Whose Baptism Is It Anyway? Old and New Ecumenicalism

English: St. Augustine arguing with donatists.

The Huffington Post reports that the Roman Catholic Church in America and certain Protestant denominations signed the “Common Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Baptism”, which is a statement accepting each other’s baptisms. These Protestants groups are all mainline denominations from the Reformed tradition: the Presbyterian Church USA, Christian Reformed Church in North America, Reformed Church in America, and United Church of Christ.

Probably many readers of this story will think, “Wow, that’s mighty accommodating of the Roman Catholic Church to accept the baptism of those Protestants!” Actually it’s the Reformed churches that are changing their minds, not the church in Rome. Rome has a long tradition of accepting the baptism of schismatics. Continue reading