Monday, May 14, 2012
Article 27: On Baptism
The Articles today continue their Augustinian kick. This time on Baptism:
XXVII. Of Baptism
Baptism is not only a sign of profession, and mark of difference, whereby Christian men are discerned from others that be not christened, but it is also a sign of Regeneration or new Birth, whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive Baptism rightly are grafted into the Church; the promises of forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed; Faith is confirmed, and Grace increased by virtue of prayer unto God. The Baptism of young Children is in any wise to be retained in the Church, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ.
One will note, interestingly, that even with the Puritanical influence, the notion of infant baptism is directly affirmed as "most agreeable with the institution of Christ. As much as some Protestants were adamant about adult baptism, the Articles do not see the practice as being "repugnant to Scripture."
This is pretty standard Christian stuff on Baptism, though it does repudiate some of the more Medieval practices of simply "christening" someone into the Church. Baptism is rightly about being initiated into the Body of Christ and being regenerated from the effects of Original Sin. Again, this is stock Saint Augustine. This is pretty much what the Episcopal church still teaches, at least in the catechism of the 1979 prayerbook, which are as follows:
Q. What is Holy Baptism?
A. Holy Baptism is the sacrament by which God adopts us
as his children and makes us members of Christ's Body,
the Church, and inheritors of the kingdom of God.
Q. What is the outward and visible sign in Baptism?
A. The outward and visible sign in Baptism is water, in
which the person is baptized in the Name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Q. What is the inward and spiritual grace in Baptism?
A. The inward and spiritual grace in Baptism is union with
Christ in his death and resurrection, birth into God's
family the Church, forgiveness of sins, and new life in
the Holy Spirit.
There is not much else to say about this in my opinion. I think this one is right on.