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Author Topic: Infant vs. Believer Baptism  (Read 10383 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: March 08, 2012, 01:14:47 PM »

We don't teach that people inherit the guilt of sin from their fathers.

I agree. But we believe in Original/Ancestral Sin. That's why infants are baptized: to wash away the sin. We are not Baptists.
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« Reply #46 on: March 08, 2012, 01:16:33 PM »

Exactly.
Even more interesting, I think, is that "household" had a specific meaning in Roman society. We think of the household as just a family when the reality was that it was not just the nuclear family, but included extended family (uncles, cousins, distant relatives, even ex-inlaws), slaves, clients, business partners etc. The pater familias or patron made all the decisions for the family, whether business or personal.
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« Reply #47 on: March 08, 2012, 02:56:09 PM »

We don't teach that people inherit the guilt of sin from their fathers.

I agree. But we believe in Original/Ancestral Sin. That's why infants are baptized: to wash away the sin. We are not Baptists.

Yes, I am aware of this, but I was referring to individual sins being held accountable to the person. That is, a child is held accountable for his personal sins to the degree he is aware of them.
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« Reply #48 on: March 09, 2012, 05:34:24 AM »

most of the humankind i.e infants and young children

I suspect most infants grow up into years of discretion, rather than dying in infancy. Nevertheless, your point is valid, even if it should turn out that your statistic is mistaken. Indeed, if there had only been one sinner, would our Lord still have come and died to save him? These are mysteries about which I feel it is wise for me to be silent.
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« Reply #49 on: March 09, 2012, 05:41:56 AM »

nowhere is baptism of infants prohibited..

There would be little point in prohibiting something which no-one had thought of anyway.

Quote
For the Church to have gotten such a basic practice wrong (i.e. infant baptism) would mean that she was already apostate in the lifetime of disciples of the Apostles.

Firstly, I am not persuaded that infant baptism began so early, and secondly I do not think many people equate infant baptism with apostasy - else what shall of say of my Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian brethren among many others?

Quote
. "Age of reason" for baptism is un-Scriptural, and indeed even people who espouse this concept cannot define it or put a limit on it.

Agreed.

Quote
"believer's baptism" has always seemed to me to limit God's grace to people who are able to cognitively have a particular kind of religious experience. What happens to everyone else?

Your question is similar to such speculations as: What happens to those who never hear the Gospel? What happened to people who lived before Christ came? It is a valid question, but it is an entirely different issue from the matter of baptising those who have heard and believed. As I said before, I not not see God's grace and baptism as coterminous.
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« Reply #50 on: March 09, 2012, 05:47:25 AM »

most of the humankind i.e infants and young children

I suspect most infants grow up into years of discretion, rather than dying in infancy. Nevertheless, your point is valid, even if it should turn out that your statistic is mistaken. Indeed, if there had only been one sinner, would our Lord still have come and died to save him? These are mysteries about which I feel it is wise for me to be silent.

You still haven't addressed this:

David Young, in your opposition to infant baptism, have you not considered this?

Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?


And where and when did Christ utter those words?

And, please, no skirting around the question, as you are wont to do.
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« Reply #51 on: March 09, 2012, 08:13:22 AM »

where and when did Christ utter those words?

And, please, no skirting around the question, .

Me? Skirt around the question?! Well, our Lord was in the Temple and children, obviously old enough to speak coherently and to have some concept of what was going on, were calling out, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" Our Lord then quoted Psalm 8. The cries of such children (in Mt 21) and of the babes and sucklings in the poetry of Ps 8 tell of God's glory.

Quote
as you are wont to do
There are questions to which I admit I do not know an answer - or, in some cases, where I suspect that God has nowhere revealed an answer - but I don't think it is my wont I waffle vaguely, perhaps like the apocryphal preacher whose sermon notes prompted him at one point, "Argument weak here - shout louder."
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« Reply #52 on: March 09, 2012, 10:07:11 AM »

The Matthew passage is historical narrative; the psalm is poetry. It seems to me that Jesus says that if the poem can say what it does about babes and sucklings, surely older, articulate children in the Temple can offer him genuine praise. Do you not perceive the glory of God as Creator in the cries, gurgles, laughs and so on of babes? Indeed, do you not perceive his creating glory also in the sounds and songs or birds and animals, yea of the strong wind in the treetops? It would not (I think) be hard to find psalms or other passages that say so: "Thou rushing wind that art so strong," says the Franciscan hymn. Indeed, the trees even clap their hands. But all this is not talking about baptism, which symbolises (inter alia) our death to the old life of sin and our rising again as "new creaures" to new life in Christ.
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« Reply #53 on: March 09, 2012, 10:19:10 AM »

The Matthew passage is historical narrative; the psalm is poetry. It seems to me that Jesus says that if the poem can say what it does about babes and sucklings, surely older, articulate children in the Temple can offer him genuine praise. Do you not perceive the glory of God as Creator in the cries, gurgles, laughs and so on of babes? Indeed, do you not perceive his creating glory also in the sounds and songs or birds and animals, yea of the strong wind in the treetops? It would not (I think) be hard to find psalms or other passages that say so: "Thou rushing wind that art so strong," says the Franciscan hymn. Indeed, the trees even clap their hands. But all this is not talking about baptism, which symbolises (inter alia) our death to the old life of sin and our rising again as "new creaures" to new life in Christ.

Psalm 22:26 The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him--may your hearts live forever!

Those babies, the cries, gurgles, laughs from them, are all praising the Lord.  So, again, is that faith?  If not, why do they seek Him? 

The Church is more than just a group of human persons, it is the Body of Christ, the continued incarnation of our Lord, to be baptized into this Body is far more than symbolism, it is the actualization of being raised again as "new creatures" in His Body the Church.

Again, Who is Christ Jesus?  He is the incarnate God, but He is also the many the Church.
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« Reply #54 on: March 09, 2012, 12:16:28 PM »

Quote
For the Church to have gotten such a basic practice wrong (i.e. infant baptism) would mean that she was already apostate in the lifetime of disciples of the Apostles.

Firstly, I am not persuaded that infant baptism began so early, and secondly I do not think many people equate infant baptism with apostasy - else what shall of say of my Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian brethren among many others?
What indeed. That they (and we) are right and the Anabaptists got it wrong?
But we have given you ample evidence that it did begin so early. The entire households mentioned in Scripture for example. You are (willfully?) ignoring evidence.
Baptism is foundational Christian theology. If the Church was baptizing "wrong" that early, then she had seriously gone off the rails in the lifetime of disciples of the Apostles.
Quote
. "Age of reason" for baptism is un-Scriptural, and indeed even people who espouse this concept cannot define it or put a limit on it.

Agreed.[/quote]

Then if you can't define it or put a lower age limit on it, why not infant baptism?

Quote
"believer's baptism" has always seemed to me to limit God's grace to people who are able to cognitively have a particular kind of religious experience. What happens to everyone else?

Quote
Your question is similar to such speculations as: What happens to those who never hear the Gospel? What happened to people who lived before Christ came? It is a valid question, but it is an entirely different issue from the matter of baptising those who have heard and believed. As I said before, I not not see God's grace and baptism as coterminous.

But we also baptize those who have heard and believed. We don't limit it only to infants. It's only those of the Anabaptist persuasion who seek to limit baptism to people who can articulate a cognitive religious experience of a particular kind.
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« Reply #55 on: March 09, 2012, 12:51:15 PM »

they (and we) are right and the Anabaptists got it wrong?

We are talking about the Western church, of course. No - my thought is that "they" (Lutherans, Calvinists and then the others) took it over from the mediæval church, and - desiring to retain it - attempted to justify it. In other words, what came first was what they (the Reformers etc) wanted to believe, and they found ways to persuade themselves of its veracity. I believe this is fairly common among religious groups.

When Protestants adopted infant baptism, it was also tied in with the concept of territorial churches, rather than - as we believe - with membership of Christ's body through personal faith (professed in baptism) for the remission of sins.

The covenantal theology of Presbyterians is different from the sacramental theology of Orthodoxy.

Quote
Baptism is foundational Christian theology.

Yes.

Quote
Then if you can't define it or put a lower age limit on it, why not infant baptism?

Because it is believers' baptism.

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« Reply #56 on: March 09, 2012, 12:55:45 PM »

Quote
Then if you can't define it or put a lower age limit on it, why not infant baptism?

Because it is believers' baptism.


So, someone has to be able to articulate a particular religious experience in order to be baptized? But you don't know at what age that would be?
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« Reply #57 on: March 09, 2012, 12:56:40 PM »

I think two things are happening on this thread. One is that we have drifted rather a long way from GreekChef's original theme of "one true church?" The other is that we are casting Bible verses, logic and historical data at each other, and thereby, as we consider and prepare them for casting, each 'side' becomes more persuaded of the rightness of its position, through being made to think about it anew and then almost endlessly repeating it. Having reached a total of nearly 25,000 views, I suspect we may almost have exhausted the topic.
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« Reply #58 on: March 09, 2012, 12:59:03 PM »

someone has to be able to articulate a particular religious experience in order to be baptized? But you don't know at what age that would be?

Someone has to be able to articulate belief in Christ in order to be baptized, but it will not be at exactly the same age for every developing person.
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« Reply #59 on: March 09, 2012, 01:02:28 PM »

someone has to be able to articulate a particular religious experience in order to be baptized? But you don't know at what age that would be?

Someone has to be able to articulate belief in Christ in order to be baptized, but it will not be at exactly the same age for every developing person.

Do you agree that baby John in his mother's womb expressed faith in Christ (he lept for joy) when they first "met"?
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« Reply #60 on: March 09, 2012, 01:14:32 PM »

and also what of this verse:

Lk 18:17 "I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."

Certainly Jesus believed that little children (gr. paidion, literally a little child, an infant, little one.)
can receive the kingdom of God. We see this same greek word used to refer to Jesus as an infant when the wise men came bearing gifts, and when Jesus received the children for blessings.

So why should we hinder these little ones to receive all the mysteries of the kingdom of God (since Christ says they are able to receive it), particularly baptism into Christ and communion with him?
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« Reply #61 on: March 09, 2012, 01:46:25 PM »

Do you agree that baby John in his mother's womb expressed faith in Christ?

We are becoming a bit abstruse here. I do not know what that unborn child, destined to be the greatest man who had arisen, experienced, but of course it was a response to the presence of the Son of God. To go further would, I think, be speculation, not certainty.
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« Reply #62 on: March 09, 2012, 01:56:33 PM »

why should we hinder these little ones to receive all the mysteries of the kingdom of God ...

You have, I sense, come close to the nub of the matter by using the phrase the mysteries. I certainly agree that if they have been baptised, they should also be allowed to take Communion. I do not know enough Gk to discern whether your exegesis of the verse is correct or not (which is not to say I think you are wrong: I do not know). We should receive the kingdom as a child receives things, in simple trust and gratitude. I cannot say whether the verse is saying that we should receive the kingdom as a paidion (is that the word?) receives the kingdom. But even if it does, it only serves to bring the 'illuminand' (as I believe you say) to an age somewhere between the one where you baptise them and the one where we would be likely to; it does not establish infant baptism. By your concept of a "holy mystery" you obviously open the door to the possibility of infant baptism, if you view it as working ex opere operato. But we are in danger of sliding over into yet another well-trodden circle, namely the nature of the sacraments/ordinances.
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« Reply #63 on: March 09, 2012, 02:00:29 PM »

Quote
By your concept of a "holy mystery" you obviously open the door to the possibility of infant baptism
Since infants that were 8 days old were circumsized, its a harder hill to climb fighting against infant baptism. God already blessed the sealing of infants.
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« Reply #64 on: March 09, 2012, 05:43:54 PM »

I think two things are happening on this thread. One is that we have drifted rather a long way from GreekChef's original theme of "one true church?"

Well, yes and no. In a certain sense, if the Church has gotten this basic foundational dogma/understanding/practice wrong (that is, practicing infant baptism in addition to adult baptism for centuries, give or take) then it almost cannot be the One True Church (if you follow me). Obviously you and I would disagree on this point.
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« Reply #65 on: March 10, 2012, 11:12:17 AM »

I think two things are happening on this thread. One is that we have drifted rather a long way from GreekChef's original theme of "one true church?"

Well, yes and no. In a certain sense, if the Church has gotten this basic foundational dogma/understanding/practice wrong (that is, practicing infant baptism in addition to adult baptism for centuries, give or take) then it almost cannot be the One True Church (if you follow me). Obviously you and I would disagree on this point.


One thing I had to come to terms with was the Sovereignty of God and who the Trinity is in unity, also the Church and if the Church was wrong on the basics what does that say about God the Holy Spirit?  God the Father? God the Son?  To me, to continue to hold to my old baptist views, I was essentially living a life of contradiction from what scripture teaches concerning the Church and her nature and that of the nature of the Trinity and the unity of all.   Essentially, I had to step out of myself and enter into Him e.g. the Church, even though I believed I was in the OK with God being baptist which was not true.  I realized that if unity is so important to me, I could only do one thing and enter into the unity of the faith by starting with me first, let go of what I want and follow what He wants.
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« Reply #66 on: March 11, 2012, 09:20:40 AM »

I'm not about to hold someone responsible who doesn't have the ability to respond. I would hold the person responsible for that person, responsible.

/lolsigh

I have always thought that babies and others who are not able to give a response to God that we can be witness to, might be able to communicate with God in a way that only God and themselves are privy to. Baby John being a great example.
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« Reply #67 on: March 11, 2012, 12:01:42 PM »

this is true, fountain pen.
as i saw in my friend's nephew's baptism (post above) and as i see in the life of my own severely disabled friend. just because we can't communicate with someone, it doesn't mean that God has the same problem!
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« Reply #68 on: March 12, 2012, 10:53:19 AM »

this is true, fountain pen.
as i saw in my friend's nephew's baptism (post above) and as i see in the life of my own severely disabled friend. just because we can't communicate with someone, it doesn't mean that God has the same problem!
 Wink

In my former church, I had a mentally handicapped teenager in my youth group. Although Mary could communicate, she was basically on about a 5 or 6 yr. old level. There was some concern by others about whether or not she could be confirmed (a fairly big deal in the Lutheran Church) because "she didn't understand." So I asked her, "Mary, what happens when you go up for Communion?" She smiled the biggest, sweetest smile you ever saw, opened up her arms wide and said, " I meet Jesus there!"
'Nuff said.
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« Reply #69 on: March 12, 2012, 11:34:22 AM »

Well, i wonder if there is any need for child baptism then.

I do find the whole "you and your household" references a bit tenuous.
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« Reply #70 on: March 12, 2012, 11:37:06 AM »

Well, i wonder if there is any need for child baptism then.

I do find the whole "you and your household" references a bit tenuous.
How so? Especially in the light of infant circumsicision in the OT. There is already a precedent.

PP
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« Reply #71 on: March 12, 2012, 12:09:23 PM »

Well, i wonder if there is any need for child baptism then.

I do find the whole "you and your household" references a bit tenuous.
How so? Especially in the light of infant circumsicision in the OT. There is already a precedent.

PP

Baptism in New Testament times is not analagous to circumcision in Old Testament times and certainly doesn't supersede it.
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« Reply #72 on: March 12, 2012, 12:13:29 PM »

Well, i wonder if there is any need for child baptism then.

I do find the whole "you and your household" references a bit tenuous.

We are born into bondage to sin and death, not because of our own peronal sins, but becasue of the nature that we received from our parents. Baptism is where we are brought into God's covenant as His people. This is why infants are baptized.
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« Reply #73 on: March 12, 2012, 12:14:32 PM »

Well, i wonder if there is any need for child baptism then.

I do find the whole "you and your household" references a bit tenuous.
How so? Especially in the light of infant circumsicision in the OT. There is already a precedent.

PP

Baptism in New Testament times is not analagous to circumcision in Old Testament times and certainly doesn't supersede it.

10And you are complete in him, who is the head of all principality and power:

11In whom also you are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

12Buried with him in baptism, in which also you are risen with him through the faith of the working of God, who has raised him from the dead.

13And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, has he made alive together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

14Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
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« Reply #74 on: March 12, 2012, 12:18:40 PM »

Ortho_cat beat me to it.
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« Reply #75 on: March 12, 2012, 12:24:48 PM »

Well, i wonder if there is any need for child baptism then.

I do find the whole "you and your household" references a bit tenuous.
How so? Especially in the light of infant circumsicision in the OT. There is already a precedent.

PP

Baptism in New Testament times is not analagous to circumcision in Old Testament times and certainly doesn't supersede it.

10And you are complete in him, who is the head of all principality and power:

11In whom also you are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

12Buried with him in baptism, in which also you are risen with him through the faith of the working of God, who has raised him from the dead.

13And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, has he made alive together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

14Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;


Acts 15

"and certain men which came down from Judaea, taught the brethren, and said "except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved".

A major meeting was arranged to discuss this and gasp! Not a single mention of baptism? 

Surely if baptism is the New Testament counterpart of circumcision, the whole question could have been resolved by stating that they had been baptised?
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« Reply #76 on: March 12, 2012, 12:31:04 PM »

Well, i wonder if there is any need for child baptism then.

I do find the whole "you and your household" references a bit tenuous.
How so? Especially in the light of infant circumsicision in the OT. There is already a precedent.

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Baptism in New Testament times is not analagous to circumcision in Old Testament times and certainly doesn't supersede it.

10And you are complete in him, who is the head of all principality and power:

11In whom also you are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

12Buried with him in baptism, in which also you are risen with him through the faith of the working of God, who has raised him from the dead.

13And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, has he made alive together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

14Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
Acts 15

"and certain men which came down from Judaea, taught the brethren, and said "except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved".

A major meeting was arranged to discuss this and gasp! Not a single mention of baptism? 

Surely if baptism is the New Testament counterpart of circumcision, the whole question could have been resolved by stating that they had been baptised?

Alternative interpretation to Col 2:11-12?
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« Reply #77 on: March 12, 2012, 12:51:07 PM »

Well, i wonder if there is any need for child baptism then.

I do find the whole "you and your household" references a bit tenuous.
How so? Especially in the light of infant circumsicision in the OT. There is already a precedent.

PP

Baptism in New Testament times is not analagous to circumcision in Old Testament times and certainly doesn't supersede it.

10And you are complete in him, who is the head of all principality and power:

11In whom also you are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

12Buried with him in baptism, in which also you are risen with him through the faith of the working of God, who has raised him from the dead.

13And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, has he made alive together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

14Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;


Acts 15

"and certain men which came down from Judaea, taught the brethren, and said "except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved".

A major meeting was arranged to discuss this and gasp! Not a single mention of baptism?  

Surely if baptism is the New Testament counterpart of circumcision, the whole question could have been resolved by stating that they had been baptised?

I see that as a rather unconvincing hypothetical.

The whole point of Acts 15 is to demonstrate that the believers are not under the old covenant laws of Moses. The fact that they do not mention baptism is irrelevant; the decree from the council in Acts is not meant to be a catechism. It was done to create provisions which addressed specific issues at the time. Note that circumcision isn't even mentioned in the decree that went out.

However, you did not address the verse which I presented, which clearly shows that baptism is fulfillment of the old testament circumcision, and is in fact called "the circumcision of Christ". We still have to deal with this verse, we cannot simply "cover it up" with another verse that doesn't even address baptism specifically.
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« Reply #78 on: March 12, 2012, 01:08:50 PM »

I would also like to add, that even scholars who do not believe in infant baptism agree that a household in this period includes wives, sons, daughters, slaves, those that live in their house (an elderly mother for example). This is irrefutable. There is overwhelming proof of this in history.

PP
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« Reply #79 on: March 12, 2012, 02:15:28 PM »

Since infants that were 8 days old were circumsized, its a harder hill to climb fighting against infant baptism.

Not so! You are confusing two different things. Circumcision and baptism are both the sign of becoming a member of God's people: for the Jews, it was by physical birth (the sign was circumcision); for Christians it is the new birth, wrought by the Spirit through faith (the sign is baptism). Each sign should be performed to show that someone has indeed joined God's people.
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« Reply #80 on: March 12, 2012, 02:46:19 PM »

Pastor Young--You might find the following quotation from Saint Gregory Palamas interesting.

...Baptism alone is not sufficient to make a person a disciple of the Gospel; keeping God’s commandments, all of them is also necessary.  For He says, ‘Teaching them to observe,’ not just certain things, but ‘all things whatsoever I have commanded you.’  So James, the Lord’s brother, did well to write, ‘Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all’ (Jam. 2:1).  When someone falls into sin and does not pick himself up from the pit of iniquity through repentance, he becomes, through that sin, a transgressor of the law of grace.  ‘So speak ye,’ says the Scripture, ‘and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty’ (Jam. 2:12).  Christ’s law is a law of liberty, for through Holy Baptism He has made us free from the law of sin and death (cf. Rom. 8:2).  If we do not strive through blameless deeds and words to guard our freedom to the end, or, when it slips away, to summon it back through repentance, we shall be condemned by that liberating law itself for failing to keep the freedom given to us.  

Saint Gregory Palamas, “Homily Thirty-Eight,” The Homilies of Saint Gregory Palamas, Vol. 2,
Christopher Veniamin (ed), Saint Tikhon’s Seminary Press, South Canaan, PA, p. 188.
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« Reply #81 on: March 12, 2012, 02:50:35 PM »

Since infants that were 8 days old were circumsized, its a harder hill to climb fighting against infant baptism.

Not so! You are confusing two different things. Circumcision and baptism are both the sign of becoming a member of God's people: for the Jews, it was by physical birth (the sign was circumcision); for Christians it is the new birth, wrought by the Spirit through faith (the sign is baptism). Each sign should be performed to show that someone has indeed joined God's people.
Which is exactly why we baptize infants: to incorporate them into the community of God's people, the Body of Christ. Just as infants were not required to make a profession of faith when they were joined to God's people via the circumcision of the Old Covenant, so also are infants not required to make a profession of faith when joined to God's people via the baptism of the New Covenant.
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« Reply #82 on: March 12, 2012, 02:51:11 PM »

Pastor Young--Here is another selection that may be of interest. This one does not relate directly to baptism, but pputs baptism in perspective:

"Who shall roll away the stone from the door of the sepulchre...for it (is) very great? (Mark 16:3). Who rolled it away? An angel, at God's command. He will likewise roll away the stone of insensibility from our hearts, when the time is right for this. We must show faithfulness to the Lord during times of callousness, faintheartedness, doubts, coldness, times of sorrow, illness and various misfortunes. We must exert our willpower to strengthen faith in ourselves when, by God's allowance, it seems to be all but extinguished. He permits this in order that we may show again and again what it is we are striving for, where our choice lies.

There is a saying among the elders: a good deed is either preceded or followed by a temptation. A good deed, such as heartfelt prayer, or especially Holy Communion, will not pass without the devil taking revenge. He uses all his might to prevent fruitful prayer and/or communion. If unable to achieve this, he then tries to spoil everything after the fact, so that not a trace of the benefit acquired remains. This is very familiar to all those who have some experience in spiritual endeavor. For this reason it is necessary to ask the Lord, with humility and contrition of heart, that He preserve us from the snares of the devil, who acts either directly upon the soul, or indirectly, through people subject to his power.

Do not be surprised at this. This warfare is fierce. Except the Lord build the house, in vain do they labour that build it. Except the Lord guard the city, in vain doth he watch that guardeth her, (Psalm 126:1-2). We must surrender ourselves into the compassionate hands of God, acknowledging before Him our weakness and inability to guard ourselves from visible and invisible foes. Do not be afraid. The devil does not do what he would like, but only that which God allows him to do. Take a look at the book of Job.

May God's blessing always be with you. Never despair. May Christ's Cross always serve to remind you of God's boundless love toward fallen man. Is this thought not enough to inspire one to wholly give oneself over into God's hands? One must make at least a small effort to seek the Kingdom of God, and then the Lord will not leave such a person without His help and comfort. The Lord loves you! Have patience with the Lord."

This beautiful meditation comes from the book Letters to Spiritual Children published by Nikodemos Orthodox Publication Society in New York in 1997. My priest made it available to subscribers to what he calls his "Wisdom List" (email list) If anyone is interested, please drop me a PM.
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« Reply #83 on: March 12, 2012, 02:57:43 PM »

Pastor Young--Here is another selection that may be of interest. This one also does not relate directly to baptism, but puts baptism in perspective as my previous post did. However, this one is from Elder Cleopa of Romania, a modern day hesychast, who might be of interest to you as I understand you had been to Eastern Europe.

"What follows is an excerpt from an article written by His Grace, Atanasije (Jevtic), Retired Bishop of Zahumlje and Herzegovina (Serbian Orthodox Church), entitled “Teachings of the Blessed Elder Cleopa.”

The Holy Fathers say (this is how Fr. Cleopa began to express concisely his spiritual experience to us, inherited from the Holy Fathers and personally experienced by him, as every one of his words clearly confirms) that on the path of salvation one is tempted by the devil from eight sides: from the front, from behind, from the left, from the right, from above, from below, from inside, and from the outside.

1. One is tempted from behind when one continuously remembers the sins and evil deeds one has committed in the past, recalling them anew in one’s mind, reshuffling them, engaging them, despairing because of them, and contemplating them sensually. Such a remembrance of how we have sinned in the past is a demonic temptation.

2. One is normally tempted from the front through fear at the thought of what the future holds: of what will happen to us or to the world; of how much longer we will live; of whether we will have anything to eat; of whether there will be a war or any other kind of serious and frightful event to come; and, in general, by making all kinds of guesses, predictions, prophecies, and everything else that induces fear of the future in us.

3. One is tempted by the devil from the left through the call to commit obvious sins and to behave and act in ways that are known to be sinful and evil, but which people do nonetheless. This temptation is a direct call to sin openly and consciously.
...
Against each of these temptations – from behind, from the front, from the left, from the right, from above, from below, from inside, and from the outside – one must fight by means of watchfulness(the Elder used precisely this Slavonic word [trezvenie]), that is, attentiveness, carefulness, and wakefulness of soul and body; wakefulness and vigilance of spirit; sobriety and discernment; attention to one’s thoughts and actions; or, in a word: judgment. On the other hand, by means of constant prayer that invokes the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that is, through unceasing prayer. (Here Fr. Petronius added in Greek: “Prosochi kai prosefchi” – that is, as the Holy Fathers put it, “by attention and prayer.”)

In other words (the Elder added), the Holy Fathers said that the battle against all temptations and passions consists in the following: guarding all one’s mind, soul, and body from temptation – this is our ascetic struggle, from our human point of view; from the Divine side, one must continuously and prayerfully call upon the help of the All-Merciful Lord Jesus Christ – and this is that unceasing and primary prayer of the hesychasts called the Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner!”

Read the rest at http://www.pravmir.com/elder-cleopa-on-the-eight-sources-of-temptation/
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« Reply #84 on: March 12, 2012, 03:35:17 PM »

Well, i wonder if there is any need for child baptism then.

I do find the whole "you and your household" references a bit tenuous.
If you knew anything about 1st century Mediterrean society, Roman and Jewish law, and the definition of household (and there is plenty of material on that) etc., you wouldn't.
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« Reply #85 on: March 12, 2012, 03:43:55 PM »

This beautiful meditation comes from the book Letters to Spiritual Children published by Nikodemos Orthodox Publication Society in New York in 1997.

Thank you. Regrettably, Orthodox books are very hard to find in Britain. They occasionally crop up in charity or second-hand bookshops, otheriwse the only other source I know is the theology section of Blackwells in Oxford, which is a secular bookshop. Also, books are expensive here in comparison with the USA.  Sad
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« Reply #86 on: March 12, 2012, 04:02:19 PM »

This beautiful meditation comes from the book Letters to Spiritual Children published by Nikodemos Orthodox Publication Society in New York in 1997.

Thank you. Regrettably, Orthodox books are very hard to find in Britain. They occasionally crop up in charity or second-hand bookshops, otheriwse the only other source I know is the theology section of Blackwells in Oxford, which is a secular bookshop. Also, books are expensive here in comparison with the USA.  Sad

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« Reply #87 on: March 12, 2012, 05:07:42 PM »

John's baptism was a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins...

St. John actually did not Baptise people, that was an older Jewish ritual called a Mikvah which was preserved for Jews who had sinned and become ritually unclean. Christian Baptism is compared to circumcision, which Jews did to infants when they were eight days old to grant them entrance into the Holy congregation of God's people, not the Mikvah.
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« Reply #88 on: March 12, 2012, 05:16:03 PM »

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Thanks so much for this, katherineofdixie! Out of the mouths of babes, indeed! This simple, little one truly puts the learned to shame. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they shall see God.

What say you, David Young?
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« Reply #89 on: March 12, 2012, 05:22:06 PM »

Infants are sinless, why would they need forgiveness? Orthodoxy does not accept original sin. 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. Baptism is indeed a vital part of salvation, however it is only one step in the process. By Baptising infants we are being good parents and bringing our children one step closer to Christ, by allowing them to participate in His death and resurrection and inherit a blessing from Christ, and so that when they are at a cognitive age to focus on their spiritual life, their Baptism will have already been taken care of; they will already be a member of God's people and can begin. Baptism is like a parent giving their child a headstart in their spiritual life. If you are familiar with the Nicene creed, we believe that '...Baptism for the remission of sins and unto life everlasting...'. Since Infants are sinless, the Baptism of infants is to bring upon them the second promise; life everlasting as a member of God's flock. Wouldn't you want to give this to your child?
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