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Author Topic: Baptism for the dead  (Read 1139 times) Average Rating: 0
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TruthSeeker
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« on: September 11, 2005, 02:26:56 AM »

Can someone explain the orthodox view of the baptism for the dead that St Paul mentioned?

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« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2005, 06:30:47 PM »

Can you give a reference?  The question is confusing.
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« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2005, 07:18:02 PM »

After a long passage dealing with the reality of the resurrection and its centrality to our faith, St. Paul says the following in 1 Cor. 15:29 -- "Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead?"

To be honest, I have NEVER heard an explanation of this verse from ANY confession I've ever been in--Orthodox, Baptist, or Charistmatic.  The only folks I know who baptize for the dead are (scarily) the Mormons.

I'm interested in hearing others' answers, too...
« Last Edit: September 11, 2005, 07:18:41 PM by Pedro » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2005, 08:38:13 PM »

This comes in a passage in which St Paul was pressing upon them the inconsistency of rejecting a belief in the final resurrection. He begins by showing their own internal inconsistency. If the dead are not actually raised, why are some among them baptized on their behalf? Thus he points to their own practices as evidence of how their entire orientation presupposes the final resurrection.

The apostle refers here to a Corinthian practice, without thereby accepting it as legitimate. The practice of "proxy baptism" for the recently departed was not a part of the apostolic Tradition and was not heard of again in the Church apart from this reference. It appears to have been a practice some invented on their own, perhaps by analogy with certain Jewish ablutions. For it is said that among the Jews there was a practice that if someone died before being purified from a ceremonial uncleanness, one of his friends might perform the purifying ablution for him and the dead man was accounted clean. Some in Corinth perhaps underwent baptism for some of their family members who had died before receiving the knowledge of The Gospel, as a way of retroactively commending them on the mercy of God. Whatever the local situation in Corinth, the practice was not heard of again in the Church, though some Church Fathers mention it as being practised by some early Gnostic sects. St Paul's reference to it here does not mean that he approves of it. He only mentions it to show the Corinthians how all their life and practice up to now have presupposed the final resurrection.

~~ taken from: 1st and 2nd Corinthians by Fr. Lawrence Farley
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« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2005, 10:27:10 PM »

Truthseeker,

Ambrosiaster: Commentary on Paul's Epistles.
"It seems that some people were at that time being baptized for the dead because they were afraid that someone who was not baptized would either not rise at all or else rise merely in order to be condemmned.

Didymus The Blind. Pauline Commentary from the Greek Church. "The Marcionites baptize the living on behalf of dead unbelievers, not knowing that baptism saves only the person who receives it."

Chrysostom, Homilies on the Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians 40.2.
 Sin has brought death into the world, and we are baptized in the hope that our dead bodies will be raised again in the resurrectin. If there is no resurrection, our baptism is meaningless and our bodes will remain as dead as they are now.

The explanation of Stamfordguy seems to be the purpose of Paul mentioning this concept.
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TruthSeeker
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« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2005, 03:06:15 AM »

Funny ...Paul didn't condemn it though.

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« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2005, 06:23:31 AM »

Funny ...Paul didn't condemn it though.
But he clearly makes a distinction between those he considers "us" (i.e. "The Church") and "them". Note that in a letter addressed to the Corinthians in the Second Person, St. Paul suddenly shifts to the Third Person:
"Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead if the dead do not rise at all? Why then, are they baptized for the dead?"
If he was talking about an Apostolic Tradition which he wanted to use to emphasise his point about what we as Christians believe, wouldn't it make more sense for him to say:
"Otherwise, why do we baptize for the dead? if the dead do not rise at all? Why then do we baptize for the dead?"

St. John Chryssostom says he was referring to the Marcionite heresy, Epiphanius says he was referring to the followers ofÂÂ  another Gnostic, Cerinthus, either way, it is clear from the wording used by St. Paul that he is talking about an unOrthodox, heretical practice.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2005, 08:44:43 AM by ozgeorge » Logged

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