Insight on the News
Catholics and Baptism
An increasing number of adults are being baptized by the Roman Catholic Church in France, reports Le Monde, a French newspaper. In fact, the paper claims that “the figures have doubled over the past four years.” Prebaptism classes are being taken by over 4,000 French adults seeking to become baptized Catholics. Two thirds are women between the ages of 20 and 40. One quarter are of non-French origin.
Preparation for adult baptism, however, can last two or three years. Priest Guy Cordonnier, responsible for such prebaptism classes in the Versailles area, stated: “To get baptized, it is not enough to say that one believes in God. It is necessary to learn how to live within a community.”
Adult baptism is, of course, nothing new. Jesus himself was baptized at the age of 30 years. That more than simply a belief in God is required for baptism is likewise not new. Jesus’ command to his followers was to “make disciples . . . , baptizing them” and “teaching them” to observe his commands.—Matthew 28:19, 20.
However, since the Catholic Church has for centuries practiced infant baptism, the church’s stance on the baptizing of adults is a paradox. Church authorities say it takes two or more years to prepare an adult for baptism, yet they maintain that infant baptism is proper. They claim that baptism cleanses infants of inherited sin, but the apostle John wrote: “The blood of Jesus . . . cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) Since babies are incapable of exercising faith in God and in Christ’s shed blood, why baptize them?
Words Never Heard
Almost half of the 3,800 wives surveyed by a Japanese insurance company “have not heard the words ‘I love you’ from their husbands in a few years,” reports The Daily Yomiuri. The percentage of wives not hearing these words increases with age, and of those in their 50’s, an amazing 82 percent said they never hear these words from their husbands. Even among the wives in their 20’s, only 10 percent hear their husbands utter these words every day.
In wise King Solomon’s love story involving a shepherd boy and a beautiful country girl from the ancient city of Shunem, it was through “expressions of endearment” that the boy won the girl’s heart. (Song of Solomon 1:2) Once husbands have won the hearts of their wives, is it still necessary to express their affection? Yes! The Bible exhorts: “Husbands, continue loving your wives, just as the Christ also loved the congregation and delivered up himself for it.”—Ephesians 5:25.
On the night of his betrayal, Jesus repeatedly expressed his love for his disciples. (John 13:34; 14:19-21; 15:9, 10, 12) A husband must consider his wife’s needing to be assured of his love. Husbands must also remember that Christ ‘delivered himself up for the congregation.’ Thus, he expressed love both by words and by actions. Clearly, husbands do well to imitate Christ’s example.