Friday, October 25, 2013

Remarkable good words about baptism. . .

Passed on by an Anglican reader intent upon showing that occasionally even Canterbury can rise to the moment and speak in evangelical and catholic witness... in this case to baptism...

 “Most of all we are celebrating baptism, and baptism at its heart is about the gift of God, about God’s gift of life, just ordinary physical life, but also the offer of spiritual life to all of us, so life forever,” explained Welby in a video released by Lambeth Palace on Tuesday. “All through Christian history, for 2000 years, being baptized meant you joined the family of the church, and that’s what it means today. What a family.”
Infants in the Church of England are baptized in a symbolic assertion that God’s grace precedes even a person’s ability to choose faith. Like all priests who perform a baptismal service, Welby will mark Prince George with the sign of the cross on his forehead. He will also splash water Prince George’s head three times, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. “It is an extraordinary moment, because that is the sign by which we understand that this person belongs to God,” Welby explained.

Baptism services in the Church of England typically follow traditional liturgy from the Book of Common Prayer and Common Worship. Usually that means the parents of the child being baptized offer confessions of their Christian faith—they verbally reject the devil, deceit, and sin, they submit to Jesus Christ, and they commit to lead their child to do so as well. There are a small handful of varying liturgies available for a baptism service, and the royal family has not made the details of the one they have chosen public, so it is unclear whether or not Welby will give a short sermon. But Welby does say he has a message for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, George’s parents. “My message to them would be, What a treat, what an amazing gift, what wonderful times that you will have. There will be great times and tough times, there always are with children,” he said. “Through christening, you are bringing God into the middle of it all, and I know when he is in the middle of it all, somehow it is held in his hands, and that is extraordinary.”

Welby’s message for young George is a blessing and a reminder, Welby says, that originated in the Church of Scotland and carries weight even though George is too young to understand its full meaning: ”For you Jesus Christ came into the world. For you he lived and showed God’s love. For you he suffered the darkness of Calvary and cried at the last, ‘It is accomplished.’ For you he triumphed over death and rose to new life. For you he reigns at God’s right hand. All this he did for you, though you do not know it yet.”
 You can read more here.   Or you can listen to Welby himself below.


Of course Welby is not Lutheran and I would prefer more words on what Christ does and less on what the signs and symbols mean but all in all he got it right that the baptism of Prince George is a witness as well as a "royal occasion" or even simply a rite within one churchly communion.


Unknown said...

What's wrong with his explanation of signs and symbols? Those are important. Christian churches and even worship itself are filled with signs and symbols. Augustine in his De Magistro says that signs, all signs ultimately lead to God but are given to us because of our intrinsic ignorance and separation from Him.

So, Pastor Peters, why not just dispense with the Divine Service and its symbols and just have a five minute service of you lecturing your congregation that Christ came and died for you? THe overreaction you Lutherans have to signs and symbols and rites and every other thing associated with those is so nerve racking especially since the Lutheran confessions DO NOT CONDEMN them, but only if they are used towards idolatry. SOmetimes, I wonder if Lutherans are merely baptists with some sort of common service.

So frustrating. I'm glad I left.--Chris

Dr.D said...

As usual, ++Welby blathers on, and no one is listening, at least no one serious about Christian faith is listening. I know little about the faith of Kate and William, which is a shame; I wish Christian faith were much more visible in them. I do know that the child's grandfather, Charles the Idiot Child, is distinctly un-Christian, with leanings toward izlam and further east. I think that the faith of this child is at great risk, and ask that all pray for him; he needs it urgently.

Fr. D+
Anglican Priest

Janis Williams said...


Did you see the post before this one????

Welby aside, you are mistaken about Fr. Peters. He is the last Lutheran pastor who would "overreact" to signs and symbols.

There are certainly Lutherans who look and act more like Baptists. Our parish could not qualify. That's not to say there aren't individual members that would rather 'go Evangelical,' but on the whole, we have the Divine Service with all it's signs and symbols, right down to bells...

It sounds as if this might have been the first post you've read on this blog. Go back and browse; I believe you will not be able to accuse Fr. Peters of this phobia.

Chris Jones said...

Fr D,

I think you are being a bit unfair to Prince Charles. It's true that he has a lively interest in religious and philosophical matters, and has explored non-Anglican and even non-Christian faiths. But having an interest -- even a sympathetic interest -- in other faiths is not the same as embracing another faith or even "leaning" that way. In terms of his actual religious practice, the Prince is a faithful communicant of the Church of England.

The farthest Prince Charles has strayed from Anglicanism (in terms of actual religious practice) is to visit and pray with the Greek Orthodox monks of Mount Athos. In comparison to the modern Church of England, I would say that this is a step in the right direction.

Dr.D said...

Chris, thank you for your interesting comments. You know all of this about Charles how? Are you an intimate of his household, perhaps?

All that I know about Charles is what is in the news. I know, for example, that he has publicly said that, when crowned, he wants to be the title "Defender of FaithS" rather than "Defender of THE Faith." There is nothing even faintly Anglican about that statement.

I have no problem at all in regard to him praying with the monks on Mount Athos. I have many objections to his hobnobbing and nodding to budda, mighty mo, and the other non-Christian faith with which he is so well acquainted. I wish he were Anglicanism.

Fr. D+
Anglican Priest

Chris Jones said...

You know all of this about Charles how?

The same way you do -- reading it on the Internet.

Of course I know some of the silly things that Charles has said, including the bit about "Defender of Faiths."

As an aside, I would like to note that there is somethings silly about styling the English sovereigns "Defender of the Faith." The title was bestowed on Henry VIII by the Pope in recognition of Henry's writings against the Lutheran Reformation. But the Church of England now teaches, and all English monarchs now profess, Luther's doctrine of justification by faith which Henry was rewarded for opposing. Henry's successors are thus claiming a Papal title for defending a faith which the Church of England no longer teaches, and English sovereigns no longer profess. I am not sure that "Defender of Faiths" would be any weirder or less appropriate than that.

In any case, when I read on Wikipedia and in the English press that Prince Charles is a "regular churchgoer" at Church of England parishes near his home, I conclude that he remains a faithful member of the Church of England. The fact that he evinces an interest in other faiths does not mean that he is not faithful to his own faith. And it certainly does not make him an "idiot child," which I think is a singularly uncharitable thing to say.