Sunday, January 20, 2013
A QUESTION OF THE VALIDITY OF BAPTISM, ESPECIALLY AS IT CONCERNS THE RECEPTION OF CHRISTIANS BAPTIZED IN PROTESTANT COMMUNIONS
It is bright and sunny, clear skies and about 55 degrees on its way to the 60's. Early in the week it was 80 and oh so glorious!
But I digress. I'm watching a live broadcast on a local station in Augusta of Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church, right next door to St. Mary on the Hill Catholic Church. They are perhaps the largest and richest Methodist Church in Augusta and have had their Sunday morning service televised on the same local station each Sunday for at least 50 years or more. They know how to do it and spend quite a bit to be able to do it and their tailor their service not only to the congregation present, but to the TV audience also.
The Methodists in Augusta are a part of the North Georgia Convocation and tend to be more Baptist (low church) in worship and liturgical design than high church or Episcopal. In Macon, though, they belong to the South Georgia District and are a bit more high church in worship both in style and liturgical design.
But again I digress. This morning's worship service included a baptism of an infant.
This church is quite folksy but stays somewhat within the Methodist tradition of worship but with a great deal of flexibility.
There were two ministers perform the baptism. Each took various parts. There was an extremely contemporary renunciation of sin and profession of faith prior to the baptism.
Then this is what I want others to chime in on and it concerns the validity of the baptism.
Then one minister dipped his hand in the water and slightly got it wet and then placed the palm of his hand on the head of the child and then said the following formula and I quote directly from what he said:
"We baptize you in the Name of God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit."
So in terms of validity, did he use enough "flowing water" and was the slight change in the words of the baptism formula enough to invalidate this baptism?
The reason I ask is that in the RCIA we accept the baptism of Protestants. But we are really clueless about the quirks of congregationalism and the liberties that Protestant ministers take with the words of baptism even if their congregation has words that are like ours but the minister changes on his own.
Should we go back to conditional baptism of all Protestants being received into the full Communion of the Catholic Church? After watching this I'm leaning in that direction.