Immersion Baptism

Discussion in 'Sacraments, Sacred Rites, and Holy Orders' started by Toma, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Friends,

    What is the teaching of the Church with regards to the physical mode of Baptism?

    Is a full immersion or washing required, or at least to be desired, in the administration of this Sacrament? For those baptised by pouring on the head, is there reason to doubt their inclusion into the Body of Christ?

    Any quotes of the Fathers, History, etc., are appreciated. :)
     
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  2. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    My own first consideration & contribution:

    "The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles", commonly called the Didache (c. 2nd century AD), paragraph 7:

    Now about baptism: this is how to baptize. Give public instruction on all these points, and then baptize in running water, "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." If you do not have running water, baptize in some other. If you cannot in cold, then in warm. If you have neither, then pour water on the head three times "in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."

    Περὶ δὲ τοῦ βαπτίσματος, οὕτω βαπτίσατε· ταῦτα πάντα πρειπόντες, βαπτίσατε εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος ἐν ὕδατι ζῶντι. ἐὰν δὲ μὴ ἔχῃς ὕδωρ ζῶν, εἰς ἄλλο ὕδωρ βάπτισον· εἰ δ’ οὐ δύνασαι ἐν ψυχρῷ, ἐν θερμῷ. ὰν δὲ ἀμφότερα μὴ ἔχῃς, ἔκχεον εἰς τὴν κεφαλὴν τρὶς ὕδωρ εἰς ὄνομα πατρὸς καὶ υἱοῦ καὶ ἁγίου πνεύματος.
     
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  3. Old Christendom

    Old Christendom Well-Known Member

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    Pouring water on the catechumen's head is a perfectly legitimate method of baptism. There's no reason to doubt one's baptism on those grounds.

    The only ground would be defect in form, i.e., if the words used were not according to the scriptural mandate: I baptise thee (you) in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Spirit).
     
  4. Celtic1

    Celtic1 Well-Known Member

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    I don't believe non-immersion baptism is illegitimate. However, the EOC only baptizes by immersion, and they have good reason for doing so.
     
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  5. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Losing the symbolism of death (descent into the water) & burial (immersion), accompanied by rising (leaving the water) and glorification (oil of chrism) is not helpful for our theology, that's for sure.
     
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  6. Jeff F

    Jeff F Well-Known Member

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    Here locally, anyone requesting Baptism by immersion is accommodated. Personally, I believe immersion is the best representation, but as Christian comedian Mark Lowry (a fundamental Baptist) put it....."Whether it's immersion, pouring, or sprinkling, unless you have Jesus, you just got wet"!:)
     
  7. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    What a non-sacramental nightmare! :o I mean, what's the point of being baptised in any fashion if you can have Jesus and be part of His Body "just" by faith? If there's no sacramental inner generation, or rebirth of the soul, it truly is a mere sign - yet Circumcision is a lasting physical sign, while a Baptism may be forgotten, or unseen by all!

    You remind me of what Cyril of Jerusalem said, around A.D. 348, in the beginning of his Lectures to Catechumens:

    Even Simon Magus once came to the Laver: he was baptized, but was not enlightened; and though he dipped his body in water, he enlightened not his heart with the Spirit: his body went down and came up, but his soul was not buried with Christ, nor raised with Him.
     
  8. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    The sacrament of baptism like any sacrament is a sign, what else would you expect it to be?
     
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  9. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Ah, but there's a difference between an effectual sign and a merely symbolic sign. ;) Those who believe in the true spiritual reality effected by the act of a baptism are more likely to want solemnity and, perhaps, immersion - given the symbolism.
     
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  10. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Your logic seems sound but for the fact that the churches most likely to see baptism as a symbolic ordinance only are those most known for practicing immersion, most notably baptists and Anabaptists, while those churches who most embrace and esteem sacramental theology do not do so normally, such as Lutherans, Anglicans, Catholics. Orthodox excepted.
     
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  11. Admin

    Admin Administrator Staff Member Typist Anglican

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