Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Haruo » Tue May 27, 2014 3:39 pm

What about non-Trinitarian (Unitarian, or Jesus-Only Pentecostal) or non-orthodox Trinitarian (e.g. Mormon) baptism? After all, unless you're going to insist that babies not be bathed until they've been sprinkled, it's a slippery slope... ;-)

[I wrote this to Timothy, but it would apply equally to Sandy's intervening post]
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Sandy » Tue May 27, 2014 5:23 pm

Key words in the BFM statement would include symbolic, obedience, believer's faith, ordinance, prerequisite to church membership.

I would say with certainty that a church which practiced sprinkling, administered baptism as a "christening" rather than as a post-salvation testimony, or baptized infants would be in deliberate violation of the BFM. Accepting a baptism from a church of another denomination might not violate the language of the point.

Much of the practice of baptism in today's church results from tradition rather than from scripture, which doesn't say a lot about it. How important is it in the whole picture of Christian relationships?
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Timothy Bonney » Tue May 27, 2014 11:05 pm

Haruo wrote:What about non-Trinitarian (Unitarian, or Jesus-Only Pentecostal) or non-orthodox Trinitarian (e.g. Mormon) baptism? After all, unless you're going to insist that babies not be bathed until they've been sprinkled, it's a slippery slope... ;-)

[I wrote this to Timothy, but it would apply equally to Sandy's intervening post]


Non-trinitarian baptism isn't valid in the eyes of the UMC, just look at Matthew 28:16-20 for the reasoning. The issue of Mormons is iffy at best. Previous Books of Resolutions suggested rebaptism because it is believed that Mormons don't baptize in the name of the trinity. But as it is in the Resolutions and not in the Discipline that isn't binding. There are also other religions that baptize and that wouldn't be the same thing as a Christian baptism.

What it amounts to is that no Christian believes you can do just anything with water and call it Christian Baptism. Different Churches (Denominations is what I mean as a Methodist when I used Church witha capital "C") have different theologies of baptism. Sandy has expressed well SBC theology of baptism. It is very different from UMC understanding of baptism as a sacrament in which the candidate experiences the love and grace of God in baptism and is incorporated into the body of Christ by water and the Spirit.

I don't want to get into an argument of the UMC view versus the Baptist view. I think we know what those are for the most part. I just wanted to share enough for you all to be aware why folks coming out of the UMC to a Baptist church feel so uncomfortable with rebaptism. Methodists believe God does the baptizing and so to re-baptize is to say God did it wrong the first time.

I know Baptists that have been re-baptized several times because the mood took them, they had an important spiritual experience, etc. The way UMC folks handle that is by a service of baptismal remembrance rather than a rebaptism.

By the way, my apologies for Methodizing the thread. :)
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Timothy Bonney » Tue May 27, 2014 11:07 pm

And hey, if you are into water conservation sprinking is the thing! Almost two weeks ago I baptized three people with one bowl of water. :lol:
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Sandy » Wed May 28, 2014 9:17 am

Timothy Bonney wrote: know Baptists that have been re-baptized several times because the mood took them, they had an important spiritual experience, etc. The way UMC folks handle that is by a service of baptismal remembrance rather than a rebaptism.


I know a lot of Baptists who have been re-baptized more than once, myself included. But that stems from the belief that the symbolism involved in baptism represents a genuine conversion experience, and is only performed subsequent to that experience, not to bring it on, or as a "christening" or dedication. I don't really think I was "re-baptized," I think of the first time I got dunked in church as just getting wet, because there was no conversion prior to it. I was 22 at the time that I was actually baptized, following conversion.

While there are a lot of Baptists who have a pretty good grasp of what their church teaches about baptism, and understand it to be symbolic, I think church tradition and the influence of individuals from other branches of Christianity, even other conservative Evangelicals, also leads some Baptists to think of it as more of an initiation or "Christening" experience, and I know a few who even think of it as necessary to conversion and salvation, and that not "getting it right" somehow disturbs or disrupts your relationship with God. Of course, in a Baptist church, the authority to perform a baptism rests with the congregation, and is usually granted following the individual's testimony of faith. But I don't think the mode or context of baptism alters a person's spiritual condition. And I think it would be both silly and superficial to quibble over that as a condition of seating a church's messengers at a church convention.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Timothy Bonney » Thu May 29, 2014 5:28 pm

Sandy wrote:
I know a lot of Baptists who have been re-baptized more than once, myself included. But that stems from the belief that the symbolism involved in baptism represents a genuine conversion experience, and is only performed subsequent to that experience, not to bring it on, or as a "christening" or dedication.


Yes, most certainly Baptist theology is about baptism after conversion. However, UMC baptismal is neither "christening" or "dedication."

Christening is a ceremony of name giving at baptism. Methodists don't do that. Also baptism is not a ceremony of the parents dedicating their children to God. In sacramental baptism the parents reaffirm their own baptismal vows and the child is baptized into the Church with promises of care and support by the whole congregation. In our understanding God's Holy Spirit baptizes the child and not the pastor or parents.

So yes, our views are very different. So when a Methodist joins a Baptist church what they are likely to hear is that you are wanting to redo something God already did. At the very least the Methodist is going to be confused. At worst they may be insulted.

Of course those are reasons why Methodists who really are believers in Methodist theology shouldn't become Baptists.
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