Monday, 11 January 2010

What Exactly is the, 'Baptismal Covenant?'

I have seen and heard liberal Anglicans raising what they call their, "baptismal covenant" to justify all sorts of far out ideas, from the social gospel to inclusiveness of all sorts of sin, usually sexual, as now somehow acceptable.

The latest edition of the Anglican Network in Canada Newsletter refers the reader to This story out of St James Cathedral in Toronto:

Diocese of Toronto to host Bishop Gene Robinson
Mr Robinson actually preached yesterday, January 10, a rather unremarkable sermon except for the assertion that Jesus was taken by the Spirit into the desert so that he could "figure out" what his baptism or his ministry, "meant to him."

But I couldn't help but notice that on the church's website, as part of their vision statement, is this:
"To fulfil the baptismal covenant that declares that all people are full and equal members of the Body of Christ"

"All people?" What baptismal covenant are they talking about? After seeing it, I read the entire baptismal service in the BAS and for the life of me, I can't see where they get this from. "All people" are full and equal members? Does that mean atheists? Moslems? Buddhists? Homophobes ;)?

What I can see for sure in the baptism service is this: after repeating what is basically the Apostle's Creed, a very early (2nd century) baptismal creed, adults and older children are asked, among other things, "Will you continue in the apostles' teaching..." (which I assume means the apostles' teaching on sexual immorality, among other things.)
To which the candidate answers, "I will, with God's help."
Then, "Will you persevere in resisting evil (which again, I assume would include various immoralities as understood by 1st or 2nd century Christians)and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?
Again the response, "I will with God's help."

Somehow, this part of the baptismal covenant is forgotten or omitted by certain members of the liberal church. Instead, quite in opposition to the aforementioned apostle's teaching, now, "all people," apparently regardless of faith or lack thereof in Christ, have become members of his Body.

This is really a different teaching -- a different gospel. Indeed, a different Jesus. (Galatians 1:8)(2 Corinthians 11:4)

Take Care

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