closest friends are not Catholic and my MOPS group meets at a Baptist church. People there know that I'm Catholic and it doesn't matter. And truth be told in college the Parish I went to was so very cold. So I started going to the Presbyterian church across the street. I knew the pastor and he didn't care that there was a Catholic sitting there during the service.

    It's not really about your denomination. It's about worshiping God.

    But don't get me wrong. I like being Catholic. It's where I feel most at home. That's why my mom converted (she was Methodist). She said being in a Catholic church was like coming home.

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