Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Could I be Episcopalian/Anglican?

No, I don't think so.

It isn't that I have a visceral reaction against it; in fact I know relatively little about it.

I know that its beginnings are less than pious, with the motivations being more political than religious. I don't claim to be an authority of the history surrounding the founding of the Church of England, but what I do know suggests that covnenience and political expediency, rather than conviction were the prime movers. That does not autimatically rule out Anglicanism, mind, as it has surely outgrown those roots, but it does play in to my thinking.

I also of course have an issue with the practice that Anglicans have surrounding baptism. I cannot agree that infants are to be baptised. In the New Testament the pattern is, as far as I am concerned, baptism follows faith, without exception. I also have an issue with the mode of baptism, that is, by sprinkling as opposed to immersion. Even if we accept the argument that sprinkling has historically been accepted, going as far bacxk as the Didache, we have to ask the question: why was it accepted in the Didache? The answer is very practical: absence of water. If there was no water to immerse yo u spinkled, and, if water was that scarce, oil was permissible.

No one can claim that those practical reasons for allowing other modes besides immersion stand up today. One of the more vivid pictures I have in my mind is that of an Anglican church by the shore of the Bay of Fundy. A very natural baptistry right behind it, and still they sprinkled.

For me, baptism is an act that has great symbolic significance, much of which is lost if we use sprinkling rather than immersion. Sprinkling just does not convey as well what Paul speaks of in Romans 6.

So, with all that said, I really could not be an Anglican.

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