Most Protestants consider Catholic baptism to be real but less than ideal.  Many agree with the Catholic belief that baptism cleans the soul of sin and joins you to the Holy Spirit.
Protestants sometimes say that since Rome sees baptism as a sacrament that physically causes grace it is invalid. Rome responds that God has freely chosen to cause grace in a person at baptism the same as Protestants believe that God has freely decided to confer grace on a person who trusts in Christ alone for salvation. The water and the words do not bring the grace to birth, God does. He just chooses to work through this sign.
The idea of baptism giving grace in this way sounds so much like magic that Protestants are often unconvinced. Magicians could say that their spells work because the divine has inspired them to do the spells and has intended to give power and blessings through them.
When God can give the same grace to somebody who wants it a lot as to somebody who is less keen on it through baptism it shows that its power is based on a rite or magic and not on the person’s suitability.
Some Protestants have the notion that the Roman Church thinks that God puts power into the water of baptism that passes on to the child or person who is being baptised. It’s like holy radioactive water! Rome doesn’t teach this and is horrified at the suggestion that it does. But if God puts grace directly in the recipient why can’t he put it in the water and give it to the child through the water? This point shows how close baptism is to superstition if it’s not actually superstition. The rite does not honour God so how could it be valid? How can the Church complain? How can it split hairs?
The Catholic Church cannot have it both ways. It cannot say that it is absurd for God to put the grace into the water when he does as good as that by refusing the grace until water is poured on the person.
Baptism is the sign of the covenant of grace. If the Bible view of predetermination (that God sets it up so that those who wants in Heaven will come to him and be saved while the rest will be lost forever in Hell) is true then to be valid, baptism has to be a sign that one is supposed to have been predestined for salvation by God regardless of what one has done or will do. Catholic baptism is not a sign of this but the cult believes you have to cooperate with God in God and it denies that salvation is God’s choice and not ours.

Some Protestants argue that even heretical baptism is valid and the baptism should not be repeated. Because baptism pictures salvation and you can only be saved once you can only be baptised once. But when there is much dispute over whether or not you can be saved once or over and over again it is clear they should re-baptise just in case. They object then that the heretical baptism picturing the removal of sin by Jesus’ blood is enough. For baptism to picture salvation properly the baptism has to recognise cleansing by the blood of Jesus properly. The Catholic Jesus cannot cleanse sins for he is the wrong one so it follows that baptism into the Catholic Church is invalid for it pictures salvation from sin through heresy and doctrines that would make God weep for they are offensive. The Catholics mean the wrong thing by Jesus and so their Jesus is another Jesus and they might as well baptise in the name of the Father, Joseph Smith and the Holy Spirit. When God would reject a baptism performed with oil though the most important thing is the wording, he will surely more hastily reject a baptism in which the wording is correct but abused. The Protestants then reply that baptism is valid despite the unbelief of the minister. So it is the recipient that counts but that cannot solve anything when the recipient is being entered into a heretical and apostate faith by the baptism. St Paul wrote that the table of the Lord has nothing in common with that of demons (1 Corinthians 10). The same would surely be true of his baptism. God could not accept a baptism that is supposed to confer a new birth when it does no such thing.
The words used in baptism, “I baptise you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”, mean you baptise in their authority. To accept baptism means you are submitting yourself to the authority of the Trinity in all things. Baptism then is meant to unite people under one faith and one authority (page 53, The Institutes of Christian Religion). The baptiser says he baptises you which means he is declaring that his doctrine really respects God and there is no serious error in his teaching. For example, if salvation is by faith alone and not by faith and good works like you have in the Roman Church then to be baptised into a sect that teaches the latter is a grave departure from the authority of God which is about saving you. God cannot accept the faith of a person who makes grave errors simply because that person is following not the gospel but his perception of it. The person would probably not accept God if he knew better for most people do not obey God or like him much except when they want something so God has to be fair to himself and not accept this faith for he deserves the best.
Baptism is meant to unite the baptised in one faith and who help each other live under the authority so it follows that sectarian baptism is invalid. If the sect that deliberately and without sufficient cause breaks away from the sect that has the truth or the most truth if there is no absolutely right Church then it loses the power to baptise validly for it simply does not mean what the words say.
Authority is only exercised through the word of God. If the Bible alone is the word of God then it follows that baptism is only valid if you believe the Bible only. This would invalidate baptism by the Catholic Church which does not let the Bible speak for itself but interprets it through tradition which it considers to be the word of God as well. Again the reason the baptism is invalid is because the words are not meant in the required and proper sense.
Baptism cannot be valid then if it puts you under the wrong authority – even if you are partly under the wrong authority in some grave matters and especially if you are totally under the wrong authority. Baptism into a deceiving sect in which a cult-leader dictates to you what to believe about God is baptism into divine authority in name only. The baptism is no good for this authority pretends to be speaking for God and is actually taking his place. Baptism into a sect that follows an unusual form of Bible interpretation is silencing the word of God though it looks as if it is not and is equally invalid. The worst kind of deception is one that uses the truth and seems to be devoted to it for it is more spiritually dangerous and harder to see through which is why baptism should only be undergone when you are sure the sect giving it to submits as well as possible to the word of God. It means also that you need to be an adult to be baptised and to know what you are doing. Infant baptism is invalid and those baptised as infants are not really baptised at all. They need to be baptised as adults. Infant baptism is a serious sin because you need to find God’s truth for yourself before you can consent to be baptised. It puts religion before spirituality.
If you find your sect is wrong you have to find another sect and get baptised again in it to be on the safe side. The Catholic practice is totally in opposition to people finding the truth of God.

Some say that since baptism is a sign (that is a symbol) of regeneration even a Catholic baptism will do and it does not need to be repeated if the baptised person enters a Christian denomination. If it is that, then it is meant to be an expression of the new birth and now to receive it. This means the Catholic baptism is no good because it opposes the new birth by falsely claiming to be the new birth. Catholics regard baptism as symbolic of regeneration but they deny that it is just a symbol. But it is a symbol of the wrong rebirth so it is invalid.
Roman Catholic baptism is invalid and any Christian Church that accepts it as valid is denying itself.


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