Was grace given in the baptism of John?


Full Question

Was grace given in the baptism of John?

Answer

No. The Council of Trent (Sess. VII, Canon I. on baptism) anathematized the teaching that the baptism of John had the same effect as the baptism of Christ.

St. Thomas Aquinas also answered that

[T]he whole teaching and work of John was in preparation for Christ: just as it is the duty of the servant and of the under-craftsman to prepare the matter for the form which is accomplished by the head-craftsman. Now grace was to be conferred on men through Christ, according to John 1:17: "Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." Therefore the baptism of John did not confer grace, but only prepared the way for grace; and this in three ways: first, by John’s teaching, which led men to faith in Christ; secondly, by accustoming men to the rite of Christ’s baptism; thirdly, by penance, preparing men to receive the effect of Christ’s baptism. (Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas, available at: www.newadvent.org)


Peggy Frye