This post is different; it’s a rant.
I’ve recently been social-media-attacked (I’m not complaining, I sorta’ enjoy it.) about Catholic theology by people who literally brag about not having any education. Hit and runs, snipes, jabs, all disguised in pompous Christian garb (…Jesus loves you, you blind Catholic, I’ll pray for you to wake up…). Normal stuff.
Apparently, Catholics don’t know anything about Baptism, and water is, apparently, not needed. Thus saith the Evangelicals, perrra-AI-za Jay-hEE-sus, cani-git-an-AMEN!
This rant will find some common ground with Protestant Church of Christ Christians because they still believe in Christian Baptism (with water and for the forgiveness of sins). Perhaps our similarities will encourage them to consider how the Catholic position is more plausible about other subjects, too.
One reason why some [modern] Protestants are so confused about Baptism:
It is no secret that Evangelicals are the most uneducated religious group of people in the USA. That’s not an insult, but it does shine light into how Protestant pastor-preneurs are able to find and build thier flocks.
Quick Philo’ of History and Philo’ of Religion lesson:
Christianity was not formed in a vacuum; it was formed at the fullness of time when man was able to think philosophically. Philosophy first began as the science of God – metaphysics: the fundamental nature of reality. Philosophy gave us the power to better-grasp the Incarnation: the God-man Jesus — the fullness of God in bodily form.
Now consider the oneness of “visible and invisible” within the very words I just used: “God-man”, “fullness of God, bodily form.”
Now, Creation: God created both, sustains both, communicates with and through it/both. Grace is communicated through it/both (“It” and “both” – invisible and invisible – is one substance). Since Christianity was formed with this basic understanding, the Church understood that all the sacraments consist of both form and matter. In the case of Baptism, the form is: “In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and the matter is the water. That is how it has always been understood…. until modern times.
Protestantism has lost its memory because it is more interested in “moving out from mom and dad’s place”. The earlier Protestants weren’t as rebellious, and therefore still had some memory and not as much “reflexive disdain” for education. Initially, Docetism provided a semblance of philosophical “invisible-only-ness/illusion-only-acceptedness” (I may have to open that up later) justification for Protestantism, but then came Rene Descartes, and Protestantism gravitated to Cartesian philosophy because it undergirded what Protestantism *needed*. Protestantism needed Cartesian duality to build for itself an aura of legitimacy; it needed to ascribe Cartesian duality to subjects other than only mind and body, because the new religion was founded not on the matter of Rock, the matter of a physical institution, the matter of an authoritative ecclesiology, but on an invisible theory only: the theory being articulated by normative out-of-context “proof-texts” such as “when two or three of you gather in His name….” (which, in context, proves Catholic ecclesiology true; that is why Protestantism prefers proof-texts over contexts).
Descartes’ teaching of “I think therefore I am” is literally the foundation of what has now formed into modern Protestant Evangelical beliefs – invisible thought-only ecclesiological structure and invisible thought-only sacraments.
You (Protestants) “think you’re saved” therefore, in your minds you are saved, and you expect the remainder of humanity to accept your theory as true. This is foreign to historical Christianity, but you don’t care, because you “think” you’re right.
You “think your way to salvation”, you disparage physical obedience – you redefine “faith” as a Cartesian action-less and obedient-less state-of-mind. You jettison the “matter” (obedience) and prefer the “form” (belief) only. You jettison the water, and you wedge your modern philosophy into the Scriptures; you redefine “Baptism” as not a sacrament with invisible and visible form and matter, but as a water-less form only—a water-less theory only—a water-less “faith” only—a water-less state-of-mind that puts your own subjective thoughts/ideas/feelings over the fate and Judge of your salvation.
You jettison the “matter” of the Eucharist and prefer the “form” only. You jettison the “matter” of Holy Orders (physical succession and laying on of hands), and prefer a perverse “form” only: “I believe I’m a man-o-god, therefore I’m a man-o-god.” You believe the Church is an invisible ethereal and nebulous state-of-mind, you “believe” the Bible is inspired not because of the very real and physical creation of the Bible by Catholic bishops from 382 AD through 493 AD, but because the first principle of physical context disrupts your second principle of theory; your only reason for believing the Bible is inspired is not based on facts; it is based on your own invisible intuition.
Christianity was formed within a context. It happened. It was real. It included the physical “stuff” God gave us. Your evasion of this real historical and physical context does not erase this reality; it only exposes how Protestantism is not built on the Rock, the Christ, the Church, the Bible, nothing….; It is built on theory. And this “Baptism that now saves you” “through water” consists of both form and matter, it is the initial vehicle of regeneration, as others and I have proved (and the Church has consistently taught for 2,000 years).
If you’d like to learn more about modes of Baptism and eligibility:
• Part 1. Introduction & False Premise #1: Greek Implies Mode
• Part 2. False Premise #2: Baptizo Always Means Immerse
• Part 3. False Premise #3: Every Baptism in the Bible Is by Full Immersion
• Appendix for Part #3: NT Use of Baptism, Verse-by-Verse with Modal Indications
• Part 4. False Premise #4: The Church Has Always Believed in Only Immersion
• Part 5. More Invalid CofC Arguments for Immersion-Only Baptisms
• Part 6. The Real Church of Christ Brings Its Children to Jesus
• Part 7. Responses to CofC Objections to Baptism for Infants