I would like to approach this question by asking, “Why can’t a believer in Christ take part in a Roman Catholic baptism?” I changed the wording of the question for two reasons: 1) Scripture addresses “individual believers” on matters like this and NOT religious denominations; and 2) I know of no scripture which speaks of not taking part in certain marriage ceremonies, but Scripture does give us light that would prohibit us from taking part in a baptism in the Roman Catholic church.

The key question we must answer is, “What does the Roman Catholic church teach on baptism?” Whenever I am asked about the doctrines of a certain sect I try to go to their own public teaching so I don’t misrepresent what they believe and teach. I found the following teaching from the “Catechism of the Catholic Church”:

“Holy baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the GATEWAY TO LIFE in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are FREED FROM SIN and REBORN AS SONS OF GOD; we BECOME MEMBERS OF CHRIST, are INCORPORATED INTO THE CHURCH and made sharers in her mission: ‘Baptism is the SACRAMENT OF REGENERATION THROUGH WATER in the word.”

I capitalized the words which show us their fundamental error when it comes to baptism, for baptism is NOT the “gateway to life” nor does it “free us from sin and produce the New Birth whereby we become sons of God and members of the body of Christ.” Listen to the words of the Lord Jesus on the New Birth in John 3:3 & 5, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God…unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (NKJV). Jesus does mention “water” in connection with the New Birth, but He does NOT mention “baptism.” Other scriptures make it clear that He is teaching us that “water” is a SYMBOL of “the word of God.” In John 15:3 Jesus said, “You are already CLEAN because of THE WORD which I have spoken to you.” The Apostle Peter makes it crystal-clear that we are born again through THE WORD, “Having been BORN AGAIN, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, THROUGH THE WORD OF GOD, which lives and abides forever.” (1st Peter 1:23) So, the New Birth is the result of one HEARING THE WORD and by the power of the Spirit BELIEVING THE WORD.

In John 3 the Lord Jesus went on to tell Nicodemus exactly what he (and other sinners) needed to believe in order to be born again, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever BELIEVES IN HIM should not perish but HAVE ETERNAL LIFE. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM should not perish but HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE.” Is not this clear AND simple? A person must believe that Jesus Christ was lifted up on the cross so they can have eternal life! Again, this has nothing to do with baptism, nor does it have anything to do with an infant (which the Roman Catholic church baptizes for salvation), for an infant is not old enough to understand and to believe the gospel. See also 1st Corinthians 1:17-18.

The moment a sinner (who is of the age of accountability) believes on Christ he/she is born again (as we have seen). They are also sealed by the Spirit and they become a member of the body of Christ, the true church. This is taught in Ephesians 1:13 and Acts 2:42, “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, HAVING BELIEVED, you SEALED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT of promise….and the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” (307.3) (DO)