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Author Topic: Infant vs. Believer Baptism  (Read 9383 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #90 on: March 12, 2012, 05:39:32 PM »

re: orthodox books; i recommend www.lulu.com and especially anything written by father peter (i am not really that biased! i read some of his writings before i met him and liked them) or anyone from the british orthodox church. i don't know the other orthodox writers, but i expect there is lots of good stuff there.
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« Reply #91 on: March 12, 2012, 06:58:38 PM »

Amazon.com!

Not making excuses - but I like to browse in a book, look at its style, material, write-ups etc, before buying.
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« Reply #92 on: March 12, 2012, 08:36:53 PM »

Amazon.com!

Not making excuses - but I like to browse in a book, look at its style, material, write-ups etc, before buying.

You still read analog books?!  Shocked Cheesy
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« Reply #93 on: March 12, 2012, 08:40:28 PM »

Amazon.com!

Not making excuses - but I like to browse in a book, look at its style, material, write-ups etc, before buying.

You still read analog books?!  Shocked Cheesy

Some of us here are old enough to be your parent. Or grandparent.  Wink laugh
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« Reply #94 on: March 12, 2012, 08:48:32 PM »

Amazon.com!

Not making excuses - but I like to browse in a book, look at its style, material, write-ups etc, before buying.

You still read analog books?!  Shocked Cheesy

Some of us here are old enough to be your parent. Or grandparent.  Wink laugh

True. True.  Cheesy
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« Reply #95 on: March 12, 2012, 09:27:10 PM »

seems to me this question is analogous to our understanding of why abortion is a sin...  we do not depend on nor feel a need to calculate the self awareness of the fetus in order to establish the value of a human being... in the same manner we do not depend solely on the cognition or "ability to respond with reason" of a person as a criteria for baptism.   We are born into a world that has fallen into a sick condition and as such it is the incumbent responsibility of christian parents along with the sponsors to ensure that a baby born into this environment is given the medicine (baptism/chrismation) as well as brought into the hospital (the church)...  The mystery of baptism extends far beyond the ability of the recipient for reasonable or cognizant response... do not believe for a moment however that a new born infant is unable to respond and demonstrate faith... in fact their entire life shows forth a greater faith than our own demonstrated by their utter dependance on and faith in the love and care of their parents!
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« Reply #96 on: March 12, 2012, 09:33:29 PM »

seems to me this question is analogous to our understanding of why abortion is a sin...  we do not depend on nor feel a need to calculate the self awareness of the fetus in order to establish the value of a human being... in the same manner we do not depend solely on the cognition or "ability to respond with reason" of a person as a criteria for baptism.   We are born into a world that has fallen into a sick condition and as such it is the incumbent responsibility of christian parents along with the sponsors to ensure that a baby born into this environment is given the medicine (baptism/chrismation) as well as brought into the hospital (the church)...  The mystery of baptism extends far beyond the ability of the recipient for reasonable or cognizant response... do not believe for a moment however that a new born infant is unable to respond and demonstrate faith... in fact their entire life shows forth a greater faith than our own demonstrated by their utter dependance on and faith in the love and care of their parents!

David Young, what say you to this?
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« Reply #97 on: March 13, 2012, 12:41:46 AM »

Baptism will not save anybody in itself anymore than circumcision would save a disobedient Jew, and just as one becomes uncircimcised through disregarding the Law, a Christian can become un-Baptised through not following the new Law prescribed by the Church.
Technically, in the eyes of the Church, even apostasy cannot undo one's baptism, as evidenced from the fact that we will not rebaptize apostates. However, apostasy can undo any spiritual benefit baptism may have conferred and render the apostate even worse off than he was before his baptism.
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« Reply #98 on: March 13, 2012, 04:11:24 AM »

we will not rebaptize apostates. However, apostasy can ... render the apostate even worse off than he was before his baptism.

We would entirely agree with both parts of this post.
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« Reply #99 on: March 13, 2012, 04:15:25 AM »

it is the incumbent responsibility of christian parents along with the sponsors to ensure that a baby born into this environment is given the medicine (baptism/chrismation) as well as brought into the hospital (the church)...

David Young, what say you to this?

I would say that we wholly agree with it is the incumbent responsibility of christian parents along with the sponsors to ensure that a baby born into this environment is given the medicine, but we would understand the 'medicine' as the truth of the Gospel, and baptism as the former baby's response to that truth as he or she grows into awareness of its power. Christmation we do not have, and to discuss the reception of the Holy Ghost would probably take us beyond the theme of this particular thread.
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« Reply #100 on: March 13, 2012, 05:55:27 AM »

how is one then to receive this truth of the gospel without the reasoning faculty?
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« Reply #101 on: March 13, 2012, 08:27:00 AM »

how is one then to receive this truth of the gospel without the reasoning faculty?

We've had this conversation, or one very similar, before. A small number of you Orthodox seem to look for confirmtion of your beliefs in the small number of people who lie at the extremes of humanity - infants who die a few days old, people who (without coming to faith beforehand) suffer such devastating cerebral injury that they are no longer sapient, and perhaps others. What I replied was that I see the Bible as given to us to teach us how to respond to God in faith and discipleship: not given to us to answer our curiosity and the conundrums we can think up about those whom we must leave to the wisdom, justice and compassion of God.

I guess a thoroughgoing Augustinian would have to say that an unbaptised baby who dies is damned for sharing (not Adam's nature, but) Adam's sin and guilt. I do not suppose either you or I are such Augustinians, are we?

Our Lord said to one of his disciples, who asked about someone else's fate, "What is that to you?" What we, who are able to understand, must do is to respond to the call and commands of Christ - to believe, be baptised, remember him in the breaking of bread, and make every effort to add virtue, good works and sanctity to our faith. What we do not know is how God will deal with those who are not able to make such a response.

Beyond that I cannot go: I do not know, and I do not believe it has been revealed.
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« Reply #102 on: March 13, 2012, 08:43:31 AM »



Beyond that I cannot go: I do not know, and I do not believe it has been revealed.

But, it has been revealed both in the Scriptures (the many instances of households being baptized) and the practice of the Church from the earliest of times. The main problem here is the insistence for everything to make perfect sense, rather than taking certain things in faith.
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« Reply #103 on: March 13, 2012, 09:35:20 AM »

how is one then to receive this truth of the gospel without the reasoning faculty?

We've had this conversation, or one very similar, before. A small number of you Orthodox seem to look for confirmtion of your beliefs in the small number of people who lie at the extremes of humanity - infants who die a few days old, people who (without coming to faith beforehand) suffer such devastating cerebral injury that they are no longer sapient, and perhaps others. What I replied was that I see the Bible as given to us to teach us how to respond to God in faith and discipleship: not given to us to answer our curiosity and the conundrums we can think up about those whom we must leave to the wisdom, justice and compassion of God.

I guess a thoroughgoing Augustinian would have to say that an unbaptised baby who dies is damned for sharing (not Adam's nature, but) Adam's sin and guilt. I do not suppose either you or I are such Augustinians, are we?

Our Lord said to one of his disciples, who asked about someone else's fate, "What is that to you?" What we, who are able to understand, must do is to respond to the call and commands of Christ - to believe, be baptised, remember him in the breaking of bread, and make every effort to add virtue, good works and sanctity to our faith. What we do not know is how God will deal with those who are not able to make such a response.

Beyond that I cannot go: I do not know, and I do not believe it has been revealed.

Excellent points.
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« Reply #104 on: March 13, 2012, 09:40:26 AM »

how is one then to receive this truth of the gospel without the reasoning faculty?

We've had this conversation, or one very similar, before. A small number of you Orthodox seem to look for confirmtion of your beliefs in the small number of people who lie at the extremes of humanity - infants who die a few days old, people who (without coming to faith beforehand) suffer such devastating cerebral injury that they are no longer sapient, and perhaps others. What I replied was that I see the Bible as given to us to teach us how to respond to God in faith and discipleship: not given to us to answer our curiosity and the conundrums we can think up about those whom we must leave to the wisdom, justice and compassion of God.

I guess a thoroughgoing Augustinian would have to say that an unbaptised baby who dies is damned for sharing (not Adam's nature, but) Adam's sin and guilt. I do not suppose either you or I are such Augustinians, are we?

Our Lord said to one of his disciples, who asked about someone else's fate, "What is that to you?" What we, who are able to understand, must do is to respond to the call and commands of Christ - to believe, be baptised, remember him in the breaking of bread, and make every effort to add virtue, good works and sanctity to our faith. What we do not know is how God will deal with those who are not able to make such a response.

Beyond that I cannot go: I do not know, and I do not believe it has been revealed.

David, do you hold the belief that unless something is found clearly and explicitly in scripture, then God has not revealed it to us?

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« Reply #105 on: March 13, 2012, 09:40:51 AM »

Beyond that I cannot go: I do not know, and I do not believe it has been revealed.
The main problem here is the insistence for everything to make perfect sense,

You cannot construe Beyond that I cannot go: I do not know to be an insistence for everything to make perfect sense.
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« Reply #106 on: March 13, 2012, 09:55:19 AM »

do you hold the belief that unless something is found clearly and explicitly in scripture, then God has not revealed it to us?

I believe the word is adiaphora. Our belief is that the Old and New Testaments (not the Apocrypha) were given by inspiration of God and are sufficient, authoritative and final in all matters of faith and practice. There are, of course, many issues which are not settled within those sacred pages, and we are not required to accept them: some matters are not touched on at all, others are dark and unclear, open to more than one sincere interpretation. We are, of course, required to strive for a good conscience, but I cannot (nor do I wish to) deny my fellow the title Christian because he disagrees with me on secondary, unclear or ambiguous beliefs and practices. One is a Calvinist, another believes Christ died to make salvation available to all people; one believes the sabbath was shifted from Saturday to Sunday, another holds all days alike; one baptises infants (for reasons you well know), another believes that faith and repentance are prerequisites; one believes the Church has wholly replaced Israel, another believes God has still a purpose for his ancient people; one believes Genesis 1-11 is literal historical truth, another sees those chapters as containing an amount of God-given myth which teaches important religious truths; one holds a sacramental view of the Lord's Supper, another believes that taking the bread and wine is a purely symbolic and reverent memorial of Christ's Passion on the sinner's behalf... and so on and so forth.
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« Reply #107 on: March 13, 2012, 10:37:55 AM »

Amazon.com!

Not making excuses - but I like to browse in a book, look at its style, material, write-ups etc, before buying.

You still read analog books?!  Shocked Cheesy

Some of us here are old enough to be your parent. Or grandparent.  Wink laugh

I have to confess that even though I received a Kindle for Christmas, I immediately went out and bought a cover that makes it look like an old book!
One of my young friends asked me if that made me feel better about having the Kindle. Grin
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« Reply #108 on: March 13, 2012, 10:42:30 AM »

secondary, unclear or ambiguous beliefs and practices

But baptism is not a secondary, unclear or ambiguous belief or practice. It is, as you have agreed with me, a foundational Christian belief and practice.

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« Reply #109 on: March 13, 2012, 10:46:36 AM »

Quote
We are, of course, required to strive for a good conscience, but I cannot (nor do I wish to) deny my fellow the title Christian because he disagrees with me on secondary, unclear or ambiguous beliefs and practices
Its not a secondary or ambiguous belief. Protestantism made it ambiguous. However, as I have said before, alot of American Protestants can learn alot from you David.

PP
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« Reply #110 on: March 13, 2012, 11:33:08 AM »

But baptism is not a secondary, unclear or ambiguous belief ... It is, as you have agreed with me, a foundational Christian belief

Yes, I do and indeed must agree, for Hebrews 6.1-2 puts it there, and of course the command to repent, believe and be baptised is frequent in Holy Writ. What we are discussing is not whether baptism is optional - we all agree that it is not. Rather, we are debating the question of when it should be applied. My friends who were 'baptised' as infants sincerely regard themselves as baptised believers; they are not consciously disobeying the Lord's command, and indeed in the years 1963-1968 I received much blessing during my time in Methodist and Anglican churches. Also, I suspect you believe that the person baptising must be a priest within apostolic succession.

In addition, discussion (not here, I think) sometimes wanders into whether baptism should be by immersion, as we practise, by affusion (pouring), or by sprinkling. We all agree that it must be in water. Here, we have also entered into the matter of the inner meaning, symbolism, efficacy, grace (however one sees it) of baptism. It is my suspicion that if a person genuinely believes he is a baptised Christian, then God accepts that sincere belief and intention, even though some of us have obviously misunderstood some points - not that that means we can assume liberty not to do our utmost to obey what we do believe is the command.

But we all agree that baptism is not an optional extra for specially religious people.

This opens a different question: what do we make of people like the Salvation Army, or the early Quakers, with no baptism? I think they are disobedient to the Lord's command, but I find it hard to view them as 'unsaved' (as we Vangies say): reading George Fox or William Booth shows too much of Christ in their thought and life to make that a credible conclusion, I think.
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« Reply #111 on: March 13, 2012, 12:55:35 PM »

do you hold the belief that unless something is found clearly and explicitly in scripture, then God has not revealed it to us?

I believe the word is adiaphora. Our belief is that the Old and New Testaments (not the Apocrypha) were given by inspiration of God and are sufficient, authoritative and final in all matters of faith and practice. There are, of course, many issues which are not settled within those sacred pages, and we are not required to accept them: some matters are not touched on at all, others are dark and unclear, open to more than one sincere interpretation. We are, of course, required to strive for a good conscience, but I cannot (nor do I wish to) deny my fellow the title Christian because he disagrees with me on secondary, unclear or ambiguous beliefs and practices. One is a Calvinist, another believes Christ died to make salvation available to all people; one believes the sabbath was shifted from Saturday to Sunday, another holds all days alike; one baptises infants (for reasons you well know), another believes that faith and repentance are prerequisites; one believes the Church has wholly replaced Israel, another believes God has still a purpose for his ancient people; one believes Genesis 1-11 is literal historical truth, another sees those chapters as containing an amount of God-given myth which teaches important religious truths; one holds a sacramental view of the Lord's Supper, another believes that taking the bread and wine is a purely symbolic and reverent memorial of Christ's Passion on the sinner's behalf... and so on and so forth.

whew, that's alot of gray area there! Shocked
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« Reply #112 on: March 14, 2012, 05:29:21 AM »

whew, that's alot of gray area there! Shocked

Yes, it is. In re baptism, obviously either you or we have got it wrong. I wonder how the apostles would think if they could get into a time machine and travel forward in time to the 17th or 21st centuries. Thing is, I suspect they wrote as they did because what they taught and practised was obvious to them, and it never occurred to them either that we would stop baptising infants, or that you would invent such a rite. Similarly with other issues on which people sincerely differ. (By "sincerely", I mean people whose heart desires to submit to the Lord's ways and will, not people who decide to say, "I'm blowed if I'm going to accept that!")
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« Reply #113 on: March 14, 2012, 06:30:37 AM »

David, your observations are very reasonable  Wink.  It is true that faith and repentance are required prior to baptism.  That is why the child has godparents.  Their faith and repentance commends the child to God.  If this seems strange to you, it is perhaps because you overemphasize or even idolize individuality within the Body.  It seems to me that everything we do in the orthodox church is a participation in something larger than ourselves, including salvation.  As we are resurrected together, so we are saved together.  Likewise, the baptism of one into the body of Christ is a reliving or a re-experience of baptism for all those who participate.  In fact, we really don't do anything alone.  I think the reality of this is only made plain through participation and cannot be properly understood "reasonably".
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« Reply #114 on: March 14, 2012, 07:13:48 AM »

David, your observations are very reasonable  Wink.  It is true that faith and repentance are required prior to baptism.  That is why the child has godparents.  Their faith and repentance commends the child to God.  If this seems strange to you, it is perhaps because you overemphasize or even idolize individuality within the Body.  It seems to me that everything we do in the orthodox church is a participation in something larger than ourselves, including salvation.  As we are resurrected together, so we are saved together.  Likewise, the baptism of one into the body of Christ is a reliving or a re-experience of baptism for all those who participate.  In fact, we really don't do anything alone.  I think the reality of this is only made plain through participation and cannot be properly understood "reasonably".

It also assumes that Baptism doesn't convey any Grace, and/or have any function beyond a ritual of external action. That is, it is something we do merely because Jesus told us to, and not because it is physically(spiritually) beneficial to us.
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« Reply #115 on: March 14, 2012, 07:42:29 AM »

David, your observations are very reasonable  Wink.  It is true that faith and repentance are required prior to baptism.  That is why the child has godparents.  Their faith and repentance commends the child to God.  If this seems strange to you, it is perhaps because you overemphasize or even idolize individuality within the Body.  It seems to me that everything we do in the orthodox church is a participation in something larger than ourselves, including salvation.  As we are resurrected together, so we are saved together.  Likewise, the baptism of one into the body of Christ is a reliving or a re-experience of baptism for all those who participate.  In fact, we really don't do anything alone.  I think the reality of this is only made plain through participation and cannot be properly understood "reasonably".

It also assumes that Baptism doesn't convey any Grace, and/or have any function beyond a ritual of external action. That is, it is something we do merely because Jesus told us to, and not because it is physically(spiritually) beneficial to us.

A ritual of external action can be as real, spiritual and full of grace in the heart of the individual performing the action and the rest of the congregation who witness it.

You're the one who's making the assumptions.
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« Reply #116 on: March 14, 2012, 08:54:47 AM »

It also assumes that Baptism doesn't convey any Grace, and/or have any function beyond a ritual of external action.

I wouldn't go that far. Surely any act of willing obedience conveys grace, deepens, enriches and strengthens the believer's faith and his relationship and closeness to the Lord. Baptism and the Lord's Supper are of course specific commands, and must surely convey grace when obeyed in the right spirit (otherwise we eat and drink judgement upon ourselves).
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« Reply #117 on: March 14, 2012, 10:00:46 AM »

What about the narrative of the paralytic whose friends tore a hole in the roof and let him down through it to place their paralyzed friend in front of Jesus so He would heal him (which we heard in the Gospel reading for this last Sunday's Divine Liturgy)? I think this is just about as good an example as you'll find in the Gospel of Jesus healing a man (and forgiving his sins) because of the faith of others, which is essentially what we're asking Him to do when parents and godparents come together to have a baby baptized.
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« Reply #118 on: March 14, 2012, 10:21:22 AM »

I never thought of that Peter. That is an excellent point.

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« Reply #119 on: March 14, 2012, 10:35:07 AM »

When I was a Protestant, I became increasingly troubled by the question, "But how do we know?" Such as, how do we know that infant baptism is ok? How do we know that women can be ordained? Is communion a memorial only or is it the Body and Blood of Christ? And on and on. Sincere, devout Christians could read the same verses in Scripture and come to totally different and indeed diametrically opposed interpretations. My understanding was no better or worse than anyone else's and vice versa.

(Of course, I suppose that this assumes that there is objective and not only subjective truth. This seems to be an increasingly unpopular assumption.)

So the argument is that infant baptism is wrong, according to a particular understanding. Even though there is ample evidence from history and by inference at least from Scripture, as well as no prohibition. What to do? What to believe?

Should we then conclude that the majority of Christians for centuries got a foundational Christian belief and practice wrong, and that no one noticed it or thought it was important until the Reformation? (and note that many of the Reformers believed in the practice.)

Or should we use the Vincentian Canon to decide - St. Vincent of Lerins who said that "we must hold what has been believed everywhere, always, and by all."

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« Reply #120 on: March 14, 2012, 10:48:12 AM »

David, your observations are very reasonable  Wink.  It is true that faith and repentance are required prior to baptism.  That is why the child has godparents.  Their faith and repentance commends the child to God.  If this seems strange to you, it is perhaps because you overemphasize or even idolize individuality within the Body.  It seems to me that everything we do in the orthodox church is a participation in something larger than ourselves, including salvation.  As we are resurrected together, so we are saved together.  Likewise, the baptism of one into the body of Christ is a reliving or a re-experience of baptism for all those who participate.  In fact, we really don't do anything alone.  I think the reality of this is only made plain through participation and cannot be properly understood "reasonably".

It also assumes that Baptism doesn't convey any Grace, and/or have any function beyond a ritual of external action. That is, it is something we do merely because Jesus told us to, and not because it is physically(spiritually) beneficial to us.

A ritual of external action can be as real, spiritual and full of grace in the heart of the individual performing the action and the rest of the congregation who witness it.

You're the one who's making the assumptions.

I think that Andriu and you are in the same page. He was reiterating what he thinks is the anabaptist position.
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« Reply #121 on: March 14, 2012, 10:55:50 AM »

But baptism is not a secondary, unclear or ambiguous belief ... It is, as you have agreed with me, a foundational Christian belief

Yes, I do and indeed must agree, for Hebrews 6.1-2 puts it there, and of course the command to repent, believe and be baptised is frequent in Holy Writ. What we are discussing is not whether baptism is optional - we all agree that it is not. Rather, we are debating the question of when it should be applied. My friends who were 'baptised' as infants sincerely regard themselves as baptised believers; they are not consciously disobeying the Lord's command, and indeed in the years 1963-1968 I received much blessing during my time in Methodist and Anglican churches. Also, I suspect you believe that the person baptising must be a priest within apostolic succession.

In addition, discussion (not here, I think) sometimes wanders into whether baptism should be by immersion, as we practise, by affusion (pouring), or by sprinkling. We all agree that it must be in water. Here, we have also entered into the matter of the inner meaning, symbolism, efficacy, grace (however one sees it) of baptism. It is my suspicion that if a person genuinely believes he is a baptised Christian, then God accepts that sincere belief and intention, even though some of us have obviously misunderstood some points - not that that means we can assume liberty not to do our utmost to obey what we do believe is the command.

But we all agree that baptism is not an optional extra for specially religious people.

This opens a different question: what do we make of people like the Salvation Army, or the early Quakers, with no baptism? I think they are disobedient to the Lord's command, but I find it hard to view them as 'unsaved' (as we Vangies say): reading George Fox or William Booth shows too much of Christ in their thought and life to make that a credible conclusion, I think.

Why should we even try to judge whether anybody else is saved? The Lord can indeed be working with those outside our own churches and we would not know much about it (The position of Metropolitan Philaret by the way). That would not prevent us from discussing such topics as infant baptism because this discussion might bring greater clarity to our understanding of our own position, in addition to the understanding of others. In doing so, we tacitly acknowledge that each other's worth to the Lord. I am not really trying to have you change your mind, Pastor Young, as I am trying to explain my own understanding and convictions. I am very happy and thankful that we can do so with civility and in the spirit of brotherhood.
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« Reply #122 on: March 14, 2012, 11:27:01 AM »

What about the narrative of the paralytic whose friends tore a hole in the roof and let him down through it to place their paralyzed friend in front of Jesus so He would heal him (which we heard in the Gospel reading for this last Sunday's Divine Liturgy)? I think this is just about as good an example as you'll find in the Gospel of Jesus healing a man (and forgiving his sins) because of the faith of others, which is essentially what we're asking Him to do when parents and godparents come together to have a baby baptized.

the same thing when the centurion goes to ask Jesus to heal his servant (well the healing part anyways).
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« Reply #123 on: March 14, 2012, 12:07:50 PM »

I am not really trying to have you change your mind, Pastor Young, as I am trying to explain my own understanding and convictions. I am very happy and thankful that we can do so with civility and in the spirit of brotherhood.

Likewise.
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« Reply #124 on: March 14, 2012, 02:14:52 PM »

whew, that's alot of gray area there! Shocked

Yes, it is. In re baptism, obviously either you or we have got it wrong. I wonder how the apostles would think if they could get into a time machine and travel forward in time to the 17th or 21st centuries. Thing is, I suspect they wrote as they did because what they taught and practised was obvious to them, and it never occurred to them either that we would stop baptising infants, or that you would invent such a rite. Similarly with other issues on which people sincerely differ. (By "sincerely", I mean people whose heart desires to submit to the Lord's ways and will, not people who decide to say, "I'm blowed if I'm going to accept that!")

well we know we have clear testimony regarding infant baptism being practiced in the church from at least the 2nd century, and we see no sign of conflict or disagreement in any of the writings of the ECF's regarding the legitimacy of such a practice. I think that says quite a bit (Note that the only disagreement regarding infant baptism in the early church was whether or not to wait until the 8th day, as was the tradition with circumcision). We know that Irenaeus (who upholds the practice of infant baptism in his writings) was born into a Christian home, probably around the year 140 AD, and being from Smyrna, was most likely baptized by Polycarp (the bishop of Smyrna at the time), who was a direct disciples of John. If there was such a controvery regarding this practice in the early church (which would be necessary from a Protestant standpoint, because they claim the practice is not apostolic) where is the evidence of such? All evidence points to infant baptism being the norm in the church from the very beginning, with even scripture suggesting such.
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« Reply #125 on: March 14, 2012, 02:43:26 PM »

whew, that's alot of gray area there! Shocked

Yes, it is. In re baptism, obviously either you or we have got it wrong. I wonder how the apostles would think if they could get into a time machine and travel forward in time to the 17th or 21st centuries. Thing is, I suspect they wrote as they did because what they taught and practised was obvious to them, and it never occurred to them either that we would stop baptising infants, or that you would invent such a rite. Similarly with other issues on which people sincerely differ. (By "sincerely", I mean people whose heart desires to submit to the Lord's ways and will, not people who decide to say, "I'm blowed if I'm going to accept that!")

well we know we have clear testimony regarding infant baptism being practiced in the church from at least the 2nd century, and we see no sign of conflict or disagreement in any of the writings of the ECF's regarding the legitimacy of such a practice. I think that says quite a bit (Note that the only disagreement regarding infant baptism in the early church was whether or not to wait until the 8th day, as was the tradition with circumcision). We know that Irenaeus (who upholds the practice of infant baptism in his writings) was born into a Christian home, probably around the year 140 AD, and being from Smyrna, was most likely baptized by Polycarp (the bishop of Smyrna at the time), who was a direct disciples of John. If there was such a controvery regarding this practice in the early church (which would be necessary from a Protestant standpoint, because they claim the practice is not apostolic) where is the evidence of such? All evidence points to infant baptism being the norm in the church from the very beginning, with even scripture suggesting such.

If the Apostles had not allowed infant Baptism and then all of a sudden it was allowed, how can there be no record of this monumental change? No discussion, no objections..nothing. No hint at all in the historial records... Hard to believe. Can Mr. Young explain this?

Thanks
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« Reply #126 on: March 14, 2012, 05:35:32 PM »

Can Mr. Young explain this?

He (= I) could probably find references to support our beliefs from early Christian writings, but I am off to Sicily, and by the time I get back, the question will have gone cold and been superseded. (We have often discussed this topic, so I dare say some such references are scattered among my various scribblings on the Forum.)
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« Reply #127 on: March 14, 2012, 06:12:55 PM »

David, your observations are very reasonable  Wink.  It is true that faith and repentance are required prior to baptism.  That is why the child has godparents.  Their faith and repentance commends the child to God.  If this seems strange to you, it is perhaps because you overemphasize or even idolize individuality within the Body.  It seems to me that everything we do in the orthodox church is a participation in something larger than ourselves, including salvation.  As we are resurrected together, so we are saved together.  Likewise, the baptism of one into the body of Christ is a reliving or a re-experience of baptism for all those who participate.  In fact, we really don't do anything alone.  I think the reality of this is only made plain through participation and cannot be properly understood "reasonably".

It also assumes that Baptism doesn't convey any Grace, and/or have any function beyond a ritual of external action. That is, it is something we do merely because Jesus told us to, and not because it is physically(spiritually) beneficial to us.

A ritual of external action can be as real, spiritual and full of grace in the heart of the individual performing the action and the rest of the congregation who witness it.

You're the one who's making the assumptions.

It's not an assumption. Many protestant sects openly vocalize this concept, that the acts are done in order to be obedient, only.
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« Reply #128 on: March 14, 2012, 06:16:10 PM »

It also assumes that Baptism doesn't convey any Grace, and/or have any function beyond a ritual of external action.

I wouldn't go that far. Surely any act of willing obedience conveys grace, deepens, enriches and strengthens the believer's faith and his relationship and closeness to the Lord. Baptism and the Lord's Supper are of course specific commands, and must surely convey grace when obeyed in the right spirit (otherwise we eat and drink judgement upon ourselves).

So, then the question is "Is the Grace conveyed because of our obedience, or because of something special in the act itself?" That is "Does the blessed bread and water have a deeper nature/ Does Baptism change a person physically (spiritually)?"
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« Reply #129 on: March 14, 2012, 06:50:10 PM »

during my protestant trinitarian baptism, i experienced truly the grace and power of God. it was a lovely experience. i hadn't realised it was supposed to be 'only a symbol'.
i was a pre teen kid.

it was a little bit like a small taste of the deep beauty of my first orthodox Holy Communion.

so, i do believe God works outside the orthodox church, and if u want to keep missing out on the deepest dimension to yr spiritual life, u can stay outside. but i pray u never give up searching until u find what u r looking for.
 Smiley
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« Reply #130 on: March 14, 2012, 11:01:09 PM »

Can Mr. Young explain this?

He (= I) could probably find references to support our beliefs from early Christian writings, but I am off to Sicily, and by the time I get back, the question will have gone cold and been superseded. (We have often discussed this topic, so I dare say some such references are scattered among my various scribblings on the Forum.)

Okay, it's important to see that you make the assertion that the change from refusing infants and children baptism to accepting them soon after the time of the Apostles is documented. We can wait to see the documentation and read the debate that this sea change must have cause till you get back...Alert the press.
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« Reply #131 on: March 15, 2012, 12:08:39 AM »

Can Mr. Young explain this?

He (= I) could probably find references to support our beliefs from early Christian writings, but I am off to Sicily, and by the time I get back, the question will have gone cold and been superseded. (We have often discussed this topic, so I dare say some such references are scattered among my various scribblings on the Forum.)

As has happened so often previously, David Young has a convenient dodge to answering pertinent and prickly questions.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #132 on: March 15, 2012, 12:23:42 AM »

Can Mr. Young explain this?

He (= I) could probably find references to support our beliefs from early Christian writings, but I am off to Sicily, and by the time I get back, the question will have gone cold and been superseded. (We have often discussed this topic, so I dare say some such references are scattered among my various scribblings on the Forum.)

As has happened so often previously, David Young has a convenient dodge to answering pertinent and prickly questions.  Roll Eyes

Well sometimes people have to leave town. I will be sure to remind him about this when he gets back. 
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« Reply #133 on: March 15, 2012, 11:43:28 AM »

Not to pile on and I hope that David enjoys his trip, but IIRC we have reached this point with him many times before, and had to start all over again.
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« Reply #134 on: March 16, 2012, 08:48:40 AM »

He probably realises they'd be dismissed rather than answered that might be why.
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