One of the great movies is Life With Father. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend the film. Aside from the amazing combination of William Powell (one of my all-time favorites) Irene Dunne, and a very young Elizabeth Taylor, it is the true story of Clarence Day, a NYC stockbroker who attempted to control his Victorian wife, home and children. One of plot lines of the film is how he refused to be baptized. After a near-brush with death by his beloved wife, he finally agrees. As the family leaves, a cop asks Mr. Day where he was going. He replied, “I’m going to be baptized, dammit!” The play, of the same name, from which the film is based, is still the longest running, non-musical Broadway play, ever. I bring this up, because, every time I think about baptism, I end up going back to the story of how much Clarence Day tried to avoid the subject. He felt that the Good Lord knew what he was about, and that was all he and the Good Lord needed. His wife felt otherwise.
One of the things that concerns me the most about the conservative world embracing Phil Robertson as a ‘born again’ Christian is that his version of ‘born again’ and is not the same as what an Episcopalian, Baptist, Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran, or Methodist believes. They don’t believe the same thing. By blind acceptance of someone claiming to be ‘born again’ Christians who want to know that certain celebrities are Christians don’t get the fact that what they are preaching is NOT, at times theologically correct. Unfortunately, people are falling for the canard that Phil Robertson speaks for all Christians. He is, thought, a ‘Godly Man’. In a statement, he said the following:
“...Robertson issued a statement Thursday saying that he believes his mission is to spread the Bible’s teachings. “I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me,” he said. “We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.”…”
Evidently he doesn’t mind not telling the whole truth about this. Robertson has been preaching hatred against Gays for years. This is disgusting. I listened to the whole thing.
“…“Women with women, men with men, they committed indecent acts with one another, and they received in themselves the due penalty for their perversions,” Robertson said. “They’re full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant, God-haters. They are heartless, they are faithless, they are senseless, they are ruthless. They invent ways of doing evil. That’s what you have 235 years, roughly, after your forefathers founded the country.”…”
This is what Phil Robertson, as a member and ‘minister’ of the Church of Christ believes. If a person has professed Christ as their personal Savior, and is not properly baptized, they are not born again. It has nothing to do with the profession of sins. John 3:16 is not part of the equation. The process of baptism, itself, cleanses the sins from a person. This is what we believe. It is better to be baptize. The Catholic Church believes a person must be baptized to be cleansed of sin, but, if it isn’t available and a person professes Christ as Savior, cool. Also, like the Catholics, we believe in emergency baptism.
“….For the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, the 1979 Book of Common Prayer states that “Holy Baptism is especially appropriate at the Easter Vigil, on the day of Pentecost, on All Saints’ Day or the Sunday after All Saints’ day, and on the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord . . . It is recommended that, as far as possible, Baptisms be reserved for these occasions or when a bishop is present. If on any one of the above-named days the ministry of a bishop or priest cannot be obtained, the bishop may specially authorize a deacon to preside. In that case, the deacon omits the prayer over the candidates, page 308, and the formula and action which follow.” The Book of Common Prayer also specifies under the heading “Emergency Baptism” the following:
“In case of emergency, any baptized person may administer Baptism according to the following form. Using the given name of the one baptized (if known), pour water on him or her, saying
“I baptize you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
“The Lord’s Prayer is then said.
“Other prayers, such as the following, may be added
“Heavenly Father, we thank you that by water and the Holy Spirit you have bestowed on upon this your servant the forgiveness of sin and have raised him to the new life of grace. Strengthen him, O Lord, with your presence, enfold him in the arms of your mercy, and keep him safe forever.
“The person who administers emergency Baptism should inform the priest of the appropriate parish, so that the fact can be properly recorded.
“If the baptized person recovers, the Baptism should be recognized at a public celebration of the Sacrament with a bishop or priest presiding, and the person baptized under emergency conditions, together with the sponsors or godparents, taking part in everything except the administration of the water.”
Similar provisions exist throughout the constituent churches of the Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church in the United States of America is one.
For Methodists and many other Protestant denominations, too, the ordinary minister of baptism is a duly ordained or appointed minister of religion….”
Baptism is a fascinating topic with most mainstream churches believing much the same thing. The Church of Christ is different. When Phil Robertson goes out preaching, he is literally recruiting for his church. According to their beliefs, if you aren’t baptized into their church, you’re not ‘born again’ and are going to hell. That’s the definition of a cult. Me – well I’m big into infant baptism, as an outward expression of a parent’s dedication of their child to Christ.
“…Infant baptism is practiced in most of the major Christian denominations, including Catholic, Orthodox, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Lutheran churches. For these churches, infant baptism is seen as a ceremony inducting the newborn into the community of faith and indicating the community’s commitment to raise him or her to be a faithful Christian. In the Middle Ages, it was widely believed that it washes away original sin, thereby ensuring salvation if the child died. This belief is still held in some Christian churches, but is no longer a major emphasis.
The Catholic Catechism emphasizes that infant baptism is only the beginning of a child’s Christian life and salvation: Where infant Baptism has become the form in which this sacrament is usually celebrated, it has become a single act encapsulating the preparatory stages of Christian initiation in a very abridged way. By its very nature infant Baptism requires a post-baptismal catechumenate. Not only is there a need for instruction after Baptism, but also for the necessary flowering of baptismal grace in personal growth. The catechism has its proper place here.
Infant baptism in Methodist churches is based on on the distinctive Methodist emphasis on prevenient grace: Infant baptism rests firmly on the understanding that God prepares the way of faith before we request or even know that we need help (prevenient grace). The sacrament is a powerful expression of the reality that all persons come before God as no more than helpless infants, unable to do anything to save ourselves, dependent upon the grace of our loving God.
Infant baptism is rejected by Baptists (which is how they got their name) and most evangelical Christians. Taking baptism in the Bible as a model, and reasoning from the Protestant emphasis on justification by faith alone, these Christians believe that baptism can only be meaningful and effective if undertaken by someone old enough to understand and assent to the sacrament. This is referred to as “believer’s baptism,” and is usually done by full immersion in water.
The American Baptist Church, for example, declares: “We insist that baptism be administered only to those who have the maturity to understand its profound significance: resurrection to new life in Christ. And we follow the biblical example set by Christ when we fully immerse in water, a beautiful symbolic statement of that new life.” …”
The Church of Christ also disapproves of Episcopalians. This is what the Church of Christ thinks of those of us who are Episcopalians. Oh, and they’re also lying about stuff in their hatred of us. One part of this is that Phil Robertson’s hatred of gays is not just him, but endemic in his church. His church does not recognize any of the creeds, which are a cornerstone of the Christian faith. They claim the New Testament as the sole rule for their faith, but do consider the Old Testament divinely inspired. Normal Christians use both Old and New. But – you don’t follow the rules of the Old Testament. If so, no wonder Phil Robertson can lie – no Ten Commandments?
Blacks? Well, according to their demographics there are an estimated 3 million members of the Church of Christ, world wide. Of these, only about 175,000 being black. That says a lot. They are the 12th largest denomination in the US, but 4th in the number of churches. They have a lot of little churches in the rural south. There is no central authority, main headquarters, or leader. The leadership of the church is male only, with women required to sit down and shut up. Their ministers are ‘informal’ in that there is no ministerial school, no degrees, and any bust-head can preach.
Yes, I think that Phil Robertson and his filthy brothers are Christians, there can be no doubt that they have accepted Christ as their Savior. BUT – for people to go around and discuss what wonderful Christians they are, and how important they are as s0-called Christian leaders is just plain wrong. They aren’t. They are members of a strange sect that is basically a cult. I have very real problem holding anyone up as an example of what a real ‘Christian’ is, when, in this country, thanks to Christian Reconstructionism, many conservatives don’t know what they believe, anymore.
You don’t believe me? I’ve been saying that the far right is turning the Bible into something that isn’t. Adam Schlafly, son of senile old bat Phyllis, is working on just that, in Conservapedia. I thought it was something of a joke, but they have a Conservative Bible Project.