Was Saint Patrick a Baptist?

Today is Saint Patrick’s Day. I’ll be wearing green and the chances are most of you will be as well.

People are fascinated with Saint Patrick.

Today all over the country there will be St. Patrick’s Day parades. In Boston and in New Orleans, they’ll serve green beer – – maybe in a lot of other places as well.

Who was Saint Patrick? What did he do, and what did he believe?

Patrick was born in the late 300s in Great Britain which was at that time controlled by Rome. At age 16 Patrick was kidnapped by Irish Raiders. During this time of captivity he trusted Christ for salvation. He told how God’s providence led to his escape after six years. Several years later he returned to Ireland as a missionary, seeing thousands of people commit their lives to Jesus as Lord and Savior.

The Celtic church, as Irish Christians were known, helped lead the way in evangelizing Europe in the next 100 years. Patrick died in the mid fifth century.

Some Baptists claim Patrick as part of the Baptist movement. What made them do so?

First, Patrick experience salvation by grace through faith and sought the salvation of others. He also practiced baptism by immersion.

When William Carey left England for India in the early 1800s– – an event that began the modern missionary movement – – he cited St. Patrick’s work in the British Isles as one of his inspirations.

Second, Patrick certainly fit what we know as a saint in the Scripture. A saint is a person who has been set apart for God’s service. In the New Testament all believers are known as saints.

Third, Patrick took what happened to him and shared with others the simple message of saving faith.

Was Patrick a Baptist? Probably not. Nor, by the way, was he a part of the Roman church. It did not exist in the form we know it at that time.

What we can say about Patrick was that he took his relationship with Christ seriously, and he used his life to bring the gospel to a whole nation.

May you and I do the same in our day, and may we celebrate the life of a committed follower of Christ–a true saint.

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