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Joined: May 2007
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I can see where some members of a Baptist church could question their baptism. It comes out of the very structure of the church associations, as there is not a structure in the church beyond the pews which demands obedience to certain doctrines or interpretations of scripture. The Southern Baptist Convention, for example, has its power in its influence in placing trustees over seminaries and mission boards. However, the SBC does not have the authority to regulate ministers or the doctrine which is taught in particular churches. Allegiance to the SBC would be, in a sense, a volunteer association of spiritual communion. An interested church would have to pay its dues; some pastors and congregations disagree with how those dues are appropriated and join alternate conventions.

If a congregation of a church doesn't like what their pastor is preaching, he can be replaced through the bylaws of the church. But if he is preaching support of abortion or questioning the validity of the miracles of Christ--and in so doing questioning the Incarnation--he will fill the pulpit as long as the congregation keeps him.

I have no intention of speaking for Fr. Serge, but what he said reminded me of this and I was no longer confused. I can, of course, be confused all over again at the next reply.

Terry

Last edited by Terry Bohannon; 05/06/08 03:05 PM.
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I'm confused again.

Fr. Serge, disregarding the Mormon or Pentacostal churches, how does the validity of baptism depend on the intentions of the minster when the right form is used?

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Terry, I'll give you an example of one Baptist group whose 'baptisms' would all be invalid - the Oneness Baptists. Another problem is that certain preachers, like T.D. Jakes, espouse Oneness doctrine, but make rounds in Pentecostal and Baptist churches. Also, the Oneness Pentecostal denomination was supposedly started by a Baptist minister.

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"Intention" is a tricky discussion, to put it mildly. The key question is "did the minister intend to do what the Church does?". That doesn't require a great deal, but it does require something - if you saw that delightful film My Big Fat Greek Wedding, you will have watched what looked like a Greek Orthodox Baptism - but since both the "priest" and the "neophyte" were simply actors, it is safe to take it for granted that neither one had any real intention of doing what the Church does, even though they got the words and the water right.

I'm not suggesting that all Baptist ministers are simply play-acting. But since there is no way to determine what they understand themselves to be doing, there is a problem. One could certainly find Baptist ministers who would indignantly deny that they were doing what the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church do when our priests baptize people.

It really does get very involved.

Fr. Serge

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I always understood that even an atheist or muslim or anyone could validly baptize if they did so with the correct words and the intention to do whatever the catholic church intended. As far as I know it was a rare circumstance, but would happen if a baby was in imminent danger of death at birth and no catholic was present or able to do the baptism.

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Father, isn't there also a requirement that the "baptism" be sacramental in nature to be valid? There are a handful (at least) of baptists that don't believe baptism is sacramental, and take joy in rebaptisms. (Recall the line in the "Mississippi Squirrel Revival" about "we all got rebaptised whether we needed it or not"? :))

hawk

Edit:

OK, now I remember. This came up out of my fifth grade class a couple of years ago, and trying to figure out the conflicts from different texts. It's "sacramental baptism in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" that is recognized.

Last edited by dochawk; 05/06/08 08:47 PM.
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