Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The first reading for today is from Acts 2:36-41 and it continues to focus on Peter's address to the people of Israel after Pentecost.

“What are we to do, my brothers?”Peter said to them,“Repent and be baptized,
every one of you,in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins;
and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.For the promise is made to you
and to your children and to all those far off,whomever the Lord our God will

Now this particular Bible verse is a point of contention between Catholics and Protestants. Looking at the commentary from an NIV Life Applications Bible, it has the following to say about this verse:

If you want to follow Christ, you must "repent and be baptized." To repent means
to turn from sin, changing direction of your life and selfishness and rebellion
against God's law. At the same time, you must turn to Christ, depending on him
for forgiveness, mercy, guidance, and purpose. We cannot save ourselves - only
God can save us. Baptism identifies us with Christ and with the community of
believers. It is a condition of discipleship and a sign of faith.

Now, if we look at the commentary from the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible(ICSB), we see the following:

The call for conversion is a call for Baptism, the sacrament that takes away
sin and confers the Spirit (22:16; Jn 3:5; Tit 3:5). Here and elsewhere Peter
insists that Baptism is the sacrament that brings us salvation (2:40; 1 Pet

So the NIV says that Baptism is a "sign of faith" while the ICSB says "Baptism is the sacrament that brings us salvation". So, who's correct? Jesus very clearly falls into the Catholic camp especially when you look at verses such as Jn 3:5 where he tells Nicodemus:

Truly, truly, I say to you unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he
cannot enter the kingdom of God.

Now Jesus didn't tell Nicodemus all you have to do is profess that I am your personal Lord and Savior. Some will say that Jesus was speaking of being born of woman and amniotic fluid, but that just doesn't make sense given the context of what we are talking about here.

I will continue further on this topic in the days to come...till then

Peace and God Bless