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716Re: Baptism.

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  • thomas_pa1
    May 10, 2002
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      Dear Rajesh, In the New Testament, nothing disproves the
      practise of infant baptism. Show that Apostles were strictly
      against baptism of infants or those who cannot make a decision
      of their own. If Apostles were against some practise, they will
      directly write about it.

      Here is a nice article to study:
      http://www.ephesus.com/Orthodox/InfantBaptism.html

      You think that faith is a matter of personal conviction or
      knowledge. In your terms, prerequisite for baptism is
      personal faith. This, I think, is the basis of your
      argument. Your argument is true, but only in certain situations.

      I think that personal faith is a prerequisite in certain situations,
      not in all situations. For example, if a person is grown up
      and able to make decision of his own, then personal faith and
      confession of the faith is a precondition for a valid baptism.
      Orthodox church do baptise believing adults. Muukancheril Thirumeni
      baptised many adults.

      There are many grown up people having problems with memory and
      functions of the brain. Such people cannot make a decision of their
      own. Now, if a houshold of such a person believed and decided
      to join the church through baptism, who will make the decision
      for the disabled person? Is he left alone without giving
      baptism and later communion.

      In the Orthodox church, sacraments are related to each other.
      Associated with baptism is communion. Communion is receiving Christ.
      In Orthodox Church, infants are given communion immediately after
      baptism. Thus, Christ is not restricted to any in the Church.
      Other churches does not give communion to children. They wait
      for the chrismation or baptism of the child which happens about the
      age of 7. They are effectively restricting Christ. This is a huge
      theological error.

      One thing I found interesting in the above link is that even
      founders of Protestant movement believed in the old practise
      of infant baptism:

      Of the baptism of children we hold that children ought to be
      baptized. For they belong to the promised redemption made through
      Christ, and the Church should administer it to them.
      (Martin Luther, The Smalcald Articles, Article V: Of Baptism, 1537)

      "If, by baptism, Christ intends to attest the ablution by which
      he cleanses his Church, it would seem not equitable to deny this
      attestation to infants, who are justly deemed part of the Church,
      seeing they are called heirs of the heavenly kingdom." (John Calvin,
      Institutes of the Christian Religion, 1559)

      Thus, restricting baptism to infants is a relatively new rule.
      Luther or Calvin didn't had this new rule in thier mind when they
      opposed Vatican.

      You also suggest that Apostles had hard time correcting wrong
      practises in the church. You are right. If Apostles were really
      against the practise of infant baptism, they would definitely
      write clearly that infant baptism should be avoided. But none
      of the Apostles said so. Actually church blindly followed
      Apostolic faith and kept all things they taught.

      Orthodox church didn't introduce strict dogmas on many things,
      while others later introduced lots of limitations and restrictions.
      They spend too much of time arguing with Christians on such matters,
      instead of helping people to grow spiritually. They introduce new
      dogmas to replace existing traditions. Is this the aim of Christian
      life?

      To conclude, Orthodox Church does not restrict baptism to any human
      being based on his mental capabilities. Others are saying that only
      those with the mental capabiltiy to believe and confess can receive
      baptism.

      -Thomas


      --- In SOCM-FORUM@y..., "Rajesh Philipos" wrote:
      > Dear all,
      >
      > Thank you for replying to my message. I am heartened to see that we
      all care
      > for each other, especially our spiritual needs and so you took time
      out to
      > answer my question.
      >
      > It might be true that infant baptism started from the 3rd century.
      However,
      > I am not of the opinion that everything that the early church
      fathers did
      > were right. Otherwise, why the need for soo many letters from Paul
      to the
      > various churches correcting them. So, I do not necessarily believe
      that
      > because it was practised early on, it ought to be right.
      >
      > When I read the Acts of the Apostles, everytime I read of a baptism,
      it
      > happened only after the person believed. If the idea of infant
      baptism is
      > that the god-parents lead the infant to discipleship, then that
      makes sense.
      > But, then that is not the same baptism as mentioned in the Bible
      that always
      > took place after a person believed. I am not a scholar in the Bible
      so I
      > might be wrong. Please do not interpret my writing as being
      arrogant. I am
      > just learning now. I also do not see how a believer's infants are
      holy. God
      > says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Even
      infants,
      > born to Christians or gentiles. Each of us have to believe for
      ourselves,
      > not because our parents believed.
      >
      > Maybe, this isnt a big issue because if it was, Jesus would have
      made it
      > clear in the Bible. More importantly is our personal belief in
      Christ, that
      > he died to save me from my sins. That is what is important. I think
      if we
      > have that personal belief and follow Him, we will be saved (John
      3:16),
      > baptised as an infant or not. Baptism, to me, is a public
      affirmation of my
      > being a Christian and also in Obedience to Him (Mathew 28.19).
      >
      > Love in Christ,
      > Rajesh.
      >
      >
      > >From: "drthomas_joseph"
      > >Reply-To: SOCM-FORUM@y...
      > >To: SOCM-FORUM@y...
      > >Subject: [SOCM-FORUM] Re: Baptism.
      > >Date: Sun, 05 May 2002 10:30:18 -0000
      > >
      > >Dear Rajesh,
      > >
      > >As you have noted, the New Testament does not explicitly require or
      > >forbid infant baptism. As the Oxford Encylopaedia of the Christian
      > >Church (1997, p. 831) notes, the tradition is at least as old as
      3rd
      > >century and universally practised until 16th century when the
      > >practice was rejected by the Anabaptists.
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