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Why can’t I be re-baptized as a Catholic?

Full Question

I was baptized in a Lutheran church as a baby and would now like to enter the Catholic Church. Because I have not been living a Christian life until recently, I very much want to be re-baptized but have been told that the Catholic Church does not re-baptize. Why?

Answer

Baptism is a once-for-all sacrament that washes away original sin, gives sanctifying grace, and imparts a supernatural character upon the soul that makes a person a Christian. An attempt to “redo” a valid baptism would be useless: The second baptism would not “take” because the first was valid. Furthermore, it would be an objective sacrilege because it would cast aspersion on the validity of the first baptism.

Even if you have not lived a Christian life until recently, if you were validly baptized then you are a Christian. Your status as a Christian does not depend upon how well you have lived. The proper sacrament to wash away personal sins you have committed since your baptism is confession.










37 comments

  1. Jesse Moreno Reply

    Since Jesus established our catholic church and taught us how to baptize in his name, if a protestant has been baptized under their protestant beliefs how is that a valid? Wouldn’t a catholic baptism supercede a protestant baptism? Wouldn’t a protestant have to get re-baptized if he converted to catholicism?

    1. Juan Fernando Reply

      Because baptism doesn’t represent the denomination you belongs to, baptism is just the visible representation of that which is invisible (Holy Spirit). Most protestants and Catholics believe in the same God, the things that divide them has nothing to do with salvation but just secondary issues. So one baptism is enough regardless the denomination. Maybe if it was the case for a Mormon, it may be a different case.

      Regards.

      1. Claudio Reply

        Thank you Juan, Very enlightening!

        1. Lisa Reply

          The reason a baptism within a Christian denomination is valid is because it is the only sacrament implemented by Christ that does not require an ordained priest.

          All laypeople are permitted to baptize in case of emergencies. All emergency medical personnel at one time were trained to be able to baptize.

          As long as it follows the appropriate ‘matter’ (use of natural water) and ‘form ( I baptize thee in the name of the father, and the son and the Holy Ghost) it is a valid baptism.

          Therefore you may only be baptized once.

          1. John Chrysostom

            Wrong. The sacrament of matrimony requires the two people being married — they are the ministers of the sacrament. A priest does not need to be present (indeed, many Catholic marriages are witnessed by a deacon, and non-catholic marriages are certainly valid).

          2. Jan

            Water baptism should only come after you repent and in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ who is the Father — God manifest in the flesh, and the Son — And ye shall call His Name Jesus for He shall save His people from their sin — God with us, and now the renewed Holy Ghost whereby Jesus, after He was taken up THROUGH THE; HOLY GHOST gave commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen.(Acts 2:36-47; Acts 4:12; I Timothy 3:16; Matthew 1:21-23; Isaiah 9:6; Titus 3:4-7; Isaiah 42:13; Revelation 1:8, 11; Acts 10:44-48′ Acts 8:16; Acts 11:17; Acts 19:5 Romans 6:1-2)

        2. Br. WilliamDesmond Reply

          The Church teaches that as long as the specific formula is met then the Baptism is valid. The formula is thus. That whoever is Baptizing be a Baptized Christian themself Your intentions are sincere, that you use Holy and/or water. and that you Baptize in the name of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. As long as this criteria is met then the Baptisim is recognized by the Church as being valid.

      2. James Kraft Reply

        Many Protestants believe in believers’ baptism, not infant baptism. We also do not believe baptism “washes away original sin” or makes one a Christian. Rather, salvation, becoming a Christian, is achieved by faith alone, and baptism is a public sign and confession of that faith by a person old enough to understand what he or she is doing. While Catholics and many Protestants agree on some important doctrines, such as believing in one God, the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, the death and resurrection of Christ, we disagree, not just on some secondary issues, but on some fundamental and significant doctrines. These doctrinal disagreements have everything to do with salvation.

        1. Liz Perrott Reply

          I was married in a registry office and when I became a catholic I had to go through an anulment before I could marry again in a catholic church. I agree that it is the couple who marry each other and that non catholic marriage are seen as valid for those who later become catholics. However catholics marrying are required to marry in a catholic ceremony or seek a special dispensation or have their non catholic marriage regularised after. So it isn’t as simple as it sounds. My parents who married under special license in the Blitz because my father was about to be sent abroad for 6 years, were never regarded as married by the catholic church. because the marriage was never regularized after my father returned.

          1. Br. WilliamDesmond

            There is a difference between entering the marriage covenant and receiving the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. The Sacrament can only be received in the Church by an ordained Priest.

        2. The Rev. Dr. C. Pierson Shaw, Jr. Reply

          James, as the inquirer above, that person presented themselves as one who had been baptized as an infant in a Lutheran Church. James, for the sake of all of those who are having this discussion may I clarify a few things as one who is himself an ordained Pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which is the largest denomination of Lutherans in the US.

          Through Baptism, this person who was making the initial inquiry, was baptized into one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. The person was Baptized as Danny is making clear below, in the name of the Father, the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The Congregation in which this person was Baptized was a Lutheran Congregation and under the Lutheran Confessions as contained in the “Small Catechism: in the “Book of Concord” (in Latin Concordia) Lutherans learn:

          First

          What is baptism? Answer:
          Baptism is not simply plain water. Instead it is water enclosed in God’s command and connected with God’s Word.
          What then is this Word of God? Answer:
          Where our LORD Christ says in Matthew 28[:19*], “Go into all the world, teach all nations,78 and baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

          Second

          What gifts or benefits does baptism grant? Answer:
          It brings about forgiveness of sins, redeems from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe it, as the words and promise of God declare.
          What are these words and promise of God? Answer:
          Where our LORD Christ says in Mark 16[:16*], “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be damned."

          Third

          How can water do such great things? Answer:
          Clearly the water does not do it, but the Word of God, which is with and alongside the water, and faith, which trusts this Word of God in the water. For without the Word of God the water is plain water and not a baptism, but with the Word of God it is a baptism, that is, a grace-filled water of life and a “bath of the new birth in the Holy Spirit," as St. Paul says to Titus in chapter 3[:5–8*], “through the bath of rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit, which he richly poured out over us through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that through that very grace we may be righteous and heirs in hope of eternal life. This is surely80 most certainly true."

          Fourth

          What then is the significance of such a baptism with water? Answer:
          It signifies that the old creature in us with all sins and evil desires is to be drowned and die through daily contrition and repentance,82 and on the other hand that daily a new person is to come forth and rise up to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.
          Where is this written? Answer:
          St. Paul says in Romans 6[:4*], “We were buried with Christ through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we, too, are to walk in a new life."

          Kolb, R., Wengert, T. J., & Arand, C. P. (2000). The Book of Concord: The confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (359–360). Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

          James, it may surprise you to know that Lutherans at the time of the Reformation (500 years ago next year) argued with some Roman catholic Theologians in colloquies, theological debates, and later in the Augsburg Confession (Augustana in Latin) and the Apology to the Augsburg Confession that in Baptism not only does Original sin remain but so does concupiscence. Thus the neophyte remains a sinner in a real sense. It would not be going to far to say that the Augustinian Friar Martin Luther out “Augustined” Augustine in the area of the depravity of original sin, if that is possible. I have often found that many Roman Catholics are perplexed, that for Lutherans, after Baptism one can speak of post-baptismal sin. For Luther in Baptism, Christ joins to the one who is batpized, and sin is covered in what Luther called the Happy exchange. As St. Paul says, Christ has become for us sin.” This is why Lutherans often use the phrase that the one who is Baptized remains “simul justus et peccator” (At the same time saint and sinner. Through Christ we are Sactified and since through Baptism we are proclaimed sons and daughters of the God who have Christ as our brother, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are at work in the faithful that we might bear good fruit. Like Roman Catholics, Lutheran believe that though Holy Baptism God promises to be at work in our lives through Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

          Since the the time of Cyprian, when Pope Stephen directed that the African Bishops were not to require the (re)baptism of of those baptized by heretical sects, the Church has maintained that baptism is valid and should not be repeated. Lutherans with the Church catholic rejects the heresy of what became Donatism which required that the fitness and holiness of the priest were essential to make Baptism valid.

          You say, “many Protestants believe in “believers baptism.” I think it would be fairer to say that most Protestants receive those who are led by the Holy Spirit, to the waters of life, in which we believe we are reborn and through which we die and are raise to new life, joined to Christ, made members of Christ’s one Holy and Apostolic Church, equipped with gifts of the Holy Spirit, clothed in Christ, and are sent fourth to proclaim the Gospel in Word and Deed in all the world.

          There are certain “free Church traditions” that indeed reject paedobaptism (as soon as possible after birth) or the Baptism of young children. Such Traditions generally hold to the belief that only an older person can validly answer for themselves and the essential thing for many of these traditions is the profession of belief in Jesus the Christ as savior. We would recognize the profession of faith by one who is able to speak for themselves is a sort of creedal formula. Most “free Church Traditions do have Sacraments in the sense that many Protestants and Roman Catholics do. Many “free Church traditions” speak of “Ordinances” simply meaning Baptism and the Supper are “ordered” or commanded by Jesus in Holy Scripture. On this point we could not disagree. Our point of divergence however is over the matter of what is the essence or what effects Baptism. Free Church traditions would speak of the profession as that which make the ordinance. We would look to the “sacramentum” of the water coupled with the outer sacramentum of the Word in which we receive the Promise as we are Baptized in the Triune name. I hope this helps James and that it clarifies the matter a bit for others that it might help to support the importance of this discussion.

          You, however, will Affirm the gifts of your Baptism. I invite you to consider that the God who has been active in your life, and who has promised to be with you through the gifts of the Holy Spirit has demonstrated to you that your Baptismal sign is indeed valid. God has revealed this validity to you by the very fact that you are now seeking to be an active part of Christ’s Church as a fellow heir of the kingdom. God bless you in your work as a continued disciple of Christ.

    2. Danny Reply

      Whether or not one who wants to join the Catholic Church needs to be baptized or not depends on which Non-Catholic Protestant congregation he/she is from. That is, baptism is acceptable to the Catholic Church if the particular congregation where he/she was baptized: (1) Does the baptism with the form (or words), “I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” AND (2) the congregation believes that God imparts graces in baptism (not simply symbolic). That is because Jesus subjected himself to the baptism and, just before his Ascension, clearly commanded the Apostles in Mt 28:1 -20:

      Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."

      1. Danny Reply

        Whether or not one who wants to join the Catholic Church needs to be baptized depends on which specific Non-Catholic Protestant congregation he/she is from. That is, baptism is acceptable to the Catholic Church if the particular congregation where he/she was baptized: (1) Believes that God imparts graces in baptism (it is not simply symbolic), and; (2) Does the baptism with the form (or words), “I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

        That is because Jesus subjected himself to the baptism, which is the starting milestone of his redemptive mission, which He also did as an example to be followed at any entry age (infant or adult). Cornelius, the first Gentile converted to Christianity, was with his whole household (children and infants also included) the Holy Spirit came upon them and eventually baptized by St. Peter. Just before his Ascension, clearly commanded the Apostles in Mt 28:18 -20:

        Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."

  2. Abel C Reply

    You all need to read the book of Acts for the is the way that the original disciples of Jesus Christ I baptize.
    There is not one Scripture in the Bible to be baptized as a child, for if you did you just got wet and need to get baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

    1. DavidW Reply

      That’s what’s known as an argument from silence fallacy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_silence). The fact that the Bible did not mention infant baptism does not mean it is invalid.

      Besides, consider Luke 18:15-18 and Matthew 19:13-15. If Jesus says, let the come to me, who is anyone to keep them away/

  3. heybuldog69 Reply

    Jesus said to let the children come to me; do not hinder them. Acts of Apostles shows both Peter and Paul baptizing households. That includes children especially in the ancient near east where families were more like clans that our nuclear forms. Anyway Jesus said you didn’t choose me; I chose you. If children are to be excluded because they don’t understand then how about the mentally deficient. From the beginning the Church baptized children and infants just because of the universality of original sin and the universal need of a Savior.

  4. Richard S Ziolkowski Reply

    The answer provided seems to make sense to me which should not be taken as personally by You. Perhaps you need to seek advice from the Catholic Church “canon lawyer” and obtain the ruling on the matter.

  5. Barbara Kruk Reply

    I converted to the Catholic Church after being baptized in a Protestant Church many years before my conversion. The way my parish priest explained it to me at the time, if I could provide proof of my baptism (which I could as I had a baptismal certificate) and I was baptized “in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (and I was) my Protestant baptism was considered valid by the Catholic Church and I did not to be rebaptized. And as to why the Catholic Church practices infant baptism–the New Testament does state that the apostles DID baptize entire families, which had to include children. And Abel—Catholics (both children and unbaptized adults coming into the church) are baptized just as they are in many Protestant churches—“in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”…so yes, they are baptized in the name of Jesus.

  6. Caryn R Reply

    All pastors and priests are called by one God and all sacraments are celebrated to the one God. We are all Christians in the name of that one God regardless of which Christian denomination you are practicing your faith. There is one banquet table and that belongs to God not to one denomination. We are all welcome around the Lord’s table. We are all baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

  7. Betty Valdez Reply

    My son was represented at a christian church by my mother n law…then wen my son was 2 years old I baptized him at a Catholic church….is dat bad…or how it will affect dem growing up…

    1. Mik Park Reply

      Yes, this will affect their ability to spell,,they will struggle with basic words such as “when” and “them”

  8. Stephen Guest Reply

    I was baptised an anglican. When I entered the Traditional Roman Catholic church, I was given a conditional baptism in the ancient Tridentine Latin rite, I believe my anglican baptism is invalid because it is in error, and remains heretical!

  9. Michael Reply

    “…if you were validly baptized then you are a Christian. Your status as a Christian does not depend upon how well you have lived.” — you’re not teaching “eternal security” are you?

    1. Betty Valdez Reply

      No I’m not…n thank you

  10. denise Reply

    Do you have to have godparents to be baptized? I don’t find anyone that would take on that title for my kids

  11. Ryan Reply

    I was baptized as a baby, then told by a Baptist minister that was not valid so he baptized me again, I was confirmed Catholic a few years ago. Does this second Baptizim create a sin?

    1. Bob Reply

      No. The requirements of sin are free will and knowledge. You have to do it by your own free will, which you did. But you also must know, at the time, that it is a sin and you willingly commit this sin against God. So if the act of rebaptism is a sin (I’m not sure if it is or not), in your case it is not because you had no knowledge of it being a sin if it is one.

  12. John Hallman Reply

    I guess I just have to wonder where the idea that an infant baptism is the key to salvation as clearly stated above and makes the person a “Christian”. Jesus told us that in order to be saved, we must confess him with our mouths as Lord, and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead. (Romans 10:9). We must accept Jesus as our personal savior, and it is only then that we should be baptized as an outward expression of that conversion, that rebirth as a Christian. This is the Biblical meaning. Where in the Bible do Catholics believe that there is original sin, that it is somehow removed at an infant baptism, and that somehow this shrinking of water on a baby causes anything related to eternal salvation? Very curious, since none of this is presented in the Bible.

    1. Geo Reply

      Psalm 51, 5

    2. Donna Snuggs Reply

      Scripture teaches us that Baptism offers 4 benefits: forgiveness of sins, entrance into the Body of Christ, reception of the Holy Spirit, and Salvation. In baptism, one’s sins are forgiven (Acts 2:38 – “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins”. See also, Acts 22:16). One receives the gift of the Holy Spirit (read further in Acts 2:38 – “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”), one becomes a member of the Body of Christ (1 Cor 12:13 – “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body…”) and baptism is necessary for salvation (see 1 Peter 3:20-21 “… in the days of Noah during the building of the ark… a few persons, eight in all, were saved through water. This prefigured baptism, which saves you now”.) Nowhere in Scripture does it say that baptism is a “symbolic” act, nor that it is “an outward expression of one’s conversion”. The Bible teaches that sin entered the world through the disobedience of Adam and Eve and that all generations of people now hold this curse of their (original) sin.

      Hebrews 10:1 tells us that the Law (i.e. Old Testament) is a shadow of the good things to come and not the very image of them. We must understand that so much that is imperfect and incompletely introduced in the Old Testament is to be fulfilled (becomes the very image) in the New Testament. Baptism is one of these. In the Old Testament, a male Israelite infant was marked as a member of that community, and thus as a child of God, by his circumcision. In order to perfect that promise in the New Testament, baptism replaces circumcision (Colossians 2:11-12), is offered to ALL ages and genders as a mark of belonging to God. And Ephesians 4:5 proscribes ONE baptism, only one. Jesus gave the Apostles the power to bind and loose on Earth, that is, His own authority. In the Book of Acts of the Apostles we see 3 instances of entire households being baptized: Lydia’s, the Centurion’s and the household of Stephanias. None of these stories exclude young children or infants from the baptism. At all, for any reason and especially for not being old enough to understand. The Early Church (pre-Bible, that is) therefore continued to practice infant baptism. Though not Scripture because the Church determined it was not inspired, we get an excellent view into the practice of the Apostles and their descendant followers in an early apostolic instruction writing call the Didache (or, “The Teaching of the Twelve”). It describes several ways to baptize: “The procedure for baptizing is as follows: after repeating all that has been said, immerse in running water ‘In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost’. If no running water is available, immerse in ordinary water…If neither is practicable, then pour water three times on the head ‘In the name of the Father….” All of these are acceptable and approved methods of baptism in the Catholic Church, and always have been.

      I hope this answers your questions and shows that the Catholic methodology of baptism is in fact clearly biblical.

  13. Claudio Reply

    John, does that mean that parents prayers of intercession to God for their babies and children are useless because the babies do not understand or know that they are receiving prayers and they have not professed their faith in Jesus Christ ? Parents are responsible for their children, they instill in them values, morals, beliefs, education, food, shelter, home, medicine etc. Parents represent their children in every way Legally, Medically, Nutritionally, Spiritually(christian, Jew, Moslem, Atheist , etc). the baby grow to become an adult as mostly shaped by how their parents raised them and influenced them to become who they are today. Jesus did not say “do not baptize children” did HE? so if parents have authority over their children (“honor your father and mother”) in ALL aspects of their lives, why exclude Baptism?

  14. Edward europa Reply

    I was babtized when I was a baby. John the babtized babtized Jesus through emersion. I know nothing and a sinless child during my babtism. But I just wanna share my spiritual journey on my 2nd babtism. Not to mention any denomination.
    Isaiah 1:18. I had a vision of that “word”. A personal relationship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It’s a gift that no one I’ve ever experience in my life.
    Are we able to choice an example same with Jesus babtism?

  15. Kate Reply

    What about those of us who are born again Christians with no denomination?

    1. John Chrysostom Reply

      As long as you were baptized with water in the name of the father, the son, and the holy spirit, you should not be baptized again. We confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sin.

  16. Emma Murphy Reply

    As Catholics, we may renew our Baptismal promises after the Lenten period during the Easter Vigil service. Below is the text of the Renewal of Baptismal Promises from the New Roman Missal, 3rd Edition.

    “A Renewal of Baptismal Promises
    Our baptismal promises may be renewed
    using these prayers or with similar words, from our heart,
    after our Lenten journey to the font.”

    “Dear brothers and sisters,
    through the paschal mystery
    we have been buried with Christ in baptism,
    so that we may walk with him in newness of life.
    And so, now that our lenten observance is concluded,
    let us renew the promises of Holy Baptism,
    by which we once renounced Satan and his works
    and promised to serve God in the holy Catholic Church.
    And so I ask you:

    Do you renounce sin, so as to live in the freedom of the children of God?

    I do.

    Lord, all I want to is live in the freedom you offer me.
    I want to reject the unloving choices I have made,
    and the sinful failures to love anywhere in my life.
    I reject all injustice,
    all violence,
    all that disrespects the dignity of all human life

    Do you reject the lure of evil, so that sin my have no mastery over you?
    I do.

    Lord, I admit that some evil has a hold on me:
    it is attractive, it has such powerful rewards,
    it has become a habitual way for me to be myself.
    Lord, I renew my commitment this day
    to turn from that evil
    and from letting any disordered attachment,
    any empty promises master me,
    and try to separate me from you.
    By this promise, I commit myself
    to greater courage in acting justly
    and refusing to let unjust systems and structures
    numb my conscience or dull my heart.

    Do you reject Satan, the author and prince of sin?
    I do.

    Lord, as I renew my the promises
    that accompany my becoming one with you
    in the baptism of dying to sin and rising to life,
    I know that an Enemy tries to
    tempt me to sin and to many dark patterns,
    I now promise to you,
    and to my sisters and brothers
    who depend upon my fidelity,
    that I renew my commitment
    to reject that Enemy,
    and all his ways of subverting
    your reign and the coming of your kingdom.

    Do you believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth?
    I do.

    Lord, you made me and give me life every day.
    I believe in you, I turn to you,
    and I place my life,
    and the graces I need each day,
    in your loving hands.

    Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered death and was buried, rose again from the dead, and is seated at the right hand of the Father?
    I do.

    Jesus, my Lord and Savior,
    my life is in your hands.
    I believe in you, I turn to you,
    I commit myself to growing closer to you,
    placing myself with you,
    in love – compassionate, self-sacrificing love –
    for others.

    Do you believe in the Holy Spirit,
    the Holy Catholic Church,
    the communion of saints,
    the forgiveness of sins,
    the resurrection of the body,
    and life everlasting?

    I do.

    Holy Spirit of Jesus,
    Jesus promised not to leave us orphans.
    I so desire to be enkindled with
    the fire of your love,
    that I might be renewed in courage.
    I believe in and renew my commitment to
    your work among us.
    I want to contribute to the unity that you desire for us.
    I promise to be as merciful,
    for I have known your mercy.
    And I pledge to live my life each day on this earth,
    full of faith in the resurrection Jesus gained for me.
    And may almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
    who has given us new birth
    by water and the Holy Spirit,
    and bestowed on us forgiveness of our sins,
    keep us by his grace,
    in Christ Jesus our Lord,
    for eternal life.
    Amen.

    Lord, Our God,
    this year’s journey to the waters of baptism
    has renewed me.
    I have come to know more intimately
    the complexity of my weakness
    and the depths of your love for me.
    By your grace, I have come to experience
    the mystery of the gift of life you offer.
    Please help me to remain free and faithful
    that I might grow as a servant of
    Jesus’ own mission.
    I ask this with growing faith in
    the name of Jesus, my Lord.”

    Credit to Creighton University

  17. The Rev. Dr. C. Pierson Shaw, Jr. Reply

    James, as the inquirer above, that person presented themselves as one who had been baptized as an infant in a Lutheran Church. James, for the sake of all of those who are having this discussion may I clarify a few things as one who is himself an ordained Pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which is the largest denomination of Lutherans in the US.

    Through Baptism, this person who was making the initial inquiry, was baptized into one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. The person was Baptized as Danny is making clear below, in the name of the Father, the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The Congregation in which this person was Baptized was a Lutheran Congregation and under the Lutheran Confessions as contained in the “Small Catechism: in the “Book of Concord” (in Latin Concordia) Lutherans learn:

    First

    What is baptism? Answer:
    Baptism is not simply plain water. Instead it is water enclosed in God’s command and connected with God’s Word.
    What then is this Word of God? Answer:
    Where our LORD Christ says in Matthew 28[:19*], “Go into all the world, teach all nations,78 and baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

    Second

    What gifts or benefits does baptism grant? Answer:
    It brings about forgiveness of sins, redeems from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe it, as the words and promise of God declare.
    What are these words and promise of God? Answer:
    Where our LORD Christ says in Mark 16[:16*], “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be damned."

    Third

    How can water do such great things? Answer:
    Clearly the water does not do it, but the Word of God, which is with and alongside the water, and faith, which trusts this Word of God in the water. For without the Word of God the water is plain water and not a baptism, but with the Word of God it is a baptism, that is, a grace-filled water of life and a “bath of the new birth in the Holy Spirit," as St. Paul says to Titus in chapter 3[:5–8*], “through the bath of rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit, which he richly poured out over us through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that through that very grace we may be righteous and heirs in hope of eternal life. This is surely80 most certainly true."

    Fourth

    What then is the significance of such a baptism with water? Answer:
    It signifies that the old creature in us with all sins and evil desires is to be drowned and die through daily contrition and repentance,82 and on the other hand that daily a new person is to come forth and rise up to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.
    Where is this written? Answer:
    St. Paul says in Romans 6[:4*], “We were buried with Christ through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we, too, are to walk in a new life."

    Kolb, R., Wengert, T. J., & Arand, C. P. (2000). The Book of Concord: The confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (359–360). Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

    James, it may surprise you to know that Lutherans at the time of the Reformation (500 years ago next year) argued with some Roman catholic Theologians in colloquies, theological debates, and later in the Augsburg Confession (Augustana in Latin) and the Apology to the Augsburg Confession that in Baptism not only does Original sin remain but so does concupiscence. Thus the neophyte remains a sinner in a real sense. It would not be going to far to say that the Augustinian Friar Martin Luther out “Augustined” Augustine in the area of the depravity of original sin, if that is possible. I have often found that many Roman Catholics are perplexed, that for Lutherans, after Baptism one can speak of post-baptismal sin. For Luther in Baptism, Christ joins to the one who is batpized, and sin is covered in what Luther called the Happy exchange. As St. Paul says, Christ has become for us sin.” This is why Lutherans often use the phrase that the one who is Baptized remains “simul justus et peccator” (At the same time saint and sinner. Through Christ we are Sactified and since through Baptism we are proclaimed sons and daughters of the God who have Christ as our brother, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are at work in the faithful that we might bear good fruit. Like Roman Catholics, Lutheran believe that though Holy Baptism God promises to be at work in our lives through Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

    Since the the time of Cyprian, when Pope Stephen directed that the African Bishops were not to require the (re)baptism of of those baptized by heretical sects, the Church has maintained that baptism is valid and should not be repeated. Lutherans with the Church catholic rejects the heresy of what became Donatism which required that the fitness and holiness of the priest were essential to make Baptism valid.

    You say, “many Protestants believe in “believers baptism.” I think it would be fairer to say that most Protestants receive those who are led by the Holy Spirit, to the waters of life, in which we believe we are reborn and through which we die and are raise to new life, joined to Christ, made members of Christ’s one Holy and Apostolic Church, equipped with gifts of the Holy Spirit, clothed in Christ, and are sent fourth to proclaim the Gospel in Word and Deed in all the world.

    There are certain “free Church traditions” that indeed reject paedobaptism (as soon as possible after birth) or the Baptism of young children. Such Traditions generally hold to the belief that only an older person can validly answer for themselves and the essential thing for many of these traditions is the profession of belief in Jesus the Christ as savior. We would recognize the profession of faith by one who is able to speak for themselves is a sort of creedal formula. Most “free Church Traditions do have Sacraments in the sense that many Protestants and Roman Catholics do. Many “free Church traditions” speak of “Ordinances” simply meaning Baptism and the Supper are “ordered” or commanded by Jesus in Holy Scripture. On this point we could not disagree. Our point of divergence however is over the matter of what is the essence or what effects Baptism. Free Church traditions would speak of the profession as that which make the ordinance. We would look to the “sacramentum” of the water coupled with the outer sacramentum of the Word in which we receive the Promise as we are Baptized in the Triune name. I hope this helps James and that it clarifies the matter a bit for others that it might help to support the importance of this discussion.

    You, however, will Affirm the gifts of your Baptism. I invite you to consider that the God who has been active in your life, and who has promised to be with you through the gifts of the Holy Spirit has demonstrated to you that your Baptismal sign is indeed valid. God has revealed this validity to you by the very fact that you are now seeking to be an active part of Christ’s Church as a fellow heir of the kingdom. God bless you in your work as a continued disciple of Christ.

  18. Roy Nelson Reply

    I was in a similar position. In my case I was told as a Lutheran convert that baptism is not required but when I told them I was a covert to Lutheran and my baptism was at a oneness church UPC they then agreed to baptize. The priest did tell me that if I had been baptized a Lutheran I could have an affirmation of baptism. You may want to consider an affirmation of baptism as part of your entry into the Church. I don’t see why a priest would deny you that since they have a form for affirming ones baptism. The reason is one only need have a Trinitarian baptism and any Christian can perform the baptism that’s why they accept baptism even though they come from a Protestant experience.

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