What is the Anglican view of Baptism?

Discussion in 'Sacraments, Sacred Rites, and Holy Orders' started by Lowly Layman, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. Celtic1

    Celtic1 Well-Known Member

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    :D :D

    Actually, that is a good question. Presumably one answer would be is that there is no assurance of anyone to nurture or disciple the new "Christians".
     
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  2. Jeff F

    Jeff F Well-Known Member

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    Interesting question. As I discovered during countless hours of study under several Priests/mentors, the baptism of infants tends to actually distance the church away from the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, thus allowing them to perform it on infants. As the catechism states, it is an outward sign of a inward faith (past tense). For infants, it's an identification with the church and a covenant with it's parents/guardians/god parents to provide visible instruction.

    Jeff
     
  3. Scottish Knight

    Scottish Knight Well-Known Member

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  4. Old Christendom

    Old Christendom Well-Known Member

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    Actuallly, that quote from Cyril actually makes the case for spiritual regeneration not being synonymous with the sacrament of baptism itself. Obviously, Simon Magus was not born again after being baptised.
     
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  5. Old Christendom

    Old Christendom Well-Known Member

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    I guess the same could be said of the Eucharist, then.

    It's merely a sign? If so, it's a pretty useless one since it doesn't remain in us but is gone as soon as the acids in our stomachs disolve the bread and the wine.
     
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  6. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    This is why I said his words reminded me of Cyril's. :)
     
  7. highchurchman

    highchurchman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    " The symbol by which this covenant is transacted is Water, in which the person is baptized" (by trine immersion, or affusion ; See Rubric of the Baptismal Office in the English Ritual, 1548.) "to signify his being washed from all stain of sin. And he is thus baptized in or into the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost ; whereby is signified his being made the disciple of the Blessed Trinity in the School of Christ, the Doctrine of Christ being that of the Father, and the Holy Spirit receiving it from Christ, to teach it to His Church ; and likewise his being made a member of that Body, of which the Father and the Son are the Heads, the One in subordination to the other, and the Holy Spirit the Bond of unity, and principle of spiritual life to it, derived from the Father, by or through the Son. And by his being dipped in this water, (or, in case of necessity, having it poured upon him,) is represented, and conse quently in this symbolical way of covenanting, effected, on God's part, his being buried with Christ into His death ; the death of Christ being applied to him, as made a member of that Body, for which He suffered as the Head. And being thus dead, and buried with Christ, with respect to the former life of the old man, by his going under the water, he is, by his rising out of it again, made partaker of Christ's Resurrection, 1. to a new and spiritual life, which is mystically a new creation, or formation of him, his regeneration or second birth, whereby he is made a pure and holy temple, fitted for the inhabitation of the Holy Spirit, the principle of this new life ; by which Spirit he is 2. to be raised also to a glorious immor tality at the Last Day. And on the part of the baptized person is signified, and thereby undertaken, that he shall ' reckon indeed himself to be dead unto sin, so as not to let it reign any more in his mortal body, but alive unto God in Jesus Christ our Lord, by walking in newness of life:' and likewise that he shall be ready, if God in His providence call him to it, not only to part with whatever is dearest to him here, but also to die for the name of the Lord Jesus ; seeing that if we suffer with him, we shall also partake of the glory of His Resurrection." — P. 6, &c. § vi. and vii. III. For


    From the Rubrics of the 1548 Prayer Book.
     
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  8. Jeff F

    Jeff F Well-Known Member

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    I have a related question. John The Baptist is an interesting yet mystical figure in scripture, he appears one day baptizing with no recorded instruction from God to do so, yet he and many others seem to have an intimate knowledge of this practice. It was suggested years ago in an article published in Biblical Archaeology Review that John was actually part of the Essenic Jewish community (located on the hill above where he was baptizing in the Jordan), and that they practiced a "once for all" ceremonial washing, which the article attempts to link to our modern day baptism. Any Jewish historians out there to comment?

    Jeff+
     
  9. Celtic1

    Celtic1 Well-Known Member

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    I will abide and do as the Quakers say: "Make a quiet withdrawal from the scene of confusion".
     
  10. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    On the issue of baptismal regeneration, how can those who believe in the necessity of sacramental baptism for salvation can square it with sola gratia, sola fide? This is not unique to Anglicanism. Lutherans also, in the Augsburg Confession, teach baptism is "necessary to salvation" and condemn the the concept that "children are saved without baptism" (Article IX). Since, I believe this is speaking to the sacrament rather than simply to the spiritual reality that the sacrament points to, I disagree with it. If a ritual can save someone, whter by sprinkling, dunking, or pouring, then something more than faith in Christ is necessary, some work of church law is necessary, namely undergoing a ritual, for salvation.

    I wrote this elsewhere, but I like the Wesleyan idea of baptism, as held by the UMC, discussed here: http://www.gbod.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=nhLRJ2PMKsG&b=5602801&ct=7189595
     
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  11. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    This is a great article. Even John Stott, a noted Anglican low-churchman, teaches Baptismal Regeneration (i.e. that regeneration happens at baptism) in the article SK cited. For specific quotes see further down.

    He also dismisses Celtic1's argument, in these words:

    "I can dismiss this view in a sentence or two. If baptism were a mere sign, which in no sense or circumstance whatever conveyed anything to its recipients, the apostles could never have used expressions which ascribe some effect to baptism like ‘repent and be baptized for the remission of sins’ (Acts 2:38), or ‘as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ’ (Gal 3:27), or ‘baptism now saves you’ (1 Peter 3:21)."​

    Baptism now saves you.
    Baptism now saves you! Listen to the words of God, Celtic1.


    Since I'm on a roll with Stott's article, interestingly it addresses your question as well. See the following:

    "Various attempts have been made to reconcile the doctrines of baptismal regeneration and justification by faith – mainly by diluting the meaning either of the regeneration of which baptism is the sacrament, or of the faith through which sinners are justified.​

    "Thus, some of the schoolmen taught that if the necessary qualification for baptism in adults was repentance and faith, its equivalent in infants was simply their infantine condition; that is, the full-orbed saving faith of the New Testament was not necessary in their case. Luther (followed by other Reformers) attempted a reconciliation by asserting that God by his Word actually implants faith in infants to qualify them for baptism.​

    "Others have tried to retain both baptismal regeneration and justification by faith by diluting the content not of faith but of regeneration. They debase it from the inward new birth unto righteousness (which it always means in the New Testament) into an admission to the external privileges of the Covenant; or into an implanted capacity or faculty which does not necessarily issue in good works, i.e. a goodness which is potential rather than actual; or into merely the negative remission of original sin (as Augustine, and some Calvinists). But there is no biblical warrant for this eviscerated idea of regeneration, which in Scripture always means a supernatural birth effected by the Holy Spirit and manifest in holy living.​

    "These attempts to reconcile baptismal regeneration and justification by faith are unsuccessful because we have no right to give to either regeneration or faith any meaning less than their full biblical meaning. Therefore if a sinner is justified by God through faith alone, he is not regenerate through baptism without faith.​

    "Turning to the Articles, we find their teaching consistent with the rejection of the ex opere operato view of baptism, namely their insistence that the efficacy of the sacraments is dependent on worthy reception. At the end of Article twenty-five there is the general statement that ‘in such only as worthily receive the same they have a wholesome effect or operation...’ Similarly, in Article twenty-seven, it is ‘they that receive baptism rightly’ who are grafted into the Church, and to whom God’s promises are visibly signed and sealed.​

    "If we ask what is meant by a ‘right’ or ‘worthy’ reception, Article twenty-eight explains ‘insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily and with faith receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ...’ A right and worthy reception of the sacraments is a believing reception; without faith the sacraments have no wholesome operation or effect; rather the reverse."​

    The Catechism similarly lays emphasis on the necessary conditions required of candidates for baptism, and other statements in the Cathechism which may be thought to support the ex opere operato view must be understood in the light of these conditions.​

    The benefits of baptism are not bestowed unconditionally, they are appropriated by faith. Unworthy reception brings not blessing but judgment.​

    (all italics in the original)
     
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  12. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Yeah, it's a good thing Rev. Mr. Stott quoted Acts 2:38.

    We can believe it because it's in the Bible. If the inspired Peter on Pentecost could demand that everyone be baptised for the forgiveness of sins, what can we say? Anglicans certainly must agree that the Sacrament at least washes us of our sins.

    Sola gratia merely means that our calling, justification, and salvation are through grace alone. Why can this call and action of God's grace not be enacted in Baptism? It's still His prerogative and in His Church.

    Sola fide just means that we are justified (made righteous in God's sight, and thus able to do good works of love toward salvation) by faith alone.

    Baptism does not save by itself, nor does it justify, but it washes us from sins and makes us a member of Christ, the child of God, and inheritor of the Kingdom of Heaven. Baptism does not save, but it is necessary for salvation.
    There's a difference between being in Christ, and being saved. Tares and wheat are together until the last judgment.

    Are you actually a bishop? This doesn't seem like the sort of language such a high dignitary of the Church would ever use.
     
  13. Jeff F

    Jeff F Well-Known Member

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    You might find it interesting that some scholars believe a majority of translations miss the boat on James 2:14, that instead of saying "can faith save?", the correct translation would read "Can that type of faith save?" The analogy being that if a neighbor pounded on your front door screaming "your house is on fire", and your reply was OK I believe, but you failed to exit the home, would that be true faith? The implication is that true faith is always accompanied by action (works) Jesus also spoke of different levels of faith in His parable of the sower and the seed, with 1 out of 4 leading to fruit.

    Jeff
     
  14. Celtic1

    Celtic1 Well-Known Member

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    See my response, in red, in the quote.
     
  15. Jeff F

    Jeff F Well-Known Member

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    XXVII. Of Baptism.
    Baptism is not only a Sign of Profession, and 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 Sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed: Faith is confirmed, and Grace increased by virtue of Prayer unto God.

    I understand this to say that the sacrament is performed publicly to demonstrate what has already happened on the inside. Some here seem to interpret this to say "a sign creating regeneration".

    Jeff
     
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  16. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    That is very interesting Jeff. I agree with St. James, the Articles, and the homilies that more than simple simple belief in Jesus Christ is needed, and that a true and lively faith is evidenced by good works. And I see undergoing the Sacrament of Baptism as a good work which is in obedience to the Word of God. I do not think we should reject baptism or shirk from receiving it. However, works cannot save. Only Faith can save according to the principle of sola fide, correct? That is why I don't think Mark 16:16 (He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned) is the slam dunk sacramental regenerationists think it is. I think that it may be speaking more to the importance of faith in the salvation/damnation discussion than the necessity for sacramental baptism. That verse says that one is condemned only if he does not believe--not condemned if one does not believe and/or is not baptized. As for the first part of the quote, I think the baptism here is not the sacramental baptism but the inner baptism which is the consequence of believing in Jesus, submitting to his lordship and becoming a new creature by being born again (regeneration), which sacramental baptism is a sign of and celebrates.

    Here's another question: if the sacrament of baptism is necessary for salvation, rather than the inner baptism which occors when one is born again, how is it that anyone in the old testament is saved, since they did not undergo the sacrament? Undoubtedly we know that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are spoken of as alive by Christ, how are they saved without undergoing the all-important sacrament of water baptism in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, upon which all salvation hangs? What about the thief on the Cross? Jesus said, "This day you will be with me in Paradise"? There is no mention of sacramental Baptism for him and yet he is assured by Christ that he was saved. Some may argue that he could have been baptized prior to being crucified. That is a possiblity, but then I think the Evangelists would have called him a disciple or a follower and made that distinction, especially if sacramental baptism is so important. All we know is he is a thief, a thief who recognized his savior, believed, and prayed for his mercy. That sounds like the process of being born again to me, how is that not a sufficient baptism for salvation?

    I think Stalwart, pointed to the phrase, "baptism now saves you", which comes from 1 Peter 3:21, and makes the point that that is the end of the matter. The bible does say that. But I feel it is only a fragment of a thought that requires context. After all, it's not a cmplete verse...or a complete sentence for that matter. Here is a more complete picture of what is being discussed in 1 Peter 3 (NKJV) :

    To be fair, this verse is translated a number of ways that seem to go more than one way:

    KJV: "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ"

    ESV: "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"
    NRSV: "And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you—not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God fora good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ"

    NIV: "and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves youalso—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear consciencetoward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ"

    What is common to all of these is the idea that baptism is a figure or symbol that corresponds to a reality of what saves you. I think that when it speaks of saving baptism, it is referring to the one that is an inner, spiritual working of the Holy Spirit, accomplished through the resurrection of Christ. Having said that, I do not believe the sacrament is a "mere sign" but one that effects grace and imparts certain blessings into our lives. It also visibly assures one (and others) that he is intitiated into the everlasting Covenant of God in Christ and thereby promised salvation and eternal life. But the sacrament is not the reality, it only corresponds and celebrates the reality. But the parenthetical in the verse is telling. It's not the physical washing away of personal filth that saves, but the inner answer of the soul to God's call. The salvific baptism is the innner baptism, not the external one celebrating it.

    ALSO: I found an interesting disucssion of the meaning of 1 Peter 3:21 a this website: http://carm.org/baptism-and-1-pet-321
     
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  17. Jeff F

    Jeff F Well-Known Member

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    The 1 Peter quote is quite interesting. The Greek word there is Antitoupon, which the NKJV literally translates as "anti-type" while the KJV simply says "like figure". The best description of this word "anti-type" is our word "Tin Type" given to old photographs. The process generated a mirror image of the original picture which could be duplicated.

    As to your question of Old Testament salvation, the writer of Hebrews gives detailed examples in chapter 11 of saving faith that was demonstrated in various ways over the centuries from Abel on.

    Jeff
     
  18. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Exactly! Our salvation comes by faith. Noah demonstrated his faith by entering the ark, and thereby passed through the waters that washed away unrighteousness, that sign was a prefiguring of our own baptism. John the Baptist told us that he baptized with water for the forgiveness of sins, but Christ would baptize with Spirit and Fire. Water baptism is a sign of the saving baptism of the Spirit which is internal.
     
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  19. CatholicAnglican

    CatholicAnglican Active Member

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    Salvation indeed comes through faith, but that is the (Conversion) I was converted before I was Baptized. But I will put the article on Baptism on here. This is what I believe

    XXVII. OF BAPTISM.
    BAPTISM is not only a sign of profession, and 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 forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the sons 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 young Children is in any wise to be retained in the Church, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ.
     
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  20. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    First off, wonderful new Avatar CA. I too wholly and unreservedly believe the Article as it is written. Baptism is the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit by which we are "grafted into the Church". The sacrament of Baptism is a sign of this "Regeneration or new birth". Because sacraments are not "mere signs" but effectual ones, the effect of the sacraments are these: "the promises of forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed"; our "Faith is confirmed", and our "Grace increased by virtue of prayer unto God". I see nothing wrong with any part of the Article. I don't think Wesley did either, only with the way it had been twisted by some in the C of E. I believe that all what Wesley was doing was removing language that could cause someone to get their wires crossed in a way that would make them confuse the sign of regeneration with regeneration itself such that they would believe that faith in Christ is not enough, that one must undergo the sacrament to be saved.
     
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