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If the baptizing minister doesn’t intend to administer a sacrament that confers grace, is the baptism valid?


My Southern Baptist friend says that her church teaches that baptism does not confer grace and is not necessary for salvation. Since her pastor does not intend to administer a sacrament that confers grace, doesn’t that mean that he doesn’t have the right intention and so the Baptist baptism is not valid?


The validity of the sacrament does depend on the right intention of the minister. But the right intention necessary to administer the sacrament of baptism is not dependent upon a complete or accurate understanding of the effects of baptism. It entails only the will to do what Christ willed and what the Church does.

Many Protestants view baptism as a symbol rather than a life-giving sacrament, but as long as there is the intention to do what Christ willed—and as long as the baptism is done in the name of the Holy Trinity—the baptism will accomplish what Christ intended, however imperfectly that may be understood or believed by the participants.

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