A Biblical Defence of Water Baptism
By John Pacheco
used with permission
When I was a child, there was a little game on the popular children's program 'Sesame Street' called, "One of these things is not like the others." This game featured a number of similar objects and one very different object.
If we were to apply this little game to the multiplicity of Christian sects that exist today, we would soon discover that, while there are many non-Catholic sects and denominations saying many different things, there is only one Christian Church which is totally unlike the others in its doctrines. That church is, of course, the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, which is the Roman Catholic Church. Sadly, since Protestant churches are so fragmented and disunified, it is impossible to compare the Protestant teaching on any particular doctrine with that of the Catholic Church. This fragmentation is the fruit of the disastrous idea that the Bible alone can be the sole source of authority - that is, anybody can say what he thinks the Bible means and be right!
The mainline and liberal Protestant denominations are literally on the edge of extinction, and even the more fundamental Evangelical churches have sharp disagreements amongst themselves. Still, there exist a number of doctrines that Evangelicals do agree on, and there will always be widespread agreement on what all Protestants reject, namely, exclusively Catholic doctrines. Their reason for the universal rejection of Catholic doctrines is that they believe these doctrines to be unbiblical. Notwithstanding the rather problematic idea that Scripture alone is the sole source of authority, it is perhaps time to examine some Catholic doctrines in light of the Bible and find out for ourselves which side is biblical and which side is not. It would seem most fitting to start our examination 'in the beginning,' that is, with original sin and baptism.
Due to the length of this article, it has been divided into several sections, each of which discusses a particular aspect of baptism's effect, origin and importance. The sections are listed below. At the conclusion, I describe a visual demonstration that will help explain the Catholic beliefs on these subjects.
Before the Fall:Why We Need Baptism
Infusion vs. Imputation: Two views of justification
Water in the Old Testament: A sign of God's presence
Baptism in the New Testament: Baptism now saves you!
Answering the Evangelicals: A biblical response to objections
Infant Baptism: A family affair
A Visual Image and Some Closing Thoughts