Baptisms in Other Faith Traditions
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BAPTISM IN OTHER FAITH TRADITIONS
The following information has been provided to the Office of Worship and Christian Initiation
by Father Jerry Plotkowski, Judicial Vicar. It is our hope that it will help you in discerning
the canonical status of your candidates.
BAPTISM IN PROTESTANT RELIGIONS
Most Protestant baptisms are recognized as valid baptisms. Some are not. It is very difficult
to question the validity of a baptism because of an intention either on the part of the minister
or on the part of the one being baptized.
Water baptism is by immersion with the Trinitarian formula. Valid. Baptism is given at
the age of reason. A dedication ceremony is given to infants. The two ceremonies are separate.
(Many Protestant religions have the dedication ceremony or other ceremony, which is not a baptism.
If the church has the dedication ceremony, baptism is generally not conferred until the age of
reason or until the approximate age of 13).
AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL:
Baptism with water by sprinkling, pouring, or dunking. Trinitarian form is used. Valid.
There is an open door ceremony, which is not baptism.
This is coupled with Mennonites. No infant baptism. The rite of baptism seems valid.
An affirmative decision has been granted in one case involving "baptism" in the
apostolic church. The minister baptized according to the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles,
and not St. Matthew. The form used was: "We baptize you into the name of Jesus Christ for
the remission of sins, and you shall receive a gift of the Holy Ghost." No Trinitarian form
was used. Valid.
THE ASSEMBLY OF GOD:
A dedication ceremony is possible. Infants are not customarily baptized. Baptism through
water takes place when a person is mature enough to understand its implications. The method of
baptism is not outlined, but appears valid.
No infant baptism. There is a ceremony of dedication. Valid baptism takes place at
the approximate age of 13.
EVANGELICAL UNITED BRETHREN:
Members are not received into this church unless they have been baptized. Assurance of baptism
is required before membership is extended. There is a dedication ceremony. Baptism by water seems valid and
is generally done by immersion, pouring, or sprinkling. The Trinitarian form is used.
Universalists and Unitarians voted to merge in May of 1960, with the union taking effect
in 1961. Even before that time, Universalists favored ultimate salvation and rejected original
sin. With time, they denied the Trinity and the Divinity of Jesus. No valid baptism in
The Salvation Army Headquarters state they do not have a baptismal service, but a religious
ceremony called a dedication service of children, and also a cradle role. A certificate is issued
for the dedication service, but is not to be confused with water baptism. No baptism.
LATTER DAY SAINTS CHURCH (MORMON):
There is a dedication ceremony in which no water is used. Baptism takes place by immersion,
but not before the age of 8. The Vatican Congregation on the Doctrine of the Faith has recently
declared this baptism invalid.
Invalid baptism because of Unitarian formula. This is found in the official book of
the Pentecostal Assembly. Yet baptism is considered necessary for salvation and is done by immersion.
Belief is in spiritual rebirth by immersion. Baptism appears invalid since there is
no belief in a Trinity, but in one God, Jesus, who was the son of God, but not God the Son. There
is no Trinitarian formula, since there is no belief in the Trinity.
An affirmative decision was granted in such a case because of lack of proper form and intention
on the part of the ministers. It appears that the Jehovah's Witnesses are fundamentalists, Unitarians.
The Divinity of Christ is explicitly denied, as is the existence of the Holy Spirit as a person.
In the ceremony of baptism there is a discourse. It is really a symbol of dedication rather than
baptism. The person enters the water, but his name is not called out. No words or formula are
pronounced while the person is submerged or immersed in the water. If matter and form are valid,
the intention of the minister is to baptize the person into the Jehovah's Witness sect, thereby
not intending that the person be baptized in the name of the triune God. This is evident since
the Divinity of Christ and the personality of the Holy Spirit are denied. These latter refer
simply to a power exerted by Jehoveh, who alone is God. Invalid.
CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN: (Formerly called Dunkers)
Baptism is made by triune immersion. The formula in Matthew is used. Valid Baptism.
BOHEMIAN FREE THINKERS:
An affirmative decision was given in a case of this type in 1964. A name giving ceremony
is had which is not baptism. There is no Trinitarian belief. No baptism of any kind is
CHURCH OF GOD:
There is a public baby dedication with no sacramental significance. Baptism is conferred
later by immersion and with the Trinitarian formula. Baptism is conferred when the individual
asks for it. Valid Baptism.
CHRISTIAN AND MISSIONARY ALLIANCE:
No belief in infant baptism, but only to those who give evidence of repentance and new birth.
Baptism is seldom conferred before the age of 12. It is conferred by immersion. It is given upon
the personal confession of Christ as the Savior of this person. Valid.
The mother church of all Christian Science Churches states: "Baptism is an individual
spiritual experience. It is not a religious rite or ceremony performed by an ordained minister
or priest." The textbook states that it is a purification by spirit. A letter from the board
of directors states there is no baptismal ritual in the Christian Science movement. In other
words, they have no true baptism.
CHURCH OF DIVINE SCIENCE:
Apparently invalid baptism. The ceremony is a christening ceremony, but not one of
baptism. There is no change brought about in the person who is blessed. The church does not believe
in original sin, so that the child is blessed only when received into the church. An affirmative
decision has been granted in such a case.
DISCIPLES AND CHRISTIANS:
There is a dedication service; no infant baptism; Trinitarian formula used in baptism by
immersion at an older age. Valid baptism. These churches are sometimes known as the Disciples
|| EVANGELICAL CHURCHES: