Confessions and Roman Catholic Baptism

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Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Indeed, as a highly corrupt church with whom we can have no fellowship, and headed by "that antichrist" himself, but a church nonetheless. Thus I find myself disagreeing with the baptist idea of "it is no church at all."

It would seem that an entity that

1) is highly corrupt
2) with whom we can have no fellowship
3) headed by "that antichrist"

is not a church. How could we possibly have no fellowship at all with other branches of Christianity? In this, I assume you agree that someone in a Roman fellowship should not partake of the Lord's Supper in for example, an OPC church. Is that correct?

Couldn't we say points 1 to 3 apply to another religion entirely (e.g. Buddhism)?

We Reformed understand the distinction between the "visible" and "invisible" Church. There are individual Christians in the Roman communion. There are almost certainly some in non-christian religions (e.g. Someone gets saved today in a Buddhist Temple, and for a short time remains there).

But that is not the same thing as saying the ecclesiastical authority of the Church has the authority to perform or represent sacraments. That would seem, at least, to require a minister of the Gospel, the object of baptism. I don't see how any church can be a church without the Gospel. The Gospel is the spiritual basis of the invisible, universal church.

Finally, in a very practical way, what do you think of this: I, personally, was baptized in a United Methodist Church as a child. Now, I don't know what you know about the UMC, but

Actually, we have something in common. I too was so baptized and was an active UMC member.

I am aware of the falling away from the authority of Scripture within that denomination and the liberalism that now dominates it denominational polity. We both would no longer agree with the Arminian influence in the theology. However, we both know there is still a big block of Christians, God fearing people who believe the Gospel there. The Church still officially holds to the ultimate authority of Scripture and the Gospel (the four legs of the table of Mr Wesley). The UMC does not officially pronounce anathema on the Gospel, but nominally, at least still holds it.

So, like you, I understand a UMC infant baptism would be valid as a Christian baptism, to be administered but once.
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
Scott,

(Side note: I just typed a hugely long quote from Turretin, and then erased it accidentally...)

Regarding the Roman church aspect, sorry if that got us off on a rabbit trail, but here is a paraphrase of how Turretin answers that question.

Short version, Turretin says that we can consider the RCC church under two forms: one, as it is Christian, under which consideration it may still be called a church, though much corrupted; and two, as it is papal, under which consideration it is to be considered Antichristian and apostate. However, under this consideration it may still be improperly and relatively called a church: 1.) the the believers and elect still in her; 2.) for containing the forms and scattered ruins of the church, namely the preaching of the word which is still in her, and the administration of the sacraments, "especially baptism, which is still preserved entire in her as to substance" (interesting note); and 3.) she still contains Christian and evangelical truths concerning the one triune God, Christ the God-man Mediator, the incarnation, death, resurrection, etc.

So much for Turretin. This certainly aids in his being able to accept the validity of Roman baptisms.

You asked:
How could we possibly have no fellowship at all with other branches of Christianity?
Well, how much fellowship does an OPC have with a United Methodist Church, or the Nazerene across town?

Also,
In this, I assume you agree that someone in a Roman fellowship should not partake of the Lord's Supper in for example, an OPC church. Is that correct?
Certainly I agree.

Overall, the only thing I can say is that historically, the reformed have not understood the minister of baptism to be a part of its substance, and again, that's how I have to understand the confession. A prescription is not the same as a definition of substance. Sorry to sound like a broken record with this. Baptism is indeed to be performed by a lawful minister of the gospel, and it would be sin for me to neglect such an administration and seek it elsewhere -- so goes the confession; however, this does not mean that baptism hasn't occurred without this, as this is not part of the substance of baptism -- it is only the proper means of its dispensing, which we would sin to do without.

By the way, thanks for posting that link. Ha, I must be blind; how didn't I see that right there?
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
she still contains Christian and evangelical truths concerning the one triune God, Christ the God-man Mediator, the incarnation, death, resurrection, etc.

Yes, we do share some important doctrines with the Roman church, the doctrine of the Trinity being one of them.

one, as it is Christian, under which consideration it may still be called a church, though much corrupted; and two, as it is papal, under which consideration it is to be considered Antichristian and apostate. However, under this consideration it may still be improperly and relatively called a church: 1.) the the believers and elect still in her; 2.) for containing the forms and scattered ruins of the church, namely the preaching of the word which is still in her,

What it seems like Mr Turretin is saying is that one can be a Christian without the Gospel and one can be a Christian denomination without the Gospel- that's the implication. From that, he says but as long as there is a generalized biblical belief in the Trinity, anyone can baptize.

I know this takes this reasoning to an extreme but it sounds like Mr Turretin would say that a lone person, not a Christian but who intellectually believes in the basics of the Trinity (not even the eternality of the Holy Spirit from the Son to allow Orthodox), who is not even a member of a church could validly perform a Christian baptism because God will convey the substance. There is not even faith in this scenario to convey it, there are no Christians, the entity rejects the Gospel and substitutes another way to salvation.

How can a church be called a (Christian church) without the Gospel (of Christ)?

The fact that the Roman church at one time held the Gospel does not mean that a remnant remains in it for all time based on the past, regardless of what it believes or does now as Mr Turretin seems to argue.

I do not know the answer to this but it seems Mr Turretin, by analogy would argue that a Samaritan (with a mixed up religion) could validly perform circumcision. Yes a circumcision was done, no doubt, it is a fact, but did that initiate the person into the covenant community of Israel? As long as there was a generic belief in the God of Israel. I don't know but it would seem the Law would have required the half Jew/half Gentile Samaritan to go through ceremonial washings (e.g. baptism) to get into the covenant community of Israel (by analogy, like a second baptism because the first was not valid).

Bottom line, it is hard to see how the Gospel does not essentially define the Church, both as to individuals and the corporate body. It would almost be like saying the sacraments operate outside the church. Doesn't the Confession make clear they are given to the church?
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
one, as it is Christian, under which consideration it may still be called a church, though much corrupted;

How can it be Christian without the Gospel (of Christ)?

:banana::banana::banana::banana::banana::banana:
(the bananas here are Reformed, but they are perplexed)
:banana::banana::banana::banana::banana::banana:
(the bananas are routing here for the Gospel)
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
Scott,

Backing up, first, the Eastern Orthodox are fully trinitarian -- they do not deny, as you imply, the eternity of the Holy Spirit. They teach fully that the Holy Spirit is fully divine, that he proceeds eternally from the Father.

Second, if it's all right with you, and though I was the one that brought it up, let's take the "churchliness" of the Roman CC out of this; I think it will lead us down more rabbit trails than it will aid in our understanding of the subject. I will mention something pertaining to this, however: the logic of men such as Calvin and Turretin starts at the opposite end of you, and moves in the other direction. You start with the premise that the RCC is no church, therefore, it cannot properly possess the sacrament of baptism.

The old divines started from the other end, however; they observed, "baptism is practiced here; the word, though corrupt, is still read here; therefore, insomuch as these things are, then the church exists though in deplorable form." You have started with the church, and then determine on that basis whether or not baptism is performed; they started with baptism, and see it performed, therefore the church must exist in at least some form here, they say.

This different view point makes discussion wholly impractical on one level.

I will bring up Zipporah here, because Turretin does as well. When asking whether laymen or women can administer baptism (to which he staunchly answers, NO), he mentions that the case of Zipporah circumcision Moses' son cannot be pleaded. We must practice upon the basis of law, not story. However, he does note that, though this is not a right circumcision after the practice of men, and that it is sinful to engage in such practice, it was nevertheless efficacious before God. Why? Because the thing itself (i.e., circumcision) was done, though improperly. What is the corollary to baptism? Though it is sinful and proper for any but a proper minister of the gospel to administer baptism, if the thing itself is done (i.e., application of the water, and that in the name of the trinity, so long as it is the Trinity that is intended), then it is truly done. This is valid before God.

Anyway, I think we may just be repeating ourselves at this point, so I do apologize.

End note:
You said,
It would almost be like saying the sacraments operate outside the church.
isn't it more true that the efficacy of sacraments is tied to faith, and not to its being in the church? Don't we rather define the church as that in which the sacraments are administered (along with the word being preached and discipline exercised)? We say that salvation belongs in the church because that is where these means of grace are held and dispensed. It is not their being in the church which gives them efficacy (that is through the operation of God, and through faith); rather, it is on account of these that we identify and recognize the church; and we say that only the church may lawfully perform them, for what warrant does a private man have to baptize?
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Backing up, first, the Eastern Orthodox are fully trinitarian -- they do not deny, as you imply, the eternity of the Holy Spirit. They teach fully that the Holy Spirit is fully divine, that he proceeds eternally from the Father.

But not the Son?

You said,

Quote:
It would almost be like saying the sacraments operate outside the church.

isn't it more true that the efficacy of sacraments is tied to faith, and not to its being in the church?

Yes, but isn't it faith in the Gospel?

You start with the premise that the RCC is no church, therefore, it cannot properly possess the sacrament of baptism.

The old divines started from the other end, however; they observed, "baptism is practiced here; the word, though corrupt, is still read here; therefore, insomuch as these things are, then the church exists though in deplorable form." You have started with the church, and then determine on that basis whether or not baptism is performed; they started with baptism, and see it performed, therefore the church must exist in at least some form here, they say.

That is helpful, thank you.

I guess I am assuming that a church is not a Christian church without the Gospel.

It seems the logic is that because there is a trinitarian prouncement at baptism, there must be a church "in some form." There are a whole lot of assumptions in that, and we have alluded to that in earlier posts.

The other aspect from Mr Turretin's arguments is that because there was, in the past, a Gospel held, that now, in the present where none is held, that makes the baptism valid now (because there used to be a Gospel).
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
But not the Son?
Nope. But that's okay. This is not a substantial difference. It is a matter of logic, not of faith. We don't really get on the Eastern Orthodox for that. They're trinitarian.

You said,
Yes, but isn't it faith in the Gospel?
Well, it's faith in Christ. But the reason I mentioned this is slightly different. As most of our theologians have professed, infants surely do not have faith; they may have the "germ of faith," i.e., the Holy Spirit, but not faith itself. Thus, for an infant being baptized in the RCC, whether or not the infant has faith in the gospel or not is a moot point. However, later in life, should that person come to faith, the sacrament then, through this faith, can still have efficacy, sealing the believer and assuring his heart. So yes, a right faith is necessary for the sacrament to have efficacy -- but that faith is the faith of the recipient, not the administering church. It is not because they are in the visible church that the sacraments are efficacious; the church is simply the only place wherein there is authority for dispensing them. Does that make sense?

Also, you said
It seems the logic is that because there is a trinitarian prouncement at baptism, there must be a church "in some form." There are a whole lot of assumptions in that, and we have alluded to that in earlier posts.
I don't think there are quite as many assumptions as it may seem. In so much as the marks of the church are present, then you have, however relatively and improperly, a form of a church.

The other aspect from Mr Turretin's arguments is that because there was, in the past, a Gospel held, that now, in the present where none is held, that makes the baptism valid now (because there used to be a Gospel).
That, actually, isn't a part of his argument.

Anyway, I hope the clarification about faith and efficacy was helpful. As for the rest, well, I'm probably just :deadhorse: Sorry.
 

TheFleshProfitethNothing

Puritan Board Freshman
I must interject something here:

As there are those who come in Jesus' Name saying...can it also be applied to the Father, and the Spirit?

We can realize by God's Holy Writ, comparing what the person coming in His name is saying...and realizing through the discernment of the Spirit whether this is the One True Christ...(ye shall know them by their fruits and out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh)...can we not use the same Holy Writ to discern whether or not a particular "church" (such as the Eastern Orthodox) believes in the One True Triune God?

One can say they believe in Christ, and preach another Gospel... what of asking these "Trinitarians" if they believe the Work of the Father is indeed the Electing of Some into Christ? What will be their answer?

Ask them, what is the Work of Christ in Salvation? Will they respond with Propitiating for the sins of those the Father Elected? In-so-doing, revealing the Father and His work in the Salvation of men?

Finally, ask them What the Work of the Spirit is in Salvation...will they answer or agree (this includes the former questions, agreement or understanding), with the knowledge that the Spirit gives Life and Understanding of the Work of the Son, who reveals the Work of the Father?

If they don't Understand the Work of each person of the Triune Godhead, (notice I didn't say KNOW), then how is it they believe in the same LORD of Heaven you believe in? Not to mention the same Jesus Christ.

How does that fit in here? Do we take Christ's words in (I believe) Matthew 13, and just kind of use them for JW's or LDS folks? What do you think?
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Well, it's faith in Christ. But the reason I mentioned this is slightly different. As most of our theologians have professed, infants surely do not have faith; they may have the "germ of faith," i.e., the Holy Spirit, but not faith itself. Thus, for an infant being baptized in the RCC, whether or not the infant has faith in the gospel or not is a moot point. However, later in life, should that person come to faith, the sacrament then, through this faith, can still have efficacy, sealing the believer and assuring his heart. So yes, a right faith is necessary for the sacrament to have efficacy -- but that faith is the faith of the recipient, not the administering church. It is not because they are in the visible church that the sacraments are efficacious; the church is simply the only place wherein there is authority for dispensing them. Does that make sense?

Faith in Christ's righteousness alone? That's the Gospel.

Yes, infants do not have faith (actually, I don't believe we know that), but it is the faith of the parents, anyway, isn't it?

Again, is the church the place of authority where it does not hold to the Gospel? (I realize we discussed this before).
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
Scott, sorry, I think you misread one of those statements: I don't include the RCC as a lawfully ordained place for the administration of the sacrament. They do not have that authority. Which is why it would be sin to seek out baptism there, as this goes against the proper way of administration.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
One summary question, if I may:

Is it fair to say you do not think the Gospel is necessary for baptism to be efficacious in:

1) the church administrating it,
2) the administrator (e.g. priest),
3) the recipient,
4) or the parents of the recipient (in the case of an infant)?

Nobody, only because the substance is conveyed by trinitarian prouncement.

Only a Trinitarian prouncement, and a biblical trinitarian heritage (without the Holy Spirit eternally proceeding from the Son)- that's it?
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
Scott,

I think this question, by its wording, forces the answerer into categories he would not apply himself.

In the historic reformed understanding Roman Catholic baptism is still baptism. I think the use of the word "efficacy" here is going to cause problems. Baptism is only "efficacious" in believers. Validity and efficiency are two separate things, and separate from all of these is right performance.

1. Right performance. Baptism is only to be performed by a minister of the gospel lawfully ordained. We confess this. Thus, it is not rightly performed by a Roman. The right and proper place of baptism is with evangelical churches. This, however, does not ensure efficacy -- an non-elect person can still be baptized in a church by a lawfully ordained minister where the gospel is rightly and fully preached, along with the rest of the counsel of God.

2. Validity. A baptism is "valid" when its substance has been performed. This means the proper element is applied (water) in the name of the triune God, so long as by "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" is intended what the orthodox intent; and yes, this fully includes Eastern Orthodox, who again, are fully trinitarian (since you keep mentioning that). This is a baptism. This is the substance of baptism. All else is accidental. There are accidents, indeed, which are proper and improper, but they remain accidents (i.e., the administrator). Zipporah was unlawful in the administration of circumcision, yet this does not mean that circumcision was nevertheless performed. Thus, a Roman Catholic may be unlawful in administering the sacrament, yet the substance of the sacrament has been performed.

3. Efficacious. A baptism, no matter what, is only efficacious to the elect. Whatever misunderstanding of the gospel the church in which I was baptized may have, I am no longer in that church. I have come to faith. And this faith makes the baptism effectual. It clings to the sealing by the (orthodox's) Triune God. The administrator of my baptism may not have understood fully the distinct role that each member of the Godhead played in my redemption, but I understand it; and I am also no longer in that church, and I have faith; and thus, beholding my seal of this triune God, it is an effective sacrament. Because, 1.) it was a valid baptism; and 2.) it is made effectual through faith.
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
If they don't Understand the Work of each person of the Triune Godhead, (notice I didn't say KNOW), then how is it they believe in the same LORD of Heaven you believe in? Not to mention the same Jesus Christ.

Duane, you raise some valid thoughts here, but I don't think they quite apply. They are just a bit too fluid. Are we thus to claim that Arminian baptisms are invalid?

Also, it is not the administrator who is sealed; it is the recipient. It is efficacious in me because I know by whom I am sealed, regardless of the salvific understanding of the administrator.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
I think the use of the word "efficacy" here is going to cause problems. Baptism is only "efficacious" in believers.

Yes, only the Holy Spirit can make baptism efficacious. That term has specialized meaning in Reformed Theology so using it in this way may be confusing.
 

Staphlobob

Puritan Board Sophomore
I was baptized by the papist church in 1953. Later on when I became Lutheran (1986) my baptism wasn't questioned. The same was true when I became Presbyterian (ERPC) in 2007.

The only water ever thrown on me was by a priest.
 

TheFleshProfitethNothing

Puritan Board Freshman
I just wanted to say, being baptism doesn't save you to begin with, as I pretty much posted a couple of posts ago...I don't believe it matters where you were baptised...as long as it is in the name of the Father...Son...Holy Ghost; OR the Name of Jesus Christ (being "All Power in heaven and on earth hath been given unto Me").

The fact one WAS indeed baptised, before Salvation, doesn't mean anything...the point is one was baptised, period. Now in the case of those who were never baptised, well, they would of necessity need to be baptised.

Does, "He who is not for Me is against Me" apply in this situation at all? At one point men were casting out demons in Christ's name and the Apostles wanted to rebuke them...and that was Christ's reply. Is this a similar situation??
 
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TheFleshProfitethNothing

Puritan Board Freshman
By the way...I'm not arguing against unbelievers baptism...I believe if one was publicly baptised that it makes sense they don't need another...though I can make an argument that one should be rebaptised.

I was baptised by a Pentecostal preacher in the name of Jesus Christ...should I go get rebaptised?

Or does baptism save me?

I know the answer, so don't get all crazy in the head thinking..."oh my goodness, this man needs some guidance!!!" or some other thing.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
From the PCA Study Commission on the validity of certain baptisms majority report (1987):

In its historical survey, the Committee found that with one exception the General Assemblies of American Presbyterian churches where making a judgment on the matter have taken the position of non-validity for Roman Catholic baptism. This was done in 1845 by the Old School Assembly and the reasons given in the report have prevailed until today. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church took the same position in 1876. The United Presbyterian Church in North America, in various actions from 1869 to 1871, took the same position. The Presbyterian Church, U.S., commonly referred to as the Southern Presbyterian Church, had consistently taken the same position of the non-validity of Romish baptism. The Southern Church referred to the action of the General Assembly, Old School, of 1845, but took a full action of its own in 1871. The Assembly of 1884 reaffirmed the action of 1871 and the Assembly of 1914 declined to rescind its action of 1884. The one exception is the action of the 1981 Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod, espousing and reiterating the objections of Charles Hodge to the decision of the 1845 General Assembly.
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
Thanks for posting that.

And indeed, who am I against such a committee, but, nevertheless, I dissent from that decision, and am in favor of the older reformed tradition and, what I think was the accepted practice that the WCF was founded upon.
 

Staphlobob

Puritan Board Sophomore
By the way...I'm not arguing against unbelievers baptism...I believe if one was publicly baptised that it makes sense they don't need another...though I can make an argument that one should be rebaptised.

I was baptised by a Pentecostal preacher in the name of Jesus Christ...should I go get rebaptised?

Or does baptism save me?

I know the answer, so don't get all crazy in the head thinking..."oh my goodness, this man needs some guidance!!!" or some other thing.


Cool.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Thanks for posting that.

And indeed, who am I against such a committee, but, nevertheless, I dissent from that decision, and am in favor of the older reformed tradition and, what I think was the accepted practice that the WCF was founded upon.

There was also a minority report that supports your understanding.

Although the vote was 4 to 1 in favor of nonvalidity of (modern) Roman baptisms, both reports were received by the PCA General Assembly which means both views are recommended for "due and serious consideration" by church courts (e.g. sessions and presbyteries). The effect of that, in our polity, as I understand it, is there was no fixed position on this issue commended to the denomination. Sometimes "Study Committees" don't settle things, but they do allow everyone to be heard- but that's another topic.:)

I would note that a couple of men on the majority were "founding fathers" of the PCA, whose opinions are greatly respected.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
From the PCA majority report regarding the arguments for the validity of Roman baptisms (emphasis added):

A. An Analysis of the Arguments for the Validity of Roman Catholic Baptism.

The committee considered the arguments presented by the RPCES Synod's committee report. In doing so, it followed the advice and urging of that committee to read and consider the arguments of the most vigorous American exponent of that position, C. Hodge. The article by Hodge, written in opposition to the 1845 Assembly's decision on the matter, which Hodge himself felt constrained to note was by a vote of 169 to 8, with 6 abstaining, appeared in the Princeton Review of 1845, pp. 444, ff., and has been reproduced in Hodge's Church Polity, pp. 191 ff. The writer argues that three things are necessary for there to be a valid baptism, i.e., washing with water, in the name of the Trinity, and with the ostensible professed design to comply with the command of Christ, i.e., intent. The conclusion reached by Hodge was that the three elements are present in Roman Catholic baptism and therefore that it is valid.
The committee was convinced that this case was both inadequate and also at points in error in reference to Roman Catholic baptism. Its inadequacy is seen by the fact that this appraisal or system of analysis would also of necessity declare as valid the baptism of certain professedly Christian but sectarian groups, such as the Mormons. Usually those arguing for the Roman Catholic baptism would agree that these other baptisms are not valid because in the second and third aspects, in the name of the Trinity and with true design or intent, these other baptisms are not really Biblical and Christian in their use of the Trinity or in their understanding of the design or intent of baptism. But it is just this objection with respect to the true design or intent that the committee thinks applies also to Roman Catholic baptism. At this point we see both an inadequacy and an error.

Although the three elements are present in Mormon baptism, they are now seen to be inadequate as formal and external items. They may now only function as significant items when they are controlled by and expressions of the overarching truth of the Gospel. Without the truth of the Gospel, there is no true and valid baptism even when these elements are present. It is this larger perspective which is necessary and which is lacking in Hodge's application of the three elements to the Roman Catholic church.

As one step forward to this necessary larger perspective, one can see further the inadequacy and error of this three-element approach by comparing it with our confessional evaluation of the other sacrament, the Lord's Supper, as it is administered in the Roman Catholic Church as the mass. Here also one can devise a formal and external description of the elements necessary for a valid Lord's Supper which is properly analogous to that given for a valid baptism, i.e., the prescribed material, bread and wine, the prescribed formula, the words of institution, and the intent, "with the ostensible professed design to comply with the command of Christ" (Minutes, RPCES, 1981, p. 45). But notice, in spite of the fact that these three analogous elements are present, our confessional standards adjudge the Roman Catholic observance of the Lord's Supper, the mass, to be invalid. The Westminster Confession of Faith (xxix, 2) says "that the Papist sacrifice of the mass (as they call it) is most abominably injurious to Christ's one, only sacrifice " The Confession (xxix, 6) goes on to say that the doctrine of the mass "overthroweth the nature of the sacrament, and hath been, and is, the cause of manifold superstitions, yea, of gross idolatries" (italics added).

With this question of doctrine we have come to a larger aspect of the question. It is not only the doctrine of the sacrament itself that is in view, but also the question of the doctrine concerning the church as one faithful or degenerate with respect to the Gospel. It is this larger perspective concerning the church which has already brought Presbyterians in fact to recognize the invalidity of Mormon baptism, even when the three elements are present, and the invalidity of Unitarian baptism (Minutes of General Assembly, 1814; Minutes of General Assembly, 1871). This brings us then to a consideration of the case for the invalidity of Roman Catholic baptism.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
By the way...I'm not arguing against unbelievers baptism...I believe if one was publicly baptised that it makes sense they don't need another...though I can make an argument that one should be rebaptised.

I was baptised by a Pentecostal preacher in the name of Jesus Christ...should I go get rebaptised?

If it was a Oneness Pentecostal preacher then indeed you would need to be baptized. The vast majority of the forum, whether paedo or credo, would agree.
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
:ditto: That is, in the case of the Oneness part. Per earlier parts of this discussion, a baptism by those who do not profess the trinity is no baptism, though Witsius (and a few others that I remember) were willing to grant the possibility of baptism being valid if performed in only the name of Jesus, so long as by his name they represent the entire, true trinity. A Oneness church, however, (who are the only people I know of today who so baptize[?]) would fall outside this realm.
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
That does raise an interesting question which has never occurred to me before, however; perhaps others out there have. If one has been baptized, and later in life either comes to faith, or simply attends a new church, then what is the proper practice if there is doubt whether a proper baptism was administered? If I can not tell you whether my baptism was trinitarian or not, do I play the "safe" route, and be baptized; or do I play it "optimistically" and trust that it was? As an elder or minister, what do you have that new member do who is not sure of the circumstances of his baptism?

I'm curious to know what you think -- especially if there are elders out there...

Edited to add
Now that I've asked this, I think the answer is probably a bit more obvious than I thought for a minute there. If one knows nothing of their baptism (only vaguely that it occurred), then such probably doesn't mean too much, nor would it seem to offer much aid to faith. Or am I missing the point here?
When the confessions were written, this seems like it would have never been an occurring incident for many reasons.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Prufrock
Puritanboard Freshman

Per earlier parts of this discussion, a baptism by those who do not profess the trinity is no baptism, though Witsius (and a few others that I remember) were willing to grant the possibility of baptism being valid if performed in only the name of Jesus, so long as by his name they represent the entire, true trinity

This strikes me as showing the logical and practical limitations of saying that as long as a baptism is "trinitarian", this alone makes it is always a valid Christian baptism, made so by the mechanics, and it is to be administered but once.

On the one hand, we say it is the trinitarian pronouncement that does it, then we say trinitarian pronouncement plus trinitarian intent, but not necessarily a biblical doctrine of the trinity. It seems this makes the administration of this determinative, not biblical truth, faith or church authority.

I know baptism is not analogous to preaching the Word of God, but we would certainly say wrong preaching was invalid, and needed to be corrected. The Word wrongly taught would not be sacrosanct in the sense we could not re-do it. But, it is almost as if baptism is, yet our standards are very specific about who must do it.

If one has been baptized, and later in life either comes to faith, or simply attends a new church, then what is the proper practice if there is doubt whether a proper baptism was administered?

I have heard there are three practices in my denomination regarding Roman baptisms:

1) invalid so baptism is necessary
2) valid so re-baptism is not necessary
3) probably valid but if church member (or parents of an infant) are doubting it, they may be re-baptized

While there is practical benefit to the third position, it seems odd to me that we would turn the doctrinal decision of the administration of a church sacrament (to be done, according to the Confession only "by a minister of the Gospel, lawfully called thereunto,") over to person being baptized.

The fact that we are willing to re-baptize in the case of doubt shows that perhaps we are not as sure about what constitutes a valid baptism (e.g. the mechanics only) or that it is made sacrosanct by the mechanics.
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
but not necessarily a biblical doctrine of the trinity.
?

Sorry for the short response, but where did that one come from? That's the keystone to what I've been saying Turretin, et al have been arguing this whole time. It has to be the biblical doctrine of the trinity.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
but not necessarily a biblical doctrine of the trinity.
?

Sorry for the short response, but where did that one come from? That's the keystone to what I've been saying Turretin, et al have been arguing this whole time. It has to be the biblical doctrine of the trinity.

That phrase was part of refering to the allowance for the Orthodox to not believe that the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds from the other members of the Godhead (Father and Son),

that is that Orthodox baptisms are valid Christian baptisms, to be administered but once, even though they do not hold the complete biblical view of the Trinity (let alone the Gospel).
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
Scott,

Again, no one claims the Eastern Orthodox aren't fully trinitarian. They are. If you want to call them out biblically and say they aren't Trinitarian, then please demonstrate to me biblically the procession of the Spirit from both the Father and the Son, and then demonstrate to me why this is necessary for the Trinity to hold.

(I've been convinced that the Western conception is true, of a dual procession, just in case anyone is wondering; I hold the WCF's maintaining of this.)

(Sorry this post is slightly off the topic of baptism, everyone, but it keeps coming up in this thread; it seems pertinent.)
 

TheFleshProfitethNothing

Puritan Board Freshman
Hmm...getting quite confusing in here. Whether one believes in the ONE Triune God comes in to question again, if you want to strain at gnats....

Look! If one is baptised in the Name of Jesus Christ, by a Oneness, what is different about those who baptise in the Name of the Trinity? I mean, one can say they believe in the Triune God and STILL hate the docrine of Election, or Limited Atonement, etc., etc...

Are they REALLY believing in the ONE true God and Saviour? On the one hand proclaiming this Triune God and on the other "denying the One who bought them"?

I am not afraid to get wet again...I mean this time, if I go the RE-Baptism route, it will be a pouring...I was immersed last time...though the WCF says 28.III. Dipping of the person into the water is not necessary; but baptism is rightly administered by pouring or sprinkling water upon the person.

So, anyone who is immersed, must be in error?? I haven't given any in-depth serious thought of my baptism, simply because I was baptised. So, now I must be re-baptised according to, as one posted, "the majority of the board"???
 
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