Baptist --> Anglican Challenges

Discussion in 'Family, Relationships, and Single Life' started by Bert Gallagher, May 10, 2022.

  1. Bert Gallagher

    Bert Gallagher New Member

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    Howdy! I am recently engaged to a Baptist/non-denominational woman. Her dad is a non-denominational pastor. I am a lifelong Anglican. We have been going to an Anglican church for over a year. She is baptized but choose not to get confirmed into the church when she had the opportunity. She said she might next year.

    All that set up is to ask, what challenges have those of you who were Baptist or married a former Baptist endured? My fiance was culture shocked when attending our church for the first time. It is a low church but coming from a "jam band, pastor in ripped jeans and untucked church, in a large warehouse without any crosses", it is very different. My main concerns are that we disagree on infant vs. adult baptism and that she won't enjoy the services because she doesn't like the worship style or the liturgy.
     
  2. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    It doesn’t sound like the relationship has reached the “ready for marriage” stage, at all, just based on your description.
     
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  3. Bert Gallagher

    Bert Gallagher New Member

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    Thank you for your reply. Can you please provide more detail? Her father gave me permission to marry her. We are going through premarital counseling with our pastor and another godly man. No one has mentioned that we aren't "ready for marriage".
     
  4. Clayton

    Clayton Active Member

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    I’m not sure we have enough information to draw that conclusion.

    My wife isn’t even a Christian and we were more that ready enough.
     
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  5. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Disagreement over infant baptism is problematic, simply because that’s an either/or proposition. Whoever has the weaker convictions on the subject is who will give way. And her choosing not to get confirmed when she had the opportunity indicates potential resistance to the idea of your future household being a fully Anglican one. If that’s important to you, I would be hesitant to move forward if I were in your shoes.

    Your fiancee not liking the worship style or the liturgy need not be problematic at first; you could simply attend your Anglican services while she attends her Baptist ones. That becomes a lot more difficult once children are in the picture.

    Please bear in mind that, not knowing you or your situation personally, I can only respond to the information you give us. And remember, you came to us with these questions. I can only assume you are having some doubts yourself. I sincerely hope it all works out. However, I’ve seen situations like what you’ve described play out over and over again and they usually don’t end well.
     
  6. Bert Gallagher

    Bert Gallagher New Member

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    It is important for my future household to be a fully Christian one. You don't have to be an Anglican to be a Christian, but it is a good way to be Christian.

    My fiance's opinion of the worship is more from a place of unfamiliarity than straight up dislike. The more we get involved, the more I think she will enjoy it.

    I am not having doubts about the relationship or marriage. I came here to receive anonymous advice from what I perceive to be like-minded Anglicans who have possibly gone through similar situations.
     
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  7. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    The only caution I would raise on that subject is that there is no such thing as generic Christianity, certainly not when raising a family. It ultimately does come down to agreement - at some level - on the specifics.
    I would have thought such unfamiliarity would be a thing of the past by the time engagement became a reality, but to each their own. I hope you're right and that it is something she comes to accept and make her own.
    Ok. Like I said, I'm just going by what you're telling us. My advice, based on my own experience, would be to put the wedding plans on hold until there's more agreement on the areas that are important to you. It sounds at this point like that's some distance away.

    In any event, I wish you the best, and I sincerely hope it all works out. Hopefully my observations were taken in the spirit in which they were intended. If not, I assure you I meant no offense.
     
  8. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I don't think that's true at all. It depends on her personality and how she will take in the next few years (it depends on Bert as well).

    Marital advice is kinda touchy, so I don't know that an online forum is the best place for that; I would advise going to your bishop, priest, and/or Christian counsellor in order to have someone with lots of experience on the ground to help you navigate.

    Here are some of my tips, from things I've seen (in my own marriage, and others):
    1. You must go into this marriage knowing that you'll be the head of the household, and the leader of your family. If you don't go into it planning to do whatever it takes, to be an ideal husband, and slowly bring your wife to your point of view, then this difference will fester within your relationship. You are the husband, the head of the household, and she and you should recognize that.

    2. You need to recognize that you can't use your role to force to change her views. That has never worked, and will never work. You can't violate her conscience. The point behind #1 isn't to make you think that you can just change her deepest beliefs; it is only to give you the wind in your sails, that you are in the right, and the family will need to go where you want it to go. Even if it takes a long time.

    3. It may take a long time. Be prepared for a 20-year game plan. That's how long you may need to take, to bring her onboard without violating her conscience.

    If you are okay with taking 20 years to bring her onboard, and will shepherd the family through your leadership, then in principle it is possible.

    Note, it may take 10, or even 5 years, depending on her level of conviction; her pastor father is a wildcard, he could slow things down. But she must be happy with the place you've led her to, at the end of your gameplan. Going guns blazing is a scorched-earth policy that typically doesn't help anyone. This is something she needs to come to on her own, joyfully; maybe her father will come onboard as well, if you play it right. You will have his grandkids, and therefore the keys to his future. You are the future of his family, and he should be made to recognize that. If you are careful, creative, kind, and very very patient, then it should be doable.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2022
  9. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    It is in fact absolutely true since I was merely describing my own perception of what the OP was saying. My self-reports of my own thoughts don’t require anyone else’s validation.
     
  10. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    I was once in your shoes. My wife was Baptist turned Non Denom and then she met me. I introduced her to the Anglican Church and while she questioned some of it she came to love it to the point that she does not like to go to a non liturgical church anymore. I gave her a crash course on church history and proved any questions she had. The Baptist/non denom church stands way outside of historical church practice and is a recent innovation. Then our priest explained infant Baptism to her and I let her read the service in the BCP. Our first child and all subsequent children will be Baptized as infants.
     
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  11. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I come out of the Southern Baptist world myself, so I might be able to contribute here.

    The biggest theological difference between Baptists and traditional Anglicans is infant baptism, but honestly, in my experience it doesn't influence many "new joiners". (Alas, in part because many of us have gray hair and are past our child-bearing years.) The liturgical service is jarring to some, but just as many new joiners will find it lovely and compelling. Every church service regardless of denomination is liturgical in a sense, unless it is completely unstructured and goes where-ever the Spirit takes them (I've been in Pentecostal churches that are like that). For myself, I like a liturgical service -- it makes the church service more participatory and less like a spectator sport, so to speak. There is a lovely rhythm to the liturgical year, furthermore; you mark the passage of time not just by calendar pages, but on what color of stole the priest is wearing and which feast days are being celebrated and where you are in the lectionary. (You will grow used to the service book the Anglicans use, the Book of Common Prayer.)

    Yes, priest. The episcopal structure of the church takes some getting used to. I still call my priest "pastor" rather than "reverend", and having a bishop and an archbishop over my diocese and province still takes some getting used to. But I find that I actually prefer the episcopal structure to the congregational or presbyterian in many ways. Sometimes it is better to have a single strong hand at the tiller rather than a committee. But Anglicans are conciliar, so it's not like the RC church where the Pope has t he ultimate authority -- Anglicans rely on councils (like Synods) to decide questions of great import.

    I also appreciate the fact that Anglicans partake of the Lord's Supper every Sabbath, rather than only a few times a year. Again, apart from the sacramental meaning, it also reinforces the participatory nature of the church service. You are part of the grand drama, not just an observer of it.

    I am on the evangelical protestant end of the Anglican pew, so our services aren't that different from any other protestant service. The sermon is still the centerpiece, and our pastor preaches the Gospel. We sing many of the same hymns our Baptist, Methodist, and Reformed brothers and sisters do.

    The Anglican house is large. It can accommodate me, a low-church evangelical protestant, and also high-church traditional Anglicans and Anglo-Catholics. I have come to appreciate the via media of Anglicanism -- however frustrating it may be in terms of bedrock theological grounding, it is nevertheless a very welcoming, warm, and loving family.

    Of course I speak of my experience in the ACNA here; there are other Anglican strands.
     
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  12. Cooper

    Cooper Active Member Anglican

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    I agree with Ananias: The biggest difference I have found is the infant baptism. Welcome.
     
  13. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I've never been Baptist, so I didn't respond right away. But I am a cradle RC turned Protestant turned Anglican. I can say that infant baptism isn't something I favor, but I've come to terms with it. You can explain to her that one historic viewpoint (perfectly valid) in Anglicanism is that the infant baptism welcomes the child into the visible church family and that God honors the faith and prayers of the child's family members at the baptism to do all that can be done to lead the child into eventual faith, at which time the completion of the symbol is fulfilled. And if you are okay with the child being immersed (baptized again) once he/she comes to faith, tell her that; you may think it unnecessary but it can't do any harm and is a good compromise.

    Consider if you both are willing to compromise, like for example alternating between the two churches if it comes to that. If one of you is really quite unwilling to compromise now, it bodes ill for the marriage; if both of you are unwilling, yikes! But if both are willing to give some, love is there.

    Preparing for marriage, well, congratulations. :) My wife and I have been married for 42 years. I hope both of you will go into it with the realization that love is not an emotion; love is more a choice and a decision. You decide, freely choose, and resolve to love one another (meaning, act in love) come what may. Christ is our example: even though He knew we would be naughty, unlikable, and disloyal, He hung on the cross to redeem us. That is love in action.

    A cord of three strands is not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12) when the third strand is the Lord. Keep Him in your lives, both of you, and He will give the two of you strength to endure the walk of love together.
     
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  14. Adrian1963

    Adrian1963 New Member

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    If there is enough in terms of other glue to hold the marriage together, differences in religious practice shouldn't prove insurmountable. There's nothing to prevent you each going to your respective churches on a Sunday morning and then meeting up for lunch afterwards. Of course it's easier if you're both on the same page when it comes to the matter of religious observance, but don't make the perfect the enemy of the good.
     
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  15. Fr. Brench

    Fr. Brench Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I've known a couple people who do this, and I should warn you it's not a healthy situation, especially if/when children are involved. Take serious the advice of previous commentors, and see how you can help her grow accustomed to your/our tradition. In the case of my wife and I, we joined the choir together, and that proved an excellent place for her to learn about (and learn to love) the liturgy.
     
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  16. DadHocHypothesis

    DadHocHypothesis Member

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    Disclaimer: I was raised generic American Evangelical (so, you know, Southern Baptist with a fog machine), but have never quite fit in in that environment, and my first experience at an Episcopal church was like being transported to heaven itself. I'm also pretty socially oblivious. In other words, take what I say with a grain of salt. Maybe a teaspoonful.

    Having said that, you say you've been going to an Anglican church together for over a year, right? Why do you worry that "she won't enjoy the services" if she hasn't said so this far?

    Likewise, to what extent have you talked about baptism together? She might be more open-minded than you think. You might be, as well. Remember, it's always valid, no matter when you have it done.