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(SOLVED) What Is The Theology Of Baptism?

Baptism is a sacrament in the Roman Catholic Church (RCC).6 Though others use the word sacrament, the RCC and Eastern Orthodox (EO) perspective is different in that they believe the sacraments are effective simply by the completion of the sacrament (known as ex opere operato).7 Ludwig Ott explains the meaning of this view of grace: “The formula ‘ex opere operato’ asserts, negatively, that the sacramental grace is not conferred by reason of the subjective activity of the recipient, and positively, that the sacramental grace is caused by the validly operated sacramental sign.”8 One should not understand from this RCC teaching that the faith of the adult person is excluded in the act of baptism, only that it is not “an efficient cause of grace.”9 Thus, the sacrament of baptism can save a person (as in the case of an infant) apart from faith 😁10 [1]
While different churches recognize various practices of baptism, there is a baptismal unity which underlies them since all Christian churches share in the one baptism (Eph. 4:5). The church’s universal practice of baptism from its earliest days is attested to in Scripture and churches today continue this practice as a rite of commitment to the Lord who bestows his grace upon his people. Christian baptism is rooted in the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, in his death and his resurrection. It is the sign of new life through Jesus Christ, uniting the one baptized with Christ and with Christ’s people. Baptism is both God’s gift and our human response to that gift. (last edited 98 days ago by Sherrill Ventura from Yazd, Iran) [2]
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Interestingly, a new discovery by hillsong.com indicates that let’s say I’m not married right now, but if I had put a wedding ring on my finger, would that make me married? No, of course not. Similarly, I can be baptised in a church, but that doesn’t make me a true believer in Christ. Imagine that I really was married, though. My husband and I really diddone go through the marriage ceremony, but I just didn’t have my ring on my finger. Would that mean I wasn’t married? No way, of course I would still be married. Similarly, I can be a believer in Christ, but not baptised, and my sins are still paid for and forgiven by God. But imagine that I truly was married and I really, really loved my husband. Would I wear my wedding ring? Of course! I would love my husband and want the whole world to know it! In the same way, if I have trusted Christ to save me from sin, and He is the lord and joy of my life, then I’ll want everyone to know about it. So baptism is a statement to everyone who sees it that I have trusted Christ for my salvation and I’m committed to living for Him. (credit goes to Melisa Loomis from Casablanca, Morocco for telling us about this). [3]
Reformedworship.org gives further insight. The following is the second of a three-part series based on a transcript of a lecture given by Dr. N. T. Wright at Calvin College on January 6, 2007. (See RW 89 for the first of this series.) Much of this lecture is based on Wright’s previous writings, particularly Simply Christian (New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2006). We are grateful to Dr. Wright for allowing us to share this lecture with our readers. In this issue the focus will be on baptism, in RW 91 on the Eucharist. An audio recording of this and other lectures can be found at the following link: www.calvinseminary.edu/calendar/lectureCalendar.php?archive=1. (last modified 67 days ago by Lissett Schrader from Queretaro, Mexico) [4]
Those of us who teach Christian theology are familiar with the well-worn accusation that theological reflection is impractical, divisive, and deadening when it comes to the spiritual vigourr and vitality of individual Christians and the church. And while I would agree that the study of unbiblical theology, though interesting and sometimes necessary, is ultimately a drain on intellectual and spiritual energy, attempting to plumb the depths of God and his revelation in the Scriptures cannot be characterized as such. If we approach this great discipline and divine obligation with humility, wonder, and joy because of what God has done in Jesus Christ, I believe we will be strengthened and encouraged in our relationship with him. (modified by Stephanie Parker from Hanzhong, China on March 6, 2020) [5]
First, baptism is the means by which those who believe in Jesus identify with God. In Matthew 28:19–20, Jesus commands his disciples to baptize believers “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” John Hammett writes, “’into the name’ was a technical term indicating a transference of ownership. Thus, in baptism one openly confessed that he belonged to Jesus; that is, he was henceforth to be identified with Jesus.” Writing from a Presbyterian tradition, Louis Berkhof notes, “They who accepted Christ by faith were to be baptized in the name of the triune God, as a sign and seal of the fact that they have had entered into a new relation to God…” Thus, both credo- and paedobaptist theologians understand the phrase “into the name” to mean that a disciple identifies himself/herself with the triune God through the act of baptism. (last revised 85 days ago by Nicholas Wilder from Pachuca De Soto, Mexico) [6]
In Scripture, the purpose of baptism is at least twofold: a sign of initiation and entrance into the church, which should precede one’s participation in the Lord’s Supper, and a declaration of faith and surrender to Christ’s lordship. The New Testament does not know of a Christian who is also not baptized. Evidence for this is found in the book of Acts. From Pentecost on, everyone who believed the gospel was baptized, thus publicly testifying of their faith in Christ (Acts 2:41; 8:12-13, 36-39; 9:17-18; 10:47-48; 16:14-15, 31-33; 18:8; 19:5). The church fails in her calling when she does not make disciples, by baptizing them and instructing them in the truth of the gospel. (revised by Brandon Reyes from Udaipur, India on June 14, 2020) [7]

Article References

  1. https://www.equip.org/article/baptism-theology/
  2. https://www.fuller.edu/next-faithful-step/resources/baptism/
  3. https://hillsong.com/faith/en/baptism/
  4. https://www.reformedworship.org/article/december-2008/n-t-wright-word-and-sacraments-baptism
  5. https://credomag.com/2019/11/how-theology-affects-the-administration-of-baptism/
  6. https://theologyalongtheway.org/2019/07/25/baptism-theological-reflections/
  7. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/essay/water-baptism/
Mehreen Alberts

Written by Mehreen Alberts

I'm a creative writer who has found the love of writing once more. I've been writing since I was five years old and it's what I want to do for the rest of my life. From topics that are close to my heart to everything else imaginable!

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