you were the "Ben" I was thinking of ("VeryConfusedBen"), but wasn't sure. It appears that you are.
Jesus Christ commanded his Apostles to baptize in the name of the blessed trinity. And I do not see why if this is done why one must be baptized a second time upon entering Orthodoxy.
Yes, that is what He instructed - and of itself (without consideration of the interior, and what is ultimatly the important
part of Baptism) is the "exterior part" or "rite" of Orthodox Baptism.
The reason why this was repeated almost universally in early times (and at varying times in the Church's history) is because of the truth I underlined with just a few canonical/patristic considerations; because those who are aliens to the Church (and not members of Christ) cannot give, what they do not have (they cannot integrate someone into Christ's Body, when they themselves are not members of Him.)
Either way, whether the rite of water Baptism is "repeated" or not, is materially non-sequitor in one sense - since receiving converts by economy (say, by profession and Chrismation) has the same effect as receiving one with the "full rite" - they are receiving the "re-birth from above". No one is "born again" at the hands of heretical ministers.
I asked Bishop Gregory this at Dormition Skete and his answer was simply that baptism outside of Orthodoxy is just a bath, there is no grace. This is not only contrary to the teaching of the Orthodox Church but also contrary to history.
I will simply assume you're speaking from ignorance/misunderstanding, since this is absolutely false. What "history" are you basing your opinion here on?
Interestingly enough, even the Latins for many centuries after the schism, had what was almost
the same understanding of this issue as the Orthodox do. The only thing that differed, is that the scholastics had firmly devloped the concept of the "sacramental character". For example in the Summa Theologica
, Thomas Aquinas would say that schismatic Masses were "valid" as would be their other sacraments (as long as form, matter, and intent were satisified), but that they were of no profit to the schimatics trying to avail themselves of them - thus, there was no grace infused/communicated by them to heretics.
Thus, the only thing which differentiates the genuine Orthodox view on this subject from the old
medieval RC one, is that the Orthodox do not have this same idea of "sacramental character", which to an extent I do not even think makes sense (if the sacramental rite cannot give remission of sins when utilized by those separated from the Church, why would it even leave a "mark" when so utilized?).
Do you dare say all of those converts to Orthodoxy from Catholicism or Protestantism and who were only chrismated weren't really Orthodox?!
I'm thinking I either wasn't making myself clear, or you're not reading what I'm writing.
I've explicitly said that reception of converts by economy is most certainly possible - it's what you're being told by some unhappy souls about the presence of grace in heterodox mysteries (and the bad conclusions that are being drawn from the practice of economic reception of converts) that I'm challenging.
And unworthingly took part in the sacred mysteries!? This I can not believe.
And I'm not asking you. The problem here is not what I'm supposedly asking you to believe, but your seeming unwillingness to make a clean break with heterodoxy, and embrace Orthodox Christianity as it is.
I can not believe this radical version of Orthodoxy that teaches God's grace does not exsist outside of Orthodoxy, therfore anything and everything outside of Orthodoxy is null and void of the power of God. This is the teaching of ROAC, and a teaching that is not held by the Orthodox Church and the majority of Church fathers.
Forgive me if I doubt that you've read many of the Fathers on this subject. If I'm mistaken, then please provide me the witness to their acceptance of the presence of genuine Holy Mysteries outside of the Church of Christ...since I am painfully unaware of such a witness, but only that witness which is vehemently opposed to such an idea.
As an aside, I'm think you may
be misunderstanding what is meant by "graceless" here.
Strictly speaking, all things (and not simply souls, as the Latin concept of grace has come to understand things - sanctifying grace being a created relationship between God and the soul, a static state, which really only pertains to salvation as the Latins have come to understand it) are the object of God's grace. The word "grace" found in the original Greek of the New Testament (charis
) refers to "that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech" and "good will, loving-kindness, favour". Thus, in the broadest sense, this is extended to all creation (and by default, all mankind.) By His grace, God sustains the universe, and each creature in it - by His grace, He shows kindness to His creatures, and to His rational sheep, offers help to come towards Him in so far as they are open to co-operating.
However, there is also a "grace" which excells beyond these things, and this is what we mean in this discussion - this is the grace which could be said to work "interiorly" rather than "exteriorly" - the difference between the man who is being led towards water, as opposed to the one who has a spring of such waters eminating from within. The difference between being a servant and creature, and a temple/dwelling place for God, a son of God, who is being assimilated to the glory of his Father, assimilated to the "likeness" of God (as opposed to the "image of God" which all men have, due to their being created as rational souls.)
This re-creation/re-birth, theosis (aka. "divinization"), is only possible in the Church of Christ, for She is His Body.
Christ is the Sacrament of God to the world for it's salvation - the Church is also this same Sacrament, for She is His Body. Hence, we can say the Church is God's Sacrament/Mystery of salvation. All other diverse/particular "sacraments" (which are often numbered chiefly as seven, though strictly speaking there are actually far more than "seven" sacraments in the Church) are but parts/facets of this single Holy Mystery...they are the particular acts of the Saviour, re-creating mankind.
Thus, while some (or even many) of the God-given dogmas of the Church can be mirrored elsewhere (even in pagan religions, either because of the primitive religion of mankind's earliest ancestors surviving in a corrupted form in these paths), and even the outward forms and customs of the Church can be mirrored elsewhere, the content cannot be - for if it were, then we wouldn't really be talking about "another church" would we, but once again, the Church of Christ. This is the "oness" of the Church - and why She is in truth, indivisable (for ultimatly Her truths and mysteries, are but a participation in the the single Truth, the single Mystery, which is Christ.)
It is this grace, the communication of the Holy Spirit, which exists solely in the Church - and this is why those who will be saved, are drawn to Her.