(CEN) Yes to new Baptismal service

A simplified baptism service could soon be rolled out across the Church of England, in a move away from the ”˜wordy’ traditional liturgy. The Additional Texts for Holy Baptism was before Synod for First Consideration, having been changed since it was introduced by the Diocese of Liverpool, following criticisms of it ”˜dumbing down’ the service. The Bishop of Sodor and Man moved the motion, explaining the need stemming from the ”˜wordy and complex’ nature of the current provision. It is now to be considered by the Revision Committee. The new text shortens the service by omitting elements that are not obligatory. “When a child is brought for baptism he or she comes with empty hands,” Robert Paterson said, “Simply the most precious thing in God’s sight is a child of his creation.” Feedback from families who have taken part in baptism show they remember the symbols of the service more than words. “This is a specific request to draft liturgy to meet pastoral need,” he continued. The Group believed the word ”˜submit’, seen in the current text, ”˜seemed to some like bullying’. All of these texts in their authorised form would be additional, not to replace Common Worship texts, the Bishop promised, and is subject to yet more synodical processes. He alluded to the backlash over the absence of the devil in the new baptism service. “We all know that, for many people, the devil has been turned into a cartoon-like character of no particular malevolence. “We have no quarrel with standing up to the devil: the problem is helping people with little doctrinal appreciation to understand what we mean by affirming that the devil is a defeated power.” The press was heavily criticised by many speakers in the debate highlighting the omission of the devil and sin from the first trial draft. “Wherever possible, the final ”˜Commission’ should be expressed simply and directly, eye-to-eye, and not read from a prepared text.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Baptism, Children, Church of England (CoE), Marriage & Family, Sacramental Theology, Theology

6 comments on “(CEN) Yes to new Baptismal service

  1. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Very disturbing. I hope people don’t just skip over this topic when there seem to be so many other controversial issues in play right now in the CoE (euthanasia and women bishops especially). As one of the central sacraments at he heart of the Christian and Anglican tradition, Holy Baptism is of the highest importance, and fundamental errors made about the Sacraments of Initiation have far-reaching and ultimately devastating consequences.

    Are there problems with the current baptismal rites in the CoE? Oh, yes, certainly there are. But is this the right way to fix them?? Not at all. This proposal doesn’t just amount to “dumbing down” the baptismal service. It guts it and utterly perverts it, by taking the authentic gospel out of it, and substituting a false gospel of supposed inclusivity in its place..

    The whole basic strategy behind this proposal is completely wrong. It enshrines in the liturgy itself the catastrophic assumptions that underlie the widespread practice of so-called “indiscriminate baptism,” which is more accurately described as promiscuous baptism. And sacramental promiscuty is just as bad as sexual promiscuity. It amounts to casting our pearls before swine, i.e., unbelievers, who have absplutely no business bringing their children to the font for baptism anyway.

    Ive waxed eloquent and fierce on this topic before here at T19. This newrite is flatly unacceptable. It doesn’t need to be tweaked, it needs to be scrapped. It is heretical. Shame on those who proposed it, for betraying the gospel.

    David Handy+
    Vehement opponent of baptism on demand by unbelievers
    This is yet another reason why I, as an American, so strongly dislike and distrust state church religion

  2. Karen B. says:

    I totally echo your comments. And yes, it’s so easy to let this news slide by given all else that is happening in both the CoE and the wider world.

    As we know from TEC, it is the doctrinal beliefs that drive the accommodations / compromises with culture. So, the “dumbing down” of the baptismal liturgy is big evidence of the part of the iceberg that’s underwater that is actually the foundation of all the stories getting much more airplay….

  3. Adam 12 says:

    David, thank you for your insights and careful summary of the sad situation.

  4. Ad Orientem says:

    It would seem that the CofE has been batting a thousand lately. The only being, for which team?

  5. tired says:

    “He added it is important that the devil isn’t given too much focus, as this may suggest the Church is in battle with the devil constantly…”

    …, whilst in actuality, the Church has comfortably conceded.

  6. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Karen B. (#2) and Adam 12(#3),

    You’re welcome. I appreciate your kind words and support. Unfortunately, it’s symptomatic (and predictable) that this highly important issue of the supposed “renewal” of baptismal policy has attracted so few comments here, while the flashy hot button issues of the day get all the attention.

    The common thread underlying all these bitter disputes, however, is our Anglican inability to maintain (or recover) healthy boundaries in an aggressively secular and postmodern social context that is steadily becoming more and more hostile to authentic (biblical, historic) Christianity. The fundamental challenge we face in all the many complex and controversial choices the Church must make in our time (as a minority group that has lost control of the culture) is the immensely difficult challenge of relearning how to be “in the world, but not of the world.”

    Ultimately, our Achilles Heel as Anglicans has always been our worldliness, our tendency to be far too conformed to the world because of our historic alliance with the powers that be in Anglo (North Atlantic) culture. Given our state church heritage, it’s extremely hard for us to wean ourselves away from our customary practice of almost totally boundary-less infant baptism. We so desperately want to be inclusive, especially in England, where baptism on demand is a legal right guaranteed to all, even those who make no pretense of being believers in Chirst, much less of being committed to being his followers. The best description for that foolish and deadly inability to set boundaries and enforce them is Bonhoeffef’s famous phrase, “cheap grace.”

    Ad Orientem is right above. The leadership of the CoE has been batting 1000 lately, in the sense that all its major decisions are characterized by the same underlying thrust of cheap grace. Lord, have mercy.

    David Handy+

    David Handy+