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Author Topic: Another baptism question....  (Read 558 times) Average Rating: 0
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Timon
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« on: October 13, 2011, 02:23:03 PM »

I found this on the OrthodoxWiki site.

Christian Baptism is the mystery of starting anew, of dying to an old way of life and being born again into a new way of life, in Christ. In the Orthodox Church, baptism is "for the remission of sins" (cf. the Nicene Creed) and for entrance into the Church; the person being baptized is cleansed of all sins and is united to Christ; through the waters of baptism he or she is mysteriously crucified and buried with Christ, and is raised with him to newness of life, having "put on" Christ (that is, having been clothed in Christ). The cleansing of sins includes the washing away of the ancestral sin.

Is this a good explanation?  If so, I have a couple of questions...

1) When it says "cleansed of all sins and united to Christ" does this automatically mean all future sins?  Dont we still have to ask forgiveness of our sins through confession??

2) What about the last part about ancestral sin?  I thought we werent guilty of that like the RCs believe.  Why do we need to be cleansed of that if we arent guilty for it?

A simple answer is fine.  I know Im going back to the basics here, and this may be annoying to some of you, but I didnt find another thread regarding this exact quote...
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NicholasMyra
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« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2011, 03:02:27 PM »

1. No, you still have to confess subsequent sins.

2. Uniting yourself to Christ means putting off the old human (the one who was corrupted by the consequences of the Fall) and putting on the new Human, Christ. Thus you are washed of the Ancestral Sin.

IMO, at least.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2011, 03:03:06 PM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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katherineofdixie
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« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2011, 03:10:32 PM »

This is an imperfect analogy but think of ancestral sin as an inherited disease - maybe something like fetal alcohol syndrome. Or think of it as if you were living in an area where the previous residents had clearcut forests and dumped industrial chemicals in the water. No matter how enviromentally responsible the current residents are, you still have to live with and deal with the consequences.
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« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2011, 03:34:20 PM »

So if I understand correctly, we are corrupted by ancestral sin and baptism washes that away.  So if you are baptized as an infant, you are only corrupted for a few days or weeks of your life.  The idea that baptism washes away the guilt from your own past sins must not apply to infants since they arent guilty of their own sins.... right?

I guess where I have trouble is how it applies to the future in Orthodox faith.  If baptism forgives our future sins, why do we need to confess?  Im not trying to downplay the role confession plays.  I guess I am just trying to figure out how they relate to each other...

* EDIT - to clarify even further, i know we are instructed to confess. Im not trying to find a way out of it.  Just want to see how confession and baptism relate.  If we are forgiven at baptism, why be re-forgiven at confession?
« Last Edit: October 13, 2011, 03:41:52 PM by Timon » Logged

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katherineofdixie
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« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2011, 03:48:37 PM »

Maybe we need to back up a little. I have the sneaking suspicion that we are understanding sin/corruption a little differently. What is your understanding?
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« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2011, 03:53:05 PM »

Maybe we need to back up a little. I have the sneaking suspicion that we are understanding sin/corruption a little differently. What is your understanding?

Ancestral sin or sin in general??

If you mean ancestral sin, then I thought that we suffer the consequences but arent actually guilty of it.  When it comes to our own sin, of course we are guilty of it.  An infant hasnt sinned, so it cant be guilty of sin.  If it was an infant in the RC church, the infant would be sinful because it is guilty of original/ancestral sin...

What does an infant need to be cleaned from?

Sorry... Im confusing myself now... 
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katherineofdixie
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« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2011, 03:59:46 PM »

Take a look and see if any of this helps:

http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7105

"There are special experiences in our corporate life as Orthodox Christians when the perception of God's presence and actions is heightened and celebrated. We call these events of the Church Sacraments. Traditionally, the Sacraments have been known as Mysteries in the Orthodox Church. This description emphasizes that in these special events of the Church, God discloses Himself through the prayers and actions of His people.

Not only do the Sacraments disclose and reveal God to us, but also they serve to make us receptive to God. All the Sacraments affect our personal relationship to God and to one another. The Holy Spirit works through the Sacraments. He leads us to Christ who unites us with the Father. By participating in the Sacraments, we grow closer to God and to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This process of deification, or theosis, as it is known by Orthodoxy, takes place not in isolation from others, but within the context of a believing community. Although the Sacraments are addressed to each of us by name, they are experiences which involve the entire Church.

…The Sacrament of Baptism incorporates us into the Church, the Body of Christ, and is our introduction to the life of the Holy Trinity. Water is a natural symbol of cleansing and newness of life. Through the three-fold immersion in the waters of Baptism in the Name of the Holy Trinity, one dies to the old ways of sin and is born to a new life in Christ. Baptism is one's public identification with Christ Death and victorious Resurrection.”

"One does not become a Christian automatically. Fr Schmemann, a respected Orthodox theologian, said, “It is not mere belonging to the Church that saves, for there is no magic in Christianity, but the acceptance of the Spirit of Christ.” St. Peter said, “Repent, and every one of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). To become truly a Christian, one must agree freely to be converted, to repent, to turn to Christ, and accept His Holy Spirit. In baptism there is something that is done by God and something that is done by man. Man responds to God’s initiative. He accepts the gift and turns with faith to follow Christ as Lord.
The new life, initiated by baptism and sustained by the Eucharist, becomes the way to follow as one walks through this world. This means that salvation is not instant. It begins on the day of our baptism and chrismation when we renounce the devil, receive Christ, and accept the gift of the Holy Spirit. From that moment we begin a process of slow spiritual growth. The sacraments of the Church provide us with the grace we need to become gods by grace, deified, “partakers of divine nature” as St. Peter says. Our salvation (deification) begins at baptism and continues throughout life. It is a process of unending spiritual growth. “Keep working with fear and trembling to complete your salvation,” writes St. Paul (Phil. 2:12).
Simon Tugwell, a patristic scholar, expressed it succinctly when he wrote, There can be no brisk “On with the new man, off with the old!”A long process of growth is required to bring us to perfection. Baptism gives us an “image of perfection” but this has to mature slowly, just as a baby is, in one sense, fully formed, but still has to grow. The immediate result of baptism is that there are now two “personae” at work in us. Sin and grace coexist in us. The important thing is that we should side with grace There is no end to baptism; it is ongoing, a lifelong journey. The sins committed following baptism also need to be washed away by water, but this time it is the water of our tears, the tears of repentance. As we renounced the evil one in baptism and united ourselves to Christ, so we need to keep saying “yes” to Jesus and “no” to Satan many times each day as we go through life."

http://www.goarch.org/archdiocese/departments/outreach/resources/brochures/renewal/Baptism.pdf
« Last Edit: October 13, 2011, 04:00:41 PM by katherineofdixie » Logged

"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

 St. John Chrysostom
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« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2011, 04:07:32 PM »

That is actually very helpful.  This is something that I thought I understood.  For some reason, I had a complete brain fart.  I just thought about how I would explain the diffeent views of baptism to my protestant friends and I felt unprepared.  Had to step back to the basics for a second...
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Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved.

— Chrysostom

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