Is Infant Baptism a required belief/practice?

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

  1. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

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    To be absolutely clear I am using the word inerrant to mean what some fundamentalist bible punchers would have us understand by it: i.e. the absolute words of God as if dictated through a psychic medium and recorded with the absolute accuracy of a photocopier.

    I am using the word infallible in a similar way: i.e. the impression that some bible punchers project, that every word of the KJV bible was dictated by God and means exactly whatever the preacher says it means today.
    .
     
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  2. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    That is indeed what I was trying to say... the Church no more gave us the Bible than St Luke gave us the Gospel of Luke... they were the agents, sure, but behind it all was the far more relevant and powerful agency: the finger of God
     
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  3. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Active Member

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    This represents a common error of ecclesiology, but there is no cause for alarm, because this one is easy to make and generally results from confusion between the Local Church and the Church Catholic, and is to some extent a reaction against what one might consider the pretentious, if not to say, fatuous, conceits, of one Local Church in particular, that being the Church of Rome, which has conflated itself with the Catholic Church.

    But let us forget that the Roman Church in its present state exists and instead set our mind upon the rational concept of the Church as defined in Scripture, by St. Paul, the definition historically accepted by Rome before the Roman Church became fixated on temporal power and the politics of the Holy Roman Empire, during an era in which Rome had its greatest saints, like Jerome, Ambrose, Vincent of Lerins, Celestine, Isidore of Seville, Augustine, Hippolytus, Irenaeus, and Gregory the Dialogist, and existed in a union with the other self-governing Patriarchates and ecclesiastical provinces, some of which remained independent in the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Communion and some of which became free once more as provinces of the Anglican Communion.

    Herein we find the Church Catholic, which consists of the Local Churches, and St. Paul makes it very clear that just as we, the members of the Church, constitute the Bride of Christ, the Church Catholic is the very Body of Christ, with our Lord, the incarnate Logos, as its Head, a body onto which we are grafted through baptism; it has the power to produce and define scripture as it exists in a hypostatic union with the divine nature of the uncreated Trinity. Thus, it is proper to say that St. Luke the Evangelist, as a member and as an agent of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church confessed in the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds, did produce for us the Gospel According to Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, and it is also proper to say that St. Athanasius the Apostolic as a holy hierarch of the Church did give us the canon of twenty seven books in the New Testament, in his 39th Paschal Encyclical, which other lawfully ordained, pious and holy hierarchs of the Church then adopted.

    The Bible as we know it from a Christian perspective was compiled by, in and for the Christian Church, by taking the Septuagint and later, starting under St. Jerome, Hebrew and Aramaic texts of the Old Testament (and under the Ethiopians, other material surviving only in Ge’ez), translating these into the different vernacular languages of the church (initially Latin, Syriac, Ge’ez in the case of the NT, Coptic, Classical Armenian and Classical Georgian, in that order, and later other languages like Church Slavonic and eventually English, thanks to the Anglican church following the apostolic tradition of translating liturgical texts and sacred scripture into an elevated form of the vernacular); it is a verbal icon of the Word of God and indeed of the Incarnation, in that the Logos, who cannot be contained by virtue of His uncreated Divinity, contains Himself in its pages.

    But before the sacred Gospels were written, the Gospel was preached orally by the Apostles: by St. Paul and his disciples Sts. Barnabus, Titus and Timothy, to the Gentiles of the Roman Empire and by St. Peter to the Jews, by St. Bartholomew and St. Andrew to the people of Armenia, Pontus, Scythia, and so on, by St. Philip, to the upper Nile, and by St. Thomas, and his disciples Addai and Mari, to the Aramaic speaking people of Edessa, Mesopotamia, Persia, and the Jews of Kerala in India. Of these missions those of Sts. Peter, Paul and Thomas were the most immediately successful, but the other Apostles planted the seeds of the Gospel message that would later blossom starting in the fourth century with another wave of evangelization, with missionaries like St. Gregory the Illuminator in Armenia, and still later, at the end of the sixth century, with St. Augustine of Canterbury, who evangelized the Angles (Anglians, a Nordic-Germanic people from Old Anglia, not to be confused with the English county; Old Anglia is in Schleswig-Holstein, a part of Denmark, like Jutland from whence came the Jutes, Denmark being the land from which most of the Nordic invaders of Britain originated) and reorganized the scattered flock of the Church in Britannia before the Western Empire lost control of that province. And St. Patrick, who along with various Coptic monks versed in the Egyptian ascetic tradition, evangelized Ireland.
     
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  4. Brigid

    Brigid Active Member

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    This is such a good and concise history!
     
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  5. Rexlion

    Rexlion Active Member

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    I think I'd word it a bit differently: I'd say the Church has the authority (rather than "power") to record (not "produce and define") scripture as the Holy Spirit inspired His children, members of His body on earth, to so write. As for the idea that we, the Body of Christ on earth, are a part of the hypostatic union between Jesus' human and divine natures (with us mortals being thus considered as the 'human nature of Jesus Christ'), I think that might be a rather large stretch of theological imagination. I also think you might have come close to conflating the Word of God incarnate with the Word of God written (not the same thing, obviously, for the Son of God is not comprised of 66 'books'); but most likely that's just an improper use of the pronoun 'it' after the noun 'scripture.' ;)
     
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  6. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Active Member

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    No, rather, because I follow an iconographic approach to scripture, for me, the Word of God always refers to our Lord, but the Scriptures or the Written Word of God are an Icon of him. I hate it when people refer to the Bible as the Word without qualification, as this contradicts John 1:1, and I have actually encountered fundamentalists who think John 1:1 is talking about the Bible and not Jesus. :doh:
     
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  7. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Here is an issue with that perspective though... The agency of the Church in compiling the Scriptures cannot be seen as stronger than the agency of St. Luke in compiling the Gospel of Luke, I think we can agree on that

    The Church only compiled the already-written Scriptures, whereas St. Luke actually wrote the very words themselves, yes?

    And yet we cannot allow ourselves to say that St. Luke was 'in charge' of the Gospel of Luke, nor have ever heard that claimed for him...The reason being, that even though he wrote the Gospel, he was not in control of writing the Gospel, but rather his hand was moved by the Holy Ghost

    And yet when it comes to the question of assembling the canon of scripture, the standard suddenly gets reversed: for some reason we inflate the authority of the Church and deflate the role of God, saying that the Church (a mere compiler) was more in control than the Evangelists (the authors), the the Church could have assembled any books it wanted, and call them Scripture

    It simply defies logic...
     
  8. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Active Member

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    We can’t, because as a holy evangelist and a member of the Seventy, St. Luke and the other apostles and evangelists and their successors, and those they baptized, were and are the Church. Because as St. Paul says, we are grafted onto the body of Christ. See Ephesians, Romans.

    No, because St. Luke embodied the fullness of the Church personally, like the other evangelists, apostles and bishops, and indeed except to the extent of doctrinal authority, the laity. Thus what he wrote, the Church wrote, for the Church, by the Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit which guides the Church collectively as well as individually guiding its members.

    I can’t agree with that. I believe that St. Luke and the other canonical scriptures are inspired, but not the work of automatic writing. If they were directly authored by the Holy Spirit with no human interpretation, the minor inconsistencies in the four Gospels (which have the effect of helping to prove the existence of our Lord by showing multiple narrative traditions that describe common events; for example, the Words of Institutiom at the Last Supper are slightly different in each Gospel) would surely not exist, nor would there be variations in literary, etc.

    Indeed, it would be contrary to reason if we reduced the Church to a purely human entity.
     
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  9. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    To me, we are losing sight of the central thread so let me try to reformulate my point in a syllogism, and can you indicate where you'd offer a disagreement:

    1. St. Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke
    2. Writing something is more authoritative than merely compiling it from existing sources
    3. Therefore we cannot say that the Church's compilation of the Scripture is more authoritative than the St. Luke's writing of his Gospel
    4. St. Luke had no power to write the Gospel against the Holy Ghost, and thus his role was secondary; the primary agency behind the Gospel of St. Luke was the Holy Ghost
    5. The Church had no power to compile the Scriptures against the Holy Ghost, and thus her role was secondary; the primary agency behind the Scriptures was the Holy Ghost
     
  10. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Active Member

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    The sole extent to which I might disagree is in the case of some forms of writing, such as the Gospels, these are essentially compilations of the stories about Jesus from the Apostles who knew him best (tradition of course has St. John knowing him better than anyone, St. Matthew knowing him as an apostle, St. Mark knowing him as the owner of the Cenacle, and St. Luke probably knowing of him at least; with Mark and Luke getting much additional information from Sts. Peter and Paul respectively), so determining what to include on the basis of what was well known and what wasn’t is essentially an act of journalistic reportage or compilation. Thus I see the compilation role as equivalent to the reportage role of the Holy Gospels, whereas the Epistles represent actual analytical writing and thus Sts. Paul, James, Peter, John and Jude are engaging in inspired authorship rather than an inspired compilation of the most important parts of oral tradition.

    I would also value all of these acts equally, because if the Church, starting with St. Irenaeus, had not started to really enforce the four canonical Gospels and make more of an effort to suppress the apocryphal Gnostic gospels (the last of which to remain in common use in the true Church was the Gospel of Peter, which had infilitrated into some dioceses; there is a report of a bishop in Arabia removing it from every church where he found it, and the surviving fragment we have, which couples a relatively normal account of the Passion with some Gnostic weirdness on the Third Day, was found respectfully buried with a deceased Coptic monk).

    In like manner, there were many who wanted 1 Barnabas, which was spurious, in the New Testament, and many who did not want James, Hebrews, Jude, the Johannine Epistles or the Apocalypse, and still others who would have us regard The Shepherd of Hermas as of equal authority to the Gospels and Epistles. So we can thank St. Athanasius for, under divine inspiration, compiling our precious 27 book canon, and the other bishops for accepting it, also under divine inspiration.

    This is my position.

    Both of these forms of interpretation are wrong. And I would note that the KJV Only movement is primarily a thing among Baptists, who commit the error this thread responds to. And I would add that they in their silly ignorance are blithely unaware of, or would possibly even reject, the historical truth that the Authorized Version contains the Deuterocanonical Books, because the Church of England required it to, using these books in the Divine Office.
     
  11. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Okay say we take something like the Epistles which you do not deny to be directly authored, as analytical writings... The question I still have is: were the authors capable of writing something that was against the Holy Ghost?

    If yes, then they were the lords over the Scripture, over Divine Revelation, which is blasphemous... The only option we can allow is that the Scripture was the lord over them, and it’s contents were already determined (in the mind of God)... the Writers played but a secondary role, a mere agent in that process, over which they had no control

    Similarly, the Church was powerless in the process which yielded Scriptures to us; it had no power to assemble another Scripture... It was a mere agent in a process by which God made public his written Word

    This is important because I have known partisans who argued to me that the Church was the author of the Scriptures, so much that she had the power and authority to put anything she wanted into the canon, and so in a sense the Church lords over Scripture, as if St Paul lorded over the Epistles of St Paul. (When in truth he was a mere agent, the contents already determined in the mind of God)
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
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  12. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Active Member

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    On this point we are of the same mind. As I see it, writing contrary to the will of the Holy Spirit would be impossible for the inspired authors of the Epistles, the evangelists, the Psalmists, King Solomon and the Prophets and Patriarchs and those who recorded their work in the Old Testament, and the Church, which can be said to be responsible for all of these works (insofar as the Church, as the Body of Christ, has always existed, and is the New Israel, the Jews at the time of Christ having become so apostate that only St. Symeon, St. Elizabeth, the Theotokos, most likely St. Joseph, and St. John the Baptist had sufficient knowledge of the old religion to know immediately and on sght who our Lord was; the disciples followed him but took a while to figure out His true identity and role, many initially thinking his role as Messiah was to violently overthrow the Romans, and after our Lord’s passion and resurrection, many Jews then converted as the bulk of the Apostles initially focused on them; the threefold office of Morning, Evening and Night Prayer is also a direct adaptation from Judaism, dating from the establishment of the Synagogues under St. Esdras and St. Nehemiah, that the Jews, having been restored to Jerusalem, would not be so quick to forget the law, which they previously heard only annually at the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkhot, where a portion of Deuteronomy summarizing the rest of the Torah was read, in later years by the King).

    Now, many did write against the Spirit, attempting to use their rational faculties to supply what the Spirit did not reveal, and in so doing deluded themselves, aided by demons, and became heretics. The Gospel of Thomas may at one time have been a correct recording of sayings of our Lord used by Sts. Thomas, Addai and Mari in their evangelization of the East (to the extent it aligns with the Synoptics), or it may have always been heretical, but the book we presently have contains interpolations blended in with the true words of Christ which are heretical, and even the opening sentence is heretical, declaring the work to be the secret doctrine Christ taught to St. Thomas. And in like manner, owing to his popularity among Eastern Christians, we have the fancifully embellished and equally Gnostic Acts of Thomas, which was probably the work of Tatianist or Severian Gnostics of Syria, and then the most vile work in this category, the “Protoevangelion of Thomas” which depicts our Lord in his childhood blasphemously and in a manner I feel compelled not to repeat. This work, which was also known confusingly as the Gospel of Thomas, an early Church father warned had actually been written by one of the three disciples of Mani, the founder of the Manichaean heresy which posed an enormous threat to Christianity for several centuries (indeed, St. Augustine before his baptism by St. Ambrose of Milan, and his mother, were of that religion). A major principle of all Gnostic cults including that of Mani is dissimulation, so Mani commissioned three apostles to propagate his religion, and the new names he gave them are shockingly cynical in light of their mission-fields: Addai who travelled north into Syria, Edessa, Persia and so on, Thomas who travelled to Egypt, and Hermeais (Hermes) who travelled to Egypt, where a Hermetic cult was thriving.

    But of these blasphemers in Syriac Christianity, the case of Tatian is the most distressing, because, like Tertullian, he had been a member of the Church before falling into heresy. He composed a rather bland harmony of the Four Gospels called the Diatessaron, which was in the fourth century discarded and replaced by the Peshitta, the esteemed translation of the New Testament into Syriac, which was completed in that direction, but the bishops tended to burn the Diatessaron owing to suspicions of embedded heresy in light of the later apostasy of Tatian, and indeed, what we have now is a reconstruction.

    Valentinus in Rome was likewise initially a loyal member of the church who became a heretic.

    The worst example from antiquity is surely Nicolas the Deacon, not to be confused with St. Nicholas of Myra, ordained with the other deacons including St. Stephen the Protomartyr, in the Book of Acts. But Nicolas moved against the Spirit and developed an extreme communist doctrine involving the sharing of everything, including wives, and was excommunicated, forming his own cult, which our Lord expressly condemns in the Apocalypse (Revelations).

    ~

    In modern times, I propose that liberal theologians infesting the Episcopal Church, dominating the Scottish and Irish churches, and trying very hard to subjugate other provinces, are acting against the Spirit, and in so doing, are cutting themselves off. John Shelby Spong and bishops who share his worldview I would propose have self-excommunicated and are no longer a part of the Church Catholic, but heresiarchs who simply have not been formally anathematized due to the preponderance of liberals in the hierarchy of TEC. But, for example, whoever it was who thought it was a good idea to put a crucifix depicting our Lord as a woman in The beleaguered Cathedral of St. John of Divine in New York City, is acting against the Spirit.

    In contrast, the Apostles and Epistles wrote as moved by the Spirit, as did St. Athanasius and his brother bishops who adopted the final, definitive canon over alternative proposed canons, such as that suggested by Eusebius of Caesarea. By acting with the Spirit, in obedience to the Church with Christ as its head, they produced works for the benefit of the Church under the pneumatic inspiration of the Spirit and their own memory. All of their works are free from intentional error or doctrinal inaccuracies. The only possible inaccuracy, which God the Holy Spirit did not deem material, might exist in alternate renderings of the same conversations, especially in the Synoptics, for example, the precise words used at the Last Supper, but the variation is extremely minor, and as I pointed out earlier actually serves to validate the event, by showing that multiple people recalled the event and thus there were multiple oral traditions; St. Luke and St. Paul were not present, and St. Mark’s presence is dountful, although the Cenacle was in his house (now a monastery owned by the Syriac Orthodox; the other site that the Muslims, Roman Catholics and Jews are fighting over, with its gothic construction by the Crusaders, I think is obviously the Tomb of King David); but St. Paul and the other evangelists not present doubtless heard what our Lord said from those who were, from St. Peter, or John, or Andrew, or Matthew, or Phillip, or Thaddeaus, or Thomas, or Bartholomew, or another one of the Twelve. Probably not from St. James the Great, the older brother of St. John, as he was the first of the Twelve to be martyred.

    So in this case, and in a few others, like the Books of Kings and of Chronicles, the Spirit remains silent so as to make obvious the multiplicity of witnesses by slightly divergent accounts, whereas in other cases it is evident the Spirit is directly working to inspire the work, for example, by causing the Evangelists to record certain aspects of the Gospel following a consistent pattern.

    Piety requires a complete confidence that the evangelists, apostles and the Fathers like St. Athanasius who decided what was and was not scripture, followed in their work the inspiration of the Spirit and never put their will against the Lord. It is for this reason I reject completely Martin Luther’s criticism of James, Hebrews, Jude and the Apocalypse, and his placing them at the back of his translation. So I do not have confidence in him as acting in accord with the Spirit, I must confess. But with the Church of England, I think the general trend of most historical divines, and thus of the church as a whole, as a proper local church, in the same category as the churches of Russia or Cyprus or Armenia, has historically been in accord with the will of the Spirit, owing to the extremely excellent accomplishments of that church at home and in the mission field. All English speaking Christians have benefitted from Anglicanism, immensely.
     
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