The last three days I have gone back and forth with my Catholic friend, Greg, on the subject of baptism, and salvation. Not really in a debate format, but more in a ‘help me understand your position’ format. He is a good guy, and very knowledgeable, and I appreciate his friendship.
The biggest thing I learned, which I kind of already knew, but now understand more completely, is that Catholics do not believe in ‘works righteousness’. You may disagree with the position that baptism saves, (I do) but neither does intellectual agreement with God or the Bible. The fact is that both Catholics and Protestants believe that you need to react to Christ’s saving work on the cross. They with the sacraments, and us with some intellectual rigor. (confess with your mouth, believe in your heart)
Do you want to point out that infant baptism is unscriptural, ok, but then consider why you believe that infants don’t go to hell. You’ll end up with a concept called ‘age of accountability’. And what exactly is baptism from a protestant perspective? An ‘outward sign of an inward reality?'. That's the 'right' answer, yet neither of these two concepts are in the Bible, (which dosen't make them wrong) rather they are an outgrowth of our systematic theology, (which I affirm) just as infant baptism grows out of Roman Catholic theology.