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Author Topic: Believer's Baptism  (Read 49949 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #180 on: February 03, 2009, 12:28:39 AM »

I can only speak for me.

Just like the Pharisee as described in the sermon found here:

Quote
Saint Anthony the Great explained a bit more for us concerning the correct attitude we all need to embrace regarding virtue and our progress therein, exhorting his disciples,
  
“Progress in virtue is not measured by time, but by fervor and fixity of purpose.”

Also, often it is an attempt to not appear overly authoritative -- a way to acknoweldge I believe something but I, as a mere man, am certainly suseptible to error. That is to say, I don't want to come across as a know it all, or as saying "you must conform to my understading." Why? because in the final analysis God it true, and all men are liars.

From the same sermon:

Quote
And so this Pharisee looks around and judges this other man that is found in the Temple, rather than facing God alone in the Temple. When we enter the church we should understand that this is a place of judgment and we should stand to face God and speak to Him. If we spend our time in Church looking around or idly chatting we rob ourselves of spiritual profit and, perhaps, never come to an experience of real prayer...., but there are times, during prayers of repentance, that, even in group prayer we need to perceive ourselves in the community of believers, yet alone before God. If we exercise the awareness that there will be that day of final judgment wherein each of us will stand alone before God and have to make a reckoning, we will not be distracted with the affairs of others and will be more intense in our efforts during these opportunities to reconcile ourselves with God.

How can you Baptize anyone when you just said that all men are "liars?"  Instead, the Orthodox Priest says that He's the biggest sinner and is unworthy to serve.
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« Reply #181 on: February 03, 2009, 07:02:39 AM »

other protestants may not agree with me, particualrly here at OC.net that would most likely refer to David Young.

I agree with Cleopas that baptism by immersion, following conversion, is the only proper baptism.

I did offer a number of purely personal caveats:

- I said that God has signally blessed so many pædobaptists over the years, especially as leaders and instruments in revival, that it seems it must be a matter of less significance to Him than it sometimes is to us.

- I said that God has liberty to break his own rules (e.g. using female preachers) but does not extend the same liberty to us.

- I said that I appreciate the arguments for infant baptism - not the ones from Holy Tradition of course, but the ones which are based on scripture. Not the notion of baptismal regeneration, as faith within the person himself is needed for regeneration, but the ones based on the idea of covenant, of entry into God's people. I don't agree with that interpretation of those scriptures, but I do see that they are sincere interpretations of scripture, held honestly with a good conscience before the Lord.

- I wondered - only wondered - whether maybe God accepts the intention for the deed; that is, a pædobaptist Christian believer genuinely sees himself as a baptised believer, and has not perceived that in fact he isn't. Does God accept his conviction that he is a baptised Christian?

Now, my Orthodox friends, don't go and tell me that, because I have given thought to this and have personal ideas, that I am making myself my own pope. I already know some of you think that. I am just explaining where my own position may perhaps be a little gentler than Cleopas's. I was a Baptist pastor before I began working full-time for the Albanian mission; I have baptised people from their teens to their forties or fifties.
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« Reply #182 on: February 03, 2009, 12:54:30 PM »

- I said that God has signally blessed so many pædobaptists over the years, especially as leaders and instruments in revival, that it seems it must be a matter of less significance to Him than it sometimes is to us.
I do not believe that baptism is of little significance to God. I find especially meaningful His admonition to "let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."

Refusing to baptise a child is in my opinion hindering them from coming to Christ. Just as we would not refuse to allow the child to see their grandparents until they can understand their relationship, we too cannot prevent them from coming to Christ until they understand that relationship. Little children do not understand who people are in relation to them, but they do know who loves them. They are capable of loving adults, and loving Christ, far before they ever realize what is happening.

I have found that in their zeal for their children to understand who Christ is and what He has done for them, that Protestants often wait until they can be assured that their children have this knowledge before they will allow them to be baptised. This is ludicrous. Children can know Christ far before they can explain to us how they are able to know Him.

Quote
- I said that I appreciate the arguments for infant baptism - not the ones from Holy Tradition of course, but the ones which are based on scripture. Not the notion of baptismal regeneration, as faith within the person himself is needed for regeneration, but the ones based on the idea of covenant, of entry into God's people. I don't agree with that interpretation of those scriptures, but I do see that they are sincere interpretations of scripture, held honestly with a good conscience before the Lord.
I hope you can understand this Scripture, and see the need to baptise children as soon as possible. I hope that you can grasp human nature, and the nature of children, enough to see that what is important is that child's relationship to Christ and not their ability to articulate it.

Quote
- I wondered - only wondered - whether maybe God accepts the intention for the deed; that is, a pædobaptist Christian believer genuinely sees himself as a baptised believer, and has not perceived that in fact he isn't. Does God accept his conviction that he is a baptised Christian?
This is a bizarre question. I have to admit that I have never heard anything like it. I don't believe that perception creates reality, but I also do not believe that God would withhold salvation from those who earnestly desire it. I'm afraid I cannot answer your question.
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« Reply #183 on: February 03, 2009, 02:08:59 PM »

I do not believe that baptism is of little significance to God.

Quite so. My musings on my post were only about whether there is more breadth in the possible mode thereof than we, in our proper zeal for correctness, allow.

As regards the urgent need you perceive for me to come to share your view of the need for children to be baptised, you need have little fear. My children are in their 30s, and I do not expect to be answerable for any more. Also, I doubt that I shall return to pastoral ministry after I retire from the Albanian Mission. But I appreciate your kind concern.
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« Reply #184 on: February 03, 2009, 02:12:20 PM »

I agree with Cleopas that baptism by immersion, following conversion, is the only proper baptism.

I did offer a number of purely personal caveats:

- I said that God has signally blessed so many pædobaptists over the years, especially as leaders and instruments in revival, that it seems it must be a matter of less significance to Him than it sometimes is to us.

- I said that God has liberty to break his own rules (e.g. using female preachers) but does not extend the same liberty to us.

- I said that I appreciate the arguments for infant baptism - not the ones from Holy Tradition of course, but the ones which are based on scripture. Not the notion of baptismal regeneration, as faith within the person himself is needed for regeneration, but the ones based on the idea of covenant, of entry into God's people. I don't agree with that interpretation of those scriptures, but I do see that they are sincere interpretations of scripture, held honestly with a good conscience before the Lord.

- I wondered - only wondered - whether maybe God accepts the intention for the deed; that is, a pædobaptist Christian believer genuinely sees himself as a baptised believer, and has not perceived that in fact he isn't. Does God accept his conviction that he is a baptised Christian?

Now, my Orthodox friends, don't go and tell me that, because I have given thought to this and have personal ideas, that I am making myself my own pope. I already know some of you think that. I am just explaining where my own position may perhaps be a little gentler than Cleopas's. I was a Baptist pastor before I began working full-time for the Albanian mission; I have baptised people from their teens to their forties or fifties.


A lot of this would seem to be speaking of economia within the Body of Christ... have you discussed economia with the Orthodox Christians here?
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« Reply #185 on: February 03, 2009, 02:19:10 PM »

I do not believe that baptism is of little significance to God.

Quite so. My musings on my post were only about whether there is more breadth in the possible mode thereof than we, in our proper zeal for correctness, allow.

As regards the urgent need you perceive for me to come to share your view of the need for children to be baptised, you need have little fear. My children are in their 30s, and I do not expect to be answerable for any more.

Rather odd, and unscriptural:
Job 1:4 His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each on his day; and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, "It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts." Thus Job did continually.
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« Reply #186 on: February 03, 2009, 03:58:37 PM »

have you discussed economia with the Orthodox Christians here?

Er... don't know what it is.
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« Reply #187 on: February 03, 2009, 04:00:44 PM »

he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, "It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts." Thus Job did continually.

Well, I do pray for them daily, and for my 13-year-old grandson.
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« Reply #188 on: February 03, 2009, 04:46:35 PM »

have you discussed economia with the Orthodox Christians here?

Er... don't know what it is.
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Leniency.  The most concise definition comes from defining the antonym, akribeia.  From Wikipedia:

Quote
As noted earlier, according to more recent usage of the terms, the norm, the normal case, is called akribeia (preciseness, exactness, strictness, that is, precise or strict adherence to the standards), while its opposite is economia (leniency,).
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« Reply #189 on: February 03, 2009, 05:09:35 PM »

have you discussed economia with the Orthodox Christians here? ... Leniency. 

That's a good way to look at what I have written here. I didn't think you good Orthodox had room for leniency, or broadness, or acceptable variations. I'd like to learn more, if you have.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2009, 05:10:27 PM by David Young » Logged

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« Reply #190 on: February 03, 2009, 10:53:09 PM »

have you discussed economia with the Orthodox Christians here? ... Leniency. 

That's a good way to look at what I have written here. I didn't think you good Orthodox had room for leniency, or broadness, or acceptable variations. I'd like to learn more, if you have.

Economia is probably a separate thread altogether, as it is a HUGE subject.  It basically recognizes human frailty, and, in the spirit of love, compassion, and forgiveness that Christ taught, understands that there are certain concessions in certain situations that can be made for the sake of the believer.


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« Reply #191 on: February 03, 2009, 11:25:54 PM »

have you discussed economia with the Orthodox Christians here? ... Leniency. 

That's a good way to look at what I have written here. I didn't think you good Orthodox had room for leniency, or broadness, or acceptable variations. I'd like to learn more, if you have.

Friend, I have been misquoted for I didn't say the bolded text.
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« Reply #192 on: February 04, 2009, 08:07:49 AM »

Friend, I have been misquoted for I didn't say the bolded text.

Sorry.  Sad It was ignatius.

I've never worked out how to do the boxed quotes within quotes. I shall keep trying. At least when I misquoted you, I said you had written a good thing, so maybe you'll let me off this once?
« Last Edit: February 04, 2009, 08:09:16 AM by David Young » Logged

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« Reply #193 on: February 06, 2009, 12:11:32 PM »

[quote from ialmisry]
Ὁμολογῶ ἓν βάπτισμα εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν

εἰς [/quote]

My personal problem with this is that we see people in Acts being baptised after they believe. For example in Acts 10 and 11 where we read of Peter preaching in the house of Cornelius. He preaches, they believe, the Holy Spirit comes, they speak in tongues (i.e. they have now become believers indwelt by God's Spirit), and so they are immediately baptised - not in order for God to cleanse them from their sin, but because it is evident that he already has.

This does not mean I see no sacramental effect in the rite. Let me try an illustration. I go on an ocean cruise in a liner for my holiday; being a bachelor, I fall in love with a lovely young maiden on the ship; there is a shipwreck, and only she and I survive. On our desert island, we set up a ménage à deux, live together, bring a child into the world. Eventually we are rescued, and brought back to England. There, as good Christian people, one of the first things we do is go to a church and a registry office and formalise the marriage. On the island, we were man and wife: but the wedding ceremony was not without effect and significance to us, to God and in the sight of others.

Or let us imagine I have an appalling quarrel with my next-door neighbour or some brother in church. We fall out; we don't speak to each other for months, maybe years; bitterness and resentment rankle. Then some peace-maker comes along and somehow gets us to sit down together to coffee along with him. We all talk, we all listen. In the end I say I forgive my enemy, and he says he forgives me. But our peace-maker says, "No! I want to actually see you shake hands and restore your friendship." So, maybe reluctantly, maybe with embarrassment or perhaps with glad relief, we give each other a firm and meaningful handshake. Our relationship is restored. Now - before the handshake we were alrerady forgiving and forgiven inwardly: but the act somehow clinched or sealed it.

Baptism's relationship with the forgiveness of sins seems to me to be somewhat analogous to the wedding, or the handshake, in my poor illustrations: εἰς. "Baptism now saves you": "the handshake now reconciles you," to allude to Peter's words elsewhere.

Now tell me how I am wrong (if I am).

Also, please tell me how to get Greek letters on to a post: I can only manage rows of squares, and have succeeded here only by copy-and-paste.
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« Reply #194 on: February 06, 2009, 12:37:47 PM »

Ὁμολογῶ ἓν βάπτισμα εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν

εἰς
My personal problem with this is that we see people in Acts being baptised after they believe.

That would go for any baptism.  Otherwise, how would anyone present himself for baptism?

Quote
For example in Acts 10 and 11 where we read of Peter preaching in the house of Cornelius. He preaches, they believe, the Holy Spirit comes, they speak in tongues (i.e. they have now become believers indwelt by God's Spirit), and so they are immediately baptised - not in order for God to cleanse them from their sin, but because it is evident that he already has.

Actually, according to St. Peter, what is evident is that the Gentiles can be baptized.   He doesn't say anything else.

Quote
This does not mean I see no sacramental effect in the rite. Let me try an illustration. I go on an ocean cruise in a liner for my holiday; being a bachelor, I fall in love with a lovely young maiden on the ship; there is a shipwreck, and only she and I survive. On our desert island, we set up a ménage à deux, live together, bring a child into the world. Eventually we are rescued, and brought back to England. There, as good Christian people, one of the first things we do is go to a church and a registry office and formalise the marriage. On the island, we were man and wife: but the wedding ceremony was not without effect and significance to us, to God and in the sight of others.

Before I answer, let's get another suppose: suppose you fall in love with said lovely maiden in London.  You get an apartment and live together, have a child, etc.  Then eventually you decide to get married, and go to the local church and registry and formalise the marriage.  How do you distinguish this from your scenario above?

Quote
Or let us imagine I have an appalling quarrel with my next-door neighbour or some brother in church. We fall out; we don't speak to each other for months, maybe years; bitterness and resentment rankle. Then some peace-maker comes along and somehow gets us to sit down together to coffee along with him. We all talk, we all listen. In the end I say I forgive my enemy, and he says he forgives me. But our peace-maker says, "No! I want to actually see you shake hands and restore your friendship." So, maybe reluctantly, maybe with embarrassment or perhaps with glad relief, we give each other a firm and meaningful handshake. Our relationship is restored. Now - before the handshake we were alrerady forgiving and forgiven inwardly: but the act somehow clinched or sealed it.

What if you both hold your resentments, but shake hands to humor your peace-maker?  What then?

Quote
Baptism's relationship with the forgiveness of sins seems to me to be somewhat analogous to the wedding, or the handshake, in my poor illustrations: εἰς. "Baptism now saves you": "the handshake now reconciles you," to allude to Peter's words elsewhere.

Now tell me how I am wrong (if I am).

Also, please tell me how to get Greek letters on to a post: I can only manage rows of squares, and have succeeded here only by copy-and-paste.

Afraid I can't help you: on the post the square's come up, but on the message window I get the script.  I don't know how that works.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2009, 12:38:48 PM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #195 on: February 06, 2009, 01:13:15 PM »

let's get another suppose: suppose you fall in love with said lovely maiden in London.  You get an apartment and live together, have a child, etc.  Then eventually you decide to get married, ...How do you distinguish this from your scenario above?

I suppose I was a bit elliptical. I meant, that the two events ought not to be separated; it is an anomaly. Just like sex and marriage ought not to be; but sometimes they are, quite legitimately (provided you are stranded on a desert island or some other anomalous event takes place).

Let's be more specific. Here is David Martin Young aged 15 or 16, who comes to faith in Christ through the ministry of the Methodist church, i.e. a pædobaptist context. He starts to read the Bible regularly; to attend church voluntarily instead of being dragged there by parents; he is invited to take part in services in village churches. Time goes on and he meets other young men of similar age; they pray together; the preach in the street; they visit the houses door-to-door. But something troubles him: the Lord and his apostles commanded His followers to repent, believe and be baptised. But here is DMY, by now aged 19, and despite his belief in and zeal for the Lord, he is aware that here is a command he has not obeyed. So, like our couple on the desert island repatriated eventually to England, he belatedly obeys the Lord and gets baptised, partly as an act of obedience to Christ, partly as a public confession of faith in Christ as Saviour and commitment to Christ as Lord: eis (transliterated). It was not to bring about a forgiveness which had been understood and received three or four years earlier, but their separation in time was an anomaly.

Now let us assume that DMY's parents had been Baptists, Pentecostals or Brethren. Once he made known his inner faith to the church officers, the baptism would presumably have been a good deal sooner, but still, though nearer, after the receiving by grace infused into the soul of God's forgiveness of sin and new life in Christ.

In your church, the anomaly seems to us to be the other way round: baptism comes before faith and forgiveness.

But in the New Testament, the anomaly is resolved because the two events (inner experience and outer rite) took place as one event.

So that word of the Creed is probably the only one on which we would disagree. But I do not see how either you or we fulfil its meaning in modern times, when we both separate faith and baptism by a gap of time.

Quote
What if you both hold your resentments, but shake hands to humor your peace-maker?

The analogy doesn't work if you change it! The point is that the outward act somehow clinches an inward 'conversion' which has really, genuinely taken place already. The 'sacrament' seals, ratifies, affirms - whatever the right word is. In some sense, it is eis reconciliation, as baptism is εἰς the remission of sins.
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« Reply #196 on: February 06, 2009, 03:09:52 PM »

let's get another suppose: suppose you fall in love with said lovely maiden in London.  You get an apartment and live together, have a child, etc.  Then eventually you decide to get married, ...How do you distinguish this from your scenario above?

I suppose I was a bit elliptical. I meant, that the two events ought not to be separated; it is an anomaly. Just like sex and marriage ought not to be; but sometimes they are, quite legitimately (provided you are stranded on a desert island or some other anomalous event takes place).
I would disagree with the fact that they are "married" on the island.  They are not, in fact, married, and have no business engaging in sexual union without first coming to the Church so that GOD may seal their marriage.  We have no vows in Orthodoxy, no formal commitment like the Protestant faiths, in our marriage service.  It is tradition (note the little "t") from my experience, that the priest will ask the couple before hand if they truly want to go through with it (this began as a safeguard for those who may have been forced into arranged marriages by parents and did not want to go through with it).  But apart from that, there is no "I do," for us.  Why?  Because it is GOD who marries us.  It is GOD who unites us.  Without inviting Him into our relationship, our relationship is void.  HE is love, not whatever we may create in our minds or with our bodies. 

From the service of marriage:
Quote
Holy God, Who fashioned man from the dust, and from his rib fashioned woman, and joined her to him as a helpmate for him, for it was seemly unto Your Majesty for man not to be alone upon the earth, do You Yourself, O Sovereign Lord, stretch forth Your hand from Your holy dwelling place, and join* together this Your servant (Name) and Your servant (Name), for by You is a wife joined to her husband. Join them together in oneness of mind; crown them with wedlock into one flesh; grant to them the fruit of the womb, and the gain of well favored children, for Yours is the dominion, and Yours is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and to the ages of ages.

*When this is said, the priest joins their right hands.
Emphasis mine.

The Lord joins us, we do not join ourselves and then go to Him to "declare" it.  We pray together, solemnly make the decision that we are in love, and go to Him to ASK Him to join and bless what we believe to be the right path that He has laid for us.  BIG difference.  And this is the difference with EVERY sacrament in the Orthodox Church vs. Protestant churches.  It is what HE does for us, never what we do for Him.

So my point?  If there is no Church there through which God may join them, they SHOULD NOT BE ENGAGING IN SEXUAL UNION.  Easy to say, yes, I know.  But we don't just say "we're married!" and it's done.  Nor do we just say, "well, there's no way for us to be married in the Church, so we'll just pretend we're married until we can find a church."  No.  We wait with patience until God provides the opportunity that we may be joined SACRAMENTALLY in Him and with Him and to Him.  If that day never comes (in other words, they never make it back to England), then that is God's will and we have managed to end our lives in pureness, having won the race, living a life of whiteness, sobriety, piety, and not one of impatience and lust. 

Quote
Let's be more specific. Here is David Martin Young aged 15 or 16, who comes to faith in Christ through the ministry of the Methodist church, i.e. a pædobaptist context. He starts to read the Bible regularly; to attend church voluntarily instead of being dragged there by parents; he is invited to take part in services in village churches. Time goes on and he meets other young men of similar age; they pray together; the preach in the street; they visit the houses door-to-door. But something troubles him: the Lord and his apostles commanded His followers to repent, believe and be baptised. But here is DMY, by now aged 19, and despite his belief in and zeal for the Lord, he is aware that here is a command he has not obeyed. So, like our couple on the desert island repatriated eventually to England, he belatedly obeys the Lord and gets baptised, partly as an act of obedience to Christ, partly as a public confession of faith in Christ as Saviour and commitment to Christ as Lord: eis (transliterated). It was not to bring about a forgiveness which had been understood and received three or four years earlier, but their separation in time was an anomaly.

Now let us assume that DMY's parents had been Baptists, Pentecostals or Brethren. Once he made known his inner faith to the church officers, the baptism would presumably have been a good deal sooner, but still, though nearer, after the receiving by grace infused into the soul of God's forgiveness of sin and new life in Christ.

In your church, the anomaly seems to us to be the other way round: baptism comes before faith and forgiveness.
Wrong, my friend.  If one comes to the Orthodox Church as in the situation you give above, they will be educated fully in the faith, sometimes over a period of years, that they may know as best they can what they believe before being baptized.  Throughout that period, they will participate in the liturgical life of the Church as best they can (they cannot commune as a catechuman), and their faith will grow with their knowledge.  When their Spiritual Father feels that they are ready, they will be brought into the fold via Baptism.  There most certainly is faith before baptism, and forgiveness comes WITH baptism.

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But in the New Testament, the anomaly is resolved because the two events (inner experience and outer rite) took place as one event.

So that word of the Creed is probably the only one on which we would disagree. But I do not see how either you or we fulfil its meaning in modern times, when we both separate faith and baptism by a gap of time.
Now we're back to where we were before.

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What if you both hold your resentments, but shake hands to humor your peace-maker?

The analogy doesn't work if you change it! The point is that the outward act somehow clinches an inward 'conversion' which has really, genuinely taken place already. The 'sacrament' seals, ratifies, affirms - whatever the right word is. In some sense, it is eis reconciliation, as baptism is εἰς the remission of sins.

This is part of the problem with Protestant thinking, I would say.  The sacrament is not just an outward act.  The sacrament does not clinch anything.  GOD clinches it THROUGH the sacrament.  It is the way in which He acts for us.  The sacrament does not seal, ratify, or affirm anything.  GOD does that. 

The official translation of the Nicene Creed from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America translates eis as "for," such that it says "I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins."  This is what it says.  This is what it has always said.  Not to drag up the cafeteria analogy again (though I think it's a brilliant one), but saying that you agree with the whole of the Creed (which I don't think is true-- see below), except for this word... how is this NOT cafeteria theology?  You like all of the Creed EXCEPT the word "eis," which you don't like and therefore don't accept? 

I would say that there are several parts we don't agree on in the Creed, however. 

First of all... as Protestants, whose roots are actually in the Catholic church (though most Protestants don't like to admit it), do you accept the Nicene Creed WITH or WITHOUT the filioque?  Because this is a HUGE thing that we would disagree on, if you accept it.

Secondly... we say that we confess ONE baptism.  You have yourself already admitted to being baptized twice.  We have given several examples of Protestants being baptized more than once.  How can you say that you agree with "I confess one baptism," yet continue to re-baptize?

Thirdly, as was stated (but I don't recall you responding to it, I could be wrong though, maybe I just missed it) in the One True Church thread, when we say we believe in the "ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC, AND APOSTOLIC CHURCH," that is specifically speaking of the physical Church, the visible, the organization, the Orthodox Church.  How can you say you agree with this when you obviously don't?  If you say that you interpret that differently, I would say that this means you categorically DO NOT agree with it, because the original intent of the statement was to speak of the Orthodox Church, the physical Church, the Church that Christ left for us.  It DOES NOT mean the invisible, spiritual entity that Protestants have concocted.  I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, as I don't mean it to.  But I am trying to draw the distinction.

What say you?  Smiley
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« Reply #197 on: February 06, 2009, 03:13:28 PM »

David, Πρεπει να εχετε "Greek language support" installed on your computer.  The bolded Greek words mean, "You must have."
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« Reply #198 on: February 06, 2009, 04:02:23 PM »

The bolded Greek words mean, "You must have."

I know.

Thanks, I'll google it. But in my word processing program I simply pres "symbol" under font and it gives me most of them. The odd one or two, like the final sigma, has a special combination (capital V I seem to recall). But it doesn't work on this forum. If I start appearing in Greek letters, you'll know I succeeded! Meanwhile, efharistw is the best I can manage for the moment in response here.
 Smiley

GreekChef We have guests. I shall eventually respond to your long and, as ever, thoughtful post.
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« Reply #199 on: February 07, 2009, 07:57:14 AM »

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.)

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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 suipapalSmiley); 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.

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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.

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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?  Smiley

I say, "No it wasn't!" There - that was blunt, wasn't it?  Wink

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.  Smiley

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...
« Last Edit: February 07, 2009, 08:04:42 AM by David Young » Logged

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« Reply #200 on: February 07, 2009, 10:04:13 AM »

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.)

Yes, it is interesting that the only Christians who don't have monasticism are also the only ones who don't consider marriage a sacrament.

The bolded part is the argument for gay marriage.

Btw, you don't have to get the theology of marriage: here in Illinois common law marriage (which is what we are talking about) was abolished in 1904 an abolition that our supreme court recently upheld.

btw, given the circumstances, we can see why our deserted friends would procede as described.  But what are their children to do for marriage? Shocked

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)

Technical point: the Church blesses a union already made (so you are not that off).  The first part of the marriage service is the betrothal: it used to be seperated (and some places still is).

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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.

What you are describing is "baptism of intention."  The Vatican believes in it.  The Church doesn't.

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.

here's your problem.

So, if,God forbid, you fall (I Cor. 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall) does that mean that God didn't forgive your sins when you "laid on Him," seeing that in the future you would fall off Him?

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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.

The Church believes the answer is no, depending on what you mean by when you "were able."

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.

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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?



From the Orthodox Confession of St. Peter Movila (revised at the Council of Iasi/Jassy, adopted at the Synod of Jerusalem):
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These seven sacraments go back to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, because it is through these sacraments that the Holy Spirit infuses the gifts into the soul of those who worthily receive them, and also grace, concerning which Patriarch Jeremias wrote extensively in his work to the Lutherans that they might be converted. (65)
Baptism is the removal and annulment of original sin through the triple immersion in water by the priest, pronouncing the words: "In the name of the Father amen, and of the Son amen, and of the Holy Spirit amen." But, "Amen" ought to be said by the godparents and not the priest. The reconciliation of man with God occurs through this (re) generation from water and the Holy Spirit, and entrance into the heavenly kingdom is granted in accord with the words of the Savior: "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."[246] Once received, this mystery cannot be repeated, as the one baptizing believes in the orthodox manner that there is one God in the Trinity, by employing the words cited above distinctly and formally: "In the name of the Father amen, and of the Son amen, and of the Holy Spirit amen," according to the intention of the orthodox-catholic Church.
This baptism, however, is of such authority, that, besides being incapable of repetition, it is a certain and doubtless sign of eternal salvation. The fruits of this mystery are readily visible to everyone: first, this mystery removes all sins, original in infants, and both original and actual in adults; then, man is renewed and gains that justification, which he possessed in the state of innocence, as the Holy Apostle testifies: "But you are washed, but you are justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of our God."[247] Besides this, they are made members of the body of Christ and we are clothed in Christ the Lord, as the Apostle bears witness: "For as many of you as have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ."[248]
http://esoptron.umd.edu/ugc/ocf1d.html

And from Bishop Hilarion:
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The sacrament of Baptism is the door into the Church, the Kingdom of grace. It is with Baptism that Christian life begins. Baptism is the frontier that separates the members of Christ’s Body from those who are outside it. In Baptism the human person is arrayed in Christ, following the words of St Paul which are sung as the newly-baptized is led around the baptismal font: For as many of you who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ’ (Gal.3:27). In Baptism the human person dies to his sinful life and rises again to new spiritual life.

The sacrament of Baptism was instituted by Christ Himself: ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ (Matt.28:19). Christ’s commandment already contains the basic elements of the baptismal rite: preliminary teaching (‘catechization’), without which the adoption of faith cannot be conscious; immersion in water (Greek baptismos, literally ‘immersion’); and the formula ‘in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’. In the early Church Baptism was accomplished through complete immersion in water. However, at an early date special pools (baptisteries) were built and into these the candidates for baptism were plunged. The practice of pouring water over the person or sprinkling him with water existed in the early Church, though not quite as a norm.

At the time of Constantine (fourth century) adult baptism was more common than the baptism of infants, the emphasis being laid on the conscious acceptance of the sacrament. Some postponed the sacrament until the end of their life in the knowledge that sins were forgiven in Baptism. The Emperor Constantine was baptized just before his death. St Gregory the Theologian, a son of a bishop, was baptized only when he reached maturity. Saints Basil the Great and John Chrysostom were baptized only after completing their higher education.

However, the practice of baptizing infants is no less ancient — the apostles baptized whole families which might well have included children (cf/ Acts 10:48). St Irenaeus of Lyons (second century) says: ‘Christ came to save those who through Him are reborn into God: infants, children, adolescents and the elderly’. Origen in the third century calls the custom of baptizing infants an ‘apostolic tradition’. The local Council of Carthage (third century) pronounced an anathema upon those who rejected the necessity of baptizing infants and newly-born children.

The sacrament of Baptism, like all other sacraments, must be received consciously. Christian faith is the prerequisite for the validity of the sacrament. If an infant is baptized, the confession of faith is solemnly pronounced by his godparents, who thereby are obliged to bring the child up in the faith and make his Baptism conscious. An infant who receives the sacrament cannot rationally understand what is happening to him, yet his soul is fully capable of receiving the grace of the Holy Spirit. ‘I believe’, writes St Symeon the New Theologian, ‘that baptized infants are sanctified and are preserved under the wing of the All-Holy Spirit and that they are lambs of the spiritual flock of Christ and chosen lambs, for they have been imprinted with the sign of the life-giving Cross and freed completely from the tyranny of the devil’. The grace of God is given to infants as a pledge of their future belief, as a seed cast into the earth: for the seed to grow into a tree and bring forth fruit, the efforts both of the godparents and of the one baptized as he grows are needed.

Immediately after Baptism or in the days that follow, the newly-baptized, irrespective of age, receives Holy Communion. In the Roman Catholic Church Chrismation (Confirmation) and First Communion take place after the child has reached the age of seven, but the Orthodox Church admits children to these sacraments as early as possible. The understanding behind this practice is that children ought not to be deprived of a living, even if not a fully conscious, contact with Christ.

The sacrament of Baptism occurs only once in a person’s life. In Baptism the human person is granted freedom from original sin and forgiveness of all his personal transgressions. However, Baptism is only the first step in the human person’s ascent towards God. If it is not accompanied by a renewal of one’s entire life and a spiritual regeneration, it might be fruitless. The grace of God, received in Baptism as a pledge or as a seed, will grow within the person and be made manifest throughout his whole life so long as he strives towards Christ, lives in the Church and fulfills God’s commandments.
http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/10/1.aspx#42

Since the Church has a multi millenia history of fighting heretics that you do not have, there is history with this article: there were those who taught that if you committed a serious sin, you had to be rebaptized, and did not accept confession as the baptism of tears and the second baptism.  Many postponed baptism so as to get all their sins out of the way in one clean swoop without out the possibility of giving sin an opportunity by dying.  The rebaptism of these heretics was combated here.


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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?

It does.  But sinning banking on forgiveness effects presumption, itself a sin.

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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.

No offense, but no.  The Desert Fathers stated on their death beds that they  had only begun to repent.  E.g. St. Sisoes:
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This Saint, great and renowned among the ascetics of Egypt, lived in the fourth century in Scete of Nitria. After the death of Saint Anthony the Great, he left Scete to live in Saint Anthony's cave; he said of this, "Thus in the cave of a lion, a fox makes his dwelling." When Sisoes was at the end of his long life of labours, as the Fathers were gathered about him, his face began to shine, and he said, "Behold, Abba Anthony is come"; then, "Behold, the choir of the Prophets is come"; his face shone yet more bright, and he said, "Behold, the choir of the Apostles is come." The light of his countenance increased, and he seemed to be talking with someone. The Fathers asked him of this; in his humility, he said he was asking the Angels for time to repent. Finally his face became as bright as the sun, so that the Fathers were filled with fear. He said, "Behold, the Lord is come, and He says, 'Bring Me the vessel of the desert,'" and as he gave up his soul into the hands of God, there was as it were a flash of lightning, and the whole dwelling was filled with a sweet fragrance.
http://www.iconograms.org/sig.php?eid=112

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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?

It means that you would receive that assurance you talk about.

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« Reply #201 on: February 07, 2009, 10:08:44 AM »

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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.

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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 suipapalSmiley); 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.

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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.

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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?  Smiley

I say, "No it wasn't!" There - that was blunt, wasn't it?  Wink

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.  Smiley

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...

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« Reply #202 on: February 07, 2009, 11:45:30 AM »

if,God forbid, you fall ... does that mean that God didn't forgive your sins when you "laid on Him," seeing that in the future you would fall off Him?

I offer a reply which is purely personal; others may not assent to it. Blame only me. I'm not even being my own pope, for I have no conviction at all that my speculation is infallible.

First of all, of course, it was God the Father who laid my sins on Christ, no I myself. I only believed in what he had done. Nonetheless, I think I grasp the gist of your question.

I think there are people in the NT who die in a backslidden state. Their works are such that their works are burnt up - mere wood, hay and stubbble - but the person himself is saved, but only as through fire. There are one of two who are delivered to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that their spirit may be saved in the Day of Judgement.  My speculation leads in the direction that the true Christian who falls into sin and dies in his sin is in this sort of category.

This is not (as I have written elsewhere) the same as repudiating Christ, denying and renouncing the Faith. I tend, tentatively, to see the possibility of final apostasy and loss here.

Of course, the scriptures do not engage in speculation, nor encourage us to. We are called to believe in Christ, and to follow him loyally throughout life, striving for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord. It doesn't encourage us to wonder what might happen to us if we don't, though there are dire warnings. The words, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" are written about those who were "sanctified by the blood of the covenant". But it is a theme on which I prefer to remain silent. Why share my ignorance?

It would be interesting to learn how converts from Evangelicalism to Orthodoxy regard their former religious experience. Michael Harper seems to think he was a Christian before, and took his genuine Christianity with him into Orthodoxy. I think Gillquist  creates the same impression. But maybe I am reading my own ideas into their writings. Have you any light on this? It would, of course, only be light on this particular question if it was shed by someone who genuinely believed him- or herself to be a converted, born-again believer in former Evangelical days; people converted from a merely nominal Protestant background would not have any more to contribute personally to the answer than people converted from merely nominal Orthodoxy to Evangelicalism. Neither was really Christian before.

By the way, your last posting seems to quote me and offer nothing of your own. Am I missing something?
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« Reply #203 on: February 07, 2009, 01:14:37 PM »



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.

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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.




Hypothetically speaking, Lets say you set out to go to the store for food to feed your young. On the way you trip and take a fall and end up in the hospital. Will your children starve? or does your intent feed them?
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« Reply #204 on: February 07, 2009, 02:20:33 PM »

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.

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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 suipapalSmiley); 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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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?  Smiley

I say, "No it wasn't!" There - that was blunt, wasn't it?  Wink

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.  Smiley

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...

By the way, your last posting seems to quote me and offer nothing of your own. Am I missing something?

No, fatherhood called and I stopped where I was and tried to save the rest in a draft for future answering.  Didn't work.  Lord willing, I'll return, but fatherhood is calling for the other son now. Grin
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« Reply #205 on: February 08, 2009, 10:17:13 AM »

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!

I remember my old priest talking about visiting a Baptist (I think it was Baptist, but at any rate Congregationalist) church.  When he asked about the Creed, the pastor apologized and said that he had just come to the parish, so he didn't know the parishes Creed.  My priest had never heard of such a thing, the parish making its own Creed: part of being Orthodox is being able to go to any Orthodox Church in anywhere (and at any time) in the World and know that they are the same Faith because they same the same Creed that they all were baptized in.  I tell my sons that when we recite the Creed it is like the Pledge of Allegiance at school (I don't know if you British have a similar usage with the Oath of Allegiance), the priests waving the aer veil over the gifts being the Flag of the Church.

Actually, we're not off point: the beginning of the Great Schism happened when the Franks noticed that the Divine Liturgy of visiting Romans didn't have it, and Greek monks in Jerusalem noticed the Latin monks had it.  The Jerusalemites complained to the Pope Leo III of Rome, who forbade it and posted the Creed without it in Latin and Greek on silver Tablets on St. Peter's doors (and in St. Paul Outside the Wall) with the inscription "HAEC LEO POSUI AMORE ET CAUTELA ORTHODOXAE FIDEI» (I, Leo, put here for love and protection of the Orthodox Faith)(VITA LEONIS, LIBER PONTIFICALIS (Ed.Duchene, TII, p.26).  Later Pope Nicholas I misssionaries in Bulgaria reintroduced it while trying to baptize Bulgaria.  Like any loyalty oath, the recitation of the Creed  is meant to smoke out those who don't belong.

It's origins are in the profession of Faith required at baptism: what Faith are you being baptized into?  Acts 8:37.  Hence discussion belongs (size being the only problem) on a thread on "Believer's Baptism."  The Creed was not original at Nicea: the Fathers adopted one that had been in use at baptisms.  Why it was "We believe" was because the Church was being asked, in response to the Arians, to state, by the mouths of the Fathers the Apostolic bishops, what she believed.  They spoke for her.  When we recite it in Church, we speak of what we personally believe (note: we all say "I believe" together as a group), stating that we have accepted the Church's Faith as our Faith, the one we were baptized into (and not made up).  What the West has reinterpreted "confirmation" into after the separation from baptism, into the affirmation of baptism, happens at every one of our DL.


Quote
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.

 angel Smiley angel

Quote
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.


Problem is, the JWs agree with you on the interpretation of the word 'eis.'  The problem with heresy is that it is like being a little pregnant.

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 suipapalSmiley); 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.

Hence the problem with anabaptists coming from a line of paedobaptists.  The element you claim missing in your first baptism was Faith, for us the missing part is the Faith of Church and her minister to administer the baptism.

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.

Hence the problem that we do not see anyone in Acts being baptized by the unbaptized, and if, as you say that your converts are unbaptized, then baptism died out sometime a thousand years ago.

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?  Smiley

I say, "No it wasn't!" There - that was blunt, wasn't it?  Wink

In loyalty oaths, blunt is good.  That's the purpose of it.

Quote
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.

Actually they were: the clause in question was not redacted by the Fathers of Nicea but the Fathers of Constantinople I in 381 AD.  Between 325 and 381 there was the upheaval of the Arians seizing Churches, claiming to be the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.  Ulfinas, for instance preached Arianism to the Goths claiming:
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In his preaching and exposition he asserted that all heretics were not Christians, but Antichrists; not pious, but impious; not religious, but irreligious; not timid but bold; not in hope but without hope; not worshipers of God, but without God, not teachers, but seducers; not preachers, but liars; be they Manichaeans, Marcinonists, Montanists, Paulinians, Psabbelians, Antropians, Patripassians, Photinans (?), Novatians, Donatians, Homousians[i.e. us], Homoiousians, or Macedonians. Verily, as an imitator of the apostles and an imitator of the Martyrs, his work repelled the false doctrine of the heretics and edified the people of God, put to flight the hungry wolves and bad dogs and preserved the flock of Christ by His grace as a good shepherd with all prudence and diligence.
Following this and similar doctrines for 40 years flourishing splendidly in the bishopric through apostolic grace, he preached in the Greek, Latin, and Gothic tongues without ceasing in the one and only Church of Christ; because the Church of the Living God _is_ one, the pillar and column of Truth; and he affirmed and witnessed that the flock of Christ, our Lord and God, was one, one the worship and one the house; one the Virgin, one the Spouse, one the Queen; that there was only one vine, temple, congregation of the Christians; that all other places of congregation were not Churches of God, but Synagogues of Satan.
The testimony of Ulfinas foster son and successor as bishop of the Arians in Milan (and St. Ambrose's nemesis) Auxentius, 400  AD  (it also has the interesting clause, in view of the filioque that  "He also subscribed to the concept that the Holy Ghost was neither Father nor Son, but created by the Father through the Son before all things").  Auxentius had demanded that as bishop (according to the Empress at Milan) of the city, that Ambrose surrender the cathedral of Milan to him.
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/jod/texts/auxentius.trans.html

With that in mind, the Fathers dealt with the issues of a "divided Church," or rather, as we see and they saw it, the issues of others claiming the title of "Church."

The Faith of the Three Hundred and Eighteen Fathers assembled at Nice in Bithynia shall not be set aside, but shall remain firm.  And every heresy shall be anathematized, particularly that of the Eunomians or [Anomæans, the Arians or] Eudoxians, and that of the Semi-Arians or Pneumatomachi, and that of the Sabellians, and that of the Marcellians, and that of the Photinians, and that of the Apollinarians.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.ix.viii.i.html

Quote
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.

True, but they can be used against those who do not learn from others' mistakes. The question of rebaptism of other "churches" had been dealt in the preceding century, hence for instance, the Father of Nicea issued canon IX
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Concerning the Paulianists who have flown for refuge to the Catholic Church, it has been decreed that they must by all means be rebaptized; and if any of them who in past time have been numbered among their clergy should be found blameless and without reproach, let them be rebaptized and ordained by the Bishop of the Catholic Church; but if the examination should discover them to be unfit, they ought to be deposed.  Likewise in the case of their deaconesses, and generally in the case of those who have been enrolled among their clergy, let the same form be observed.  And we mean by deaconesses such as have assumed the habit, but who, since they have no imposition of hands, are to be numbered only among the laity.

And the Fathers of Constantinople I produced canon VII
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Those who from heresy turn to orthodoxy, and to the portion of those who are being saved, we receive according to the following method and custom:  Arians, and Macedonians, and Sabbatians, and Novatians, who call themselves Cathari or Aristori, and Quarto-decimans or Tetradites, and Apollinarians, we receive, upon their giving a written renunciation [of their errors] and anathematize every heresy which is not in accordance with the Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of God.  Thereupon, they are first sealed or anointed with the holy oil upon the forehead, eyes, nostrils, mouth, and ears; and when we seal them, we say, “The Seal of the gift of the Holy Ghost.”  But Eunomians, who are baptized with only one immersion, and Montanists, who are here called Phrygians, and Sabellians, who teach the identity of Father and Son, and do sundry other mischievous things, and [the partisans of] all other heresies—for there are many such here, particularly among those who come from the country of the Galatians:—all these, when they desire to turn to orthodoxy, we receive as heathen.  On the first day we make them Christians; on the second, catechumens; on the third, we exorcise them by breathing thrice in their face and ears; and thus we instruct them and oblige them to spend some time in the Church, and to hear the Scriptures; and then we baptize them.

Which the Fathers of the Quintsext Council summarized into canon 95
Quote
Those who from the heretics come over to orthodoxy, and to the number of those who should be saved, we receive according to the following order and custom.  Arians, Macedonians, Novatians, who call themselves Cathari, Aristeri, and Testareskaidecatitæ, or Tetraditæ, and Apollinarians, we receive on their presentation of certificates and on their anathematizing every heresy which does not hold as does the holy Apostolic Church of God:  then first of all we anoint them with the holy chrism on their foreheads, eyes, nostrils, mouth and ears; and as we seal them we say—“The seal of the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

But concerning the Paulianists it has been determined by the Catholic Church that they shall by all means be rebaptized.  The Eunomeans also, who baptize with one immersion; and the Montanists, who here are called Phrygians; and the Sabellians, who consider the Son to be the same as the Father, and are guilty in certain other grave matters, and all the other heresies—for there are many heretics here, especially those who come from the region of the Galatians—all of their number who are desirous of coming to the Orthodox faith, we receive as Gentiles.  And on the first day we make them Christians, on the second Catechumens, then on the third day we exorcise them, at the same time also breathing thrice upon their faces and ears; and thus we initiate them, and we make them spend time in church and hear the Scriptures; and then we baptize them.

And the Manichæans, and Valentinians and Marcionites and all of similar heresies must give certificates and anathematize each his own heresy, and also Nestorius, Eutyches, Dioscorus, Severus, and the other chiefs of such heresies, and those who think with them, and all the aforesaid heresies; and so they become partakers of the holy Communion.

Jude 1:3 "Earnestly contend for the faith which was once and for all delivered unto the saints."

Quote
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...

I have to get ready for Matins, Lord willing I'll pick up on this.

[/quote]
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« Reply #206 on: February 08, 2009, 06:21:50 PM »

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...

so it is:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13210.msg290554.html#msg290554
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« Reply #207 on: February 15, 2009, 10:37:13 AM »

if, as you say that your converts are unbaptized, then baptism died out sometime a thousand years ago.

I really wanted this post to be a reply to someone's who wrote that I (DMY) cannot say the Nicene Creed because it contains the words "one baptism", but I couldn't find that post. I have been pondering this. I think the post meant that I seem to be advocating two baptisms (assuming pædobaptism is permissible), namely that of infants and that of conscious believers. Let me try this out on you - I'm sure you'll find a way to disagree!

1) Baptism of believers is commanded in scripture; baptism of infants is not commanded.
2) We know that fairly early in church history the practice of infant baptism became widespread and in time became the universal practice.
3) We also know (a) that the Holy Spirit is promised as a guide to the Church into all truth, the church being the pillar and foundation of truth; and (b) that God has immeasurably blessed pædobaptists over the centuries down to the present day: the best preachers in Britain are often, as I believe now, Anglicans.
4) We also know that Orthodox, Presbyterians, Calvinists, Lutherans, Catholics &s all advance arguments based on scripture for the right to baptise the infants of Christian children.
5) So let us cede (I am not doing so - I am setting forth an idea, not one I yet embrace); let us concede that infant baptism is not commanded, but it is permitted.

So far, we have not yet lost the ability to confess "one baptism 'eis' the forgiveness of sins'. We only have two ways of applying the one baptism.

The post I hoped to quote would presumably also imply, or explicitly say, that if we allow more than one mode of baptism, we have strayed from 'one baptism 'eis' the remission of sins'. Now let us consider immersion, pouring (affusion) and sprinkling. If we were buried by baptism into Christ's death, then immersion seems to be the only way to symbolise this. But baptism also symbolises (effects, in your belief) washing. So taking the latter, we should say that the element used must be water (not rose petals), and must be done in a way consonant with being a symbol of washing. I believe cups, basins etc are 'baptised' in the NT as well. This would certainly allow pouring, and might just let sprinkling creep in. So again, we have not lost the ability to confess one baptism 'eis' the forgiveness of sins; we have merely allowed different ways of enacting the same symbol.

It is interesting to me that the Jerusalem Council recorded in Acts 15, discussing whether Gentile believers should be circumcised, never said "No: they need only believe and be baptised", but only said, "No: they need only believe." Surely if any part of the NT was the one for the inspiring Spirit to require baptism and set aside the requirement of circumcision, that was the place.

I have given some examples in a previous thread of how I might say "for" (or "unto") as a translation of 'eis', and mean it. One more: if I agreed with you, after long discussion, to enter into some important business or partnership deal, the agreement might have been made and settled in both our minds and mouths, but we would probably give a handshake 'eis' the deal, thus confirming, settling, applying it. In such a way might God confirm, seal, and apply remission of sins to the believer when he obeys the command to be baptised.

Now I would not wish (if I were again a pastor) to baptise any other than believers; nor would I tell them that baptism 'ex opere operato' works washing of sin and eternal life in their souls. But I do think that our discussion has moved forward.

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« Reply #208 on: February 15, 2009, 01:10:45 PM »

MORE ON EIS

There is one thing I have noticed over the decades, and that is the astonishing release of joy which is displayed on people's faces as they come up out of the water of baptism - almost a glimpse of a spiritual shining. I know, of course, that people are always happy when they do something they believe is right and is pleasing to someone (Someone, in this case) whom they love and respect. But this seems more than just that.

If, as your ideas on "'eis' (unto/for) the forgiveness of sins" have pressed me to reading and thinking, baptism is a moment when God seals the work of forgiveness to the believer's heart, applying and confirming it, then this would explain the seemingly more-than-normal joy which accompanies baptism.

I think this sacramental effect works more widely than in just the 'illuminand', for it seems that this joy is shared to some extent by those who watch the sacrament being enacted; that is, it reminds them of their own baptism, in such a way that seeing the act performed applies it afresh to their souls too as they watch with sympathetic engagement of their own minds and hearts.

The odd thing about Baptists, say I (who am one), is that we are eager and particular to get the deed right, but we give very little teaching about it. I have made this observation before. We tend to present it as an act of obedience which the Christian undertakes from love and gratitude to the Saviour and Lord, and as a public sign of commitment to lifelong discipleship - all of which it is. But that is man's side: we give little if any thought to God's side. Whilst I think you Orthodox take the meaning of 'eis' too far, I am very glad that you have made me think about it - 43 years after the event!

Happily (and I know you agree with this, for you believe in infant baptism) God's performance of "his side" is not dependent on the depth and breadth of the understanding of the 'illuminand', but on God's wonderful faithfulness as he meets us in our stumbling and faulty attempts to move towards him in obedience.
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« Reply #209 on: February 16, 2009, 03:03:18 PM »

1) Baptism of believers is commanded in scripture; baptism of infants is not commanded<<<

Baptism is commanded. Denying Baptism to babies based on philosophical norms not developed until about 1500 years later runs counter to that command.
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« Reply #210 on: March 14, 2009, 08:32:57 AM »

As a matter of possible interest, not a polemical point, it might be worth remarking on a couple of trends which are making believers' baptism rather more common over here in Britain than previously.

1) As more people become persuaded that baptism should only be applied to believers (whether those believers are aged 8, 80 or more usually somewhere between), churches of previously pædobaptist persuasion are finding it harder to get ministers. It often happens now that a previously pædobaptist church has a minister who practises baptism of believers, and when a family in the congregation want their newborn child baptised, a minister from elsewhere has to be borrowed to come and perform the rite. The church as a body are happy to have their minister, because so many of them share his view.

2) With perhaps only 2% of the population frequently attending any church, fewer and fewer babies are being christened. Therefore, when they become Christian believers later in life, they need baptism even in a church which retains infant baptism. I have been present at an Anglican (Church of England) baptism where the vicar baptised a number of people by immersion in a river, presumably for this very reason.

One wonders what the long-term effect of these trends will be.
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« Reply #211 on: March 14, 2009, 08:50:00 AM »

As a matter of possible interest, not a polemical point, it might be worth remarking on a couple of trends which are making believers' baptism rather more common over here in Britain than previously.

1) As more people become persuaded that baptism should only be applied to believers (whether those believers are aged 8, 80 or more usually somewhere between), churches of previously pædobaptist persuasion are finding it harder to get ministers. It often happens now that a previously pædobaptist church has a minister who practises baptism of believers, and when a family in the congregation want their newborn child baptised, a minister from elsewhere has to be borrowed to come and perform the rite. The church as a body are happy to have their minister, because so many of them share his view.

2) With perhaps only 2% of the population frequently attending any church, fewer and fewer babies are being christened. Therefore, when they become Christian believers later in life, they need baptism even in a church which retains infant baptism. I have been present at an Anglican (Church of England) baptism where the vicar baptised a number of people by immersion in a river, presumably for this very reason.

One wonders what the long-term effect of these trends will be.


Well in the ancient church (depends on what century  Wink ) it was VERY normal for older people to be baptized in the church.  In fact this was one of the main roles of female and male deacons, to help with the adult baptisms.  they were part and parcel of the church.  But the church was also extremely evangelical, and eventually became the state church, so anyone who really was a part of the empire became a christian, at any age.  I think perhaps this is the goal we should be looking for. 

I don't know what the processes of your denomination are for accepting adult neophytes but in the orthodox church a baptism is a baptism is a baptism.  It's the same rite whether you're 2 months old or 80 years old.  the only difference is the size of the fount... Wink Grin
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« Reply #212 on: March 14, 2009, 10:16:39 AM »

As a matter of possible interest, not a polemical point, it might be worth remarking on a couple of trends which are making believers' baptism rather more common over here in Britain than previously.

1) As more people become persuaded that baptism should only be applied to believers (whether those believers are aged 8, 80 or more usually somewhere between), churches of previously pædobaptist persuasion are finding it harder to get ministers. It often happens now that a previously pædobaptist church has a minister who practises baptism of believers, and when a family in the congregation want their newborn child baptised, a minister from elsewhere has to be borrowed to come and perform the rite. The church as a body are happy to have their minister, because so many of them share his view.

2) With perhaps only 2% of the population frequently attending any church, fewer and fewer babies are being christened. Therefore, when they become Christian believers later in life, they need baptism even in a church which retains infant baptism. I have been present at an Anglican (Church of England) baptism where the vicar baptised a number of people by immersion in a river, presumably for this very reason.

One wonders what the long-term effect of these trends will be.


Well in the ancient church (depends on what century  Wink ) it was VERY normal for older people to be baptized in the church.  In fact this was one of the main roles of female and male deacons, to help with the adult baptisms.  they were part and parcel of the church.  But the church was also extremely evangelical, and eventually became the state church, so anyone who really was a part of the empire became a christian, at any age.  I think perhaps this is the goal we should be looking for. 

I don't know what the processes of your denomination are for accepting adult neophytes but in the orthodox church a baptism is a baptism is a baptism.  It's the same rite whether you're 2 months old or 80 years old.  the only difference is the size of the fount... Wink Grin

Yes. A bishop in the US once said that the Church might have to start receiving by baptism all converts, at least the Protestant ones, as what the denominations accept as baptism (in the Name of the Creator, Savior and Sustainer, rose petals, etc.) is slipping off the charts.  We can't assume things anymore.
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« Reply #213 on: March 14, 2009, 02:14:56 PM »

As a matter of possible interest, not a polemical point, it might be worth remarking on a couple of trends which are making believers' baptism rather more common over here in Britain than previously.

1) As more people become persuaded that baptism should only be applied to believers (whether those believers are aged 8, 80 or more usually somewhere between), churches of previously pædobaptist persuasion are finding it harder to get ministers. It often happens now that a previously pædobaptist church has a minister who practises baptism of believers, and when a family in the congregation want their newborn child baptised, a minister from elsewhere has to be borrowed to come and perform the rite. The church as a body are happy to have their minister, because so many of them share his view.

2) With perhaps only 2% of the population frequently attending any church, fewer and fewer babies are being christened. Therefore, when they become Christian believers later in life, they need baptism even in a church which retains infant baptism. I have been present at an Anglican (Church of England) baptism where the vicar baptised a number of people by immersion in a river, presumably for this very reason.

One wonders what the long-term effect of these trends will be.


There was an article in the Religion section of the Washington Post today about a movement among militant Atheists to "Un-do" Baptisms of people who were received as infants before they were able to "Believe".
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« Reply #214 on: March 14, 2009, 04:44:46 PM »

As a matter of possible interest, not a polemical point, it might be worth remarking on a couple of trends which are making believers' baptism rather more common over here in Britain than previously.

1) As more people become persuaded that baptism should only be applied to believers (whether those believers are aged 8, 80 or more usually somewhere between), churches of previously pædobaptist persuasion are finding it harder to get ministers. It often happens now that a previously pædobaptist church has a minister who practises baptism of believers, and when a family in the congregation want their newborn child baptised, a minister from elsewhere has to be borrowed to come and perform the rite. The church as a body are happy to have their minister, because so many of them share his view.

2) With perhaps only 2% of the population frequently attending any church, fewer and fewer babies are being christened. Therefore, when they become Christian believers later in life, they need baptism even in a church which retains infant baptism. I have been present at an Anglican (Church of England) baptism where the vicar baptised a number of people by immersion in a river, presumably for this very reason.

One wonders what the long-term effect of these trends will be.


There was an article in the Religion section of the Washington Post today about a movement among militant Atheists to "Un-do" Baptisms of people who were received as infants before they were able to "Believe".

Do they "un-do" circumcisions too?  Shocked
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« Reply #215 on: March 15, 2009, 03:48:51 PM »

As a matter of possible interest, not a polemical point, it might be worth remarking on a couple of trends which are making believers' baptism rather more common over here in Britain than previously.

1) As more people become persuaded that baptism should only be applied to believers (whether those believers are aged 8, 80 or more usually somewhere between), churches of previously pædobaptist persuasion are finding it harder to get ministers. It often happens now that a previously pædobaptist church has a minister who practises baptism of believers, and when a family in the congregation want their newborn child baptised, a minister from elsewhere has to be borrowed to come and perform the rite. The church as a body are happy to have their minister, because so many of them share his view.

2) With perhaps only 2% of the population frequently attending any church, fewer and fewer babies are being christened. Therefore, when they become Christian believers later in life, they need baptism even in a church which retains infant baptism. I have been present at an Anglican (Church of England) baptism where the vicar baptised a number of people by immersion in a river, presumably for this very reason.

One wonders what the long-term effect of these trends will be.


There was an article in the Religion section of the Washington Post today about a movement among militant Atheists to "Un-do" Baptisms of people who were received as infants before they were able to "Believe".

Do they "un-do" circumcisions too?  Shocked

OUCH !!!

However, in terms of Baptism, the Atheists are inadvertently admitting that something actually happens when you are Baptised.
I just thought it was interesting that they were dovetailing the logic of Protestantism.
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« Reply #216 on: March 18, 2009, 06:18:21 AM »

Sorry to keep niggling away at the same basic question, but I still feel I haven't really grasped your thought. Let me put it this way:

I have a friend who is being baptised on Saturday. She is a Methodist, aged about 52, and has been a keen and fruitful Christian for many years, but has come to believe (not through my agency) that she should be immersed as a believer. Now for the sake of my question, let us pretend two things:

- her long-ago infant baptism by a Methodist minister was not a valid or effective Christian baptism
- she will be baptised this time by an Orthodox priest.

What difference will the baptism on Saturday make to her? That is my question.

(I say, "Let us pretend," on the two clauses above, because if you persuaded me that infant baptism is a valid variant within the rite of Christian baptism, then on my present view of the ministry I would see it as equally valid whether done by a Methodist or an Orthodox; and in fact, she is not really being immersed by an Orthodox priest. But I hope you can see what it is I am trying to understand of your view of baptism.)
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« Reply #217 on: March 18, 2009, 07:20:13 AM »

Sorry to keep niggling away at the same basic question, but I still feel I haven't really grasped your thought. Let me put it this way:

I have a friend who is being baptised on Saturday. She is a Methodist, aged about 52, and has been a keen and fruitful Christian for many years, but has come to believe (not through my agency) that she should be immersed as a believer. Now for the sake of my question, let us pretend two things:

- her long-ago infant baptism by a Methodist minister was not a valid or effective Christian baptism
- she will be baptised this time by an Orthodox priest.

What difference will the baptism on Saturday make to her? That is my question.

(I say, "Let us pretend," on the two clauses above, because if you persuaded me that infant baptism is a valid variant within the rite of Christian baptism, then on my present view of the ministry I would see it as equally valid whether done by a Methodist or an Orthodox; and in fact, she is not really being immersed by an Orthodox priest. But I hope you can see what it is I am trying to understand of your view of baptism.)

If she was being baptized by an Orthodox priest, then she would be becoming Orthodox, with all that that entails: i.e. the fullness of Christ.

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« Reply #218 on: March 18, 2009, 09:56:56 AM »

If she was being baptized by an Orthodox priest, then she would be becoming Orthodox, with all that that entails: i.e. the fullness of Christ.

Yes, but what does it entail? That's what I haven't grasped. Sorry to be so dense.  Sad What do you understand by 'the fullness of Christ' which is different from what she has already?
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« Reply #219 on: March 18, 2009, 11:42:27 AM »

If she was being baptized by an Orthodox priest, then she would be becoming Orthodox, with all that that entails: i.e. the fullness of Christ.

Yes, but what does it entail? That's what I haven't grasped. Sorry to be so dense.  Sad What do you understand by 'the fullness of Christ' which is different from what she has already?

I'll take a swing at this but deffer to Isa if he replies.

She becomes grafted onto the Church which is the vine leading directly to the source of Life and Salvation, Jesus Christ. She gains THE Church. Not a "better Church" or the Church with nice people, or the most comfortable Church or even the Church that she is most in agreement with. She is joined into a mystical union between herself, Christ and his One Holy and Apostolic Church. She now is within the Body of Christ and can communion with God.... None of that exists as a Methodist. She can certainly live a pious life and be inspired by the preaching, but she does not actually, in a real physical sense, transform into a member of Christ's Body except of course by his pity upon her and his mercy if he so choses.
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« Reply #220 on: March 18, 2009, 11:43:17 AM »

If she was being baptized by an Orthodox priest, then she would be becoming Orthodox, with all that that entails: i.e. the fullness of Christ.

Yes, but what does it entail? That's what I haven't grasped. Sorry to be so dense.  Sad What do you understand by 'the fullness of Christ' which is different from what she has already?
I'll try to get back to you and answer in detail (I have to leave for lunch duty).  But put this way for now, to whom much is given, much is expected.  If she was just baptized by an Orthodox priest just because she wanted an adult baptism, but intended in persisting in Methodism, she would be judged not as a Methodist (where ignorance of the True Faith can be a mitigating circumstance) but as an Orthodox Christian, and an apostate one at that.
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« Reply #221 on: March 18, 2009, 12:13:41 PM »

Quote
a magnificent change has occurred, an unspeakable change. God forgives all your sins, and infuses divine life into you. He seals you with the Power from on high ... You die with Christ, and rise with Him, participating in the mystery of His death and resurrection in a unique way. You become a child of God, incorporated into Christ's Body. I can't even write it down, because it is beyond me. It is literally like night and day, like death and life. ... a change has occurred in the man or woman who is baptised, even though they look the same as before, even though they still have the same sinful habits and tendencies. This should not grieve us or scandalise us or make us think baptism is useless. We are the better for it, for we are better equipped to fight.

As Mor Ephrem put it in a post many moons ago. But there are two matters I do not grasp - and probably a good number more as well!

1) The scriptures always put faith and baptism together, but as they are so often separated in time, what does faith achieve before baptism, and what does baptism do later that faith of itself failed to achieve? If faith achieves nothing at all, then baptism works ex opere operato; if faith does achieve something, what does baptism add?

2) Why must it be within the context of Orthodoxy? We are, I guess, heading back to the 'only true church' thread, which (as you know) is a completely alien concept to us Evangelicals.

I do wish to understand what it is you teach: you are most patient. In fact, I think that we Evangelicals (including Baptists of all people!) have so reacted against the Roman Catholic view of baptism that we have 'thrown out the baby with the bath water' and we ascribe too little importance to baptism as a result. We practise it assiduously, but we think far too little about its significance. What an irony, if I am right!
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« Reply #222 on: March 18, 2009, 08:49:57 PM »

Quote
a magnificent change has occurred, an unspeakable change. God forgives all your sins, and infuses divine life into you. He seals you with the Power from on high ... You die with Christ, and rise with Him, participating in the mystery of His death and resurrection in a unique way. You become a child of God, incorporated into Christ's Body. I can't even write it down, because it is beyond me. It is literally like night and day, like death and life. ... a change has occurred in the man or woman who is baptised, even though they look the same as before, even though they still have the same sinful habits and tendencies. This should not grieve us or scandalise us or make us think baptism is useless. We are the better for it, for we are better equipped to fight.

As Mor Ephrem put it in a post many moons ago. But there are two matters I do not grasp - and probably a good number more as well!

1) The scriptures always put faith and baptism together, but as they are so often separated in time, what does faith achieve before baptism, and what does baptism do later that faith of itself failed to achieve? If faith achieves nothing at all, then baptism works ex opere operato; if faith does achieve something, what does baptism add?

2) Why must it be within the context of Orthodoxy? We are, I guess, heading back to the 'only true church' thread, which (as you know) is a completely alien concept to us Evangelicals.

I do wish to understand what it is you teach: you are most patient. In fact, I think that we Evangelicals (including Baptists of all people!) have so reacted against the Roman Catholic view of baptism that we have 'thrown out the baby with the bath water' and we ascribe too little importance to baptism as a result. We practise it assiduously, but we think far too little about its significance. What an irony, if I am right!


But your definition of "Faith" is tainted by the Western European experience and how "reason" is applied to essentially mystical experiences.

To the Western mind set, "faith" means agreement with a laundry list of propositions. The paradigm is similar to a court of law. A contract is struck, you agree to the terms and receive a reward or at least get a result. That is a very late day way of thinking and not reflective of the presuppositions made by the Fathers of Christianity.

That is not to say that we don't agree to basically the same list ( Jesus is the Messiah, He is the incarnation of God come to Earth, etc etc.). But that is not the door that leads to Baptism. Baptism is the door that leads to (among other things) understanding of the basic tenet's of our religion. Both Baptism and agreement with the ideas of Christianity  transform the person to the likeness of God. A Baptised infant is already at an advantage over the person who overly depends upon reason to learn the religion eventually agreeing with it and only then taking advantage of the mystical union with God the Church offers.

Baptism is a faithful act. Faith is not always defined as reasoned agreement.
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« Reply #223 on: March 19, 2009, 08:53:02 AM »

your definition of "Faith" is tainted by the Western European experience and how "reason" is applied to essentially mystical experiences.

To the Western mind set, "faith" means agreement with a laundry list of propositions.

The paradigm is similar to a court of law.

Do you ever get the frustrating feeling, when discussing with Protestants or Catholics, that the Orthodoxy they perceive is not the real thing, and that you are talking about different things, albeit it under the same words? I suspect you do - and of course, so do we regarding the Evangelical faith!

I think there is a lot of confusion in your post.

First, you are quite correct in saying that western Christianity places much more emphasis on the role of reason or logic than Orthodoxy does - which, as I have written all along, is one of the features I find attractive about Orthodoxy. We are almost obsessively given to producing long, detailed, analytical confessions of faith, or tomes of systematic theology, with no loose ends, and no unanswered questions about God or man.

However, we do not confuse that with faith, as a gracious experience or event or means (whatever the word is) which effects forgiveness of sin and union with God in Christ.

Maybe the confusion arises partly because the word 'faith' has two different meanings, even in scripture. The Faith once delivered to the saints is of course a body of teaching, hence one can legitimately speak of a dogmatic analysis of beliefs as a 'confession of faith'. But the Bible also uses faith in the sense of belief, trust, reliance. That is an experience.

Now I am not enough of a church historian to discuss pre-18th century Evangelical spirituality with you, but I do know that the Methodists used to claim that the doctrine of assurance was one of the gems of real Christianity which they re-discovered and brought back to the prominence it deserved - the privilege of every Christian to know he is a child of God. That is far beyond the mere mental assent to a body of dogmas which you see Protestantism as - and maybe (I don't know) you would be right if you homed in on the period, say, 1520-1720. You'd just have to discuss that with someone else - though I could give some quotations from the Fathers and the mediæval church, from Clement of Rome onwards, to show that the inner assurance of living faith has never been absent from Christian spirituality: it is certainly not something the Methodists invented in the 18th century.

It is true that there was a movement named after a man called Robert Sandeman in about the 1830s which brought death to a lot of Baptist churches (and perhaps others?), for his teaching was indeed just what you describe - the notion that mental assent to the propositions of Christianity is all that is needed to save the soul. But such teaching is discredited, its baneful fruits have been sadly observed, and the churches of his persuasion (called "Scotch Baptists" over here in Britain, or Bedyddwyr Albanaidd in Wales) have virtually died out.  (I believe Prime Minister Lloyd George belonged to one.)

It has to be admitted that you find some fairly extreme Evangelicals who are purveying a rather new approach to scripture which so exalts their relationship with the text of scripture that it largely replaces a relationship with the Holy Spirit, and their religion is rather clinical and cerebral. But they are not typical of the last 300 years or so of developing piety and experience.

The final thing that makes me think your post contains things that have become confused but which don't belong together is the reference to law courts. It is true that western Christianity was (and remains) heavily influenced by Roman society with its strongly legal structure, and it is true that a major way in which we portray the work of Christ at Calvary is as a legal transaction, that is, he took the penalty due to our sin and died the death due to us, being punsihed in our stead. Theologically it is called 'penal substitution'. This is one perfectly biblical way of looking at the Cross, though not of course the only way. It is also true that we separate (correctly, I think) justification, which changes our status, from sancification, which changes our nature. A man is justified by faith, in an instant - that is, pardoned, declared not guilty before the judgement of God. But it takes a life-time of growth in stature, grace and sanctification to produce the image of God in him. This is why we say we are saved, whilst you say you are not saved (and it follows, why we assume you must be right about yourselves!): if there is reason to believe a man has justifying faith, we say he "is saved", thus homing in on the first event in salvation; whereas you good people home in on the perfection of the restored image of God at the end of what you call theosis, and (quite rightly) you say you aren't there yet. But to take the scriptural and Evangelical analogy of a forensic declaration of pardon, of 'not guilty', and to assume that is all we see in the matter of faith, is a misunderstanding of what we teach and indeed what we experience and strive to build on in our ongoing daily walk with our common Lord.

Now all this is not directly relevant, perhaps, to the questions I raised about how you understand baptism, but I do feel that the Bible puts faith (as properly understood) and baptism together, whereas for one reason or another they are often separated, both by you and by us. I need not repeat the questions, for they are posted above. Do continue your attempt to make me understand your answers.
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« Reply #224 on: March 19, 2009, 10:56:19 AM »

Okay, I'll take a stab at this...

1) The scriptures always put faith and baptism together, but as they are so often separated in time, what does faith achieve before baptism, and what does baptism do later that faith of itself failed to achieve? If faith achieves nothing at all, then baptism works ex opere operato; if faith does achieve something, what does baptism add?
Our faith, while obviously necessary for life in Christ, does NOT wash us clean, does not restore us to our original state of sinlessness.  That is what Baptism does.  Our faith is something WE do (in that the action being done is from us).  Baptism is something that GOD does FOR us.  By His grace, our sins are wiped away, our slate cleaned, and we are renewed.  This does not happen just by faith.  Our faith alone does not wipe our sins away (in other words, "I believe, therefore I'm clean"-- this is not what happens).  Even within the sacrament, it is not as a result of faith that our sins are wiped away.  It is as a result of God's grace, His action within the sacrament.  Yes, faith is a factor, but the more prominent factor is the grace of God and what He does for us.

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2) Why must it be within the context of Orthodoxy? We are, I guess, heading back to the 'only true church' thread, which (as you know) is a completely alien concept to us Evangelicals.
It is not so much that it must be within the context of Orthodoxy-- the Orthodox recognize baptisms of other faiths (as long as they are done "in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit") when accepting the newly illumined into the faith via chrismation.  What is more important is the right belief and the FULL SACRAMENTAL LIFE of the Church.  Yes, other Churches have sacraments, but the fullness of the sacramental life, and the proper balance, is found only within Orthodoxy.  We are wiped clean with Baptism, but, we are still sinners, and continue to dirty our baptismal garments every moment of our life.  So we have the sacramental life which helps us to keep our garments white.  We go to confession, where our baptismal garments are once again whitened every time we confess.  We receive communion, which, in addition to whitening our garments, gives us the armor and strength we need to KEEP them clean (among other things--- it's basically impossible to write down all the things the Eucharist does for us).  We are annointed with the oil of unction for the HEALING of our physical AND spiritual infirmities.  All of the sacraments, in one way or another, further our spiritual life, help us to come back to those whitened garments (I guess this would be close to your idea of sanctification?), thereby enabling us to come closer and closer to God.

Think of it like driving in a car to get to a destination.  Baptism is the initial getting into the car.  The other sacraments are the gas stations (you all say "petrol" on the other side of the pond, right?), the oil changes, the tire changing, the timing belt replacing, the car washes, the starter replacement, etc.  You get the idea.  We get into the car, turn it on, and begin to drive.  But on such a long trip, if we don't maintain the car with regular maintenance, emergency maintenance, or at least gas, we won't ever get where we're going.  That's what the sacramental life is.  It is the maintenance on the long trip toward theosis.  Without the sacraments, there's little to no chance of us getting there.  Eventually, our spiritual car will run out of gas, or break down.

Of course it is also about right belief as well, but I don't think we particularly need to get into that in this context.

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I do wish to understand what it is you teach: you are most patient. In fact, I think that we Evangelicals (including Baptists of all people!) have so reacted against the Roman Catholic view of baptism that we have 'thrown out the baby with the bath water' and we ascribe too little importance to baptism as a result. We practise it assiduously, but we think far too little about its significance. What an irony, if I am right!

I am always moved, David, by your genuine desire to discuss and understand, and not to engage in petty arguing or attempts to "correct" or convert us.  I have to say I agree with you about throwing out the baby with the bath water, and, I must say that I don't think that is limited just to the Protestant view of Baptism.  That has always been my point about the very existence of Protestantism.  It was good to protest the wrong turns that the Catholic church took, but I think that, unfortunately, the end result (although there has not yet been an end, as so many Protestant denominations continue to go farther and farther away from the truth) was precisely that-- throwing out the baby with the bathwater.  I know you understand that I mean no offense by that.  You see us as having "accretions," that add to the faith, we see you as having thrown out everything important and being left with a terribly watered down and insufficient version of that same faith.  God-willing we will, through such productive dialogue as this, begin to understand eachother better.
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