Related to the question: Is baptism just a symbol?
James, a Baptist Christian, has a dialogue with John, a Catholic Christian, about the nature of baptism.
James: I believe that baptism is a symbol of a person's faith in Christ and their commitment to follow Him. It's an outward testimony of an inward transformation.
John: While I agree that baptism is a symbol, it's also more than that. We Catholics believe that baptism is a sacrament, an outward sign instituted by Christ that imparts grace. It actually brings about what it signifies.
James: I understand, John. From my perspective, baptism doesn't impart grace or salvation. Salvation, according to Baptist belief, comes by faith alone in Christ.
John: From a Catholic perspective, we believe that baptism is the means by which we participate in Jesus' death and resurrection. It's not about earning salvation, but about God offering His grace through this sacrament.
James: That's helpful. Yet, I believe it's crucial to stress that baptism, in itself, doesn't save. It is an act of obedience following faith in Christ.
John: I agree that baptism doesn't save us in the sense of earning salvation. But we see it as more than just obedience. In Catholic theology, it's a means of grace that initiates us into the body of Christ.
James: We see baptism as a symbol of what has already happened in the believer's life. It's a public declaration of faith and identification with Jesus.
John: Yes, we also see baptism as a declaration and identification with Jesus. But we additionally believe that through baptism, we are reborn as children of God and incorporated into His Church.
James: It's fascinating to see our different understandings, John. Even though we both value baptism, we see its significance in very different ways.
John: Indeed, James. Our discussion shows the diversity within Christianity. While we have different views on baptism, we share a commitment to follow Jesus and live according to His teachings.