Kenneth C. Kroohs
Isaiah 45:21-25; Psalm 22:1-11; Philippians 2:5-11; Matthew 26:36- 27:66
Our next section actually relates to prayer although the authors did not make the obvious connection. I love the definition of a sacrament: ''The outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means by which we receive grace.'' Great definition! The baptismal water is not magic; it is an outward and visible sign, something we can see so that we understand what has happened spiritually.
I also like the ''sure and certain'' part. We are saying that as human beings we cannot be absolutely sure that there are no other ways to enter in a right relationship with God. We just know that these ways work!
The understanding of Sacraments is another place where the Episcopal Church is clearly in the middle of Christian understanding. During the reformation some people argued that there were many sacraments, foot washing for example. Other people argued that there were only two: baptism and communion. That debate raged. The Episcopal Church came down firmly on both sides by saying there are two great sacraments--Baptism and Communion--and five sacramental acts! The most important way of understanding the difference is that Baptism and Communion are available and important to everyone. The other five, for example ordination, are only appropriate and necessary for some people.
Probably the most controversial question regarding baptism is the issue of infant baptism. Notice the answer, near the bottom of page 858: we baptize infants so they can share in the relationship with God. The critical theological issue, in my not very humble opinion, between those persons who support infant baptism and those who don't is who takes the initiative? Whose actions are the most important? Those people who talk about making an adult decision for Christ place the initiative and action on the person. We tend to place the primary responsi ...
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