Is Infant Baptism a required belief/practice?

Discussion in 'Sacraments, Sacred Rites, and Holy Orders' started by Religious Fanatic, Nov 28, 2017.

  1. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Yes! I already admitted that "equated" was a poor choice of words. Very imprecise of me! Now are you done roasting my feet over the flames? :facepalm: This entire thing seems like a side track off the main line issue of baptism. Now maybe you'd care to get back to the original question, which had to do with your definition of 'regeneration'. Also please state whether you think baptism is necessary for redemption, and why. After all, the two do go hand in hand.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019
  2. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Certainly! All of that is true. Yet, why does it matter that they are "quite different things" when they go hand in hand? One is not going to receive justification without spiritual regeneration (I speak not here of physical regeneration which is yet to be), nor receive the latter without the former. And my point all along has been that both are received by faith, not by the outward act of baptism.
     
  3. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Sorry, did not mean to do that so my apologies. I've just had one too many conversations with people who were too slippery to get pinned down by definitions, so I'm glad that I'm talking with a forthright chap here. Let's move forward.

    It's exactly what you'd said yourself:

    "regeneration = new birth"

    Not metaphorically (as in the case of "regeneration = redemption"), but actually. Actual spiritual rebirth, new birth. Spiritual regeneration. Ontologically equivalent identical concepts.

    New birth (regeneration) is one of the constituent parts in the overall process of redemption.


    "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
    -John 3:5
     
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  4. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I have a different understanding of this passage. Let me copy more of it here, to show the context.
    Joh 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
    Joh 3:4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
    Joh 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
    Joh 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
    Joh 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

    Jesus says to Nicodemus, you must be born again. One needs a new, spiritual rebirth.
    Nicodemus doesn't understand and thinks of it in natural, physical terms: can a man reenter the womb and come out a second time?
    Jesus clarifies that one must be born twice: the first time "of water" and the second time "of the Spirit." In natural childbirth, the fetus is surrounded by "water" (amniotic fluid to us, but folks with unscientific minds simply perceived it as water) and the water 'breaks' when the woman begins the birthing process.
    Jesus continues in verse 6 to show the context of (1) a natural birth and then (2) a spiritual second birth, only this time He calls the natural birth one of 'flesh' rather than one of 'water' to make certain Nicodemus plainly understands the distinction between the two types of birth: natural versus supernatural (spiritual).

    This interpretation harmonizes much more completely (than the baptism interpretation) with the other, numerous N.T. verses which discuss the subject of the justification/new birth/regeneration of a person without the least mention of baptism. The only other scripture which comes close to supporting the baptism interpretation would be the one in Mark 16, which I've previously explained.

    I think if one is predisposed to want a scripture with which to justify a doctrine of required baptism, then it is extremely easy to overlook the context of the surrounding verses as well as the way the baptism interpretation makes 3:5 stick out like a sore thumb amidst the N.T. (when the N.T. is read as a whole). On the whole, the entire N.T. teaches us that the new birth is not the result of a natural, physical ceremony but is the consequence of an inner change whereby the person places his trust in Christ, the Savior and Lord.
     
  5. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Because, for us, here in time, they don't necessarily go 'hand in hand' or at least we do not perceive them to necessarily be synchronous. What has been decided in the courts of heaven, (e.g. justification) is most often not evident here on earth except through the perception of 'faith'. That is why 'believing' is an essential part of being 'saved' and while still here on earth being saved was not a past event (1 Cor.1:18, 1 Cor.15:2, 2 Cor.2:15), but is a continuous, time subject, process, until we have completed our earthly life. Heb.12:1, 1 Cor.9:24. Our life in Christ, is not here on earth, it is with Him in heaven. Col.3:3.

    Baptism in an infant does not designate a commitment and a visibly lively faith in the infant. It is an act of faith in God's Word, of The Church, concerning the declaration and demonstration of faith by the infant's parents. The Church has no scriptural mandate from God whatever, to baptise the infants of nonbelieving parents. It simply should not happen in a church claiming itself to be Reformed and basing its praxis upon Holy Scripture. The Biblical doctrine of infant baptism rests entirely and exclusively upon God's promises to believing parents, as contained in scripture. This is also however supported by the long standing tradition of The Church, and confirmed by common sense.
    .
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2019
  6. JonahAF

    JonahAF Moderator Staff Member Typist Anglican

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    Dear friends,
    I dare not wade into this conversation, but would it help if we uploaded/republished a work by John Jewel (1522-1571), The Treatise on the Sacraments, which covers topics like baptism at exhaustive detail, and might shed a traditional perspective on this conversation?
     
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  7. Fidei Defensor

    Fidei Defensor Active Member

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    Indeed, belief or faith which is “trust”, denotes more than to know God exists, but to know God in a personal wat which is why Jesus and the Apostle Paul said, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent,” (John 17:3), and “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ, and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God's way of making us right with himself depends on faith” (Philippians 3:8-9). The know in John 17:3 and Philipoians 3:8 is not gnosis (knowledge about), but is ginosko or epignosko which means to know in “personal intimate relationship” like husband and wife. Faith and confession of Jesus as Lord and that He is the Son of God who died on the cross and rose from the dead does save (see Romans 10:9-10, 1 John 4:15, John 3:14-18, John 6:40), but the purpose of this reconciliation to God the Trinity through Christ is to know Him in a relationship as His Bride (Revelation 19:6-9), His children (Galatians 3:26), and friend (John 15:15) forever and ever. Amen.

    Yes, Jesus’ purpose was to save us from Second Death and Inferno, but a major part of that purpose was He wanted us to be with Him, to have a loving relationship eternally with our God; the inferno and sin would have kept us apart, but Christ died for sin and took the wrath (inferno of Himself who is God (see Colossians 1:28, 2:9, John 14:9-11, Totus 2:13, 2 Peter 1:1).
     
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  8. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    That's very dangerous. We are not allowed to interpret the Scriptures apart from Christendom, the four thousand years of the body of Christians in the church militant, and among those, with especial priority and right being accorded to the early and the apostolic church which lived the culture and spoke the language. In 2019 we are absolutely incompetent in translating and interpreting the scriptures, if those interpretations go at odds with the early church. That's not how interpretations of Scripture work.

    All I can say is that the Anglican doctrine of baptism does indeed spring from that verse in the Scriptures.

    All I can say is that the apostolic doctrine of baptism, the way the words of our Lord were immediately understood by his followers and their students, was that they had to baptize the world as one of the prerequisites for redemption.

    We cannot create a new interpretation, in some strange new land called America, 2019 years after the revelation and the incarnation of our Lord. That makes you no better than a Mormon.
     
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  9. Fidei Defensor

    Fidei Defensor Active Member

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    And what if holy tradition or a commentary by a church father contradicts Scripture?:

    “So the Pharisees and teachers of the religious law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?”
    6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “ ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
    7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’
    8You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”
    9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observeyour own traditions!
    10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’
    11But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God
    12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother.
    13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.” (Mark 7:5-13)
     
  10. Fidei Defensor

    Fidei Defensor Active Member

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    All humans can error, only God and His words seen in Scripture (verses that prove the inneracy of Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20-21, Romans 15:4, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4*this proves the gospel is according to Scripture).
     
  11. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Stalwart, you just made the argument for Roman Catholicism. How can you remain Anglican (instead of Roman) after making that statement? After all, the Roman church says the exact same thing: ordinary Christians are not capable of interpreting Scriptures apart from the magisterium (their version of Christendom). They make the Church the final interpreting authority, even though the Church is (and was, and has always been) comprised of fallible humans. (They also used this rationale to justify burning genuine Christians at the stake.) Since the Church stated during its first thousand years that there is no salvation outside the Roman Church, shouldn't you convert?

    I accept the concept that the early church fathers (the earlier the better), being so close in time to Jesus' incarnation and the living apostles that they had the opportunity to learn first- or second-hand from them, were in a strong position to correctly interpret the writings and to state accurate doctrinal truths. By the time it gets to third- or fourth-hand knowledge, in the latter half of the 2nd Century, we have definitive proof of deviations in understanding as shown by the need for Irenaeus to write Against Heresies around 175-185 AD.

    If you can point me toward writings from before 200 AD (the earlier the better) which directly address the meaning of Jesus' words in John 3:3-7, I would consider it to be strong evidence. After 200 AD, any such direct references would still be evidentiary but of diminishing strength of reliability (let alone infallibility).

    My mind is not closed, but at the same time my mind is capable of reading and understanding the plain words of Scripture and my spirit is capable of receiving insight from the Holy Spirit.

    As for the 'no better than a Mormon' comment, Mormons didn't simply re-interpret scripture. Joseph Smith wrote his own scripture and created his own unique doctrines, many of which have no rational basis in the Bible.

    I understand your zeal for maintaining doctrinal purity. As an example, we must stand against those who would pervert the scriptures which deal with homosexuality for the purpose of justifying their sins; such people have a strong ulterior motive for seeing the verses 'their way' and ignoring the plain meaning of those verses. I, on the other hand, have 'no skin in the game', no ulterior motive or desire to justify a personal sin (I've been baptized twice!); I am just reading the plain words in their context and setting and arriving at a conclusion that seems obvious.
     
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  12. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I am not a proponent of “Holy Tradition” as it’s been understood by Rome and the Eastern Orthodox. This idea teaches that there are some doctrines of the church which are not based in the Scriptures, nor need to be because the Scriptures is a secondary source of doctrine anyway. I reject that emphatically, because the Scriptures are not only the main source of doctrine, they are the only source of doctrine.

    Easy. Roman Catholicism, as it developed since the Council of Trent and especially after Vatican I has become an essentially progressive religion. It is what it teaches last. Development of doctrine.

    There is no development of doctrine in Anglicanism. It ties itself at the hip to the doctrine, worldviews and interpretation of the undivided church and especially the earliest doctors and saints. Lancelot Andrewes put it well:

    One gospel, two testaments, three creeds, four councils, five first centuries circumscribe the bounds of our faith.

    Because of this, a lot of other things are entailed:
    I am led to reject church infallibility, Papal supremacy, transubstantiation, propitiatory sacrifice of the Mass. Even things like images of Jesus. All those were explicitly rejected by the fathers as blasphemous superstitions. Pope Gregory I even said that if a bishop of Rome ever came after him claiming universal jurisdiction, he would be the forerunner of the Antichrist. That’s how Popes were in the apostolic era.


    I’ll do my best, let me get back on that.

    This is easily disproved by the fact that to my mind the verse cited above is a *clear* prooftext on baptism. I’m not even joking, I just see it so clearly. Can you doubt or invalidate the clarity of my perception any more than I could doubt yours? We’re stuck, by that standard, and stuck forever. Nothing could be done. By your standard, even with Scripture as our source, *our minds* are still the ones that have to do the interpreting. To do that would be to divinize, deify, our own minds.

    Hopefully this illustrates the problem. We see through a glass darkly, even when it’s the “clearest”. Our vanity, fears, anxieties, often deludes us. I dare not imagine my own conclusions to be the last authority on doctrine, be they never so clear and obvious. The faith is bigger and larger than my own conclusions.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2019
  13. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    AnglicanViewOfScripture.jpg

    I think it is important to understand the Anglican approach to scripture, which embraces neither an unfettered magisterium of the Church, nor the province of 'me and my bible' as often claimed by the Sola Scriptura group.

    If we do not learn from the Fathers, then we start from scratch in every age. If something written by one of the Church Fathers is shown to be at odds with Scripture, then Scripture prevails.

    The Anglican Church is entirely conservative, in that we earnestly seek to act as guardians and custodians of the sacred deposit of faith, and in that we are entirely radical, and when you read Cranmer and the divines you see to earnestly seeking to return to the traditions of the primitive church.
     
  14. Fidei Defensor

    Fidei Defensor Active Member

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    Solae Scriptura does not mean “Me and my Bible,” Sola Scriptura means “scripture alone is a theological doctrine held by some Christian denominations that the Christian scriptures are the sole infallible rule of faith and practice,” (Sola Scriptura, Wikipedia). Which is proven by Scripture itself:

    “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

    “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

    “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)

    “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation of things. For no prophecy was ever brought forth by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:20-21)

    While other denominations cling to other rules of faith (Prima Scriptura), Solae Scriptura is to keep to the binding teaching of the apostles:

    “They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (Acts 2:42)

    The Apostle warned us to not follow any other teaching:

    “6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—
    7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.
    8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!
    9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!
    10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
    ” (Galarians 1:6-10)

    “1 I hope you will put up with me in a little foolishness. Yes, please put up with me!
    2 I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.
    3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
    4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it too easily.
    5 I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.”
    6 I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.
    7Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge?
    8 I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you.
    9 And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed. I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so.
    10 As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, nobody in the regions of Achaia will stop this boasting of mine.
    11Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!
    12 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about.
    13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ.
    14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.
    15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.”
    ” (2 Corinthians 11:1-15)
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2019
  15. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    A couple more things have come to mind when re-reading this post.

    "We are not allowed to interpret the Scriptures apart from Christendom...In 2019 we are absolutely incompetent in translating and interpreting the scriptures, if those interpretations go at odds with the early church." If we are not competent to interpret what we read in our Bibles, how could we possibly be competent to interpret the writings of the early church? (The language of 200 AD was no more clear than the language of 60 AD.) Therefore, how is it valid to use non-canonical uninterpretable writings to interpret the canonical uninterpretable writings, especially in light of our absolute incompetence?

    Second, you mentioned "...the four thousand years of the body of Christians..." Just wondering how many years you meant to say.... or are you a time traveller in our midst? :laugh:

    Reading Stalwart's posts is like reading scripture -- the more I read the post, the more I see in it! ;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2019
  16. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Or the more you see through it.

    Careful or you will have done to you what has been done to me.
     
  17. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I want to clarify that I'm not saying the patristic writings somehow have a controlling factor over the Scriptures. Even with a high patristic doctrine such as I express here, we always establish (as the fathers themselves had), that Scriptures supervene over everything (and everyone) else. What the fathers can help us with is to clarify words or concepts that aren't clear on their own. But things that can be clarified within the Scriptures themselves are inherently more preferable.

    > For example, we link baptism and regeneration to Circumcision, and when we read the countless references to circumcision in the OT, we understand them to be the pre-Incarnation equivalents of baptism. There you have both a self-referential scriptural reference that can help us understand baptism, and also the unbroken thousands-years-old understanding of the Church.

    So back to your point -- it's not that we worshipfully read the writings of the Fathers, as somehow more perspicuous than the opaque and distant Scriptures which we leave to someone else. No we worshipfully read the Scriptures, and we understand them by the reference to their larger context -- either something elsewhere within the OT/NT itself, or within the Church Fathers, or Josephus, Philo of Alexandria, the apocrypha -- the larger (non-inspired) historical context.


    I would've liked to be a time traveller :) Haven't achieved that skill yet.

    I meant the Old and the New Testament. It's one and the same messianic faith. The faithful of Israel were the first Church, had the three-fold of ministry (bishop/priest/deacon), had the eucharistic sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, had the scriptures, had the messiah (yet to come), everything you could want if you lived in that era before the Incarnation.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2019
  18. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    That is quite a thought. Where will I look for a statement of this Anglican teaching, in the BCP or the Catechism or where?
     
  19. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Yes you are correct, however many in the world today use the term to describe a position which suggests the church is superfluous as the believer only needs scripture.

    I am however less convinced that Sola Scriptura can be proven by Scripture itself for a number of reasons:
    1. Any such proof would be self authenticating
    2. The canon of the Old Testament was not closed,
    3. It is not clear what the New Testament references are are referencing, perhaps any writing, perhaps hebrew scriptures, perhaps the LXX, and almost certainly not to be understood as the New Testament canon
    4. It is not clear that Paul thought he was writing scripture, and in reality most likely the thought never crossed his mind
    I do not think that Sola Scriptura is a correct description of the Anglican position, which may be better described as Prima Scriptura.

    God is prisoner of neither book, nor tabernacle, nor institution.
     
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  20. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    The Bible was assembled by the Church, not the Church by the Bible. The Church is assembled by Christ.
     
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