I would disagree with the fact that they are "married" on the island. They are not,
OK, we'd better not stray into a discussion on the theology of marriage! For the sake of grasping my thoughts, just momentarily accept that in my view, if our two castaways had made serious promises of life-long fidelity, love and care, they would indeed be married in the sight of God, even though there were no secular registrar and no religious minister to unite them on their desert island. Otherwise the analogy doesn't work. (But I do believe that, of course: we have no sacrament
of marriage, only baptism and the Lord's Supper.)
From the service of marriage:
I love it. Think I'll print it out and paste it into my prayer book for the day I always pray about our marriage. (Prayer book = notebook with my own hand-written daily prayer topics)
Anyway, let me try another illustration to try to explain my view of baptism. Here is another young couple, and they agree to get engaged to be married. But either he is as poor as a church mouse and can't afford a ring, or she is from a Moslem family and fears an 'honour killing' if she openly flaunts her betrothal; so she keeps it quiet till the day of their planned elopement. OK so far? They have agreed and promised: are they engaged? Then happier, freer or more prosperous times come and he buys a diamond ring and invites his friends to an engagement party, at which he openly slips the ring on to her finger to the joy and applause of their friends. "One ring unto the betrothal to marry" (eis). There is a sort of sacramentality to the giving and receiving of the ring, but they were already engaged really beforehand.
Let's be more specific. Here is David Martin Young aged 15 or 16, ... But here is DMY, by now aged 19, and he ... belatedly gets baptised,
Now at what point in my life did God forgive my sins? In about 1962
I "saw" Christ crucified for my sins, all of them laid on him as in Isaiah and Peter, and I believed that on that basis God forgave me. Now remember this: that our doctrine is that God forgave all
my sins when I believed, past, present and future. He doesn't dole out forgiveness piecemeal, but you get the whole package when you believe, even for the future sins not yet committed. You are accepted, forgiven, adopted, re-born, a new creature, a child of God; you have
eternal life. Such is our belief. Did God accept, forgive and adopt me when I believed in his Son as Saviour and was able to call him "the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me"? We believe the answer is yes.
But it wasn't till 1966
that I was baptised. How could that baptism be 'eis' the remission of sins in the sense you interpret that word, if I was already forgiven? That is not rhetorical; I am genuinely puzzled.
Let me put the question another way. I assume from your hellenic roots that you (GreekChef) are a cradle Orthodox and were baptised in infancy. Did God forgive your sins then? For you had not yet committed any (unless you take the strange Augustinian view that we 'sinned in Adam'). If not then, at what point did you 'receive the whole package', that is, become forgiven? If you say (as we do) that God forgives our future sins too when we receive forgiveness, then how do you explain the unconverted Orthodox to whom you Orthodox and I have both referred in these posts, and on whom Lossky writes at some length in his "Mystical Theology", where if I recall the words and sense aright, he says that repentance effects a second regeneration?
Or look at it a third way. Here I am, a long-standing Evangelical of some 40+ years, assured of salvation, acceptance with God, the forgiveness of all my sins, and of eternal life, unworthy and deserving of hell though I am by nature and by deed. But you convince me of your "only true church" argument, and I go along to Handbridge and begin the process of converting to the Orthodox church. I have not quite discerned from your posts whether I would be given a third 'baptism', or merely chrismated. But for the moment, let us suppose that Father Pancratios decides I need baptising. Does this in fact mean that I was deceived all along, and had in fact never received forgiveness of sin in my Methodist and Baptist days? That it is only received when I finally 'come home' and am baptised as an Orthodox?
do you accept the Nicene Creed WITH or WITHOUT the filioque?
We're getting a bit off the point here, but I'll gladly run with it. The answer is we never actually say the Creed at our church - though both I and the pastor would like to see it introduced. It might be a bit risky - he hasn't been with us all that long. Bit like your husband introducing Wesley's hymns into your services!
Personally I would prefer it without the filioque
, despite my admiration for Latin's ability to express our four words in one! But then, I am biassed: I like Orthodoxy, I am not drawn to Catholicism; also, I have read your theology, I haven't read theirs.
But the matter of the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds was brought in (admittedly by me somewhere - I think
under "One true Church?") in answer to a challenge as to on what basis I felt able to say that sects like Mormons, Christadelphians, JWs are not defined as Christian. It doesn't really belong on this thread. Anyway, I believe - and you know much more about these matters than I do, and I am genuinely open to correction; I believe that the Apostles' Creed is a formalisation of the regula fidei
which antedates the Nicene Creed by some long time. Also, I think that our different interpretation of the word 'eis' is hardly on the same scale as the JWs' &c comprehensive rejection of basic agreed Christian teachings.
You have yourself already admitted to being baptized twice
No; I say I have been baptised once, when I was 19. I do not personally (= papally? - we need a new word; what about suipapal
); I believe that the sprinkling I received as an unbelieving infant was not true Christian baptism. All I have said is that, whilst I believe that the immersion of believers is the only proper form of baptism, nonetheless there are reasons which move me to keep open the thought that maybe - just maybe - God accepts both forms as variants of the true rite, for the reasons I have listed at length elsewhere. They were purely personal, 'suipapal' musings, certainly not convictions.
How can you ... continue to re-baptize?
We don't. Within our belief, we see baptism - as you do - as a one-off, unrepeatable event. But we do immerse as believers those who were sprinkled as infants, for we do not see them as already baptised.
the "ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC, AND APOSTOLIC CHURCH," is specifically speaking of the physical Church, the visible, the organization, the Orthodox Church. How can you say you agree with that? ... the original intent of the statement was to speak of the Orthodox Church
What say you?
I say, "No it wasn't!" There - that was blunt, wasn't it?
More fully, I say this: that you are reading back into the year 325 AD the questions, answers and issues of the 11th and 16th centuries. Those who drew up the early pronouncements and doctrinal summaries of the church were not addressing the question of how to view a divided church.
It is also germane to your question to observe that there has never been an "ecumenical council" that has addressed the question of the (two) sacraments we have discussed, nor defined the meaning of 'eis'. Once again, the summaries of doctrine drawn up in the early church cannot be taken to address questions which had not yet arisen.
But finally, two more observations:
1) It is a most novel and challenging experience to discuss with people whose beliefs are immutable. Calvinists, Arminians, Pentecostals, Wesleyans, Baptists, agnostics, atheists all engage in discussion with liberty to change their beliefs if convinced by the other. For you, Holy Church has pronounced. Period! (or full stop, as we say this side of the Pond). I do not recall engaging in such an activity since the day more than forty years ago when a couple of Mormons knocked on my door! It is odd, but I am getting used to it.
2) I believe the Führer used to say that if you have a fall-back position, you will
fall back to it. I have never said that post-apostolic councils and Fathers were infallible in the way scripture is. We are bound only by scripture (echoes of Martin Luther). If there had been a Council in the 2nd to 5th centuries which defined 'eis', we would not be bound by it. We would regard and consider it with esteem and respect, but only to the scripture would we actually be bound. But now we really have reached a point of transition to another thread...