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des

Why I Don't Want To Be Baptised

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Actually, the reason for infant baptism (if you study the history) was to keep the infant from going to hell should they die.  Since I don't believe in Hell and I certainly don't think God would send a child there if it did exist I see no point in it.

Adult baptism <=> missional growth. Infant baptism <=> generational growth.

 

Since the earliest generations of Christianity spread more by mission than by progeny, it stands to reason that adult baptism was the more widespread practice at first. Infant baptism seems to have been more about the patriarch converting the household to Christianity on his behalf. But then confirmation arose, when it became clear that a young person eventually needed to own up to the decision for him- or herself.

 

Obviously the sociology of conversion has changed a lot since the first century of Christianity. We intend to baptize our son, not to "force him into a religious mold," but because we believe that raising him in one spiritual belief system is a whole lot better than not raising him in any at all. We plan on raising him to be open-minded and tolerant towards people of all views, but that flows naturally out of our spiritual belief system anyway.

 

Knowing the origin of a practice is enlightening (marriage, for example), but knowing why you practice it is what really counts.

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As for as anabaptists not being progressive?  Not true.

Hear, hear. If most Christians were half as progressive, even socially, as the anabaptists, the would would be a hell of a lot better off.

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Sorry for not expressing myself better. It's what happens when you try to write while dealing with a migraine. :( I apologize if this post isn't coherent either.

 

I know Jesus wasn't Christian. I very much appreciate that Jesus was Jewish and I agree that he didn't come to start a new religion.

 

My post was somewhat stream of thought (and this one probably will be too), but basically I was trying to tie together how a Jew is born a Jew (and already part of the covenant, symbolized by circumcision) and how baptizing infants (now) could be viewed this way (as a symbol of joining the covenant).

 

I know that wasn't Jesus' reason for being baptized then. Poor word choice and sentence structure. <_<

 

As Cynthia and I were discussing a while back in another post, Christians have a tendency to see Jesus as their personal savior. It's all about "me and Jesus". But Judaism was about a PEOPLE as a GROUP being in a relationship with God and with each other.

 

I haven't read a lot of NT Wright's stuff, but he was the one that made me go "hmmm" when it came to Christianity's being a covenantal/familial religion (like Judaism) and that it has lost sight of that. He also thinks Paul has been completely misread and misinterpreted (which I'm not so sure about, but am willing to withhold judgment).

 

All that said, I don't actually have an opinion about infant baptism one way or another. I don't believe that joining into a covenant with God (as an adult or as an infant) is in any way “salvatory”, but I do believe it would be beneficial for the strong sense of community it provides. (Much more than “me and my own personal Jesus.”) [Thank you Depeche Mode ;) ]

 

(I would think that NT Wright believes joining the covenant does have salvatory benefit since he is relatively conservative and traditional. I’m not sure though, because I also know he is a partial preterist and might not have the same view of “end times” as many Christians. So I don’t know what he might think the person joining the covenant is being “saved” from. Anyone know? Anyone really familiar with Wright?)

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PS - Here is a great article, snipped for space's sake.

 

A religious ablution signifying purification or consecration. The natural method of cleansing the body by washing and bathing in water was always customary in Israel. The washing of their clothes was an important means of sanctification enjoined on the Israelites before the Revelation on Mt. Sinai. The Rabbis connect with this the duty of bathing by complete immersion; and since sprinkling with blood was always accompanied by immersion, tradition connects with this immersion the blood lustration mentioned as having also taken place immediately before the Revelation, these three acts being the initiatory rites always performed upon proselytes, "to bring them under the wings of the Shekinah".

 

Baptism is not merely for the purpose of expiating a special transgression, as is the case chiefly in the violation of the so-called Levitical laws of purity; but it is to form a part of holy living and to prepare for the attainment of a closer communion with God. This thought is expressed in the well-known passage in Josephus in which he speaks of John the Baptist: "The washing would be acceptable to him, if they made use of it, not in order to the putting away of some sins, but for the purification of the body; supposing still that the soul was thoroughly purified beforehand by righteousness." John symbolized the call to repentance by Baptism in the Jordan; and the same measure for attaining to holiness was employed by the Essenes, whose ways of life John also observed in all other respects.

 

According to rabbinical teachings, which dominated even during the existence of the Temple, Baptism, next to circumcision and sacrifice, was an absolutely necessary condition to be fulfilled by a proselyte to Judaism. Circumcision, however, was much more important, and, like baptism, was called a "seal.” But as circumcision was discarded by Christianity, and the sacrifices had ceased, Baptism remained the sole condition for initiation into religious life. Anointing with oil, which at first also accompanied the act of Baptism, and was analogous to the anointment of priests among the Jews, was not a necessary condition.

 

To receive the spirit of God, or to be permitted to stand in the presence of God (His Shekinah), man must undergo Baptism, wherefore in the Messianic time God will Himself pour water of purification upon Israel in accordance with Ezek. xxxvi. 25. In order to pronounce the name of God in prayer in perfect purity,the Essenes underwent Baptism every morning. Philo frequently refers to these acts of purification in preparation for the holy mysteries to be received by the initiated.

 

The Baptism of the proselyte has for its purpose his cleansing from the impurity of idolatry, and the restoration to the purity of a new-born man. This may be learned from the Talmud in regard to Pharaoh's daughter, whose bathing in the Nile is explained by Simon b. Yoḥai to have been for that purpose. The bathing in the water is to constitute a rebirth, wherefore "the ger is like a child just born"; and he must bathe "in the name of God"— that is, assume the yoke of Gcd's kingdom imposed upon him by the one who leads him to Baptism, or else he is not admitted into Judaism. For this very reason the Israelites before the acceptance of the Law had, according to Philo on the Decalogue, as well as according to rabbinical tradition, to undergo the rite of baptismal purification.

 

The real significance of the rite of Baptism can not be derived from the Levitical law; but it appears to have had its origin in Babylonian or ancient Semitic practice. … It is quite possible that, like the initiates in the Orphic mysteries, the proselytes were, by way of symbolism, suddenly brought from darkness into light.

 

JewishEncyclopedia.com - Baptism

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It's true. Some Baptists (and esp. Mennonites) are very progressive, esp on social grounds. There are sects of Mennonites, otoh, that are almost like Amish. And of course, there are sadly no Baptists around here (NM) but Southern Baptists. Too bad. Gary Bauer tells the story of how the Baptists were initially a group shunning any doctrine and embrassing creedal freedom, and the rise of Southern Baptist beliefs.

 

I think nondemonitional trends to be more to the conservative (ie with seeker sensitive churches and mega but somewhat nondem. churches). These are sort of mild versions of conservative churches without so many "church trappings". I see them as more homogeneous. Even if the congregation might have more diverse views, I doubt these are expressed openly. I don't really know by experience though. Was never attracted to them.

 

I suppose the whole infant baptism might have started due to a belief that unbaptized babies would go to hell (though if you ask anybody these days about thsi they will say no). I think the idea of the father imposing his beliefs on the babies, might have been too. Or else you just had a bad experience and felt that way. Nowadays, I doubt anybody woudl think that too seriously. Just today in fact, someone at church announced the start of church school for the fall. And the guy quipped, "It's important to have your child brought up in a church so he or she has something to rebel against." :-) Even conservatives know this to be the case. (I said to someone, "take 'em over to a fundamentalist church maybe?) I think it is as likely the tradition came from a naming ceremony type event, and the hell thing was an excuse.

OTOH, I agree with Fred about having the ceremony for what you believe now. And if you didn't want your infants baptised, I don't think anybody would give you any programs.

 

 

 

--des

Edited by des

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I think that the general attitude (as it was discussed earlier in the thread, I think) is that more progressive and mainline churches do not re-baptize. ... More conservative or fundamentalist churches commonly re-baptize, as they believe (in some cases like the Church of Christ-- not UCC) in some highly specific requirements.

 

Churches of the reformed (Calvinist) tradition would not rebaptize. There are churches of the reformed tradition from one end of the liberal-conservative spectrum to the other, even if the conservative ones tend to think that the liberal ones have left the reformed tradition.

 

Actually, I don't know of any church that would admit that they rebaptize. The Baptist churches would insist that they are baptizing for the first time-- that the previous "baptism" was no baptism at all. The Catholic Church, pre reformation, had a one-time-only rule, and believed that in baptism the sins one had committed were washed away. One of the problems was that there were people who would put off baptism because of a belief that only the pre-baptism sins were washed away. The strategy was to be baptized on your death-bed. Of course, miscalculation might result in none of your sins being washed away.

 

... I don't think of baptism as a sign of repentence. If so, why did Jesus get baptized? ...

 

Jesus baptism has been a topic of debate since the early church. The church, in 325, at the Council of Nicaea, "acknowledge(d) one baptism for the remission of sins." The interpretation of Jesus' baptism is that, in that act, he was fulfilling the torah and the prophets, but if that is the interpretation, why is that not the interpretation for baptism of Jesus followers?

 

I have always been skeptical of the claims that our sins could not have been forgiven except by Christ's death, or that such a substitutional atonement could not have been effective had he not been sinless himself, or that Jesus could not have been sinless had his mother not been a virgin. If God is sovereign, then God could have forgiven our sins by any means God chose. If God chose this means, we should not assume God could not have chosen otherwise.

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If God chose this means, we should not assume God could not have chosen otherwise.

I thought it was the only way, hence Jesus' plea in Gethsemane: "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."

 

(Sorry for all the posts.)

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Jesus baptism has been a topic of debate since the early church.  The church, in 325, at the Council of Nicaea, "acknowledge(d) one baptism for the remission of sins."  The interpretation of Jesus' baptism is that, in that act, he was fulfilling the torah and the prophets, but if that is the interpretation, why is that not the interpretation for baptism of Jesus followers?

 

Though there is similarity and both are related in some ways, many see a distinction between Jesus' baptism and Christian baptism. The ordinance given in Matthew 28:19-20 is not regarded the same as John's baptism.

 

(I would think that NT Wright believes joining the covenant does have salvatory benefit since he is relatively conservative and traditional. I’m not sure though, because I also know he is a partial preterist and might not have the same view of “end times” as many Christians. So I don’t know what he might think the person joining the covenant is being “saved” from. Anyone know? Anyone really familiar with Wright?)

 

If I remember correctly N.T. Wright sees covenant as addressing the question of what God is doing in the world in regards to the situation of evil. The focus is on the present as well as the future. Evil is a reality now, so what will God do in the future to restore justice, order and peace? Involved in this process is God's "elect." God has chosen a people, making a covenant with them. Through this people God will act to restore creation. This act of restoration involves Israel remaining clean and pure (that is free from sin). The sacrificial system has its purpose here. It was not the means of entering the covenant, as the covenant came by grace, rather the sacrificial system is a means to stay in covenant. For Wright, this is important for understanding Paul. I think Wright gives greater emphasis of covenant in this more corporate sense, though he does not entirely ignore the individual aspect of covenant. Without wanting to put words in his mouth, I think Wright would argue that individual sin has consequences for the greater community's relationship with God and must also be dealt with. That is why both corporate and individual sacrifice are included in the Hebrew bible. I guess this is based on the sound logic that a community is not just a collective group, but a collective group of individuals. What God will do for the nation God will also do for the individuals within that nation.

 

In regards then to salvation within a covenantal framwork Wright seems to argue that a link should be made with the teachings of the Old Testament prophets. They believed in deliverance from their enemies (which included hostile nations). Their salvation in particular was that from exile. The restoration of creation should also not be missed here. I'm not exactly sure how Wright speaks of this (that is, how literal) but others similar to Wright have interesting ideas. The resurrection of Jesus was evidence that the new age was ushered in, or at least will be ushered in soon (at the destruction of the Temple). Complete salvation will come at the physical resurretion of all believers. It does not have so much to do with going to heaven when we die. At this event (the resurrection) exile and misery will be brought to an end.

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This is going to be a partially double post. I just posted the title of the book on that thread. I read a book in Grad. School One Jesus, Many Christs by Greg Riley. It gives an very interesting understanding of the whole Jesus died for our sins theory. There is another similar one but I can't recall the title. The two professor came of with the same theory (or similar theories) separately.

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