Monday, April 6   Sign in or Register
Evangelical Focus

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud

Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.

Which of these online initiatives should churches prioritise?



Will Graham

Protestants, Catholics and Baptism

The differences between Romanism and Protestantism.

FRESH BREEZE AUTHOR Will Graham 17 AUGUST 2019 11:00 h GMT+1

Within the grand family of Protestantism, the Lutheran Church is that which has the most ‘Roman’ view of baptism.

Regarding the ceremony, the Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church teaches that its, “two principal effects are purification from sins and new birth in the Holy Spirit” (article 1262).

Simply put, baptism produces new birth in the positive and forgiveness of sins in the negative.


Luther, much like the Vatican, was convinced that baptism wrought the forgiveness of sins and regeneration. In his Small Catechism he writes that,

“It works forgiveness of sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare”.


The German Reformer, Martin Luther, embraced a Roman view of baptism.

The question here would be: how can a child exercise faith (given that Luther believed in infant baptism)? Luther would answer by stating that the Word of God, working effectually through the waters of baptism, creates faith in the one baptized.

Hence the need of baptism to be saved!


The Reformed camp of Protestantism (represented by Zwingli, Calvin and Bullinger amongst others) did not feel all that comfortable with Roman/ Lutheran sacramentalism.


Zwingli and the Reformed fathers believe baptism to be an entrance into the visible church. Faith was not created within the baptized child.

They did indeed believe in the baptism of minors; but not in the sense that it delivers the child from sin and grants him/ her eternal life.

The Reformed take on baptism understood the ordinance to be a gateway into communion with the visible church.

So these theologians hoped that baptized babies would, in later years, come to put their trust in the Gospel after having been guided by godly parents and their local congregations. By no means did they think that baptism was ridding the child of sin or bestowing regeneration.


Much more radical than the Reformed were the Anabaptists. They, in fact, came to oppose the practice of infant baptism all together.

They defended baptism as a rite only for repentant adult believers who knew what they were doing.


All Anabaptist groups, like the Amish, believe that baptism is only for adult believers.

Since a baby cannot place its personal faith in Christ, they reasoned, the newborn should not be baptized.

The name Anabaptist, interestingly enough, means “To baptize again” or “To re-baptize”. They did not believe that infant baptism was valid in the eyes of the Lord.


Within the contemporary British Protestant scene, both infant baptism and believer’s baptism are alive and kicking. But in the wider European context, it is certainly the Anabaptist position which has triumphed.




    If you want to comment, or


old sarge
03:14 h
I cannot speak for all denominations but having been raised Catholic, I was baptized as an infant. Godparents assured that I would be raised in the faith. Many years later, having reached the age of reason I was Confirmed. That is I affirmed that which I could not do as an infant. I think it a good practice. If we are born into sin, and die shortly after birth, then we die with sin on our immortal soul and cannot enter Heaven. So I think baptizing an infant rather than a dedication is good.

YOUR ARE AT: - - - Protestants, Catholics and Baptism
Jonathan Tame: Economy, looking back at the decade Jonathan Tame: Economy, looking back at the decade

The Director of the Jubilee Centre (Cambridge) analyses the impact of the financial crises on families, and the future of the workplace in a connected world, from a Christian perspective.

Jim Memory: Europe, looking back at the decade Jim Memory: Europe, looking back at the decade

Jim Memory analyses the main issues that have changed Europe in the 2010-2019 decade. How should Christians live in a continent that has lost its soul?

Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels

An interview with the socio-political representative of the European Evangelical Alliance about how evangelical Christians work at the heart of the European Union.

Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

Photos: European Week of Prayer Photos: European Week of Prayer

Christians joined the Evangelical Alliance Week of Prayer in dozens of European cities as local churches came together to worship God. 

Photos: Students at ‘Revive Europe’ Photos: Students at ‘Revive Europe’

Photos of the student conference that brought together 3,000 European Christians in Germany. ‘Revive our hearts, revive our universities, revive Europe’.

How should Christ's love inform your parenting of teenagers? How should Christ's love inform your parenting of teenagers?

Dave Patty shares about the notion of parenting children on God’s behalf.

What is a prayer meeting? What is a prayer meeting?

“Prayer is like a fire. One spark that someone prays should ignite a passion in someone else”. Mike Betts leads the network of churches Relational Mission.

Video: Highlights of ‘Revive Europe’ Video: Highlights of ‘Revive Europe’

A video summary of the student conference that gathered 3,000 in Karlsruhe, Germany. 6 days in 6 minutes.

Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube

EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.