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Category Archives: Baptism

Christ’s baptism, Christ’s confession

A fitting reflection I think, for this Sunday, the Baptism of the Lord: When He had Himself baptised with water by John, Jesus confessed both God and [humankind]. A better way of putting it is that because He confessed God, the God whose will was soon to be done on earth as it is in […]

The solidarity of baptism

I’ve been thinking for a while about the whole issue of what it means to be united, one to another through our common baptism in the body of Christ. In light of the many discussions that have been had about the relevance of an apocalyptic conception of the church as mission, what then are we […]

Baptismal identity

Rowan Williams has a great new lecture available online, which, to my mind is remarkably germane to some of our recent discussions about the nature of Christian identity: . . . the identity of the baptized is not first and foremost a matter of some exclusive relationship to God that keeps us safe, as opposed […]

Baptism into the damned

Bob Eckblad makes some interesting points about Jesus’s baptism in his subversive and challenging book, A New Christian Manifesto. Noting, as many have done, the obvious parallels between Jesus being baptized and then going into the desert for forty days and the story of Israel and the Exodus, Eckblad notes some crucial differences. In the Exodus, the […]

Jesus and Baptism

John 4 marks the beginning of Jesus’s ministry with his disciples. Picking up in the train of John the Baptizer, Jesus is reported to be “making and baptizing more disciples that John” (4:2). But then it gets interesting. The next verse claims that “it was not Jesus himself but his disciples who baptized” (4:3). Why […]

On Denying Baptism

Ben posts some characteristically helpful comments on the relation between baptism and ordination: Since baptism is itself vocation to discipleship, ordination — or preparation for ordination — can often become a denial of baptism. If you want to be ordained in order to become a really serious and committed disciple of Christ, then you have […]

Baptism and Nationalism according to Barth

In response to the recent discussions of baptism here, Kevin has posted the following quote from Karl Barth on infant baptism: The real reason for the persistent adherence to infant baptism is quite simply the fact that without it the church would suddenly be in a remarkably embarrassing position. Every individual would then have to […]

Is Conversion an Act of the Will?

To continue with the theme of voluntarism, let us examine a claim often made against advocates of believers’ baptism. It is generally argued that to require the subject of baptism to be professing believers is to make the grace of God contingent upon an act of the human will (voluntas). That is, by insisting that […]

More on the Voluntariness of the Church

According the free church tradition, only those who believe in Christ as Lord should be baptized into the church as members of his body. As such, for this tradition membership in the body of Christ is voluntary. It is not imposed, but rather is given to those who come to baptism out of a desire […]

The Voluntary Church

John Howard Yoder often gets critiqued (the work of Oliver O’Donovan is a good example) for his alleged “voluntarism.” Yoder, being an Anabaptist is, of course, opposed to infant baptism and insists that membership in the church must always be a voluntary, free, and uncoerced reality. Thus, the baptism of children is suspect for Yoder […]

The Church as Apocalyptic Event, Baptism, Eucharist, and Discipleship

Continuing this series of responses to Steve Long‘s queries about “filling out” some of the details of what conceiving of the church as apocalyptic might mean, here is his third question: Would [an understanding of the church as apocalyptic event] acknowledge the necessity of the relation between baptism (and thus a commitment to a life […]

The Church as Apocalyptic Event and Common Confession

Having already touched on the previous question of how conceiving of the church as apocalyptic informs our understanding of church discipline, here is my response to Steve Long‘s second question regarding the issue of the church’s common confession: Does the Church as apocalyptic event recognize the need for a common confession such that anyone who […]

A Further Thought on Baptism

The key issue that pedobaptists have with advocates of believers baptism is the way in which believers baptism ties the recpetion of baptism to the ability of the recipient to make a confession of faith and a commitment to a life of discipleship.  It is alleged that this requirement being placed on the baptized mitigates […]

Baptism, Voluntarism, and Violence

One of the critiques often leveled at the Anabaptist churches is their alleged voluntarism.  The practice of believers baptism and the rejection of infant baptism has often been critiqued on the basis of how it seemingly ties together the human activity of personal commitment to discipleship with God’s divine act of saving grace.  In other words, it […]

Baptism, Voluntarism, and Politics

In my last few years of theological stumbling around, I’ve found myself becoming quite a bit more “ecumenical” than my younger evangelical self would once have been comfortable with.  And, of course any of you who know much about my interests, know that Hans Urs von Balthasar, and much of contemporary Catholic theology has become […]

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