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Immersion vs. Infusion

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I just wanted to get the discussion started on what you all think is the nature of the difference between Orthodox and Catholics regarding baptisms by immersion and by infusion.

Personally, I have yet to form an opinion, but I think it shows that Catholics are less stodgy about form. If it's valid, Catholics wouldn't worry about it. As to whether it is licit or not, it is within the competence of individual churches to decide for their own.

Get your cannons ready. I'm listening. :)
 

peterfarrington

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I tend towards your point of view, even though I'm from a Patriarchate that rejects infusion as being valid.

I'll take a look through the early material. There's a reference in the Didache for instance to varieties of forms of baptism.

What weight should be given to the apparent fact that the West was universally immersing folk until the post-Schism period?

PT
 

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Baptism by infusion? Is that where you steep the candidate in a vat of warm holy water until a cross appears on his forehead?
 

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Irregardless of what Orthodoxy teaches, I don't think it matters.

If I truly love the Lord, attempt to live by his teachings, accept him as the Christ, etc., do you really think it will matter whether I have been sprinkled or immersed? Do you think that the Lord will condemn me because I followed the teaching of my church and accepted the "wrong" form of Baptism? Isn't it all about what's in the heart?

I am not sure, but does it even say anything in Acts or even the Gospels what constitutes a "correct" baptism?

Besides, I still do agree with the Baptist idea that Baptism should be a choice of the individual when they are old enough to make the decision. :eek: Now, I see nothing wrong with Baptizing infants (and I will do that with any future children that I may have) but does it really "take" if that child does not live a Christian life?

(ducking from the barbs arrows and other sharp unpleasant objects heading my way)
 

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TomΣ said:
Now, I see nothing wrong with Baptizing infants (and I will do that with any future children that I may have) but does it really "take" if that child does not live a Christian life?
True, BUT if the sponsor(s), godparents, discharge their honor properly and help bring up the child in the Church, it will "take". :)

Demetri
 

peterfarrington

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The early fathers teach that baptism is not magic. It provides a new life and opportunities for living in a new relationship with God but if that life is not sustained and nourished and nurtured then our baptism becomes something that judges us and not saves us.

If I have been baptised then I should live as one who has received new life. If I don't then the graces I received at baptism are being wasted.

PT
 

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peterfarrington said:
.. but if that life is not sustained and nourished and nurtured then our baptism becomes something that judges us and not saves us.
But hopw is this FAIR if it is applied to an infant who was not given a choice in the matter? Sounds to me like the Baptists got it right.
 

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TomΣ said:
peterfarrington said:
.. but if that life is not sustained and nourished and nurtured then our baptism becomes something that judges us and not saves us.
But hopw is this FAIR if it is applied to an infant who was not given a choice in the matter? Sounds to me like the Baptists got it right.
I guess though if one thinks in terms of a convenental community rather than individualism, baptism for infants makes sense, especially if it's the New Testament "equivalent" to O.T. circumcision. Those born under the Old Covenant had no choice regarding their own circumcision. I guess it's a matter of training up the child in the way he or she should go and then leaving it to the child and God.

I do share your concern about those being baptized as infants who later on don't show any evidence of Christ in their lives. However, the same can be said of those in Evangelical communities who make a "profession of faith", are baptized, then exhibit no change of life over time. :-";"xx
 

peterfarrington

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TomΣ said:
But hopw is this FAIR if it is applied to an infant who was not given a choice in the matter? Sounds to me like the Baptists got it right.
Why should an infant have a choice? I don't let my kids choose whether they go to school or not, I don't let my 13 year old daughter decide whether she's going to wander round town at night. I choose whether my kids are inoculated against measles and mumps. I tell my kids what choices they have when it comes to food. I make choices for my kids all the time. it's my job. I'm their Dad.

But you're suggesting that when it comes to their relationship with their creator God I should suddenly be hands off? If my kids need to be baptised to begin their relationship with God then I'll see that they're baptised.

PT
 

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Doubting Thomas said:
... those being baptized as infants who later on don't show any evidence of Christ in their lives. However, the same can be said of those in Evangelical communities who make a "profession of faith", are baptized, then exhibit no change of life over time. :-
How? It was a conscious choice made by the "evangelical". But certainly not in the case of an infant.
 

peterfarrington

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Doubting Thomas said:
I do share your concern about those being baptized as infants who later on don't show any evidence of Christ in their lives. However, the same can be said of those in Evangelical communities who make a "profession of faith", are baptized, then exhibit no change of life over time. :-

Who are we to judge what goes on in people's lives? If I look at my own life I see more than enough sin to deal with. Am I truly baptised? Well I need to be converted each day and live out my baptism each day. I'm certainly not in any place to judge how anyone who has been baptised lives in their inner life.

The Pharisee sure had the appearance of one who had his life together and I'm sure that many Christian Pharisees like me, restrained from gross sin by upbringing rather than lack of desire, have the appearance of living out their baptism.

I wonder how many publicans actually have a better image in God's eyes, coping with all sorts of issues I don't know about but repenting far more than I do in my mediocre sin.


PT
 

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peterfarrington said:
TomΣ said:
But hopw is this FAIR if it is applied to an infant who was not given a choice in the matter? Sounds to me like the Baptists got it right.
Why should an infant have a choice? I don't let my kids choose whether they go to school or not, I don't let my 13 year old daughter decide whether she's going to wander round town at night. I choose whether my kids are inoculated against measles and mumps. I tell my kids what choices they have when it comes to food. I make choices for my kids all the time. it's my job. I'm their Dad.

But you're suggesting that when it comes to their relationship with their creator God I should suddenly be hands off? If my kids need to be baptised to begin their relationship with God then I'll see that they're baptised.

PT
Can you sign a contract on behalf of your child that will make that child responsible for what you signed when he/she reaches legal age?

I am not saying that you should not do everything that you feel is your job as a Christian parent.
 

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peterfarrington said:
I wonder how many publicans actually have a better image in God's eyes, coping with all sorts of issues I don't know about but repenting far more than I do in my mediocre sin.

PT

Slava Isusu Christu!

Earlier this year I had a rather upsetting experience that led to a long instrospective period where I practically flogged myself over the tiniest transgressions and basically made myself feel like a worm, regardless of Christ's love for me.

While reading the Gospels one night, I came across the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican and came to the same conclusion you did, Peter. My struggles are nothing compared to my brothers and sisters who live but a few blocks from me, amidst temptations I only read about in the paper and see on television. My struggles are nothing compared to theirs.

Soon after, I re-read St. Therese's Story of a Soul and was struck again by her realization that we can even learn to love our weaknesses, because it is precisely because of those weaknesses that God loves us so much, sending His Son to be our Savior.

I'm feeling much better now.
 

peterfarrington

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TomΣ said:
Can you sign a contract on behalf of your child that will make that child responsible for what you signed when he/she reaches legal age?
Surely my children are responsible as they take responsibility. At the beginning I am wholly responsible but over time they take more and more responsibility for themselves until they enter adulthood. Even then there are other who still have some responsibility for them. As a parent I am still responsible, but not in the same way, so is their priest, their husbands and wife.

This is life.

At first I am responsible to ensure that my children regularly attend church services and receive the Holy Mysteries and participate as far as is appropriate in the transforming life of Christ in the Church. As they grow older they will start to be responsible for themselves more and more, for their spiritual life as well as for their sinfulness.

No contract is required. Just as I never signed a contract when I was baptised and became a Christian. The grace of baptism is ALL God's. It is God who illuminates us. There is very little real difference between the infant being brought by faitjhful parents and friends to the saving laver and there finding God's loving presence, and an adult, also brought by friends and concerned folk and writers and lecturers and email posters, who also finds God at the baptismal 'pool of Siloam'. Neither the infant nor the adult save themselves. One knows that he needs saving, the other does not yet know but still needs to be saved, it is God in both cases who is the most important presence and the one who acts.

If God is real and Christianity is true, and I cannot even think that it is not, then I must act as if it is true. There are no choices. My children need to be baptised and urged to Church and encouraged to believe. Just as there is no choice about whether or not I teach them that the world is flat or round. I must bring them up based on what is true, and what is true is Christianity.

PT
 

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TomΣ said:
peterfarrington said:
.. but if that life is not sustained and nourished and nurtured then our baptism becomes something that judges us and not saves us.
But hopw is this FAIR if it is applied to an infant who was not given a choice in the matter? Sounds to me like the Baptists got it right.
Infants are not judged by the same standards as adults.

And of course the Baptists have it all wrong.

The Apostles baptized entire families nearly 2,000 years before "the pill" (see Acts 10:44-48; 11:14; 16:14-15, 33; 1 Cor. 1:16). Are to we to assume that those families consisted entirely of consenting adults?

St. Paul said the children of believers - or of one believer and an unbeliever - are holy (1 Cor. 7:14).

Baptism is the new birth, the "first resurrection." It restores the fellowship with God broken by the Original Sin of Adam and Eve.

It is not necessary that it be the product of some conscious, intellectual choice.

If it were, then where would that leave the mentally disabled?

But baptism is not a guarantee of ultimate salvation, even for those who are batized as adults.
 

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Dear Deacon Peter:

Going back to thread subject, the relevant provisions of the DIDACHE on baptism follow:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
n++CHAPTER 7

7:1 But concerning baptism, thus baptize ye: having first recited all these precepts, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in running water;

7:2 But if thou hast not running water, baptize in some other water, and if thou canst not baptize in cold, in warm water;

7:3 But if thou hast neither, pour water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

As Br. Max mercifully reminds us once in while, talk amongst yourselves. ;D

AmdG
 

Doubting Thomas

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peterfarrington said:
Doubting Thomas said:
I do share your concern about those being baptized as infants who later on don't show any evidence of Christ in their lives. However, the same can be said of those in Evangelical communities who make a "profession of faith", are baptized, then exhibit no change of life over time. :-

Who are we to judge what goes on in people's lives? If I look at my own life I see more than enough sin to deal with. Am I truly baptised? Well I need to be converted each day and live out my baptism each day. I'm certainly not in any place to judge how anyone who has been baptised lives in their inner life.
I think you misunderstood me. I'm not suggesting we go around, look at people's lives, and determine who is ultimately saved or not. That is God's business. I am suggesting that some people display the fruit of the Spirit and some do not. Christ said that people would know we are His disciples if we "loved one another". John in his first Epistle said that if we say we love God and don't love our brothers we are liars. And this love is not mere sentiment but (ideally) should be expressed in action. Now, all of us fall short of perfectly doing this, but for those who are abiding in Christ, there should be proof in their life whether they were baptized as infants or after they made a "conscious decision".

The Pharisee sure had the appearance of one who had his life together and I'm sure that many Christian Pharisees like me, restrained from gross sin by upbringing rather than lack of desire, have the appearance of living out their baptism.
Good point. Of course, the Pharisee's attitude in his prayer certainly portrayed a contempt for his fellow man. Also, the attention the Pharisee drew to himself when giving alms betrayed (that we could see, according to Christ) selfish motivations.


I wonder how many publicans actually have a better image in God's eyes, coping with all sorts of issues I don't know about but repenting far more than I do in my mediocre sin.
Another good point. You mentioned something about restraint from gross sins because of your upbringing. C.S. Lewis discussed how people with different starting points and struggling with different sins will be judged somewhat differently by God. I guess this is what is meant by "to much is given, much is required". And while we are to pursue holiness ("without which no one will see God"), I agree that God looks more for a repentent heart than one who is merely adhering to a check list of external "dos and don'ts" (while showing coldness to his brother or sister).


 

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Amadeus said:
.. the relevant provisions of the DIDACHE on baptism follow:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
n++CHAPTER 7

7:1 But concerning baptism, thus baptize ye: having first recited all these precepts, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in running water;

7:2 But if thou hast not running water, baptize in some other water, and if thou canst not baptize in cold, in warm water;

7:3 But if thou hast neither, pour water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
In other words, just DO it. Because it is the ACT of FAITH that is important.
 

peterfarrington

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I'm just about to leave work but this looks a useful source of information and references for the practice of baptism by immersion. I'll read it when I get home - esp. the section titled "Action".

http://dlibrary.acu.edu.au/research/theology/ejournal/aet_1/Ferguson.htm

I'd appreciate it if some others did as well.

PT
 
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I personally dont believe the Catholic Church as Valid Sacraments in the first place, just from reading some of the canons of St. Basil.

In Christ
 

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The Orthodox baptism of adults (and teenagers) that I have witnessed has been by effusion (pouring) rather than by immersion.

I have only seen infants actually immersed.
 

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ByzChristian:

How erudite of you for passing judgment on the validity of the Sacraments of the Catholic Church.! :eek:

Not surprising, of course, coming from an Orthodox-wannabe who is just a recent convert to Catholicism from protestantism! :p

Wonders just never cease!

AmdG



 

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Are we talking actually join or just being in the catechumenate 400 miles from the nearest ROAC parish, expounding on graceless heretics while still being one himself?
 

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TomΣ said:
Amadeus said:
.. the relevant provisions of the DIDACHE on baptism follow:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
n++CHAPTER 7

7:1 But concerning baptism, thus baptize ye: having first recited all these precepts, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in running water;

7:2 But if thou hast not running water, baptize in some other water, and if thou canst not baptize in cold, in warm water;

7:3 But if thou hast neither, pour water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
In other words, just DO it. Because it is the ACT of FAITH that is important.
Yes, but I feel that many (probably mostly Catholics and Protestants but some Orthodox as well) use that as an excuse to buck tradition and not immerse just because it is "inconvenient". Basically, a weak copout.

Linus, I've seen at least a dozen adult baptisms in immersion. My parish (OCA) does it - we have a big tub.
 

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Elisha said:
TomΣ said:
Amadeus said:
.. the relevant provisions of the DIDACHE on baptism follow:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
n++CHAPTER 7

7:1 But concerning baptism, thus baptize ye: having first recited all these precepts, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in running water;

7:2 But if thou hast not running water, baptize in some other water, and if thou canst not baptize in cold, in warm water;

7:3 But if thou hast neither, pour water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
In other words, just DO it. Because it is the ACT of FAITH that is important.
Yes, but I feel that many (probably mostly Catholics and Protestants but some Orthodox as well) use that as an excuse to buck tradition and not immerse just because it is "inconvenient". Basically, a weak copout.

Linus, I've seen at least a dozen adult baptisms in immersion. My parish (OCA) does it - we have a big tub.
Elisha -

Cool!

I wasn't knocking adult immersion; I've just never seen it done in the Orthodox Church; but then my attendance at baptisms has been limited to mostly infants.

;D

 
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Are we talking actually join or just being in the catechumenate 400 miles from the nearest ROAC parish, expounding on graceless heretics while still being one himself?
Maybe we need to get two grids ready. I say, the easter after next for his re-Baptism into the ROAC.
 

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Re-baptism? Don't you mean first baptism? Because ROAC are the sole inheritors of grace and only their baptisms count! Only a graceless heretic would think otherwise!
 

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Just throwing this in. It's from an encyclical of 1895 by the Pat. of Const. and his bishops:

"VIII. The one holy, catholic and apostolic Church of the first seven Ecumenical Councils baptized by three immersions in the water, and the Pope Pelagius speaks of the triple immersion as a command of the Lord, and in the thirteenth century baptism by immersions still prevailed in the West; and the sacred fonts themselves, preserved in the more ancient churches in Italy, are eloquent witnesses on this point; but in later times sprinkling or effusion, being privily brought in, came to be accepted by the Papal Church, which still holds fast the innovation, thus also widening the gulf which she has opened; but we Orthodox, remaining faithful to the apostolic tradition and the practice of the seven Ecumenical Councils, 'stand fast, contending for the common profession, the paternal treasure of the sound faith."

PT
 
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Baptism by infusion? Is that where you steep the candidate in a vat of warm holy water until a cross appears on his forehead?
DP: from the OED online:

Infusion:

6. The action of pouring on water in baptism, as opposed to immersion; = AFFUSION.
 
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"VIII. The one holy, catholic and apostolic Church of the first seven Ecumenical Councils baptized by three immersions in the water, and the Pope Pelagius speaks of the triple immersion as a command of the Lord, and in the thirteenth century baptism by immersions still prevailed in the West; and the sacred fonts themselves, preserved in the more ancient churches in Italy, are eloquent witnesses on this point; but in later times sprinkling or effusion, being privily brought in, came to be accepted by the Papal Church, which still holds fast the innovation, thus also widening the gulf which she has opened; but we Orthodox, remaining faithful to the apostolic tradition and the practice of the seven Ecumenical Councils, 'stand fast, contending for the common profession, the paternal treasure of the sound faith."
The early Church celebrated the Liturgy in the catacombs. But look at us, graceless heretics all, celebrating in buildings built for that purpose! There's a lot of things the early Church did that we don't do today. Christianity is a revealed religion.
 

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The Caffeinator said:
The early Church celebrated the Liturgy in the catacombs. But look at us, graceless heretics all, celebrating in buildings built for that purpose! There's a lot of things the early Church did that we don't do today. Christianity is a revealed religion.
What's that supposed to mean?

PT
 

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The Caffeinator said:
While doctines may not change, disciplines do.
Well that is itself a doctrinal point and in the context of baptism is disputed. Also it is at least interesting that until the medieval period the West was universally practicing immersion. Why the change? And with what justification?

PT
 
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Also it is at least interesting that until the medieval period the West was universally practicing immersion.
Universally is the wrong word, I think. Most of the time, they practiced immersion, but infusion and sprinkling were known to be used as well. And as to why? I've told you my guess...it's cold in northern and northwestern Europe, and you can't baptize anybody in ice!
 
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I'd be interested in knowing how the Russian Orthodox have done it historically, and if they go thru the trouble of immersing during winter, have they always, and what lengths have they gone to, to do so?
 

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The Caffeinator said:
Universally is the wrong word, I think. Most of the time, they practiced immersion, but infusion and sprinkling were known to be used as well. And as to why? I've told you my guess...it's cold in northern and northwestern Europe, and you can't baptize anybody in ice!
Immersion was certainly the practice even among the Anglo-Saxons. And since baptism usually took place at Pascha it need not have required the breaking of any ice????

Universal is the wrong word I agree but it seems to have been universally encouraged in the West until some centuries after the RC/EO Schism.

PT
 

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Patriarchal Diocese
The Caffeinator said:
I'd be interested in knowing how the Russian Orthodox have done it historically, and if they go thru the trouble of immersing during winter, have they always, and what lengths have they gone to, to do so?
That's a good idea. It can't get much colder than a Russian church.

PT
 
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Universal is the wrong word I agree but it seems to have been universally encouraged in the West until some centuries after the RC/EO Schism.
I think there may be historical evidence still...In the middle ages (I just have the faintest memory of this from classes, so correct me if I'm wrong), there was an epidemic of infanticide in the West, and so the need for baptism soon after birth became more emphasized.

Also, there was a little ice age sometime around the 13th c? which left Europe muy frio.
 
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