Jarrod...what is a "valid baptism"?
A baptism performed by an ordained minister according to the traditional formula "in the name of the father, the son, and the holy ghost." At least, I think that's all the Catholic church requires. I'm not actually Catholic, so there might be more requirements.
Both, Protestant and Catholic teach "irresistible grace," or "infused grace."
In all tenets of Protestantism you find "Sola fide," "Sola scriptura," "The Prieshood of all believers."
Your father was "confirmed."
Is this not a rite which gives another "dose" of grace after baptism?
As far as I know, confirmation is just a rite of acceptance into the catholic church (uh... or orthodox, or lutheran, etc). But then, I could be totally wrong. I don't speak for the RCC. You could ask one of the Catholics here - they could probably explain the RCC's position, whatever it is.
In the later Middle Ages of the Church it came at early adolescence, and it serves to "confirm" the faith
implanted at baptism and give the emerging adult the increased inner moral power to live up to Christian standards.
Luther reduced the sacraments from seven to two (Baptism and the Lord's Supper). He denied the theory of ex opera operato.
Luther retained infant baptism, holding that faith is operative in that they who bring the child to baptism have faith on behalf of the child.
Faith of parents produces baptismal regeneration. This is basically the Roman view.
I'm a Protestant, but I'm not really a fan of Luther's theology, to be perfectly honest. I suppose that makes me something of an abnormality. I admire his intention to reform the church, and I don't object to his separation from it, when it refused to be reformed. Which of course brings us back to the whole "I'm a Protestant" thing.
I am using Lutheranism as an example of Protestantism (they do vary). In Lutheranism, the regeneration of an infant takes place at baptism. Baptism, therefore, is required for salvation for the infant, but not for adults. Luther held that immersion was the original and preferable form, but that the form, ultimately, does not matter. This was to be the view of Calvin as touching the mode of baptism.
Probably off topic, but Lutheranism is a lousy example of Protestantism. It's closer to Catholicism than it is to any other branch of Protestant teaching, except maybe the Anglicans, who have one foot in the RCC, anyway.
If baptism is not "for the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit" of what use is it? (Acts 2:38)
When you nail a Protestand down---"baptism is not necessary for salvation."
Elementary: if one is predestined, or among the "elect" no amount of water would be required!
That generalization is pretty much false. While there are many Protestant groups that this would be true for, there are many more for which water baptism is an absolute necessity. Immersion is to the Baptists, for example, what Eucharist is to the RCC.
Of course baptism is the vehicle of God's prevenient grace in the Catholic Church.
At baptism a child is infused with the grace of God and thereby has the ability to cooperate with God in salvation.
After baptism, further grace and special grace is gained when one performs acts of righteousness beyond what is required for salvation (supererogation).
Which leads to "Penance" when one falls below the standard of required righteousness,
especially in the case of public sins, there must be public confession, absolution by the clergy, and the imposition of satisfaction: acts or gifts which guarantee repentance.
My theology requires that grace not be considered as a "thing." It cannot be "infused," within my paradigm. We may not have enough in common to build a conversation on.
Since the Catholic church has accepted your father as a "member," his salvation is now available only in the sacraments, and the sacraments available only through the clergy (as representatives of the bishops; i.e., only in the visible church).
Eh... salvation is a state of being. Participation in the sacraments is conducive to remaining in that state, once one has entered it (baptism assumed). But in the end, faith + hearing is enough. We may just define words differently, though.
From a point of reason: Did Peter announce the words of pardon (remittance of sins) at Pentecost or not?
Would his answer be supported by Jesus' words in John 20:23 and Matthew 10:18-20?
Were the sins of the "three thousand" who heard, and obeyed his words "added to the kingdom" or not? (Acts 2:47).
Were those "added" adults or not?
Did they "continue in the apostles doctrine or not? (Acts 2:42).
If not, of what use is the New Testament?
I'm not really sure what the "words of pardon" are, so I can't answer most of your questions. They were added, and were adults, and did continue in the apostles doctrine.
Tell me how an infant would qualify in the exegesis of Mark 16:16, Acts 8:35-38?
The child would have no need to be baptized if Catholicism and Protestantism would not teach that man inherited Adam's sin.
Due to Augustine's theology of original sin, that man bears Adam's absolutely corrupted nature, inherits the guilt of Adam's sin for which he must be forgiven.
This doctine was adopted in 529 at Orange (France) by the Catholic Church.
Something very interesting: The Roman Catholic Church accepted modified Augustinianism, but through the Middle Ages moved steadily closer to the Semi-Pelagian view, although it claimed to be following Augustine.
Now this I'm more familiar with. I do not hold to the doctrine of "Original Sin," at least not in full. I put a difference between inheriting the nature of a man, and inheriting a man's sins. I see the problem as environmental - the kosmos is corrupted by the misdeeds of men. In our misordered world, we inherit problems for which is there is no perfect course of action. Or, to put it more plainly... sometimes there is no right answer. Sometimes, we choose between bad and worse. Since this is the case, all men fall short of perfection.
The Protestant Reformers saw it their task to return "the Church" to pure Augustinianism, going back beyond the Synod of Orange.
This is exactly what Calvin based his Reformed theology on. ("Institutes of the Christian Religion").
Calvinism is a "Determinism."
So, on and on it goes...When the Bible becomes a "dead letter," man will fall into Realism, Nominalism, or Conceptionalism.
I'm not a five-point Calvinist either. Although neither was Calvin, so maybe that's not so bad.
As nearly as I can tell, those groups who hold to the TULIP principles are in massive decline.