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 baptism beliefs

Gentlepersons,

Having found no post threads on this subject, I am curious as to the beliefs of members of this forum about baptism.

In 1734, Voltaire published "Letters Philosophiques" which contained this narrative which explains well the beliefs of Quakers about baptism. Here is an excerpt:

"My dear Sir," I said to him, "are you baptized?".

"No," replied the Quaker, "and neither are my brethren.".

"My God!" I replied, "then your are not Christians.".

"My son," he replied in a gentle voice, "do not swear. We are Christians and try to be good Christians, but we do not think that Christianity consists of sprinkling cold water on the head.".

"Good Heavens!" I replied, shocked at this impiety, "have you then forgotten that Jesus Christ was baptized by John?".

"Friend, no more swearing," said the benign Quaker. "Christ received baptism from John, but he never baptized anybody. We are not disciples of John but of Christ.".

"Alas," I said, "you would surely be burned in countries of the Inquisition, you poor man. For the love of God, how I wish I could baptize you and make you a Christian.".

"Were that all," he replied gravely, "we would willingly submit to baptism to comply with thy weakness. We do not condemn anyone for using the ceremony of baptism. But we believe that those who profess so holy and so spiritual a religion as that of Christ must abstain, as much as they can, from Jewish ceremonies.".

"What! Baptism a Jewish ceremony!" I exclaimed. ".

Yes, my son," he continued "and so Jewish that several Jews today still use the baptism of John. Consult antiquity. It will teach thee that John only revived this practice, which was in use a long time earlier amongst the Hebrews, in the same way as the pilgrimage to Mecca by Muslims is copied from the Ismaelites. "Jesus was willing to receive the baptism of John, in the same way that he submitted to circumcision.

But circumcision and the washing with water must both be superseded by the baptism of Christ, this baptism of the Spirit, this washing of the soul, which is the salvation of mankind. Thus the fore-runner, John, said: "I baptize you to the truth with water, but another will come after me, mightier than me, whose shoes I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with fire and the Holy Ghost." 'Likewise, the great apostle to the gentiles, Paul, wrote in Corinthians:.

"Christ has not sent me to baptize, but to preach the Gospel." 'Indeed, this same Paul only baptized two people with water, and this was in spite of his inclination. He circumcised his disciple, Timothy. The other apostles also circumcised all who wanted it.

Art thou circumcised?" he added.

I replied that I did not have that honour.

"Ah well," he said, "Friend thou are a Christian without being circumcised, and I am a Christian without being baptized."

#####


What are the teachings of your Churches about baptism?

 2003/12/12 15:50
almondBranch
Member



Joined: 2003/10/6
Posts: 91
Tralee, Ireland

 Re: baptism beliefs

Hi Jake, an interesting subject.

Quote:
What are the teachings of your Churches about baptism?



Well first of all, I don't belong to what you are refering to as a church. I believe that the church (ekklesia) is the people who are joined to Christ in a particular area. I am blesed to have found some christians in my locality to meet with and to look to the Lord together with. So we don't have any official teaching on baptism. However, as people who are joined to the Christ of the Scriptures we would look to them to see what is revealed there.

I have a lot of sympathy for the Friend quoted in your post. I have long been aware of the Friends position concerning baptism and the breaking of bread. Most of the people I meet with would have rejected much of the outward forms that tend to get tagged along to christian belief. The need for a special building, an elite clergy, special music groups, holy days etc.

When it comes to baptism we are aware that Christians can put their faith in an outward form and miss the reality but yet we have not rejected baptism because it is scriptural.

The scripture says that there is one baptism. I believe that that baptism is the spiritual one that places the believer into Christ. The baptism in water (not sprinking with water) is an outward sign of that baptism.

Whay bother with an outward sign? Well, God looks on the heart and needs no sign but often it helps us ourselves. When faced with the question of being baptised in water some people shy away, not because, like your Quaker Friend, they have other convictions, but because they are not as "deep" into following Christ as they first thought. Doing somthing a bit inconvienient exposed the true leval of discipleship in their hearts.

It's like marriage. IS it the rings going on the fingers that make a man and woman husband and wife. I think we all know better than that. there is no magic in the rings themselves but getting around to making a special act to demonstrate the inward condition can demonstrate the fact that that condition exists in the first place. If two people are not willing to set a public seal on their relationship perhaps they are not so comited as they claim. Again, if people have convitions against using wedding rings or other parts of the ceromony, that is a different matter. I am simply using it as an illustration of how an outward act can be a manifestation of an inward reality. If that were not so, I would never buy my wife flowers :-)

It is true that Jesus never baptised his followers in water. He is the one who dispenses the reaality (the Spirit), we may administer the outward demonstration of it as I believe he commanded us to do

Stuart.


_________________
Stuart

 2003/12/12 16:48Profile
philologos
Member



Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re: baptism beliefs

Hi Jake
I was expecting this. I just wondered how long it would take to get around to it. :-D

I do see it as one of the strange anomalies of the early Quakers that they rejected the externalities of baptism and communion but were prepared to go to jail rather than remove their hats. :-P Before you direct me, I have read Barclay's 15th proposition. I have also read Penn on hat-honour and his logic is impeccable, and I remain unconvinced.

I would agree with every word of Barclay's 12th and 13th propositions except for his incipient dispensationalism (the baptism of John was a figure, which was commanded for a time, and not to continue for ever) and his statement that outward signs cease in such as have obtained the substance.

I am pretty much of the mind expressed by AlmondBranch earlier so I won't repeat it. I would, however, draw attention to the events that took place in the home of Cornelius in Acts. This is clearly 'Spirit baptism' and yet the passage concludes with the statement that Peter commanded them to be baptised in the name of the Lord. [Acts 10:48]

They had cleary obtained the substance and yet were clearly commanded to submit to the sign.

I wonder too, how long the early Quakers thought the injunction of the Lord Jesus Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost [Matt 28:19]had been intended to last.


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Ron Bailey

 2003/12/12 17:44Profile
sermonindex
Moderator



Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 37389
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

Online!
 Re:

Quote:
I have a lot of sympathy for the Friend quoted in your post. I have long been aware of the Friends position concerning baptism and the breaking of bread. Most of the people I meet with would have rejected much of the outward forms that tend to get tagged along to christian belief. The need for a special building, an elite clergy, special music groups, holy days etc.


I believe in alot of cases the outward signs and practices are not essential to your faith, and won't cause you to be less spiritual then the rest. But there is a big word of caution here for me is: can you practice [i]effectively and with enough faith[/i] the signifigance of these creeds in your heart without the outward symbols?

[b]1 Corinthians 10:23 (niv)[/b] - 'Everything is permissible' -- but not everything is beneficial. 'Everything is permissible' -- but not everything is constructive.

If I had enough faith I could practice the Lords supper everytime I eat with my brothers and sisters. And I could realize that my baptism was the death of myself and rising with Christ (Romans 6), without getting sprinkled, dunked, etc.

I personally have been dedicated when I was a baby in the presbyterian church (which is sprinkling). Once I recieved Christ and become a supernatural being in Christ I never got baptisized with water because the minister according to the presbyterian confession, said I didn't require it. With my knowledge right now I would have probably gone and did it because I think its a great symbol to help you reflect on the idea of dying and rising with Christ.


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2003/12/12 18:16Profile
philologos
Member



Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Hi Greg
you wrote With my knowledge right now I would have probably gone and did it because I think its a great symbol to help you reflect on the idea of dying and rising with Christ.

Let me say it gently, but 'my knowledge right now' is the only way we can live our lives, otherwise we shall spend our days consumed with grief over our pasts.

"today, if you hear His voice". Don't fret over what you would have probably done.. with God, "today" is bang on schedule. :-P


_________________
Ron Bailey

 2003/12/13 5:19Profile





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