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Author Topic: What's up with the disdain for the "Born Again" Experience?  (Read 26784 times) Average Rating: 0
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NorthernPines
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« Reply #45 on: July 29, 2009, 11:21:26 AM »

I understand your view of theosis enough to realize that you focus on finality and glorification as salvation proper. Hence, you do not speak of yourselves as "saved". But, do you deny the need for a personal conversion and/or commitment to Christ, individually and decisively placing trust in His atoning work as the basis for reconciliation with God, and willingly embracing His teaching?

Of course not! I certainly understand why you would think such a thing, but any Orthodox (or any Christian) who takes His faith seriously would NEVER deny such a need. The only real difference is for us, is that conversion/commitment is not a once in a life time experience that we write down in our Bibles, it is something we're supposed to do EVERY SINGLE DAY of our lives. (and yes, I DO realize Protestants also do the same every day) Every morning when we get out of bed, we're supposed to commit ourself to Christ and trust in His saving Incarnation, Passion and Resurrection. Without that, we would ALL be lost forever. Without trusting in the Cross of Christ, and realizing that nothing we do can ever save us, any works we do would be totally in vain. No one can work their way to heaven or to God, but through faith we are saved. The only real difference I've ever truly seen, is the understanding of what "faith" is, or what that means. Is faith merely a mental ascension to some doctrines and dogmas, or a ritualistic prayer of salvation? Or is faith something ALIVE that we LIVE out each and every day? There are people in ALL Churches that have a living faith and a dead faith. A Baptist who "trusts in Jesus" to save him and then murders 10 people and still expects to be saved if he died later than day, does not have living faith. Certainly you would agree.

An Orthodox Christian who believes going to Liturgy, saying the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and then going home to embezzle funds from his business does not have living faith either. There are plenty of Christians in all Churches who sing amazing grace, or chant Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord of Sabaoth every Sunday who are living their faith, and there are plenty who "claim" to be saved, in the case of Orthodox Christians, claim "I'm an Orthodox Christian doing all the right things so I'm ok" and in all likely hood both are deceiving themselves.


But what is also a deception is the idea that "faith" is something that merely takes place in the mind. I believe, therefore I'm saved. But what is "belief"? What is "faith"?

 Saving faith is not simply a profession or an empty claim. Nor is it merely the acceptance of a creed. Saving faith is that which produces an obedient life.

Faith creates works, works perfect faith.
- from one of my Protestant Study Bibles Wink

I think every Orthodox Christian here would completely agree with that statement as would you, I assume. Truthfully there ARE Orthodox who think doing all the right rituals will save them. Just like there are Baptists who think faith is a one time event that covers the remainder of their life and thus they never have to exercise it again. Yet both are untrue to Christianity, and our respective traditions.

The problem is as a Baptist I heard plenty of preachers say OSAS, even if I murder 100 people willingly, I'm still "saved"....my father, knew plenty of "saved" Baptists who cheated on their wifes with 3 or 4 girlfriends at a time, and still went to Church every single Sunday, and even PREACHED to others (including my father) that they "needed Jesus"...very devout, even "faithful" Christians, but for them faith was a "mental" exercise, not a way of life.

I've also heard plenty of Orthodox say things like "oh you don't fast, but that's a SIN"....or worse, I've seen women 7 months pregnant go on strict fasts for Lent, and 90 year old ladies pass out during the Resurrection service because they fasted as though they were St. Anthony all because it became a ritual and legalistic. No Church has a monopoly on people who horribly misunderstand it's teaching.

The problem is lack of communication and using different words to mean the same thing, or using the same words to mean very different things. I don't really see that much difference in what baptists and Orthodox believe about faith, only different emphasis on those beliefs....but I may be totally wrong.

Anyways, of course we do not deny the need for a relationship with Christ, despite some Orthodox trying to avoid sounding "too Protestant" in some books, the reality is for ancient peoples and modern Orthodoxy, faith was something you lived, not something you thought about. And indeed, I know this to be true of most Protestants as well. it's just emphasis IMO. (again, as other said assuming we're not debating OSAS which as David pointed out, is a totally different conversation, one in which we would NEVER agree with)
« Last Edit: July 29, 2009, 11:22:06 AM by NorthernPines » Logged
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« Reply #46 on: July 29, 2009, 11:33:16 AM »

Whilst not expressing disagreement in principle with what you folk are saying, allow me to suggest that you are not specifically addressing yourself to Cleopas's question, when he asks whether, in your turning to Christ and committing yourself to Him, you are consciously placing trust in His atoning work as the basis for reconciliation with God.


Speaking personally, I certainly have no disdain for the "born again" experience, nor have I noticed a particular disdain for this amongst the Orthodoxen. What I have noticed is the disdain for those who profess to be "born again" for the rest of us. Beginning in the third grade, when Angela Morrison told me I was going to hell, because I was baptized as an infant.

Forgive me, a sinner, David, but the above quote from you brought back vividly that very painful moment in elementary school!
 Sad
It has always seemed to me that unless I have a "born again" experience according to someone else's specifications then I am not a Real Christian (tm). And that may be the crux (if you will) of the perceived "disdain" - some of us are getting might tired of being disdained.

For heaven's sake, of course, Orthodox Christians have committed themselves to Christ! Why else would we go through all this?

Too bad my relationship with God has been a journey - (okay, so it's been more like taking a walk with a toddler - me - who has a short attention span, gets tired easily and wanders off - nevertheless...) and I can't point to a single moment in time that would satisfy the "born again" crowd! Of course I can relate many wonderful events and moments along the way but that is apparently not sufficient!

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« Reply #47 on: July 29, 2009, 11:36:48 AM »

Thank you all for taking the time to share your thoughts.

However, permit to re ask the first question in the OP, as it seems to have been largely neglected in the discussion that has followed the larger issue touched on here.
As I said then ...

I understand your view of theosis enough to realize that you focus on finality and glorification as salvation proper. Hence, you do not speak of yourselves as "saved". But, do you deny the need for a personal conversion and/or commitment to Christ, individually and decisively placing trust in His atoning work as the basis for reconciliation with God, and willingly embracing His teaching?

I would like to share with you some excerpts from the Office of Baptism:

After the priest is finished with the excorsim of the Catechumen-

Quote
The Priest now turns the person to be baptized to face the west, unclad, unshod, and hands uplifted; and says:

Priest: Dost thou renounce Satan, and all his Angels, and all his works, and all his service, and all his pride?
And the Catechumen (or his sponsor) replies
I do.  (This question and reply are performed three times.)
Priest:  Hast thou renounced Satan?
And the Catechumen (or his sponsor) replies
I have.  (This question and reply are performed three times.)
Then the Priest says
Priest:  Breathe and spit upon him.

When this is done, the Priest turns the catechumen to the east with hands lowered, and says:

Priest:  Dost thou unite thyself unto Christ?
And the Catechumen (or his sponsor) replies
I do.  (This question and reply are performed three times.)
Then the Priest says
Priest:  Hast thou united thyself unto Christ?
And the Catechumen (or his sponsor) replies
I have.
Priest:  Dost thou believe in Him?
Catechumen:  I believe in Him as King and God.
The Catechumen recites the Symbol of the Faith


Having completed the Creed, the Priest asks:

Priest:  Hast thou united thyself unto Christ?
And the Catechumen (or his sponsor) replies
I have.  (This question and reply are performed three times.)
Priest:  Bow down also before Him.


And the Catechumen, bowing, says

I bow down before the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit: the Trinity one in Essence and undivided.

Priest:  Blessed is God, Who willeth that all men should be saved, and should come to the knowledge of the truth, now, and ever, and unto the ages of ages.
CHOIR:  Amen.

Deacon:  Let us pray to the Lord.
CHOIR:  Lord, have mercy.

Priest:  O Master, Lord our God, call Thy servant, N., to Thy holy Illumination, and grant unto him (her) that great grace of Thy holy Baptism.  Put off from him (her) the old man, and renew him (her) unto life everlasting; and fill him (her) with the power of Thy Holy Spirit, in the unity of Thy Christ: that he (she) may be no more a child of the body, but a child of Thy kingdom.  Through the good will and grace of Thine Only-begotten Son, with Whom Thou art blessed, together with Thy most holy, and good, and life-giving Spirit, now, and ever, and unto the ages of ages.
CHOIR:  Amen.

Then the rite of Baptism takes place. Immediately followed by Chrismation...


Quote
The Priest now anoints with the holy Chrism the person who has been baptized, making the sign of the Cross; on the brow, eyes, nostrils, lips, both ears, the breast, the hands, and the feet, saying each time:

The seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Then the Priest, with the Sponsors, takes the newly baptized and makes a circuit of the Font, as all sing:

As many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  Alleluia.    (Three times)

Deacon:  Let us attend.
Priest:  Peace be with you all.
Reader:  And with thy spirit.
Deacon:  Wisdom!
Reader:  The Prokeimenon in the Third Tone:
The Lord is my light and my salvation:  whom then shall I fear?
Verse:  The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom
then shall I be afraid?

Deacon:  Wisdom!

Reader:  The Reading is from the Epistle of the holy Apostle Paul to the Romans.

Deacon:  Let us attend.

Reader:  Brethren:  Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into His death?  Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His Resurrection; knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.  For he that is dead is freed from sin.  Now, if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him: knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him.  For in that He died, He died unto sin once; but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God.  Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Not only is each baptism a committment for the person being baptized but also for all who are at the service participating and renewing their own baptismal commitments. To me participation in the church services is a ongoing personal conversion.
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« Reply #48 on: July 29, 2009, 11:45:21 AM »

the Protestant tendency is
- more individualistic
- (& more intellectualized)
- and not having enough common liturgical experience
- to preserve proper unity among the faithful.

You are right on all four counts, except possibly the fourth. We lament the tendency to divide or separate which has been chronic among us, but whether its cause is a paucity of liturgy or lies somewhere else is a matter that  needs exploration and a solution.

Regarding the first three, I think that what we have is good and right, but it is not the whole of man's need as he lives not by bread alone, and seeks to worship in Spirit and in truth. Whilst keeping what we have, we need to get a better balance by embracing something of what you have. Perhaps I am saying that community, mystery and liturgy are all aspects of biblical religion, and we Baptists are weak in those areas.
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« Reply #49 on: July 29, 2009, 11:51:45 AM »

whether its cause is a paucity of liturgy or lies somewhere else is a matter that  needs exploration and a solution.
While it is true that we cannot point to a single cause for the Protestant fracturing, we can say that liturgy helps to curb this trend. Perhaps it is due to the permanence of liturgy irrespective of any individual. We are much more likely to conform to the liturgy than to remove ourselves from it. That said, we, the Catholics, the Anglicans, and the Lutherans have all experienced multiple schisms, so we also cannot say that liturgy prevents fracture altogether. Yet we experience schism much less often than non-liturgical churches. I myself have experienced no less than five schisms in the Protestant churches I was a part of, in a span of eighteen years. This sort of thing does not occur nearly as often in the liturgical churches.
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« Reply #50 on: July 29, 2009, 12:12:45 PM »

the Protestant tendency is
- more individualistic
- (& more intellectualized)
- and not having enough common liturgical experience
- to preserve proper unity among the faithful.

You are right on all four counts, except possibly the fourth. We lament the tendency to divide or separate which has been chronic among us, but whether its cause is a paucity of liturgy or lies somewhere else is a matter that  needs exploration and a solution.

Regarding the first three, I think that what we have is good and right, but it is not the whole of man's need as he lives not by bread alone, and seeks to worship in Spirit and in truth. Whilst keeping what we have, we need to get a better balance by embracing something of what you have. Perhaps I am saying that community, mystery and liturgy are all aspects of biblical religion, and we Baptists are weak in those areas.

I think I should add also that we see more of the reconciliation sense of the atonement whereas a Calvinist sees more of our Lord's blood as covering the debt of sin (to us this defining emphasis seems to be somewhat limiting to fully understanding our Lord's reconciliation). We would see more of the cross within the sacrament of the Eucharist along "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come." (1 Corinthians 11:26, KJV). I am not saying that the Protestant understanding of atonement is wrong but it seems to become compartmentalized & subsequently creates an imbalance among the full understanding of us being reconciled to the salvation our Lord has given us by his incanarnation, life, death, & resurrection. Again, I mean no disparagement of the Christian faith of Protestants.
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« Reply #51 on: July 29, 2009, 01:31:59 PM »

I know Many Protestants That Say They they know more than there pastors,they become a church of one,they drop out don't go anymore ..

A Spanish Friend of mine who was catholic became Pentecostal ,eventually he dropped out of his pentecostal church...

I also Know a muslim from egypt who converted to Protestant christianty due to  a minister that prayed over his sick daughter for healing and she was healed, he him self doesn't go to church though he preaches his brand of christianity of one verse and thats all you need....??
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« Reply #52 on: July 29, 2009, 03:39:23 PM »

Christ`s sacrifice is the most important thing in orthodoxy and i think in every christian faith.Trough His sacrifice we receive the atonement of our sins.He reconciliated the world with God on the Cross , trough His death and revived it through Him , by His resurrection.He took all our sins and sufferings upon Him , and He died for our sins , and by his wound we are healed.He made the one who knew no sin , sin for us.

 Romans 5

1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, wea have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And web rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but wec also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
6For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

Yes we are reconciliated with God trough Jesus blood , but more we will be saved trough His life, by living as He lived , walking as He walk.

1 John 2

3We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5But if anyone obeys his word, God’s loveb is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

Yes we are saved trough grace , in gift , by faith ... we are justified by faith and also by works.Also faith alone won`t save us.And faith without actions is death.The devils also believe and fear.So if our faith did not produces good actions , than we are not of good faith or our faith is small.True faith produces actions.

James 2

22Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?(22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. )

24Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

16If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?
17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
26As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
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« Reply #53 on: July 29, 2009, 05:29:45 PM »

Protestant fracturing... Perhaps it is due to the permanence of liturgy irrespective of any individual.

My own theory is that your achievement of a more lasting unity and cohesion flows from two things: your belief in priesthood, and your belief in an 'only true church'.

If an Orthodox separates from the Church, he separates himself from the Body of Christ, and if he severs his link with the Church's clergy as its priesthood, he separates himself from the opportunity to receive Christ through the only valid sacraments.

I am not saying that I believe your tenets regarding Church and priesthood are correct (else I should become Orthodox), but I am saying that by them you achieve something which we have not found a way of achieving.

In my own preaching I emphasise the Corinthian principle of the one bread showing that we are one body, and that to separate from that body is a deeply serious decision to take. But to some extent I seem to be a lone voice, for it is not a motif we seem to hear often in the teaching we are given from our pulpits. Humility, grace, forbearance, love, forgiveness and reconciliation ought to achieve among us what you achieve (if I am right) via your hieratic ecclesiology - but sadly, very often it does not.
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« Reply #54 on: July 29, 2009, 08:41:46 PM »

Thank you all for taking the time to share your thoughts.

However, permit to re ask the first question in the OP, as it seems to have been largely neglected in the discussion that has followed the larger issue touched on here.
As I said then ...

I understand your view of theosis enough to realize that you focus on finality and glorification as salvation proper. Hence, you do not speak of yourselves as "saved". But, do you deny the need for a personal conversion and/or commitment to Christ, individually and decisively placing trust in His atoning work as the basis for reconciliation with God, and willingly embracing His teaching?

I already answered you. You are strictly looking at this issue from an evangelical protestant tint revival perspective :




"Quote
Quote
After all, it was Our Lord who said (to Nicodemus) You must be born again.

What did this mean "Historically"? And when did the """interpretation""" as found in some protestant sectors change?




Quote
Quote
I understand your view of theosis enough to realize that you focus on finality and glorification as salvation proper. Hence, you do not speak of yourselves as "saved".

So what's the problem?




Quote
Quote
But, do you deny the need for a personal conversion and/or commitment to Christ,

Why would we deny the need of making our parents faith our own? Something we have to experience, accept, and embrace for ourselves?



 
Quote
Quote
individually and decisively placing trust in His atoning work as the basis for reconciliation with God,

Why didn't you also mention placing trust in His Incarnation, Life, and Resurrection? You see, this is part of the problem.


 
Quote
Quote
and willingly embracing His teaching?

Do you turn the other cheek? Do you forgive 7 X 70? Do you have mercy on others? Do you love your enemies ........ect? If you read the church fathers, then you would of known that we accept Christ's teachings"














JNORM888
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"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #55 on: July 29, 2009, 08:55:06 PM »

Whilst not expressing disagreement in principle with what you folk are saying, allow me to suggest that you are not specifically addressing yourself to Cleopas's question, when he asks whether, in your turning to Christ and committing yourself to Him, you are consciously placing trust in His atoning work as the basis for reconciliation with God.

That, I think is the crux (no pun intended) of what Cleopas is trying to penetrate in his understanding of your concept of conversion or commitment.

Cleopas of course may correct me if I am the one who has misunderstood his inquiry.

There is a saying among us that we "contribute nothing to our salvation except the sin from which we need to be saved". We place all our trust only in the sufficient work of Christ in his life, death, resurrection and present intercession. Having, however, freely received salvation in this way - by trust in Christ's achievement - we then work out our salvation with fear and trembling, as the saying goes, desiring to please the God we love, to express our gratitude for his gift, and to obey him whom we have taken as our life-long Lord.

The people you cite who claim to be born of God but whose mouths are like sewers, whose lives are violent and dishonest, not because of an occasional fall into sin but as a sustained characterisitc way of life with which they are quite happy, are freaks and nutters who are walking in self-deception and blindness. But surely you also have such in your Church? Baptists have no monopoly on hypocrites.

I already answered him, and He doesn't include the Incarnation, the Life, nor the Resurrection in his concern..........thus, he is looking at this with a completely different set of lenses. Plus his view of the Atonment is a later development, and yet, he is trying to get us to embrace a courtroom/bank modal.

We have a diffeent set of modals. So What he needs to do, before he asks these questions, is first question his own interpretations, and read the classical interpretations of the early fathers.

We also have a different understanding of how the Grace of God is applied to man. If he reads up on the earlier interpretations of the Atonement, then maybe he will understand us better.......plus what you said in your saying is nothing more than late Augustinian monergism. We are synergists, so we will understand your saying differently than you.......for our accepting or rejecting the Grace of God is not meritous.......it is not a work.











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"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #56 on: July 29, 2009, 09:20:02 PM »

Protestant fracturing... Perhaps it is due to the permanence of liturgy irrespective of any individual.

My own theory is that your achievement of a more lasting unity and cohesion flows from two things: your belief in priesthood, and your belief in an 'only true church'.

If an Orthodox separates from the Church, he separates himself from the Body of Christ, and if he severs his link with the Church's clergy as its priesthood, he separates himself from the opportunity to receive Christ through the only valid sacraments.

I am not saying that I believe your tenets regarding Church and priesthood are correct (else I should become Orthodox), but I am saying that by them you achieve something which we have not found a way of achieving.

In my own preaching I emphasise the Corinthian principle of the one bread showing that we are one body, and that to separate from that body is a deeply serious decision to take. But to some extent I seem to be a lone voice, for it is not a motif we seem to hear often in the teaching we are given from our pulpits. Humility, grace, forbearance, love, forgiveness and reconciliation ought to achieve among us what you achieve (if I am right) via your hieratic ecclesiology - but sadly, very often it does not.



Orthodoxy also embraces the priesthood of all believers. I think the reason why you are a lone voice is because of Zwingly, and the low view of the Lord's supper found among many English Separatist Baptists.


Please let me know if you don't want me using the term "english separatists" when talking about Baptists.













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"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #57 on: July 30, 2009, 12:34:00 PM »

Please let me know if you don't want me using the term "english separatists" when talking about Baptists.
JNORM888

The phrase is quite acceptable, and I believe they referred to themselves as Separatists, or at least that their current followers and admirers (among whom I guess I am numbered) quite happily use the phrase.

I believe it referred to separation from the State church - the Church of England - and neither had nor has any pejorative implications.

I think that today, if used with a small s-, it would probably be pejorative, but it would then no longer refer to a historical movement motivated by a carefully thought-out non-Constantinian ecclesiology.

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« Reply #58 on: July 30, 2009, 01:40:03 PM »

Please let me know if you don't want me using the term "english separatists" when talking about Baptists.
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The phrase is quite acceptable, and I believe they referred to themselves as Separatists, or at least that their current followers and admirers (among whom I guess I am numbered) quite happily use the phrase.

I believe it referred to separation from the State church - the Church of England - and neither had nor has any pejorative implications.

I think that today, if used with a small s-, it would probably be pejorative, but it would then no longer refer to a historical movement motivated by a carefully thought-out non-Constantinian ecclesiology.




The iea of Bishops pre-dates Constantine, and Armenia's King also converted to Christianity before Constantine did. .......If I'm wrong, I'm sure an Armenian Orthodox member of this board will correct me.










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« Reply #59 on: July 30, 2009, 04:30:31 PM »


Quote


The iea of Bishops pre-dates Constantine


JNORM888

Indeed, besides references in the NT ("episkopos" - although I understand that some folks have differing ideas about what the episkopos actually was) Ignatius’ (early 1st century but already the third Bishop of Antioch) letters are pretty clear on the subject of bishops: in his Epistle to the Ephesians he says that "we ought to regard the bishop as the Lord Himself" and that the Magnesians should not do “anything without the bishop and the presbyters." In the Epistle to the Smyrnans, he directs that the Smyrnans "follow your bishop, as Jesus Christ followed the Father, and the presbytery as the Apostles; and to the deacons pay respect, as to God's commandment."

So the office of Bishop was hardly an invention of Constantine's.
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« Reply #60 on: July 31, 2009, 08:10:40 PM »


Quote


The iea of Bishops pre-dates Constantine


JNORM888

Indeed, besides references in the NT ("episkopos" - although I understand that some folks have differing ideas about what the episkopos actually was) Ignatius’ (early 1st century but already the third Bishop of Antioch) letters are pretty clear on the subject of bishops: in his Epistle to the Ephesians he says that "we ought to regard the bishop as the Lord Himself" and that the Magnesians should not do “anything without the bishop and the presbyters." In the Epistle to the Smyrnans, he directs that the Smyrnans "follow your bishop, as Jesus Christ followed the Father, and the presbytery as the Apostles; and to the deacons pay respect, as to God's commandment."

So the office of Bishop was hardly an invention of Constantine's.



I agree








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« Reply #61 on: August 01, 2009, 10:28:13 PM »

I would like to offer a few thoughts perhaps to clarify in regard to the protestant perspective of born again and salvation.  But being I'm interim; attending Orthodox for 7 months and not yet chrismated i can share this pov as I understand it.
If one wanted to be technical it could be said that salvation took place in 33 AD using a working definition of salvation for protestants... or anyone for this matter who puts their faith in Christ,  as salvation simply means being saved or delivered from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light.  It is to be delivered from the penalties of the sin nature, which is death.  This happened at the cross.  This is from a protestant pov.
In the protestant pov one cannot be saved unless he is first born again.. John 3:3 Jesus talks to Nicodemus about being born agan... John 3:5 Therefore, in order to be saved from the kingdom of darkness and saved to the kingdom of God you must be born again.
A way to view it is that being born again and saved are two different things.  Being saved is a result of being born again.  Being born again is the process of receiving the new spirit that comes from God; a persons spirit is renewed with the life of God.  Though the terms are synononymously used they are different.
And even for a protestant salvation is an active process not just an event that occurred one day in church.  It is ongoing throughout the christians life because a christian is continually delivered from the dangers of Satanic forces... death, povery, sickness.  Christians also mature in salvation received in Christ. 
I thought I would give another view to add to the mix.  Smiley  Blessings
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« Reply #62 on: August 02, 2009, 04:48:52 AM »

No disdain as long as it's understood as what occurs at the Sacrament of Baptism, and that an intellectual understanding develops as one grows in Christ.
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« Reply #63 on: August 02, 2009, 09:01:34 AM »

it's understood as what occurs at the Sacrament of Baptism,

But the sacrament of baptism should follow the new birth, not precede it. Conscious faith should come before the person is baptised...  But I confess I'm digressing from the theme of the thread. No need therefore to reply - regard it as an aside dealt with in a different thread.
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« Reply #64 on: August 02, 2009, 09:10:49 AM »

it's understood as what occurs at the Sacrament of Baptism,

But the sacrament of baptism should follow the new birth, not precede it. Conscious faith should come before the person is baptised...

Why?

Selam

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« Reply #65 on: August 02, 2009, 12:20:44 PM »

REPLY TO REPLY #64

I'm a layman and not a theologian, but Orthodoxy understands the Baptismal Mystery to be the scriptural admonition to be "born from above," and that is the experience of being "born again," while it's also understood that having been "Baptized into Christ;" having "put on Christ," at Baptism, and with the Sacrament of Holy Chrismation (Confirmation), when we are Sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit, a Christian is equipped to grow in our intellectual appreciation of our Christ-like nature.
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« Reply #66 on: August 02, 2009, 04:10:01 PM »

I'm feeling guilty and abashed at having brought this up, because it risks derailing the thread (a mixed metaphor, I know).

Faith, baptism, regeneration are all part of the same event in the New Testament, and as near as is humanly possible should therefore happen at the same time. They ought not to be separated in time.

You are right in associating regeneration more closely with baptism than we do, but mistaken (as we undersand it) in seeing regeneration as taking place in people who have not exercised faith.
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« Reply #67 on: August 02, 2009, 07:01:50 PM »

John:
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Acts:
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

From my perspective the new birth takes place in the waters of baptism. Baptism does not save us... Christ saves us. But He chooses to save us via the waters of Holy Baptism.
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« Reply #68 on: August 02, 2009, 08:17:14 PM »

it's understood as what occurs at the Sacrament of Baptism,

But the sacrament of baptism should follow the new birth, not precede it. Conscious faith should come before the person is baptised...  But I confess I'm digressing from the theme of the thread. No need therefore to reply - regard it as an aside dealt with in a different thread.

We have a fundamentally different understating. Christianity is not primarily an intellectual persuit. No "Understanding" is required. The object of Baptism is to graft the person onto the body of Christ. To be a "Member" of the Church is not like in the secular world. You are a part of the very Body of Christ. To deny a child  this is a sin.

Never in the Tradition of the Church from Petacost to now has there been the necessity of having a cathartic experience. That is not to diminish the deeply moving experiences so many Heterodox have had. But they have been set up, primed, for this experience which is a pale shadow of  the re-birth of Baptism a substitue for it and not the real thing   
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« Reply #69 on: August 03, 2009, 10:41:21 AM »

it's understood as what occurs at the Sacrament of Baptism,

But the sacrament of baptism should follow the new birth, not precede it. Conscious faith should come before the person is baptised... 

(I'm quite unable to resist this! Forgive me, a sinner!)

Why should conscious faith always come before the person is baptised?

(And this does happen in the Orthodox Church, you know. Adults are baptized, but so are infants.)
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« Reply #70 on: August 03, 2009, 11:23:15 AM »

Why should conscious faith always come before the person is baptised? ... does happen in the Orthodox Church

Faith and baptism are always conjoined in both the teaching and the practice of the New Testament.

I know this happens in Orthodoxy, and I would, of course, have no hesitation in accepting that as a valid Christian baptism, especially if done by immersion.

To avoid the complete derailment of the thread, let me say that the inward or spiritual new birth, which comes simultaneously with faith, and the baptism in water, in which I agree that God works sacramentally to convey grace in the soul, are so closely joined in time in the New Testament that they are not considered separately. When one is mentioned, all three may be deemed to be present in the thought of the writer or speaker.

It is a wonderful thing when a person, baptised as an infant, comes to conscious faith later in life, and it is a wonderful thing when a person who has come to faith, affirms that faith later on in baptism. But biblically the two ought to take place as part of the same event, not separated by long years, as happens with infant baptism in your churches and often, regrettably, in Baptist churches also, where baptism is delayed.

What God has joined together let no man put asunder.
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« Reply #71 on: August 03, 2009, 11:50:46 AM »

But biblically the two ought to take place as part of the same event, not separated by long years, as happens with infant baptism in your churches and often, regrettably, in Baptist churches also, where baptism is delayed.

What God has joined together let no man put asunder.


Whoaa! Separated by long years you say? Not so. What makes you think that an infant cannot have faith? It may not be the intellectual faith of an adult, but it is faith nevertheless.

"Whether adult, child, or infant, faith and a life lived in symphony with that faith are essential if baptism is to hold any meaning. But how can this be understood in the case of a child? When Jesus stressed that one must first "believe and be baptized" (Mk 16:16), he was not addressing infants. He was addressing unbelieving adults who needed to forsake trust in themselves and trust in Christ instead. The Christian infant does not need to first repent before he believes. What is he to repent of? It is inappropriate to apply a biblical passage intended for unbelieving adults to the infants of believers.

This is not to say that the Early Church did not see faith as an absolute prerequisite for baptism, for it surely did. Therefore, it did not baptize just ANY child. Pre-adult baptism was limited only to those who were under the care of Christian adults. In such cases, the Church affirmed that the child's faith had begun, and that She, along with the family, would provide an environment where that faith would be nurtured. The parents, and the entire fellowship would commit themselves to the child and his growth in the faith.

As a child matures, the conditions for his participation in the fellowship change in accordance with his increased capability. At every age and every stage of life, the faith of the child is expected to mature: in his commitment to Christ, in his understanding of Christian teaching, and in his continual need for repentace. Whether an adult or child, it is logical to expect that the way his baptismal faith is expressed will differ in accordance with is state in life. What an infant has to do is different from what his adult guardians have to do. What a senile old person has to understand and confess is not the same as that of a young person... Conditions for sacramental participation in the Church differ between the intelligent and the retarded, the neophytes and the mature, the young and the old, the strong and the weak.

The Biblical meaning of faith is not restricted to those with an adult intellect, or only to those who can express their faith verbally, but to those who trust. In Psalm 22:9, the quality of faith is ascribed to a nursing infant, "Thou art He who didst bring me forth from the womb; Thou didst make me TRUST when upon my mother's breasts." And in Matthew, Jesus referred to a little child whom He held in His arms as "one of these little ones who BELIEVE in me" (Mtt.18:6)."

~~take from Common Ground by Jordan Bajis
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« Reply #72 on: August 03, 2009, 11:52:24 AM »

Faith and baptism are always conjoined in both the teaching and the practice of the New Testament.


Only according to a very late day interpretation. One would think that the Early Church which had direct access to the Lord and then his Apostles and then to their disciples would have have the spiritual wisdom to have discerned that "Faith" meant intellectual reasoning as a  prerequisite to Baptism.

But over so many years, Saints and Asetics and learned Priests, pious Monks and Nuns, desert Fathers , Great Theologians and Doctors of the Church, not one saw the necessity of an initial emotional break through ( the so called "Born Again" experience) and the efficacy of Baptism. Indeed, just the opposite is true. Baptism opens ones soul to all things spiritual and worth knowing.

This sort of Protestant practice has little to do with Christianity and much more to do with Western European intellectual developments. Reason becomes central to salvation with a good dose of emotionalism.. How much you understand and how you "feel" ( with cathartic experiences at the top of the pile) is how one navigates through and validates religion..
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« Reply #73 on: August 03, 2009, 12:00:51 PM »

But biblically the two ought to take place as part of the same event, not separated by long years, as happens with infant baptism in your churches and often, regrettably, in Baptist churches also, where baptism is delayed.

What God has joined together let no man put asunder.


Whoaa! Separated by long years you say? Not so. What makes you think that an infant cannot have faith? It may not be the intellectual faith of an adult, but it is faith nevertheless.

"Whether adult, child, or infant, faith and a life lived in symphony with that faith are essential if baptism is to hold any meaning. But how can this be understood in the case of a child? When Jesus stressed that one must first "believe and be baptized" (Mk 16:16), he was not addressing infants. He was addressing unbelieving adults who needed to forsake trust in themselves and trust in Christ instead. The Christian infant does not need to first repent before he believes. What is he to repent of? It is inappropriate to apply a biblical passage intended for unbelieving adults to the infants of believers.

This is not to say that the Early Church did not see faith as an absolute prerequisite for baptism, for it surely did. Therefore, it did not baptize just ANY child. Pre-adult baptism was limited only to those who were under the care of Christian adults. In such cases, the Church affirmed that the child's faith had begun, and that She, along with the family, would provide an environment where that faith would be nurtured. The parents, and the entire fellowship would commit themselves to the child and his growth in the faith.

As a child matures, the conditions for his participation in the fellowship change in accordance with his increased capability. At every age and every stage of life, the faith of the child is expected to mature: in his commitment to Christ, in his understanding of Christian teaching, and in his continual need for repentace. Whether an adult or child, it is logical to expect that the way his baptismal faith is expressed will differ in accordance with is state in life. What an infant has to do is different from what his adult guardians have to do. What a senile old person has to understand and confess is not the same as that of a young person... Conditions for sacramental participation in the Church differ between the intelligent and the retarded, the neophytes and the mature, the young and the old, the strong and the weak.

The Biblical meaning of faith is not restricted to those with an adult intellect, or only to those who can express their faith verbally, but to those who trust. In Psalm 22:9, the quality of faith is ascribed to a nursing infant, "Thou art He who didst bring me forth from the womb; Thou didst make me TRUST when upon my mother's breasts." And in Matthew, Jesus referred to a little child whom He held in His arms as "one of these little ones who BELIEVE in me" (Mtt.18:6)."

~~take from Common Ground by Jordan Bajis

"Faith" is also action. Showing up. A faithful child is one who has been Baptised. A faithful child attends Church and receives communion. Faith has several forms, only one type of Faith has to do with reasoning through the doctrines of the religion. It is simply not a prerequisite for Baptism and never has been. 
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« Reply #74 on: August 03, 2009, 01:18:47 PM »


"Faith" is also action. Showing up. A faithful child is one who has been Baptised. A faithful child attends Church and receives communion. Faith has several forms, only one type of Faith has to do with reasoning through the doctrines of the religion. It is simply not a prerequisite for Baptism and never has been. 

Absolutely. The chapter from the Bajis book on the fallacy of Age Restrictive baptism is well worth anyone's read.
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« Reply #75 on: August 03, 2009, 01:50:29 PM »


"Faith" is also action. Showing up. A faithful child is one who has been Baptised. A faithful child attends Church and receives communion. Faith has several forms, only one type of Faith has to do with reasoning through the doctrines of the religion. It is simply not a prerequisite for Baptism and never has been. 

Absolutely. The chapter from the Bajis book on the fallacy of Age Restrictive baptism is well worth anyone's read.

Speaking of age restriction, how is it decided what is an appropriate age and level of intellect at which one can receive baptism? Biblically speaking, of course...That is, can a child of 4 be baptized, or 6, or 12? What about persons who are mentally challenged - can they not be baptized?
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« Reply #76 on: August 03, 2009, 02:12:07 PM »

There are no restrictions as can be seen from the silence on the matter in the writings of the early Church Fathers. Also in the bible we have the phrase... "and his house" meaning that all within that house (including children) were baptized.
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« Reply #77 on: August 03, 2009, 02:17:10 PM »


"Faith" is also action. Showing up. A faithful child is one who has been Baptised. A faithful child attends Church and receives communion. Faith has several forms, only one type of Faith has to do with reasoning through the doctrines of the religion. It is simply not a prerequisite for Baptism and never has been. 

Absolutely. The chapter from the Bajis book on the fallacy of Age Restrictive baptism is well worth anyone's read.

Speaking of age restriction, how is it decided what is an appropriate age and level of intellect at which one can receive baptism? Biblically speaking, of course...That is, can a child of 4 be baptized, or 6, or 12? What about persons who are mentally challenged - can they not be baptized?

I have yet to have someone who is against infant baptism answer this very question to my satisfaction. 
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« Reply #78 on: August 03, 2009, 02:30:39 PM »


"Faith" is also action. Showing up. A faithful child is one who has been Baptised. A faithful child attends Church and receives communion. Faith has several forms, only one type of Faith has to do with reasoning through the doctrines of the religion. It is simply not a prerequisite for Baptism and never has been. 

Absolutely. The chapter from the Bajis book on the fallacy of Age Restrictive baptism is well worth anyone's read.

Speaking of age restriction, how is it decided what is an appropriate age and level of intellect at which one can receive baptism? Biblically speaking, of course...That is, can a child of 4 be baptized, or 6, or 12? What about persons who are mentally challenged - can they not be baptized?

I have yet to have someone who is against infant baptism answer this very question to my satisfaction. 
What do you say?
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« Reply #79 on: August 03, 2009, 02:52:46 PM »

I simply ask them about people who are mentally disabled to the point where they most likely will never have the capacity for logic and deductive reasoning that is apparently necessary for baptism after some sort of profession of faith.  Only a cruel God would deny one His own sacraments to those who were born with limited reasoning capacity.  It's one thing to say that we should wait to baptise infants until the person in question has the ability to speak for himself and accept baptism after deciding that one believes in what the Church teaches.  It's quite another to deny baptism to people who will most likely never be able to have the intellectual capacity to fully understand what one is assenting to.  One either is inconsistent (eg okay to baptise the mentally disabled, not okay to baptise infants) or worships a cruel God.
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« Reply #80 on: August 03, 2009, 03:17:13 PM »

I simply ask them about people who are mentally disabled to the point where they most likely will never have the capacity for logic and deductive reasoning that is apparently necessary for baptism after some sort of profession of faith.  Only a cruel God would deny one His own sacraments to those who were born with limited reasoning capacity.  It's one thing to say that we should wait to baptise infants until the person in question has the ability to speak for himself and accept baptism after deciding that one believes in what the Church teaches.  It's quite another to deny baptism to people who will most likely never be able to have the intellectual capacity to fully understand what one is assenting to.  One either is inconsistent (eg okay to baptise the mentally disabled, not okay to baptise infants) or worships a cruel God.

Well... St Paul compares the crossing of the Red Sea by the Israelites to baptism. And we know that the children of Israel did not leave their infants on Egypt's side but carried them across with them. These infants passed through the waters which proved salvific, saving them from Pharoah's army and certain death. They had no say in the matter. The faith and obedience of their parents is what counted. It did not guarantee entrance into the Promised Land any more than baptism guarantees our salvation and entry into God's Kingdom. BUT like baptism, it brought them into the arena of struggle (the desert wanderings) in which they fed upon the miraculous bread from heaven (manna) which we know is a type of Eucharist since we feed ourselves and our children the Bread from Heaven: our Lord and Savior.
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« Reply #81 on: August 03, 2009, 03:23:13 PM »

That's just about how I defend our ancient practice of infant baptism (and, by extension, the baptism of the mentally disabled). 

Only once have I ever had someone try to tell me why it was wrong to baptise the mentally disabled and even he stopped because he realized just how ridiculous he was starting to sound.  Every other time I've been greeted with the sound of chirping crickets and the stare of a deer in a headlight.
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« Reply #82 on: August 03, 2009, 03:47:00 PM »

I simply ask them about people who are mentally disabled to the point where they most likely will never have the capacity for logic and deductive reasoning that is apparently necessary for baptism after some sort of profession of faith.  Only a cruel God would deny one His own sacraments to those who were born with limited reasoning capacity.  It's one thing to say that we should wait to baptise infants until the person in question has the ability to speak for himself and accept baptism after deciding that one believes in what the Church teaches.  It's quite another to deny baptism to people who will most likely never be able to have the intellectual capacity to fully understand what one is assenting to.  One either is inconsistent (eg okay to baptise the mentally disabled, not okay to baptise infants) or worships a cruel God.
Though I am no longer protestant, I have not seen this denied but if I did I would not agree with it because it is not God who would be cruel as we know He is not.  I do know of some with downs syndrome who have been baptized.  You may find varying answers and it could very well be that some don't know the answer.  I was told that my child who I miscarried was in hell... go figure... I do not believe everything I am told pertaining to things of this nature because I first believe what the bible says about God and I do not believe him to be a cruel God. 
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« Reply #83 on: August 03, 2009, 04:15:09 PM »

I simply ask them about people who are mentally disabled to the point where they most likely will never have the capacity for logic and deductive reasoning that is apparently necessary for baptism after some sort of profession of faith.  Only a cruel God would deny one His own sacraments to those who were born with limited reasoning capacity.  It's one thing to say that we should wait to baptise infants until the person in question has the ability to speak for himself and accept baptism after deciding that one believes in what the Church teaches.  It's quite another to deny baptism to people who will most likely never be able to have the intellectual capacity to fully understand what one is assenting to.  One either is inconsistent (eg okay to baptise the mentally disabled, not okay to baptise infants) or worships a cruel God.
Though I am no longer protestant, I have not seen this denied but if I did I would not agree with it because it is not God who would be cruel as we know He is not.  I do know of some with downs syndrome who have been baptized.  You may find varying answers and it could very well be that some don't know the answer.  I was told that my child who I miscarried was in hell... go figure... I do not believe everything I am told pertaining to things of this nature because I first believe what the bible says about God and I do not believe him to be a cruel God. 

I grew up with a boy who had Down's and went to school with him until 6th grade (when I left Catholic school for public).  He was baptised as an infant and I have met few people who could match him for faith.  Our own Fr Chris, I believe, has told a story or two about a boy in his parish that has Down's who is a blessing to the community in terms of faith. 

I do think that you are right in that most people who reject infant baptism simply do not know how to answer the question of baptism of the mentally disabled.  As I said, I have yet to meet someone who will at least give me a reason that's logical and rational that does not make our shared God to be a cruel and irrational maniac.
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« Reply #84 on: August 03, 2009, 04:26:39 PM »

I simply ask them about people who are mentally disabled to the point where they most likely will never have the capacity for logic and deductive reasoning that is apparently necessary for baptism after some sort of profession of faith.  Only a cruel God would deny one His own sacraments to those who were born with limited reasoning capacity.  It's one thing to say that we should wait to baptise infants until the person in question has the ability to speak for himself and accept baptism after deciding that one believes in what the Church teaches.  It's quite another to deny baptism to people who will most likely never be able to have the intellectual capacity to fully understand what one is assenting to.  One either is inconsistent (eg okay to baptise the mentally disabled, not okay to baptise infants) or worships a cruel God.
Though I am no longer protestant, I have not seen this denied but if I did I would not agree with it because it is not God who would be cruel as we know He is not.  I do know of some with downs syndrome who have been baptized.  You may find varying answers and it could very well be that some don't know the answer.  I was told that my child who I miscarried was in hell... go figure... I do not believe everything I am told pertaining to things of this nature because I first believe what the bible says about God and I do not believe him to be a cruel God. 

I grew up with a boy who had Down's and went to school with him until 6th grade (when I left Catholic school for public).  He was baptised as an infant and I have met few people who could match him for faith.  Our own Fr Chris, I believe, has told a story or two about a boy in his parish that has Down's who is a blessing to the community in terms of faith. 

I do think that you are right in that most people who reject infant baptism simply do not know how to answer the question of baptism of the mentally disabled.  As I said, I have yet to meet someone who will at least give me a reason that's logical and rational that does not make our shared God to be a cruel and irrational maniac.

I too have never had an answer to this question - nor the question of at what age are persons considered mentally or intellectually able to have a particular kind of faith experience and thus be "qualified" for baptism.
We had a Down's syndrome girl in my former parish. As these children often are, she was sweet and kind and a blessing to everyone. The priest asked her, "Mary, what happens when you go up and eat the bread and wine?" Her face became radiant as she excitedly said, "I meet Jesus there!" Would she "qualify" for baptism, I wonder?
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« Reply #85 on: August 03, 2009, 04:32:16 PM »

I simply ask them about people who are mentally disabled to the point where they most likely will never have the capacity for logic and deductive reasoning that is apparently necessary for baptism after some sort of profession of faith.  Only a cruel God would deny one His own sacraments to those who were born with limited reasoning capacity.  It's one thing to say that we should wait to baptise infants until the person in question has the ability to speak for himself and accept baptism after deciding that one believes in what the Church teaches.  It's quite another to deny baptism to people who will most likely never be able to have the intellectual capacity to fully understand what one is assenting to.  One either is inconsistent (eg okay to baptise the mentally disabled, not okay to baptise infants) or worships a cruel God.
Though I am no longer protestant, I have not seen this denied but if I did I would not agree with it because it is not God who would be cruel as we know He is not.  I do know of some with downs syndrome who have been baptized.  You may find varying answers and it could very well be that some don't know the answer.  I was told that my child who I miscarried was in hell... go figure... I do not believe everything I am told pertaining to things of this nature because I first believe what the bible says about God and I do not believe him to be a cruel God. 
From the GOC regarding "MISCARRIAGE OR STILLBIRTH
In the unfortunate event of miscarriage, much grief and emotion can result for parents especially the mother of the child. The priest can be called to provide spiritual comfort and to read a special prayer for the parents and the deceased child. Great care should be taken, if possible, to inter the remains of the child. The mother is still encouraged to come to the temple for the 40 Day Churching so she may be prayerfully reunited with the community of faith."

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« Reply #86 on: August 03, 2009, 07:49:45 PM »

Approaching this subject in a different way:

David Young, have you had the chance to read and reflect on the text of the service of Orthodox baptism? Here's a link to it:

http://www.anastasis.org.uk/baptism.htm

The theological riches there go far, far beyond the visible act of triple immersion. Hopefully many of your questions will be answered.
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« Reply #87 on: August 04, 2009, 07:20:08 AM »

it's understood as what occurs at the Sacrament of Baptism,

But the sacrament of baptism should follow the new birth, not precede it. Conscious faith should come before the person is baptised... 

(I'm quite unable to resist this! Forgive me, a sinner!)

Why should conscious faith always come before the person is baptised?

(And this does happen in the Orthodox Church, you know. Adults are baptized, but so are infants.)

Because our Lord has said "Hey that believes AND is baptized, shall be saved." Belief (i.e. conscious faith) must precede and/or be conjoined with immersion -- else one is NOT saved. For our Lord likewise said 'He that believes NOT shall be damned."

Mark 16:15-16
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
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« Reply #88 on: August 04, 2009, 07:26:28 AM »

A few months ago I attended the Orthodox baptism of a friend's baby daughter. I was standing next to a Anglican mutual friend, and as the priest drew the little girl out of the font after the third immersion, my friend remarked: "Its just like the breaking of the waters at birth!". Wish I'd thought of that!
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« Reply #89 on: August 04, 2009, 07:29:48 AM »

I simply ask them about people who are mentally disabled to the point where they most likely will never have the capacity for logic and deductive reasoning that is apparently necessary for baptism after some sort of profession of faith.  Only a cruel God would deny one His own sacraments to those who were born with limited reasoning capacity.  It's one thing to say that we should wait to baptise infants until the person in question has the ability to speak for himself and accept baptism after deciding that one believes in what the Church teaches.  It's quite another to deny baptism to people who will most likely never be able to have the intellectual capacity to fully understand what one is assenting to.  One either is inconsistent (eg okay to baptise the mentally disabled, not okay to baptise infants) or worships a cruel God.

That would only be so if one believes baptism to be sacramental -- i.e. itself conveying the grace that saves.
But we know that such is not the case for we have the record of the thief on the cross -- who was not baptized yet believed and was saved. And we have the record of Cornelius and his household who had already received the seal of their redemption, the Holy host, having NOT been baptized as of yet.

Baptism is the primary initial work that validates or confirms saving faith, but it does not convey it.
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