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The Rev. Charles Camlin: "Baptism as the Pattern for Christian Living"
Prydain ^ | 10/14/2005 | Will

Posted on 10/14/2005 6:09:27 PM PDT by sionnsar

Much to my great pleasure, I came across another Reformed Episcopal Church parish website with interesting sermons--this one being Holy Trinity REC of Fairfax, Virginia. This parish, like that of Providence REC in Texas, makes both text and audio formats available for their sermons.

I'd like to call attention to the sermon for Trinity 19 by the Rev. Charles Camlin, their rector--Baptism as the Pattern for Christian Living. In this sermon, based on Ephesians 4:17-32, Rev. Camlin makes some excellent points about the new life we are called to live as Christians:

Each of these passages point out the fact that a person who is baptized into Christ is a new person, in a new state, under a new power, namely the Holy Spirit. To go from being in Adam to in Christ is a radical change of state and calls for a radical change of life. This is what St. Paul teaches in our Epistle lesson for the day. Some commentators think that the language used here was in fact instruction for an adult who was being baptized. The imagery of taking off and putting on is certainly the same. The whole reorientation of being baptized into this new state also gives a pattern for the new life in which you have been introduced. In baptism, there is something negative which takes place, namely, the death of the old way of life, and something positive, namely, a rebirth into a new life. In this baptismal event, the old Adam was removed through the taking off of the old garments and the righteousness of Christ was put on through the donning of the white robe as one came out of the water.

This new way of life calls for a life patterned after the Lord Jesus Christ, the New Adam. This new orientation is, in fact, a life-long process. Theologically speaking, it is called sanctification. The word carries the idea of becoming holy. For a sinful human being to actually become a holy one, a saint, if you will, there must be some power at work in his or her life. And there is—God does not command us to do something that He will not also empower us to do. He commands us to be holy as He is holy. And to accomplish His purposes, He gives us His Holy Spirit to begin this work in us. This is the process of sanctification. It is a process which is under the divine guidance of the Holy Spirit, but it requires that we learn to submit ourselves to what the Spirit is doing in us for us to become what God has called us to be.

Just like baptism, the process of sanctification has both negative and positive aspects. As we submit ourselves to death in a sense in baptism, so must we undergo a dying in sanctification. The big theological term for this is mortification. The word mortify means to put something to death. And as gruesome as this sounds, this is actually part of the process of sanctification. We see the same thing in nature—a seed goes into the earth and dies so that a new plant might come forth from the ground bearing fruit. In the Christian life, there are certain remnants of our “old man” which continue to live in us and need to be driven out. There are certain practices that we engaged in under the power of our sinful nature that are no longer acceptable in our new life. To put it bluntly, something needs to die. This is what St. Paul is talking about in his Epistle to the Romans when he says, “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” The process of mortification is putting to death the deeds of the flesh or sinful nature which used to be our master. Notice that the only way this can happen is by the power of the Holy Spirit who is working in us. The Puritan theologian John Owen said of mortification, “Every believer who has been set free from the condemning power of sin ought to make it his daily duty to mortify the remnants of indwelling sin.”

If mortification is the negative aspect of sanctification, then vivification is the positive aspect of sanctification. To vivify is to bring something to life. The idea is that the negative deeds that have just been removed from your life are now replaced by positive deeds. It is like planting a garden. If you go into an existing field to plant seeds, they are going to have to compete for water and sunlight with the vegetation that already exists there. So you go and plow up the field first, removing all of the worthless vegetation so that something new can grow there. But if you did not plant something new in the plowed field, what is going to happen? The old stuff is going to grow back up—only this time it may be thicker. What needs to happen is the field needs to be plowed up and weeded out, and then the desired new crop needs to be planted. The same is true of the Christian life—mortification—the digging out of the weeds is only one step in the process. The next step is vivification—the planting of new deeds of righteousness in your life. Of course, just as removing the old deeds is only accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit, so the replanting of the new deeds of righteousness is only accomplished by the power of the Spirit who is in us. Ultimately, God’s purpose for us is to conform us into the image of His Son. He wants to see the fruit of the Spirit produced in us—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. For this to happen, both mortification and vivification need to take place.
Indeed, we are called to die to sin, and we are called to live in holiness; this entire sermon is well worth reading--or you can listen to it at this link.

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant
KEYWORDS: baptism

1 posted on 10/14/2005 6:09:30 PM PDT by sionnsar
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To: ahadams2; Fractal Trader; Zero Sum; anselmcantuar; Agrarian; coffeecup; Paridel; keilimon; ...
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2 posted on 10/14/2005 6:10:05 PM PDT by sionnsar (†† || (To Libs:) You are failing to celebrate MY diversity! || Iran Azadi)
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To: sionnsar; TonyRo76
This could pass as an orthodox Lutheran sermon. Fr. Luther wrote in the Large Catechism:

83] Thus it appears what a great, excellent thing Baptism is, which delivers us from the jaws of the devil and makes us God's own, suppresses and takes away sin, and then daily strengthens the new man; and is and remains ever efficacious until we pass from this estate of misery to eternal glory.

84] For this reason let every one esteem his Baptism as a daily dress in which he is to walk constantly, that he may ever be found in the faith and its fruits, that he suppress the old man and grow up in the new. 85] For if we would be Christians, we must practise the work whereby we are Christians. This certainly has great implications for the issues of sexual morality fragmenting our denominations. Would that we would return to the bath of grace!
3 posted on 10/14/2005 7:03:22 PM PDT by lightman (The Office of the Keys should be exercised as some ministry needs to be exorcised.)
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To: sionnsar

Excellent sermon, S. As we chant, "All who have been baptised in Christ, have put on Christ, Alleluia!"

4 posted on 10/15/2005 5:53:49 AM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: Kolokotronis

Question: Can a newborn baby make the decision to repent of his Adamic nature and become born again?

5 posted on 10/15/2005 8:39:23 AM PDT by RoadTest (The Clintons have no sense of shame.)
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To: RoadTest; sionnsar

"Question: Can a newborn baby make the decision to repent of his Adamic nature and become born again?

Your question is really two and I suspect you know the answer to the first. Nevertheless....

Clearly a newborn baby can't make much of any decision about anything, much less about repenting. But what has this newborn to repent of; guilt of the Sin of Adam? I am assuming that's what you mean by "his Adamic nature". Orthodoxy does not hold by the post Reformation innovative notion which has developed over the past 500 years that we are in any way "guilty" for Adam's Sin. As for being "born again", well I have no doubt that a baby doesn't have the capacity to make that decision either. That baby, however, as far as The Church is concerned, is indeed "born again" by baptism by being received into The Church and thus worthy to receive and act upon God's grace and become "like God", to experience that theosis which was God's purpose for Creation in the the first place, the possibility of attaining which Creation lost through the Sin of Adam and which was restored to us by the mystery of the Incarnation. "God became man so that man might become like God", say +Athanasius the Great.

Here's a link to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese page on infant baptism:

6 posted on 10/15/2005 10:36:52 AM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: Kolokotronis; RoadTest

From the link in my previous post:

Of Infant Baptism.

47] Here a question occurs by which the devil, through his sects, confuses the world, namely, Of Infant Baptism, whether children also believe, and are justly baptized. Concerning this we say briefly: 48] Let the simple dismiss this question from their minds, and refer it to the learned. But if you wish to answer, 49] then answer thus:—

That the Baptism of infants is pleasing to Christ is sufficiently proved from His own work, namely, that God sanctifies many of them who have been thus baptized, and has given them the Holy Ghost; and that there are yet many even to-day in whom we perceive that they have the Holy Ghost both because of their doctrine and life; as it is also given to us by the grace of God that we can explain the Scriptures and come to the knowledge of Christ, which is impossible without the Holy Ghost. 50] But if God did not accept the baptism of infants, He would not give the Holy Ghost nor any of His gifts to any of them; in short, during this long time unto this day no man upon earth could have been a Christian. Now, since God confirms Baptism by the gifts of His Holy Ghost, as is plainly perceptible in some of the church fathers, as St. Bernard, Gerson, John Hus, and others, who were baptized in infancy, and since the holy Christian Church cannot perish until the end of the world, they must acknowledge that such infant baptism is pleasing to God. For He can never be opposed to Himself, or support falsehood and wickedness, or for its promotion impart His grace and Spirit. 51] This is indeed the best and strongest proof for the simple-minded and unlearned. For they shall not take from us or overthrow this article: I believe a holy Christian Church, the communion of saints.

52] Further, we say that we are not so much concerned to know whether the person baptized believes or not; for on that account Baptism does not become invalid; but everything depends upon the Word and command of God. 53] This now is perhaps somewhat acute, but it rests entirely upon what I have said, that Baptism is nothing else than water and the Word of God in and with each other, that is, when the Word is added to the water, Baptism is valid, even though faith be wanting. For my faith does not make Baptism, but receives it. Now, Baptism does not become invalid even though it be wrongly received or employed; since it is not bound (as stated) to our faith, but to the Word.

54] For even though a Jew should to-day come dishonestly and with evil purpose, and we should baptize him in all good faith, we must say that his baptism is nevertheless genuine. For here is the water together with the Word of God, even though he does not receive it as he should, just as those who unworthily go to the Sacrament receive the true Sacrament, even though they do not believe.

55] Thus you see that the objection of the sectarians is vain. For (as we have said) even though infants did not believe, which, however, is not the case, yet their baptism as now shown would be valid, and no one should rebaptize them; just as nothing is detracted from the Sacrament though some one approach it with evil purpose, and he could not be allowed on account of his abuse to take it a second time the selfsame hour, as though he had not received the true Sacrament at first; for that would mean to blaspheme and profane the Sacrament in the worst manner. How dare we think that God's Word and ordinance should be wrong and invalid because we make a wrong use of it?

56] Therefore I say, if you did not believe then believe now and say thus: The baptism indeed was right, but I, alas! did not receive it aright. For I myself also, and all who are baptized, must speak thus before God: I come hither in my faith and in that of others, yet I cannot rest in this, that I believe, and that many people pray for me; but in this I rest, that it is Thy Word and command. Just as I go to the Sacrament trusting not in my faith, but in the Word of Christ; whether I am strong or weak, that I commit to God. But this I know, that He bids me go, eat and drink, etc., and gives me His body and blood; that will not deceive me or prove false to me.

57] Thus we do also in infant baptism. We bring the child in the conviction and hope that it believes, and we pray that God may grant it faith; but we do not baptize it upon that, but solely upon the command of God. Why so? Because we know that God does not lie. I and my neighbor and, in short, all men, may err and deceive, but the Word of God cannot err.

58] Therefore they are presumptuous, clumsy minds that draw such inferences and conclusions as these: Where there is not the true faith, there also can be no true Baptism. Just as if I would infer: If I do not believe, then Christ is nothing; or thus: If I am not obedient, then father, mother, and government are nothing. Is that a correct conclusion, that whenever any one does not do what he ought, the thing in itself shall be nothing and of no value? 59] My dear, just invert the argument and rather draw this inference: For this very reason Baptism is something and is right, because it has been wrongly received. For if it were not right and true in itself, it could not be misused nor sinned against. The saying is: Abusus non tollit, sed confirmat substantiam, Abuse does not destroy the essence, but confirms it. For gold is not the less gold though a harlot wear it in sin and shame.

60] Therefore let it be decided that Baptism always remains true, retains its full essence, even though a single person should be baptized, and he, in addition, should not believe truly. For God's ordinance and Word cannot be made variable or be altered by men. 61] But these people, the fanatics, are so blinded that they do not see the Word and command of God, and regard Baptism and the magistrates only as they regard water in the brook or in pots, or as any other man; and because they do not see faith nor obedience, they conclude that they are to be regarded as invalid. 62] Here lurks a concealed seditious devil, who would like to tear the crown from the head of authority and then trample it under foot, and, in addition, pervert and bring to naught all the works and ordinances of God. 63] Therefore we must be watchful and well armed, and not allow ourselves to be directed nor turned away from the Word, in order that we may not regard Baptism as a mere empty sign, as the fanatics dream.

64] Lastly, we must also know what Baptism signifies, and why God has ordained just such external sign and ceremony for the Sacrament by which we are first received into the Christian Church. 65] But the act or ceremony is this, that we are sunk under the water, which passes over us, and afterwards are drawn out again. These two parts, to be sunk under the water and drawn out again, signify the power and operation of Baptism, which is nothing else than putting to death the old Adam, and after that the resurrection of the new man, both of which must take place in us all our lives, so that a truly Christian life is nothing else than a daily baptism, once begun and ever to be continued. For this must be practised without ceasing, that we ever keep purging away whatever is of the old Adam, and that that which belongs to the new man come forth. 66] But what is the old man? It is that which is born in us from Adam, angry, hateful, envious, unchaste, stingy, lazy, haughty, yea, unbelieving, infected with all vices, and having by nature nothing good in it. 67] Now, when we are come into the kingdom of Christ, these things must daily decrease, that the longer we live we become more gentle, more patient, more meek, and ever withdraw more and more from unbelief, avarice, hatred, envy, haughtiness.

68] This is the true use of Baptism among Christians, as signified by baptizing with water. Where this, therefore, is not practised, but the old man is left unbridled, so as to continually become stronger, that is not using Baptism, but striving against Baptism. 69] For those who are without Christ cannot but daily become worse, according to the proverb which expresses the truth, "Worse and worse—the longer, the worse." 70] If a year ago one was proud and avaricious, then he is much prouder and more avaricious this year, so that the vice grows and increases with him from his youth up. A young child has no special vice; but when it grows up, it becomes unchaste and impure, and when it reaches maturity, real vices begin to prevail the longer, the more.

7 posted on 10/15/2005 6:27:44 PM PDT by lightman (The Office of the Keys should be exercised as some ministry needs to be exorcised.)
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To: lightman

None of this is scriptural. "Repent and be baptised" is the command, and that's pretty obviously not for infants. The salvation Christ bought has to be appropriated. It isn't automatic. It's a two-way street.

8 posted on 10/16/2005 4:36:21 AM PDT by RoadTest (The Clintons have no sense of shame.)
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To: RoadTest

I suppose there were no infants or toddlers in Cornelius' house, huh?

9 posted on 10/16/2005 4:41:42 PM PDT by LibreOuMort ("...But as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" - Patrick Henry)
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