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Author Topic: Does the Didache imply believer's baptism?  (Read 4218 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: May 31, 2011, 01:12:20 AM »

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/didache-roberts.html
Quote
Chapter 7. Concerning Baptism. And concerning baptism, baptize this way: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. But if you have no living water, baptize into other water; and if you cannot do so in cold water, do so in warm. But if you have neither, pour out water three times upon the head into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit. But before the baptism let the baptizer fast, and the baptized, and whoever else can; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before.

I guess you could make a baby fast, but that sounds dangerous.

My apologies if this has been addressed before. I didn't see it.
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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2011, 01:36:09 AM »

My guess would be it is speaking of baptism of those who are older, older children and what would now be called teenagers, as well as adults.  At the time the Didache was written (near the end of the first century or beginning of the second, from what I understand) the vast majority of those baptized would have been converts, not people born into the faith.  As such, texts concerning baptism would most likely be primarily dealing with converts who are old enough to make a decision, not very young children and infants.  If you notice it says "But before the baptism let the baptizer fast, and the baptized, and whoever else can; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before."  I think the emphasis ought to be on the "and whoever else can," suggesting that if someone CANNOT (such as very young children and infants) then they do not need to, but rather if they can, then you shall order it.
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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2011, 01:58:41 AM »

Hmm, maybe. But since it follows "and the baptized" I tend to see "whoever else can" as the whole rest of the congregation (those who can't then being the sick, mainly), especially since the baptizer also fasts.

Another option might be "and the baptized, and whoever else can" perhaps mean baptized Christians and fellow catechumens? This would make, "but you shall order the baptized..." less awkward I guess.
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« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2011, 02:26:08 AM »

In the early 200's, Hippolytus wrote The Apostolic Tradition.  This work compiles much older material, so really it dates to somewhere in the 100's.  In other words, it's a very early witness to the practices of ancient Christianity.  You see infant baptism performed:


Quote
21 At the hour in which the cock crows, they shall first pray over the water. 2When
they come to the water, the water shall be pure and flowing, that is, the water of a spring
or a flowing body of water. 3Then they shall take off all their clothes. 4The children shall be
baptized first. All of the children who can answer for themselves, let them answer. If there
are any children who cannot answer for themselves, let their parents answer for them, or
someone else from their family.
5After this, the men will be baptized. Finally, the women,
after they have unbound their hair, and removed their jewelry. No one shall take any
foreign object with themselves down into the water.


http://www.bombaxo.com/hippolytus.html
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« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2011, 02:45:22 AM »

But this is still at least a generation after the author of the Didache, yes?

A lot can change in a short amount of time.
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« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2011, 04:07:23 AM »

Except that in several places in the Bible, it records whole households as being baptized, it would make sense that at least one of them would have had some small child or infant.

I see your point about the structure of the sentence in the Didache, but when it says "whoever else can" it implies the baptized can fast.  However, this would surely not also mean that someone very near death would need to fast, would it?  I think that would be an odd, if not absurd, understanding.  As such, I would think that the sentence says that the baptized MUST fast, but that it is a given in the author's thinking that they can.  If there is any case that the author would have admitted the baptized need not fast (and in all liklihood I would say the author would have accepted the legitimacy of those on their death bed not fasting), then that would mean that the author is willing to make exceptions, to include any who can't fast - a category small children and infants surely fall into.
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« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2011, 05:00:19 AM »

Except that in several places in the Bible, it records whole households as being baptized, it would make sense that at least one of them would have had some small child or infant.
Perhaps.

I suppose ultimately one could just say the Didache comes from a community which rejected infant baptism for some reason.

I see your point about the structure of the sentence in the Didache, but when it says "whoever else can" it implies the baptized can fast.
Not if the "else" excludes the baptized.

However, this would surely not also mean that someone very near death would need to fast, would it?  I think that would be an odd, if not absurd, understanding.  As such, I would think that the sentence says that the baptized MUST fast, but that it is a given in the author's thinking that they can.  If there is any case that the author would have admitted the baptized need not fast (and in all liklihood I would say the author would have accepted the legitimacy of those on their death bed not fasting), then that would mean that the author is willing to make exceptions, to include any who can't fast - a category small children and infants surely fall into.
You're assuming they would even baptize the near death, ie. reading baptismal regeneration into the text. The author of the Didache might have held that view, but we don't know he did, do we?
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« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2011, 07:08:17 AM »

Actually, Salpy's quote shows that the Tradition of the church has been to conduct infant baptism. A discussion allegedly supporting credobaptism turns all available evidence on its head.

What is not found is a quote saying "baptise only those who make an expression of faith" or "entire households were baptised after those who were able to do so expressed their belief."

INstead, since the weight of evidence is in Tradition showing that infant baptism was done, then the dredobaptism proponents must show quotes siimilar to what I hypothesized above to support thier unique contentions.
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« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2011, 08:07:35 AM »

Mistaken Posting...
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« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2011, 09:20:29 AM »

Actually, Salpy's quote shows that the Tradition of the church has been to conduct infant baptism. A discussion allegedly supporting credobaptism turns all available evidence on its head.

What is not found is a quote saying "baptise only those who make an expression of faith" or "entire households were baptised after those who were able to do so expressed their belief."

INstead, since the weight of evidence is in Tradition showing that infant baptism was done, then the dredobaptism proponents must show quotes siimilar to what I hypothesized above to support thier unique contentions.
I suppose that makes sense.

Thanks, y'all!
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« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2011, 09:58:28 PM »

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/didache-roberts.html
Quote
Chapter 7. Concerning Baptism. And concerning baptism, baptize this way: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. But if you have no living water, baptize into other water; and if you cannot do so in cold water, do so in warm. But if you have neither, pour out water three times upon the head into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit. But before the baptism let the baptizer fast, and the baptized, and whoever else can; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before.

I guess you could make a baby fast, but that sounds dangerous.

My apologies if this has been addressed before. I didn't see it.


We believe in both adult Baptism as well as infant Baptism. As well as adult communion and infant communion. What you need to do is find a work that either speaks against Infant Baptism or only accepts Adult Baptism.
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« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2011, 11:11:41 PM »

or only accepts Adult Baptism.
Kind of looks like the Didache fits that bill.
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« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2011, 11:17:27 PM »

or only accepts Adult Baptism.
Kind of looks like the Didache fits that bill.
I suppose that's true only if you read your own belief in credobaptism into the otherwise unclear command that the baptized be required to fast one or two days beforehand. What does the rest of the Didache have to say about the subject of baptism? That might put in context the one statement on which you seem to be so focused.
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« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2011, 11:54:59 PM »

I suppose that's true only if you read your own belief in credobaptism into the otherwise unclear command that the baptized be required to fast one or two days beforehand. What does the rest of the Didache have to say about the subject of baptism? That might put in context the one statement on which you seem to be so focused.
The only other statement on baptism was that only the baptized may take communion-which would fit either credo- or paedobaptism.

I guess you're right that I'm reading credobaptism into it, but it just seems so strange to me without it...
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« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2011, 01:58:05 AM »

If one reads the present Orthodox service, it is the same for an adult or an infant, except the infant doesn't make the profession of Faith, etc.  That is presumed, and I've seen service books where that isn't clarified, as adults also have sponsors who answer with adults.  Same principle at work in the Didache.
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« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2011, 04:17:47 AM »

I see. I didn't know that.
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« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2011, 09:41:42 AM »

There are accounts of children baptism from a close helper of an apostle .

But this is still at least a generation after the author of the Didache, yes?

A lot can change in a short amount of time.
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« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2011, 11:34:04 AM »

There are accounts of children baptism from a close helper of an apostle .
Would you like to share those accounts with us?
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« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2011, 05:23:13 PM »

It could not since we have early historical documents about children baptism. In my opinion this was reffering to adults and now is considered general and the fallacy is wrongful generalization.

 All churches until 1700 baptized all children. In 1700 in my understanding, to not pay taxes, some people baptized as adults and from there sprung baptism of adults.

I have to take a look for what disciple of Apostles baptized children. Hopefully I can find it. I read this maybe years ago .

A formerer woman doing sorcery, now turned nun, that worked with sick angel said that sick angel is very pleased when heards about unbaptized children. That means is something wrong with the situation.
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« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2011, 05:30:14 PM »

Polycarp (69-155), a disciple of the Apostle John, was baptized as an infant. This enabled him to say at his martyrdom. "Eighty and six years have I served the Lord Christ" (Martyrdom of Polycarp 9: 3).
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« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2011, 08:13:28 PM »

Polycarp (69-155), a disciple of the Apostle John, was baptized as an infant. This enabled him to say at his martyrdom. "Eighty and six years have I served the Lord Christ" (Martyrdom of Polycarp 9: 3).
Yes, this is compelling but I have a hard time taking it as absolute since nowhere are we told he was 86 years old. But realistically, yeah I guess he was baptized as an infant.
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« Reply #21 on: June 23, 2011, 04:36:39 AM »

Not really a contribution to the discussion as such - but I came across this photo of me baptising a woman when I was pastor at Llay, and thought it might be of minor interest. I still think there is no reason to believe our baptism is invalid and yours valid, nor vice versa, providing of course that the illuminand has faith - but we have explored that theme rather fully elsewhere. (Click on the photo and it will become bigger.)
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« Reply #22 on: June 23, 2011, 09:15:44 AM »

Not to stir the pot, necessarily, but...

Volnutt, I think you might still be reading the Didache as a Protestant would. Many Protestants, and there's even been a bit of a re-surgence of this recently I think, are obsessed with following the practices of the "early church." They want to do what the "early church" did, and believe as the "early church" believed. And so, in fitting with that, you have pulled out the Didache, a document of the early church.

However, in doing this, you read back credobaptism into the text, and reject (or at least question) later Orthodox teachings mentioned here. You're taken the Didache, kind of added it to Scripture in a way, but you still read it through Protestant eyes of the "early church." I don't think I mispeak (someone correct me if I'm wrong) when I say that the early church for the Orthodox is just that...the church, but earlier. The Orthodox Church is that same Church, and is embued with the same doctrine and same authority as it was, because they are the same Body.

And so, when we read the Didache, we read it in context with the whole Church and all of the Holy Tradition we have received, as St. Paul says, by both spoken word and epistle (2 Thes. 2:15). The Church, as a whole, as always taught us baptism for the remission sins, of both infants and older converts.

And so, like has been said before, you would have to present a solid line of teaching in the Church that supports credobaptism. And, you can find credobaptists in the earlier centuries of Church history. I can't think of a single one that was not a heretic, and their dogma on baptism was part and parcel of that heresy.

In short, The bottom line for Orthodox is not derived from over-analyzing and pulling out a single document, set of documents, etc. but examining the entire scope of Holy Tradition that has been taught and handed down into the present day. That Tradition, which we see as from the beginning, from the Apostles and Christ Himself, is the baptism of both infants and converts, for the remission of sin.
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« Reply #23 on: June 23, 2011, 09:59:05 AM »

In short, The bottom line for Orthodox is not derived from over-analyzing and pulling out a single document, set of documents, etc. but examining the entire scope of Holy Tradition that has been taught and handed down into the present day. That Tradition, which we see as from the beginning, from the Apostles and Christ Himself, is the baptism of both infants and converts, for the remission of sin.

Well said. This is, in fact, what drew me to Orthodoxy. Well-meaning, sincere and pious Protestants disagree on almost every verse in Scripture, and each one can provide some proof for their beliefs. So how do you know? In Orthodoxy, by applying the Vincentian Canon, what has the Church always believed/taught/preached, at all times and in all places. Holy Tradition and Scripture cannot contradict one another.
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« Reply #24 on: June 23, 2011, 10:55:15 AM »

But this is still at least a generation after the author of the Didache, yes?

A lot can change in a short amount of time.
Of course.  But considering the early Church was a relatively volatile organisation, which would erupt into protracted controversy over subjects like the divinity of Christ, whether Christ had two natures, or even two wills, divine and human, or one divine-human will, it is really hard to imagine that infant baptism could have been "snuck in" and no one, anywhere, ever, mentioned it as something controversial until the anabaptists in the 1500's.

In fact, it's the sheer silence on the issue that weighs in favour of infant baptism, eisegetical interpretations notwithstanding.
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« Reply #25 on: June 23, 2011, 11:37:34 AM »

Of course.  But considering the early Church was a relatively volatile organisation, which would erupt into protracted controversy over subjects like the divinity of Christ, whether Christ had two natures, or even two wills, divine and human, or one divine-human will, it is really hard to imagine that infant baptism could have been "snuck in" and no one, anywhere, ever, mentioned it as something controversial until the anabaptists in the 1500's.

In fact, it's the sheer silence on the issue that weighs in favour of infant baptism, eisegetical interpretations notwithstanding.
That's a good point, yeah.
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« Reply #26 on: June 23, 2011, 11:43:00 AM »

Not to stir the pot, necessarily, but...

Volnutt, I think you might still be reading the Didache as a Protestant would. Many Protestants, and there's even been a bit of a re-surgence of this recently I think, are obsessed with following the practices of the "early church." They want to do what the "early church" did, and believe as the "early church" believed. And so, in fitting with that, you have pulled out the Didache, a document of the early church.

However, in doing this, you read back credobaptism into the text, and reject (or at least question) later Orthodox teachings mentioned here. You're taken the Didache, kind of added it to Scripture in a way, but you still read it through Protestant eyes of the "early church." I don't think I mispeak (someone correct me if I'm wrong) when I say that the early church for the Orthodox is just that...the church, but earlier. The Orthodox Church is that same Church, and is embued with the same doctrine and same authority as it was, because they are the same Body.

And so, when we read the Didache, we read it in context with the whole Church and all of the Holy Tradition we have received, as St. Paul says, by both spoken word and epistle (2 Thes. 2:15). The Church, as a whole, as always taught us baptism for the remission sins, of both infants and older converts.

And so, like has been said before, you would have to present a solid line of teaching in the Church that supports credobaptism. And, you can find credobaptists in the earlier centuries of Church history. I can't think of a single one that was not a heretic, and their dogma on baptism was part and parcel of that heresy.

In short, The bottom line for Orthodox is not derived from over-analyzing and pulling out a single document, set of documents, etc. but examining the entire scope of Holy Tradition that has been taught and handed down into the present day. That Tradition, which we see as from the beginning, from the Apostles and Christ Himself, is the baptism of both infants and converts, for the remission of sin.
Actually, I began this thread in response to a book I was shown on another forum which made the argument about fasting I was looking for an Orthodox response. My minimalistic approach to Scripture and other documents and tendency to play Devil's Advocate when I'm not sure of something might not translate well on this site.

I'll keep your advice in mind though.
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« Reply #27 on: June 23, 2011, 11:55:45 AM »

yes, most protestant churches are so sure that baptism is only for adults that they don't even baptise believing children. i was in an independant protestant church as a child and had to argue with them for a year before they would baptise me! eventually they ran out of arguments and i persuaded them to let me be baptised by full immersion at age 9!
i don't think they were used to difficult questions, nor had many of them really thought out their theology.

now i am orthodox, the orthodox position makes so much more sense, and children don't have to feel excluded or like less than full members. the little children in my church love to watch baptisms (we baptise adults too) and to take Holy Communion and they are fully involved in all the life of the church  Smiley
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« Reply #28 on: June 23, 2011, 12:28:30 PM »

Not to stir the pot, necessarily, but...

Volnutt, I think you might still be reading the Didache as a Protestant would. Many Protestants, and there's even been a bit of a re-surgence of this recently I think, are obsessed with following the practices of the "early church." They want to do what the "early church" did, and believe as the "early church" believed. And so, in fitting with that, you have pulled out the Didache, a document of the early church.

However, in doing this, you read back credobaptism into the text, and reject (or at least question) later Orthodox teachings mentioned here. You're taken the Didache, kind of added it to Scripture in a way, but you still read it through Protestant eyes of the "early church." I don't think I mispeak (someone correct me if I'm wrong) when I say that the early church for the Orthodox is just that...the church, but earlier. The Orthodox Church is that same Church, and is embued with the same doctrine and same authority as it was, because they are the same Body.

And so, when we read the Didache, we read it in context with the whole Church and all of the Holy Tradition we have received, as St. Paul says, by both spoken word and epistle (2 Thes. 2:15). The Church, as a whole, as always taught us baptism for the remission sins, of both infants and older converts.

And so, like has been said before, you would have to present a solid line of teaching in the Church that supports credobaptism. And, you can find credobaptists in the earlier centuries of Church history. I can't think of a single one that was not a heretic, and their dogma on baptism was part and parcel of that heresy.

In short, The bottom line for Orthodox is not derived from over-analyzing and pulling out a single document, set of documents, etc. but examining the entire scope of Holy Tradition that has been taught and handed down into the present day. That Tradition, which we see as from the beginning, from the Apostles and Christ Himself, is the baptism of both infants and converts, for the remission of sin.
Actually, I began this thread in response to a book I was shown on another forum which made the argument about fasting I was looking for an Orthodox response. My minimalistic approach to Scripture and other documents and tendency to play Devil's Advocate when I'm not sure of something might not translate well on this site.

I'll keep your advice in mind though.

That's fine. This is definitely a place to ask questions and have debates, nothing wrong with that. However, a minimalism, in my opinion, isn't compatible with the Orthodox Church, and so you'll not find us too accepting of that perspective. Orthodoxy is definitely maximilistic. Many Christians seem to ask, "What do I have to do to be saved?" and the Orthodox seem to ask, "What all can I do to be united to Christ?" It's a very different approach. And it grows on you. At least, it did on me.  Wink
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« Reply #29 on: June 23, 2011, 02:49:38 PM »

I hope it will on me as well.

My current approach is more fear based, I think. "Do not go beyond what is written," keeps coming to mind.
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« Reply #30 on: June 23, 2011, 03:02:39 PM »

most protestant churches are so sure that baptism is only for adults that they don't even baptise believing children.

I have no doubt you are telling the truth about your experiences, but I have to say I cannot pinpoint any church which fits the description you give. People are not usually baptised earlier than their teens, but I would expect a younger child to be allowed to be baptised if he or she seemed to have a real faith. I cannot think of any convincing argument against it.
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« Reply #31 on: June 23, 2011, 03:14:23 PM »

most protestant churches are so sure that baptism is only for adults that they don't even baptise believing children.

I have no doubt you are telling the truth about your experiences, but I have to say I cannot pinpoint any church which fits the description you give. People are not usually baptised earlier than their teens, but I would expect a younger child to be allowed to be baptised if he or she seemed to have a real faith. I cannot think of any convincing argument against it.


My brother was baptized in an American Baptist (independent, fundie, etc.) church at age eight. I was nine.
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« Reply #32 on: June 23, 2011, 03:18:14 PM »

i am glad u have positive experiences. baptist churches in eastern europe do not generally baptise before age 18 and in several pentecostal/independant churches in uk, children still can't be baptised. i was a member for several years of a large evangelical church in south england, and there was definitely no baptising of children there. i remember really horrified looks when i suggested it may be a good idea!
in traditional churches children may be sprinkled and some ceremonies are still similar to original church ceremonies, but often they are heavily 'watered down', if you'll excuse the pun  Wink

orthonorm, we are like baptism siblings! did u have to argue for yours or were they happy to do it?
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« Reply #33 on: June 23, 2011, 03:18:28 PM »

I hope it will on me as well.

My current approach is more fear based, I think. "Do not go beyond what is written," keeps coming to mind.

The fatal flaw in that reasoning is, of course, that you are depending on yourself to be able to "properly" interpret/understand what is written so that you will not go beyond it. Nowhere is it written that one should not baptize children and there is evidence from both scripture and history that they were. So when you have two groups, one using Scripture to prove believer's baptism (and the Orthodox do most certainly baptize believers!) and the other using it to prove both adult and infant baptism, how do you resolve the conflict?
You look to what the Church has always believed/preached/taught.
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« Reply #34 on: June 23, 2011, 03:24:07 PM »

most protestant churches are so sure that baptism is only for adults that they don't even baptise believing children.

I have no doubt you are telling the truth about your experiences, but I have to say I cannot pinpoint any church which fits the description you give. People are not usually baptised earlier than their teens, but I would expect a younger child to be allowed to be baptised if he or she seemed to have a real faith. I cannot think of any convincing argument against it.


How would a child prove to someone that they had a real faith? What would be required? How young? If someone were deaf or mute or mentally handicapped, and could not articulate a real faith, could they be baptized?
Is the only criteria "a real faith"? Who decides if the faith is real? How? What if they are wrong, and the child doesn't have a real faith, but was just repeating what it heard, for example? Or wanted the attention and a party? (as happened to a 5 yr old grandson of a Southern Baptist friend of mine).
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« Reply #35 on: June 23, 2011, 03:37:13 PM »

I hope it will on me as well.

My current approach is more fear based, I think. "Do not go beyond what is written," keeps coming to mind.

The fatal flaw in that reasoning is, of course, that you are depending on yourself to be able to "properly" interpret/understand what is written so that you will not go beyond it. Nowhere is it written that one should not baptize children and there is evidence from both scripture and history that they were. So when you have two groups, one using Scripture to prove believer's baptism (and the Orthodox do most certainly baptize believers!) and the other using it to prove both adult and infant baptism, how do you resolve the conflict?
You look to what the Church has always believed/preached/taught.
True, but I don't see the Church always teaching infant baptism. Unless one assumes the Didache teaches infant baptism, which is unclear, the you have silence until Hippolytus' account in the later 100s, kind of a crucial gap. Now, Monk Cyprian made a good point point that it should have caused a scandal if it was unprecedented, but what if what just an unevenly spreading regional custom?

By the 300s we have St. John Crysostom, St. Gregory of Nyssa and others not being baptized till they were adults and Tertullian arguing violently against it. I wonder if it could have been a slow development from the Second Century onward, perhaps based on different people reaching the same extrapolated conclusion from a belief in baptismal regeneration.
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« Reply #36 on: June 23, 2011, 03:58:25 PM »

How would a child prove to someone that they had a real faith?

How does anyone prove he has real faith, at any age? We know from the New Testament and from sad experience that some who seem genuine turn out not to be. Think of our Lord's parable of the seed sown on various kinds of ground. A sensitive counsellor will do his or her best to understand what the person says (whatever the age), but no counsellors are infallible, and there will be some who seem very real only to fall away later.

Quote
If someone were deaf or mute or mentally handicapped, and could not articulate a real faith, could they be baptized?

I have no experience with such people, in any capacity or relationship, but I imagine they do have ways of communicating. As regards the mentally handicapped, thankfully it is not the breadth and depth of one's grasp of theological niceties that constitutes faith, but a laying hold of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as the one who died and rose again to save us. That is of course possible for most.

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What if they are wrong, ...Or wanted the attention and a party?

Party? Now there's an idea I've not heard of before! Probably best not to introduce it here though, in view of the risk you hint at.  Wink
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« Reply #37 on: June 23, 2011, 04:13:54 PM »

I hope it will on me as well.

My current approach is more fear based, I think. "Do not go beyond what is written," keeps coming to mind.

The fatal flaw in that reasoning is, of course, that you are depending on yourself to be able to "properly" interpret/understand what is written so that you will not go beyond it. Nowhere is it written that one should not baptize children and there is evidence from both scripture and history that they were. So when you have two groups, one using Scripture to prove believer's baptism (and the Orthodox do most certainly baptize believers!) and the other using it to prove both adult and infant baptism, how do you resolve the conflict?
You look to what the Church has always believed/preached/taught.

Absolutely.

The problem I found with the Sola Scriptura argument was that it has no basis in history. Local churches maintained their own lectionaries, which meant they were all reading different books at different times. AS heretical and pseudopigraphical books appeared, it became necessary for churches to fact check with other churches about what they read, and determine if these other books where up to par. This only began happening in the 4-5th century.

Now, all of the books in the canon now where read before he 4-5th centuries, but not exclusively. Other books were very popular, other letters and other Gospels. Some of these, through concensus, are still "profitable to read." These are books like the Protoevangelium of St. James, the Gospel of Nicodemus, etc. Some books were condemned outright, like the Gospel of Judas or the Apocalyse of St. Peter. The canon (which simply means "rule") is that which is read liturgically in the services of the Orthodox Church.

This lectionary today is largely standardized, but some regional differences still exist. The vast uniformity of the Eastern Orthodox lectionary comes from the fact that our entire rite is that of the Great Church, the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. This did not exist in the earlier centuries, even to the middle ages. This can be seen in the Oriental Orthodox tradition still today, because their rites all developed differently. They all have different liturgies served at different times (sometimes even varying from region-to-region within the same local church) and read different lectionary readings from different books. The most extreme example is the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which maintains two separate canons. Their primary canon is more-or-less the EO canon, with a few other books. The secondary canon contains many, many more books and is still not a "closed" canon. Books may be added still.

My point is that the Church does not flow out of the Scriptures, but rather the Scriptures flow out of the Church. They are an intregal part of our Tradition, and to properly understand the Scriptures is to do so in their proper context: the Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #38 on: June 23, 2011, 04:18:41 PM »

I hope it will on me as well.

My current approach is more fear based, I think. "Do not go beyond what is written," keeps coming to mind.

The fatal flaw in that reasoning is, of course, that you are depending on yourself to be able to "properly" interpret/understand what is written so that you will not go beyond it. Nowhere is it written that one should not baptize children and there is evidence from both scripture and history that they were. So when you have two groups, one using Scripture to prove believer's baptism (and the Orthodox do most certainly baptize believers!) and the other using it to prove both adult and infant baptism, how do you resolve the conflict?
You look to what the Church has always believed/preached/taught.
True, but I don't see the Church always teaching infant baptism. Unless one assumes the Didache teaches infant baptism, which is unclear, the you have silence until Hippolytus' account in the later 100s, kind of a crucial gap. Now, Monk Cyprian made a good point point that it should have caused a scandal if it was unprecedented, but what if what just an unevenly spreading regional custom?

By the 300s we have St. John Crysostom, St. Gregory of Nyssa and others not being baptized till they were adults and Tertullian arguing violently against it. I wonder if it could have been a slow development from the Second Century onward, perhaps based on different people reaching the same extrapolated conclusion from a belief in baptismal regeneration.

It's true, no overt references really exist until that time, but they are spoken of without any fuss. It's nothing new. Fr. Cyprian's point stands, because the Church only strictly defines her faith when heresy is introduced, and so the Church in response answers the incorrect dogma of the heresy.

You will find plenty of beliefs in the Church that have no doctrinal definition, because they have never been seriously questioned. All of the Councils arose to answer heresy, not form new dogma. If it wasn't a problem, then it isn't spoken of doctrinally. Why? Because it's Orthodox (what has always been believed, by everyone, everywhere).
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« Reply #39 on: June 23, 2011, 04:29:38 PM »

orthonorm, we are like baptism siblings! did u have to argue for yours or were they happy to do it?

It seemed that if the pastor and whonot thought you had genuinely been saved, I certainly did have a conversion which lasted quite sometime 'till snuffed out by another Baptist parish, then you were baptized into *the congregation* (I didn't go to "Sunday school" with other kids, I went to the adult reading of Scripture before the preaching of the Gospel on Sundays, I also was allowed to go along witnessing.)

I am not sure if this is being made clear in this thread, but for independent Baptist churches of the sort I went to, which are many, baptism has NOTHING to do with salvation.

Once one is able to understand Scripture and realize their indebtedness to God for being sinful and believes that Jesus Christ came to suffer and be Crucified to restore the proper relationship between oneself and God and pray to before forgiven and pray that Christ is the Son of God who paid your "debt", you are saved. No baptism needed. It is a profession of faith to a community into which one usually enters.

Those incapable of understanding their indebtedness to Christ for reconciling them to God due to age, mental defects, etc. are "saved" as well. At least that was pretty much the de facto stance of my church.

FWIW.
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« Reply #40 on: June 23, 2011, 05:04:17 PM »

our happy clappy church (formed mainly of methodists who got bored with the 'sit down-stand up hymn and prayer sandwich', plus new converts) did see baptism as essential, as the Bible said 'believe and be baptised and you will be saved'. this was taken at face value, and we were (re) baptised. some had been sprinkled as children (methodist or catholic) but in many cases, this had not been followed up with Christian teaching into adulthood. in other cases, the minister administering the sprinkling did not, himself, believe that angels and demons really existed, nor in the virgin birth etc. etc. so it was not really considered to be equivalent to a Christian baptism (this was the methodist minister, before any catholics get shocked. methodists, you are allowed to be shocked!)

we had a few things right. immersion is recommended (we thought it essential) and we baptised into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. warm water was not considered necessary (!) and we expected to see real progress in the spiritual life of the believer after baptism. fasting was expected, from time to time, and children were part of the community.

however we had this crazy notion if that anything was traditional, it was wrong by definition! we didn't even study church history pre 1800, let alone pre 1500 and i grew up with the notion that william willberforce (who abolished slavery) was one of the oldest Christian preachers ever!  Shocked

orthonorm, i would have liked not to go to sunday school also!  Shocked looking back, it was taught by teenagers who were fairly new Christians who had had no training at all, and just knew the minimal theology they had gleaned from a couple of years of listening to church sermons and reading the occasional Bible study aid. i was never satisfied with their answers to my continuous questions and finally i was allowed in the adult services when i was 12. (it was going to be 13, but i couldn't bear it anymore!) i feel sorry for them, i must have driven them crazy! anyway they were better than the non-believing methodist sunday school teacher who was living a non-Christian lifestyle, so i did my best to put up with it.

what i love about my orthodox church is that the kids run off happily to sunday school and seem to learn a lot.
as for people with limited understanding, i have met Christians like this and they have a really beautiful simple faith. even my relative who can't talk or move properly who is really severely disabled has a beautiful smile when you talk to him about Jesus (his parents are Christians). these people should definitely be baptised. my relatives are not yet orthodox, so i am working on it!
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« Reply #41 on: June 23, 2011, 05:08:14 PM »


Those incapable of understanding their indebtedness to Christ for reconciling them to God due to age, mental defects, etc. are "saved" as well. At least that was pretty much the de facto stance of my church.

FWIW.
That's how I'd always understood it as well.
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« Reply #42 on: June 23, 2011, 05:09:21 PM »

True, but I don't see the Church always teaching infant baptism. Unless one assumes the Didache teaches infant baptism, which is unclear, the you have silence until Hippolytus' account in the later 100s, kind of a crucial gap. Now, Monk Cyprian made a good point point that it should have caused a scandal if it was unprecedented, but what if what just an unevenly spreading regional custom?

By the 300s we have St. John Crysostom, St. Gregory of Nyssa and others not being baptized till they were adults and Tertullian arguing violently against it. I wonder if it could have been a slow development from the Second Century onward, perhaps based on different people reaching the same extrapolated conclusion from a belief in baptismal regeneration.
[/quote]

Rather than rehash the whole "who-shot-John", I refer you to the many threads where this subject has been done to a farethewell by people more eloquent and learned than I.
But it is not correct to say that the Church has not always taught infant baptism. I refer you to Scripture where whole households were baptized, and to the evidence of St. Irenaeus serving the Lord eighty and six years, as well as Roman funeral inscriptions, among other evidence.
The plain fact is, no matter how upset the Anabaptists get, infant baptism was a part of the praxis of the whole Church from the beginning.
It was not until the 1500's or thereabouts that anyone decided it was wrong.
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« Reply #43 on: June 23, 2011, 05:13:43 PM »

True, but I don't see the Church always teaching infant baptism. Unless one assumes the Didache teaches infant baptism, which is unclear, the you have silence until Hippolytus' account in the later 100s, kind of a crucial gap. Now, Monk Cyprian made a good point point that it should have caused a scandal if it was unprecedented, but what if what just an unevenly spreading regional custom?

By the 300s we have St. John Crysostom, St. Gregory of Nyssa and others not being baptized till they were adults and Tertullian arguing violently against it. I wonder if it could have been a slow development from the Second Century onward, perhaps based on different people reaching the same extrapolated conclusion from a belief in baptismal regeneration.

Rather than rehash the whole "who-shot-John", I refer you to the many threads where this subject has been done to a farethewell by people more eloquent and learned than I.
But it is not correct to say that the Church has not always taught infant baptism. I refer you to Scripture where whole households were baptized, and to the evidence of St. Irenaeus serving the Lord eighty and six years, as well as Roman funeral inscriptions, among other evidence.
The plain fact is, no matter how upset the Anabaptists get, infant baptism was a part of the praxis of the whole Church from the beginning.
It was not until the 1500's or thereabouts that anyone decided it was wrong.
[/quote]The households and St. Polycarp arguments are strong but not conclusive. I was unaware of those inscriptions.

I'll look for those other threads, thanks.
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« Reply #44 on: June 23, 2011, 05:24:27 PM »

I'll look for those other threads, thanks.

You are best off using tags or google. The site search engine ain't great.

Here is a post of mine that explains how to use google, if you ain't up to par on using it to search specific sites. The examples got modded, but I think they are still clear.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,29398.msg464988.html#msg464988
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