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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: Infant baptism!
Kyralessa
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# 4568

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quote:
Originally posted by strathclydezero:
Wo-o-o-o-ow ..... Just a minute...

What does symbol(ism) mean? If baptism is just a symbol representing *something*, and as we've identified that *something* can be one or more of a whole list of things, then does it really matter at what point someone is baptised as long as it fits with the symbolism of *something*?

Surely the point of baptism is a symbolic gesture to help us live out faith is whatever form. In that when we take one of those symbolic meanings and demean others we are being exclusive and legalistic in faith (avoided the F word [Big Grin] ), and it would be more in the true nature of God, in loving each other, to accept that different symbolic meanings exist and to respect each of them even if we don't personally subscribe to them.

[feeling all wishy washy and liberal now [Yipee] ]
(emphasis added)

Wo-o-o-o-ow ..... The above responded to my post identifying baptism with the exodus.

Clearly it needs to be pointed out that there's a difference between demeaning alternate viewpoints (e.g. "Viewpoint A is stupid") and critiquing them (e.g. "Viewpoint A is mistaken"), and that "exclusive" and "legalistic" are loaded words which do not foster good debate or discussion. [Disappointed]

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In Orthodoxy, a child is considered an icon of the parents' love for each other.

I'm just glad all my other icons don't cry, crap, and spit up this much.

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by strathclydezero:
Not - sorry. I'm definately not episcopal in any way, and yet I know not when I first believed.

Iread this 4 times different ways up & I still don't see what not being a bishop has to do with remembering a moment of conversion

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Og: Thread Killer
Ship's token CN Mennonite
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Lots of good stuff.

To a few things:

Sean said:

quote:
Has anyone here (on either side) suggested that baptism is necessary for salvation?

Well....Josephine said,
quote:
But what if baptism is the physical act through which one is born into the Kingdom of God? What if going down into the water is the means by which you put to death "the old man" and coming up out of the water is the means by which you are raised from death to life?
Sounds pretty much like the former to me. As Ballaam said
quote:
....there is a problem with those of the margins of Christianity who see the rites as a magic formula.
I'm not saying the Orthodox, or any other IB practicing group, see this as a magic bullet for all eternity; but lets just say the less theologically savvy might and often do. Yeah, I know, theology should not tweaked be for the lowest common denominator; but, there is a lot of people out there .

On another note,

Gracious Rebel wrote:
quote:
In fact our church is fairly unusual in that many of the regular congregation cannot actually become members as they have not been baptised as believers, and do not see the need for it!! (the church rules stipulate baptism necessary for membership). This seems to create unnecessary barriers in my opinion.

You and most of the rest of us doing BB have this problem. There are legal reasons why many of us make this distinction; membership boundaries, unfortunately, mean something to lawyers and taxation offices. [Frown]

Many churches are starting to define what membership means to them and figure out a way to describe, through education and discipleship, what people have come up with. i.e. the problem in the scenario is not the meaning of baptism, its in the corporate understanding the roles/rights/responsibilties of membership.

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I wish I was seeking justice loving mercy and walking humbly but... "Cease to lament for that thou canst not help, And study help for that which thou lament'st."

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Og: Thread Killer
Ship's token CN Mennonite
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[Embarrassed]
quote:
Yeah, I know, theology should not tweaked be for the lowest common denominator; but, there is a lot of people out there .

Hmmm....poor grammer is us, eh?

Should have read: There are a lot of people out there at the lowest denominator.

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I wish I was seeking justice loving mercy and walking humbly but... "Cease to lament for that thou canst not help, And study help for that which thou lament'st."

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Sean
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quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
; but lets just say the less theologically savvy might and often do.


This seems to me to be a bit of a red-herring. Where are these masses that believe baptism is magic wand? I've never met them, churched or unchurched. In my experience, most of the unchurched that bring their kids to christening do it because its the traditional thing you do.

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"So far as the theories of mathematics are about reality, they are not certain; so far as they are certain, they are not about reality" - Einstein

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Sean
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Sorry to double-post. Forgot this bit.

quote:
Well....Josephine said,
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
But what if baptism is the physical act through which one is born into the Kingdom of God? What if going down into the water is the means by which you put to death "the old man" and coming up out of the water is the means by which you are raised from death to life?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sounds pretty much like the former to me. As Ballaam said

That describes the normal route into the kingdom of God. It does not say that it is the only route.

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"So far as the theories of mathematics are about reality, they are not certain; so far as they are certain, they are not about reality" - Einstein

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Tiffer
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quote:
Originally posted by Mo's is:
Is the difference between a more catholic / orthodox / anglican view and a more protestant view of baptism based in the fact that protestant type people believe more in a conversion experience and can name the time and date that they became christians whereas in a catholic etc tradition people are born into being christians and baptism confirms this as soon as possible.

or not?

I would say that those are trends, but it isn't as clear cut as that, I hear many testimonies from people before their baptisms' (which I wish happened in the confirmation service) and many of them cannot remember when they became a Christian, wheras I am sure there are many from the established churches who can remmeber when they became Christians.

Tiffer

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"All the Fat belongs to the Lord"
-Leviticus 3:16b

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Chorister

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With the greatest respect, Sean, you do not yet have children. When you have children of your own, sometimes the most irrational fears play on your mind, sometimes half-remembered from childhood (I think it is nature's way of making sure you protect them) - and one of these fears can be of something happening to your child before he or she is baptised, and what would be the consequences. I fought against this, because I knew it to be irrational, but it is true that the thoughts do appear.
This may not be totally prevalent nowadays, because fewer people are steeped in a Christian upbringing, but I would suggest that those who did have some such influence (especially of a more dogmatic kind) would still have worries like this.

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Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

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Josephine

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quote:
Originally posted by Sean:
That describes the normal route into the kingdom of God. It does not say that it is the only route.

Thank you, Sean.

If someone asks you to explain how babies are born, and you explain a normal vaginal delivery, it doesn't mean you think babies can't be born by caesarean section, or that babies born in that way aren't really born, or aren't really babies. It doesn't mean disapprove of forceps or that you're opposed to or ignorant of various medical techniques to get the baby birthed a little faster.

It just means that you know that, despite all the perfectly valid alternatives, a normal vaginal delivery is and will always be the way most babies are born. Exceptions are irrelevant.

Likewise, baptism is the normal way that persons are born into the Kingdom.

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I've written a book! Catherine's Pascha: A celebration of Easter in the Orthodox Church. It's a lovely book for children. Take a look!

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FCB

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quote:
Originally posted by Sean:
Where are these masses that believe baptism is magic wand? I've never met them, churched or unchurched.

If I might wax anecdotal, about 13 years ago my wife and I had a girl from the mountains of Guatemala and her new-born baby living with us for a few months. One day my wife was discussing with her what she needed to do to get her son his vaccinations and she replied, "Yes, and while we're at it, we ought to get him baptized too."

FCB

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Agent of the Inquisition since 1982.

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Matrix
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Just a few random thoughts/responses.

Some of you will know that I'm a Baptist minister, so that might be a clear indicator of where i stand in the discussion.

I wanted to reply to those posters (Kyrelessa and Sean D, maybe others) who seem to think that believer's baptism is some kind of new or relatively recent idea. Of course, this simply isn't true. For as long as there has been a church, there have been those who have practised BB. In fact, it's probably truer to think that infant baptism is a newer idea than BB.

As infant baptism became the norm, those who practised BB didn't disappear, but did become a minority within the church.

One of the key questions, hinted at but not explored in the discussion so far is the link between baptism and membership of the church, not simply formal membership (i.e. ability to vote in a meeting) but membership of the church universal. Does baptism do make that happen - that is what seems to lie at the heart of the infant baptism practise. By baptising a child, one is (amongst other things perhaps) making a declaration that they are now members of the church.

I guess many of us want to say that membership of the church is less easily defined, and that baptism follows something else, conversion or whatever you want to call it.

In most baptist churches, we are thrilled to thank God for the gift of new life, to pray for the child and family, that God would bless them, and that the child will grow and develop thier own relationship with Christ. We don't accept the child at that point as a member of the church. It is similar perhaps to the Jewish practise of presentation at the temple, followed later by the welcome at age 12/13.

Jesus in his teaching clearly makes baptism part of the response, not something that comes before. As does Paul.

I'm tired and ill, so perhaps not writing as clearly as i want to - but i hope this helps a little, and i'll answer questions if i've been unclear.
Regards
M UK

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Maybe that's all a family really is; a group of people who miss the same imaginary place. - Garden State

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chukovsky

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I'm happy to say that given my background I've never come across anyone in churches I've been a member of who appears to be quite so negative about my own baptism as many shipmates seem to be. According to these shipmates my baptism was invalid and pointless, or worse, superstitious and plain wrong.

I was baptised as an infant because my parents thought it was a nice tradition. Neither is at all religious - and in fact it was mainly my dad who thought it was a nice tradition, my mother objected strongly enough that my brother was not baptised. My parents were not asked to attend any kind of course before having me baptised. I think one godmother used to go to church and may have had some inkling of what the promises meant but none of my godparents ever brought up the subject of God or church and indeed my parents raised me not to believe in God. We were not parishioners in the church I was baptised in - I think my cousin's parents were and we were "done" at the same time.

One godmother gave me a nice, white bible (KJV I think) which I was happy to have later. However no-one from the church visited us or asked if I wanted to go to Sunday School or anything at all.

At the age of 10 or so I was sent to Sunday School, I think mainly to stop me hanging round the house and moaning while my brother was singing in his (all-boys) choir. The whole God thing started to make sense at that point. I do remember at one period reading something from my "very own" Bible but it may have been after this - though the KJV is not a great choice for a child, I was quite into the language, especially having heard the Christmas story read from that version. So at least something from my baptism had some effect on me later.

When I started singing in an Anglican girls' choir many of the other girls were going to be confirmed in their early teens. I had grown into a fairly strong commitment to God at this stage and wanted to join them - my parents thought I was succumbing to peer pressure and wouldn't let me. I was finally confirmed in a Methodist church when I was 19. It was immensely special and did not at all feel like second best - a friend was baptised that afternoon and confirmed with us and the confirmation felt every bit as special as his baptism. I think, though I'm not sure, that the Methodist confirmation is confirmation by the candidate of their baptismal vows. I joined a different denomination (URC) recently and also made promises (though we wrote a lot of the service ourselves) when I did that. And there are renewals of vows at Easter, and a very special commitment service on the first sunday of the year in the Methodist church that also involves re-commitment, that I often try to go to.

So, many people here seem to be saying I should have been baptised again, or at least if I had wanted a "proper" commitment to the church I would have been justified in doing something. Others criticise what my parents did as "superstitious" or just plain pointless.

I don't see it that way at all. I date my involvement with the church from my baptism - that's when I first became a member of the church. When I was a small child my understanding of God's love and the body of Christ was limited, and my involvement was also limited, but my grandfather took us to church at Christmas and we had RI at school and learnt children's hymns. My understanding has increased gradually and although becoming consciously aware of God is relatively easy to date, it has to have been a gradual process - just as my increasing understanding of him since that date has been a gradual process. When I became consciously aware of God, I certainly remember coming to a new understanding of a lot of things e.g. about Christ that I already knew about - not starting from scratch. Stating as an adult that I wanted to be a member of the church was only a step on the way - not a beginning, nor an end.

I don't see infant baptism so much as a means to salvation as a sign of God's grace when we are unable to respond (which is pretty much true for the rest of life, too) and as the means by which someone first becomes a member of the Church, the body of Christ. I'm particularly puzzled by people who don't think infants can be members of the Church.

When I was being confirmed, a few people (not members of my church) suggested that rebaptism might be a better idea. There were sufficient people who thought that was plain wrong and that infant baptism was a perfectly normal Protestant thing to do that I didn't give it even a first thought. No-one was every quite as negative about the form my own baptism took as people in this discussion have been. I have another friend who was baptised as an infant and who is now an active member of the Church, and whose younger brother was not and is not. Something definitely happened at our baptisms despite our parents' worst intentions.

If I ruled the world... OK, if I was a minister or priest, I would definitely baptise infants of both church-goers and non-churchgoers. I would probably try and persuade churchgoers that baptism was the way for their infant to become a member of the church, and that membership is possible for infants too. I'd probably say more or less the same thing to non-churchgoers too - i.e. do they really want their child to be a member of the church? I used to go to a church that followed up all baptised children, invited them to Sunday School etc. Again, they are members of the church.

I think I'd stop short of suggesting an Alpha course for non-churchgoing parents (partly because they seem designed to put off anyone with a thought of their own, but that's another story) but I'd definitely make sure the parents understood the basics of the Christian faith and knew what they were promising. It's similar to pre-marriage courses for non-churchgoing couples - some of course are put off but others may make a step along the road towards a fuller understanding of God. And that's all we can expect of anyone who is being baptised or sponsoring a baptismal candidate, whether or not they are a church-goer.

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This space left intentionally blank. Do not write on both sides of the paper at once.

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Sean
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quote:
wanted to reply to those posters (Kyrelessa and Sean D, maybe others) who seem to think that believer's baptism is some kind of new or relatively recent idea. Of course, this simply isn't true. For as long as there has been a church, there have been those who have practised BB. In fact, it's probably truer to think that infant baptism is a newer idea than BB.
If you're thinking of me, I'm Sean, not Sean D. I don't think he's posted on this thread, but I could be wrong.

Of course adult baptism is older than infant baptism - otherwise how would the church have got started in the first place?

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"So far as the theories of mathematics are about reality, they are not certain; so far as they are certain, they are not about reality" - Einstein

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Matrix
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Sean D was the 3rd person to post on this thread, however, I made a mistake (let me just pause for a moment to register how that feels...hmm, that's what it feels like <<shudder>> mustn't do that again) It was strathclydezero's post on the first page i meant to refer to. Apologies Sean D.

Regards
M UK

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Maybe that's all a family really is; a group of people who miss the same imaginary place. - Garden State

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Og: Thread Killer
Ship's token CN Mennonite
# 3200

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Sean and Josephine,

Thanks for the clarifications. BTW, I have met people who believe in the magic bullet baptism theology and have baptised their kids as a form of fire insurance. [Frown]

chukovsky,

I'm sorry if people's questioning of an important part of your faith has bugged you so much. Every time somebody on here questions a bit of theology I hold near and dear, I have a choice. I can get ticked at them for questioning what I believe or I can listen to them, see where I can grow, and move on.

Your baptism is very important to you and to your understanding of your relationship with God and church. Good. Others of us have different views on this issue. But, if Christians with different understandings don't discuss this and other issues, myths and misunderstandings will perpetuate and fester.

I belong to a religious movement who's members have been hunted down and killed over this issue, have been kicked out of countries over this issue, and are still seen by the odd church historian and theologian and government as weirdo heretics who want to bring about a violent revolution, all because we don't baptise our kids. [Frown] Every time somebody joins our group who was IB, we deal with this issue. Maybe familiarity with the need for the discussion has blinded me to how those who have never had to deal with this topic would feel when their dearly held beliefs are questioned. Apologies on my part.

Suffice it to say, this issue is important to me, but I can relate to your wondering why people are questioning something you hold so dear.

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I wish I was seeking justice loving mercy and walking humbly but... "Cease to lament for that thou canst not help, And study help for that which thou lament'st."

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Matrix
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What Og said [Not worthy!]

In the 16th & 17th century many of the founders of our denomination received the "Third Baptism", that was to be tied to a chair and drowned, as a punishement for their opposition to infant baptism.

So some of us have strong opinions on it, and see it as a far more important issue than other Christians. Forgive me if you feel I challenge you strongly, but do wrestle with what I and others write.

Regards
M UK

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Maybe that's all a family really is; a group of people who miss the same imaginary place. - Garden State

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Kyralessa
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# 4568

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quote:
Originally posted by MatrixUK:
I wanted to reply to those posters (Kyrelessa [sic] and Sean D, maybe others) who seem to think that believer's baptism is some kind of new or relatively recent idea. Of course, this simply isn't true. For as long as there has been a church, there have been those who have practised BB. In fact, it's probably truer to think that infant baptism is a newer idea than BB.

As infant baptism became the norm, those who practised BB didn't disappear, but did become a minority within the church.

No one is suggesting that the adults baptized in the book of Acts were not believers. That would be silly. What we are suggesting is that the idea that only believers' baptism is valid is one that came along much later, at the Reformation. When I say IB vs. BB, I mean this:

IB = the view that people can be baptized at any age, from infants up to deathbed

BB = the view that people must reach a certain "age of accountability" (often pegged at 8 years of age, but also sometimes considered variable depending on the person) before they can be baptized, and that infant baptisms are not valid or appropriate because the infants are not believers

I grew up Church of Christ, a BB church (i.e. one that did not believe in infant baptism), but am now Orthodox, which practices infant baptism (though of course it baptizes adult converts as well). So I had to reconsider the issue. The simple fact is that there is a fundamental assumption made by those who insist on believers' baptism only. Specifically in the case of infant baptism, it is that if it were right for the church to practice infant baptism, then we would either have a Scriptural command to do it or we would see the apostles or other early Christians doing it. Generally speaking the assumption is that any significant church doctrine would be contained in Scripture, and that if something is not in Scripture, that means it isn't important. I suspect that to practitioners of believers' baptism this is considered so self-evident that they little consider what a sweeping assumption it is.

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In Orthodoxy, a child is considered an icon of the parents' love for each other.

I'm just glad all my other icons don't cry, crap, and spit up this much.

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chukovsky

Ship's toddler
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Kyralessa - There does seem to be a sub-group however of those who think that infant baptism of the children of believers is just about OK, although not ideal, but infant baptism of other children is to be discouraged and if someone was baptised as an infant under those "other" circumstances the baptism is therefore less acceptable and less valid.

Likewise at the other end of the spectrum there seems to be a subgroup who feel that if infants have the opportunity to be baptised - i.e. their parents or other adults who are close to them have some inkling of what it is about, or more especially are church members themselves - but those infants are not baptised, they are in danger in some way.

Having got that rant off my chest again, I'll try and stop doing it - and thanks Og and Matrix for sharing your side of the story. That also helps me.

I had another thought about the "parents who don't go to church" thing - discussion with such parents may in fact lead to them deciding they understand more about the promises infant baptism would involve and don't want to go through with it, but feel thankful enough to God to have a dedication or service of thanksgiving. This is of course another opportunity for them and the child to take a step on the road of faith, the same as when an engaged couple decide a church marriage service isn't for them but maybe a blessing would be good.

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ken
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# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by chukovsky:

If I ruled the world... OK, if I was a minister or priest, I would definitely baptise infants of both church-goers and non-churchgoers. I would probably try and persuade churchgoers that baptism was the way for their infant to become a member of the church, and that membership is possible for infants too. I'd probably say more or less the same thing to non-churchgoers too - i.e. do they really want their child to be a member of the church? I used to go to a church that followed up all baptised children, invited them to Sunday School etc. Again, they are members of the church.

I think I'd stop short of suggesting an Alpha course for non-churchgoing parents (partly because they seem designed to put off anyone with a thought of their own, but that's another story) but I'd definitely make sure the parents understood the basics of the Christian faith and knew what they were promising. It's similar to pre-marriage courses for non-churchgoing couples - some of course are put off but others may make a step along the road towards a fuller understanding of God.

Are you the Secret Master of our church? Because that is exactly our policy. But then it is the policy of most CofEn churches I know.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by Kyralessa:
Generally speaking the assumption is that any significant church doctrine would be contained in Scripture, and that if something is not in Scripture, that means it isn't important. I suspect that to practitioners of believers' baptism this is considered so self-evident that they little consider what a sweeping assumption it is.

It is not an unconsidered assumption. It is one of the main pillars of our doctrine, at least in the Church of England, and one about which much argument has been had.

Article 6 of the 39 Articles of the Church of England puts it very explicitly:

quote:

Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation

As the CofE does practice infant baptism, this "assumption" alone isn't sufficient to distinguish paedobaptist and nonpaedobaptist churches.

--------------------
Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Kyralessa
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quote:
Originally posted by chukovsky:
Kyralessa - There does seem to be a sub-group however of those who think that infant baptism of the children of believers is just about OK, although not ideal, but infant baptism of other children is to be discouraged and if someone was baptised as an infant under those "other" circumstances the baptism is therefore less acceptable and less valid.

Likewise at the other end of the spectrum there seems to be a subgroup who feel that if infants have the opportunity to be baptised - i.e. their parents or other adults who are close to them have some inkling of what it is about, or more especially are church members themselves - but those infants are not baptised, they are in danger in some way.

chukovsky, I don't think priests ought to baptize infants who don't have committed Christian parents. However, if you were in fact baptized under such circumstances and came to faith later, I rejoice with you [Yipee] .

I wouldn't argue that your baptism is somehow "invalid." I don't think I said anywhere that infant baptism to non-Christian or uncommitted parents is "invalid", but I'm sure I said it was a bad idea. The fact that things turned out differently in your case is a happy exception to the general rule.

(The general rule, of course, is that kids have very strong BS detectors, and if a parent says such-and-such is important but doesn't act like it is, the kid will see right through it.)

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In Orthodoxy, a child is considered an icon of the parents' love for each other.

I'm just glad all my other icons don't cry, crap, and spit up this much.

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ken
Ship's Roundhead
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Triple-posting here....

quote:
Originally posted by chukovsky:
There does seem to be a sub-group however of those who think that infant baptism of the children of believers is just about OK, although not ideal, but infant baptism of other children is to be discouraged and if someone was baptised as an infant under those "other" circumstances the baptism is therefore less acceptable and less valid.

That is what our Bishop (Colin Buchanan) believes. But the CofE traditionally baptises all children.

quote:

I had another thought about the "parents who don't go to church" thing - discussion with such parents may in fact lead to them deciding they understand more about the promises infant baptism would involve and don't want to go through with it, but feel thankful enough to God to have a dedication or service of thanksgiving.

I think this is what the people who have been promoting the idea of a dedication service for babies within the Church of England had in mind. (of whom Bishop Colin was one)

But in practice I have only ever seen it used by believing parents who had other reasons for not wanting baptism for their baby - maybe a non-Christian spouse or else a preference for believer's baptism. So the service that had been intended for those loosely attached to the church often gets used by those most committed to it.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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The Black Labrador
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# 3098

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What Kyralessa and Ken said.

Chukovsky, Thanks for telling us your story. We all have different experiences and views on this subject. You had a positive experience of infant baptism and Christianity as a child. Many people didn't (and this number is increasing). For such people a subsequent faith experience often involves a believers baptism whether or not they had an infant baptism.

I think the churches should actively promote dedication/thanksgiving services and offer them without any restriction. Baptism is another matter though. The C of E infant baptism ceremony involves fairly powerful promises being made by parents and godparents. In order to meaningfully make those promises, I think some evidence of commitment is required. My reference to Alpha courses was intended as a possible example, not an absolute requirement.

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Sean D
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quote:
Originally posted by Mousethief:
You appear to be saying that once somebody is baptised as an infant, they are trapped into being a Christian for the rest of their lives, whether they want to or not. This is absurd. People DO make up their minds about whether they want to be Christians or not, whether they are baptised as infants or not. So this can hardly count as a reason not to baptise infants.

Sorry, I should have been clearer. I am not saying that baptism precludes a decision, but that it should follow a decision. Baptism seems to me to be primarily about declaring one's faith, becoming identified with Christ and being washed clean. This happens by grace through faith (or is it the other way around?! - but same difference) so should be when someone consciously identifies themselves as a Christian. In my opinion.

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chukovsky

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quote:
Originally posted by Sean D:
I am not saying that baptism precludes a decision, but that it should follow a decision. Baptism seems to me to be primarily about declaring one's faith, becoming identified with Christ and being washed clean.

I think this is probably where some of us differ. For me (though my theology is no doubt imperfect and wooly) baptism is primarily about becoming a member of the church, and is a sign of God's grace - either of which can happen at any age, and neither of which requires a conscious statement on the part of the candidate. The first some might say requires a commitment and statement on the part of the parents/godparents, but the second doesn't seem to require this - and you could have a commitment/statement from just the godparents or just the parents - or, it seems to me, just a commitment on the part of the church to keep the child in the fold.

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Jerry Boam
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# 4551

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Chukovsky [Not worthy!]

Some bits from the United Methodist Church book that I read before my own baptism and which made sense to me:
quote:
The difference between the baptism of adults and that of infants is that the Christian faith is consciously being professed by an adult who is baptized. A baptized infant comes to profess her or his faith later in life, after having been nurtured and taught by parent(s) or other responsible adults and the community of faith. Infant baptism is the prevailing practice in situations where children are born to believing parents and brought up in Christian homes and communities of faith. Adult baptism is the norm when the Church is in a missionary situation, reaching out to persons in a culture which is indifferent or hostile to the faith. While the baptism of infants is appropriate for Christian families, the increasingly minority status of the Church in contemporary society demands more attention to evangelizing, nurturing, and baptizing adult converts.
...
The Church affirms that children being born into the brokenness of the world should receive the cleansing and renewing forgiveness of God no less than adults.

Anything wrong with that?

It has been suggested that infant baptism is a symptom of superstitious, magical thinking, and it certainly may be in some cases. But the insistance that only BB is valid seems just as much the product of magical thinking, as well as a denial of the power of God. Is baptism something the baptized person does? Is it not a corporate activity of the community of believers? Do we not believe that the Holy Spirit is really doing something to/in the baptized person? Is the behavior of the community of believers in the baptism nullified by the infant's lack of comprehension? Do we understand how God might communicate with infants? Is the Holy Spirit not allowed to communicate with infants?

It's nice that pro-BB people have had positive experiences. I know I did. But I don't get that those experiences or that experiential aspect of the sacrament somehow erases it's power for others...

Jeremiah 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."(NIV)

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If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving is not for you.

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Mr. Spouse

Ship's Pedant
# 3353

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Today I read this view of the role of godparents in a secular society

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IconiumBound
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# 754

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Sorry to be coming to this thread so late but having read or scanned the three pages I failed to see clearly stated the argument for infant baptism based on tribal inclusion.

There has been mention of Baptism's correlation to circumcison which it is. A Jewish infant was curcumcised at eight days to mark his inclusion into the tribe. Many other tribes around the world have similar rituals of inclusion at an early age. Many of these involve naming. Baptism was probably begun as a ritual for inclusion into the Church as adults. It evolved to infant Baptism as the Church debated what would happen to infants not baptised when "the Day of the Lord" occurs. Limbo was an RC answer that prevailed for some time but eventually infant Baptism became more mainstream and the naming ritual was incorporated. But through all this it was, still, a ritual tribal inclusion ceremony.

In the 1976 ECUSA Prayer Book the inclusion into the tribe/community was strengthened with the urging that Baptism be done in the presence of the congregation to make the point that the infant's faith development was the responsibility of the congregation. Later development of parental/godparent preparation followed the same thinking.

Considering the tribal/community inclusion as the main point of the ritual simplifies all the various other arguments into "whatever you like." That is, salvation yes or no; future belief maybe or maybe not; sprinkling/immersion a symbol or ritual; God's/man's act a sacrament or not, all of these can be held, altered, abridged, enlarged, ammended, or otherwise disposed of.

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Amos

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Iconium Bound, I'm not sure why you use the past tense. Jews, and for that matter Muslims, still circumcise their sons.

The 'tribal inclusion' argument always strikes me as old-fashioned cod-anthropology. The reasons we give for or against these practices, whether circumcision or the baptism of infants, must (for good philosophical reasons) be theological. So those who circumcise do so because they believe that this is what God has commanded, and we who baptise choose infant baptism or believers' baptism for reasons having to do with what we believe about salvation.

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At the end of the day we face our Maker alongside Jesus--ken

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chukovsky

Ship's toddler
# 116

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Iconium Bound: I wouldn't necessarily call the church a "tribe" but if you've read any of my posts and those of some other people you'll see that for some of us, christening is about becoming a member of the church - it is about joining something. Do you say
quote:
having read or scanned the three pages I failed to see clearly stated the argument for infant baptism based on tribal inclusion.
because you don't think joining the church is similar enough to joining a tribe (which I would argue in any case) or because you didn't read that bit???

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Benedictus
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Are there any instances of non believer's baptism in the Bible? Aren't there a couple of places in Acts where the master or mistress of a household was baptised and had their entire household baptised? When somebody said, But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord, had they taken a poll first?

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Resentment: Me drinking poison and expecting them to die

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Kyralessa
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# 4568

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quote:
Originally posted by Benedictus:
Are there any instances of non believer's baptism in the Bible? Aren't there a couple of places in Acts where the master or mistress of a household was baptised and had their entire household baptised? When somebody said, But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord, had they taken a poll first?

Well, it's not in the New Testament, but we know that of course they went around to each person in the household one by one asking, "Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Do you? Do you? Do...wait, you're a baby, never mind." [Big Grin]

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In Orthodoxy, a child is considered an icon of the parents' love for each other.

I'm just glad all my other icons don't cry, crap, and spit up this much.

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Anselm
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# 4499

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quote:
Not a Care wrote:
I'm still interested in the first origins of baptism. Anyone?

IMHO The significance of baptism is linked to the ‘tradition’ of God’s salvation of his people through the waters (Noah & the Flood - 1 Peter 3:21; Moses/Israel through the Reed Sea - 1 Corinthians 10:2, Joshua crossing the Jordan), made all the more striking because to the significance with which Jewish writings often viewed the waters as a place of chaos and death.
It represented the crossing over from curse to blessing, death to life, an entrance into the Kingdom of God. The NT sees Jesus' death and resurrection as the 'Second Exodus-Return From Exile', which we participate in.
quote:
FCB wrote:
John the Baptist's baptisms were also somewhat different from early Christian baptism, since they did not initiate one into God's people, but were rather a prophetic sign-act of repentence undertaken by those who were already members of Israel. The same seems to have been the case with the ritual washings practiced by groups like the Essenes. So in this case too it is difficult to trace a straight from John's practice to the early Christian one.

The 1st Cent Jewish understanding was that they were still ‘in exile’ because they were under the authority of gentile rulers. Their expectation of the Messiah was that he would lead them out of exile by overcoming the authorities that enslaved them. JBap’s baptism (which took place, significantly, at the Jordan River) was an invitation to ‘re-enter’ the kingdom of God that was at hand. The Christian continuation (or appropriation, depending on your position) of baptism was to maitain that invitation to others to associate themselves with the community that followed Jesus 'out of exile' and into the Kingdom of God.
quote:
FCB continued...
My own guess (and it is only that) is that baptism was a prophetic sign act that first Christians took over from the followers of John the Baptist, but which they invested with an almost wholly new meaning, making it an initiation and seeing its primary meaning in light of the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus. It is interesting to read what Peter says in Acts 2:38: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." We have JBap's theme of repentence and forgiveness, but we also have the additions of the name of Jesus and the gift of the Spirit.

IMHO, the early Christians were not investing baptism with a whole new meaning. I believe that JBap himself linked the gift of the Spirit and the coming messiah with the baptism he was practicing.
quote:
And John was clothed in camel's hair, and a leather girdle about his loin, and eating locusts and wild honey. And he proclaimed, saying, "He who comes after me is mightier than I, of whom I am not fit to stoop down to loosen the thong of His sandals. I indeed baptized you in water, but He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit."
Mark 1:6-8

Assuming, of course, that you accept the integrity of the gospels. [Wink]

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carpe diem domini
...seize the day to play dominoes?

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strathclydezero

# 180

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quote:
Originally posted by Kyralessa:
Wo-o-o-o-ow ..... The above responded to my post identifying baptism with the exodus.

Clearly it needs to be pointed out that there's a difference between demeaning alternate viewpoints (e.g. "Viewpoint A is stupid") and critiquing them (e.g. "Viewpoint A is mistaken"), and that "exclusive" and "legalistic" are loaded words which do not foster good debate or discussion. [Disappointed]

In infant baptism threads I have and always will argue that Baptism is a nice symbol of the Christian faith, in any of it's many manifestations. That any is taken in exclusion of the rest is in my mind as I posted, "being exclusive and legalistic in faith". If you cannot live with that then please do not plague me with your backstabbing. It's hardly sportsmanly that just because you get upset in a PM dialogue that you have to post an attack that you know will be left unreplied to for a full week. And it's hardly reasonable on that count to accuse me of not fostering good debate or discussion.

Aside, what's this tripe about baptism being "valid" or "invalid". How can a symbol be valid or invalid?

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All religions will pass, but this will remain:
simply sitting in a chair and looking in the distance.
V V Rozanov

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David Brider
Apprentice
# 3233

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quote:
Originally posted by shareman:
Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid then not, for of such is the Kingdom of God.
I can't quote chapter and verse, but we all know where it comes from.

That verse is...let's just say frequently used to support infant baptism, but in context it's a.) got nothing to do with baptism and b.) (IIRC) about children who were able to come to Jesus under their own steam, as compared with infants brought for baptism who are rarely able to do anything more under their own steam than scream, cry, puke and cr*p.

David.

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David Brider; a full-length adventure, too broad and too deep for the small screen.
"...God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
(Romans 5:8.)

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David Brider
Apprentice
# 3233

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quote:
Originally posted by ken:
Infant baptism is valid but usually undesirable.

[snip]

Undesirable chiefly because it denies the baptised person the chance of choosing baptism and declaring their faith publically later.

Um...it does? How so? I was baptised as a screaming gurgling babby. 26 years later after I'd become a Christian, I was baptised as a believing adult.

quote:
And secondly because it has become absorbed into European culture as a naming ceremony for children and is often seen as a purely social event with no Christian content.

This for me is a far more significant problem.

David.

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David Brider; a full-length adventure, too broad and too deep for the small screen.
"...God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
(Romans 5:8.)

http://davidbrider.livejournal.com

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David Brider
Apprentice
# 3233

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quote:
Originally posted by Kyralessa:
By popular request:

What is it? How does it work? Who can perform it? How old should the infant be? Or is infant baptism just totally wrong for a myriad of reasons? Discuss! Debate! Hold forth your views! (And let us see how long it takes us to end up in Dead Horses... [Smile] )

Biblically, my understanding is that Baptism is always preceded by repentance (as in, "repent and be baptised"). The only instance where that's not strictly the case is the jailer who repents and is then baptised along with the whole of his household, but as no infants are specifically recorded as being part of that household, any argument from that in favour of infant baptism is one from silence. Certainly, I find it difficult to believe that a six-month old can be able to repent.

David.

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David Brider; a full-length adventure, too broad and too deep for the small screen.
"...God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
(Romans 5:8.)

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strathclydezero

# 180

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David,

A lot of what you have posted has been covered on the thread already. The 'biblical' interpretation of baptism is merely one interpretation of many and cannot be taken in isolation in a wide ranging discussion of baptism. That the 6 month old doesn't repent is a 'feature' of infant baptism. Also triple posting around here is considered bad practice - so please condense ideas into a single post.

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All religions will pass, but this will remain:
simply sitting in a chair and looking in the distance.
V V Rozanov

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Scot

Deck hand
# 2095

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HOSTING

strathclydezero, if you have a personal issue with Kyralessa, take it up by PM or in Hell. This thread is not the place for it.

Also, David Brider's three posts were each in response to a different person making a different point. There is no reason why they have to be combined into a single post.

scot
Purgatory Host

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“Here, we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” - Thomas Jefferson

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Jerry Boam
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# 4551

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quote:
Originally posted by David Brider:
quote:
And secondly because it has become absorbed into European culture as a naming ceremony for children and is often seen as a purely social event with no Christian content.
This for me is a far more significant problem.

David.

Is this really a problem? I find it hard to believe. When my family was baptized, most of our Jewish and Muslim friends came to the party, held far from the church after the service, but did not actually attend the service because it was a Christian ceremony in a Church... My atheist relatives were very uncomfortable with the event because it was so Christian...

I have never heard of any non-Christian getting baptized. It may happen on rare occaisions, but to raise it as a major objection to infant baptism seems odd. It may be that many Christians who baptize their infant children fall short of the standards for church involvement set by passionate adult converts--this is surely not a problem with the practice of infant baptism but rather a weakness in the adults who are judged to be insufficiently Christian in their works... or perhaps the problem lies in the minds of those who make this judgement.

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If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving is not for you.

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Merseymike
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# 3022

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Quite right, Jerry. Infant baptism is a way of at least keeping a connection with the church, and the vast majority in the UK who don't attend, so we dont just become a holy huddle of 'Committed Christians'

[ 25. June 2003, 18:13: Message edited by: Merseymike ]

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Christianity is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be experienced

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IconiumBound
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# 754

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In the discussion between IB and BB I wonder what the significance is of the Renewal of Baptismal Vows as practiced in the ECUSA? In our parish these are repeated by the congregation at least four times a year whether there is a Baptism or not.
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FCB

Hillbilly Thomist
# 1495

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quote:
Originally posted by Jerry Boam:
I have never heard of any non-Christian getting baptized.

Really? Every Christian I know was a non-Christian before their baptism.

FCB

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Agent of the Inquisition since 1982.

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Chapelhead*

Ship’s Photographer
# 1143

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quote:
Originally posted by FCB:
Every Christian I know was a non-Christian before their baptism.

Really. And there I was, thinking that I went to the Pastor and asked to be baptised because I was a Christian. [Confused]

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Benedikt Gott Geschickt!

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daisymay

St Elmo's Fire
# 1480

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quote:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Not a Care wrote:
I'm still interested in the first origins of baptism. Anyone?
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Baptism was going on for centuries before the christian era. Jews used baptism regularly as a cleansing ritual, after a woman's periods, a man's nocturnal emission, chicken-pox, touching a corpse...

John the Baptiser carried this on, with cleansing from sin, repentance.

Paul added the death and new birth aspect - I don't know if this came from a Hebrew tradition as well. Someone else might.

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London
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daisymay

St Elmo's Fire
# 1480

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quote:
Originally posted by Chapelhead:
quote:
Originally posted by FCB:
Every Christian I know was a non-Christian before their baptism.

Really. And there I was, thinking that I went to the Pastor and asked to be baptised because I was a Christian. [Confused]
Me too, - but not [Confused]

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London
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