Evaluating the Baptist proper rituals standard

###The Controversy###
There is a bit of a controversy going on right now, coming mostly from the Baptists, about baptism. I believe the conversation begins with a sermon series by John Piper, though I first learnt of it via Fide-o. Other comments by Jason Robertson (Fide-o) here. John Halton gives us a take from the Lutheran perspective here and here.

Excluding the silliness of those who don’t take baptism and communion very seriously, the argument as I understand it boils down to a plain reassertion of the traditional Baptist position on baptism. Baptists hold to a particular form of baptism: It must be done by immersion; it must be done upon (that is, immediately after) confession of faith. So it rules out sprinkling, and the baptizing of infants. But the tricky part is the position that *only* credal baptism by immersion is acceptable. For Baptists, properly, there are no sacraments, only ordinances (those things which Christ has ordered us to do) – baptism and communion. So the value of doing of those things is not their direct spiritual impact, but the value of obedience. If you didn’t do it the Baptist way, it’s not just a little whoopsie.

This is where Baptists prove that they are still anabaptists – re-baptizers: The argument goes that if you didn’t follow the prescribed ritual, it isn’t that you didn’t do it wrong. You never did it at all. Sprinkled? Unknowingly “christened” in your infancy? It wasn’t obedience; it wasn’t baptism. You’re unbaptized. And unbaptized people can’t take communion. You are officially excommunicated.

And here I got a little theological education. I had been under the impression that to excommunicate was to say, in effect, that the excommunicated was not a Christian. After all, the scripture says to treat such a person as if they were unsaved. Evangelize them, but don’t offer communion. But Frank Turk informs me that you can still be a Christian even while excommunicated. Even though we should treat you like you’re not.

###The Standards###
Regardless, the traditional Baptist position on baptism boils down to these two tenants:

  1. Baptism must follow a specific set of rules in order to be done **right**.
  2. If it wasn’t done **right**, it wasn’t done **at all**.

The first point usually get’s all the attention, but it wouldn’t carry water without the second coming right behind it. Hence John’s Lutheran response: “I *am* baptized! So there!” And yet, you hear constantly all the arguments for the first point, but never even a hint as to how to evaluate the second. Where does it say that if it wasn’t done right, it wasn’t done at all? I don’t know.

I think I have come up with an interesting criteria for evaluating the doctrine on baptism that if it wasn’t done right it wasn’t done at all: by comparing it to other similar rituals and seeing what happens if a similar rule is applied. I have two such in mind: communion and weddings. Continue reading “Evaluating the Baptist proper rituals standard”

Wedding photos

Hi there,

We received a package from Kyle’s old roomies, Andrew and Nathan Mackey, and in it was a cd with pictures that they took at the wedding. So I have the first batch of wedding photos up on the gallery site, and they look smashingly good. If you need a photographer in Charlotte, I think that Andrew might be interested and he did a fabulous job too.

I have to go sifting through a couple of websites to get some more. Ces and Jeanna technically had wedding pictures up first but I haven’t had a chance to download them and put them in the album yet. Hope you enjoy the pictures.

I suggest that you view them in the full screen slideshow on the left.

Honeymoon: the trip

I haeb a coud.

It’s particularly frustrating right now, because I went to bed (like a good boy) at a very decent hour last night, carefully propped up on one side to let all the fluids drain to the other side of my head. I woke up this morning at 4:00 from one of those awful dreams where you discover you have to cram for an exam in a class you didn’t know you were registered for, and which you have skipped for almost an entire semester. (My recurring nightmares are always so much more detailed and resonant than they’re supposed to be. This one was the third or fourth chapter in the same missed class. If I bothered, I could relate to you the entire imaginary school layout, describe the faces and personality of my teacher and fellow students, and the incidents of the *last* time I had to explain to this particular professor why I had missed a complete month of class.) This cold is a particularly nasty cold which has affected not only my ability to maintain good hygiene in public, but has also given me vertigo, queasiness, and a general feeling of unwellness. It has also, no doubt, affected my lucidity, which you can probably clearly see. Just last year, I was well for a full 11 months without interruption. I had a cold sometime in July, and another one the next June. Since then, I think I’ve had three or four colds. As you can see, marriage is already starting to affect my health.

Needless to say, I wasn’t able to go immediately back to sleep, and by the time it occurred to me to take some Nyquil, it was 6:00 in the morning, and I had been catching up on my blog reading for over 2 hours. The sun was on; my cause was hopeless. So now I’m blogging. Continue reading “Honeymoon: the trip”

Phase III complete

Reading through the last few posts, it looks like Valerie has said, in succession, “We’re getting married”, “We are married”, and “Kyle will say more later.” This gives me the distinct impression that I have the onerous responsibility to relate to you all the goings on of the last few weeks.

I’ll give it my best shot: Phase III is complete. Phase I was the happy “Get married” part, followed quickly by the happy “honeymoon” part of Phase II. Phase III was the unhappy moving part. Phase IV is the happy “sitting around waiting for school to start” part. We’re in phase IV now.

Ok. I’m done. What, you want more? Details?!! How cheeky!
Nevertheless, if it’s details you want, I’ll do my best. Putting everything in one post would be outrageously long though, so I’m going to have to break it down into the above phases, to be published as quickly as my ittle fingers can carry me. So: Continue reading “Phase III complete”