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Believer's Baptism

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  • Believer's Baptism

    Another discussion got me thinking about this a bit, and it's making increasingly less sense to me.

    As far as I recall, proponents of believer's (i.o.w., adult) baptism believe that baptism is not efficacious for salvation, because that would be salvation by works; it's done because Jesus commanded disciples to be baptized, but it's not a sacrament. On the other hand, you have to have undergone it to become a member of the church. Why? It seems to me that it unnecessarily excludes children from church membership and, since it's not relevant in the context of salvation, a simple affirmation of concurrence with the congregation's beliefs would be sufficient.
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

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    I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

  • #2
    My view is that

    1. You are obeying Christ who said to do it.
    2. You are proclaiming your allegiance to Christ, to your fellow Christians and to the world. If is a form of confessing Christ as your Lord and Savior
    3. It symbolizes dying and being reborn.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
      Another discussion got me thinking about this a bit, and it's making increasingly less sense to me.

      As far as I recall, proponents of believer's (i.o.w., adult) baptism believe that baptism is not efficacious for salvation, because that would be salvation by works; it's done because Jesus commanded disciples to be baptized, but it's not a sacrament. On the other hand, you have to have undergone it to become a member of the church. Why? It seems to me that it unnecessarily excludes children from church membership and, since it's not relevant in the context of salvation, a simple affirmation of concurrence with the congregation's beliefs would be sufficient.
      Believers' baptism is based on the Biblical comments regarding repentance, and confession of faith, which presuppose the ability to comprehend and accept the gospel. From my point of view, where infant baptism is performed, the ceremony isn't completed until confirmation (which fulfils the confession and repentance requirements). Admittedly that might just be rationalisation. As far as I know, a significant number of proponents of Believers' Baptism do accept that baptism is a requirement for salvation. Nor can I see any way to avoid admitting that it is a requirement. The most significant single verse supporting baptism as a requirement (I do NOT subscribe to proof texting) AND supporting believers' baptism is 1 Peter 3:20-21
      sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Sparko View Post
        My view is that

        1. You are obeying Christ who said to do it.
        2. You are proclaiming your allegiance to Christ, to your fellow Christians and to the world. If is a form of confessing Christ as your Lord and Savior
        3. It symbolizes dying and being reborn.
        I take some issues with the second point as well, but the bolded is where I disagree the most with people who hold to believer's baptism. I can find no support in scripture for the view that when Paul talks about us being put to death and raised to life with Christ in baptism, it's meant in a symbolic way.

        Of course, since I believe infants can (and should) be baptized, I am also not fully on board with the second point either. When a parent gets their infant baptized it could be seen as a confession that the parents intend to raise their child as Christian, but the infant itself doesn't confess anything. But when someone who is old enough to decide for themselves get baptized, then it also works as a confession. But when it comes to Christians who have gotten baptized as infants I think confirmation fills that same role for them.
        ~Formerly known as Chrawnus~

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Chrawnus View Post
          I take some issues with the second point as well, but the bolded is where I disagree the most with people who hold to believer's baptism. I can find no support in scripture for the view that when Paul talks about us being put to death and raised to life with Christ in baptism, it's meant in a symbolic way.

          Of course, since I believe infants can (and should) be baptized, I am also not fully on board with the second point either. When a parent gets their infant baptized it could be seen as a confession that the parents intend to raise their child as Christian, but the infant itself doesn't confess anything. But when someone who is old enough to decide for themselves get baptized, then it also works as a confession. But when it comes to Christians who have gotten baptized as infants I think confirmation fills that same role for them.
          Agreed - It might be possible to raise an argument on scriptural grounds for any of the other sacraments to be symbolic ... but nothing in scripture can be advanced to support an argument that baptism is symbolic or unnecessary. As a requirement, it is locked solid.
          sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Chrawnus View Post
            I take some issues with the second point as well, but the bolded is where I disagree the most with people who hold to believer's baptism. I can find no support in scripture for the view that when Paul talks about us being put to death and raised to life with Christ in baptism, it's meant in a symbolic way.
            erm.. the fact that you don't actually die and stay dead for 3 days would seem to be the giveaway. Just sayin'

            Of course, since I believe infants can (and should) be baptized, I am also not fully on board with the second point either. When a parent gets their infant baptized it could be seen as a confession that the parents intend to raise their child as Christian, but the infant itself doesn't confess anything. But when someone who is old enough to decide for themselves get baptized, then it also works as a confession. But when it comes to Christians who have gotten baptized as infants I think confirmation fills that same role for them.
            I believe that infants being baptized (they do it at my church, with sprinkling) is as you said, a pledge to raise their children Christian. It is the parents making a pledge, not the infants. I think that a person needs to know what being saved means before they should be baptized. Or it is a meaningless confession. No more valid than dunking yourself in a public swimming pool.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Sparko View Post
              erm.. the fact that you don't actually die and stay dead for 3 days would seem to be the giveaway. Just sayin'



              I believe that infants being baptized (they do it at my church, with sprinkling) is as you said, a pledge to raise their children Christian. It is the parents making a pledge, not the infants. I think that a person needs to know what being saved means before they should be baptized. Or it is a meaningless confession. No more valid than dunking yourself in a public swimming pool.
              Interesting concept. Self-baptism. When there really is no other way.

              I'm always still in trouble again

              "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
              "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

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              • #8
                Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                Interesting concept. Self-baptism. When there really is no other way.
                I meant playing in a pool not baptizing yourself.


                Although that brings up a good point. If you believed that baptism was necessary for salvation and you were all alone on a desert island, could you baptize yourself?

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                • #9
                  I did miss that bit about being put to death and raised to life ... and for a second there, I was given pause (maybe symbolic). But no - it isn't physical death, but it still isn't symbolic because it is a removal from control by the flesh. (might need some investigation, but that's the way it seems right now.)
                  sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                    Another discussion got me thinking about this a bit, and it's making increasingly less sense to me.

                    As far as I recall, proponents of believer's (i.o.w., adult) baptism believe that baptism is not efficacious for salvation, because that would be salvation by works; it's done because Jesus commanded disciples to be baptized, but it's not a sacrament. On the other hand, you have to have undergone it to become a member of the church. Why? It seems to me that it unnecessarily excludes children from church membership and, since it's not relevant in the context of salvation, a simple affirmation of concurrence with the congregation's beliefs would be sufficient.
                    I was reading your post again.

                    So what do you mean by sacrament? I believe baptism is a holy ceremony. I don't think it saves you but it is holy and sacred.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                      Interesting concept. Self-baptism. When there really is no other way.
                      In those circumstances, I'd accept it as valid. I was talking to an Asian lady who got baptised in the Jordan, last Sunday - she and her friends conscripted "some random priest" who happened to be present to perform the ceremony. Apparently, self baptism is quite the thing in that locality.
                      sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                        erm.. the fact that you don't actually die and stay dead for 3 days would seem to be the giveaway. Just sayin'
                        What's being put to death is our old nature, not our physical body. The circumcision of the heart by God that Paul speaks about in various places in his epistles is what happens in baptism. No one who believes in baptismal regeneration believes that Paul is saying that the physical body is put to death in baptism. If we did then everyone of us would have changed our mind the second someone brought up the objection you just did.


                        Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                        I believe that infants being baptized (they do it at my church, with sprinkling) is as you said, a pledge to raise their children Christian. It is the parents making a pledge, not the infants. I think that a person needs to know what being saved means before they should be baptized. Or it is a meaningless confession. No more valid than dunking yourself in a public swimming pool.
                        I think even if you hold to believer's baptism there's really nothing wrong with infant baptism. If someone gets baptized as an infant and later when he's old enough to decide that he wants to continue living as a Christian I see no reason why the baptism he underwent as a child wouldn't be sufficient. Confessing with your mouth should be enough to confirm that baptism as valid, even if you weren't old enough to accept it at the time. It would basically be like saying "I might not have been old enough to decide for myself when I was an infant that I wanted to get baptized, but I am old enough know, and I agree with my parents' decision to get me baptized."
                        ~Formerly known as Chrawnus~

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sparky
                          I believe that infants being baptized (they do it at my church, with sprinkling) is as you said, a pledge to raise their children Christian. It is the parents making a pledge, not the infants. I think that a person needs to know what being saved means before they should be baptized. Or it is a meaningless confession. No more valid than dunking yourself in a public swimming pool.
                          In every church I've ever attended, that has been referred to as "dedicating" your child. It also includes a call to the church body to support the parents and the child in their Christian walk.


                          Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Chrawnus View Post
                            I think even if you hold to believer's baptism there's really nothing wrong with infant baptism. If someone gets baptized as an infant and later when he's old enough to decide that he wants to continue living as a Christian I see no reason why the baptism he underwent as a child wouldn't be sufficient. Confessing with your mouth should be enough to confirm that baptism as valid, even if you weren't old enough to accept it at the time. It would basically be like saying "I might not have been old enough to decide for myself when I was an infant that I wanted to get baptized, but I am old enough know, and I agree with my parents' decision to get me baptized."
                            No problem with that idea myself, but re-baptising people (anabaptism) was declared heretical when it first was done during the reformation. People were even executed for doing it (the preferred method was drowning.) But - out of the anabaptist movement, a number of denominations grew, including (I think at second hand as it were) the Baptists.
                            sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

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                            • #15
                              Many families who are nominally religious will still have their infants baptized. I think this sort of thing cheapens baptism. It was meant to be a solemn symbol of a new, changed life with Jesus, not just something every kid goes through.
                              "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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