More on Baptism

If you have the time, listen to the sermon I posted last week on repentance, baptism and the Holy Spirit by Francis Chan and then contrast what Chan says about repentance and baptism with the change to the baptismal liturgy considered by bishops of the Church of England.

 According to this Daily Mail news article, the Anglican baptismal service “may be re-written to remove some references to Christianity.” The article characterizes this change as ‘baptism lite.’ The purpose of this liturgy re-write is “to make christenings more interesting to non-churchgoers” and to make the service more appropriate and accessible to “non-theologically versed Britons.” In other words, they are “dumbing down” the baptismal service. If I tended toward sarcasm, I might say something like, “They are baptizing babies; how much dumber can they make it?” But I’m not, so I won’t.

OK, I get it. Many people who aren’t Christians will visit churches to see the christening of the babies of family and friends. Many people in secular Europe attend church for three reasons—to be hatched, matched and dispatched (christening, weddings and funerals). So if non-Christians are going to be in church for the baptism of babies, then why not use language that will communicate the gospel in an understandable, non-overly-theologically-obtuse way. I get it. I really do think that’s a wonderful idea.

Except for HOW they do it. One of the sections they want to change is the challenge to parents and godparents to “reject the devil and all rebellion against God” and to renounce “the deceit and corruption of evil” and the challenge to “submit to Christ as Lord.” OK maybe the “deceit and corruption of evil” language could be modernized a bit, but if you remove the idea of turning away from sin (repentance) and acceptance of Jesus as Lord, then what is the point of baptism? Baptism is a picture of the cross. Take away rejection of sin and acceptance of Christ and there is nothing left… except the snacks afterwards.