Roman Catholicism, Water Baptism and the Holy Trinity Part 2
Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics

Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
January 2, 2009

Last Updated :
January 2, 2009


More Confusing Beliefs Of Catechism Of The Catholic Church,
Arrogance Of Roman Catholic Church And Catholic Extremists,
Back Peddling & Changing Doctrines For Sake Of Convenience,
Roman Catholic Confession, Shrinking Dominance Of The RCC,
World Ecumenism, Cardinal Ratzinger, Reverend Billy Graham,
A One World Religion?, John 3:5 And Baptismal Regeneration,
Jesus And Nicodemus, A Physical Birth And Spiritual Rebirth,
Paul's Old Man And New Man, Scribes And Pharisees And Their
Cold Formal Religion Of Traditions, Foreshadows In The Old
Testament, Elisha And Naaman, Water Baptism Isn't Mentioned
In The Old Testament, John The Baptist, Jesus Never Baptized,
Importance Of John's Ministry, Jesus Fulfilled The Law And
The Prophets To The Letter, Proper Meaning Of Word "Fulfill"




Returning briefly to paragraph 1260 of the Catechism of the
Catholic Church, it concludes by stating "It may be supposed
that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if
they had known its necessity". This part of the paragraph
errs in two regards. First, it promotes water baptism as a
necessity for Salvation; and second, it arrogantly assumes
that a person would assuredly desire water baptism if they
were aware of it. This false position also assumes that the
person is convinced that water baptism is necessary for one
to obtain Salvation, which it isn't. Allow me to share with
you three more paragraphs from the Catechism of the Catholic
Church:

----- Begin Quote -----

Para. 1261: As regards children who have died without
Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of
God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the
great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved,
and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to
say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them" (Mk
10:14; cf. 1 Tim 2:4), allow us to hope that there is a way
of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All
the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little
children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism."

Para. 1281: Those who die for the faith, those who are
catechumens, and all those who, without knowing of the Church
but acting under the inspiration of grace, seek God sincerely
and strive to fulfill his will, can be saved even if they
have not been baptized (cf. LG 16).

Para. 1283: With respect to children who have died without
Baptism, the liturgy of the Church invites us to trust in
God's mercy and to pray for their salvation.

----- End Quote -----

In the previous paragraphs, we are told that we must simply
trust God for the Salvation of children who die before being
water baptized. In other words, just as with adult Catholics,
Eternal Life is not a sure thing. The Roman Catholic Church
teaches that it can be lost, depending on one's deeds; and if
one has not been water baptized, that makes their chances at
Salvation even more "iffy". As I explained earlier, and as I
explain in other articles as well, the Roman Catholic Church
promotes a religion which teaches that Salvation is an odd
mixture of Grace and good works, which is totally contrary to
what the Bible really teaches us.

But then notice that once again we are told very clearly in
paragraph 1281, that people "can be saved even if they have
not been baptized". Furthermore, notice that it also states
that people can be saved "without knowing of the Church";
meaning, I assume, the Roman Catholic Church. In short, that
paragraph is saying that anyone, even people outside of the
Roman Catholic Church, can be saved. This, of course, is in
contradiction to other parts of the Catechism of the Catholic
Church, which states that the Roman Catholic Church is the
only medium for obtaining Salvation, and Forgiveness of sins.

Now, if I were a Roman Catholic, (which I'm obviously not), I
think that after reading all of the previous paragraphs from
the Catechism of the Catholic Church, I would be confused in
a doctrinal sense. I would be asking myself exactly what does
the Roman Catholic Church really believe regarding the issue
of water baptism, Salvation and the Forgiveness of sins?

At first appearance, we were given the impression that the
Roman Catholic Church firmly believes that water baptism is
absolutely necessary in order to obtain Salvation, and the
Forgiveness of sins. However, we then learned that this is
not such a hard fast rule after all, and that the Catholic
Church is willing to make exceptions in some cases, saying
that Salvation can be obtained, even without being baptized
in water. Then, to our surprise, we discovered that not only
is water baptism not always an absolute necessity in regards
to Salvation and the Forgiveness of sins, but that people
can likewise be saved outside of the Roman Catholic Church.
In other words, a person can be saved without being baptized
in water, and without even being a Roman Catholic. Finally,
and tragically, we discovered that Pope Benedict XVI pushes
the false belief that people of other religions can also be
saved, even if they don't accept Jesus Christ as their Lord
and Savior; which, according to the Bible, is an absolute
damnable heresy and a false gospel.

Finally, it might also interest you to know that the Roman
Catholic Church believes that in certain situations, anyone,
even if they are not baptized themselves, can baptize another
individual, if they follow the procedure that is mandated by
the Roman Catholic Church. Paragraphs 1256 and 1284 of the
Catechism of the Catholic Church state:

----- Begin Quote -----

Para. 1256: The ordinary ministers of Baptism are the bishop
and priest and, in the Latin Church, also the deacon. In
case of necessity, any person, even someone not baptized,
can baptize, if he has the required intention. The intention
required is to will to do what the Church does when she
baptizes, and to apply the Trinitarian baptismal formula.
The Church finds the reason for this possibility in the
universal saving will of God and the necessity of Baptism
for salvation.

Para. 1284: In case of necessity, any person can baptize
provided that he have the intention of doing that which the
Church does and provided that he pours water on the
candidate's head while saying: "I baptize you in the name of
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

----- End Quote -----

Notice that once again, in paragraph 1256, the Catechism of
the Catholic Church emphasizes that the act of water baptism
is an essential part of Salvation, after it has already told
us several times that people can be saved without it.

In light of all of this evidence, which I extracted directly
from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, one really has to
wonder what to believe. My view is the following. I believe
that the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy is firmly convinced
that water baptism is absolutely necessary for Salvation, as
well as for the Forgiveness of sins. I also believe that it
is convinced that the Roman Catholic Church is the only way
to obtain Salvation. Furthermore, their catechism, and other
sources, clearly state that they view other Christians, who
are not members of the Roman Catholic Church, as separated,
and lesser brethren who are not fully in communion with God.
I have even read comments written by radical Catholics who
very arrogantly and condescendingly refer to Christians who
belong to other denominations as "sep-breth". These Catholic
radicals scoff at the idea of "sola escritura", which means
that we derive our beliefs only from the Scriptures, and not
from the Pope. They also laugh at our belief in "sola fide",
meaning that we believe that we are saved by faith in Christ
alone, without the need for water baptism, or any secondary
mechanism.

However, because the Roman Catholic Church has so emphasized
the misguided doctrine of water baptism being necessary for
Salvation and the Forgiveness of sins, it has also created a
number of problems for itself over the years with the Roman
Catholic laity. In a word, promoting the doctrine that anyone
who isn't baptized is lost for eternity, isn't a very popular
message. Obviously, such a message will make Catholics worry
about their children who may have died before there was an
opportunity for them to be water baptized; and this same fear
can also be applied to their other relatives who have passed
on before being water baptized as well. So, over the years,
the RCC has reformed a number of its doctrines, and appended
these different "loopholes" to its catechism, so that Roman
Catholicism appears as a more "user-friendly", convenient
religion which doesn't frighten people away with its harsh,
rigid doctrines and practices.

Another good example of the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy's
efforts to make Roman Catholicism a more friendly, convenient
religion can be seen in confessions. Four decades ago when I
was still a dedicated young Roman Catholic, weekly confession
was absolutely necessary; and one could not partake of the
eucharist, (communion host), unless he had confessed his sins
to the priest prior to that week's mass. As I recall, even
though my parents never attended church, they made sure that
we children went to confession each and every Saturday, even
if we could not think of anything serious to confess to the
priest. Apparently, Roman Catholics eventually grew tired of
this weekly practice; so now, from what I understand,
confession is only a once-a-year affair.

The truth of the matter, however, even though the leaders of
the RCC may not be willing to readily admit it, is that for
a number of years now, the influence and dominance of the
Roman Catholic Church has been shrinking, and they have been
seriously losing a lot of ground in a number of key areas of
the world. This includes Europe, the Catholic stronghold of
Latin America, and even the United States of America, which
is a rebellious house when it comes to obeying the mandates
of the Pope in Rome. The Roman Catholic Church has become so
bogged down in its spiritually-uninspiring traditions, its
questionable beliefs, and its dreary, repetitive practices,
not to mention its own corruption, that people are leaving
it in droves. Some Catholics have moved on to more vibrant
non-Catholic denominations. Others have embraced Buddhism,
or Islam, or abandoned faith altogether and become atheists.

In a desperate effort to try to save themselves, the Roman
Catholic hierarchy has embarked on a so-called mission to
promote ecumenism; that is, they are promoting unity among
the world's Christian churches. However, it does not end
there. As we saw earlier, the more recent Popes have even
reached out to other non-Christian faiths, such as Muslims,
Buddhists and Jews.

As I explain in the series "Modern False Prophets And Worldly
Ecumenism", this is dangerous business which has already led
to serious compromise. In the case of Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope
Benedict XVI, we have seen how he now foolishly promotes the
false belief that people can even be saved without believing
in Jesus. It may surprise you to know that Cardinal Ratzinger
was not the first Christian leader to promote this dangerous
and false doctrine. As I note in the aforementioned article,
in May of 1997, the world famous Christian evangelist, Billy
Graham, made a very disturbing comment while in an interview
with Reverend Robert Schuller, who is the head of the Crystal
Cathedral Church. Please notice how similar Graham's remarks
are to what Ratzinger would say three years later:

----- Begin Quote -----

"I think everybody who knows Christ, whether they're
conscious of it or not, they're members of the Body of
Christ . . . God's purpose is to call out a people for His
name, whether they come from the Muslim world, Buddhist
world, the Christian world, or the non-believing world,
they are members of the Body of Christ, because they've
been called by God. They may not even know the name of
Jesus . . . and I think they are saved and that they are
going to be in heaven with us."

----- End Quote -----

Notice that, like the current Pope, Reverend Graham says that
people can be saved, even without knowing the name of Jesus
Christ. So the serious dangers associated with the ecumenical
movement are rather clear in my mind. This movement, which is
spearheaded by the Roman Catholic Church, can only result in
one thing; and that is quite possibly a "One World Religion"
which will one day fall under the jurisdiction of the False
Prophet, as we are clearly warned in the Book of Revelation.
I suspect that given its current arrogant attitude regarding
viewing itself as the so-called "Mother of Churches", the RCC
very much desires to be at the forefront of this "universal
reconciliation" between the world's religions. What does that
say about its leader?

But let us change gears now and direct our attention to the
verse that actually began this series; that is, John 3:5. In
the King James Version of the Holy Bible, this verse reads:

"Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a
man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into
the kingdom of God."
John 3:5, KJV

As I explained at the beginning of this series, there is a
sector of Christians, known as baptismal regenerationists,
who are convinced that Jesus is talking about water baptism
in the previous verse. Furthermore, they are convinced that
Jesus is stating that water baptism is an essential part of
Salvation, and the remission of sins. As we have also seen,
the doctrine of baptismal regeneration was first introduced
by, and has been continuously promoted by, the RCC for many
centuries now. In fact, if you carefully read the excerpts
from the Catechism of the Catholic Church that I provided,
then you will already know that John 3:5 is one of the key
verses that they use in order to try to convince people to
accept this doctrine. So the question is, was Jesus really
talking about water baptism in that verse, or was the Lord
saying something entirely different, which has since been
twisted by Roman Catholic religionists with an agenda?

Those of you who are familiar with some of my other articles
will know that I have a very different understanding of the
previous verse. Before presenting my case, allow me to share
with you that entire section of John chapter three, so that
we have a better understanding of the precise conversation
which occurred between Jesus and the Pharisee Nicodemus that
night:

"There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler
of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto
him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God:
for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God
be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily,
verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he
cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How
can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second
time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered,
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of
water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of
God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that
which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I
said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth
where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but
canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is
every one that is born of the Spirit."
John 3:1-8, KJV

As you can see by the previous set of verses, the topic of
their discussion was not really water baptism, but rather,
it was the necessity of spiritual rebirth. The conversation
dealt with being born physically in the womb, and then being
born spiritually through accepting Jesus as our Lord and
Savior. Those verses are talking about allowing God's Spirit
to dwell in us, and having our own spirits renewed by way of
a second spiritual birth. The Apostle Paul wrote about this
spiritual rebirth, or being born again, in the following
verses, and elsewhere as well:

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:
old things are passed away; behold, all things are become
new."
2 Corinthians 5:17, KJV

"And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created
in righteousness and true holiness."
Ephesians 4:24, KJV

"And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge
after the image of him that created him:"
Colossians 3:10, KJV

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed
by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that
good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Romans 12:2, KJV

In the previous conversation from the Gospel of John, Jesus
was showing the difference between the physical birth, and
the spiritual birth, so that Nicodemus could understand the
necessity of being born again.

We need to remember that as good-hearted of a man as he was,
Nicodemus was nevertheless a Pharisee, who had been trained
in the strict religious doctrines of his day. As I explain
in other articles, such as "Revelation's Babylon The Great",
by the time Jesus arrived on the Earth, Judaism and temple
worship had become totally de-spiritualized. It was a cold,
dead, formal religion of works, which had basically been
reduced to "do this, but don't do that". The main religious
sects of the time, (Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees), were
in essence merely going through the motions of pretending to
be spiritual, just like so many spiritually-dead religions
today; and I am also referring to different branches of
Christianity which have been corrupted by compromise.

The Scribes and the Pharisees prided themselves in being
strict adherents to the Torah; that is, the Divine Laws that
were given to Moses, by God, on the top of Mount Sinai, also
known as Horeb. While some of these Laws were spiritual and
moral in nature, others dealt with more mundane, procedural
issues involving the Levitical priesthood; for example, how
the priests were supposed to be dressed, what holy days were
supposed to be observed, how to perform various sacrifices,
what sin offerings were acceptable, what utensils were to be
designed and used in the tabernacle, etc.

It was precisely in this kind of legalistic environment that
Nicodemus was trained, just like the Apostle Paul. So, while
it may be very easy for us today to understand exactly what
Jesus meant, for someone like Nicodemus, it was extremely
difficult. As Jesus said of those Jewish religious leaders
who blindly clung to their old traditions and opposed Him:

". . . Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none
effect by your tradition . . . Let them alone: they be blind
leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both
shall fall into the ditch."
Matthew 15:6b, 14, KJV

The Jewish Elders had the Law; they had the Word of God; but
they didn't understand it; at least not in the Spirit. All
they understood was the legalistic letter of the Law. Jesus
realized this; and that is why He tried to simplify things
for dear Nicodemus, who came to the Lord that night with a
sincere desire to know the truth. By using the phrase "born
of water", Jesus was offering a very appropriate answer. The
Lord was trying to remove poor Nicodemus' confusion, which
was revealed by the fact that he, (Nicodemus), thought that
Jesus meant that he had to return to his mother's womb, and
undergo a second physical birth. Obviously, this is by no
means possible, and this is clearly not what Jesus meant.

I am personally convinced that by using the phrase "born of
water", Jesus was making a direct reference to our physical
birth; that is, being surrounded by amniotic fluid, (which
is basically salt water), in our mother's womb. Jesus wasn't
talking about water baptism whatsoever, as far as I know. To
suggest that He was, is, in my opinion, inserting something
which simply is not there, in order to try to support one's
own personal beliefs. Please look again at what Jesus said:
". . . born of water AND of the spirit . . ." The word "and"
demonstrates that Jesus was attempting to make a distinction
between what Nicodemus understood, and what He really meant.
In other words, "physical birth AND spiritual birth". Jesus
was making a contrast between physical birth, and spiritual
birth.

If you look at Nicodemus' response, it becomes rather clear
that the Lord was not talking about water baptism. There is
nothing in Nicodemus' question which even remotely suggests
that he thought that Jesus was talking about water baptism.
Did Nicodemus ask Jesus about water baptism? No; Nicodemus
clearly says "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he
enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?".
So Nicodemus fully understood what Jesus was talking about
when He mentioned being born of water. He knew that Jesus
was talking about physical birth in the womb, during which
time a baby is surrounded by amniotic fluid; and that's why
he couldn't understand how he could be born again. It was
a physical impossibility; but as we know, Jesus was not
talking about being reborn physically; He was talking about
spiritual rebirth.

What some of you may find of particular interest is the fact
that water baptism appears to be an entirely New Testament
concept. Admittedly, there are several interesting examples
in the Old Testament where water is used as a foreshadow to
demonstrate Spiritual Salvation. Three good examples are the
Great Flood and Noah's Ark, the crossing of the Red Sea, and
the stopping up of the Jordan River. In all of these cases,
it was actually a demonstration of faith in God's Word which
saved them, and not the water itself. In referring to Noah
and the Flood, the Apostle Peter states in part:

"Which sometime were disobedient, when once the
longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the
ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were
saved by water."
1 Peter 3:20, KJV

I will be discussing the previous verse more at length in a
moment. Another Old Testament example which occurs to me is
the story found in 2 Kings chapter five. It deals with the
Prophet Elisha, and Naaman, who was the captain of the army
of the king of Syria. As you may recall, Naaman had leprosy;
and his wife's servant girl, who was an Israelite, informed
the wife of the miracles which were being wrought by Elisha.
Eventually, following Elisha's instructions, Naaman dipped
himself seven times in the Jordan River, and was healed of
his leprosy. Again, we see that it was faith in, as well as
obedience to, the words of the Prophet, which saved Naaman,
and not the water.

Another Old Testament example we find which is indirectly a
foreshadow of the true baptism to come in the New Testament,
is where the Israelites had to wash and change their clothes
before standing before the Lord at the base of Mount Sinai.
The act of doing this symbolizes putting on the new man, or
the spiritual man, through spiritual rebirth, as the Apostle
Paul discusses in the New Testament. The high priests had to
follow a similar washing ritual before entering the Holy of
Holies; first in the tabernacle, and later in the temple. In
all of these examples, we see a hint of being spiritually
cleansed and renewed through the Blood of Jesus Christ, and
being baptized by the Spirit.

However, the previous foreshadows aside, I am not aware of
any real examples in the Old Testament where the practice of
water baptism was performed on a regular basis, such as we
see occurring in the New Testament. While I was conducting
some Biblical research for this series, I discovered that
the words "baptize" and "baptism", and related words, aren't
mentioned one single time in the entire Old Testament. In
fact, the very first time when we learn about baptism by
water, is when John the Baptist arrives on the scene in the
four Gospels. As far as we know, John received his mandate
to baptize people in the Jordan River directly from God, or
at least from one of His Angelic Agents. In the Gospel of
John we read the following:

"And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending
from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew
him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same
said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit
descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which
baptizeth with the Holy Ghost."
John 1:32-33, KJV

What is also worth mentioning, is the fact that there is no
concrete Scriptural evidence which points to Jesus having
ever personally water baptized anyone. There are one or two
commentaries where it appears that some people suggest that
He did, but the Apostle John, who was one of Jesus' closest
followers, and who eventually became one of His top three
Disciples, clarifies the situation for us when he writes:

"When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard
that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,
(Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)"
John 4:1-2, KJV

The previous verse, particularly the words that are encased
in parentheses, begs the question: If water baptism was so
important, why didn't Jesus perform this so-called necessary
act? That verse of Scripture rather plainly states that the
Lord Jesus never baptized anyone. So to me, the answer seems
rather obvious: Jesus was fully aware of the fact that the
physical act of water baptism was merely a stepping stone,
and a foreshadow of a much greater reality to come; that is
to say, the Baptism by His Blood, as well as the baptism by
fire; that is to say, the anointing of the Holy Spirit which
Jesus Himself would soon perform. Obviously, some people may
question, "Well, wasn't Jesus baptized by John, and doesn't
that mean that everyone needs to be water baptized?" Indeed
the Lord was baptized by John. Jesus made it very clear on
many occasions that He had come to fulfill the Law and the
Prophets, and John's appearance was indeed foretold in the
Old Testament prophecies, as we see here:

"The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye
the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway
for our God."
Isaiah 40:3, KJV

It is interesting to note that the above prophecy was viewed
as being so important to the writers of the Gospels, that all
four of them mention it, as we see here:

"For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias,
saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare
ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight."
Matthew 3:3, KJV

"The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the
way of the Lord, make his paths straight."
Mark 1:3, KJV

"As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the
prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness,
Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight."
Luke 3:4, KJV

"He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness,
Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet
Esaias."
John 1:23, KJV

One reason why the previous prophecy is so important, is not
just because it foretells of the coming of John the Baptist,
but rather because it also prophesies the coming of the One
after him, who will baptize with the fire of the Spirit. To
explain it another way, the most important aspect of John's
ministry was not water baptism, but rather that he was not
only sent to prepare people's hearts to receive the Lord, by
pointing out their sins, and motivating them to repent, but
John was also the individual whom God had chosen to actually
identify the Savior to Israel, once He arrived. Thus we find
John saying to his followers in the Gospel of John:

". . . Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of
the world."
John 1:29b, KJV

Thus, this is why Jesus' encounter with John at the Jordan
River was so important. Both He and John were following a
script which had been carefully designed by God the Father
Himself. Jesus had to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies,
as He said He must do:

"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the
prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil."
Matthew 5:17, KJV

The problem we have today is that some people don't seem to
understand what is meant by the word "fulfill". This word is
derived from the Greek word "pleroo"; the meaning of which
is to complete, to carry through to the end, to accomplish,
to carry out. What Jesus meant was that He had come to carry
out, or to complete the Law, so as to become, in a word, the
Perfect Sacrifice for sin. Jesus' Death on the Cross put an
end to reliance upon obedience to the Old Testament laws in
order to obtain Salvation. More specifically, I'm referring
to the ritualistic laws. This does not mean that we are now
free to murder, to steal, to commit adultery, etc., and that
we won't have to pay the consequences. So what does it mean?
Please keep reading to find out.

Please go to part three for the continuation of this series.

⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .


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