Evangelical Anglicanism

Discussion in 'Church Strands (Anglo-catholics & Evangelicals)' started by Archie, Dec 15, 2022.

  1. Archie

    Archie New Member

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    Are there any Evangelical Anglicans or Evangelical/Low Anglican churches who believe in Believers Baptism only? Is it common practice for people within a Low Church Anglican family to be baptised as an adult/believer the same as a Baptist for example?
     
  2. Carolinian

    Carolinian Active Member Anglican

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    I don't understand how someone who opposes infant baptism could be considered an Anglican.
     
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  3. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if it could be said to encompass a whole church but there are little pockets of credo-baptist clergy.
     
  4. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I understand how someone who doesn't actively support infant baptism could be considered an Anglican, because that describes me!

    I don't "oppose" the practice per se, but I don't favor it. Yet both my rector and my bishop consider me an Anglican, so I guess I am Anglican. In that respect, maybe the lowest of the low.
     
  5. mark fisher

    mark fisher Member Anglican

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    would you have your infant children baptized
     
  6. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    When my children were born we were Roman Catholic, so yes they were baptized in the RCC as infants. Today if I were having children, no I would not have them baptized in infancy.
     
  7. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    As a life long Anglican, baptised as an infant, baptised in the Holy Spirit, and baptised in the sea later in life by the son of three generations of Baptist Ministers, I don't think the Church of England places any prohibition on the Baptism of young children, because it is most agreeable with the institution of Christ. It does however assume that for adults it is not only a sign of profession, and a mark of difference, whereby Christian men are discerned from others that be not christened, but it is also a sign of Regeneration or new Birth, whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive Baptism rightly are grafted into the Church; the promises of the forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the children of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed; Faith is confirmed, and Grace increased by virtue of prayer unto God.

    The baptism of infants in the Church of England is predicated on different theologically biblical principals to the baptism of mature, cognizant, believing adults. Personally I doubt that many 'Low Church' Anglicans insist upon their own children having to wait until adulthood before allowing them to be baptised into the church. Most probably regard them as fully members of the church from birth on the grounds that, as the children of believers, they are already Holy to God, as declared in the New Testament scriptures and fully entitled, indeed compelled by obedience to God, to receive the sign and seal of God's Covenant, according to the Old Testament which was never abolished but rather fulfilled by Christ.
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  8. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Since you claim that infant baptism is predicated on Biblical principles, would you mind quoting the Bible verses which lay out the theological reasons for the practice? :book: I thank you in advance.

    While I wait for those verses, I will mention some scriptures which lay out the theological reasons for baptism of individuals who have reached an age of reason whereby they choose to be baptized.

    1Pe 3:20 because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

    A stated purpose of baptism is "an appeal to God" for a clean conscience (which is God's own righteousness undeservedly imputed to us); someone who has reached an age of reason is capable of making such an appeal. Note that all eight persons who were borne to safety in the ark were consenting adults (Noah, his wife, his sons, and his sons' wives) who trusted God enough to get into the ark before the physical need (heavy rains) became evident; baptism corresponds to this pattern of believers who subsequently pass through the waters.

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    Col 2:12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.

    Here it says that we are raised up in Christ through faith but we are buried with Christ in baptism. This fully supports the "believer's baptism" because the baptized have already been raised to new life by the indwelling Holy Spirit when they came to faith in Christ, after which they submit themselves to God's will by being baptized. Thus, a stated purpose of baptism is to represent our union with Christ and our personal acceptance of the application and efficacy of the redemptive work He accomplished.

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    Act 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

    Who got baptized? "They that gladly received" the truth of the Gospel and placed their trust in Jesus Christ. First they "were pricked in their heart" and believed, then they were baptized. Some people get hung up on this part: "the promise is unto you and to your children," but ask yourself: what was the promise? The promise was: if you repent and be baptized, you will receive. Any child who is old enough to hear the "call" of the Lord and who repents (turns from sin and turns to Christ by faith) is a valid candidate for baptism.

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    Gal 3:26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

    We become children of God through personal faith. Adults who have "put on Christ" subsequently get baptized.

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    Mar 16:15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

    Notice the emphasis on hearing the Gospel and believing. Whoever believes will want to get baptized (0nce they understand its significance) and they "will be saved." Jesus did not address whoever does not get baptized, because the key element is not baptism but is faith; whoever lacks faith will be condemned. A person who has been baptized but who does not trust in Christ is included in the latter category.

    I am not stating herein that infant baptism is wrong. I am averring that, to my knowledge, there is neither any definite teaching nor any clear record of (even one) infant baptism in the Bible. Thus, I think any theological underpinnings must come from extra-Biblical documents of the early church and beyond. But if anyone can show otherwise, I'm sure you (Tiffy) are one such. :)
     
  9. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I shall try, but with your entirely New Testament 'understanding glasses' on you may not find the following explanation convincing, especially since 'assurance of ' salvation comes only to those who can understand what salvation actually is, and how it was gifted to the whole creation, and infants obvioulsly, as infants, don't understand anything, let alone that wonderful truth.

    Clearly it is plain to see that the New Testament imperative to understand the New Covenant aspects of how salvation is obtained necessarily was addressed only to those at least reaching adulthood, since only they could understand it. However understanding the means of salvation is not necessarily to key to having it. There are many who will never reach that level of intellectual capacity in this life, whom Christ undoubtedly died to save from death and hell. The deaf, blind, lame and feeble of mind are not rejected by God as being unfit to be saved by dearth of understanding or lack of years on earth.

    There are two classes of people to whom baptism is applied, namely adults and infants, (and possibly a third being the feeble in mind or body).

    a. Adult baptism: Baptism is intended for believers and their seed. In the words of the institution Jesus undoubtedly had in mind primarily the baptism of adults, for it was only with these that the disciples could begin in their missionary labours. His instruction implies that baptism had to be preceded by a profession of faith, Mark.16:16. On the day of Pentecost those that received the word of Peter were baptized, Acts.2:41; cf. also Acts.8:37 (Auth. Ver.); 16:31-34. The Church should require a profession of faith from all adults seeking baptism. When such a profession is made, this is accepted by the Church at its face value, unless there are good reasons to doubt its sincerity.

    b. Infant Baptism: Baptists deny the right of infant baptism, since children cannot exercise faith, and since the New Testament contains no command to baptize children and does not record a single instance of such baptism. Yet this does not prove it un-biblical. Since the Jewish nation had previously understood infants to be included with their parents under The Old Covenant, it would be unreasonable to exclude them under the New, especially since the New is a 'Better Covenant' and 'More Gracious' than the old. Jews would have continued to believe their infants were covenant bound from birth and would have continued to circumcise 8 day old males even under the New Covenant. Circumcision was replaced by baptism, as scripture attests, yet there is not a single word of Apostolic disapproval anywhere in the New Testament against the baptizing of an infant. If it were frowned upon there should be objections in the NT, but there are none. There are examples of whole families being baptized though, and though infants are not specifically mentioned, it is unlikely that there were none or that Jews who entered the New Covenant would have allowed them to be excluded. There are also no recorded incidences of an adult or adolescent child of believing parents being baptized, anywhere in the new testament, yet we know that infant baptism was not only widely practiced in the church within 150 to 200 years of the Apostolic church, and well before the closing of the canon of scripture, and there are no objections raised by any authority against its practice.

    (1) The scriptural basis for infant baptism: Infant baptism is not based on a single passage of scripture, but on a series of considerations. The covenant made with Abraham was primarily a spiritual covenant, though it also had a national aspect. Rom.4:16-18; Gal.3:8-14. This covenant is still in force and is essentially the same as the "new covenant" of the present dispensation, Rom.4:13-18; Gal.3:15-18; Heb.6:13-18. Children shared in the blessings of the covenant, received the sign of circumcision, and were reckoned as part of the congregation of Israel, 2 Chron.20:13; Joel.2:16. In the New Testament baptism is substituted for circumcision as the sign and seal of entrance into the covenant, Acts.2:39; Col.2:11-12. The "New Covenant" is represented in scripture as more gracious than the old, Isa.54:13; Jer.31:34; Heb.8:11, and therefore would hardly exclude children. This is also unlikely in view of such passages as Matt.19:14; Acts.2:39; 1 Cor.7:14. Moreover, whole households were baptized and it is unlikely that these contained no children. Acts.16:15; 16:33; 1 Cor.1:16.

    (2) The ground and operation of infant baptism. In reformed circles some hold that children are baptized on the ground of a presumptive regeneration, that is, on the assumption, (not the assurance), that they are regenerated. Others take the position that they are baptized on the ground of the all comprehensive covenant promise of God, which also includes the promise of regeneration, (immediately or in due course). This is my preferred view. The covenant promise affords the only certain and objective ground for the baptism of infants. But if the question is asked, how infant baptism can function as a means of grace to strengthen spiritual life, the answer is that it can at the very moment of its administration strengthen the regenerate life, if already present in the child, and can strengthen faith later on when the significance of baptism is more clearly understood. Its effective operation is not necessarily limited only to the very moment of its administration.

    In your case, your baptism in infantcy seems to have brought you to a time in your life where you fully understood the wonder of God's Grace and took the appropriate steps to pledge your gratitude and obedience to Jesus Christ for it. In other words, you eventually, positively responded to the Gospel message.
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    Last edited: Dec 17, 2022
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  10. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Between us, I think we have done a decent job of encapsulating the reasoning for both positions. :thumbsup: I would like to add a little bit more about the relationship between OT circumcision and NT baptism.

    Circumcision was presented to Abraham & his descendants as a physical sign of being under the OT covenant with God. It is worth noting that infants and even servants brought into an Israelite household were circumcised, and this was separate from any belief they might have (most obvious in the case of infants). Yet God subsequently made plain to the Israelites that true circumcision of the heart (spirit) was necessary for each individual (Deut. 10:16; 30:6) as well as obedience to God's will (Deut. 28). Many wicked Israelites (such as Ahab) lived during the OT era, and we would not assume that they were made right with God by means of a foreskin removal conducted when they were a few days old. Circumcision was commanded by God, but it was not a guarantee because the individual's free will (expressed in his beliefs and actions) would be more determinative. Paul's letter to the Romans (2:25) points out this very thing, and we should not take it as a "NT era only" concept: For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.

    In NT times we are told that baptism is analogous to circumcision in this way: baptism, a physical sign of being under the NT covenant of grace through Christ, is expected to be done; but "circumcision" (new birth) of the inner man by God, in His grace, is ultimately determinative.

    The issues Christians face (and disagree on) have to do with the timing (in regard to the to-be-baptized individual's level of cognizance) and the level of imperative in this call from God to be baptized, plus some groups disagree about the level of immediate spiritual efficacy of baptism when it is administered.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2022
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  11. CRfromQld

    CRfromQld Moderator Staff Member

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    Biblically baptism showed that a new believed repented of their sins and accepted Christ. However, say in the case a Cornelius, a whole family would be baptised and that might have included the children, but it was still an adult making the affirmation in which the whole family participated.

    So contrary to current practice I believe infants should be christened then baptised when they accept Christ as an adult. (Yes I know that christening as practiced includes baptism).

    Anglicanism has replaced adult baptism with confirmation.
     
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  12. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Thus the importance of confirmation in one's life journey back to God. Confirmation is an appropriate symbolic gesture to God of our obedience to the Covenant he has graciously conferred upon us at baptism. Our affirmation should result in empowerment to do Christ's will as good and faithful servants and manifest in us an assurance of salvation.
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  13. Annie Grace

    Annie Grace Active Member

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    I was baptised and confirmed as an adult in the RCC because my parents were agnostics and didn't baptise any of their children, leaving it up to each individual to choose when they were of an age to understand.

    Over the years I began to have serious concerns about the RCC though and finally left the church, not attending Mass for four years. During this time I investigated a few different Christian churches and finally came to the conclusion that I was most in alignment with the Anglican Communion. So last year I was received into the Anglican Church bu the Bishop, after a year of preparation.

    I am not against infant baptism, but I do think a person can't really choose Christianity until they are of an age where they understand what they are choosing, so confirmation is really an essential part of actually becoming a church member.
     
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