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Are you saved?

Bishop Povish’s answer to this often-posed question to Catholics

If my informal surveys are any indication, more than one-third of the readers of FAITH have been asked by a fellow-worker, or by a sincere Protestant acquaintance, or by a door-to-door evangelist this question: “Are you saved?” If the Catholic hesitated, or said he hoped so, the next question was, “Have you accepted Christ as your personal savior?” No matter what a Catholic person said, she would be pressed with a third question, “When were you saved?” The answer the questioner expects would go something like this: “I was saved at the revival held at the Jackson County Fairgrounds on Sunday, August 13, 1972.”

Born Catholics are not the only Christians asked these questions. Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists, the Orthodox, and Presbyterians are also quizzed this way by Baptist types and other evangelicals who do not baptize infants and who insist that baptism must be by immersion and for adult believers only. Baptists got this way in the 16th century by their selective reading of the New Testament. It is true that in the first generation of Christianity all the famous converts were adults, and the Book of Acts tells of their being baptized in rivers by the disciples.

But the New Testament also tells of whole “households” receiving baptism. Lydia of Thyatira and her household, for example, in Acts 16:15; the jailer of Paul and Silas, and his family, in Acts 16:33; Crispus, the synagogue official, with his entire household, in Acts 18:8; and the household of Stephanas mentioned by St. Paul in I Cor. 1:16. We must assume that in these “households” there were little children and even infants included. In any case, Luther, Calvin and Zwingli, the principal 16th-century reformers, retained the practice of infant baptism as an immemorial tradition in Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.

So then, how does a born Catholic, baptized as an infant, answer the three questions of the friendly Baptist inquirers?

1 Are you saved? Yes, without question I am saved.

2 Have you accepted Christ as your personal savior? Most certainly and numerous times. At every reception of Holy Communion I accept Him in a very personal way. At my Confirmation I made a public profession of my faith in Christ before a bishop, my sponsor, my family and my fellow parishioners. Every Easter I renew the baptismal vows made in my name when I received infant baptism. I think I have “accepted Christ” more often than any born-again Baptist ever has.

3 When were you saved? I can’t be as specific about the time as someone who got saved at the Jackson County Fairgrounds, but I know I was saved on a Friday afternoon in the Spring at about 3 o’clock Jerusalem time almost 2000 years ago.