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Author Topic: Should Protestants Be Rebaptized???  (Read 7323 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: May 11, 2005, 02:04:18 PM »

I am confused about the issue of Baptism in the Orthodox Church.  I know that Protestants, baptized in the Trinitarian formula, don't have to be rebaptized, but shouldn't they???  As a former Southiern Baptist who is in the process of converting to the Orthodox Faith,  I was baptized in a Trinitarian formula by an ordained Preacher, but I was not baptized for the remission of sins.  The Southern Baptists, and many other Evangelical denominations, do not believe that Baptism is salvific or washes away the person's sins.  So, wouldn't that baptism thus be void and not really Baptism???  I am going to talk to my priest about this, but I also wanted to get your perspective.

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« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2005, 02:33:36 PM »

Dear brother,

What makes the "baptism" an actual incorporation into the body of Christ is presence of  "the body of Christ".

So as long as the Protestant church is not the "body of Christ" you have to participate into the authentic "body of Christ".

The Protestand baptism is a symbolic ritual, while the authentic Orthodox baptism is an ontological participation in the divine reality of Trinity Life.

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« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2005, 02:51:53 PM »

I believe Protestants should be baptized (not rebaptized) as there is no baptism outside the Orthodox Church.  However, in certain circumstances Orthodox hierarchs in differing times and places have allowed non Orthodox to be received by chrismation only.  If it's used as the exception fine, but I have a problem with how it has become the rule here in America. Needless to say, I am not an Orthodox bishop so this is just my opinion.

Some will say "just go with your bishop; his judgment is what matters" but at the same time, if our bishops decided to chrismate a Mormon or a Muslim we would know that there is no way that could be, and we would say they are wrong to do that. Yet for some reason when they decree the universal chrismation of trinitarian Protestants we are supposed to say "well ok in that case it's ok."  So I guess you need to research the issue extensively (see the list of articles on the reception of converts I put together two months ago or so) and keep talking to your priest about it.  Someone who is comfortable with chrismation is our moderator Pedro; you might want to ask him stuff too.  Just to be clear I believe that all Protestants and all Catholics without exception should be baptized upon becoming Orthodox but that is my opinion.

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« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2005, 03:07:25 PM »

  They may say that don't believe in it for the remission of sin, but from what I've been around (family members that are Baptist)  they sure seem to act like it.  Just like they claim eternial security but don't really act as if they believe it.
   I don't think one needs to be re-baptized.  The act of baptizem replaced the act of circumcision- you can only do it once, and it makes little difference who did it for you.  And what is the difference in an infant that is baptized and doesn't know why and a Baptist that is baptized and doesn't really know why?  They both grow (hopefully in faith and love) and will either come to the body of Christ or leave it.
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« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2005, 03:14:31 PM »

Yeah, I agree in principle with Anastasios -- if I had my "druthers," It'd be to baptize converts from other confessions.

What chrismation does, though--and this is the part that is left out by both the ultra-traditionalist, truly schismatic Orthodox sects (groups like ROCOR, otoh, are good about including this), as well as by the ultra-ecumenist Orthodox folks out there--is to FILL IN WHAT IS OBVIOUSLY LACKING in the heterodox baptism. As in, chrismation says the same thing as baptism, just not as loudly, namely: There is NO TRUE BAPTISM OUTSIDE THE CHURCH. All that happens in chrismation is that your Southern Baptist baptism--which is what both I and my Archbishop (DMITRI) received as young men before being chrismated in the Church--is corrected so that you receive everything you would have received at your baptism had you originally been baptized Orthodox. In other words, the Church says that "That's not a baptism in and of itself...but it is now because we say it is." It most certainly is NOT an acceptance of a heterodox baptism per se...at least, it shouldn't be.

Now, if that's the case--that chrismation and baptism ultimately effect the same purpose--then why not baptize? I think the only good reasons are pastoral reasons and TRULY ecumenical reasons, and indeed these are the reasons for acceptance by chrismation throughout its centuries of existence in the Church.

Pastoral -- Pastors note that converts come from sacramentally-oriented heterodox confessions and see their past as a "stepping stone" to the fullness of the Truth. That being the case, it is easier for them to accept a "filling of an empty form"--which is a perfectly acceptable Orthodox view of heterodox "sacraments," imo--than it would be to repeat the form and thus scandalize a weaker brother by repeating (in their mind) an unrepeatable act, if only in form. Hard to accept for those of us who don't care either way, but it is a factor, one which I was very recently made aware of through the entrance of my formerly-RC godson into the Church.

True ecumenism -- While we shouldn't be doing all the dog-and-pony-show stuff in the WCC that we're currently doing, there IS genuine common ground between the Christian confessions, and baptismal form is, in many cases, one of them. While I don't fancy myself as anything even remotely CLOSE to an archecumenist, I do see the relevance in the gesture towards other confessions in recognizing that, yes, you do practice the correct FORM of baptism, and that, at least, we can accept. We need to then make it clear that we see it ONLY as a form that, apart from an act of God we are unaware of, is devoid of grace--and hence chrismation is absolutely necessary.

Finally, though--and here I go back to pastoral concerns--I (the layman whose opinion means nothing!) think it would be wise if the option were at least given within the Church to either baptize OR chrismate, according to the desire of both the priest and the catechuman. This, I know, would require steadfast vigilance on the part of the clergy to maintain the Orthodox doctrine of exclusively valid baptism within the Church, but we find the same battle already being waged regarding chrismation when it's the only option, so perhaps keeping baptism as an option (which undoubtedly I would have utilized) would send a message that all baptisms are NOT created equal, and that, while allowances can be made for the above reasons, either choice will only and ultimately reflect the one view of the Church, which is that Her sacraments alone contain the sacramental Life of Christ in this world.

I hope this helps.

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« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2005, 03:17:00 PM »

My two cents on this issue: Discuss the issue of Protestant baptism with your priest. Hopefully, your priest will explain to you that the question of how to receive converts in the Orthodox Church from non-Orthodox confessions is a complex matter. Basically, there are two positions on this matter. The more permissive position, that holds that chrismation is sufficient, and the more rigorous position that all converts must be received by baptism. Read the links that Anastasios provides to get more of an in depth understanding of this. It's kind of complicated. But also realize that priests are NOT free to chose which way they want to receive converts. The Bishop determines how converts are received. If a priest's bishop tells him to receive converts by chrismation, that's what the priest has to do, even though such a priest might have a private opinion that receiving such individuals by baptism would be better. Hope that doesn't muddle the waters too much.
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« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2005, 03:18:36 PM »

Quote
I am going to talk to my priest about this, but I also wanted to get your perspective.

That's the wisest move. You're not going to resolve any confusion by asking online. It looks like you're a catechumen in the OCA (my jurisdiction as well), where you won't be re-baptised.

Follow the guidelines of your priest, who's following standards established by the bishop and synod. The bishops have always had the authority to decide whether to grant economia for those already baptised according to the Trinitarian formula, though a few jurisdictions today will say all received heterodox should be baptized again. Both arguments are generally valid, but the danger in bringing this issue up online is that some will tell you that your bishop has no authority to grant economia and you should disobey your priest and find someone who'll do the baptism again (which naturally will be in a jurisdiction not in communion with yours or just about anyone else's). You might be told online that heterodox have always been re-baptised and your bishop is acting unlawfully, which isn't true. There's plenty of Patristic material since the early Church showing that non-Orthodox Christians have been brought into the Church through chrismation only if the non-Orthodox has already received a Trinitarian baptism with water. In the historical record, you'll find that when economia wasn't granted, it was usually due to the absence of water, or the Christian came from a non-Trinitarian sect. These are the traditional guidelines your bishop is acting under, and he's not doing anything innovative or unlawful despite what you pick up from any heated polemics online. There's also a one baptism clause in Scripture and the Creed, which shouldn't be taken lightly because you fear your first baptism was insufficiently "holy" or it didn't take. Chrismation will take care of it. It might be said that bishops are chrismating too leniently these days, but it could just as easily be said that the one baptism clause is being disregarded way too much these days, especially when you hear of Orthodox Christians being re-baptised.

What's important here is to discuss this issue with your priest and trust his guidance that the chrismation is sufficient for sealing your prior baptism.
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« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2005, 03:23:35 PM »

Quote
Now, if that's the case--that chrismation and baptism ultimately effect the same purpose--then why not baptize? I think the only good reasons are pastoral reasons and TRULY ecumenical reasons, and indeed these are the reasons for acceptance by chrismation throughout its centuries of existence in the Church.

And there's the danger that if a re-baptism is performed, it is actually washing away the Holy Spirit from the first one. Hence, the explicit endorsement of "one" baptism for the remission of sins in the Creed and words of Christ.
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« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2005, 03:27:51 PM »

I believe Protestants should be baptized (not rebaptized) as there is no baptism outside the Orthodox Church.

Big-B Baptist: "Do I believe in infant baptism? I've seen it done!"

Basic issue: people who convert as believers are baptized, and already believed that they were baptized. Their new church cannot baptize them for the first time. One baptism may be defective, and the other not, but they are both baptisms.

Chrismation is generally held to be the equivalent of Western confirmation, depending on whom you ask. Depending on whom you ask, it is considered to be an appropriate rite for conversion from an improper to a proper polity. Otherwise, I'd tend to assert that conditional baptism is the proper rite.
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« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2005, 03:45:57 PM »

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And there's the danger that if a re-baptism is performed, it is actually washing away the Holy Spirit from the first one.

Then would a third baptism need to be performed to put the Holy Spirit back on?
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« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2005, 03:53:52 PM »

For a third baptism, you can only get the holy spirit if you remember to add Mr. Bubble to the baptismal font. It says so in my canons book.
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« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2005, 03:57:15 PM »

There's plenty of Patristic material since the early Church showing that non-Orthodox Christians have been brought into the Church through chrismation only if the non-Orthodox has already received a Trinitarian baptism with water. In the historical record, you'll find that when economia wasn't granted, it was usually due to the absence of water, or the Christian came from a non-Trinitarian sect. These are the traditional guidelines your bishop is acting under, and he's not doing anything innovative or unlawful despite what you pick up from any heated polemics online.

This is very true. But then there're statements that follow like...

There's also a one baptism clause in Scripture and the Creed, which shouldn't be taken lightly because you fear your first baptism was insufficiently "holy" or it didn't take. Chrismation will take care of it.


...and...

And there's the danger that if a re-baptism is performed, it is actually washing away the Holy Spirit from the first one. Hence, the explicit endorsement of "one" baptism for the remission of sins in the Creed and words of Christ.

...which REALLY show the practical advantage to baptizing converts...I really don't think we have any place presuming that a heterodox baptism can or will, in and of itself, be compared to the one baptism which is tied in Scripture to the one Faith of the Church, much less that it can be assumed to be either completely or partially Spirit-filled.

Basic issue: people who convert as believers are baptized, and already believed that they were baptized. Their new church cannot baptize them for the first time. One baptism may be defective, and the other not, but they are both baptisms.

Well, if we're just talking about form, then yeah.

Chrismation is generally held to be the equivalent of Western confirmation, depending on whom you ask. Depending on whom you ask, it is considered to be an appropriate rite for conversion from an improper to a proper polity. Otherwise, I'd tend to assert that conditional baptism is the proper rite.

Well, to call it the "equivalent" is a bit misguided, as we don't accept an RC confirmation as a suitable alternative to chrismation (as we would their baptismal form with ours). The only RCs we receive w/out chrismation are Eastern Rite, and that only because they have actually been chrismated.

It might be said that bishops are chrismating too leniently these days, but it could just as easily be said that the one baptism clause is being disregarded way too much these days, especially when you hear of Orthodox Christians being re-baptised.

I don't think this is the same thing at all. The one baptism clause applies to the Church, and only to the Church. For an Orthodox priest to baptize an already-chrismated Orthodox Christian is to endanger the initial act of rectifying a heterodox form. This is NOT the same thing as an Orthodox priest baptizing someone who, as far as we know, did NOT receive grace through the heterodox form of baptism. The former case is a baptism of a certain faith being repeated over someone who's already been admitted to that same faith, and thus already has a validated baptism. The latter case is a baptism of someone from an ALIEN FAITH who, therefore, did NOT (prior to baptism) have the same baptism/faith as the Orthodox priest who's baptizing him.
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« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2005, 03:57:31 PM »

For a third baptism, you can only get the holy spirit if you remember to add Mr. Bubble to the baptismal font. It says so in my canons book.

Heh!  Grin
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« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2005, 04:52:32 PM »

The one baptism clause applies to the Church, and only to the Church. For an Orthodox priest to baptize an already-chrismated Orthodox Christian is to endanger the initial act of rectifying a heterodox form. This is NOT the same thing as an Orthodox priest baptizing someone who, as far as we know, did NOT receive grace through the heterodox form of baptism. The former case is a baptism of a certain faith being repeated over someone who's already been admitted to that same faith, and thus already has a validated baptism. The latter case is a baptism of someone from an ALIEN FAITH who, therefore, did NOT (prior to baptism) have the same baptism/faith as the Orthodox priest who's baptizing him.

Well, maybe that can depend on who's defining *what* or "who" is The Church.

 In my reading around the edges of EO and the splinters there of (think ROAC for one, but there are others) there are people who have been "baptized" into those groups (as they say that they are the "Real" Orthodox as opposed to "World Orthodox" i.e. GOA, OCA, AO, etc etc.) *after* they had been baptized in one of the jurisdictions afore mentioned.  So the splinter/schismatic whatever groups say that the previous baptism, EO though it was, *doesn't count* as a real one.  That the person had just gotten wet, without any sacrament.  It might seem to be the same reasoning that some espouse here turned on them. 

Sigh.

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« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2005, 05:05:12 PM »

Quote
...which REALLY show the practical advantage to baptizing converts...I really don't think we have any place presuming that a heterodox baptism can or will, in and of itself, be compared to the one baptism which is tied in Scripture to the one Faith of the Church, much less that it can be assumed to be either completely or partially Spirit-filled.

The dilemma is sufficiently resolved with the chrismation option -- the baptism is made whole, and we've abided by the Christ's command. The focus should be placed on the power of chrismation and a confession of faith upon the former baptism, which was correct in form. We shouldn't be saying that we definitively know or don't know what the Spirit was doing in that previous baptism, and I think both ends of the extreme are in error by making that kind of definitive judgment.

Quote
The latter case is a baptism of someone from an ALIEN FAITH who, therefore, did NOT (prior to baptism) have the same baptism/faith as the Orthodox priest who's baptizing him.

This point could be convincingly argued if we didn't have the Patristic sources telling us that converts from non-Orthodox Christian sect X should be received through chrismation only, but not sect Y because they weren't Trinitarians. It seems clear that they were only applying a Trinitarian + water test to these converts, and not whether they believed in all the Councils or were baptised in the Orthodox Church. It seems to me, after these readings, that the Fathers were only applying a bare bones minimum belief in the Trinity, and not a strict line item check on every article of Faith. Obviously, if the converts were already baptised into an Orthodox belief system, then they'd already be Orthodox.

In my view, it's a dead issue that was resolved early on. The Fathers allowed for chrismation-only for much worse Trinitarian sects (i.e. the Cathars who believed Christ was a non-human being and that He and the Holy Spirit were inferior to the Father) than Lutherans and Catholics, so I see no reason for disallowing it now and calling bishops who continue the practice as acting unlawful or inappropriate or being uneducated. Despite my distaste for the WCC, I think the ecumenical boogy man is being utilized way too much to condemn historical practices which were just fine since the early hundreds and existed long before the modern ecumenical movement.
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« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2005, 05:47:24 PM »

Another issue to be concerned about is the trend among the more liberal Protestant denominations to baptize in the name of "the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Sanctifier". This practice originated in a misguided desire to use "inclusive" language, but it amounts to the Modalist heresy.
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« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2005, 05:50:56 PM »

Well, to call it the "equivalent" is a bit misguided, as we don't accept an RC confirmation as a suitable alternative to chrismation (as we would their baptismal form with ours). The only RCs we receive w/out chrismation are Eastern Rite, and that only because they have actually been chrismated.

Why is Eastern Catholic chrismation acceptable but Latin Catholic confirmation not? Latin confirmation has always consisted of anointing with Chrism, and since Vatican II the spoken formula is very similar to that used in the Eastern rites.
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« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2005, 06:04:26 PM »



And there's the danger that if a re-baptism is performed, it is actually washing away the Holy Spirit from the first one.  Hence, the explicit endorsement of "one" baptism for the remission of sins in the Creed and words of Christ.

If Orthodox baptism could wash away the grace of the first one, that would mean that basically the entire Greek Church was in very extreme error from 1755-1888 and that even now, Orthodox hierarchs and priests in Greece, Jerusalem, Athos, etc, are routinely causing people a risk of losing their salvation. I think that's a can of worms, so I take the approach that it's never wrong to baptize a convert and hence, it should be the standard way of doing it.

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« Reply #18 on: May 11, 2005, 06:44:42 PM »

There is an interesting historical analysis On the Question of the Order of Reception of Persons into the Orthodox Church, Coming to Her from Other Christian Churches

"The decisive legislation on this matter was promulgated at the Second Ecumenical Council (A.D. 381) in its 7th Canon:

"Those heretics who come over to Orthodoxy and to the society of those who are saved we receive according to the prescribed rite and custom: we receive Arians, Macedonians, Novatianists who call themselves ‘pure and better,’ Quatrodecimans, otherwise known as Tetradites, as well as Appolinarians on condition that they offer libelli (i.e., recantations in writing) and anathematize every heresy that does not hold the same beliefs as the holy, catholic and apostolic Church of God, and then they should be marked with the seal, that is, anointed with chrism on the forehead, eyes, nostrils, mouth and ears. And as they are marked with the seal, we say, ‘seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ As for Eunomians, however, who are baptized with a single immersion, Montanists, who are called Phrygians, and the Sabellians, who teach that Father and Son are the same person, and who commit other abominable things, and [those belonging to] any other heresies — for there are many of them here, especially among the people coming from the country of the Galatians, — all of them that want to adhere to Orthodoxy we are willing to accept as Greeks [i.e., pagans]. Accordingly, on the first day we make them Christians; on the second day, catechumens; then, on the third day, we exorcise them with the act of blowing thrice into their face and into their ears; and thus we do catechize them, and we make them tarry a while in the church and listen the Scriptures; and then we baptize them."

In this way the Holy Church made the rules: by what order to receive those who come into Orthodoxy from heresy. Those who have a correct baptism are received without re-baptism. Those who do not have baptism in the name of the Holy Trinity — are received by way of Baptism. It must be noted that the Arians and Macedonians held to a wrong teaching about the Persons of the Holy Trinity, but the actual faith in the Holy Trinity, in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, was there, and this was sufficient, in the opinion of the holy Church for recognizing the validity (sufficiency) of their baptism.

With this canon the Second Ecumenical Council gave the direction of how to act in the future. Hefele notes that the Holy Fathers and the teachers of the Church, while accepting as valid the baptism of certain heretics, nonetheless felt it necessary to give them the gift of the Holy Spirit, inherent in the holy Orthodox Church, through chrismation.
......"
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« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2005, 07:36:30 PM »

Just for some information: I have been baptised three times. Firstly, when I was a baby I was "christened" in a Protestant church. Secondly, I was "baptised" into the Baptist Church when I was about 18 because I had become a "born-again" Christian believer. Thirdly, I was baptised into the Orthodox Church when I converted to Orthodoxy (thank God for this decision). So, personally, I view the third baptism as THE one and only baptism that is of any concern to myself or to God.

When I came to Orthodoxy, I didn't see the need for being re-baptised (especially considering I had to get into a metal tank with cold water!!!) ... no seriously. But my priest, after he had spoken to the leading priest of the Church and also the Archbishop, assured me it was necessary to get baptised again due to the uncertainty of how the Baptists baptize.  So, better be safe than sorry ... I got baptised again ... but I am very thankful that I did because I see the importance of the action more so than my other baptisms.

So, from a personal point of view, I would encourage any Protestant believer to be baptised or re-baptised if it's the case, into the Orthodox Church, seeing it is THE Church of Christ. But I would also recommend you speak to your priest about the matter too.
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« Reply #20 on: May 12, 2005, 12:09:35 PM »

When I came to Orthodoxy, I didn't see the need for being re-baptised (especially considering I had to get into a metal tank with cold water!!!) ... no seriously. But my priest, after he had spoken to the leading priest of the Church and also the Archbishop, assured me it was necessary to get baptised again due to the uncertainty of how the Baptists baptize. So, better be safe than sorry ... I got baptised again ... but I am very thankful that I did because I see the importance of the action more so than my other baptisms.

If that is the reason then conditional baptism is the correct rite. And your last line ties into the Western use of confirmation-- using baptism this way is, um, very Baptist.
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« Reply #21 on: May 12, 2005, 12:46:20 PM »

In Orthodox Christianity, the Priesthood is central to the Holy Mysteries.  And Priesthood, depends upon the context of the one excercising such.  Thus, if a Priest is defrocked, he is not simply forbidden to minister - in truth he cannot minister.

Given this situation within the life of the Church, I'm perplexed at those (Orthodox) who insist on the "grace of the mysteries" being present in heterodox communions/denominations.  Obviously God can do as He pleases outside of the "normal" way He has established of doing things, but is this something we can pretend to know of with certitude, let alone make hard, fast, universal rules about?

The practice of receiving people coming from heterodoxy with Chrism, or the laying on of hands/repentence, etc. (which is legitimate) is an outgrowth of the Church's practice in receiving those who were once part of the Church and have departed from Her but now want to return.  For example, if a man apostacizes, similar means are used to reconcile him as are used by economy for people coming from some heterodox communions.   Thus, what his apostacy has effectively rendered void, is healed and re-energized by the various rites (typically the mystery of Chrism, though often even less than this has been used; confession and absolution and public renunciation of heresy and profession of faith.)

In the same way, the Church gives life to what was always void.  In this, economy is being practiced - because strictly speaking, it was always void...it exists outside of what the Church recognizes, outside of what is lawful.  It could be ignored.  But so as to spare people scandal and to make things easier, the Church chooses to overlook that the baptism (or even ordination in certain cases!) was unlawful and alien to the Body of Christ, and breaths Life into it.

I don't agree with those who say "exactitude", or "strictness" must be adhered to, or who make it seem as if the lenient approach (where possible) is some new, weird thing in the Church's life.  But, I do agree that it has utility given current confusion on the subject, and given that the economy now practiced in regard to the heterodox (at least westerners) is extremely liberal - they're often sanctifying that which is threadbare, or can scarcely be said to even resemble anything that Orthodoxy would recognize as a Baptism (even an emergency one.)

For example, the Trullo Canons of old which prescribed economy for certain heretics and schismatics (sometimes quite liberally), were dealing with people whose rites, in particular their form of Baptism, was basically that of the Orthodox Church - three immersions, and generally understood as granting the remission of sins, etc.  This describes precious few of the heterodox these days, and the matter is made even worse by ever increasing problems in the western denominations.

Also, I'm not really sure people coming from such backgrounds would really be that scandalized at receiving a canonical Baptism from an Orthodox Priest.  Modern western converts in particular seem pretty savvy, and the gap (nay, chasm!) between what they're leaving now days and what they're coming to is larger than ever.  I guess what I"m saying is that I think if anything, a lot of grief is now being caused to western converts, as I've heard a few stories now of people who were received by economia, but later on developed scruples (or in some cases, legitimate concerns) over this.
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« Reply #22 on: May 12, 2005, 01:43:33 PM »

Quote
I don't agree with those who say "exactitude", or "strictness" must be adhered to, or who make it seem as if the lenient approach (where possible) is some new, weird thing in the Church's life.

That's the major point I've tried to make. A logical chain isn't made going from "It's not wrong to perform rebaptism for heterodox converts" to "Therefore, such a mandate should be required." We'd have to rewrite a great part of Orthodox history, and demote saints like St. Elizabeth, the New Martyr of Russia, if we say that people were doing something they shouldn't have been doing. Saying we should baptise makes the Fathers sound like they were doing something inappropriate.

Quote
For example, the Trullo Canons of old which prescribed economy for certain heretics and schismatics (sometimes quite liberally), were dealing with people whose rites, in particular their form of Baptism, was basically that of the Orthodox Church - three immersions, and generally understood as granting the remission of sins, etc. This describes precious few of the heterodox these days, and the matter is made even worse by ever increasing problems in the western denominations.

That's pretty much true, though I don't believe the triple immersion part was universally practiced in the Orthodox Church, as can be seen in the Didache various forms of water baptism were allowed without mandating another baptism be performed. We've uncovered baptismal fonts from the Byzantine period which are only a few inches deep, which would rule out a full immersion. The Russian Church has also always received Lutherans and Catholics through chrismation, despite the previous baptisms performed through pouring (though ROCOR jumped from this practice after the OCA was granted autocephaly in the early 1970's). The "triple" nature of the baptism with water plus Trinitarian belief have been the basic elements in granting economia. Some writings said triple immersion must be present before exercising economia, others didn't include that requirement.

Quote
Also, I'm not really sure people coming from such backgrounds would really be that scandalized at receiving a canonical Baptism from an Orthodox Priest.

That's probably true. My concern is a rebaptism performed because someone wants it. This is the exact same reasoning behind granting economia because we don't want to offend. The Church should't be applying its sacraments based upon what the convert wants to make him happy. If the convert is unhappy either because his prior baptism is rejected, or because he's denied another baptism (which he believes will make him feel better), it should be irrelevant.  Otherwise, we're just Protestantizing our faith.

Baptism is not intended to be a mind-blowing ritual that gives you a warm fuzzy feeling all over. If someone thinks throwing in candles and incense and bells will give him the psychological sensation of an instant soteriological transformation, I'd say they need to re-evaluate whether they understand the conversion process. Again, it sounds like a Protestant mindset, and not all too different from the fellow who says he needs to hear Ravi Shankar during his daily prayers to get mystical buzz.
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« Reply #23 on: May 12, 2005, 02:23:51 PM »

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If the convert is unhappy either because his prior baptism is rejected, or because he's denied another baptism (which he believes will make him feel better), it should be irrelevant.    Otherwise, we're just Protestantizing our faith.

i fully agree with this, on both points.

anyway, just my meager two cents Smiley
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« Reply #24 on: May 12, 2005, 11:03:16 PM »

Quote
Baptism is not intended to be a mind-blowing ritual that gives you a warm fuzzy feeling all over.  If someone thinks throwing in candles and incense and bells will give him the psychological sensation of an instant soteriological transformation, I'd say they need to re-evaluate whether they understand the conversion process.  Again, it sounds like a Protestant mindset, and not all too different from the fellow who says he needs to hear Ravi Shankar during his daily prayers to get mystical buzz.

An excellent point and one well worth reflecting upon.

Thanks!

In Christ,
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« Reply #25 on: May 13, 2005, 06:40:21 AM »

That's pretty much true, though I don't believe the triple immersion part was universally practiced in the Orthodox Church, as can be seen in the Didache various forms of water baptism were allowed without mandating another baptism be performed.  We've uncovered baptismal fonts from the Byzantine period which are only a few inches deep, which would rule out a full immersion.

This is true, though with the spread of the main liturgies in the Church--in Antioch, Alexandria, Rome, Constantinople--triple immersion (even in Rome early on and for a good long while!) quickly became the norm.

Quote
The "triple" nature of the baptism with water plus Trinitarian belief have been the basic elements in granting economia.

You're right, and this is why there is a serious problem with the liberality practiced by SCOBA clergy in terms of economia.  This is from On the Question of the Order of Reception of Persons into the Orthodox Church, Coming to Her from Other Christian Churches by Archimandrite Ambrosius (Pogodin) of the OCA.  On the page just linked to, one finds the following rule of baptism, for the OCA (which, incidentally, is identical, AFAIK, to the Russian practice SCOBA claims to be the heir of):

Quote
"The Orthodox Church in America receives non-Orthodox by three rites:

   1. Those converting from Judaism, paganism, and Islam, as well as those who distort or do not accept the dogma of the Holy Trinity, or where the baptism is performed by a single immersion, by means of baptism.

   2. Those whose baptism was valid but who either do not have sacrament of chrismation or who lack a hierarchy with apostolic succession (or if it is questionable), by means of chrismation. This group includes Lutherans, Calvinists and Episcopalians (Anglicans).

   3. Those whose hierarchy has apostolic succession and whose baptism and chrismation (or confirmation) was performed in their church, by means of repentance and repudiation of heresy, following instruction in Orthodoxy. This group includes persons of the Roman Catholic and Armenian confessions. If it happens that they were not chrismated or confirmed in their churches or if there is any question about this, they are anointed with the Holy Chrism.

Exactly the same rules are found in all the non-Greek Orthodox Churches in America and Canada."

As Augustine rightly stated, there are some severely threadbare "baptisms"--like those of the single-immersion baptists, for example--that are being accepted by SCOBA which go against a definition provided by one of their own in America, as well as by their forebears in Russia.  This is my BIG beef with how it's done, though the fact that they are a legitimate synod of bishops offers me some comfort... :-

Quote
That's probably true.  My concern is a rebaptism performed because someone wants it.

You know, you're right.  I know I said otherwise above, but you are right.  And as much as I am disappointed that SCOBA's not adhering even to the OCA's abovementioned past practice, I wouldn't have expected the priest who chrismated me to have done things any differently, as he was just following his bishop, nor would I have expected the bishop to have "bent the rules" for me (though I may have given it a shot and at least asked had I thought to do so).
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« Reply #26 on: May 13, 2005, 09:55:17 AM »

I just had this discussion with my priest on Wednesday.  He said that the difference between baptizing a baby who doesn't know what is going on and being baptized by a Baptist minister is that the baby is being baptized by a PRIEST who is authorized by God to do so.  The Baptist minister is not even a member of the true body of Christ.  Some Bishops accept the baptisms of others, but not because they believe them to have been trully valid, but for the sake of economia and the ultimate salvation of one's soul.  :flame: (not wishing to create a potential stumbling block).  Nonetheless, the Orthodox priest essentially activates the "baptism" through the rite of chrismation.

I was "baptized" as a Free Will Baptist as a child but next year will be baptized into Holy Orthodoxy since the Baptist minister did not even have an accurate view of what he was doing when he dunked me.  Grin
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« Reply #27 on: May 13, 2005, 12:34:02 PM »

Here's the article I alluded to earlier regarding Archbishop Chrysostomos' comments about washing away the HS by rebaptism (in this particular case, rebaptism of an Orthodox Christian already received into the OC through chrismation-only). I read similar comments elsewhere, so I'm thinking there are Patristic, canonical references. Anastasios can comment further since he's more knowledgeable in the Greek traditions.

Archbishop Chrysostomos:
"As for correct economy used by right-believing clergy, fear those who would oppose it, question it, and—as I have learned is the case in some instances—secretly act without their Bishop’s permission to correct what is not incorrect, thus washing away, not sin, but the Holy Spirit."

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/corrective_baptism.aspx
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« Reply #28 on: May 13, 2005, 01:01:38 PM »

Archbishop Chrysostomos:
"As for correct economy used by right-believing clergy, fear those who would oppose it, question it, and—as I have learned is the case in some instances—secretly act without their Bishop’s permission to correct what is not incorrect, thus washing away, not sin, but the Holy Spirit."

This I have no problem with, for it deals with clergy who act unbecomingly towards people they call "right-believing."  Again, a baptism of a right-believing member of the Church is actually harmful.  This quote is NOT the same thing as a cautionary measure against washing away something from a heterodox baptism.  The former is an Orthodox belief, the latter is not, and the distinction is crucial.
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« Reply #29 on: May 13, 2005, 02:24:29 PM »

Strelets,

Quote
That's pretty much true, though I don't believe the triple immersion part was universally practiced in the Orthodox Church, as can be seen in the Didache various forms of water baptism were allowed without mandating another baptism be performed.

In the Didache, "Baptism by pouring" is suggested if sufficient water for proper immersion is not available. Current Orthodox practice on this matter, and in ages past, also makes that pretty clear, I think (that pouring is allowed as economia.)

Quote
We've uncovered baptismal fonts from the Byzantine period which are only a few inches deep, which would rule out a full immersion.

Without disputing such finds (asking details - where, when they were from exactly, etc.), I think it's important to consider that just because one finds evidence of something here or there, does not necessarily means one is observing the artificats of a legitimate, canonical practice. The Church has had Her lows, or cases where regions were (relatively speaking) temporarily dominated by anti-canonical situations or lapses. I'd submit, given a "Vincentian" understanding of such things, it's quite clear that the practice of "pouring" as something normal in the Orthodox milieu is an abbheration, and not to be taken as something permissable. IOW, such findings would not create a precedent.

Quote
The Russian Church has also always received Lutherans and Catholics through chrismation, despite the previous baptisms performed through pouring (though ROCOR jumped from this practice after the OCA was granted autocephaly in the early 1970's).

Actually, not always. Prior to Peter the Great, there wasn't a hard "standard" for this - and actually there was a brief period (following the Council of Patriarch Philaret in 1620) where Baptism of all western-heterodox was required. Even after Russia adopted a fairly liberal policy about this, there were still plenty of Baptism-conversions going on, and not just by crackpots either - apparently this went on at the monasteries in Optina and Valaamo, amongst others.

Quote
That's probably true. My concern is a rebaptism performed because someone wants it. This is the exact same reasoning behind granting economia because we don't want to offend. The Church should't be applying its sacraments based upon what the convert wants to make him happy. If the convert is unhappy either because his prior baptism is rejected, or because he's denied another baptism (which he believes will make him feel better), it should be irrelevant.  Otherwise, we're just Protestantizing our faith.

Well, it does become a significant pastoral problem if you have someone struggling with scruples, precisely over something which was intended to make life easier for them. That just doesn't make any sense, and the responsible pastors I'm familiar with will actually do the kind thing and give such persons a proper, canonical Baptism. The only people who have kittens about this I've found, are either those who feel slighted by this (because of their own pasts perhaps? i.e. they were received into Orthodoxy via economia...), or more often than not, convinced ecumenists who have some very conflicted/mixed-up views on the subject which when examined closely, do not line up well with what the Church has "always and everywhere believed."

Simply put, the history of receiving people given a form of Baptism other than triple-immersion via Chrism (or less than this even, confession and profession of faith), is actually very brief when one see's things in their 1900+ plus year (and proper) perspective. I'm not saying that means what has gone on thus far (for the most part) is reprehensible and totally without justification. However, I do have my own concerns whether those past justifications (such as the shifting borders and Uniatism) which brought about this extremely liberal practice still hold today - where there is no compulsion and mass confusion (leading to endless possibilities for scandal - such as when you had Uniates who did not even understand they were not in fact 'Pravoslavni', or who were told lies like "oh the Pope has become Orthodox" or somehow really is Orthodox, etc.).

However in the end, those concerns are private ones, which thank-God I do believe are actually being slowly addressed by the legitimate, authoritative voice of the Church (Her legit pastors - the Bishops.) As it stands, I certainly do not plan on "shunning" people, simply because they were received according to economia.
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« Reply #30 on: May 13, 2005, 03:21:20 PM »

Quote
"The Orthodox Church in America receives non-Orthodox by three rites:

   1. Those converting from Judaism, paganism, and Islam, as well as those who distort or do not accept the dogma of the Holy Trinity, or where the baptism is performed by a single immersion, by means of baptism.

   2. Those whose baptism was valid but who either do not have sacrament of chrismation or who lack a hierarchy with apostolic succession (or if it is questionable), by means of chrismation. This group includes Lutherans, Calvinists and Episcopalians (Anglicans).

   3. Those whose hierarchy has apostolic succession and whose baptism and chrismation (or confirmation) was performed in their church, by means of repentance and repudiation of heresy, following instruction in Orthodoxy. This group includes persons of the Roman Catholic and Armenian confessions. If it happens that they were not chrismated or confirmed in their churches or if there is any question about this, they are anointed with the Holy Chrism.

Exactly the same rules are found in all the non-Greek Orthodox Churches in America and Canada."

Wait, unless I am not reading this clearly, doesn't the first part of #3 say that RCs who have been confirmed in the RCC are to be received by confession (repentance and repudiation of heresy)?? This is the first time I have heard of this, since every former RC I know who has been received into the Church (and who was confirmed as a kid, like me) has been received by Chrismation...and all are in the OCA. Why would this be in the guidelines outlined above if it is not what is practiced? As for my personal opinion (which means absolutely nothing) on this small point, since we confess one baptism in the creed, I understand the use of Chrismation and believe it is a valid way to receive the groups in question into the Church - but Orthodox Chrismation would then be required to fill in what the heterodox baptism lacked, and essentially make it an Orthodox baptism, retroactively (if that makes sense haha). However, I do not feel a person's heterodox confirmation (annointing with chrism) is comparable to an Orthodox one, in this case - but then again, what do I know. I'm sure the above guideline has been practiced in history - I'm just expressing my understanding of the situation as it is taught to converts today. Smiley
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« Reply #31 on: May 13, 2005, 04:16:24 PM »

In the Didache, "Baptism by pouring" is suggested if sufficient water for proper immersion is not available. Current Orthodox practice on this matter, and in ages past, also makes that pretty clear, I think (that pouring is allowed as economia.)

Without disputing such finds (asking details - where, when they were from exactly, etc.), I think it's important to consider that just because one finds evidence of something here or there, does not necessarily means one is observing the artificats of a legitimate, canonical practice. The Church has had Her lows, or cases where regions were (relatively speaking) temporarily dominated by anti-canonical situations or lapses. I'd submit, given a "Vincentian" understanding of such things, it's quite clear that the practice of "pouring" as something normal in the Orthodox milieu is an abbheration, and not to be taken as something permissable. IOW, such findings would not create a precedent.
Excellent post. In this day and age, IMHO NOT doing triple immersion is more of an excuse that doing it proper is an "inconvenience". (What, I have to get wet?) There are things called hoses, water hookups, etc. that can be easily accomdated compared to 100+ years ago.


As it stands, I certainly do not plan on "shunning" people, simply because they were received according to economia.
Thanks. I feel comforted now. Wink
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« Reply #32 on: May 13, 2005, 04:26:03 PM »

Donna,
Go back and read some of Augustine's posts again.  Just as you said, since the Orthodox Church does not consider heterodox baptisms valid in and of themselves, that is why many of us think Baptism should be done more as the norm (economia) and not the exception (akribeia).  The above policy from the OCA website or whatever I think is pretty much the same for most SCOBA jurisdictions (or maybe at least the Antiochian's as well).  But again, I highly doubt they mean it as some magical formula, but as a guideline for reception.  It is ultimately between the priest, his Bishop and the convert.
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« Reply #33 on: May 13, 2005, 04:46:53 PM »

This quote is NOT the same thing as a cautionary measure against washing away something from a heterodox baptism. The former is an Orthodox belief, the latter is not, and the distinction is crucial.

Yes, and it's crucial to read what he regards as "right-believing" before the paragraph I quoted. He is, in fact, justifying the rebaptism of Orthodox Christians who have already been received through chrismation by what he calls a "modernist" priest. And how is this defined? Who would that be? My priests? Most likely anyone in SCOBA. He's only considering a "right-believing" use of economia to be that of a "traditionalist" priest or bishop. His view is that the latter rebaptism would be a washing away of the HS. When asked about whether our marriages and reception of communion and ordinations and other sacramental acts are therefore invalidly received (which would be the most logical conclusion), he opts out of providing an answer by saying it's not his problem.

If you believe that your chrismation (and mine as well, since we're both in the OCA) are valid and we're receiving the sacaraments validly, then a rebaptism in our cases would risk the possibility of the same washing away (though the Archbp. would disagree because he thinks our priests and bishops aren't right-believing).

He's making the case that the wrong chrismation is the one performed by a priest/bishop who says he's sealing a valid heterodox baptism, and the right version is performed by a priest/bishop who says he's filling a void. Either he doesn't really believe what he's writing here, or he doesn't really understand the OCA policy.

I think he's also confusing right form with right content, and he's presuming that because we refuse to say the HS isn't in place X that we are actually saying the opposite -- that the HS is there. When we say the heterodox baptism has the correct form, we don't mean the baptism is an Orthodox one or that we know it was filled with the HS. I think he understands this, judging by his earlier reference to "conditional" and "corrective" baptisms, but it doesn't help his argument against the OCA. And I suspect he's latched onto the words of someone in particular within the OCA and not properly discerned whether this is human opinion or actual policy or a poorly worded thought, because he's certainly not describing the mindset of the priests with whom I've discussed reception of heterodox, including my own reception.

Then he admits,
Quote
We have no clear guidelines, then, except those of common sense.


Which I'm guessing only he possesses.

He writes,
Quote
... Bishops who did so were right-believing and did not use—as the OCA clearly and openly does—economy as a way to support the ecumenical idea that Orthodoxy recognizes heterodox sacraments as equivalent to our Orthodox Mysteries

And the OCA doesn't recognize this, and he should know better.

Actually, not always. Prior to Peter the Great, there wasn't a hard "standard" for this - and actually there was a brief period (following the Council of Patriarch Philaret in 1620) where Baptism of all western-heterodox was required.

Ok, I'll give you two stars for pedantism. I've got more than a few to spare Smiley From Pedro's link above:

"It is true that there was a time in the Russian Church when Roman Catholics (and Protestants) were received into Orthodoxy by means of baptism, but throughout the thousand year history of the Russian Church this was only in effect for 45 to 47 years after which that practice of receiving all non-Orthodox without distinction was condemned and repealed once and for all."

950+ years out of a thousand in the entire history of the Russian Church is good enough for me to say it was the traditional norm and not an historical exception due to the brief influence of Jesuits.

Simply put, the history of receiving people given a form of Baptism other than triple-immersion via Chrism (or less than this even, confession and profession of faith), is actually very brief when one see's things in their 1900+ plus year (and proper) perspective.

I suppose "brief" is in the eye of the beholder. In any case, that's not the point. It's canonically and historically recognized, as is evidenced by Patristic and historical record, and can't be condemned as unlawful or "wrong-believing", which I believe we agree on.

But again, I highly doubt they mean it as some magical formula, but as a guideline for reception. It is ultimately between the priest, his Bishop and the convert.

It's not magic, but at this stage they are indeed hard rules in the SCOBA synods and are not up to the discretion of each priest to ignore and rebaptise all heterodox if he so chooses.
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« Reply #34 on: May 13, 2005, 05:46:28 PM »

It's not magic, but at this stage they are indeed hard rules in the SCOBA synods and are not up to the discretion of each priest to ignore and rebaptise all heterodox if he so chooses.

And that's what I say Bishop as well.  But still, I disagree that they are really so strict in an "If A, then X.  If B, then Y" rule.  Besides, is it inconceivable to fathom that the policy may be WRONG?!?
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« Reply #35 on: May 13, 2005, 09:09:21 PM »

Quote
Besides, is it inconceivable to fathom that the policy may be WRONG?!?

Sure, if it can be shown wrong canonically and against the Holy Tradition. The record doesn't show this.

Written by His Eminence, Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America:
http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/encyclicals/goarch/isaiah/isaiah_protocols_2000.htm

   "As you are aware, much has been written in various publications, and much has been spoken in numerous forums, concerning these matters. In regard to our practice, the Holy Eparchial Synod of Bishops of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, following the protocols and practices established by the Holy and sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, has determined that an individual who was previously Baptized in water, in the 'Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit' by a heterodox Christian church or denomination that has an expressed belief in the Most Holy Trinity is to be received into the Orthodox Church by extreme oikonomia through Chrismation, not through re-baptism, and may be wed in the Mystery of Marriage to his/her Orthodox fianc+¬e.

   In general, an individual Baptized in one of the following churches may be received through Chrismation and/or may be married to an Orthodox spouse:

a.   Anglican Catholic
b.   Anglican Communion (Church of England, Episcopal, etc.)
c.   Assembly of God
d.   Baptist
e.   Church of the Brethren
f.    Lutheran
g.   Methodist
h.   Moravians
i.    Non-Chalcedonian and Monophysite Orthodox Churches
j.    Old Catholic (Polish National Catholic Church, Church of Utrecht, Liberal Catholic Church, etc.)
k.   Presbyterian
l.    Roman Catholic
m.  United Church of Christ.

   It is generally assumed that priests and ministers of these thirteen denominations who conduct baptisms, do so in conformance with the elements listed in the previous paragraph; that is, in the Name of the Holy Trinity with the use of water. However, it sometimes occurs that certain pastors do not baptize in the 'Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,' or may not use water (sometimes they anoint with oil). Consequently the Presbyter must be very cautious whenever inquiring of converts how they were 'baptized.' He should insist on seeing their baptismal certificate or a transcript of it. If it cannot be ascertained that the heterodox baptism was done according to the criteria cited above, the convert must be properly baptized according to the rite of the Orthodox Church.

   It should be further noted that 'baptisms' performed in the following churches, however, are not accepted and individuals from these churches may not be married to an Orthodox spouse in an Orthodox Mystery of Marriage. They are to be received into the Orthodox Church through Baptism and Chrismation:

a.   Anabaptists (Mennonite, etc.)
b.   Christian Scientist
c.   Disciples of Christ
d.   Jehovah's Witness
e.   Mormon (also called "Latter Day Saints)
f.    Quaker
g.   Salvation Army
h.   Seventh Day Adventist
i.    Swedenborgian
j.    Unitarian."
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« Reply #36 on: May 14, 2005, 06:36:54 PM »

Strelets,

Quote
Ok, I'll give you two stars for pedantism.  I've got more than a few to spare   From Pedro's link above:

"It is true that there was a time in the Russian Church when Roman Catholics (and Protestants) were received into Orthodoxy by means of baptism, but throughout the thousand year history of the Russian Church this was only in effect for 45 to 47 years after which that practice of receiving all non-Orthodox without distinction was condemned and repealed once and for all."

950+ years out of a thousand in the entire history of the Russian Church is good enough for me to say it was the traditional norm and not an historical exception due to the brief influence of Jesuits.

You misunderstood me, though in large part because I wasn't being sufficiently clear.

What I meant, was that receiving people (without Holy Baptism) who had not even been given the full Orthodox form of Baptism, is a relatively recent thing.

From the sources I've read on Latin baptismal practices, baptism by threefold immersion was being practiced everywhere in the west in the late 1300's/early 1400's, and was still being practiced widely in some areas of the west as late as the 16th century.  In other words, what to do with persons given a threefold "pouring" baptism, has only received a quasi-uniform answer relatively recently, because the Latins were not doing this for the entirity that they've been in schism from Orthodoxy.  The Greeks eventually said "forget it", the Russians were more lenient.

I think the important question now is to ask why these two very different practices developed.  I think the answer is that both resulted from very different circumstances.  The Slavs (Russians in particular) had to continually deal with situations where parts of their "turf" was being taken over by westerners, who were very often causing forced conversions of entire regions to take place, or even more subtly were spreading Uniatism and the confusion inherent to this in it's early years (where people were not even always clear what it is they were now part of.)  This all created circumstances where a very lenient approach was warranted - in particular (in the case of the Uniats, at least in the early period) it wasn't clear that out-and-out heretics were being contended with, but rather schismatics (since according to the Unia agreements, and before forced and self imposed Latinizations, really all that differed with the Uniats and the Orthodox on the surface was an issue of schism and canonicity.) 

The above circumstances obviously didn't apply to the Greeks, so it's interesting to see what they did.

The influence of "westernization" that I mentioned doesn't lie at the origins of the lenient practices of the Russian Church, but does come to characterize some of their academic interpretations in later years, and I think can fairly be said to have provided fuel for the growth of the early "ecumenical movement".  It is also this same theological westernization/theological ecumenism which gives rise to false agreements (like the joint statements on Roman Catholic baptisms compared with Orthodox Baptism) being signed (fortunatly of little official significance), and a lot of confusion at the "grass roots".

Also, while in much of Greece (and certainly on the Holy Mountain) the rejection of Latin baptisms "by pouring" is still observed, this is no longer the case, and certainly not the case of Greek Churches in the diaspora.  Now one can ask, 'why is this'?  Particularly when to my knowledge, officially at least the pertanent encyclical which mandated the reception of Latins by Baptism has never been officially revoked by the Ecumenical Patriarch?  I think the answer is, unfortunatly, the involvement of same in the ecumenical movement.  Documents like these "joint statements" only demonstrate this conclusion, as implicit to them is a false understanding of Baptism and it's relationship to the Church (thus creating the so called "baptismal ecclessiology", which is really just another way of talking about Anglican "Branch Theorism".)

It's not simply Old Calendarists who have a problem with the confusion this is all creating.  Well respected hierarchs of the new-calendar State Church of Greece such as Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos, have felt the need to witness against what is going on here in the west.  Here is a response he wrote to an agreement signed by some SCOBA academics (fortunatly, as the footnotes at the webpage indicate, His Eminance was mistaken - this was not signed by SCOBA itself, but by theological consultants working for them... IOW, the document has no official standing, but is uncomfortably "up there" in terms of who is reading it and perhaps taking it seriously) and the  U.S. Roman Catholic Conference of Bishops.  I know you understand these issues well and properly - but I think it's good for others reading this to take a look at what the Metropolitan has to say, to see properly illustrated just what all the fuss is about.

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« Reply #37 on: May 14, 2005, 07:59:38 PM »

Just as you said, since the Orthodox Church does not consider heterodox baptisms valid in and of themselves, that is why many of us think Baptism should be done more as the norm (economia) and not the exception (akribeia).   

I hope I'm just misunderstanding your post.  Economia is the exception to the rule/standard (akrivia) which is not intended to set precedent, but is rather used in pastoral consideration for the person in question (See Canon 102 of the Penthekte/Trullo/Quintisext Council which gives the general guidelines for Economia when practiced by a Father Confessor).  Economia is not always leniency; in the past it could have actually been strictness over and above the letter of the canons, if that was needed for the spiritual benefit of the penitent.

Akrivia is the standard that should be used in most cases.

There are canons that have been modified or disregarded over time by the practice of the Church, which is an equally valid way of dealing with them.  There are even canons that have almost never been strictly enforced, even from the day they were written.  That's why we consider ourselves a living, breathing, dynamic Church; scripture and tradition. 

Sorry... {/Tangent}
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« Reply #38 on: May 14, 2005, 10:24:13 PM »



I hope I'm just misunderstanding your post. Economia is the exception to the rule/standard (akrivia) which is not intended to set precedent, but is rather used in pastoral consideration for the person in question (See Canon 102 of the Penthekte/Trullo/Quintisext Council which gives the general guidelines for Economia when practiced by a Father Confessor). Economia is not always leniency; in the past it could have actually been strictness over and above the letter of the canons, if that was needed for the spiritual benefit of the penitent.

Akrivia is the standard that should be used in most cases.

There are canons that have been modified or disregarded over time by the practice of the Church, which is an equally valid way of dealing with them. There are even canons that have almost never been strictly enforced, even from the day they were written. That's why we consider ourselves a living, breathing, dynamic Church; scripture and tradition.

Sorry... {/Tangent}

Yeah, maybe I'm confusing them myself...but I think my point is still there.
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« Reply #39 on: March 09, 2006, 03:00:27 AM »

I'm apparently resurrecting a very old thread, but I'm new to this forum and just found this to be an interesting thread.  I figured that this would be a great place to start because I've read and prayed through this issue so much since I was chrismated 9 years ago.

I think we could learn a lot about the issue of re-baptism by examining the 3rd Century debate between Bishop St. Cyprian of Carthage and Pope St. Stephen of Rome.

Bishop St. Cyprian (together with Firmilian, his disciple in Asia Minor) (from www.NewAdvent.org and www.OrthodoxInfo.com)
  • Outside the Church there is no salvation.
  • Those who are outside the Church and have not the Holy Spirit cannot admit others to the Church or give what they do not possess.
  • “If any one could be baptized among heretics, certainly he could also obtain remission of sins.  If he attained remission of sins, he was also sanctified.”
  • "When they know that there is no baptism without, and that no remission of sins can be given outside of the Church, they more eagerly and readily hasten to us, and implore the gifts and benefits of the Church, our Mother, assured that they can in no wise attain to the true promise of divine grace unless they first come to the Truth of the Church.”
  • Apostolic Canon 46:  “We ordain that a bishop, or presbyter, who has admitted the baptism or sacrifice of heretics, be deposed. For what concord hath Christ with Belial, or what part hath a believer with an infidel?”  (Note from www.bible-researcher.com: The Apostolic Canons was one of many additions made by the final editor of an ancient Syrian book of church order called The Apostolic Constitutions.  The whole document purports to be from the apostles, but this imposture is not taken seriously by any scholar today.  Nevertheless, the work is useful as evidence for the opinions of a part of the Syrian churches towards the end of the fourth century.)

Pope St. Stephen (from www.NewAdvent.org)
  • Pope Stephen declares that he is upholding the primitive custom when he declares for the validity of baptism conferred by heretics.
  • Neither Cyprian, however, nor his zealous abettor, Firmilian, could show that re-baptism was older than the century in which they were living.
  • The contemporaneous but anonymous author of the book "De Rebaptismate" says that the ordinances of Pope Stephen, forbidding the re-baptism of converts, are in accordance with antiquity and ecclesiastical tradition, and are consecrated as an ancient, memorable, and solemn observance of all the saints and of all the faithful.  St. Augustine believes that the custom of not rebaptizing is an Apostolic tradition, and St. Vincent of Lérins declares that the Synod of Carthage introduced re-baptism against the Divine Law (canonem), against the rule of the universal Church, and against the customs and institutions of the ancients.  By Pope Stephen's decision, he continues, antiquity was retained and novelty was destroyed (retenta est antiquitas, explosa novitas).
  • It is true that the so-called Apostolic Canons (xlv and xlvi) speak of the non-validity of baptism conferred by heretics, but Döllinger says that these canons are comparatively recent, and De Marca points out that St. Cyprian would have appealed to them had they been in existence before the controversy.
  • Pope St. Stephen, therefore, upheld a doctrine already ancient in the third century when he declared against the re-baptism of heretics, and decided that the sacrament was not to be repeated because its first administration had been valid.  This has been the law of the (Western) Church ever since.

Forgive me for being a bit long here.  I just thought some historical perspective would be good for continued discussion of the issue of re-baptism of non-Orthodox Christians.
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« Reply #40 on: May 17, 2011, 12:15:47 PM »

Everybody should be baptized.

The Eastern Orthodox church teaches that every person should be baptized in the name of The Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
The church teaches that its baptism is valid.
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« Reply #41 on: November 04, 2012, 12:04:53 AM »

Hello,

I am finding the thinking behind Quaker rejection of the rituals of baptism to be somewhat persuasive and want to please ask if someone can help me with this.

They point out for example that
Quote
John says, in Mark 1:8, referring to Jesus, "I baptised you with water; but He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit." The account of Pentecost in Acts 2 portrays the disciples as being baptised with fire and the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues.
One can point out that there were cases in the early church when catechuman martyrs were baptized by their martyrdom rather than by water. Plus, prophets had the Holy Spirit come on them without a baptism ceremony.

The Quakers divide baptism into a water part and a Spirit part like Mark 1:8 and conclude that the ceremony is just an unneeded outward form and that real baptism is of the Spirit and comes on at whatever point the person becomes inspired by Christianity and converts in their heart to it.

Jesus did command to baptize nations in the name of the Trinity, but I think they may explain this by saying Jesus was referring to the "Baptism of the Spirit" which would occur by preaching and converting people in the name of the Trinity.


The best counterargument I can think of is that the early Christians kept John's "water" baptism part of the baptism, so we should too. Secondly, I could say that the water baptism part appears to have some spiritual efficacy in cleansing, because John was making a baptism for forgiveness. So one could say the water baptism cleansed sins and the spirit baptism brought on the Spirit.
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« Reply #42 on: November 04, 2012, 12:16:42 AM »

Hello,

I am finding the thinking behind Quaker rejection of the rituals of baptism to be somewhat persuasive and want to please ask if someone can help me with this.

They point out for example that
Quote
John says, in Mark 1:8, referring to Jesus, "I baptised you with water; but He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit." The account of Pentecost in Acts 2 portrays the disciples as being baptised with fire and the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues.
One can point out that there were cases in the early church when catechuman martyrs were baptized by their martyrdom rather than by water. Plus, prophets had the Holy Spirit come on them without a baptism ceremony.

The Quakers divide baptism into a water part and a Spirit part like Mark 1:8 and conclude that the ceremony is just an unneeded outward form and that real baptism is of the Spirit and comes on at whatever point the person becomes inspired by Christianity and converts in their heart to it.

Jesus did command to baptize nations in the name of the Trinity, but I think they may explain this by saying Jesus was referring to the "Baptism of the Spirit" which would occur by preaching and converting people in the name of the Trinity.


The best counterargument I can think of is that the early Christians kept John's "water" baptism part of the baptism, so we should too. Secondly, I could say that the water baptism part appears to have some spiritual efficacy in cleansing, because John was making a baptism for forgiveness. So one could say the water baptism cleansed sins and the spirit baptism brought on the Spirit.

The hymnography of the feast of Theophany (Baptism of the Lord) has much to say on the part water and the Spirit play in baptism. The Orthodox service of baptism reflects this teaching. I don't have a link to the Theophany service (but folks are welcome to PM me for it), but here's a link to the baptismal service:

http://www.anastasis.org.uk/baptism.htm
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« Reply #43 on: November 04, 2012, 12:32:44 AM »

Depends on the type of Baptism. If it was Trinitarian and done in full immersion and meets all of the other requirements of the Church, then I am pretty sure that it is valid. If however it is one of these new Evangelical spray-bottle Baptisms that only take five minutes, then I do not think so.

Also fair to mention--to the Quaker guy--John the Baptist did not really Baptise people in the sense that we do, in fact, Jews did not have Baptism at all. That's a misnomer. What they actually had was called a Mikveh. It was to attain ritual purity before entering the Temple or worshipping. While this does PREFIGURE Baptism, it is still NOT the same as the Baptism that Christ and the Apostles introduced. The main difference being that Jews had several of these every time they sinned, whereas we only have ONE Baptism--unless you are one of those Evangelical wierdos who get Baptised like four or five times just 'because they feel like it' even though they already had it done. Secondly, the Holy Spirit did not descend upon people after having a Mikveh, but only comes after Christ gifted it to His Apostles, who then further gave it to us through Baptism and Chrismation.
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« Reply #44 on: November 04, 2012, 01:21:05 AM »

I am confused about the issue of Baptism in the Orthodox Church.  I know that Protestants, baptized in the Trinitarian formula, don't have to be rebaptized, but shouldn't they???  As a former Southiern Baptist who is in the process of converting to the Orthodox Faith,  I was baptized in a Trinitarian formula by an ordained Preacher, but I was not baptized for the remission of sins.  The Southern Baptists, and many other Evangelical denominations, do not believe that Baptism is salvific or washes away the person's sins.  So, wouldn't that baptism thus be void and not really Baptism???  I am going to talk to my priest about this, but I also wanted to get your perspective.

In Christ,
Adrian Davila

Apologies in advance for not reading the whole thread.

I think the vast majority of Protestants should be baptized (as has been said, not "re-baptized"...we baptize only once, and so if someone who has been "baptized" elsewhere is received by baptism it is understood that they weren't really baptized) since it is not sacramental for them. I would generally argue for the reception of Roman Catholics by chrismation, and perhaps some Anglican groups (but, as the Communion becomes more and more removed from [traditional] Christianity, we should continue to re-evaluate the acceptance of Anglican baptism), but non-sacramental groups like baptists, pentecostals, adventists, holiness, etc. should be baptized.

However, there is no one answer to this problem yet and it has been left up to the local bishop. I think it needs to be addressed, but until then in falls to episcopal economy. That said, I was dunked in water in a Missionary Baptist church as a kid...my bishop baptized me when I became Orthodox.
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