That's so beautiful Shasha; thank you for sharing your baptism experience. It gives me heart right now.
You're welcome, Clare.
Jacques, It sounds like you had the 'classic' baptism and receiving the HS at the same time accompanied by tongues. Others seem to have these experiences configured at separate times and even in different orders. That seems to be how it goes with receiving the HS.
Perhaps some might like this article on "The Importance of Baptism in the Holy Spirit" as we approach Pentecost.
You all might check out what the Catechism of the Catholic Church states about Baptism.
There are several points that emphasize the gift of the Spirit being given at Baptism. Ash Shasha notes, many people come to experience an adult surrender to the Spirit as well, but we should not conclude from this that the Spirit was not given at Baptism.
There's a section on Baptism of infants: 1250-52.
Thanks for this, confirmation, of sorts
That IS good reading, Phil, and, I believe, also confirms my experience. Some sections also took me down memory lane, recalling other (earlier) Christ-centered dreams, regarding communion and the root of blessing in my life. All definitely of the Holy Spirit, I believe.
Am recalling this moment the first day I began my RCIA class... As the group had already been in session for a few months, I stood individually to introduce myself to the group, telling all the story of how it is that I have come/returned to the Catholic church. Several were moved with comments of awe regarding the workings of the Holy Spirit in those baptized as infants. More confirmation of sorts.
Being baptized in the Christian faith was very much on my mind (and "in my heart") when I returned to Shalom Place months ago. But praying the rosary led to me learning that I was in fact already baptized in the Catholic faith...as an infant. I see those profound (for me) moments, too, as "confirmation," that the Holy Spirit was in fact imparted to me shortly after my birth - has always remained - and IS indeed still very present!
Kristi, I've seen this a number of times: people being drawn to Christ after years of being away from the church, without understanding why -- sometimes as they even sought to develop their spirituality in another faith tradition. For many, this was perplexing, as the last thing they wanted was to become a Christian. Yet there they were, inexplicably drawn to Christ. In spiritual direction, I asked them if they had been baptized, and they said they had, but as an infant, and hadn't really been active in the church much through the years. They had been claimed for Christ by their parents and godparents, and He had shown up to honor this request until such time as the individual would ratify it personally. Baptism is a serious matter.
Fwiw, the Catholic Church recognizes the baptism of all other Christian churches as valid and licit; if a Protestant wants to become a Catholic, we do not require that they be re-baptized, only instructed in the faith.
Thanks for the reply Shasha. It seems our bapismal history is quite similar
Just wondering, is the Ken you refer to the pastor at Ann Arbor Vineyard - I listen to their sermons online - I think he is great
Phil, I know that many church traditions teach baptismal regeneration - but I struggle with this a little. It just seems strange that God would change someone so significantly without their consent. I'm not sure where my thinking is going in terms of all of this, but I know I need to keep praying about it.
--Our double Baptism history is a bit strange.
--Yes, I'm referring to Ken Wilson, pastor at Ann Arbor Vineyard. He is awesome, isn't he? He's a combination of being super down-to-earth, "normal guy" and super gifted/ anointed too.
--My gut level reaction to baptismal regeneration is that we don't need a baby's consent to baptize them. The parents are consenting to have God baptize their child. Parents have this authority over their children. Parents need to give their consent for God to confer this Holy regeneration upon their children. If the Grace is available and authentic, why turn it down? Why say no to such a gift for your children?
I like what Phil says above about the baptized infant: They had been claimed for Christ by their parents and godparents, and He had shown up to honor this request until such time as the individual would ratify it personally. Baptism is a serious matter.
As Kristi notes above, the fact of her baptism in infancy is what likely protected her through the 'wilderness.' And that's my take too on why I'm back in the Church. God's hand of protection was always upon me even as He allowed me to stray far away. Perhaps you too were saved, Jacques, owing to your infant baptism...?
I prayed with a grief-stricken patient who lost his sister to suicide. This is one of the worst losses to endure, as you can imagine. It was a great relief and comfort him and his parents that she was baptized in infancy even as she had fallen away from the Church.
For the same reason parents feed their children, teach them a certain language, and send them to a school of the parents' choosing: as an act of love in behalf of their formation. What greater gift could a parent give their children than to have them claimed for Christ? The children will have to ratify this later in their lives, but they will at least have something in their being to consider.
Thanks Shasha and Phil,
You give me much food for thought. I suppose I've been Protestant so long that the idea of baptismal regeneration is just a little hard to accept at the moment.
But even I have to admit that I've always felt that I was in relationship with God from my earliest memories. Yes, there was some wondering around the religious landscape, but I never felt I had lost God, just simply misunderstood Him.
Pray for me, my heart is heavy with theological uncertainties.
I'm happy to pray for you, Jacques.
Sure, Jacques, and I know what a real cross that is for many! It seems that some people can live with all sorts of intellectual incongruity while others need to get things fairly straight on that level before they can given themselves over at a heart level. I know I'm one such person.
The question of how to resolve "theological uncertainties" is a big one, imo, perhaps deserving another topic all its own.
Peace, my friend. Hang in there.
Thanks Phil, Thanks Shasha
I very much relate to what you say Phil - the heart and mind are ever seeking congruence. Thankfully God has given me a living experience of Him that carries me through these times of intellectual struggle.
Much Love in the Lord Jesus.
I've been thinking about something these last few days and I'd like to hear if anybody has any thoughts.
I believe God is fair and just. And while I know we don't understand many things, it also doesn't help to therefore throw all ideas of justice and fairness out the window.
So taking that to baptism, here's my thought. In the protestant model, baptism and the receipt of the Holy Spirit is the individual's choice and so the rule applies to everybody and therefore nobody get the Holy Spirit unless they personally want to receive God.
But in traditions that believe in Baptismal Regeneration, it is the act of the parent that provides the blessing on the child, regardless of whether the child wants it. This means that children in these Christian homes automatically start life with the indwelling of God as their earliest experience. Now this is great for all those children, but it just seems to be unfair to everybody else.
If God is fair, it seems to me that He would be working equally in all people from birth. That there would be no way to fast-track this ministry simply by dipping babies in water, since the very act seems to imply an unfairness - since surely there is great value in having God indwell us. We wouldn't want to say that indwelled children and non-indwelled children are exactly the same and have exactly the same experience, since that would be saying that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is meaningless to the child.
If there is nothing within a person that stops God from simply indwelling them through the act of dipping them in water (water seeming to most of us to be the least important part anyway), then surely He could just as easily indwell all babies regardless of the dipping.
This would then mean that all children everywhere begin life indwelled by God and equally able to accept or reject Him later on. I fully understand that this isn't what any Christian church tradition teaches, but it just seems to be the only fair things if infant baptism can result in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit without the child's consent.
Jacques, I think most Catholic theologians now would stress that Christ's salvation and the gift of the Spirit is extended to all people, Christian or not, by virtue of Christ's death, resurrection and Ascension. Iow, through his Ascension, Christ has become intimately united with the whole human race, his sacred humanity joined with ours, and his divinity made immediately available to us. The telling factor, then, is co-operation with his Spirit, for which we shall be judged. Vatican II took this position most strongly, acknowledging that the salvation won by Christ extends to everyone, even those in non-Christian religions.
Understood in this theological context, Baptism becomes more a Sacrament of initiation into the Church, which is the awakened, intentional social dimension of Christ's ongoing salvific work in space and time. As such, Baptism does situate one in the powerful flow of grace that moves through the Church. It is a claiming of a soul for Christ in the name of His Church, but it does not mean to imply that those who have not been claimed in such manner lie outside of God's saving grace. It is to say that there are many profound advantages to living in explicit Christian faith as a member of the Church. This seems to have been Christ's intent for all people, at least to my understanding.
So I think some of what you shared above resonates with this theological outlook, no?
Thanks for that Phil. I did a paper on ecumenical dialogue during my BTh studies and really liked the things I learnt about the theology affirmed at Vatican II. What you say does relate to my questions and concerns.
I agree that Baptism seems to correspond to a sacrament of initiation into the church.
Let me ask whether you can go along with my thinking here then:
What if Christ initiated the entire human race into a new mode of being. That the Holy Spirit really has been poured out on all flesh, without exception. That all ministry in the church is actually a revealing of the true nature of things rather than a change in nature. In other words, when we say a baby is regenerated through baptism, or receives the Holy Spirit at baptism...are we not in fact revealing that the Baby is indwelt by the Spirit and revealing that the Baby is regenerated.
For me the crux really is whether we as individuals, in community with other people, choose to co-operate with the Holy Spirit. This seems to be the great equalizer that makes all humanity equal before God and responsible for their own decision to follow Him or not.
I do think the Christian church is a special reality. As the reality revealing God's truth to all people it is of maximal benefit to remain in the flow of that revealed truth. While the rest of the world may be confronted with Christ's truth and human falsehood, the church remains a place in which truth is most fully revealed. We can all openly participate in all that is revealed.
I can go along with all that, Jacques. We do need to emphasize the importance of explicit faith, however, as it's pretty clear that with the Incarnation, God is inviting us all into a more conscious, intense, committed relationship of love, and it's just not possible to know that very deeply outside the Church (many exceptions, of course).
At this point, the discussion begins to interface with some points brought up by Pop in another thread: http://shalomplace.org/eve/for...6010765/m/3164059977 I think we ended up in pretty much the same place as this one.
I read through the musings post and found the first page especially relevant, though it began to touch on this topic again at the end of page 3.
It does make me want to restate the issue though since I do think we are saying slightly different things. I may have been unclear and so I'm wondering if you agree with me because I've been unclear or because you really see things as I'm suggesting them. So if you don't mind I'll give this one more shot
I see a difference between what I'm suggesting and what Pop Pop suggests in his opening musings. He makes the statement that ordinary human nature is only one nature, but that Christians have one (human) nature PLUS ONE.
The PLUS ONE is suggested as the Holy Spirit which only Christian have (and this by virtue of their baptism).
But my musing on the previous post is that perhaps, through Christ, all humanity is already, forgiven, indwelt and regenerated. That the Church, through baptism, the sacraments, teaching, worship, prayer etc. reveal this universal truth to all people. I agree that even if this is true it is still of exceedingly greater value to be explicitly Christian since you have the benefit of the full revelation and can actively participate in Spirit AND Truth (rather than only Spirit).
Now even though I'm suggesting a universal regeneration and indwelling, I'm not arguing for universal salvation. I'm just suggesting that this model puts everybody on equal footing in preparation for their choice to submit or reject God's offer of relationship and True Life.
To give a practical example again, I could use the example of a baby. Through Christ this baby is born alive, both physically and spiritually. The baby is indwelt by the Holy Spirit from birth. If the baby is baptized the Church reveals this fact and so those attending the service may experience the reality of the indwelling during the actual sacrament being administered.
But even if the baby isn't baptized, it still has the Holy Spirit indwelling them. The Holy Spirit will work in that child's life in the same way as in the life of a baptized child. Throughout the child's life the Spirit will lead the child into relationship with the Father through the Son (explicitly if possible but implicitly if not).
In the end the child/person will have made a choice throughout its' life to live in communion with God or to reject the grace given. By living in communion the person remains in the Vine of Life, by rejecting the person blasphemes the work of the Holy Spirit in its life (the unpardonable sin), in the end it is the persons choice to be saved through union or damned by rejecting the True Life.
I don’t know how Phil might reply, but as for me, I don’t accept your thinking.
While what you propose might accommodate your sense of fairness, it doesn’t track with the Gospel’s revelation.
If what you propose were true, there would have been no need for Christ to say one must be born again; it would have been unnecessary for Him to commission the apostles to go forth and baptize. Christ wouldn’t himself have baptized. And the apostles would not have continued to act on Christ’s word and baptized. Too, Paul would not have inquired whether some had as yet received the Spirit.
We need to deeply respect the revealed truths of Christ, even though they engage mystery in varying degrees.
On another note, since we are here: I think (imo) you have tried too hard with the Genesis ‘halving’ concept. The Bible gives us religious truth not scientific. And when one attempts to force it to accommodate science and make it more ‘palatable’ to modern rationalistic thought one moves into distortion. Again, I realize that you may well disagree.
When God saw that it was not good for man to be alone, He didn’t halve Adam and make a Bruce. (I realize this is simplistic, but it’s fun, and I couldn’t resist, forgive me). LOL.
But I sense (imo again) you might be using your intellect to fashion things per your way of thinking / wanting -- instead of endeavoring to accept and understand the truth Jesus has revealed – non self-evident truth that man on His own did not and has not (non–Christian religions) and in some cases will refuse not to arrive at.
We accept these truths on the authority of Christ – putting faith in He who has shown Himself to be who He is.
Ultimately --- Who do you say He is?
Hi Pop Pop,
Thanks for taking the time to reply, I’m more than open to critique and debate – I’m also not really committed to my musing, just trying to make sense of the grand scope of revealed And experienced reality.
I’ll start with the most pressing question first – Who do you say that He is? I say that he is The Word of God Incarnate, He is Messiah and Lord, He is my Savior and High-priest, My King and Master and so much more!
I’ve quoted your comment above about the halving of Adam and Bruce and replied over on the ‘Embodied Spirituality’ discussion thread. I’ll try to reply to the topic of this thread tomorrow.
Pop and Jacques, the Catholic Church at Vatican II very explicity affirmed Christological inclusivism (CI), largely following the theology of Karl Rahner, S.J., who was the intellectual force behind many of the Council's documents. What CI means to recognize is that through Christ, the human race itself has been brought into a new relationship with God; we are in a new metaphysical situation, even though the Spirit was indeed at work in the human race before Christ. But human nature now subsists in a new way in the risen/ascended Christ, who is cosmically present to all people -- indeed, to all creatures, filling up the universe and all its parts (Eph. 1: 23). This doesn't mean that all people are saved, however. God's salvation doesn't over-ride the intelligence and freedom with which each individual is endowed, and so we must choose to belong to the new order of reality ushered in by Christ. The most obvious way this works is through the proclamation of the Gospel and the response of faith, which preserves the integrity of individual freedom and intelligence while also opening us to participate more intensely in the transformative work of the Spirit (theosis). The Scripture and the teachings of Vatican II affirm this most clearly. But the question of the status of those who do not accept the Gospel and enter into the new life through explicit faith remained, and this was resolved at Vatican II over-and-against a strong theological current that had maintained that "outside the Church there is no salvation." In doing so, they honored a long-standing tradition dating back to the Fathers concerning what we might now call "implicit faith" cooperating with the work of the Spirit. These tensions (between implicit and explicit faith) are presented and resolved in the Vatican documents and summarized in the new Catechism as follows:
Note the critical role of conscience, here, which resonates with Paul's teaching in Rm. 1:18-32). What Rahner and others would say is that since the ascension, human conscience itself has been in more intimate contact with God, enabling a kind of "implicit faith" to operate in those who have never heard the Gospel but who, nontheless, are responsive to the inner promptings of the Spirit perceived in conscience.
It seems to me that the Vatican II bishops struck the right balance, here, affirming the importance of faith for salvation and the urgency of Church and explicit faith, but without falling into a kind of Christological exclusivism that would neglect the cosmic operations of Christ and his Spirit while consigning most of the human race to hell. Incidentally, most mainline Protestant traditions are also of the same mind on this; the evangelicals, fundamentalist and their like would beg to differ, of course.
addenda to the above . . .
I suppose, following #847 above, one could make the point that these many "who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church" might well include people who were raised Christian, but who were exposed to a very distorted version of the Gospel and/or an unhealthy experience of Church. That would surely include a lot of people, whose rejection of "Church" could actually be a step unto greater health. Of course, one hopes they eventually do find a healthy Christian community and come to enjoy the many benefits of explicit Christian faith. I certainly do not presume to judge who is "in" and "out," here, and I don't think #846 ought to be taken too legalistically. In the end, God is the one who judges.
I've been hesitant to talk about some of my Catholicism questions, partly due to a hope that further delving into the many resources now available will resolve my questions. But this declaration from the Church Fathers, affirmed by many Popes--"Extra Ecclesium Nulla Salus" = "Outside the Church There is No Salvation" is something I'm lost about.
First, I do personally believe in inclusivism as a likely possibility--and certainly, I hope it to be true. Evangelicals are changing, and have been at least since mid-20th century, perhaps in part due to C.S. Lewis' influence. So I was very glad to discover your discussions of inclusivism in Catholicism here 2 years ago, since it's easy to find both exclusivism and inclusivism among Evangelicals.
Having said that-- thinking that all Catholics were on board with inclusivism-- here is where I became "lost" in regard to Catholic thought: On Catholic Answers Forums, there are a whole bunch of Catholic posters who are very strongly exclusivists; to such an extent that they damn current Protestants, even, let alone Jews and those of other faiths. There are some very knowledgable posters at CAF, who have repeatedly explained the VII interpretation of EENS to these people---who are not SSPX or sedevacantists, but just extremely traditional, I guess?...to no avail.
Well, thick headed bigots who are ignorant of their own religion are not what confuses me---God knows I've seen that before among Protestants...(posting now, more to follow)
So here is where I'm puzzled...At CAF, and from other Catholic writers, I see Catholics of all sorts affirm that Catholic dogma and doctrine may not be changed--ever--though disciplines may be changed as deemed neccessary. I believe I understand those distinctions and the "Deposit of Faith" reasons for them pretty well from my reading...okay so far. And I do know that, as you said, there has been a thread of inclusivist understanding among the Church Fathers going back to at least St. Augustine's "How many are the wolves within and how many are the sheep without" (my rough paraphrase). Here now is my specific problem: I first ran into EENS due to the Wikipedia article on it posted at CAF...which I read, and then I looked into the background, situations, and context of some of the quotes, definitions, and declarations by Popes given in the Wiki article. To finally get to my point...well, I'm honestly asking, and not meaning to be pain: but it sure does look to me like the CC has changed the doctrine compared to what earlier (especially medieval) Popes declared. Can someone help me with this?
Ariel, I hear you (about those Catholic exclusivists). A lot of our young priests don't like Rahner for that and other reasons. That doesn't matter. Documents from an ecumenical council like Vatican II trump any contrary opinions held by any Catholics, including even the Pope. I think the three points from the Catechism (posted above, 11:04 a.m) are a good summary of the teaching.
Hey Phil--Thanks---I think I was adding to my post while you answered. Can we talk a bit more about this?...not exhaustively, but a little more, because I'm still troubled by this issue. I honestly do not mean to appear like I'm being difficult, but I do have some questions bugging me.
Back to work for me for now...
Thanks for that Phil --
It was actually based on those very documents that I was able to get over some of my own Protestant exclusivism back during my college days, and also get over much of my Protestant anti-catholic propaganda that I'd been fed over the years.
It was the wonderfully inclusive Spirit of the Catholic position that caused me to question many of my previously held assumptions.
But I still think it leaves my original question unanswered - not that I'm saying there has to be an answer, just that I'm totally on board with everything you've shared but still unsure where that leaves me in thinking about the indwelling of the Spirit.
I didn't have as much time as I wanted today to think about these issues and so I'll put off writing any more until I have some more free time. Hope everybody has a great weekend.
|Powered by Social Strata||Page 1 2 3 4 5 6|