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Author Topic: How is "salvific baptism" unbiblical?  (Read 399 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: April 16, 2013, 10:35:19 PM »

Rachel, how is "salvific baptism" unbiblical?
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« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2013, 01:41:05 PM »

Rachel, how is "salvific baptism" unbiblical?

I gave the example of Cornelius. He was clearly saved BEFORE he was baptised. The crucified thief was not baptised at all! but was clearly saved.

Allow me to ask this: A man repents of his sin and accepts the free gift of salvation, taking Jesus as Saviour and Lord. He is  never baptised. Upon his death, does he go to Hell?
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« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2013, 01:49:22 PM »

Rachel, how is "salvific baptism" unbiblical?

I gave the example of Cornelius. He was clearly saved BEFORE he was baptised. The crucified thief was not baptised at all! but was clearly saved.

Allow me to ask this: A man repents of his sin and accepts the free gift of salvation, taking Jesus as Saviour and Lord. He is  never baptised. Upon his death, does he go to Hell?

That is God's buisness. But that doesn't change the fact that we are commanded to baptise. As James has already pointed out, I think you understand the word "Salvation" differently than we do.
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« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2013, 02:49:58 PM »

Rachel, how is "salvific baptism" unbiblical?

I gave the example of Cornelius. He was clearly saved BEFORE he was baptised. The crucified thief was not baptised at all! but was clearly saved.

Allow me to ask this: A man repents of his sin and accepts the free gift of salvation, taking Jesus as Saviour and Lord. He is  never baptised. Upon his death, does he go to Hell?

That is God's buisness. But that doesn't change the fact that we are commanded to baptise.

but this is not the point under discussion. Yes, no or don't know?
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As James has already pointed out, I think you understand the word "Salvation" differently than we do.
it's fairly simple - it means to be saved . How does your's differ?
« Last Edit: April 17, 2013, 02:50:35 PM by rachel » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2013, 02:54:30 PM »

Rachel, how is "salvific baptism" unbiblical?

I gave the example of Cornelius. He was clearly saved BEFORE he was baptised. The crucified thief was not baptised at all! but was clearly saved.

Allow me to ask this: A man repents of his sin and accepts the free gift of salvation, taking Jesus as Saviour and Lord. He is  never baptised. Upon his death, does he go to Hell?

That is God's buisness. But that doesn't change the fact that we are commanded to baptise.

but this is not the point under discussion. Yes, no or don't know?
Quote
As James has already pointed out, I think you understand the word "Salvation" differently than we do.
it's fairly simple - it means to be saved . How does your's differ?


We don't believe that you are "saved" right now.  Salvation is accomplished after death upon judgement from God.  It would be similar to saying as your walking down a road that you were saved from falling in a pit that is still up the road 2 miles.
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« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2013, 02:57:46 PM »

[it's fairly simple - it means to be saved . How does your's differ?

Oh, dear. I'm sorry but I simply couldn't let this one go by. Saying that "salvation" means "to be saved" especially in the context of this discussion is either essentially meaningless or downright lazy.

In any case, can you be more specific?
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« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2013, 02:59:50 PM »

Rachel, how is "salvific baptism" unbiblical?

I gave the example of Cornelius. He was clearly saved BEFORE he was baptised. The crucified thief was not baptised at all! but was clearly saved.

Allow me to ask this: A man repents of his sin and accepts the free gift of salvation, taking Jesus as Saviour and Lord. He is  never baptised. Upon his death, does he go to Hell?
Rachel, this topic really ought to be separated into its own thread. I don't know how to make that happen. Perhaps a moderator can do that.

To say that Cornelius "was clearly saved" works only with your definition of "saved". A better word might be "encountered Christ"; not unlike St Paul's encounter on the road to Damascus. Please understand that we Orthodox do not limit save/salvation/etc to the conversion experience. For your use of the word "saved", you are probably quite right that baptism is not necessary.

However, in the Orthodox use of the word save/salvation/etc baptism is a necessary part of that process.

Let me attempt to illustrate with an analogy - and with the reminder that no analogy is without its flaws and weaknesses  Wink.

(I'm assuming that you are a US citizen from birth and a resident of that country.) I am a Canadian citizen. The US authorities allow me to enter the US so long as I behave myself, have a valid reason for entering, etc. It would even be possible for me to become a US resident. In that case, I could live a life identical to my American neighbours. I might even begin to sound and spell like them Cheesy. I could take full advantage of the many benefits afforded to US citizens - access to schools and hospitals, police protection, property ownership, etc. I might even begin to cheer for the US hockey team. About my only limitations would be an inability to vote and hold certain offices, but for the most part, I would be indistinguishable from any ordinary American citizen. But would I have the right to call myself an American? No - I would need first to swear allegiance to the US in a properly appointed citizenship ceremony.

In the same way, I can live a Christian life - even follow and serve Christ in many ways, but my baptism is the "citizenship ceremony" that completes the entry process.

Does this analogy work with paedobaptism? Yes, I believe so. By your parents' actions, you became a US citizen with no say in the matter. As you matured, you gradually accepted the privileges of that citizenship, and took on its responsibilities. You may decide to never vote in an election or get involved politically or never get a passport, etc. You could even at any point choose to reject all of that, renounce your citizenship and move to some other country. It's the same when we baptize infants. Parents do what they believe to be best with the hope that their children will grow up accepting what was begun on their behalf. Notice that even here, it is clearly recognized that salvation is a process, but baptism is part of that process.

Do we believe that God sends the unbaptized to Hell? First of all, we don't usually focus much on that topic. We prefer to emphasize the positive aspects of becoming saved. Catechumens (i.e. not yet baptized) are allowed to have an Orthodox funeral. For us, the question is Are you being saved?. That can't be emphasized enough. We do what we need to do, and we let God do what He needs to do.

Once you understand some of these differences in terminology, I think you'll find that communication will improve. I hope you'll take the time to do that. You seem like a thoughtful person.

(You might also want to work a bit on how to use the quote tags when you post  Wink)
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« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2013, 03:29:02 PM »

Christians have unity automatically, because they are all indwelt by the same spirit. That does not require mindless unanimity of belief.

No they aren't. The Holy Spirit doesn't come till after Baptism and Chrismation--as demonstrated in Acts. And, the Holy Spirit leads people into unity and unanimity of belief. Hence why St. Paul orders us to adhere to the Apostolic teaching (2 Thess. 2:15) and ORDERS us to share unity in doctrine, mind and judgement (1 Cor. 1:10). If the Spirit does NOT lead you into that, then it is NOT the Holy Spirit but the Spirit of the Devil. There is no getting around it. And I don't get the disregard for proper doctrine and unity that Protestants have; doctrine is just as important as disposition. Without proper doctrine, you can't worship God because you are only worshipping an idol of who you think God is.
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« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2013, 03:40:18 PM »

it's fairly simple - it means to be saved . How does your's differ?

Perhaps an excerpt from my essay would be of aid:

Quote
The Evangelical Protestant view of salvation is heavily rooted in western legalism, and as a result, their conception on the nature of sin is characterized by an overemphasis on judiciary principles. Sinfulness—or, “missing the mark” as it literally translates—is understood as guilt; sin as a crime. God is a judge; salvation means to be forgiven or acquitted of a crime and guilt. Heaven and Hell are literal places that a person will enter someday depending upon God’s verdict, akin to that of a judge. Christ was crucified to appease God’s wrath against humanity originating from Adam’s transgression, and the main purpose of the Christian life is to attain forgiveness from God—that “acquittal” of a judge—so that we could be allowed into Heaven. On the other hand, the Eastern Orthodox view of salvation, sinfulness and atonement differs significantly. Sinfulness is understood as disease, opposed to guilt; salvation as the process of being healed and reunited to God’s love, opposed to being acquitted of a crime. This, perhaps, is the greatest difference between western Christianity and Eastern Orthodoxy; the God of the former is a wrathful judge who will not hesitate to condemn you, the God of Orthodoxy is a concerned doctor who wants to heal you. Christ was crucified to defeat death and thus heal the disease of sinfulness, which is rooted in the fear of death, opposed to satisfying the wrath of an angry judge in order to obtain a mere acquittal for humanity. Essentially, sin and death are interrelated. The act of committing a sin is understood not as angering God and committing a crime, but as rejecting God’s illuminating love and thus harming yourself. The first example of this was the transgression of Adam in the Garden. The ultimate consequence of sin is death; the physical expiration of your body as well as your spirit. However, this is not understood as a “consequence” in the sense that God has inflicted it upon you in a judicial sense, like in western Christianity, but is understood as a “consequence” in the sense that it is the natural result of someone rejecting God’s love—the “fuel” for the human machine as C.S. Lewis once put it—like becoming obese due to overeating or wrecking your automobile due to putting bleach in the fuel tank in lieu of gasoline. This is why sinfulness is understood as disease, as that state of being “broken” and subjected to death. God is the mechanic who wants to fix you; God is the doctor who wants to heal you of your infirmity. God became man and even died for you so that He could shatter Hades—the place of the dead—and thus liberate you from the snares of sinfulness, what I once referred to as “cosmic despair” in another essay, and most of all, make it possible to experience God’s love on a level so intimate that it was never possible prior to the Incarnation. It is God lowering Himself to our level out of love and grace so that we as humans could be elevated to His level as gods through Jesus Christ. In the words of St. Athanasius, “God became man so that men may become god,” (On the Incarnation). Just as humanity shared the consequence of Adam’s sin, which was death—not guilt—humanity can likewise share in the consequences of Christ’s death, which is liberation from death, life, glory, reunification and godliness through grace. In the words of St. Peter, that we “…may be partakers of the divine nature,”-(2 Pet. 1:4) as “…His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness…”-(2 Pet. 1:3). In the words of St. Paul, God has “…predestined,” us “…to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren,”- (Rom. 8:29). But ultimately, this concept of becoming “…partakers of the divine nature,”-(2 Pet. 1:4) is NOT a single one-time event, as in an acquittal from guilt like in western Christianity, but is a lifelong process that requires our mutual cooperation with God—a “synergy” as we call it in the Orthodox faith. As St. Peter once said, we “…as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ,”-(1 Pet. 2:5), and in the words of St. John, “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked,”-(1 Jn. 2:6). Thus, it is a process. This process of “…being built up,”-(1 Pet. 2:5), of becoming “…partakers of the divine nature,”-(2 Pet. 1:4) and being “…conformed to the image,”-(Rom. 8:29) of Christ is what we in the Eastern Orthodox Church call “theosis,” or, “deification,” and this “deification” is what salvation means to the Orthodox Christian; the cooperative process of being healed via God’s love through our union with Christ—the “New Adam.” Thus, in Eastern Orthodoxy, Heaven and Hell are not literal places that God sends you to when you die depending on His judgment—God is a doctor, not a judge—but are adjectives to describe the state of the human soul in relation to God, both in this life and in the life to come when the dead are resurrected. In the words of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco, “Hades is not a place, no, but a state of the soul. It begins here on earth. Just so, paradise begins in the soul of a man here in the earthly life,” and “It is necessary to pray for repentance and for the joy of purification, so that a ray of light will touch our soul and it will come to love the light...It is necessary to pray to meet the Risen Christ with a clean heart, to taste of the joy of the kingdom of heaven at least in the smallest degree.”  All will stand in the presence of God someday at the resurrection of the dead, and even in this life, we experience God to an extent. “…for God is love,”-(1 Jn. 4:Cool says the disciple. To those who have allowed God to heal them and have accepted His treatment—our “deification,” the love that they experience in the presence of God will be a blissful paradise: Heaven. But to those who have rejected His treatment and remain unhealed, they “…shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,”-(2 Thess. 1:9). It is not because God has sentenced them to a place of suffering in the legalistic sense, but because it is the natural result of what happens when the unhealed soul beholds the love of God. Once again, God is a doctor, not a judge. As St. Isaac the Syrian once noted, “Mercy is opposed to just judgment. Just judgment is the leveling of exact measures, because to each is given what is deserved…but mercy is pity, arousing blessings and giving in to all with compassion,” thus, the concept of God as a judge and condemner of sinners does not fit in with the deeper spiritual realities about God that Christ reveals to us through His most intimate of teachings. Most notably, through the Incarnation itself, which, was purely an act of mercy and compassion, and through His parables of the Vinedressers (Mat. 20:13-15) and the Prodigal Son (Lk. 15:20-22), which emphasize the greatness of God’s mercy and love, even when it conflicts with our judicial sense of justice. In the words of St. James, “…Mercy triumphs over judgment,”-(Jam. 2:13). Likewise, our ability to describe spiritual realities is limited to the extent that human language allows, therefore, we should not take physical descriptions of spiritual concepts as being wholly literal. Thus, the descriptions of fire, brimstone and God’s judgment used in the Bible should be read solely as metaphor and pedagogical imagery to describe that horrid misery that the un-deified soul will experience in the presence of God’s love. Once again, in the words of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco, “All those who do not know how to rejoice in the glory of God, in whom the divine realm and its laws call forth a state of unhappiness, who love gloom or semi-gloom, who do not love the light, will not answer to the call of ‘Come unto Me.’ They will shrink back in indignation, unhappiness, in jealousy and anger, from the humble and the meek who will go toward the light, from God Himself, whom they will begin to blame for being in their state. They will even shrink from themselves, though they will not want to admit their guilt. Such a state is true suffering. Hades is not a place, no, but a state of the soul.”
   All that being said, salvation to the Eastern Orthodox Christian is a threefold concept. Thus, in response to the age-old Evangelical Protestant question of “Have you been saved?” the Orthodox would respond that, 1) we have been saved in the sense that we were buried and resurrected with Christ through our Baptism (Rom. 6:4-5), and thus, we can share in the glory of the “New Adam,” 2) that we are being saved through our deification—the process of gradually being healed and restored as “…partakers of the divine nature,”-(2 Pet. 1:4) through cooperation with God’s grace, and finally, 3) that we hope to be saved someday in the sense that when we stand before the presence of God and behold the wholeness of His love in its totality, that it will be an edifying, joyous experience and that our souls will rejoice at it in a heavenly state of paradise, opposed to lament eternally in a hellish state of misery at God’s love because we rejected His treatment via deification in this life and thus allowed our souls to remain unhealed for the next.
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« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2013, 03:43:33 PM »

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Once you get past the Antiochian convert stage

What do you mean by that?

The "hyperdox herman" zealous convert-to-Orthodoxy stage than many of us former Evangelicals go through when we convert. During this stage, we are somewhat fooled by the surface and believe that Orthodoxy really is totally uniform compared to the free-for-all Protestantism that we were used to. This attitude is mostly found in Antiochian parishes, which are mostly composed of converts. But then as time goes on, you discover that--while it may not be as bad as Protestantism--Orthodoxy is still pretty divided, lacking uniformity in some issues and has given birth to its own fair share of schisms.
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« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2013, 03:48:51 PM »

Quote
Once you get past the Antiochian convert stage

What do you mean by that?

The "hyperdox herman" zealous convert-to-Orthodoxy stage than many of us former Evangelicals go through when we convert. During this stage, we are somewhat fooled by the surface and believe that Orthodoxy really is totally uniform compared to the free-for-all Protestantism that we were used to. This attitude is mostly found in Antiochian parishes, which are mostly composed of converts. But then as time goes on, you discover that--while it may not be as bad as Protestantism--Orthodoxy is still pretty divided, lacking uniformity in some issues and has given birth to its own fair share of schisms.

Really? I don't doubt they exist among the antiochians, but it has always been my impression that they were spread out fairly equally among the different jurisdictions. I have most likely been like that myself at some point.
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« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2013, 04:04:03 PM »

it's fairly simple - it means to be saved . How does your's differ?

Perhaps an excerpt from my essay would be of aid:

You really need to learn to form paragraphs. This is the very definition of tl;dr.
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« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2013, 04:18:33 PM »

it's fairly simple - it means to be saved . How does your's differ?

Perhaps an excerpt from my essay would be of aid:

You really need to learn to form paragraphs. This is the very definition of tl;dr.

this is a forum, I am not writing a dissertation. Do you have a problem staying on topic?
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« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2013, 04:22:15 PM »

it's fairly simple - it means to be saved . How does your's differ?

Perhaps an excerpt from my essay would be of aid:

You really need to learn to form paragraphs. This is the very definition of tl;dr.

this is a forum, I am not writing a dissertation. Do you have a problem staying on topic?

I think she was addressing James.
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« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2013, 05:47:10 PM »



Perhaps an excerpt from my essay would be of aid:

The Evangelical Protestant view of salvation is heavily rooted in western legalism, and as a result, their conception on the nature of sin is characterized by an overemphasis on judiciary principles.

scripture speaks of judgement,  how do you conclude there is an "overemphasis"?

 
Quote
Sinfulness—or, “missing the mark” as it literally translates—is understood as guilt; sin as a crime. God is a judge; salvation means to be forgiven or acquitted of a crime and guilt. Heaven and Hell are literal places that a person will enter someday depending upon God’s verdict, akin to that of a judge.

the Bible teaches that Christ will return as judge. You may have justice under law or mercy under grace.

Quote
Christ was crucified to appease God’s wrath against humanity originating from Adam’s transgression,

true. Paul himself makes the point.
 
Quote
and the main purpose of the Christian life is to attain forgiveness from God—that “acquittal” of a judge—so that we could be allowed into Heaven.

false. Once saved,  you have "passed from death unto life" there is, "therefore now no condemnation".

Quote
On the other hand, the Eastern Orthodox view of salvation, sinfulness and atonement differs significantly. Sinfulness is understood as disease, opposed to guilt;

excellent,  now we're getting there. So you don't acknowledge your true moral guilt before a righteous God. If you're not guilty, you have nothing to repent of. The Pharisees thought they were righteous too!

Quote
salvation as the process of being healed and reunited to God’s love, opposed to being acquitted of a crime.

which scripture do you get this  from? Define sin.

 
Quote
This, perhaps, is the greatest difference between western Christianity and Eastern Orthodoxy; the God of the former is a wrathful judge who will not hesitate to condemn you,


John 3:18
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
John 3:17-19 (in Context) John 3 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations


Quote
the God of Orthodoxy is a concerned doctor who wants to heal you. Christ was crucified to defeat death and thus heal the disease of sinfulness, which is rooted in the fear of death, opposed to satisfying the wrath of an angry judge in order to obtain a mere acquittal for humanity. Essentially, sin and death are interrelated. The act of committing a sin is understood not as angering God and committing a crime, but as rejecting God’s illuminating love and thus harming yourself.

ah, you don't sin,  so you don't need salvation ie. Satan has come along and whispered into your ear, "hath God said.....?" Have you never read of God's anger with Israel's sin?

Quote
The first example of this was the transgression of Adam in the Garden. The ultimate consequence of sin is death; the physical expiration of your body as well as your spirit.

the Bible teaches that your spirit is  immortal but you will lose your soul. It teaches that the ultimate consequence of sin is eternal separation from God. Do you actually read your Bible?
 
Quote
However, this is not understood as a “consequence” in the sense that God has inflicted it upon you in a judicial sense, like in western Christianity,

the  Bible says, th "wages of sin is death". How is that NOT a "consequence"?

 
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« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2013, 01:52:06 AM »

Rachel, how is "salvific baptism" unbiblical?

I gave the example of Cornelius. He was clearly saved BEFORE he was baptised. The crucified thief was not baptised at all! but was clearly saved.

Allow me to ask this: A man repents of his sin and accepts the free gift of salvation, taking Jesus as Saviour and Lord. He is  never baptised. Upon his death, does he go to Hell?

If you understood Baptism, then you would understand that the thief on the cross experienced the ultimate Baptism in that he literally died with Christ and was raised to eternal life. This is what Baptism is. So to say that the crucified thief was not baptized reveals your lack of understanding for this holy sacrament. Which is again illustrative of why we need the guidance of the Church to enlighten our understanding of scripture.

As for who goes to heaven and who doesn't, that is for God to know. But the Orthodox Church is not in the business of condemning people to hell. The Church proclaims the gospel and provides the Teachings, Traditions, and Sacramental graces that enable us to grow in sanctification and faith. Those who willfully reject God's grace place themselves in great spiritual danger. That is why we are taking the time to address your questions and reason with you in truth and love.

But as I said, it will be difficult for you to understand as long as you elevate your own interpretations of the Bible over and above the Church through which the Bible came to us.


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« Reply #16 on: May 21, 2013, 06:53:59 PM »

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