Tag Archives: Responses

Understanding Why Baptism is Necessary for Salvation: Responding to Objections of Catholic Dogma and John 3:5

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John the Baptist baptizing Christ by Francesco Trevisani, 1723. Image via Wikipedia

Here is the second part of an ongoing discussion between myself and a Protestant friend of mine. as previously mentioned, we often met on Saturdays to discuss our various theological differences in charity and over a delicious cheeseburger from any one of our local Five Guys (we call it Theology Over a Bun).

In this post, my friend continues to argue against the long-held understating of Christian baptism and the necessity thereof. The passage that my friend highlights below is surely one of the main verses used by the Church in affirming this element of Christian dogma. Let us examine my friend’s post and argument against the necessity of baptism and why:

Baptismal Regeneration – John 3:5

Catholics interpret “born of water” in John 3:5

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as baptism and therefore conclude baptism is necessary for salvation. Here’s the passage:

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

Born of water has been taken as 1) the Spirit or cleansing work of the Spirit, 2) natural birth or 3) baptism. For now let’s assume it means baptism and see how it plays out.

Would first century Jews have instantly recognized ‘born of water’ as meaning baptism? Certainly Nicodemus was aware of baptism. John the Baptist baptized people for repentance. Some evidence suggests Jews baptized proselytes and even called it birth.

“Everyone agreed that a Gentile became a Jew through proselyte baptism. The big discussion in Nicodemus’ day was the degree of cleanliness. Was he immediately clean as “a little child just born” (Yeb. 22a; 48b; 97b*) and a “child of one day” (Mass. Ger. c. 2*)” (link)

Not only did John baptize, but Christ also baptized via His disciples, just as John the Baptist had predicted He would.

John 1:33

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I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’

John 4:1-2

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Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples)

So if Nicodemus understood ‘born of water’ as baptism, he would have been thinking of John’s baptism of repentance. And the Jewish leadership had personally rejected John and his baptism; though they were unwilling advertise their rejection.

Luke 7:30

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But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.

Matthew 21:24-26

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But Jesus answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things: The baptism of John—where was it from? From heaven or from men?” And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the multitude, for all count John as a prophet.”

But of course John’s baptism is one of repentance and Christian Baptism looks on Christ’s death burial and resurrection. So when Paul found those who were baptized into John’s baptism, he baptized them again in Christ’s name.

Acts 19:1-5

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And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Christian baptism had not been established at the time Christ and Nicodemus spoke. Did Christ forget this when berating Nicodemus for not knowing what He was talking about? (John 3:9-10

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) So clearly Nicodemus would have been thinking about John’s baptism; the baptism he probably personally rejected. Christian baptism simply didn’t exist yet.

So it’s anachronistic to view John 3:5

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as teaching Christian baptism is necessary for salvation, since Christ established it after the resurrection. (Matthew 28:19

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). And no one teaches John’s baptism is or was necessary for salvation, but of course repentance itself is necessary for salvation. So if we take ‘born of water’ as baptism, the most likely conclusion would be that baptism is used for what it represented – repentance.

via Arminian Chronicles: Baptismal Regeneration – John 3:5.


Many faithful Catholics will already see the erroneous understanding of John 3:5 and the Church’s teaching on the necessity of baptism. First, let us turn to Scripture and read John 3:5 in its immediate context:

Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus said 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?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus said to him, “How can this be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand this? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen; but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” (John (RSV) 3:1-15)

When reading John 3:5 in the more immediate context of the passage it becomes clear that Nicodemus came to Jesus at night to edify himself as he could be considered a “closet” Christian. Jesus proceeds to move the conversation towards the requirements of salvation by building on Nicodemus’ statement concerning Christ’s relationship to what the Jews understanding of Whom God is. In that response Christ lays out the base requirement for entry into heaven. Being “born anew” cannot be disputed as it comes straight off the lips of Our Blessed Lord.

Nicodemus’ reaction to that statement is even more telling; he is at a loss of understanding as to how a man can be reborn. This is a foreign, pagan concept to Jews (Christian’s and Muslims alike) because from the beginning God revealed that there is no such thing as reincarnation. But despite being an educated, respected Pharisee, Nicodemus still cannot fathom the spiritual implication of Jesus’ message – he remains caught up in the “things of the flesh” (Romans 8:5).

Thus, Jesus’ response to Nicodemus on the issue of physical rebirth clarifies the matter and form of this salvific rebirth we call baptism. Thus it is not that Catholics believe that being “born (or reborn) of water” is baptism but rather it is the grace bestowed upon us by God through the matter of water in which the spirit (soul) is reborn that makes up Christian baptism. It is by the grace of God that baptism performed in the proper manner and with the proper intent imbues the recipient with salvific grace that remains with the person until they choose to reject said grace by the commission/omission of personal sin. When a person is validly baptised in Christ, they are reborn a new creature putting on “the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Colossians (RSV) 3:10).

The disappointment that Christ expressing in Nicodemus for not understanding this as a “teacher of Israel” is rooted in the fact that this concept is not new. It was prefigured in the Old Testament and even natural law:

  • “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.” (Genesis (RSV) 1:2)
  • “I want you to know, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea…” (1 Corinthians (RSV) 10:1-2)
  • “…when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you…” (1 Peter (RSV) 3:20-21)
  • If water springing up from the earth symbolizes life, the water of the sea is a symbol of death and so can represent the mystery of the cross. By this symbolism Baptism signifies communion with Christ’s death.” (CCC 1220)

Again, what is evidenced by my Protestant friend is a misunderstanding of Catholic teaching. The focus of his passage and the his interpretation thereof is on the wrong subject. Water is the matter used to baptize a person; doing so “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew (RSV) 28:19) is form; and the rebirth/recreation of the person’s soul – now in Christ – is the result.

Concerning the when of Christian baptism, again, my friend is showing a misunderstanding. While it is obvious to note that the “form” used for baptism is not explicitly provided in Scripture other than Matthew 28:19, we must take note that in order to be baptized into “His death” (Romans 6:3), we must seek when that death occurred. It is Jesus’ death on the Cross that is the saving sacrificial act for mankind. It is His resurrection that restores our place in Heaven. On this subject I turn to St. Augustine who, in reference to John 19:34,[1] wrote:

“Then came the soldiers, and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who was, crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already, they brake not His legs: but one of the soldiers with a spear laid open His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.” A suggestive word was made use of by the evangelist, in not saying pierced, or wounded His side, or anything else, but “opened;” that thereby, in a sense, the gate of life might be thrown open, from whence have flowed forth the sacraments of the Church, without which there is no entrance to the life which is the true life. That blood was shed for the remission of sins; that water it is that makes up the health-giving cup, and supplies at once the layer of baptism and water for drinking. This was announced beforehand, when Noah was commanded to make a door in the side of the ark (Genesis 6:16), whereby the animals might enter which were not destined to perish in the flood, and by which the Church was prefigured. Because of this, the first woman was formed from the side of the man when asleep (Genesis 2:22), and was called Life, and the mother of all living (Genesis 3:20). Truly it pointed to a great good, prior to the great evil of the transgression (in the guise of one thus lying asleep). This second Adam bowed His head and fell asleep on the cross, that a spouse might be formed for Him from that which flowed from the sleeper’s side. O death, whereby the dead are raised anew to life! What can be purer than such blood? What more health-giving than such a wound? (Augustin on John 120:2)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says the following:

In his Passover Christ opened to all men the fountain of Baptism. He had already spoken of his Passion, which he was about to suffer in Jerusalem, as a “Baptism” with which he had to be baptized (Mark 10:38, Luke 12:50). The blood and water that flowed from the pierced side of the crucified Jesus are types of Baptism and the Eucharist, the sacraments of new life (John 19:34, 1 John 5:6-8). From then on, it is possible “to be born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5) in order to enter the Kingdom of God. See where you are baptized, see where Baptism comes from, if not from the cross of Christ, from his death. There is the whole mystery: he died for you. In him you are redeemed, in him you are saved.[2] (1997 Catechism of the Catholic Church 1225)

This is the proper understanding of baptism and why it is necessary and salvific.

If interested, please take the time to listen to Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s lesson on Baptism as linked from my Box.net share (—–> look at the right-hand column).


[1] “…sed unus militum lancea latus eius aperuit, et continuo exivit sanguis et aqua.” (John (NV) 19:34)

[2] St. Ambrose, De sacr. 2, 2, 6: PL 16, 444; Jn 3,5

Understanding Why Baptism is Necessary for Salvation: Responding to Objections of Catholic Dogma and John 3:5

John the Baptist baptizing Christ

Here is the second part of an ongoing discussion between myself and a Protestant friend of mine. as previously mentioned, we often met on Saturdays to discuss our various theological differences in charity and over a delicious cheeseburger from any one of our local Five Guys (we call it Theology Over a Bun).

In this post, my friend continues to argue against the long-held understating of Christian baptism and the necessity thereof. The passage that my friend highlights below is surely one of the main verses used by the Church in affirming this element of Christian dogma. Let us examine my friend’s post and argument against the necessity of baptism and why:

Baptismal Regeneration – John 3:5

Catholics interpret “born of water” in John 3:5 as baptism and therefore conclude baptism is necessary for salvation. Here’s the passage:

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

Born of water has been taken as 1) the Spirit or cleansing work of the Spirit, 2) natural birth or 3) baptism. For now let’s assume it means baptism and see how it plays out.

Would first century Jews have instantly recognized ‘born of water’ as meaning baptism? Certainly Nicodemus was aware of baptism. John the Baptist baptized people for repentance. Some evidence suggests Jews baptized proselytes and even called it birth.

“Everyone agreed that a Gentile became a Jew through proselyte baptism. The big discussion in Nicodemus’ day was the degree of cleanliness. Was he immediately clean as “a little child just born” (Yeb. 22a; 48b; 97b*) and a “child of one day” (Mass. Ger. c. 2*)” (link)

Not only did John baptize, but Christ also baptized via His disciples, just as John the Baptist had predicted He would.

John 1:33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’

John 4:1-2Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples)

So if Nicodemus understood ‘born of water’ as baptism, he would have been thinking of John’s baptism of repentance. And the Jewish leadership had personally rejected John and his baptism; though they were unwilling advertise their rejection.

Luke 7:30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.

Matthew 21:24-26 But Jesus answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things: The baptism of John—where was it from? From heaven or from men?” And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the multitude, for all count John as a prophet.”

But of course John’s baptism is one of repentance and Christian Baptism looks on Christ’s death burial and resurrection. So when Paul found those who were baptized into John’s baptism, he baptized them again in Christ’s name.

Acts 19:1-5 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” When they
heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Christian baptism had not been established at the time Christ and Nicodemus spoke. Did Christ forget this when berating Nicodemus for not knowing what He was talking about? (John 3:9-10) So clearly Nicodemus would have been thinking about John’s baptism; the baptism he probably personally rejected. Christian baptism simply didn’t exist yet.

So it’s anachronistic to view John 3:5 as teaching Christian baptism is necessary for salvation, since Christ established it after the resurrection. (Matthew 28:19). And no one teaches John’s baptism is or was necessary for salvation, but of course repentance itself is necessary for salvation. So if we take ‘born of water’ as baptism, the most likely conclusion would be that baptism is used for what it represented – repentance.

via Arminian Chronicles: Baptismal Regeneration – John 3:5.


Many faithful Catholics will already see the erroneous understanding of John 3:5 and the Church’s teaching on the necessity of baptism. First, let us turn to Scripture and read John 3:5 in its immediate context:

Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus said 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?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus said to him, “How can this be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand this? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen; but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” (John (RSV) 3:1-15)

When reading John 3:5 in the more immediate context of the passage it becomes clear that Nicodemus came to Jesus at night to edify himself as he could be considered a “closet” Christian. Jesus proceeds to move the conversation towards the requirements of salvation by building on Nicodemus’ statement concerning Christ’s relationship to what the Jews understanding of Whom God is. In that response Christ lays out the base requirement for entry into heaven. Being “born anew” cannot be disputed as it comes straight off the lips of Our Blessed Lord.

Nicodemus’ reaction to that statement is even more telling; he is at a loss of understanding as to how a man can be reborn. This is a foreign, pagan concept to Jews (Christian’s and Muslims alike) because from the beginning God revealed that there is no such thing as reincarnation. But despite being an educated, respected Pharisee, Nicodemus still cannot fathom the spiritual implication of Jesus’ message – he remains caught up in the “things of the flesh” (Romans 8:5).

Thus, Jesus’ response to Nicodemus on the issue of physical rebirth clarifies the matter and form of this salvific rebirth we call baptism. Thus it is not that Catholics believe that being “born (or reborn) of water” is baptism but rather it is the grace bestowed upon us by God through the matter of water in which the spirit (soul) is reborn that makes up Christian baptism. It is by the grace of God that baptism performed in the proper manner and with the proper intent imbues the recipient with salvific grace that remains with the person until they choose to reject said grace by the commission/omission of personal sin. When a person is validly baptised in Christ, they are reborn a new creature putting on “the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Colossians (RSV) 3:10).

The disappointment that Christ expressing in Nicodemus for not understanding this as a “teacher of Israel” is rooted in the fact that this concept is not new. It was prefigured in the Old Testament and even natural law:

  • “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.” (Genesis (RSV) 1:2)
  • “I want you to know, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea…” (1 Corinthians (RSV) 10:1-2)
  • “…when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you…” (1 Peter (RSV) 3:20-21)
  • If water springing up from the earth symbolizes life, the water of the sea is a symbol of death and so can represent the mystery of the cross. By this symbolism Baptism signifies communion with Christ’s death.” (CCC 1220)

Again, what is evidenced by my Protestant friend is a misunderstanding of Catholic teaching. The focus of his passage and the his interpretation thereof is on the wrong subject. Water is the matter used to baptize a person; doing so “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew (RSV) 28:19) is form; and the rebirth/recreation of the person’s soul – now in Christ – is the result.

Concerning the when of Christian baptism, again, my friend is showing a misunderstanding. While it is obvious to note that the “form” used for baptism is not explicitly provided in Scripture other than Matthew 28:19, we must take note that in order to be baptized into “His death” (Romans 6:3), we must seek when that death occurred. It is Jesus’ death on the Cross that is the saving sacrificial act for mankind. It is His resurrection that restores our place in Heaven. On this
subject I turn to St. Augustine who, in reference to John 19:34,[1] wrote:

“Then came the soldiers, and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who was, crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already, they brake not His legs: but one of the soldiers with a spear laid open His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.” A suggestive word was made use of by the evangelist, in not saying pierced, or wounded His side, or anything else, but “opened;” that thereby, in a sense, the gate of life might be thrown open, from whence have flowed forth the sacraments of the Church, without which there is no entrance to the life which is the true life. That blood was shed for the remission of sins; that water it is that makes up the health-giving cup, and supplies at once the layer of baptism and water for drinking. This was announced beforehand, when Noah was commanded to make a door in the side of the ark (Genesis 6:16), whereby the animals might enter which were not destined to perish in the flood, and by which the Church was prefigured. Because of this, the first woman was formed from the side of the man when asleep (Genesis 2:22), and was called Life, and the mother of all living (Genesis 3:20). Truly it pointed to a great good, prior to the great evil of the transgression (in the guise of one thus lying asleep). This second Adam bowed His head and fell asleep on the cross, that a spouse might be formed for Him from that which flowed from the sleeper’s side. O death, whereby the dead are raised anew to life! What can be purer than such blood? What more health-giving than such a wound? (Augustin on John 120:2)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says the following:

In his Passover Christ opened to all men the fountain of Baptism. He had already spoken of his Passion, which he was about to suffer in Jerusalem, as a “Baptism” with which he had to be baptized (Mark 10:38, Luke 12:50). The blood and water that flowed from the pierced side of the crucified Jesus are types of Baptism and the Eucharist, the sacraments of new life (John 19:34, 1 John 5:6-8). From then on, it is possible “to be born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5) in order to enter the Kingdom of God. See where you are baptized, see where Baptism comes from, if not from the cross of Christ, from his death. There is the whole mystery: he died for you. In him you are redeemed, in him you are saved.[2] (1997 Catechism of the Catholic Church 1225)

This is the proper understanding of baptism and why it is necessary and salvific.

If interested, please take the time to listen to Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s lesson on Baptism as linked from my Box.net share (——-> look at the right-hand column).


[1] “…sed unus militum lancea latus eius aperuit, et continuo exivit sanguis et aqua.” (John (NV) 19:34)

[2] St. Ambrose, De sacr. 2, 2, 6: PL 16, 444; Jn 3,5

Baptism Now Saves You: 1 Peter 3:20-21

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Noah's sacrifice. Image via Wikipedia.

The following is a response to a friend’s blog post where he begins to outline his refutation of the Catholic understanding of baptismal regeneration, focusing his analysis on 1 Peter 3:20-21, which reads:

“…who formerly did not obey, when God‘s patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ…” (RSV)

Before we continue, I would like to make one very important note concerning the manner in which Protestants seem to use Scripture when providing evidence to or for as opposed to Catholics; that is, Catholics understand that the Bible is not always black and white there is more to Scripture than just what is in print such as author, audience, culture, time, etc. Not to mention that there are many teachings that are part of Divine Revelation in the form of Sacred Tradition. These teachings are absolutely never contradicted by Scripture although sometimes they are not explicitly found within Scripture (Scripture never says that it is the sole rule of authority or instruction).

Immediately following is the quoted post, I will do my best at responding to his objections:

Baptismal Regeneration and 1 Peter 3:20-21

Catholics and most Protestants disagree on the question of whether baptism saves us – Catholics viewing baptism as a requirement for salvation. One text Catholics cite is 1 Peter 3:20-21

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:

who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.

There is also an antitype which now saves us––baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

Before digging into the text a few preliminaries are in order. First, this passage is not part of an extended discourse on salvation, such as Paul undertakes in Romans and Galatians. Nor is Peter addressing the specific question of what must we do to be saved as Paul was in Acts 16:30-31

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. Rather, Peter is addressing the subject in passing as part of his larger discourse on suffering for Christ. Not to say that we cannot dig out little tidbits on salvation here; it’s just that we must be careful in doing so.

Second, Protestants believe that the scripture elsewhere teach justification by faith in such black and white terms that the sacramental view of salvation is ruled out. God promises to save believers and it would be wrong to think God would not save a true believer who was un-baptized. Now I do think contempt of baptism is a sign of unbelief. But if for some legitimate reason someone were to remain un-baptized (i.e. the thief on the cross) they will still be justified by their faith as God has promised.

On to the text… We have two reasons to believe Peter was speaking loosely when he says the waters of baptism save us: one in the inbound context and the other in the outbound context.

First, Peter says Noah and his family were saved by water. Strictly speaking, Noah was saved from water not by it. In light of this people have understood Peter’s statement in various ways. Some spiritualize the text by saying that the threat of water was the occasion on which Noah exercised faith and was justified. But this interpretation portrays Noah’s deliverance as spiritual rather than physical. The error in this view is plainly shown by the word ‘anittype’ – Noah’s physical deliverance from the flood typifies baptism rather than parallels it.

Others say Noah was saved ‘through’ water rather than by it. Thus Noah is being saved by something else while he passes through water. But that destroys the parallel with baptism as well, since with respect to baptism the passage says water saves us. Water is said to act in our salvation rather than simply to be around us as we are being saved.

Others say water buoyed up the ark or that water carried Noah to a new life. These views seem closer to being correct but these explanations are still not totally satisfying, since Noah would not have needed salvation in the first place if it were not for water and Noah’s life was not biologically different after the flood. In the final analysis, Peter is simply speaking loosely, water is a metonymy representing the whole business of God delivering Noah from the flood.

Second, Peter clarified what he was saying (i.e. not the removal of the filth of the flesh…). And this is a tell that Peter was speaking loosely and wanted to tighten up what he was saying a bit to avoid misunderstandings.

So what did Peter mean when he said water now saves us? I take water as a metonymy – both in the case of Noah’s salvation and ours. Strictly speaking water didn’t save Noah and it doesn’t save us, but it does represent our salvation and his. Baptism is a sign of the covenant. No one questions that; the question typically is if it’s more than that. In Genesis 17:13

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God verbally substitutes His covenant for the sign of His covenant (i.e. I will put my covenant in your flesh). Here Peter substitutes the sign for the covenant.

One of the main reasons I take it that way is the expression “not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer [or pledge] of a good conscience toward God”. In baptism, we pledge ourselves to God and join the visible church. If a believer is baptized, they are expressing their faith and God is saving them. If an unbeliever is baptized, he is not saved by it.

Babies are an interesting case, but without getting into that issue it seems safe to say babies neither pledge themselves to God nor are they bothered by conscience, so to say this passage teaches infant baptismal regeneration is quite a stretch.

via Arminian Chronicles: Baptismal Regeneration and 1 Peter 3:20-21.


Let me start at the beginning of his post:

The Necessity of Baptism

I agree with my friend. This passage, even in its full context does not directly address salvation as a whole. What it does do is address an aspect of salvation, one that according to Jesus Himself, is a prerequisite for entry in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus, speaking to Nicodemus says,

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.Nicodemus said 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?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’

Jesus is making it very clear that baptism is a requirement for our salvation. Yes, it shows the world that we are Christians but more so it leaves an indelible mark upon the soul showing the purely spiritual that we are part of the New Covenant. Let address to items prior to continuing, first there is the passage where Christ states, “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers’ (Matthew (RSV) 7:22-23). This is obviously a meaty passage concerning faith/works and the status of a believer but I also make the point that one can see a parallel concerning that indelible mark upon the should received at baptism versus a professed believer who does not receive it through baptism. How is this? Well Paul tells us:

In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ; and you were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. (Colossians (RSV) 2:11-12)

So to understand the sacrament of baptism one must see how this all comes together as part of our covenant relationship with God. Many already know that Old Testament Jews were required to circumcise their infant boys (or any converts no matter the age) in order to show that they were indeed Jewish and part of the that covenant. This was done without the assent of the will of infants and while it did not save (pre-Christ) those who underwent it, it did set the men apart from the Gentiles making Jewish men easily identifiable and was evidence that one’s family kept the Commandments of God.

This is, in part, what baptism does for us. It sets us apart from others by a means that cleanses our soul of sin. When baptism is received as an infant it removes the stain of Original Sin and initiates us into the new and fulfilled covenant relationship with God as demonstrated by Christ  – Who is God. Despite the salvific properties of baptism, God also made it so that it only removes sin, whether inherited or personal (by commission/omission), on a person’s soul prior to the event. So, for example, if a child were to die immediately after baptism, they would be guaranteed entrance into heaven despite never personally proclaiming faith in Christ as most Protestants would say is a requirement.

What is interesting to note is that God mentions baptism as a requirement for entrance into heaven while also making it clear that simply believing in Him is not enough, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you” (Luke 6:46, Matt. 7:21–23, 19:16–21)? Simply put, it is Christ Who is God that binds us to this and all the sacraments because, “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James (RSV) 2:24). This explicit contradiction to the majority Protestant doctrine of sola fide shows us why it is important to do as well as believe (Matthew 5:17).

Concerning the necessity of baptism, the Church teaches:

The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation (Jn 3,5). He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them (Mt 28,19-20 cf. Council of Trent (1547) DS 1618 LG 14; AGd 5). Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament (Mk 16,16). The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments. (1997 Catechism of the Catholic Church 1257)

It is this last sentence that is most important when considering the Mercy of God and how receiving/not receiving the sacraments play out in one’s life. It is also important to note that the Church has a lot more to say concerning baptism.

The Saving Grace of Baptism is Prefigured in the Old Testament

As my Parochial Vicar often says concerning theology, “it is all about being precise.” How does this factor into our conversation? Well, to say, as my friend does, that Noah was saved from water and not through it is to miss the point of Peter’s words. Again, Peter is making it clear that baptism is not only required but salvific in nature. One could say that it is required because baptism is salvific. For example, the Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary explains the passage in this fashion:

Baptism, &c. That is, the ark was a figure of baptism, which saveth you from the death of the soul; and as no one was saved from the waters of the deluge but those few eight persons who were in the ark, so no one can enter into heaven if he hath not been baptized, or hath had a desire of it when come to the use of reason. And such persons as are capable of knowing what they receive, must come with the dispositions of faith and a true repentance, which is here called the examination (lit. the interrogation [3]) of a good conscience, who therefore are examined whether they believe in one God and three Persons, &c. Wi. — Baptism is said to be the like form with the water by which Noe was saved, because the one was a figure of the other. — Not the putting away,&c. As much as to say, that baptism has not its efficacy, in order to salvation, from its washing away any bodily filth or dirt; but from its purging the conscience from sin: when accompanied with suitable dispositions in the party, to answer the interrogations made at that time, with relation to faith, the renouncing of Satan with all his works, and the obedience to God’s commands. Ch.

The Magestirum, through the Catechism teaches us that baptism was prefigured in the Old Covenant as follows:

1218 Since the beginning of the world, water, so humble and wonderful a creature, has been the source of life and fruitfulness. Sacred Scripture sees it as “overshadowed” by the Spirit of God:(Gn 1,2) At the very dawn of creation your Spirit breathed on the waters, making them the wellspring of all holiness. (Roman Missal, Easter Vigil 42: Blessing of Water.)

1219 The Church has seen in Noah’s ark a prefiguring of salvation by Baptism, for by it “a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water”:(1P 3,20) The waters of the great flood you made a sign of the waters of Baptism, that make an end of sin and a new beginning of goodness. (Roman Missal, Easter Vigil 42: Blessing of Water.)

1220  If water springing up from the earth symbolizes life, the water of the sea is a symbol of death and so can represent the mystery of the cross. By this symbolism Baptism signifies communion with Christ’s death.

1221 But above all, the crossing of the Red Sea, literally the liberation of Israel from the slavery of Egypt, announces the liberation wrought by Baptism: You freed the children of Abraham from the slavery of Pharaoh, bringing them dry-shod through the waters of the Red Sea, to be an image of the people set free in Baptism.(Roman Missal, Easter Vigil 42: Blessing of Water: “Abrahae filios per mare Rubrum sicco vestigio transire fecisti, ut plebs, a Pharaonis servitute liberata, populum baptizatorum praefiguraret.”)

1222 Finally, Baptism is prefigured in the crossing of the Jordan River by which the People of God received the gift of the land promised to Abraham’s descendants, an image of eternal life. The promise of this blessed inheritance is fulfilled in the New Covenant.

The Salvific Grace of Baptism

We are saved by Grace alone. The grace received through baptism is only salvific because it comes about through Christ Jesus, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ (Galatians (RSV) 3:27, cf Romans 13:14). Going further, Paul says to us in Romans 6,4-7:

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin.

Baptism is as much about becoming dead to sin as it is about being reborn – a “new creature in Christ:”

1265 Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte “a new creature,” an adopted son of God, who has become a “partaker of the divine nature,”(2Co 5,17; 2P 1,4; Ga 4,5-7) member of Christ and co-heir with him,(Cf. 1Co 6,15; 12,27; Rm 8,17) and a temple of the Holy Spirit.(1Co 6,19)

1266 The Most Holy Trinity gives the baptized sanctifying grace, the grace of justification:– enabling them to believe in God, to hope in him, and to love him through the theological virtues;- giving them the power to live and act under the prompting of the Holy Spirit through the gifts of the Holy Spirit;- allowing them to grow in goodness through the moral virtues.Thus the whole organism of the Christian’s supernatural life has its roots in Baptism. (1997 Catechism of the Catholic Church)

Baptism Now Saves You: 1 Peter 3:20-21

Noah's sacrifice

The following is a response to a friend’s blog post where he begins to outline his refutation of the Catholic understanding of baptismal regeneration, focusing his analysis on 1 Peter 3:20-21, which reads:

“…who formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ…” (RSV)

Before we continue, I would like to make one very important note concerning the manner in which Protestants seem to use Scripture when providing evidence to or for as opposed to Catholics; that is, Catholics understand that the Bible is not always black and white there is more to Scripture than just what is in print such as author, audience, culture, time, etc. Not to mention that there are many teachings that are part of Divine Revelation in the form of Sacred Tradition. These teachings are absolutely never contradicted by Scripture although sometimes they are not explicitly found within Scripture (Scripture never says that it is the sole rule of authority or instruction).

Immediately following is the quoted post, I will do my best at responding to his objections:

Baptismal Regeneration and 1 Peter 3:20-21

Catholics and most Protestants disagree on the question of whether baptism saves us – Catholics viewing baptism as a requirement for salvation. One text Catholics cite is 1 Peter 3:20-21:

who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.

There is also an antitype which now saves us––baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

Before digging into the text a few preliminaries are in order. First, this passage is not part of an extended discourse on salvation, such as Paul undertakes in Romans and Galatians. Nor is Peter addressing the specific question of what must we do to be saved as Paul was in Acts 16:30-31. Rather, Peter is addressing the subject in passing as part of his larger discourse on suffering for Christ. Not to say that we cannot dig out little tidbits on salvation here; it’s just that we must be careful in doing so.

Second, Protestants believe that the scripture elsewhere teach justification by faith in such black and white terms that the sacramental view of salvation is ruled out. God promises to save believers and it would be wrong to think God would not save a true believer who was un-baptized. Now I do think contempt of baptism is a sign of unbelief. But if for some legitimate reason someone were to remain un-baptized (i.e. the thief on the cross) they will still be justified by their faith as God has promised.

On to the text… We have two reasons to believe Peter was speaking loosely when he says the waters of baptism save us: one in the inbound context and the other in the outbound context.

First, Peter says Noah and his family were saved by water. Strictly speaking, Noah was saved from water not by it. In light of this people have understood Peter’s statement in various ways. Some spiritualize the text by saying that the threat of water was the occasion on which Noah exercised faith and was justified. But this interpretation portrays Noah’s deliverance as spiritual rather than physical. The error in this view is plainly shown by the word ‘anittype’ – Noah’s physical deliverance from the flood typifies baptism rather than parallels it.

Others say Noah was saved ‘through’ water rather than by it. Thus Noah is being saved by something else while he passes through water. But that destroys the parallel with baptism as well, since with respect to baptism the passage says water saves us. Water is said to act in our salvation rather than simply to be around us as we are being saved.

Others say water buoyed up the ark or that water carried Noah to a new life. These views seem closer to being correct but these explanations are still not totally satisfying, since Noah would not have needed salvation in the first place if it were not for water and Noah’s life was not biologically different after the flood. In the final analysis, Peter is simply speaking loosely, water is a metonymy representing the whole business of God delivering Noah from the flood.

Second, Peter clarified what he was saying (i.e. not the removal of the filth of the flesh…). And this is a tell that Peter was speaking loosely and wanted to tighten up what he was saying a bit to avoid misunderstandings.

So what did Peter mean when he said water now saves us? I take water as a metonymy – both in the case of Noah’s salvation and ours. Strictly speaking water didn’t save Noah and it doesn’t save us, but it does represent our salvation and his. Baptism is a sign of the covenant. No one questions that; the question typically is if it’s more than that. In Genesis 17:13 God verbally substitutes His covenant for the sign of His covenant (i.e. I will put my covenant in your flesh). Here Peter substitutes the sign for the covenant.

One of the main reasons I take it that way is the expression “not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer [or pledge] of a good conscience toward God”. In baptism, we pledge ourselves to God and join the visible church. If a believer is baptized, they are expressing their faith and God is saving them. If an unbeliever is baptized, he is not saved by it.

Babies are an interesting case, but without getting into that issue it seems safe to say babies neither pledge themselves to God nor are they bothered by conscience, so to say this passage teaches infant baptismal regeneration is quite a stretch.

via Arminian Chronicles: Baptismal Regeneration and 1 Peter 3:20-21.


Let me start at the beginning of his post:

The Necessity of Baptism

I agree with my friend. This passage, even in its full context does not directly address salvation as a whole. What it does do is address an aspect of salvation, one that according to Jesus Himself, is a prerequisite for entry in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus, speaking to Nicodemus says,

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.Nicodemus said 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?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’

Jesus is making it very clear that baptism is a requirement for our salvation. Yes, it shows the world that we are Christians but more so it leaves an indelible mark upon the soul showing the purely spiritual that we are part of the New Covenant. Let address to items prior to continuing, first there is the passage where Christ states, “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers’ (Matthew (RSV) 7:22-23). This is obviously a meaty passage concerning faith/works and the status of a believer but I also make the point that one can see a parallel concerning that indelible mark upon the should received at baptism versus a professed believer who does not receive it through baptism. How is this? Well Paul tells us:

In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ; and you were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. (Colossians (RSV) 2:11-12)

So to understand the sacrament of baptism one must see how this all comes together as part of our covenant relationship with God. Many already know that Old Testament Jews were required to circumcise their infant boys (or any converts no matter the age) in order to show that they were indeed Jewish and part of the that covenant. This was done without the assent of the will of infants and while it did not save (pre-Christ) those who underwent it, it did set the men apart from the Gentiles making Jewish men easily identifiable and was evidence that one’s family kept the Commandments of God.

This is, in part, what baptism does for us. It sets us apart from others by a means that cleanses our soul of sin. When baptism is received as an infant it removes the stain of Original Sin and initiates us into the new and fulfilled covenant relationship with God as demonstrated by Christ  – Who is God. Despite the salvific properties of baptism, God also made it so that it only removes sin, whether inherited or personal (by commission/omission), on a person’s soul prior to the event. So, for example, if a child were to die immediately after baptism, they would be guaranteed entrance into heaven despite never personally proclaiming faith in Christ as most Protestants would say is a requirement.

What is interesting to note is that God mentions baptism as a requirement for entrance into heaven while also making it clear that simply believing in Him is not enough, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you” (Luke 6:46, Matt. 7:21–23, 19:16–21)? Simply put, it is Christ Who is God that binds us to this and all the sacraments because, “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James (RSV) 2:24). This explicit contradiction to the majority Protestant doctrine of sola fide shows us why it is important to do as well as believe (Matthew 5:17).

Concerning the necessity of baptism, the Church teaches:

The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation (Jn 3,5). He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them (Mt 28,19-20 cf. Council of Trent (1547) DS 1618 LG 14; AGd 5). Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament (Mk 16,16). The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments. (1997 Catechism of the Catholic Church 1257)

It is this last sentence that is most important when considering the Mercy of God and how receiving/not receiving the sacraments play out in one’s life. It is also important to note that the Church has a lot more to say concerning baptism.

The Saving Grace of Baptism is Prefigured in the Old Testament

As my Parochial Vicar often says concerning theology, “it is all about being precise.” How does this factor into our conversation? Well, to say, as my friend does, that Noah was saved from water and not through it is to miss the point of Peter’s words. Again, Peter is making it clear that baptism is not only required but salvific in nature. One could say that it is required because baptism is salvific. For example, the Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary explains the passage in this fashion:

Baptism, &c. That is, the ark was a figure of baptism, which saveth you from the death of the soul; and as no one was saved from the waters of the deluge but those few eight persons who were in the ark, so no one can enter into heaven if he hath not been baptized, or hath had a desire of it when come to the use of reason. And such persons as are capable of k
nowing what they receive, must come with the dispositions of faith and a true repentance, which is here called the examination (lit. the interrogation [3]) of a good conscience, who therefore are examined whether they believe in one God and three Persons, &c. Wi. — Baptism is said to be the like form with the water by which Noe was saved, because the one was a figure of the other.Not the putting away,&c. As much as to say, that baptism has not its efficacy, in order to salvation, from its washing away any bodily filth or dirt; but from its purging the conscience from sin: when accompanied with suitable dispositions in the party, to answer the interrogations made at that time, with relation to faith, the renouncing of Satan with all his works, and the obedience to God’s commands. Ch.

The Magestirum, through the Catechism teaches us that baptism was prefigured in the Old Covenant as follows:

1218 Since the beginning of the world, water, so humble and wonderful a creature, has been the source of life and fruitfulness. Sacred Scripture sees it as “overshadowed” by the Spirit of God:(Gn 1,2) At the very dawn of creation your Spirit breathed on the waters, making them the wellspring of all holiness. (Roman Missal, Easter Vigil 42: Blessing of Water.)

1219 The Church has seen in Noah’s ark a prefiguring of salvation by Baptism, for by it “a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water”:(1P 3,20) The waters of the great flood you made a sign of the waters of Baptism, that make an end of sin and a new beginning of goodness. (Roman Missal, Easter Vigil 42: Blessing of Water.)

1220  If water springing up from the earth symbolizes life, the water of the sea is a symbol of death and so can represent the mystery of the cross. By this symbolism Baptism signifies communion with Christ’s death.

1221 But above all, the crossing of the Red Sea, literally the liberation of Israel from the slavery of Egypt, announces the liberation wrought by Baptism: You freed the children of Abraham from the slavery of Pharaoh, bringing them dry-shod through the waters of the Red Sea, to be an image of the people set free in Baptism.(Roman Missal, Easter Vigil 42: Blessing of Water: “Abrahae filios per mare Rubrum sicco vestigio transire fecisti, ut plebs, a Pharaonis servitute liberata, populum baptizatorum praefiguraret.”)

1222 Finally, Baptism is prefigured in the crossing of the Jordan River by which the People of God received the gift of the land promised to Abraham’s descendants, an image of eternal life. The promise of this blessed inheritance is fulfilled in the New Covenant.

The Salvific Grace of Baptism

We are saved by Grace alone. The grace received through baptism is only salvific because it comes about through Christ Jesus, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ (Galatians (RSV) 3:27, cf Romans 13:14). Going further, Paul says to us in Romans 6,4-7:

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin.

Baptism is as much about becoming dead to sin as it is about being reborn – a “new creature in Christ:”

1265 Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte “a new creature,” an adopted son of God, who has become a “partaker of the divine nature,”(2Co 5,17; 2P 1,4; Ga 4,5-7) member of Christ and co-heir with him,(Cf. 1Co 6,15; 12,27; Rm 8,17) and a temple of the Holy Spirit.(1Co 6,19)

1266 The Most Holy Trinity gives the baptized sanctifying grace, the grace of justification:– enabling them to believe in God, to hope in him, and to love him through the theological virtues;- giving them the power to live and act under the prompting of the Holy Spirit through the gifts of the Holy Spirit;- allowing them to grow in goodness through the moral virtues.Thus the whole organism of the Christian’s supernatural life has its roots in Baptism. (1997 Catechism of the Catholic Church)

Catholic Bibles: Blizzard Contest

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The new Second Catholic Edition of the RSV. The cover illustration is called The Four Evangelists by Christopher J. Pelicano. Image via Wikipedia.

The Catholic Bibles blog is looking to give away some pretty cool reading gifts (read more below):

On the eve of not only a massive snow storm which will be hitting the Great Lakes later this evening, but more importantly the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, I thought it would be a great time to have a contest giveaway.

Prize: Brand new copies of Edward Sri’sThe Bible Compass: A Catholic Guide to Navigating the ScripturesandRevelation: A Devotional Commentary from the Word Among Us Press.

Here are the rules:

  • If you have a blog, please advertise this contest on your site. (If you don’t, you can still enter the contest.)
  • This contest is only for people who are in the United States or Canada. (Again, overseas shipping costs are a bit too high for me right now. Sorry.)
  • The question you need to answer in the comment box: In one sentence, what is your Bible translation of choice and why? (Remember, I will only accept one sentence, so be concise. (Humor is also something I look for, but is not necessary.)
  • The contest ends on Saturday at 11:59PM EST.
  • One entry per person.
  • via Catholic Bibles: Blizzard Contest.

    Here goes my answer and entry:

    The Ignatius Bible (RSV-CE2) is the one for me as it offers familiar, traditional phraseology coupled with modern English and is present in a manner that is not thereatening to Protestants and chock full of orthodox footnotes.

    A slightly more expanded explanation is:

    My Bible translation of choice is the Revised Standard Version 2nd Catholic Edition as published by Ignatius Press. This is not really much of a surprise for many Catholics who follow EWTN, Catholic Answers, etc. However, the primary reason for this being my translation of choice is due mostly to the seeming balance of in terms of familiar, traditional phraseology in English for both Catholics and Protestants (real nice to use when evangelizing our separated brethren) and solid, orthodox footnotes. This is a vast improvement to the our USCCB-endorsed translation the New American Bible.

    The NAB is a great translation when sticking to the verses, with exception to the manner in which Mary is addressed by Gabriel in the first chapter of Luke; however, it is the confusing and sometimes unorthodox footnotes that does this translation in when considering it for study and daily reading. This was made very apparent to me when a Protestant was using this very translation to refute our deutercanon. Very sad in my opinion.

    Anyway, it is the RSV-CE 2 for me and I literally carry it with me every where I go. Just love it!

    Catholic Bibles: Blizzard Contest

    The new Second Catholic Edition of the RSV. Th...

    The Catholic Bibles blog is looking to give away some pretty cool reading gifts (read more below):

    On the eve of not only a massive snow storm which will be hitting the Great Lakes later this evening, but more importantly the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, I thought it would be a great time to have a contest giveaway.

    Prize: Brand new copies of Edward Sri’sThe Bible Compass: A Catholic Guide to Navigating the ScripturesandRevelation: A Devotional Commentary from the Word Among Us Press.

    Here are the rules:

    1. If you have a blog, please advertise this contest on your site. (If you don’t, you can still enter the contest.)
    2. This contest is only for people who are in the United States or Canada. (Again, overseas shipping costs are a bit too high for me right now. Sorry.)
    3. The question you need to answer in the comment box: In one sentence, what is your Bible translation of choice and why? (Remember, I will only accept one sentence, so be concise. (Humor is also something I look for, but is not necessary.)
    4. The contest ends on Saturday at 11:59PM EST.
    5. One entry per person.

    via Catholic Bibles: Blizzard Contest.

    Here goes my answer and entry:

    The Ignatius Bible (RSV-CE2) is the one for me as it offers familiar, traditional phraseology coupled with modern English and is present in a manner that is not thereatening to Protestants and chock full of orthodox footnotes.

    A slightly more expanded explanation is:

    My Bible translation of choice is the Revised Standard Version 2nd Catholic Edition as published by Ignatius Press. This is not really much of a surprise for many Catholics who follow EWTN, Catholic Answers, etc. However, the primary reason for this being my translation of choice is due mostly to the seeming balance of in terms of familiar, traditional phraseology in English for both Catholics and Protestants (real nice to use when evangelizing our separated brethren) and solid, orthodox footnotes. This is a vast improvement to the our USCCB-endorsed translation the New American Bible.

    The NAB is a great translation when sticking to the verses, with exception to the manner in which Mary is addressed by Gabriel in the first chapter of Luke; however, it is the confusing and sometimes unorthodox footnotes that does this translation in when considering it for study and daily reading. This was made very apparent to me when a Protestant was using this very translation to refute our deutercanon. Very sad in my opinion.

    Anyway, it is the RSV-CE 2 for me and I literally carry it with me every where I go. Just love it!

    Apologetics in Action: To Llondy, On the Real Presence (Introduction)

    Original Post and Comment

    My new comments will be in red and italicized, where necessary, in an effort to maintain the llondy’s formatting so as to show full context.

    Good luck reading and following. As usual, those wishing to offer feedback and/or suggestions are always welcome. Enjoy:


    My Catholic friend’s comments will be in italics. I do have many Catholic friends that I can discuss these issues with in a cordial manner and I hope this continues to be the case. [Most certainly.]

    In commenting on my post, the Protestant “llondy,” attempted to clarify how Jesus’ own words were “only symbols and seals of what Christ has done for us.” This for me is tantamount to blasphemy as this Protestant’s position is to make the Lord a liar and a person who speaks against His very own nature. Allow me to expound:

    I hope your exposition of this is well done, because to accuse of blasphemy is a serious charge. We all know that not everything the Lord said was literal and when we interpret as such, as in the case of Jesus referencing the vine in John, we are not calling Christ a liar if He is not a vine.

    [The rest of Llondy’s comment are directly tied to the orignal aspect of my posts, the Holy Eucharist, that is – the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. In an attempt to prevent any continuity issues for the reader, I will address each of Llondy’s points as they occur.

    First is the argument that because not everything that Jesus said was to be understood literally thus we cannot take the Jesus’ word in John 6 literally. The example used for this is the passage in John 15 known as “Jesus, the True Vine:”

  • “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
  • Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
  • You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you.
  • Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
  • I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
  • If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.
  • If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.
  • By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.
  • As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.
  • 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.
  • These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John (RSV) 15)
  • To appeal to this passage, or any other passage where Jesus is clearly using metaphorical language demonstrates a lack of contextual memory. The Bread of Life Discourse is the only passage where Jesus does not clarify the meaning of His words – instead He reiterates the very words even more forcefully. Jesus wishes to impact the listener.

    The Protestant heresy of denying the Truth of the Real Presence Christ in the Eucharist dates to around 1517 and the Judas-like invention of the Swedish Protestant Zwingli. Before then, no person ever denied the fact that the practice of Christianity centered on the Eucharist: the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Certainly there were other heretics before Zwingli that denied either the divinity of Christ (Arianism) or the humanity of Christ (Gnostics). But no one ever denied the fact that Christians believed in the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

    So unique is this belief to Christianity that during the Diocletian persecution Christians were accused of ritual cannibalism because we “eat the flesh” of Our God:

    The chief accusations urged against the early Christians by their antagonists were atheism, cannibalism, and incest. These charges were made very early. Justin Martyr (Apol. 1. 26) mentions them, and Pliny in his epistle to Trajan speaks of the innocent meals of the Christians, implying that they had been accused of immorality in connection with them. (Compare, also, Tertullian’s Apol. 7, 8, and Ad Nationes, 7). In fact, suspicions arose among the heathen as soon as their love feasts became secret. The persecution in Lyons is to be explained only by the belief of the officer, that these and similar accusations were true. The Christians commonly denied all such charges in total, and supported their denial by urging the absurdity of such conduct; but sometimes, as in the present case, they endeavored to exonerate themselves by attributing the crimes with which they were charged to heretics. This course, however, helped them little with the heathen, as the latter did not distinguish between the various parties of Christians, but treated them all as one class. The statement of Eusebius in the present case is noteworthy. He thinks that the crimes were really committed by heretics, and occasioned the accusations of the heathen, and he thus admits that the charges were founded upon fact. In this case he acts toward the heretics in the same way that the heathen acted toward the Christians as a whole. This method of exonerating themselves appears as early as Justin Martyr (compare his Apol. I. 26). Irenaeus also (I. 25, 3), whom Eusebius substantially follows in this passage, and Philaster (c. 57), pursue the same course. (NPNF2-01 Eusebius 493)

    The mere fact that many, even pagans, thought that early Christians participated in ritual cannibalism is a testament to the faith these believers held in the Holy Eucharist. Denying the very substance of the Consecrated Host is to deny the very existence of Christ and the omnipotence of God as evidenced by what Jesus Himself stated, instituted and even instructed personally to St. Paul. is to deny His command to “Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24). In this latter case, what weight is given to Paul’s words if the Jesus Christ is not Truly Present in the Eucharist?

    For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

    Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we should not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are chastened so that we may not be condemned along with the world. So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another — if any one is hungry, let him eat at home — lest you come together to be condemned. About the other things I will give directions when I come. (1 Corinthians 11:23-34)

    How can one “be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord” if the Lord Himself is not substantially present? How can one “eat and drink judgement upon” themselves by eating and drinking the Body and Blood without properly discerning it?

    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 you;
    he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
    For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
    He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” (John 6:53-59)

    On this God’s Word is clear.]

    Apologetics in Action: To Llondy, On the Real Presence (Introduction)

    Original Post and Comment

    My new comments will be in red and italicized, where necessary, in an effort to maintain the llondy’s formatting so as to show full context.

    Good luck reading and following. As usual, those wishing to offer feedback and/or suggestions are always welcome. Enjoy:


    My Catholic friend’s comments will be in italics. I do have many Catholic friends that I can discuss these issues with in a cordial manner and I hope this continues to be the case. [Most certainly.]

    In commenting on my post, the Protestant “llondy,” attempted to clarify how Jesus’ own words were “only symbols and seals of what Christ has done for us.” This for me is tantamount to blasphemy as this Protestant’s position is to make the Lord a liar and a person who speaks against His very own nature. Allow me to expound:

    I hope your exposition of this is well done, because to accuse of blasphemy is a serious charge. We all know that not everything the Lord said was literal and when we interpret as such, as in the case of Jesus referencing the vine in John, we are not calling Christ a liar if He is not a vine.

    [The rest of Llondy’s comment are directly tied to the orignal aspect of my posts, the Holy Eucharist, that is – the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. In an attempt to prevent any continuity issues for the reader, I will address each of Llondy’s points as they occur.

    First is the argument that because not everything that Jesus said was to be understood literally thus we cannot take the Jesus’ word in John 6 literally. The example used for this is the passage in John 15 known as “Jesus, the True Vine:”

    1. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
    2. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
    3. You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you.
    4. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, 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 it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
    6. If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.
    7. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.
    8. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.
    9. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.
    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.
    11. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John (RSV) 15)

    To appeal to this passage, or any other passage where Jesus is clearly using metaphorical language demonstrates a lack of contextual memory. The Bread of Life Discourse is the only passage where Jesus does not clarify the meaning of His words – instead He reiterates the very words even more forcefully. Jesus wishes to impact the listener.

    The Protestant heresy of denying the Truth of the Real Presence Christ in the Eucharist dates to around 1517 and the Judas-like invention of the Swedish Protestant Zwingli. Before then, no person ever denied the fact that the practice of Christianity centered on the Eucharist: the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Certainly there were other heretics before Zwingli that denied either the divinity of Christ (Arianism) or the humanity of Christ (Gnostics). But no one ever denied the fact that Christians believed in the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

    So unique is this belief to Christianity that during the Diocletian persecution Christians were accused of ritual cannibalism because we “eat the flesh” of Our God:

    The chief accusations urged against the early Christians by their antagonists were atheism, cannibalism, and incest. These charges were made very early. Justin Martyr (Apol. 1. 26) mentions them, and Pliny in his epistle to Trajan speaks of the innocent meals of the Christians, implying that they had been accused of immorality in connection with them. (Compare, also, Tertullian’s Apol. 7, 8, and Ad Nationes, 7). In fact, suspicions arose among the heathen as soon as their love feasts became secret. The persecution in Lyons is to be explained only by the belief of the officer, that these and similar accusations were true. The Christians commonly denied all such charges in total, and supported their denial by urging the absurdity of such conduct; but sometimes, as in the present case, they endeavored to exonerate themselves by attributing the crimes with which they were charged to heretics. This course, however, helped them little with the heathen, as the latter did not distinguish between the various parties of Christians, but treated them all as one class. The statement of Eusebius in the present case is noteworthy. He thinks that the crimes were really committed by heretics, and occasioned the accusations of the heathen, and he thus admits that the charges were founded upon fact. In this case he acts toward the heretics in the same way that the heathen acted toward the Christians as a whole. This method of exonerating themselves appears as early as Justin Martyr (compare his Apol. I. 26). Irenaeus also (I. 25, 3), whom Eusebi
    us substantially follows in this passage, and Philaster (c. 57), pursue the same course. (NPNF2-01 Eusebius 493)

    The mere fact that many, even pagans, thought that early Christians participated in ritual cannibalism is a testament to the faith these believers held in the Holy Eucharist. Denying the very substance of the Consecrated Host is to deny the very existence of Christ and the omnipotence of God as evidenced by what Jesus Himself stated, instituted and even instructed personally to St. Paul. is to deny His command to “Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24). In this latter case, what weight is given to Paul’s words if the Jesus Christ is not Truly Present in the Eucharist?

    For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

    Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we should not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are chastened so that we may not be condemned along with the world. So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another — if any one is hungry, let him eat at home — lest you come together to be condemned. About the other things I will give directions when I come. (1 Corinthians 11:23-34)

    How can one “be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord” if the Lord Himself is not substantially present? How can one “eat and drink judgement upon” themselves by eating and drinking the Body and Blood without properly discerning it?

    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 you;
    he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
    For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
    He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” (John 6:53-59)

    On this God’s Word is clear.]

    Apologetics in Action: To Llondy, On the Real Presence (Introduction)

    Original Post and Comment

    My new comments will be in red and italicized in an effort to maintain the llondy’s formatting so as to show full context.

    Good luck reading and following. As usual, those wishing to offer feedback and/or suggestions are always welcome. Enjoy:


    Media_httptrustinjesu_fqakn

    Christ with the Eucharist, Vicente Juan Masip, 16th century. Image via Wikipedia.

    My Catholic friend’s comments will be in italics. I do have many Catholic friends that I can discuss these issues with in a cordial manner and I hope this continues to be the case. [Most certainly.]

    In commenting on my post, the Protestant “llondy,” attempted to clarify how Jesus’ own words were “only symbols and seals of what Christ has done for us.” This for me is tantamount to blasphemy as this Protestant’s position is to make the Lord a liar and a person who speaks against His very own nature. Allow me to expound:

    I hope your exposition of this is well done, because to accuse of blasphemy is a serious charge. We all know that not everything the Lord said was literal and when we interpret as such, as in the case of Jesus referencing the vine in John, we are not calling Christ a liar if He is not a vine.

    [The rest of Llondy’s comment are directly tied to the orignal aspect of my posts, the Holy Eucharist, that is – the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. In an an attempt to prevent any continuity issues for the reader, I will address each of Llondy’s points as they occur.

    First is the argument that because not everything that Jesus said was to be understood literally thus we cannot take the Jesus’ word in John 6 literally. The example used for this is the passage in John 15 known as “Jesus, the True Vine:”

    “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
    Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
    You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you.
    Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
    I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
    If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.
    If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.
    By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.
    As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.
    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.
    These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:1-11)

    To appeal to this passage, or any other passage where Jesus is clearly using metaphorical language demonstrates a lack of contextual memory. The Bread of Life Discourse is the only passage where Jesus does not clarify the meaning of His words – instead He reiterates the very words even more forcefully. Jesus wishes to impact the listener.

    The Protestant heresy of denying the Truth of the Real Presence Christ in the Eucharist dates to around 1517 and the Judas-like invention of the Swedish Protestant Zwingli. Before then, no person ever denied the fact that the practice of Christianity centered on the Eucharist: the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Certainly there were other heretics before Zwingli that denied either the divinity of Christ (Arianism) or the humanity of Christ (Gnostics). But no one ever denied the fact that Christians believed in the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

    So unique is this belief to Christianity that during the Diocletian persecution Christians were accused of ritual cannibalism because we “eat the flesh” of Our God:

    The chief accusations urged against the early Christians by their antagonists were atheism, cannibalism, and incest. These charges were made very early. Justin Martyr (Apol. 1. 26) mentions them, and Pliny in his epistle to Trajan speaks of the innocent meals of the Christians, implying that they had been accused of immorality in connection with them. (Compare, also, Tertullian’s Apol. 7, 8, and Ad Nationes, 7). In fact, suspicions arose among the heathen as soon as their love feasts became secret. The persecution in Lyons is to be explained only by the belief of the officer, that these and similar accusations were true. The Christians cornmonly denied all such charges in total, and supported their denial by urging the absurdity of such conduct; but sometimes, as in the present case, they endeavored to exonerate themselves by attributing the crimes with which they were charged to heretics. This course, however, helped them little with the heathen, as the latter did not distinguish between the various parties of Christians, but treated them all as one class. The statement of Eusebius in the present case is noteworthy. He thinks that the crimes were really committed by heretics, and occasioned the accusations of the heathen, and he thus admits that the charges were founded upon fact. In this case he acts toward the heretics in the same way that the heathen acted toward the Christians as a whole. This method of exonerating themselves appears as early as Justin Martyr (compare his Apol. I. 26). Irenaeus also (I. 25, 3), whom Eusebius substantially follows in this passage, and Philaster (c. 57), pursue the same course. (NPNF2-01 Eusebius 493)

    The mere fact that many, even pagans, thought that early Christians participated in ritual cannibalism is a testament to the faith these believers held in the Holy Eucharist. Denying the very substance of the Consecrated Host is to deny the very existence of Christ and the omnipotence of God as evidenced by what Jesus Himself stated, instituted and even instructed personally to St. Paul. is to deny His command to “Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24). In this latter case, what weight is given to Paul’s words if the Jesus Christ is not Truly Present in the Eucharist?

    For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

    Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we should not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are chastened so that we may not be condemned along with the world. So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another — if any one is hungry, let him eat at home — lest you come together to be condemned. About the other things I will give directions when I come. (1 Corinthians 11:23-34)

    How can one “be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord” if the Lord Himself is not substantially present? How can one “eat and drink judgement upon” themselves by eating and drinking the Body and Blood without properly discerning it?

    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 you;
    he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
    For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
    He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” (John 6:53-59)

    On this God’s Word is clear.]

    Apologetics in Action: To Llondy, On the Real Presence (Introduction)

    Original Post and Comment

    My new comments will be in red and italicized in an effort to maintain the llondy’s formatting so as to show full context.

    Good luck reading and following. As usual, those wishing to offer feedback and/or suggestions are always welcome. Enjoy:


    Juan_de_Juanes_002

    My Catholic friend’s comments will be in italics. I do have many Catholic friends that I can discuss these issues with in a cordial manner and I hope this continues to be the case. [Most certainly.]

    In commenting on my post, the Protestant “llondy,” attempted to clarify how Jesus’ own words were “only symbols and seals of what Christ has done for us.” This for me is tantamount to blasphemy as this Protestant’s position is to make the Lord a liar and a person who speaks against His very own nature. Allow me to expound:

    I hope your exposition of this is well done, because to accuse of blasphemy is a serious charge. We all know that not everything the Lord said was literal and when we interpret as such, as in the case of Jesus referencing the vine in John, we are not calling Christ a liar if He is not a vine.

    [The rest of Llondy’s comment are directly tied to the orignal aspect of my posts, the Holy Eucharist, that is – the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. In an an attempt to prevent any continuity issues for the reader, I will address each of Llondy’s points as they occur.

    First is the argument that because not everything that Jesus said was to be understood literally thus we cannot take the Jesus’ word in John 6 literally. The example used for this is the passage in John 15 known as “Jesus, the True Vine:”

    “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
    Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
    You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you.
    Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
    I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
    If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.
    If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.
    By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.
    As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.
    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.
    These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:1-11)

    To appeal to this passage, or any other passage where Jesus is clearly using metaphorical language demonstrates a lack of contextual memory. The Bread of Life Discourse is the only passage where Jesus does not clarify the meaning of His words – instead He reiterates the very words even more forcefully. Jesus wishes to impact the listener.

    The Protestant heresy of denying the Truth of the Real Presence Christ in the Eucharist dates to around 1517 and the Judas-like invention of the Swedish Protestant Zwingli. Before then, no person ever denied the fact that the practice of Christianity centered on the Eucharist: the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Certainly there were other heretics before Zwingli that denied either the divinity of Christ (Arianism) or the humanity of Christ (Gnostics). But no one ever denied the fact that Christians believed in the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

    So unique is this belief to Christianity that during the Diocletian persecution Christians were accused of ritual cannibalism because we “eat the flesh” of Our God:

    The chief accusations urged against the early Christians by their antagonists were atheism, cannibalism, and incest. These charges were made very early. Justin Martyr (Apol. 1. 26) mentions them, and Pliny in his epistle to Trajan speaks of the innocent meals of the Christians, implying that they had been accused of immorality in connection with them. (Compare, also, Tertullian’s Apol. 7, 8, and Ad Nationes, 7). In fact, suspicions arose among the heathen as soon as their love feasts became secret. The persecution in Lyons is to be explained only by the belief of the officer, that these and similar accusations were true. The Christians cornmonly denied all such charges in total, and supported their denial by urging the absurdity of such conduct; but sometimes, as in the present case, they endeavored to exonerate themselves by attributing the crimes with which they were charged to heretics. This course, however, helped them little with the heathen, as the latter did not distinguish between the various parties of Christians, but treated them all as one class. The statement of Eusebius in the present case is noteworthy. He thinks that the crimes were really committed by heretics, and occasioned the accusations of the heathen, and he thus admits that the charges were founded upon fact. In this case he acts toward the heretics in the same way that the heathen acted toward the Christians as a whole. This method of exonerating themselves appears as early as Justin Martyr (compare his Apol. I. 26). Irenaeus also (I. 25, 3), whom Eusebius substantially follows in this passage, and Philaster (c. 57), pursue the same course. (NPNF2-01 Eusebius 493)

    The mere fact that many, even pagans, thought that early Christians participated in ritual cannibalism is a testament to the faith these believers held in the Holy Eucharist. Denying the very substance of the Consecrated Host is to deny the very existence of Christ and the omnipotence of God as evidenced by what Jesus Himself stated, instituted and even instructed personally to St. Paul. is to deny His command to “Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24). In this latter case, what weight is given to Paul’s words if the Jesus Christ is not Truly Present in the Eucharist?

    For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. D
    o this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

    Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we should not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are chastened so that we may not be condemned along with the world. So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another — if any one is hungry, let him eat at home — lest you come together to be condemned. About the other things I will give directions when I come. (1 Corinthians 11:23-34)

    How can one “be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord” if the Lord Himself is not substantially present? How can one “eat and drink judgement upon” themselves by eating and drinking the Body and Blood without properly discerning it?

    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 you;
    he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
    For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
    He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” (John 6:53-59)

    On this God’s Word is clear.]