(Church Times) Draft ‘baptism lite’ criticised

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The text is currently being piloted in 450 parishes. It was developed by the Liturgical Commission after the Synod approved a motion from Liverpool diocese asking for an alternative text in "accessible language".

A note attached to the text, which was published on Sunday, says that "Clergy frequently find themselves conducting baptisms for families who have little contact with the Church. . . For the majority of those attending on such occasions, the existing provision can seem complex and inaccessible."

The note states that the Commission had sought to "express the primacy of God's welcoming grace, while retaining the solemnity of the promises to turn away from evil and towards Christ".

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* TheologyAnthropologySacramental TheologyBaptismSoteriology

11 Comments
Posted January 10, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Jill Woodliff wrote:

Lent & Beyond is running a prayer campaign for the Church of England.  It was commenced following the Pilling Report, but the prayers are more general in nature and applicable to this situation as well.  The College of Bishops meets later this month.

January 10, 9:27 am | [comment link]
2. Catholic Mom wrote:

The article states:

The existing Common Worship rite asks parents and godparents: “Do you reject the devil and all rebellion against God? Do you renounce the deceit and corruption of evil? Do you repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbour? Do you turn to Christ as Saviour? Do you submit to Christ as Lord?” The alternative text asks: “Do you reject evil? And all its many forms? And all its empty promises? Do you turn to Christ? And put your trust in him?”

Interesting that in both cases the elements of the vow seem kind of arbitrarily selected by the CofE.

The Apostles Creed, by contrast, is a summary of Christian belief that was (I have read) created precisely for the purpose of baptism, and is still used in current Catholic baptism vows:


Do you reject Satan?
I do.
And all his works?
I do.
And all his empty promises?
I do.
Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth?
I do.
Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father?
I do.
Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?
I do.

I guess my question would be—what was the rationale for substituting any other standard of belief other than a creedal one by the CofE in the first place?

January 10, 12:01 pm | [comment link]
3. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

#2 Catholic Mom
My question would be - what was the rationale for the Catholic Church inserting an exorcism in the Baptism service, something which isn’t in the Creeds or the Bible either?

Most peculiarly in one christening I attended, admittedly many years ago, my recollection is that the priest put salt in the [very small] child’s mouth, which had the obvious consequence of the child screaming and howling the place down, clearly in extreme discomfort.

January 10, 9:10 pm | [comment link]
4. Catholic Mom wrote:

Well, this is a new one on me.  In such cases, as always, I turn to the font of all human knowledge, Wikipedia, which states:

Blessed salt has been used in various forms throughout the history of Christianity. Among early Christians, the savoring of blessed salt often took place along with baptism.

For centuries, salt that had been cleansed and sanctified by special exorcisms and prayers was given to catechumens before entering the church for baptism. According to the fifth canon of the Third Council of Carthage in the third century, salt was administered to the catechumens several times a year, a process attested by Augustine of Hippo (Confessions I.11). Two specific rites, namely a cross traced on the forehead and a taste of blessed salt, not only marked the entrance into the catechumenate, but were repeated regularly. By his own account, Augustine was “blessed regularly with the Sign of the Cross and was seasoned with God’s salt.”

Early in the sixth century, John the Deacon also explained the use of blessed salt, “so the mind which is drenched and weakened by the waves of this world is held steady”.  Salt continued to be customarily used during the scrutinies of catechumens or the baptism of infants. 

So it would appear this was an ancient ritual of the undivided Church.  I have never seen or heard of it before and it certainly is nowhere to be found in the US missal. 

If your concern is with extreme infant discomfort and howling, I would suggest you be sure not to watch any of the videos on youtube showing naked babies being baptized by full immersion in the Orthodox rite.

By contrast, my own second son slept like a rock through the whole service, from beginning to end, making me wonder if it really took.  smile

January 10, 9:46 pm | [comment link]
5. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

The CofE Prayer Book [1662 still] Order for the baptism of infants does follow the Creed:

Dearly beloved, ye have brought this Child here to be baptized, ye have prayed that our Lord Jesus Christ would vouchsafe to receive him, to release him of his sins, to sanctify him with the Holy Ghost, to give him the kingdom of heaven, and everlasting life. Ye have heard also that our Lord Jesus Christ hath promised in his Gospel to grant all these things that ye have prayed for: which promise he, for his part, will most surely keep and perform. Wherefore, after this promise made by Christ, this Infant must also faithfully, for his part, promise by you that are his sureties, (until he come of age to take it upon himself,) that he will renounce the devil and all his works, and constantly believe God’s holy Word, and obediently keep his commandments.

I demand therefore,
Dost thou, in the name of this Child, renounce the devil and all his works, the vain pomp and glory of the world, with all covetous desires of the same, and the carnal desires of the flesh, so that thou wilt not follow, nor be led by them?
Answer. I renounce them all.

Minister.
Dost thou believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth?
  And in Jesus Christ his only-begotten Son our Lord? And that he was conceived by the Holy Ghost; born of the Virgin Mary; that he suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; that he went down into hell, and also did rise again the third day; that he ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; and from thence shall come again at the end of the world, to judge the quick and the dead?
  And dost thou believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy Catholick Church; the Communion of Saints; the Remission of sins; the Resurrection of the flesh; and everlasting life after death?
Answer. All this I stedfastly believe.

Minister.
Wilt thou be baptized in this faith?
Answer. That is my desire.

Minister.
Wilt thou then obediently keep God’s holy will and commandments, and walk in the same all the days of thy life?
Answer. I will.

It has to be said that it leaves nothing in doubt.

January 10, 9:49 pm | [comment link]
6. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

#4 Thanks Catholic Mom for your anecdote and quote from Wikipedia [which is always right].  Many of the Christian commentary in Wikipedia is sourced in Catholic commentaries.

You haven’t really answered my question about the inclusion of exorcism in the Catholic baptism service.

January 10, 9:58 pm | [comment link]
7. Catholic Mom wrote:

I thought I did—namely that I’m unaware of any exorcism.  If my kids were exorcised, I’m suing for malpractice, given the results. smile

Conversely—I think you haven’t answered MY question, namely, why did the CofE change its baptismal vows from the standards ones (devil + Apostles’ Creed) to something that they made up themselves?

January 10, 10:26 pm | [comment link]
8. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

#7 Thanks Catholic Mom
I am sure you have brought your kids up to be a credit to you and your church.

If you look at the comparison of the existing alternative to the Prayer Book, Common Worship with this new proposed Alternative Moronic Version [AMV], Common Worship also contains a profession of faith in the form of the Creeds, just as the Prayer Book does.

As for why the new alternative AMV being trialled with the approval of the HOB and Welby apparently does not, you will just have to ask the theologically problematic Bishop of Wakefield, as it is quite beyond me.

January 10, 10:49 pm | [comment link]
9. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

Well now, this is interesting - the CofE Statement on the AMV has been taken down.

Perhaps the sound of laughter from all quarters at their feckless, clueless and amateurish efforts has been too much to bear.

Will it remain in internet limbo of reappear in a ‘clarified’ form one wonders?  For now, it can still be read on Google cache

January 10, 11:17 pm | [comment link]
10. Karen B. wrote:

Thanks PM.  For the record since the Google Cache won’t be available forever, here’s the text of the COE statement:


Statement on proposal to Synod on baptism service wording
04 January 2014

A Church of England spokesman said:
“The report in the Mail on Sunday (Jan 5) is misleading in a number of respects. The story claims that “the baptism ceremony had not been altered for more than 400 years until it was changed in 1980”. This is the third revision in 30 years.

The Baptism service currently used by the Church of England has been in use since Easter 1998. The wording of the service was amended by General Synod in 2000 and again in 2005.
In 2011 a group of clergy from the Diocese of Liverpool brought forward a motion to the General Synod of the Church of England requesting materials to supplement the Baptism service “in culturally appropriate and accessible language.”  Specifically the motion requested new additional materials which would not replace or revise the current Baptsim service but would be available for use as alternatives to three parts of the service.

The Liverpool motion was passed by General Synod and as a consequence the liturgical commission has brought forward some additional materials for discussion by the General Synod at a future date where they will be subject to final approval by the Synod.

At its last meeting the House of Bishops agreed that the additional materials should be piloted and they were sent to over 400 for a trial period which lasts until the end of the April. The texts have no formal status without approval by General Synod.”

January 11, 8:51 am | [comment link]
11. Karen B. wrote:

Pageantmaster: I dug a bit more deeply.  It appears the statement is still there, and the text is unchanged, but the TITLE is different, which has meant a change in the URL:

http://www.churchofengland.org/media-centre/news/2014/01/statement-on-alternative-baptism-materials.aspx

January 11, 8:59 am | [comment link]
Registered members must log in to comment.




Next entry (above): (CSM) The Awful Vermont situation remins us that Heroin has moved to the countryside

Previous entry (below): ([London] Times) Rise in Muslim birthrate as families ‘feel British’

Return to blog homepage

Return to Mobile view (headlines)