Monday, September 28, 2020

Fruit of the Poisonous Tree. . .

Apparently, in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit it was discovered that a baby was baptized using the wrong formula (we baptize vs I baptize) and after consideration by the Congregation for the Defense of the Faith, it was decided that this baptism was invalid.  The priest who watched the video of his baptism saw the error and found he had not been, as the CDF determined, validly baptized.  So the concern is that all of his priestly administrations are also invalid.  Or perhaps only illicit.  But either way a problem.

Sacraments have our confidence because we do not go off the reservation in playing with the formulas or the elements.  So it is not a small thing when people mess with the formula or the elements.  It is something that degrades the confidence we have that the Lord is doing what He has promised to do.  He has not given us a broad directive to figure out what works for us, what appeals to our feelings, or what fits the circumstances.  He has given us His Word and Sacraments, plain and simple.

Now, it seems, some have used this issue in Roman Churches to suggest that all baptisms outside of Rome are suspect (with the exception of the Orthodox, of course).  Funny how a Roman Catholic error is used to cast suspicion on Protestants and, perhaps, Lutherans, as well.  

But what about Protestant baptisms. Prior to Vatican II when Protestants converted to Catholicism, they were at least "conditionally" rebaptized because there was some concern about the validity of their Protestant baptism. 

If some deacons and priest use invalid words, despite the fact they are told to use the correct words in fact it isn't optional, it is required by their ordination's obedience, how many more Protestant ministers improvise in prayer and baptismal forumulas and no one knows it even if a baptismal certificate is possible to obtain, which it isn't for some Protestant denominations?

I recommend now, that all Protestants be conditional baptized prior to be received into the full communion of the Catholic Church.

Well, there you have it.  If Rome sneezes, we must presume that Protestants have a cold.  I am quite sure that there are Protestant baptisms worth questioning.  Only a fool would vouch for things he does not or cannot know.  Yet raising questions where there is no direct evidence is never good.  It does not do anyone any good to second guess everything on the basis of an error now.  Especially one with a Roman flavor to it.

I have encountered some, perhaps even many, who have asked to be baptized conditionally because they either have no record of their baptism or no assurance that this baptism was in water in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  But to meet all baptisms with such suspicion will never have a good outcome.  Baptisms are not guilty until proven innocent.  It will surely come back to haunt them and us.  Trust but verify.  Reagan was not a theologian but he got this much right at least.

1 comment:

Daniel G. said...

Pastor Peters,

You should also mention the Orthodox who would not even consider conditional baptism but re-baptizing Catholics AND protestants of all stripes.