Fathers on: Born Again of Water & Spirit


A commenter made a case for why John 3 is NOT talking about baptism. Nicodemus asks, “How can a man be born again?” and Jesus replies: “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. You can see his case for his interpretation
on my post How Was Baptism Administered in the Early Church?

You may be the judge of how well he makes his case. But the problem with it is, historically that is not how Christians understood or interpreted John 3. Since, we have seen how much division is caused by differing interpretations in Protestantism and stubborn insistence upon a certain interpretation to the point of leaving a church and starting another, I say to myself:

How did the people in the early Church interpret this passage?

That is much more likely to be the true interpretation and much closer in time to when Jesus taught. And, I also ask myself:

What Church has been in existence since Jesus founded His Church on Rock?

I have found the answer to both questions in the Catholic Church Here is what Justin who died for his faith said in 151 A.D.

“As many as are persuaded and believe that what we [Christians] teach and say is true . . . are brought by us where there is water and are regenerated in the same manner in which we were ourselves regenerated. For, in the name of God the Father . . . and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit [Matt. 28:19], they then receive the washing with water. For Christ also said, ‘Unless you are born again, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven’ [John 3:3]” (First Apology 61).

Around 190 A.D., Irenaeus, the bishop of Lyons, wrote, “And [Naaman] dipped himself . . . seven times in the Jordan’ [2 Kgs. 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 newborn 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’ [John 3:5]” (Fragment 34).

In the year 252 A.D., Cyprian, the bishop of Carthage, said that when those becoming Christians “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’ [John 3:5]” (Letters 71[72]:1).

Augustine wrote, “From the time he [Jesus] said, ‘Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven’ [John 3:5], and again, ‘He that loses his life for my sake shall find it’ [Matt. 10:39], no one becomes a member of Christ except it be either by baptism in Christ or death for Christ” (On the Soul and Its Origin 1:10 [A.D. 419]).

Augustine also taught, “It is this one Spirit who makes it possible for an infant to be regenerated . . . when that infant is brought to baptism; and it is through this one Spirit that the infant so presented is reborn. For it is not written, ‘Unless a man be born again by the will of his parents’ or ‘by the faith of those presenting him or ministering to him,’ but, ‘Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit’ [John 3:5]. The water, therefore, manifesting exteriorly the sacrament of grace, and the Spirit effecting interiorly the benefit of grace, both regenerate in one Christ that man who was generated in Adam” (Letters 98:2 [A.D. 408]).

I do not trust myself to infallibly interpret scripture. I don’t trust you either, no offense. I trust the Church founded by Jesus 2000 years ago. If I am wrong, I also trust the mercy of God. But He knows I honestly sought the truth and went where it led me….even to the Catholic Church. Have you read my conversion story? Click–>My Conversion I did NOT want to become Catholic. But, I had to follow where TRUTH led me.

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Baptism, Church Authority, Salvation, Eucharist & Mortal Sin



Bread From Heaven: Baptism without Faith will not ultimately save a person except a baby who dies without reaching the age of reason or a person baptized on their deathbed. There may be other exceptions, but generally baptism is the first step.The salvation is through the water just as Noah’s ark saved those on it as the Peter passage notes. Baptism corresponds to this.

1 Peter 3:21…and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also..

Sonja: but this is a completely different baptism than Jesus showed us.

Bread From Heaven:
But the fact is that neither Jesus nor anyone else in the NT, ever described baptism in detail so that full immersion was mandatory. While that is the general meaning of the word; the conclusion that immersion is what was done is legitimate, however, nothing explicitly precludes other methods. And the Jews had been instructed by God to pour and sprinkle the blood of the sacrifices to cleanse and consecrate. So these methods were chosen for the cleansing and consecration of baptism when full immersion was not practical. (Heb 9:13 Lev. 16:19

Leviticus 16:19 He shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times to cleanse it and to consecrate it from the uncleanness of the Israelites.

Deuteronomy 12:27 Present your burnt offerings on the altar of the LORD your God, both the meat and the blood. The blood of your sacrifices must be poured beside the altar of the LORD your God, but you may eat the meat.

2 Kings 16:15 Splash against this altar the blood of all the burnt offerings and sacrifices.

Sonja: Do you accept the church’s authority on faith alone or what is
your reason for doing so?
Bread From Heaven: That is a good question. I accept the Church’s authority because in my reading of history and theology I became convinced that the Catholic Church is the Church, Jesus founded 2000 years ago. Her beliefs were found to be as old as the Church itself. When I looked at the writings of the early Church Fathers, if they had been writing in such a way as to support Protestantism I would still be Protestant. However, uniquely Catholic doctrine existed at the dawn of the Church. Plus, the fact that no Catholic doctrine contradicts Scripture but only Protestant interpretation of Scripture. Have you read my conversion story? You can read it–> My Conversion

Sonja: As far as faith alone…

Eph.2:8,9
For by grace are ye saved through faith;and that not of yourselves:it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Bread From Heaven: I agree and the Catholic Church does not teach that we can save ourselves by works. And Eph. does not say by grace through faith alone. Martin Luther, on his own authority, added the word alone to that passage in his German translation of the Bible. But it is not there. This is a Protestant Tradition. It is contradicted by Scripture.

James 2:17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself…20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless…as a result of the works, faith was perfected;…24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. … 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

Also, if Protestant theology was correct then the demons would not shudder but be saved because they KNOW and BELIEVE in Our Lord God.

James 2:19… even the demons also believe, and shudder.

Sonja:I have already listed several verses that include belief/faith as a means for salvation, but you reject them as only “partial” truth. Many of them have no mention of baptism in them at all as the one above.

Bread From Heaven: True. You can find many different things linked to salvation/eternal life but not all of them are ever in one scripture. This is precisely why the Catholic Church does not teach that salvation is by ______alone. But the other reason is that the Bible is NOT a book of systematic theology. In order to understand, one must take it as a whole in order to be “in context”. To say we are saved by faith alone is taking the verse out of context b/c James 2 contradicts that idea. But since we accept scripture does not really contradict itself we need to find an understanding that makes sense out of both of those scriptures and many others. Some of the things scripture links with salvation/eternal life/heaven etc.

Faith
Eph 2

Good Works-

James 2 Faith without works is dead.
Ephesians 2:10For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared
in advance for us to do.
Romans 2:6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

LOVE

I John 4: 7 Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 12 …if we love one another, God lives in us

Matthew 5:44-46 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven.
1 Corinthians 13
1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body [a]to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

Keeping the Commandments

John 15 .. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. .. bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. … 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

Can one be saved without abiding in Jesus? Then one MUST keep His commandments.


I John5:3
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

Can we be saved without loving God? How can we love God? By keeping His commandments.

John 14:1515 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
John 14:23
23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.

John 15:12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you… 14 You are My friends if you do what I command you. … 17 This I command you, that you love one another.

Titus 1:16
They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.

Endurance to the End


Hebrews 10:35-39

35 Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive [a]what was promised.
37 FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE,
HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY.
38 BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH;
AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM.
39 But [b]we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the [c]preserving of the soul.
I could go on and on but I think I have shown that FAITH as Ephesians speaks about it must be a multifaceted entity that encompasses all of the above and more.

Luke 21:19
By your endurance you will gain your lives.

Revelation 2:7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’

Revelation 2:11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.’

Revelation 2:17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’

Revelation 2:26 He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS;

Revelation 3:5 He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

Revelation 3:12
He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.

Sonja: I did read the baptism selection. It mentioned that communion was to sanctify.
This is different than saying the physical bread gives us eternal life. Which do
you believe?

Bread From Heaven: I believe both b/c Jesus said we must eat His Flesh and drink His blood in order to have Eternal Life. But it is not about taking communion one time for salvation. Ongoing communion cleanses and strengthens our souls to stay the course until death and end our lives in friendship with God. So, it is not an either/or but both/and.

Sonja: Do believe that one is subject to damnation until they partake of
communion?

Bread From Heaven:That is for God to decide. The Catholic Church NEVER pronounces who is damned. That is the domain of Our Lord. He is able to save in any way He wishes. But He has given us the sacraments and commandments to guide our souls to Eternal Life with Him. It is the sin of presumption to reason that “just b/c God can save a soul who does not conform to this or that, that therefore I am free to disregard all of these gifts and commands He has given us through the Church. Therefore, based on the teaching of Jesus and His apostles the Church teaches the way of Eternal Life and bestows sacramental graces upon the Faithful to keep their souls in Him.

Sonja:Cause if you take that passage literally that is what you must
accept. I don’t see another way of seeing it.

Bread From Heaven: This is the Problem. You are INTERPRETING the passage. The passage does not say that all who do not eat and drink are damned. I understand why you think this is a logical conclusion. But God’s ways are above our ways.

Sonja: Again you put your faith in the priests that bless the bread (mere humans) to put Jesus into the bread.

Bread From Heaven:No I trust the words of Our Lord and His power to work this miracle for the faithful even through a sinful priest. This the Church has always believed. To see some quotes from the first century A.D. —>Early Church Beliefs in the Eucharist

Sonja: As far as grape juice and wine, you are wrong about our reason for staying with
grape juice, although there are many protestants that believe alcohol is sinful.
The Bible never differentiates between the fruit of the vine that is fresh
(unfermented wine or grape juice) and fermented wine. They both have the same
name. (For example in proverbs when it says Look not upon the wine when it is
red.) We don’t ferment it cause it takes yeast and yeast represents tainting.
The same reason we eat unleavened bread.

Bread From Heaven:That is interesting. You are correct as far as what Jesus actually said. But I am quite sure that the Jews used wine for the Passover, fruit of the vine is a euphemism for wine, so Jesus certainly would have used wine at the Last Supper. But I am not all that hung up on wine vs. grape juice. It is just an interesting digression.

Sonja: I assume on the last point that the church has decided which sins are unto death
for the believer?

Bread From Heaven: Well, not exactly. In order for a sin to be mortal it has to meet 3 requirements.

1) It has to be a very serious sin, like adultery, murder, abortion etc.
2) The person must KNOW it is a sin
3) The person must do it freely not forced or coerced.

Then it would be considered mortal. There is not a list of mortal sins but scripture gives us several lists to make us aware of what grave or serious sin is. The ten commandments is a good place to start.

Sonja: I’ll have to look at these verses more carefully. I’ll read
through 1 John a couple times to try and understand it better. I do try and
understand the more “complex” passages, but it seems there is just too much that
seems completely contrary to what the Bible teaches in the Catholic church for
it to be right if you put the Bible first and the church secondary.

Bread From Heaven:Yes, I am sure it does seem so because you have been taught to interpret scripture according to the Protestant methods. But the doctrine of putting the Bible and personal interpretation first and the teaching of the apostles secondary is a Protestant Tradition with NO SUPPORT in Scripture. Here is an explanation of what we mean by Tradition. Also, private interpretation is not approved.

2 Peter 1:20
Understanding this first, that no prophecy of scripture is made by private interpretation.

And the word translated “prophecy” does not mean fortelling the future but according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary:

“Propheteia: signifies the speaking forth of the mind and counsel of God.”

Before my conversion, I was a very zealous Protestant, sola scriptura adherent and I used Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries and interlinears to “search the scriptures.” All contradictions of Catholic doctrine with the Bible are apparent rather than real. What Catholic Faith contradicts is merely Protestant interpretation of Scripture, not Scripture itself. But Catholics have perfectly legitimate alternate interpretations. It has been a very interesting journey. I applaud your careful reading and analysis of the Scriptures and your willingness to seek the Truth.

Baptism, Eucharist & Mortal Sin


Sonja: I confess not to completely understand the passage in

Peter,
I Peter 3:21 baptism now saves you

there are so many other instances where the Bible talks about belief/calling on the Lord only…John 3:16, Romans 10:9-13, .
Bread From Heaven: What is said in I Peter regarding baptism is very clear. What is unclear is why, Protestants, who profess to believe in Scripture and ONLY Scripture teach their members to reject what this scripture clearly says.

Faith and belief are also necessary for salvation. Baptism initiates us into the family of God exactly like circumcision did for the Jews (infant circumcision and infant baptism correspond to each other)

Col 2:11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

Sonja:In Acts when he is talking to the jailor…how do you explain those away?

Bread From Heaven: Let’s look at the passage from ACTS.

Acts 16:29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.

As you see they believed and were baptized. The Catholic Church teaches that if one believes but dies before being able to be baptized they are still saved through a Baptism of Desire. God can save us without baptism in His mercy and omniscience; but we were told by Jesus to be baptized.

Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Being a disciple implies the Faith necessary for salvation. But, where does Jesus make baptism and obedience optional? Where does Jesus say salvation is by FAITH ALONE?

Many Protestant pastors and teachers tend to dichotomies: either this or that. ie. Either Faith or baptism saves us. But the Catholic Faith, with a 1500 year head start on Protestants in reading and understanding Scripture recognize dichotomies don’t do justice to Scripture. More often it is not either/or but both/and…faith and baptism and obedience as we see in the Matthew passage above. Other passages mention other requirements for salvation/eternal , “eating My Flesh and drinking My Blood”. Trying to force Scripture into an either/or dichotomy distorts the message beyond repair; or else many scriptures are totally ignored or interpreted away.

Sonja:Furthermore, does not baptize in the Greek meant to immerse? This is what I’ve been taught, but admittedly don’t know Greek myself, but it seems the only way you could accurately picture the death burial and resurrection like they pointed out in one of the letters

Bread From Heaven: And yes, baptismo means immerse. So, immersion is certainly a fuller sign of dying to self and rising to new life. But, if baptism initiates us into Christ and is necessary for salvation (Jn 3) then what of conversions on a sick/death-bed? What of infants close to death? Haul them miles and miles away to a body of water deep enough to fully immerse? They might die on the journey. For many reasons the Church compassionately and for practical reasons decided that a valid baptism could be accomplished without full immersion. A lake or river with moving, (living water) is preferred but at least the pouring of water on the head was required three times, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

CCC-1278 The essential rite of Baptism consists in immersing the candidate in water or pouring water on his head, while pronouncing the invocation of the Most Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

This is an except from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. But the whole entry is very beautiful. You can read it here Baptism.

Sonja: The Eucharist…the bread and wine have to be representative as there was never actually any physical bread that came down from heaven. The “bread” was Jesus Christ. If you could show me physical bread that came from heaven, I would probably concede to a literal interpretation here. Also, if you take these passages as literal they say whoever partakes of this bread will be saved. That is apart from all your other sacraments and belief only this one thing would need to be done. So the only logical way I can take it as meaning partaking spiritually in his body and blood via excepting his sacrifice for my sin…We do have unfermented wine and unleavened bread, but only “in remembrance” of what he has done.

Bread From Heaven: You are correct. Jesus IS the Physical Bread that came down from Heaven. A better Bread than the Miracle of the Manna that came down from Heaven. The physical Bread that we eat is JESUS’ body,blood,soul, and divinity in the Eucharist, after plain bread has been consecrated by our priests. It is no longer mere bread but JESUS, under the appearance of Bread. We partake of this Bread that comes down from Heaven by a miracle, of God, through the hands of a priest, at each of our masses.

Grape juice is just not wine. Grape Juice is grape juice and wine is wine. Wine comes from fermented grape juice. Grape juice does not come from unfermented wine but grapes. This is a very plausible sounding way for Protestants to try to get around the fact that, contrary to the fact that wine was one of the elements Jesus used at the Last Supper, they have arbitrarily decided to use grape juice instead. Protestants often do not use wine b/c of the tradition from a few years ago surrounding Prohibition and their recent tradition that drinking alcoholic beverages is sinful. This is another Protestant Tradition of men b/c it is nowhere supported in scripture. Getting drunk is a sin but drinking without getting drunk is not a sin.

Sonja:…mortal and venial sin…not sure what you think is a “sin unto death” but Revelation 21:8 lists liars as having their part in the second death. James 2:10 tells us if we “keep the whole law” and yet “offend in one point he is guilty of all.” The next verse explains why…the same God told you not to do it. There are some things however that do seem to be worse in the eyes of God when dealing with things on earth. I would agree there. Would love to hear any rebuttals (please make them educated and Bible based) that Catholics have.

Bread From Heaven: You are correct. There are several lists in the epistles that list very serious sin. I John mentions mortal sin/sin unto death.

I John 5:16 If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.

The Catholic Church calls these sins that lead to death, Mortal Sins and the lesser sins that we, ourselves, can pray for forgiveness for, Venial Sin. We have merely given a shorter name to these sins than “sin-that-leads-to-death” and “sin-that-does-not-lead-to-death”.

Regarding

James 2:10 tells us if we “keep the whole law” and yet “offend in one point he is guilty of all.”

Of course, it is TRUE. Any sin, small or large, brings us condemnation. An offense against and Eternal God is itself of Eternal Magnitude. And only and Eternal Sacrifice could suffice to make reparation for our sin both mortal and venial. However, as you so aptly pointed out some sin is an abomination in the eyes of God just like they are in the eyes of men. Even before I became Catholic I thought it was crazy to think that God saw all sin EQUALLY especially when so many verses refuted this sophistry.

How Was Baptism Administered in First Century?


Question: Baptize means to fully immerse. Why doesn’t the Catholic Church follow the words of Jesus? Why place tradition above scripture? As is the concept “age of reason” your idea or is it Catholic?

Bread From Heaven:  Clearly, TRADITIONS (The Teaching of the Apostles) were handed down for many years before, what we know today as the New Testament, was actually written. Therefore, the New Testament was given birth OUT OF the Teachings of the Apostles. But there was more to it than what got written down. That is why St. John says the “world could not contain the books” if it all was written down. Because of this, all the teachings of the Catholic/Christian Church was used to decide what got canonized and what did not get canonized. Therefore, all that the Church teaches is NOT contradicted by scripture. I submit to you, that despite the strict definition of baptizo, by the time the NT was canonized the method and meaning of baptizo had expanded to include pouring because the Church had been baptizing validly using this method for years already.

It was never an issue until Protestants came along and were motivated to find fault with the doctrine of the Catholic Church (in addition to Catholic who sin)  as an excuse to separate from the Church founded by Jesus.

I would like to suggest to you that if the Catholic Church taught that baptism by full immersion was wrong, then this would clearly contradict scripture or nullify the word of God. And what the Catholic Church teaches does fit into scripture much more cohesively that any of the Protestant teachings I was familiar with. There were always scriptures that just didn’t fit Protestant doctrine, and Protestant explanation or commentary on those things just did not ring true to me.

That the “born of water” refers to natural birth is an interpretation. Since the scripture does not specifically say this refers to the waters of natural birth. And this interpretation is not universal among Protestants. It actually derives from those sects to deny the necessity of baptism or want to make it completely optional.

What I am trying to communicate to Protestants is in regard to this very discussion we are having. You are convinced that baptism is by full immersion based ONLY on the definition of the word baptizo in Scripture.OK I understand that. But, what did the Christian Church of the first century do? How did they baptize? Before those words in the New Testament were ever even written, how were converts being baptized?

Chapter 7. Concerning Baptism. And concerning baptism, baptize this way: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. But if you have no living water, baptize into other water; and if you cannot do so in cold water, do so in warm. But if you have neither, pour out water three times upon the head into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit. But before the baptism let the baptizer fast, and the baptized, and whoever else can; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before. Didache (Teaching of the Twelve Apostles) 90A.D.

So, you see that the Oral Traditions preceded the New Testament. This is settled practice it is not a new instruction. If Satan had actually been able to destroy proper baptism, then that would mean that Jesus was unable to keep His promise.
” and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (His Church). Mt 16:18
The age of reason is a Catholic concept. It is usually around 7 years of age but can vary. Until this time, even though a child is born with a sin nature they are not judged to have committed their own sin until after the age of reason. They must first of all know that a certain behavior is a sin and then freely consent to sin. If what is done is very serious the sin is mortal. If it is less serious it is deemed to be venial sin.

Are We Commanded to “Search the Scriptures”?


Sonya: When Jesus was on earth he always told the Pharisees to “search the scriptures” and always put the emphasis on the word of God not the Talmud. The teachings of the high priest down through the years.

Bread From Heaven: I don’t know what verses you are referring to. I don’t have a memory of Jesus telling anyone to “search the scriptures”. He did say this:

John 5:39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; 40 and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.

Jesus seems to be rebuking them for not recognizing him even though they “searched the scriptures because (they) think that in them (they) have eternal life.”  And then Paul speaks of the Thessalonians as being noble b/c they investigated the truth of what Paul was teaching by searching the scriptures.

Acts 17:11
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

But neither of these are close to commands for everyone to “search the scriptures”.  Of course, reading and studying the scriptures is highly commendable. St. Jerome said,

“To be ignorant of scripture is to be ignorant of Christ.”

That is why the Church has read scripture at every mass for 2000 years. But, nothing in scripture exhorts all the faithful to search the scriptures. Even in Thessalonica, those who searched the scriptures were no doubt the religious leaders not the laymen. Neither they nor the laymen possessed their own personal copy of the Old Testament Scrolls. Nor could most people even read at that time. So, Protestants have taught that the “searching of the scriptures” is something much more than Jesus ever commanded or commended.

Did you know that 20% of the world population is still unable to read? The Protestant model does not fit the reality of history where Bibles could only be found in churches because they were so expensive, before the invention of the printing press and most people could not read even once Bibles became cheaper to produce. So, how could Jesus have meant to have Bible Study the foundation of the Faith?

Sonya:   Baptism…we already discussed this and to be honest your answer is lacking. Seems you trust the church over the Word of God. Especially since you believe this is part of salvation I would think you would want to stick to the way Christ showed us.

Bread From Heaven: Perhaps you are Baptist but, as a Protestant I was first baptized at about 12 years old by sprinkling in the Dutch Reformed Church. I was later baptized in a Baptist Church by full immersion and later baptized again in a swimming pool ( full immersion) for the gift of the Holy Spirit. So, even some good sola scriptural Protestants baptize without full immersion. But you are free to reject it. By the way, i was eagerly looking forward to being baptized in the Catholic Church but they would not baptize me because my first baptism was deemed to be valid.

Your interpretation of baptizo is correct but if such an exacting  interpretation was mandatory for the valid practice of baptism, it seems that Jesus would have clearly delineated the method and the gospel writers would have included these instructions rather than all depending upon  the translation of a word, especially if the doctrine of sola scriptura was at all understood to be in force.

Sonya: As a side note I would understand the decision (to baptize with pouring) with infants etc if that position made any sense. Are you saying that any aborted baby or miscarraige goes to hell because they have not been baptized?

Bread From Heaven: No. We leave them to the mercy of God. All we KNOW is that Jesus said:

John 3:5 “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.

 Therefore we teach that baptism is necessary and not optional. But there are the exceptions, such as, Baptism of Blood ( martyred for Faith before baptism) and Baptism of Desire. So, we entrust the unbaptized to the mercy of God.

Sonya: Furthermore the Bible always puts believing before baptism…was the condition for the Ethiopian Eunich in Acts…If thou believest with all thy heart thou mayest.

Bread From Heaven: True. But, the stories in Acts are of conversions of adults. And for a person who has reached the age of reason faith must come first before one can receive baptism in the Catholic Church. But we do have the story of the Jailer whose whole household was baptized. It was very likely there were children under the age of reason who were baptized. Scripture certainly did not make a point to enlighten us that they were all baptized except the little children. The baptism of babies is on the basis of the Parents’ faith. There is hope that the child will make a future profession of faith. But if there is none the baptism will not save them.

But from a Catholic perspective we are not bound by ONLY what is in scripture. We have the fullness of the Christian Faith with both the Bible and the Oral Teaching of the Apostles (Tradition) handed down to “faithful men able to teach.”

Once I became convinced of the importance of baptism as a Catholic I wanted to bring all seven of my children 7-21 years old into church to be baptized. But I was not allowed to do this. My children had to make a profession of faith first and then be baptized, after a year of instruction, I might add.

Sonya: I am sure as a protestant you heard of the innocence of children?

Bread From Heaven: Yes.

Sonya: One of the main supports of this when Paul says in one of his letters I was alive without the law once then the law came and I died. I believe this is clearly showing that we are not responsible for sin or “alive” until we understand between good/evil.

Bread From Heaven:  Agreed. This is called the age of reason but, of course, there would be differences for children with handicaps.

How does a Catholic get to heaven?


Q. How does a Catholic get to Heaven?

A. By Faith and the Grace of God. Catholics get to Heaven by the power and grace of God. The good works that we do are in obedience to Christ and in order to purify ourselves so that we can become holy as He is holy. But it is all of Grace. We cannot do anything worth while on our own.But specifically GOD communicates His Grace to save and strengthen us to journey towards Heaven, in the following primary ways:

By being born again in baptism:

  • John 3:5 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
  • 1 Peter 3:20-21 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you

By receiving communion in the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ

  • John 6:50 “This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.
  • John 6:51 I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.
  • John 6:53-58-So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.
  • He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will (CH)raise him up on the last day.
  • “For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.
  • “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.
  • As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me.
  • “This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”

By living life so that at death you are friends with God. This means that you die without mortal sin on your soul and live life so as to avoid mortal sin. But if we sin we must confess mortal sin to a priest in the sacrament of confession with true repentence and avoid it in the future.

MORTAL SIN

  • I John 5:16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this.

SACRAMENT CONFESSION

  • John20:22-23And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”

Weren’t the First Christians Gnostic?



I thought the Catholic Church was started in the 4th or 5th century?

No Jesus started the Catholic Church in Mt. 16 when He said to Simon, “You are rock and on this rock I will build my Church”
And it was called the Catholic Church in 110A.D. See post Are Catholics Christian?

Also, were the first followers of Jesus called Gnostic Christians with a completely different look at Christianity then what the Catholic view is?

Absolutely not. The Gnostics have the distinction of being, not the first followers of Christ but the first HERETICS! In fact, they were such early heretics that St. John refutes some of their beliefs in his first epistle. The first followers were Jewish. The first Christians were Catholic.

The one thing i have never understood in Christianity is infant baptizing?

Infant baptism is implied when “whole households” are baptized in Acts. And it corresponds to OT infant circumcision as the rite of initiation into the People of God. See Infant Baptism

It was a Pagan tradition and was first implemented into Christianity by the first Roman Catholics aka ex pagans.

The pagans do many things. They marry. Does this make marriage pagan? The wedding ring was of pagan origin. Does this make everyone who wears a wedding ring a pagan? Of course not. Christian Missionaries adapt certain pagan things to have a Christian meaning. The Jews baptized. John the Baptist, baptized. Jesus told his disciples to baptize in the Name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit. Mt. 28. So, if baptism is good enough for Christ it is good enough for the Catholic Church.

More than enough evidence has shown that Religious Pagan traditions are much alike Christian traditions, just with different dates and names. Anybody know why this is?

All religions have some similarities to each other. They are differentiated by their doctrine, beliefs and the meaning of the rituals. The similarities prove nothing.

As a Protestant, i wonder why our Holy Bible was written so many times and in some cases differ from one another greatly. Who is right and who is wrong, and who is to say which is right and what is wrong? I beleive Only GOD can judge.

Aside from the fact that Martin Luther removed 7 books from the OT there is not that much difference between the Catholic Bibles and the Protestant Bibles. There is more than enough to keep you occupied just starting with one of these. Waiting for God to judge is just a smokescreen for procrastinating a life of faith and obedience.

So how do i know that i am not being deceived by man? The reason i say deceived by man is because we have some very different views in different bibles.How do i know Jesus’s words were not changed and or our view of him being the Son of GOD?

Look into the writings of the Early Church Fathers to see what they knew and believed as Christians. You can find them on the internet. You will find that their beliefs correspond to Catholic beliefs and NOT Protestant beliefs. That is precisely why I converted to the Catholic Church.

There is much evidence that the Gnostics never worshipped him in the way we do today.

This is True. As I said above they were heretics.

Am i just reading a bunch of phony bologny, or do other Christians ever research and think about these things too?

Yes, other Christians do research these things. When I finally realized that I needed to hear from Catholic, who knew their faith, what the Catholic Church believed and not listen only to Protestants tell me what the Catholic Church believed, I was amazed at the beauty cohesion of the Catholic Faith and Scripture. You need faith. Ask God to lead you to the Truth if you are willing to follow it no matter where it leads. There are a lot of lies about the Catholic Church out there and Christianity too. So, you may very well be reading phony bologna.