Wednesday, October 23, 2013

On the occasion of the baptism of HRH Prince George of Cambridge



Today the Archbishop of Canterbury will baptise HRH the Prince George of Cambridge. In this film, Archbishop Justin explains the significance of baptism and why it is such an important moment for anyone, whoever they are. When Prince George is baptised he will join two billion people around the world in "the family of the Church", he says. He says that baptism is not just for royal babies but is offered to everyone, because "God’s love is offered without qualification, without price, without cost, to all people, in all circumstances, always."

Explaining what will happen when he baptises Prince George, the Archbishop says: ‘I will mark Prince George with the sign of the cross on his forehead, and that’s exactly what every single priest does at every single baptism. It’s an extraordinary moment because that is the sign by which we understand that this person belongs to God.’ The Archbishop encourages anyone who is thinking about christening – either for themselves or their child – to go along to their local church and find out more. At the end of the film, Archbishop Justin shares what he would like to say in his mind to the Prince as he baptises him, citing words used by the Church of Scotland: 
For you Jesus Christ came into the world:
for you he lived and showed God’s love;
for you he suffered the darkness of Calvary
and cried at the last, ‘It is accomplished’;
for you he triumphed over death and rose to new of life;
for you he reigns at God’s right hand.
All this he did for you, though you do not know it yet.
His Grace would just like to add that baptism doesn't make Prince George a Christian any more than it makes him a future Supreme Governor of the Church of England. In baptism we begin the life of grace within the Church: it is a means of participation in the divine life; the sacrament which unites the Church to the baptism of Christ in the River Jordan, and it is water from that very river which fills the font in the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace.

Baptism is a public rite of a covenantal nature, pledging the infant to Christ and to the Church. It is, as the XXXIX Articles affirm, 'effectual' of grace and has an 'instrumental' relation to the action of the Holy Spirit. It is not a man-made piece of theatre, but truly effects what it signifies. It is the foundation of Christian initiation, which also includes catechesis, liturgical profession of faith and confirmation of the Holy Spirit, participation in the Eucharist and reception of Holy Communion.

Today, Prince George will receive the sign of the cross upon his forehead to identify him with the death and resurrection of Christ. It will require a later response from him 'after the example of the Holy Apostles', and a commitment to discipleship throughout his life. The sacrament is theological and eschatological: its meaning and effect are only partially realised in this life.

But instead of quibbling in the comment thread about how and why the Church of England errs in its baptismal ecclesiology, why not pray that the Holy Spirit will lead Prince George to the fullness of faith, and equip him to resist temptation, to follow Christ ardently, to serve the Church, and witness boldly to the world?

78 Comments:

Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Good idea in last paragraph - will pray those things.

23 October 2013 at 09:23  
Blogger Richard Armbach said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

23 October 2013 at 09:37  
Blogger JohnH said...

What's @09:37 got to do with the subject?

23 October 2013 at 10:06  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Gone

23 October 2013 at 10:08  
Blogger non mouse said...

Good to know the dear child's be ing Christened, YG. I do believe he's going to need all the help he can get.

23 October 2013 at 10:14  
Blogger Corrigan said...

But instead of quibbling in the comment thread about how and why the Church of England errs in its baptismal ecclesiology, why not pray that the Holy Spirit will lead Prince George to the fullness of faith, and equip him to resist temptation, to follow Christ ardently, to serve the Church, and witness boldly to the world?

I happily pray for all the things Cranmer asks; I'm sure he understands what "the fullness of faith" means.

23 October 2013 at 10:18  
Blogger JW said...

His Grace is a dreadful tease.

All that verbiage setting us up for a theological fight and then you tell us we can't have one.

Spoilsport...

23 October 2013 at 10:20  
Blogger graham wood said...

Only rarely do I dissent wholly from Cranmer's usually erudite and informed blog comments.

He concedes the possibility of the C of E which "errs in its baptismal ecclesiology". Indeed so, for this is a central not a peripheral issue.

Lets say it bluntly. 'Christening', no matter by whom administered, to whoever it may be, is emphatically not Christian baptism, and is actually meaning less in New Testament terms.

By contrast, Christian baptism according to the New Testament (our only authority on the matter) is to be administered solely to believers. Invariably it is "believe and be baptised"
Grace does not run in the bloodstream.
The Lord's mandate in the Gospels is clear enough. (See for example Mark 16:16 "he that believes and is baptised shall be saved")

Neither infants, nor 'godparents' can express a faith by proxy, and there is no NT example of this to be found anywhere.
Baptism is indeed a public rite of a "covenantal nature", but not "any" covenant. It is the one defining symbol of but one covenant, namely the New Covenant of Jesus Christ and through faith in his blood

Sorry Cranny. Informed believers will not buy this sad error which conflates a pseudo Christian rite with the genuine and clear doctrine of Christian believer's baptism.

It is both alien to Scripture and certainly was not the practice of the early church right up to the end of the 2nd century.

23 October 2013 at 10:36  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Oh dear… we can’t go far without a Baptist swaggering in with some pretty outrageous pronouncements. Well it can’t be left unchallenged, can it Your Grace?

David Hussell

By contrast, Christian baptism according to the New Testament (our only authority on the matter) is to be administered solely to believers. Invariably it is "believe and be baptised"
Grace does not run in the bloodstream.


Even if it were true that baptism in the NT were administered solely to believers, it doesn’t follow that it is only to be administered to them, as in Acts the gospel is going out for the first time- there are no second generation Christians in the narrative, which is where we might expect paedobaptism.

It is worth noting, however, that there are household baptisms, which may well have included infants.

As for Grace does not run in the bloodstream, whilst a nice slogan it’s just not true. Acts 2:39 makes clear that God interests himself in the children of believers, as is also clear in the Old Covenant. God interests himself in the children of believers for the sake of their parents. Children born to covenant parents are not outside of the covenant, but within it.

The Lord's mandate in the Gospels is clear enough. (See for example Mark 16:16 "he that believes and is baptised shall be saved")

Since you seem to claim to be an “informed believer”, you are presumably informed enough to know that the latter half of Mark 16 is not witnessed to by early manuscripts and is almost certainly an interpolation.

Neither infants, nor 'godparents' can express a faith by proxy, and there is no NT example of this to be found anywhere.

Rom 4:11- the sign of circumcision (the entry rite into the Old Covenant) was a sign of the righteousness of faith. But it is applied to 8 day old babies. That’s because God expects us to understand that our children are in the covenant.

Baptism is indeed a public rite of a "covenantal nature", but not "any" covenant. It is the one defining symbol of but one covenant, namely the New Covenant of Jesus Christ and through faith in his blood

Baptism does not have to be public- viz. the baptism of the Ethiopian. Yes it is the sign of the New Covenant, what’s your point? Are you saying that the New Covenant is a worse covenant than the Old Covenant, with less grace?

Sorry Cranny. Informed believers will not buy this sad error which conflates a pseudo Christian rite with the genuine and clear doctrine of Christian believer's baptism.

It is both alien to Scripture and certainly was not the practice of the early church right up to the end of the 2nd century.


Perhaps you should drop your bombastic rhetoric since you haven’t shown yourself all too informed so far. Also, arguments from silence do not impress me, even when prefaced with a pretty dubious “certainly”.

23 October 2013 at 11:16  
Blogger David Anderson said...

"For you Jesus Christ came into the world:
for you he lived and showed God’s love;
for you he suffered the darkness of Calvary
and cried at the last, ‘It is accomplished’;
for you he triumphed over death and rose to new of life; for you he reigns at God’s right hand.
All this he did for you, though you do not know it yet."

So, the Archbishop isn't a Calvinist, which makes Cranmer's reference to the 39 articles (unintentionally?) ironic.

Infant baptism evacuates the meaning of baptism. Instead of a declaration of what God has done in the person's life, it becomes a declaration of things that you hope God might eventually do in the infant's life. Whether he will or not, we don't know. As such, most Bible-believing Anglican churches then find they need another ritual (some kind of public testimony) for the occasion when it actually *does* happen (or, they use confirmation, if the person hadn't already been through it).

23 October 2013 at 11:18  
Blogger Albert said...

His Grace would just like to add that baptism doesn't make Prince George a Christian

Begging your pardon Dr C, but I don't think that's consistent with the BCP:

In the Private Rite of Baptism of children, the priest is to ask if the child has been baptized already, and if so, was it done properly. The rubric then says:

And if the Minister shall find by the answers of such as bring the Child, that all things were done as they ought to be; then shall not he christen the Child again, but shall receive him as one of the flock of true Christian people

This line appears in 1549, 1552 and 1662. I could be mistaken, but I cannot see how the conclusion can be avoided that this teaches that the child becomes a Christian by baptism. And since this is the teaching of the BCP, I take it, it is the teaching of the CofE.

23 October 2013 at 11:25  
Blogger Hannah said...

Well I hope it all goes well for the baby George. It is one of those cultural rites of passage that each religion seems to have and I guess this is done because we are in a nominally cultural Christian (specifically Anglican) country.

23 October 2013 at 12:06  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

"...baptism doesn't make Prince George a Christian..."
Yes it does. (What sort of Christian he will turn out to be is a different matter.

23 October 2013 at 12:06  
Blogger Len said...

Infant Baptism is a' dedication' nothing more.
If infant baptism was all it takes to make one a Christian then God has got things badly wrong.

23 October 2013 at 12:08  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hello David Anderson,

The statement you quote at the start of your post reads like classical Christianity, but there seems to an implication you disagree with that statement? What's the bit you disagree with?

23 October 2013 at 12:09  
Blogger Albert said...

Excellent post from Thomas @11.16, (although shouldn't it be directed to graham wood?).

23 October 2013 at 12:33  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

Thanks Albert, you are completely right. My sincerest apologies to David, that comment was indeed directed at Graham. Dunno why I somehow made that mistake.

23 October 2013 at 14:22  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Thank you Your Grace for showing us this significant moment.
I enjoyed listening to the inspiring words of Justin Welby. The royal family, much like any other family could, invites the Church in at the start of the young prince's journey into life. Promises are made, on his behalf, which he will be invited to affirm later when he reaches an age of understanding. We pray that he will grow strong in his faith as he, step by step grows and matures. The ceremony sends out a powerful, counter cultural message to a world sorely in need of Christ's saving power and leadership.

However it is sad that argumentative and legalistic types do not respond to the grace and unity reflected in the spirit and meaning of that infant baptism.

Although a traditionalist Anglican I have just spent an uplifting morning with the Chair of a local Churches Together group, himself the Pastor of an energetic Community church of Baptist origins, discussing how many incredibly effective publicly visible acts of local witness have been achieved by working together ecumenically, at providing homes for the homeless, running Town Pastor Schemes and much more. The years achievements are always celebrated together at a feast on Christmas day, hosted in the capacious, well equipped Catholic church buildings. Inspiring ministers, servants of Christ, working as effective leaders of their own growing churches, but who act ecumenically, are a gift to us all.

But, forgive me, don't let me keep you from your bickering and sniping. The opposition are gleeful when we fight.

23 October 2013 at 14:22  
Blogger David Anderson said...

Hannah: I'm not an Anglican, but I agree with the 39 articles on the particular point I was referring to - that Jesus Christ came with a will and purpose to save a definite, graciously chosen people. Thus it is not possible to say those words to everyone indiscriminately (since that would imply universal salvation). If this is new ground for you, then there's some good stuff at http://store.aomin.org at a very accessible level to get your teeth into it.

Best wishes,
David

23 October 2013 at 14:29  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

David Anderson

1. This is consistent with Calvinism if you believe in presumptive regeneration of baptised infants (or covenant children). In that sense it would be no different from saying to a person receiving communion "The blood of Christ was shed for you".

2.
--------

Conversation as seen on Rabbi Gamaliel's blog, dated 25AD.

Simeon: I'm completely opposed to the practice of infant circumcision.

Daniel: Yeah, it totally evacuates the meaning of circumcision, celebrating God's circumcision of our heart.

Simeon: Exactly. Rather than declaring what God has done in a child's life, it becomes a declaration of what we hope God might one day do in that child's life.

Daniel: Whether he will or not we don't know.

Simeon: That's why lots of Torah-believing synagogues feel the need for some other ritual to confirm that God actually has circumcised that person's heart.

----------------

3. I find it pretty ironic that, as a Calvinist, you don't think that the baptism of a helpless baby is a perfect analogue for God's monergistic regeneration of the lost.

23 October 2013 at 14:35  
Blogger David Anderson said...

Thomas Keningley - wouldn't it be better to ask me to elaborate beliefs, rather than applying a generic boilerplate response in advance?

For example, in 3. you pre-assume that I can't see why baptism would make a suitable picture of monergistic regeneration. Did I say that I couldn't see that? No; I see it fine. It's just that I don't believe that anywhere in God's word has he actually revealed that it is his intention for the baptism of helpless babies to picture any such thing. It's a cute piece of theological imagination; but no more than that.

In 2., you flatten the progress and development of Biblical history and symbolism by treating baptism and circumcision as interchangeable units. This is the heart of the Calvinistic paedobaptist error - not simply reading the NT as the completion of the OT, and the OT in the light of the NT, but rather reading the NT *as* the OT, and vice-versa. The fact that you think that simply substituting terms in that manner works as an argument, needing no further discussion, case closed, shows a lack of appreciation of the much-more-complex (and richer) relationship between the covenants.

1. There's a vast difference in the cases that you envisage, as in the case of presumptive infant baptism, *there are no Biblical or theological grounds for the presumption, in the case of the _specific_ individual who is receiving the ordinance*. In the case of administering the Lord's Supper to someone, we seek for some reason not just to believe that someone, somewhere believes in Christ, but that *that particular individual* does.

The only possible answer to this, of course, is that the presumption is, in fact, grounded. Which leads to the questions - a) what are those grounds? b) where does the Bible show that the grounds you've identified in a) are sufficient grounds not just for a hope of the infant's regeneration, but specifically for their reception of the ordinance of baptism?

23 October 2013 at 15:03  
Blogger David Anderson said...

"Acts 2:39 makes clear that God interests himself in the children of believers, as is also clear in the Old Covenant. God interests himself in the children of believers for the sake of their parents. Children born to covenant parents are not outside of the covenant, but within it."

1) This argument proves too much; if the mention of 'your children' in Acts 2:39 establishes a connection which indicates the suitability of baptism, then by the same logic, then by the same logic, 'for all who are far off' mentioned in the same verse would indicate the suitability of baptism for outright pagans.

2) In any case, the text of Acts 2:39 contains a specific limitation: 'everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.' If this is a general call to everyone (in the preaching of the gospel), then it is then illegitimate to read 'your children' as a specific limitation to believers' children. If, on the other hand (as is likely) it means those summoned effectually, then it means believers.

3) There is no exegetical reason to understand 'children' here as meaning 'babies'. Children are perfectly capable of believing and being baptised.

4) Moreover, the previous line contains a command: 'repent and be baptised'. It is arbitrary, and the flattening of the actual working of the text, to cut it up so that 'repent' is for some people, and 'be baptised' for others.

Conclusion: you're indulging in empty proof-texting, with a deaf ear to the texts' actual content. This is the kind of exegesis which gives systematics a bad name: we kill the text, in order that our preferred doctrines may live.

23 October 2013 at 15:19  
Blogger Albert said...

David,

As a matter of interest, what do you think happens to a baby who dies without being baptized (I take it you think all babies are unbaptized)?

23 October 2013 at 15:27  
Blogger David Anderson said...

"Rom 4:11- the sign of circumcision (the entry rite into the Old Covenant) was a sign of the righteousness of faith. But it is applied to 8 day old babies. That’s because God expects us to understand that our children are in the covenant."

The context shows that it was a sign of *Abraham's* faith. Those who were Jews according to the flesh, and had the various promises given to them, were eligible for the sign of the Abrahamic promises because of their relationship to Abraham. Abraham was their father.

The question at issue is whether infants of Christians can also claim Abraham as their father. Paul, in context, makes it clear that those Gentiles who have faith also have Abraham as their father. We would be correct to infer from that that they thus have a right to the covenant sign.

However, notice what you have to do in order to extend that right to the babies of believers. The babies of believers are not physical descendants of Abraham (even had that still been a sufficient qualification). Neither do they, by virtue of being babies of believers, automatically have faith. So what is the connection, in the Reformed paedobaptist construction? It is that they are the *physical* offspring of the *spiritual* offspring. It's a two-step, mixed link; a link that is neither what was pertinent to the circumcised Jew, nor to the baptised believer.

Or in other words: classic bait-and-switch. It only 'works' by equivocating on the kind of 'parentage' involved.

23 October 2013 at 15:28  
Blogger IanCad said...

Christ showed us the way.
He was baptized as an adult just prior to His ministry.

His presentation at the Temple was for circumcision.

Little Prince George is, more accurately, being dedicated, as Len has stated.

May God bless the little man.

23 October 2013 at 15:31  
Blogger David Anderson said...

"As a matter of interest, what do you think happens to a baby who dies without being baptized (I take it you think all babies are unbaptized)?"

Hi, Albert. My own view is that God has not made any general revelation in Scripture about the fate of infants; but we are to trust that he is perfectly wise, loving, and just. If any or all are saved - and I see no theological barrier to it - then it is not because of innate goodness or because of baptism, but because the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross for their sins, which was necessary because they were corrupt children of Adam (which would have manifested itself in their lives, had they been allowed to live longer). As a Calvinist, I have no problem in believing that infants can be regenerate through a sovereign act of God, even from the womb (as was John the Baptist).

The dying thief was unbaptised. He went to paradise. It is not baptism that saves us, but the efficacious working of Christ within us; which *ought* to be outwardly symbolised in baptism, though circumstances may prevent (as they did with the thief).

23 October 2013 at 15:32  
Blogger David Anderson said...

"Baptism does not have to be public- viz. the baptism of the Ethiopian. Yes it is the sign of the New Covenant, what’s your point? Are you saying that the New Covenant is a worse covenant than the Old Covenant, with less grace?"

The paedobaptist should answer this last question, not the Baptist.

All members of the Old Covenant had access to all the Old Covenant privileges. They could dwell in the land, go to the temple, benefit from the mediation of the priesthood, etc. Nobody could remove that right from them.

If you assert that the children of believers are also, by that fact, members of the New Covenant, then can we ask - do they also have all the New Covenant privileges? Do they have the efficacious, never failing intercession of Christ for them, which ensures that they will certainly enter glory? Does the Holy Spirit indwell them, with an unbreakable promise to never leave them? Can they be assured that they are the elect of God, such that this promise can never be taken from them? Apparently not, because many sprinkled babies are evidently lost. So, was Christ's intercession at the Father's right hand not sufficient for them? If you answer 'no, because they did not also believe', then I shall ask "but did not Christ then pray for them that they would believe?", and question your claim to be a Calvinist.

It's actually quite like the Calvinist-Arminian debate: you can't have your cake and eat it, without universalism. Either the New Covenant is perfectly efficacious (and so you can't espouse automatic infant membership), or your version of it is "less gracious" than the Baptist's version. So, the question you ask cuts you much sharper than it cuts the Baptist (at least, this one!).

23 October 2013 at 15:43  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hello David Anderson,

I'm not an Anglican either. I think you answered the question there for me, as in that to you, Christianity to Christians is the universal truth and way,for the world, not just for a Christian, but to non-Christians too & that to be a Christian requires an obligated positive response to Jesus to make it comprehensive. Presumably a bit like needing to ask for an overdraft, rather than it automatically being given I guess.

Is that a reasonable summary or have I boilerplated you?

I am intrigued that a Christian is applying the usage of 'chosen people' to his followers, as I did have a discussion about 2 years ago with another Christian here, who, erroneously thought that it was precisely because Christianity didn't have any chosen people in that is it open to anyone who wanted it, unlike my own religion.

Re, the link,that's quite a treasure trove there, although it somehow got to a page about Mormons (I not a Mormon btw). I was intrigued by the rather bizarre and Byzantine debate on 'King James onlyism' debate.

23 October 2013 at 15:43  
Blogger David Anderson said...

Hi Hannah,

It was the material under the headings 'Featured Books on Reformed Theology' and 'Defending Calvinism' that I was referring to. These will make everything about the kind of position I hold to much clearer than I can in a few words!

Best wishes,
David

23 October 2013 at 15:54  
Blogger graham wood said...

David Anderson.

Thank-you for the clarity of your logic on baptism, but more for your defence of biblical baptism, as opposed to the traditions of men.

Infant 'baptism' of necessity means altering Christian baptism.
It is a characteristic of human tradition always to make void some part or other of the Word of God.
The superstitious rite of 'christening' is just such an example.
As William Cunningham (a Reformed writer) concedes, "If infant baptism were abolished and believer's (only) baptism restored, people would have little difficulty in understanding the meaning of Christian baptism."

23 October 2013 at 15:56  
Blogger Albert said...

Thank you David for your response. I have to say that as a Catholic convert from the CofE this discussion tends to make my eyes glaze over - and I have little to say about it.

It strikes me however, that the evidence strongly suggests infant baptism in the NT on the grounds that "household" would naturally include the whole family. Perhaps the NT doesn't resolve this one either way. ..but that would be another discussion!

23 October 2013 at 16:04  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack likes babies. He thinks it is a jolly good thing that their mummies and daddies give them to Jesus and make promises for them. He doesn't see what all the fuss is about.

Jack says, a Christian is as a Christian does. What is a Christian, anyway?

23 October 2013 at 16:54  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Albert,

Unbaptized babies, where do they go ?

God is the just judge of us all, so I put my total, unqualified trust in Him on this and all uncertain matters. But I am inclined to believe that those who die young, before they can choose to allow the saving Spirit of Christ to renew them, or not, will not be rejected by a loving God.

23 October 2013 at 17:34  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

David Anderson

I noticed you referenced a link to aomin.org. I owe much to Dr White. He taught me many important things. At one time, I was a moderator on pros apologian. Welcome to the board.

carl

23 October 2013 at 17:44  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

On the other hand...

I would rather visit the dentist than argue about Baptism. Almost as bad as arguing about Eschatology.

Beating up on Trent is much more entertaining. ;)

carl

23 October 2013 at 17:46  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Happy Jack,

Your comments are the best ones here, but you are very wrong if you think that a Christian is a person who makes him/herself acceptable to God by doing good deeds.
We are incapable of buying forgiveness, although He likes us to do good things. Christ has "bought" us, each one of us, already, by atoning, washing away our weaknesses, through his blood spilt on the Cross. But we are asked, challenged to admit our weaknesses, our wrongdoings, which we all have, to admit our need for forgiveness and ask for him to guide us forward, for ever more. So his forgiveness is not unconditional. We are invited to choose. We have freewill.
Many say no and go their own way. This being renewed, made a new man, being "reborn" is a personal, individual matter for each human to decide. Baptism is the outward, usually public, ceremony symbolizing the inner renewal. The spiritual work happens inside each and every believer.
Then as we mature in faith, we tend to want to do the good things, the good behaviour bit, which is a very gradual , lifelong process, which we seldom get right, but we press on, in joy. I hope that answers your question.
Blessings on you Happy Jack.

23 October 2013 at 17:48  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Nothing like the baptising of a baby to get the fists flying on this site, what !

This man loathes the mechanics of faith, tends to inter with Christ’s teachings to us, so he believes. Of course, what galls the extremists is that baptism is freely given, and not the reward for an exam passed. They want to wait for the lad to be in his teens, then he can hold the good book in his right hand and swear on his mother’s life he’ll be a good observant Christian. He’ll have earned baptism then, wouldn’t he ?

Let’s keep the earning to the life thereafter this one, and rejoice in another child joining Christ’s flock. But then, that might be too Christian for some of you…



23 October 2013 at 18:01  
Blogger r33per said...

Jack,

A Christian is presumably on who is like Christ - like the believers in Antioch (in Acts) who were followers of The Way.

Appreciate the dedication of the child - and he, like his father, grandfather and great-grandmother, most certainly will be in my prayers.

Disagree with Christening - being a Baptist, and all! - but I also understand that if he is to be head of the Established Church, this needs to happen. One does pray that those gathered took their liturgy seriously:



Do you reject the devil and all rebellion against God?
I reject them.

Do you renounce the deceit and corruption of evil?
I renounce them.

Do you repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbour?
I repent of them.

Do you turn to Christ as Saviour?
I turn to Christ.

Do you submit to Christ as Lord?
I submit to Christ.

Do you come to Christ, the way, the truth and the life?
I come to Christ.

R.

23 October 2013 at 18:41  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Goodness! What a splendid event and how we all rejoice! I'm sure the Half-blood Prince will make a splendid King in the fullness of time so here in Barchester we have put the bunting out. As for Baptists, we have a lot of those as well. The General Baptists; The Strict Baptists; The Particular Baptists; The Strict AND Particular Baptists; The Peculiar and Downright Odd Baptists and the Strictly Disciplined and Masochistic (Reformed) Baptists. It appears whenever two Baptists meet together they split and form an alternative sect. What busy bees!

23 October 2013 at 19:06  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Inspector,

Good on you !

r33per,

Yes, the words of the traditional C of E Baptism service are rather splendid I think, and decidedly unPC ! They hit the matter slam in the middle ! Hurrah !

23 October 2013 at 19:16  
Blogger David B said...

To an outsider the arguments about whether what amounts to incantations and rituals performed by a licensed Shaman does anything regarding the fate of an infant in a putative life after death looks very odd.

David

23 October 2013 at 19:17  
Blogger graham wood said...

Albert and Thomas both raise the matter of household baptisms as likely to include infant offspring of believers.

The references occur in Acts 16. (Lydia)' and also in the conversion of the jail or at Phillipi. In both cases. Baptism only took place after confession of faith by the adult believers.
However, it would not have been possible for infants to have been included in either case, or indeed in any other for the Apostles were only authorised by Christ to baptise believers - not others .
It is worth noting that the practice of indiscriminate baptism was not only excluded by specific precept, but also by the example of John the Baptist - he refused to baptise many Jews who flocked to him until they "brought forth fruits meet for repentance".
This is the consistent principle throughout the New Testament.
Graham

23 October 2013 at 19:21  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack says "Hello" to David Hussell and thanks him for his kind words.

No. Jack does not think just doing good makes God pleased with a person. It can't do any harm though. Happy Jack has seen a lot of people who do good but hold their noses up at the same time, if you know what Jack means. But Jack likes to see people smile and lend a hand to one another. He thinks those who say they follow the Man from Galilee should preach and pray with their actions and not just use big, fancy words.

Hello, r33pr. That is a one weird name! Where on earth did you get it? Happy Jack likes that description of a Christian. Becoming more and more like the Jesus would be a good way to live.

23 October 2013 at 19:29  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

David B. It’s all part of our culture. Take it or leave. Take it and you improve your life by living to standards. Reject it, and well, you might as well go to the park, roll around on the grass and fornicate in front of little ones. Perhaps you do, or did...

23 October 2013 at 19:29  
Blogger IanCad said...

Baptism has changed over the centuries.

It was always by immersion in the early Church. Sprinkling was invented later.

Again, the traditions of men trump the Gospel.

23 October 2013 at 20:17  
Blogger Albert said...

Graham,

However, it would not have been possible for infants to have been included in either case, or indeed in any other for the Apostles were only authorised by Christ to baptise believers - not others .

That argument assumes the point it needs to prove. See here:

1. The apostles only baptized those whom they were authorised to baptize.
2. The apostles baptized infants.
3. Therefore, the apostles were authorised to baptize infants.

Now, you will accept 1 but deny 2. But how do you know the apostles didn't baptize infants? "Household" would normally include infants. You know they didn't baptize infants because the apostles were not authorised to baptize infants.

Now if you demand the faith of adults first and you deny indiscriminate baptism, then you will not find any supporter of infant baptism disagreeing with you. So that argument does not strengthen your position. So it turns exactly on your knowing that infants were not baptized by the apostles. Which of course you cannot know.

Thus there are only two reasonable conclusions:

1. Infants were baptized in the NT.
2. It cannot be known, whether or not, infants were baptized in the NT.

23 October 2013 at 20:17  
Blogger David Lindsay said...

I was asked, of course. But being David Lindsay's godson would have been far too much to have expected Prince George to have lived up to.

23 October 2013 at 20:19  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

Steady on, OIG. or you will have Mrs Proudie overdosing on the smelling salts after the last mental picture you attempted to conjure up.

I am resisting even imagining it!!

I was tempted to wish baby George good luck to see if that produced a unified volley of disapproval of the "we don't believe in luck" variety.

Best Baptismal wishes from me anyway.

Does it matter how a cake is cooked as long as it is cooked? I was told that baptism gets you the train ticket but it is up to you whether you get on board the train. Well maybe you plus prevenient grace!!

Whatever infant baptism & confirmation is a well tried recipe which when done well certainly works well, and thus pleases the Almighty. The Scottish prayer is really beautiful, and helpful, and thanks for reproducing it.

23 October 2013 at 20:31  
Blogger IanCad said...

Sorry Albert, but there should be a third reasonable conclusion, namely:
Infants were not baptized in the NT.

23 October 2013 at 20:37  
Blogger Albert said...

IanCad,

On the basis of Graham's argument, it cannot be known that infants were not baptized in the NT.

23 October 2013 at 20:53  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Well Lucy Mullen, that’s the kind of degenerate behaviour we can expect form atheists. Or should that be ‘free expression’ by atheists.

One was rather hoping David B would have come back, miserable wet rag that he is. Still, let his negativity be a comfort to him. It rather depresses everyone else, though of course we are much more fortunate as we don’t have to live with it, 24 /7.


23 October 2013 at 20:59  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Look chaps – don’t overdue the baptism analysis. Important as it was in the foundation of the church, the situation has somewhat moved forward in our favour. Christianity is an established faith, we don’t have to examine our baptismal navels to this extent...


23 October 2013 at 21:04  
Blogger graham wood said...

Albert. A closing question from me.

What don't you understand in Jesus' words in Mark.16:16 -
"He that believes and is baptised shall be saved"' and similar in Matthew 28:19'20?
Graham

23 October 2013 at 21:07  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Dear Lucy, Goodness! You must think me such a prude! Believe me, I have seen things around the Cloisters that would make your hair curl. I pride myself on being a woman of the world...it's just my world is not the 21st century. The Inspector is such a tease, don't you think?

23 October 2013 at 21:29  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Mrs Proudie. There was a time when young people caught fornicating in the long grass were marched off to church, at the point of a pitchfork, and properly married. And today we have single mothers complaining they can no longer afford to keep their bastards warm.

One is again convinced that those who went before us had it right...


23 October 2013 at 21:50  
Blogger Albert said...

Graham,

There is nothing that can be drawn from those quotations that serves your purpose. Everyone accepts exactly that teaching, it doesn't count against infant baptism.

Take a couple of other scriptural passages. We learn from Ephesians that mankind is "by nature children of wrath." But Paul expressly says that the children of a Christian mother are holy. How are they holy, if they are by nature children of wrath and have not been cleansed of their sins?

So we have good indirect evidence that they were baptized: both the use of the word "Household" suggests it, and Paul's proclamation that they are holy suggests it. Moreover, if this isn't the case, why do we not hear of instructions as to when Christian children should be baptized? Why do we hear of no examples of this? On the infant baptism account this makes perfect sense: we don't hear this because they were baptized as infants. On your account this is puzzling.

So we have good biblical reason to believe in infant baptism, but currently we have literally no reason to think they weren't.

23 October 2013 at 21:52  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Apparently, I was christened as a child too. I expect my skin would blister and bubble if I wandered in a church now.

23 October 2013 at 21:53  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Happy Jack,

God alone is the judge of us all.

But it seems to me that, if you were a ship, I would say, that you are on the right heading. Or to put it a more Biblical way, you are not far from the Kingdom of God.

23 October 2013 at 21:55  
Blogger Brian Gould said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

23 October 2013 at 21:55  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. Every parent hopes their child will not go to the bad...

It’s not too late you know, renounce homosexual activity and join Christianity....


23 October 2013 at 21:56  
Blogger David B said...

Inspector, don't you think it has been some time since baptism has been a bigger part of our culture than going to Ikea instead of Church?

Actually infant baptism was never a part of my culture, since I was raised and went to Sunday School as a Baptist.

The minister was a nice man, a kind man, and I think a deeply good man at heart.

Still, I shall never forget his lecture to we Sunday School pupils on the evils of wearing coloured socks, as being indicative of Pride. Actually, I still retain some puritan tendencies regarding such things as the fashion industry, perhaps as result of such homilies, though in retrospect seeing coloured socks as a great moral evil seems somewhat eccentric.

David

23 October 2013 at 22:00  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "It’s not too late you know, renounce homosexual activity and join Christianity...."

It hasn't helped you much, to be fair.

23 October 2013 at 22:03  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

David B. One does recall when grey socks were the thing. If you turned up at school with other, you risked getting your arse flayed...

DanJ0. As a bachelor, Christianity has saved this man from loose women. Though it doesn’t mean he doesn’t miss them...


23 October 2013 at 22:19  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hello David Anderson,

Well if Carl Jacobs likes the site you linked to, it must be something worth reading, so I will at some time delve into it.

23 October 2013 at 22:20  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "As a bachelor, Christianity has saved this man from loose women."

Cardinal O'Brien, too, I expect.

23 October 2013 at 22:23  
Blogger Albert said...

David B,

in retrospect seeing coloured socks as a great moral evil seems somewhat eccentric

That's something I think we can all agree on. Having said that, I'd love to hear such a sermon, although whether I would be able to contain my laughter I don't know!

23 October 2013 at 22:40  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Does anyone not think that Infant Baptism arose as a fear of an unregenerate infantile death? Infant mortality rates being much higher in olden times. I have a preference for infant dedication since Jesus said 'suffer the little children to come unto me'.
However, as I have said elsewhere, Infant baptism can be useful in bringing parents into contact with the Church providing the Minister makes it clear that the child must make a decision of its own when it has understanding.
Debate without malice has its place in the Church as it can enlighten us of the opinions of others that we had not considered. We all see through a glass darkly.

23 October 2013 at 22:42  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Dear Inspector,

" There was a time when young people caught fornicating in the long grass were marched off to church, at the point of a pitchfork, and properly married." It's so true. We have a full set of pitchforks on display in the Cleristory and I ensure they are dusted regularly and ready for use. Nowadays I fear, multiple pitchforks are required to cope with the numbers, which in turn necessitates a posse.

23 October 2013 at 22:47  
Blogger Hannah said...

Trying to look at this debate of infant verses adult baptism from a non-Christian viewpoint, it is strange that David B hits the nail on the head :

'To an outsider the arguments about whether what amounts to incantations and rituals performed by a licensed Shaman does anything regarding the fate of an infant in a putative life after death looks very odd.'

And perhaps there is some form of rationale here, so when Christianity became the dominant and state religion of most of Europe, at a time when perhaps 99% of the population was not educated or at the very least could not read and write and as others have admitted the New Testament does not specifically deal with what happens to infants who are not old enough to decide to be Christians, plus given that until, say, the past 60 years or so (at least in the west) that infant mortality has reduced...

Perhaps the real crux is that in any culture, it is entirely natural for parents to want to be reassured as to the fate of any of their children who die in infancy or young, especially in a Christian culture which apparently says you need to be a Christian to get to the future heavenly paradise. In that context I can entirely understand why religious authorities would want to provide the idea that infant baptism would mean that a child would go to this paradise & not the other place.

I can also understand, that as has been said that Protestant Christianity does not necessarily mean that non-baptised or non-Christian children are, well, destined for hell, but that infant baptism at least makes this more clear cut.

In respect of today's culture, which tends to assume that when you are dead that is 'it'; well to someone who genuinely believes in the after life etc etc, I can still see why this idea, as much for those who are still around, rather than those who are passed away, desire to have this knowledge and this comfort (for want of a better word).

For me, I do believe in an after life, but see no agonising about the fate of children and babies. But let me justify this not from my own viewpoint, but from, what I understand to be a Christian one.

Firstly from the logic of Christianity, rationally no god of love would allow these children to go to hell. Secondly because if god is ultimately a god of justice & if that human being have to be in a position to declare themselves or not to Jesus, then how can justice be served against someone who has not yet been able to make this decision.


*pause*

In respect of the general debate, may I suggest, as a compromise, I was just thinking, taking the idea from Ian Cad, as Jesus was circumcised and then baptised as an adult, perhaps the solution is for Christian boys to be circumcised and then be baptised later on?

Or is that, to quote Mel Brookes "too Jewish"?

23 October 2013 at 22:48  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Baptism was very important in the early church. It was adults being baptised and leaving behind their previous faith or no faith. To the protestant extreme this man says this, that’s all you need to know on the subject...

23 October 2013 at 23:00  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


DanJ0. The cardinal was a man we can now assume of homosexual leanings. Don’t be too hard on him for that...


23 October 2013 at 23:02  
Blogger Albert said...

Hannah,

Speaking personally, when I took my children to be baptized, what was in my mind was that I wanted them to receive all the riches of Christ, and be part of his body, the Church. That's rather different from the rationale you have expressed, although doubtless, in former days those concerns also were at in people's minds.

23 October 2013 at 23:27  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hello Albert,

I guess it is the old lesson of not sticking my oars into these distinct Christian theological waters. I'm just trying to understand the issues within my own frame of reference.

24 October 2013 at 00:05  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

24 October 2013 at 02:08  
Blogger David B said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

24 October 2013 at 09:48  
Blogger David B said...

Looks like some spam got shifted Very promptly

David

24 October 2013 at 09:50  
Blogger r33per said...

Happy Jack @ 19:29

r33per is a play on the word "reaper". It's a bit of a silly story from the mid-90s of my teenage Christian enthusiasm, but I still kind of like it :)

Essentially, God's fields are white unto harvest and I am His reaper (one of them, at least).

24 October 2013 at 13:06  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

David, Happy Jack doesn't know about boats and kingdoms. All Jack knows is we live in two worlds at the same time. In one we eat and breath and can get all worried and bothered. In the other we are a part of a big happy party that's going on that we here can get presents and share them with other people. Jack likes this world.

Happy Jack says thank you r33per. Jack hopes you are not a grim reaper!

24 October 2013 at 18:51  

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