Baby caught between 2 Churches

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Q. In the future I want to baptise my baby Catholic but my partner is Pentecostal. Him and his family are very intense in the sense that I will be “saved” and I need to become a part of the Pentecostal church or I won’t go to heaven (their exact words)?

A. This is a very tough one and a very touchy one. Both sides, Catholic and Pentecostal, are generally very set in their ways, although Catholics in recent years have loosened up on this. Pentecostals, not so much. I was Pentecostal for many years, got my degrees from their school, and taught for a time. I was also Eastern Orthodox for some years as well, which is almost identical to Catholics and once was part of the same church.

You are going to have to have some compromises, and everyone is going to have to bend a little for the sake of this baby. I don’t think you’re going to “convert” the Pentecostals and the Pentecostals aren’t going to convert to Catholic anytime soon. Neither is likely to give in altogether. Both sides believe firmly that they are THE TRUTH (insert copyright, registered trademark, and “inc.” as you wish) and the other side are going to HELL.

I don’t know the individuals, but I know the types of churches and beliefs involved. You might have to learn about the Pentecostal beliefs as a way of appeasing them a little, and hearing them out. They should learn about Catholic beliefs, and hear YOU out. As I said, no one will likely convert, but you should understand one another’s views.

Then, (and this is more difficult) you might explain that, although it may not be a meaningful scriptural practice to THEM, it is very important to YOU that the baby have this done. It is harmless, nothing bad happens, and it means a LOT to you. To them, the only way the baby is going to be “saved” is if they grow up and believe the gospel, repent from sins, receive the Holy Spirit (with evidence of speaking in tongues), and being baptized in water by immersion. That is their scriptural view on how the baby is to be saved. They might have other unflattering opinions of the church as well, but that is irrelevant and they should agree to leave those out of the discussion (e.g. “the pope is the antichrist!”). Hopefully, they will.

So to them the baby is not saved until it gets of the age of accountability and does all of the above. To the Catholic church, a baby needs to be initiated into the church via baptism. That does not guarantee s/he will continue to be Catholic anymore than all of the above will guarantee they will be Pentecostal. But the main thing is a peaceful resolution, and a few little compromises so that you are satisfied and they are at least mollified for the time being. Communication is the key here, and knowing that to them, you might try to side-track the baby’s potential salvation by diverting them into the Catholic church and thus preventing them from going through the scriptural steps I outlined above. And they ARE scriptural, and the Catholic church does it their own way.

But communicating that you want a peaceful resolution so that the baby does not grow up in the middle of conflict and stress over this is far more important. How do you think the baby is going to feel about God in general when s/he finds out they are the source of hostility between both sides of the family? The baby’s welfare is the highest priority.