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Author Topic: Baptisms by non-priests...  (Read 5348 times) Average Rating: 0
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Fr. David
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« Reply #45 on: June 01, 2005, 10:28:47 AM »



The Orthodox don't believe this. They believe that "all nations" have to come to THEM.

Riiiiiiiight.   Roll Eyes

What...ever...Tom...
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TomS
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« Reply #46 on: June 01, 2005, 10:50:17 AM »

Riiiiiiiight. Roll Eyes

What...ever...Tom...

What about in the US? Where is the outreach effort at HOME? Besides the ETHNIC Festivals, that is.

1) The Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) sends Mission Teams to assist Orthodox communities with various projects around the world.

2) Overseas offices are established by IOCC when, and if, the Orthodox hierarchy of the country in question have made a request..

3) Project Mexico; 'nuf said.

« Last Edit: June 01, 2005, 10:50:49 AM by TomS » Logged
Augustine
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« Reply #47 on: June 01, 2005, 10:58:01 AM »

Keble,

Quote
It is way too tendentious to adopt the position that baptisms recorded in RC parish registers can be assumed to be improper in form. Produce the evidence that this is so, and one might have an argument. In the absence of such evidence, it is a baseless accusation.

In a way, that level of argument is a waste of time, since in the end you and those you're opposing here are operating from different doctrinal assumptions. It's scatterbrained to be arguing on so many levels at once. Either we're talking about form, or at a more basic level, what the reality of heterodox sacraments is as understood by Orthodox Christians (not yourself). Those are distinct discussions, which you're muddying together.

I agree btw. that for those baptized in confessional Protestant churches or the RCC, it should be fairly easy to get a copy of the baptismal certificate. And though I've seen questionable "baptisms" done in the RCC according to Roman Catholic sacramental teachings (which specify if water doesn't flow over the forehead, then what is done is of "dubious validity"), I haven't seen anything that couldn't be accepted, at least within the extreme leniency of Russian practiced.

Quote
And speaking of tendentious, Patrick Barneshas (sorry I must be so blunt) a bad case of convert rigor. He also seems to prefer sources who are out of step with the primary synods.

You know, I'm sick of hearing this from people who simply don't like non-"ecumenistic" Orthodoxy - or as I'd call it, "Orthodoxy with nothing to prove". There is nothing in the presentation of that website which goes out of it's way to be offensive - if anything, the tone is probably as positive as it can be, without lying. The articles are copiously referenced (interestingly enough, from Councils and Saints both ancient and newer), and the rationale behind what is written quite sound. To just dismiss it all with accusations of "convert zeal" or other such nonsense is simply unfair and quite transparent to those who've actually cared to look at the site's content without an agenda.

I also think you're really misrepresenting (whether through ignorance or malice only you and God know; I'll asume it's the former) the reality of Orthodox Christianity, specifically outside of the western world back in the "mother lands". Orthodox Christianity is quite sickly and confused in the west - it's presence here is as of a sick child, who at this point can go one of two ways. The hallmarks traditionally identified with health (such as the presence of monastics) are conspicuously lacking here, even for the relatively small percentage of the population who would identify themselves as "Orthodox Christians" (and the even smaller number who are "practical" in their professed religion.) Beside this, the inroads of ecumenism are most deeply felt here, as is the conpicuous silence (and sadly, often, errors) on many "controversial" topics. It seems to be only here that much of anything Mr.Barnes has written or presented would be construed as "controversial". In Jerusalem, economia is generally not extended at all to those coming from heterodox westerners; pious seekers who go to Jerusalem to enter Orthodoxy are Baptized. The same is true in most of Greece, since the Greek Orthodox Church has never disavowed the 16th century edict of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on the topic of "baptism by pouring" and "heretical baptism" (and strictly speaking, neither has the EP, despite acts which would at times seem to indicate the contrary.) Yes, you'll find some comprimised academics who will tell you goofy stuff; but then again, you'll also find faithful academics and genuine theologians (and many many hierarchs) who will tell you in no uncertain terms the exact opposite. It also goes without saying that on the Holy Mountain, you'll have a hard time finding anyone who will do anything but Baptize Latins or Protestants who desire to be brought into the Orthodox Church.

But yet, somehow, in Internet fantasy land, people will actually believe that Mr.Barnes is some kind of "fringe nut." Incredible, in the strictest sense of that word.

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« Reply #48 on: June 01, 2005, 11:06:56 AM »

Tom,

Quote
What about in the US? Where is the outreach effort at HOME? Besides the ETHNIC Festivals, that is.

In large part, I agree with you.  While in times past this could have been totally excused on the grounds of the Church's poverty and the difficulties which her immigrant bearers experienced (as well as the profound problems "back home" - in particular the collapse of Russia and it's fall under communism; prior to this the Russians were sending missionaries, a work which got cut off by the red travesty), this is no longer the case.  I think the one reason you gave applies - apathy wedded with latent phyletism.

But the other part of this, has to do with heretical ecumenism.  I specify "heretical", because simply talking in a civil way with the heterodox (when possible) is not criminal.  But very often things have gone way beyond this, and through this movement a great deal of harm has been done to the Orthodox Church's ability to witness to heterodox westerners, or simply "unchurched" westerners.  Why?  Because at the root of heretical-ecumenism, is the basic assumption that being an Orthodox Christian is not to simply be a "mere Christian" (Orthodoxy is the real "mere Christianity"), but rather is a "type" or "rite" of a broader Christendom.  Thus, to become an Orthodox Christian becomes something less than imperitive, something that even your salvation itself depends upon.

Missionaries exist, because it's believed people will perish without them.   So, there ya go.

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« Reply #49 on: June 01, 2005, 11:14:25 AM »

Dear All,
Wow!!  I thought I would get notified by my normal email if my message was answered, but no. I finally logged back in and had no idea that so many of you have offered your opinions. First let me thank you all for taking the time to write about this.
Let me also tell you a little more about my case. I am blessed to have a monastery not far from where I live (about 1 hr. away) and I have a spiritual father there (he is the Abbot priest monk). He came from Mt. Athos and so is also Greek Orthodox like my parish priest. They unfortunately differ on the opinion of re-baptism...which is suprising since they are both under the same Patriarchate. I want to follow my spiritual father. But it bothers me that there is this disagreement within the Church. My only desire is to do what is pleasing to God and to be received into our Lord's Church. I don't understand why there is this disagreement. Is there somewhere in the Holy Scriptures that says one cannot be baptised twice?? Of course in my heart I feel that I was not baptised properly as an infant in the RC fashion...thus my desire for this holy sacrament in the Orthodox Church??
What say you?? Please understand that this is a very serious issue with me and I rely on everyone's diplomacy.
God bless you all,  Juliana
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« Reply #50 on: June 01, 2005, 11:46:10 AM »

Augustine,
Thank you for retorting for me far more eloquently than I could have myself.

Others,
In addition to what Augustine said (regarding Patrick Barnes and the Non-Orthodox book), I further want to emphasize that his critics are still mainly just making ad hominem attacks and not actually examining his references, sources, articles and Patristic quotes.  In addition, IF ONE ACTUALLY READS THE BOOK, they will notice that in the forward, he thanks an Antiochian priest who wishes to remain anonymous and also Bishop Basil Essey of the Antiochians who encouraged him to write the book (the good Bishop also recommends reading the book as well).
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« Reply #51 on: June 01, 2005, 11:48:27 AM »

In a way, that level of argument is a waste of time, since in the end you and those you're opposing here are operating from different doctrinal assumptions.

No, I don't think you are correct about this.

If you, Augustine, are going to deny that economy has any part in this at all (and from what I gather, you specifically do), then I would agree: it's a moot point. But if ecomony is used, then the Orthodox can be expected to conform to the catholic opinion-- and I use lower case because this is the doctrine held by all groups, everywhere, at all times, who practice sacramental baptism in the triune Name.

The issue, Juliana (if I may turn to addressing you directly) is that, as you can see, there is a conflict between economy and rebaptism which is still hot in Orthodoxy in general, and even within individual churches. In your case it's exacerbated because monastics aren't tied directly to the local bishop. To some degree, you are being used as a pawn in this conflict. But from what you say, your own impulses are coming from a different direction. Some of what you are saying sounds like the impulses behind "believer's baptism", in which one is rebaptized as a sign of the reaffirmation of one's commitment to Christ. Neither Catholics nor Orthodox accept that theory, and you must put that idea out of your head.

Look at it from a slightly different angle: here you are, looking towards conversion, a catechumen, and feeling certain impulses about the sacraments. I fyou come to us, you can get someone to support you in virtually any decision you choose to make. How good do you think you are at separating the wheat from the chaff in all this advice? And how much can you trust us not to take advantage of your emotionally-charged impulse towards one conclusion to steer you to endorsing a system of praxis simply because it approves of your conclusion, whether or not its route to that conclusion is anything like yours, or is even consistent with yours? I don't think that you can or should.

And another angle: If you insist on rebaptism because the Athonite says you should, and yet you attend the local GOA church, you will be serving two masters. Ideally, you would get the priest and the monk in the same room with you so that they can work out a consensus asnwer to your case, not neglecting to address the issue of your personal preferences. But if (as seems more likely) the won't do this, and you are forced to pick one or the other, then it seems to me that you should stick with the one whose position you choose.

Augustine, I'll deal with Mr. Barnes separately.
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« Reply #52 on: June 01, 2005, 11:55:18 AM »

Juliana,

Quote
He came from Mt. Athos and so is also Greek Orthodox like my parish priest. They unfortunately differ on the opinion of re-baptism...which is suprising since they are both under the same Patriarchate.

Unfortunately, you're going to find that in the west this isn't incredibly uncommon. There's a lot of popular confusion on this topic, thanks to a relative few people, and our "pluralistic" society (both the presence of so many different Christian groups, and the "spirit of tolerance", often false tolerance, which imbues everything.)

Quote
My only desire is to do what is pleasing to God and to be received into our Lord's Church. I don't understand why there is this disagreement. Is there somewhere in the Holy Scriptures that says one cannot be baptised twice??

Well understanding what Baptism is (rebirth - you were born once according to nature from your mother, you're born into eternal life once from the Baptismal font), a genuine Baptism can only occur once, and cannot be repeated - to attempt to do such is sacreligious.

The controversy here, is there are those who believe with certainty that the baptism practiced by heterodox groups "counts" as this "one Baptism", without qualification. This is incorrect. Even someone as "progressive", "mainstream" and supposedly "liberal" as Bp.Kallistos (Timothy) Ware (well known Orthodox author, scholar, and speaker - he wrote the book "The Orthodox Church" which is a popular introduction to Orthodoxy) has stated quite clearly that the Church does not accept heterodox baptisms "as is", but only by economia - meaning by a lenient excercise of Her discretion, She will admit un-canonical administered rites (such as baptisms administered by renegade or heretical clergy of other "Christian confessions"), with the understanding that She is supplying the grace that was lacking previously. This practice began as a means to facilitate mass conversions, or the simple, pious souls who would be unduly scandalized during periods of confusion where it was hardly clear just where the "right" position to be in was (ex. the highly lenient Russian practice, ostensibly adopted by the SCOBA Bishops in North America, began to deal with "Uniatism", or "Eastern Rite Catholicism" - a situation where people were often very confused or outright lied to about just what the "Unia" was and what they were a part of...with many believing the Pope had in fact became an Orthodox Christian, or always was, as they simply and piously understood Orthodoxy.) However, this practice is now kept alive and well here in the west, not so much out of pastoral discretion, but in service to false-ecumenism; a misguided desire not to offend heterodox (non-Orthodox) denominations (though you'd think such groups would be offended by the simple fact people wanted to become Orthodox at all.)

You're not unique - I've encountered many people who really want to become Orthodox, have no scruples about being received by Baptism, but yet find themselves getting stone walled like this. Or worse yet, I've encountered more than a few people who, after having been received by "economy" (Chrism, or occassionally, simple confession), several years later will develop scruples for not having been received via full Baptism & Chrismation. Btw. I've yet to run into someone who has stayed Orthodox, who regrets or has scruples about being received via Holy Baptism; not one. If anything, it was a highly profitable experience - since the invisible grace which only becoming a genuine (Orthodox) Christian can guarantee, is only clearly witnessed to and expressed in the full Baptismal rite.

However, for all of these issues, politics, etc. I'd say this to you - talk to your parish Priest about this. Ask him if he thinks heterodox baptism is the same as Orthodox Baptism, if it has the same spiritual content. It's quite possible that he's simply acting out of obedience - since for mixed reasons (some of them not so bad actually, but I think from experience, misguided and underestimating and misevaluating where people coming into Orthodox from the west really are in their lives by the time they're prepared to officially become "Orthodox Christians") most of the "juristictions" here in the Americas have it as a norm that those coming from certain Protestant groups and Roman Catholicism are to be received by Chrismation. And you should know, that such a reception into Orthodoxy is entirely valid and is not in and of itself, a novel innovation. It was practiced in Russia for several centuries (though arguably for my pressing reasons), and there are Saints of our Church (perhaps most famously St.Elizabeth the New Martyr, who was born into a Lutheran family) who had been received into the Church of Christ this way (via Chrismation.) Also a modern struggler, regarded by many (both here and in particular in Russia) as a modern Saint awaiting formal canonization, Fr.Seraphim Rose, was received into Orthodoxy via Chrismation (having been born into a Methodist family, if memory serves me correctly.)

In other words, while I think there are some situations which really do warrant concern (even if it turns out to be unwarranted - like if there are questions about the basic "form" of baptism used by one's previous religion, like those groups that only use single immersion, etc.), in the end I'd say you should try your best to simply go into this with the right intentions, and the correct understanding of just what it is that is going on should you be received by Chrismation - you're receiving the grace of eternal Life, and being given the content which was missing. You've already received the waters - now they'll be made profitable.

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« Reply #53 on: June 01, 2005, 11:58:33 AM »

Juliana,

Be aware that Keble is not an Orthodox Christian, nor a catechumen, nor a highly interested inquirer sympathetic to Orthodox opinions.  Do not confuse what he's telling you with Orthodox Christianity, or even the private opinion of an individual Orthodox Christian.

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« Reply #54 on: June 01, 2005, 12:01:41 PM »



What about in the US? Where is the outreach effort at HOME? Besides the ETHNIC Festivals, that is.

1) The Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) sends Mission Teams to assist Orthodox communities with various projects around the world.

2) Overseas offices are established by IOCC when, and if, the Orthodox hierarchy of the country in question have made a request..

3) Project Mexico; 'nuf said.



Why are you valuing outreach across the world less than outreach at home? That's some good ol' American ethnocentricity.

But, since you asked....

Dept of Christian Education
Dept of Christian Witness and Service
Dept of Evangelization
Dept of Pastoral Life and Ministry
Dept of Stewardship
Dept of Youth, Young Adult, and Campus Ministries
Dept of Humanitarian Aid and Adoption Services
Board of Theological Education
all this, and more, at http://www.oca.org/DOIndex.asp?SID=5

Huh, it seems like we're very interested in obeying the Great Commission. In fact, the icon of the Great Commission is one of the 6 large icons that fill the walls of my church's sanctuary, along with 2 American saints, SS Peter and Paul, and SS Mary Magdalene and Nina, Equal to the Apostles.
What more can YOU be doing, Tom? Are you bringing people with you to church every week? How about continuing to educate yourself so that you don't teach people wrong things when they ask you about the Church(cuz you know you say a lot of things here that are not Orthodox)? Have you asked your priest for permission to start and maintain a discussion group, young family support group, or community outreach group from your own parish? What about bible study following Liturgy? Those things are happening in my church. Maybe they would in yours, too, if you took the initiative.
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« Reply #55 on: June 01, 2005, 12:36:27 PM »

Also a modern struggler, regarded by many (both here and in particular in Russia) as a modern Saint awaiting formal canonization, Fr.Seraphim Rose, was received into Orthodoxy via Chrismation (having been born into a Methodist family, if memory serves me correctly.)

Really? I thought he came in under ROCOR. I guess that were "less strict" back then.
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« Reply #56 on: June 01, 2005, 12:54:19 PM »

ROCOR used economy at the time... at a certain point (don't remember the year off hand) it was deemed too dangerous and confusing because of the ecumenical movement to use economy. 
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« Reply #57 on: June 01, 2005, 01:39:46 PM »

You're not unique - I've encountered many people who really want to become Orthodox, have no scruples about being received by Baptism, but yet find themselves getting stone walled like this. Or worse yet, I've encountered more than a few people who, after having been received by "economy" (Chrism, or occassionally, simple confession), several years later will develop scruples for not having been received via full Baptism & Chrismation.

Much of what you say in this post is stuff I agree with and which is catholic teaching (again, the small c). My issues are two:

First, again it seems to me you have stepped away from Juliana's personal situation. It's not that she has scruples about being rebaptized; it's that she has scruples about not being rebaptized. You're addressing her circumstance almost as a footnote.

Second, I think it should be clear that the one thing that doesn't matter in this is scruples. Again, this is the catholic (small c) position; scruples give you believer's baptism. The point of the rite is not to satisfy anyone's scruples; it is to effectively carry out Christian initiation. That is the catholic position. It is to be expected, by human nature, that people are going to feel better about rebaptism, but sacraments are about realities, not feelings. That is the catholic position.

It is of course true that I am not Orthodox; however, my church holds to the catholic position on baptism, and I have no hesitation in hold Orthodox exponents of that position to a correct exposition. I have no dogmatic comment on the choice between economy and rigor, because as an Augustinian Westerner the choice hardly pertains to me. When people talk about rigor vs. economy on some of the situations mentioned here, I'm objecting because the catholic position on potential defects of form is to baptize conditionally; if economy enters the picture, it does so as an alternative to conditional rites, and not to rebaptism. That is the catholic position.

Everyone here (except, well, Juliana maybe) knows that my personal objection to rebaptism of converts stems from my conclusion that the arguments about economy are really being driven by scruples. The desire to make a firm (and in my opinion, hypocritical-- but let's not go there) statement about the wrongness of their former faith is an obvious temptation, and one which (again, my opinion only) traditionalists indulge, not only in converts, but often in themselves. Up to now I haven't brought this up, because it's the one spot in this where I'm clearly over the line in talking about Orthodoxy. I think the Cyprianic position is wrong, but I'm not going to argue against it, because it's not the catholic position. I'm only bringing it up now that Juliana can see what you, Augustine, already knew of me. I'm trying to limit my advice to the catholic position, and not just to what my church teaches now.
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« Reply #58 on: June 01, 2005, 03:24:40 PM »

Quote
Look at it from a slightly different angle: here you are, looking towards conversion, a catechumen, and feeling certain impulses about the sacraments. I fyou come to us, you can get someone to support you in virtually any decision you choose to make. How good do you think you are at separating the wheat from the chaff in all this advice? And how much can you trust us not to take advantage of your emotionally-charged impulse towards one conclusion to steer you to endorsing a system of praxis simply because it approves of your conclusion, whether or not its route to that conclusion is anything like yours, or is even consistent with yours? I don't think that you can or should.

Juliana,

i think this is the most important thing that has been posted here. just reading over some of these responses makes me feel ill with anxiety, remembering what it is like to be seeking within the Orthodox Church and being hit with fifty-million different points of view on issues such as this. my remedy for this was to find a parish priest who i trust (who in my case happens also to be a monk), and simply put my trust in him, since it was clear to me after attending the parish a while and praying about it that he (my priest) was far more qualified to separate the "wheat from the chaff," as Keble put it, than i was and am. i urge you to seek out your priest as well as your spiritual father and figure out your case with them - not with us. again, you are in my prayers...

In Christ,
Donna Mary
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« Reply #59 on: June 01, 2005, 05:02:06 PM »

Dear All,
     Thank you for all the replies.  It sounds like the best course to follow would be for me to ask my  priest and the Gerondas to speak with each other on the matter....and let them come up with the answer.  With God's help they will do what is right. 
Please pray for me.   Sincerely,  Juliana
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« Reply #60 on: June 02, 2005, 09:22:16 AM »

Elisha,

Quote
Really?  I thought he came in under ROCOR.  I guess that were "less strict" back then.

I forget the exact year, but I believe Fr.Seraphim was received into the Orthodox Church in the 1960's.  In 1971, in response to what it perceived (I think not without reason) to be "ecumenism out of control" and the confusion it was sewing, ROCOR (at least as a matter of policy - the practice did not come to an end out right, and this is recognized in the Ukaz of the Holy Synod addressing this topic) made Holy Baptism the normative way all converts were to be received into the Church.

Prior to that time, ROCOR simply followed the Russian service books as they were prior to the revolution - in which economia was normally extended to those coming from certain groups (Roman Catholics, Uniates, Non-Chalcedonians, confessional Protestants, etc.)  The origin and rationale for that Russian practice has been discussed in this thread - and since ROCOR is a Russian Church, they were using those service books obviously.

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« Reply #61 on: June 02, 2005, 09:43:47 AM »

In the Coptic Church, baptism is administered to anyone baptized outside of the Orthodox Church (EO and OO).  Protestant baptisms are considered invalid, as well as Roman Catholic baptisms.  The reasoning is, according to H.G. Anba Youssef, that the Coptic Priest can't be sure that the person that performed the baptism was an ordained minister of God and thus had a valid right to baptize.  That is since, especially in the Protestant case, baptism is an outward symbol and is not believed to be for remission of sins.  Anyone, can thus, perform one in a protestant church.  I was raised Southern Baptist, so I know that what he is saying is true.
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