Reply To: [Orthodoxy] Baptism

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#5214
Anonymous
Inactive

Victor,

[quote:3ocwxuwn]Augustine, I can’t seem to get you to clearly answer my question. I don’t really see that we disagree in Baptism.[/quote:3ocwxuwn]

I think what’s happening is that I’m talking past you. That’s not to say you’re a dummy – rather, I’m not taking care to explain fully a way of thinking alien to that common to both Roman Catholics and Protestants.

If I said “baptism by pouring isn’t a proper baptism”, the RC-Protestant way of looking at things would be to understand this in such a way as to make the reception of persons coming Catholicism, Anglicanism, Lutheranism, etc. into Orthodoxy without an Orthodox Baptism seem utterly incomprehensible. This is why I’ve taken pains to explain things as I have, and not offer the pat answer you’ve asked for – obviously I still wasn’t clear enough.

It’s an example of a particularly extreme form of [i:3ocwxuwn]ekonomia[/i:3ocwxuwn] (“economy”), when the Orthodox Church receives persosn from heterodox without canonical Baptism, who had been “baptized” in a manner which does not involve three immersions. While some manner of economy was common in receiving converts from schisms and heresies where at least the basic, proper form of baptism was observed (such as is common still amongst the anti-Chalcedonians, or as far as I’m aware, the Nestorians), it’s a particularly extreme leniency with most western converts because a “baptism by pouring” isn’t really a baptism (the word “baptizo” meaning to coat or dip, like what happens when someone is overwhelmed with water or when one plunges fabric into a vat of dye.)

This is why it’s only in North America (for missionary reasons) that the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (which is under the authority of the Ecumenical Patriarch) practices extreme economy – where as if you were to go to Greece (which while autonomous, and under the Archbishop of Athens, shares the same heritage as the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and was once under it’s presidency and synodal adminstration), or to the Holy Mountain (Mt.Athos – which is still very much under the supervision of the Ecumenical Patriarch), such western converts would be almost always Baptized. This is precisely what happened (relatively) recently when a group of (I believe they were French) Benedictines were received into Orthodoxy under the EP.

As for the “Agreed Statement”, the Orthodox participation in this is not authoritative, but academic and this is precisely why they are a “consultation.” Suffice it to say, the way the document was phrased (and it’s incredibly innaccurate and dismissive approach to Fathers, ancient and new, who disagree with it’s essentially Roman Catholic sacramental theology) was received very badly by many Orthodox clergy and hierarchs who became aware of it, in particular those outside of North America.

“Baptismal Theology”[/url:3ocwxuwn] by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos (whose credentials as a scholar, spiritual author, and pastor of souls are well known by Orthodox Chrsitians throughout the world) is a response specifically to this document. The entire way it (the “Agreed Statement”) envisions sacramental “validity” is alien to the relevent canons on this topic, and to the spiritual authorities who spoke in any depth on the matter (St.Cyprian, St.Basil the Great, St.Firmillian, St.Nikodemos the Hagiorite, etc., etc.)

Either through deception or simple ignorance, the authors of the “Orthodox side” of this agreed statement simply misrepresent the Church’s teaching on this topic, and many of the so called inconsistancies they think they’re working around are in fact the evidence in and of themself that their view is not normative to Orthodoxy, but has the smell of something gone sour. Part of the problem is that the document eminated from St.Vladimir’s Theological Seminary in New York, which is something of a mixed bag in terms of where it’s coming from (basically, theological modernism “Orthodox style”, which probably for most westerners looks downright “conservative.”)