My Big Fat Greek Baptism

This is just kind of silly, but last week’s Hoagies & Stogies got me thinking: Remember in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, when the guy from Northern Exposure joined the Greek Orthodox church? As an adult, he stripped down to his skivvies, and jumped into a tub; and I presume there was some sort of profession involved. So if that dude were at some point to show up at a Baptist church, would they recognize his baptism?

Advertisements

20 Responses

  1. I don’t think most baptist churches recognize anything other than protestant baptisms.

  2. What does recognize mean? What difference would it make if one’s baptism wasn’t recognized. Would they make you park in the back parking lot? Not let you put your kids in the nursery? Make you double tithe? Fence the table?

    I don’t see why anyone cares – these groups not having any of the marks of the church to begin with. Ask Albino or DBalc what they would do if a guy came in and said he didn’t want to be baptized at all, ever. I can find a quote on one of these blogs where Al said that all that kind of stuff is between the guy and God and he wouldn’t mess with it.

  3. There are plenty of Baptist churches around that enforce rebaptisms for membership. Locally, for instance, College Ave. More famously, Piper’s and Grudem’s churches (although Piper is trying to change that; Piper and Grudem are the Baptist analogues of Tallman and Brown)

  4. I don’t think most baptist churches recognize anything other than protestant baptisms.

    But my point is that the reasons why they reject non-protestant baptisms, are the same reason they reject protestant paedobaptisms, or even credo-sprinkles! The common catchphrase is that a valid baptism must be “by immersion, upon profession of faith”.

    So I don’t know how many Baptists have even considered the question of whether to object to a Catholic baptism on the grounds of Roman-ness; why to to all that effort when it’s already ruled out by paedosity and sprinklicity?

    (Without those distinctives, we protestant paedobaptists do have to make an argument one way or the other when considering RC baptism. I am marinating some thoughts on that topic for a soon-to-come post.)

  5. Do Mormons baptize by immersion?

  6. There are plenty of Baptist churches around that enforce rebaptisms for membership.

    What does membership mean in that context? Does it mean you get to park in the front parking lot? What?

  7. I don’t know about College Ave., but I would guess for Piper & Grudem, it would mean communicant membership.

  8. it would mean communicant membership.

    Really? So they actually practice church discipline – meaning they also fence the table with a qualification that to partake one must be immersed in baptism with a credible credo – and don’t allow paedo-communion? Isn’t that the exception?

    Who knows the answer to this?

  9. I talked to a former College Ave insider; he said “membership” is mostly a business issue; only members get to vote at congregational meetings. Other than that, it doesn’t mean much.

  10. […] My Big Fat Greek Baptism […]

  11. long time no comment but since I was called out my name I thought I would reply, at least as far as what I would do….

    should I reply to each scenario? There are a number of different factors involved. Is the question about the adult who was sprinkled in the Greek church or is it about the adult who was sprinkled in the RC church when he was an infant? Or is it about a never-been baptized adult who adamantly refuses baptism?

    Bruce and Rube both know that we don’t have strict membership policies and also don’t demand baptism of anyone but rather wait on them to make their own decision (while encouraging them via discipleship and teaching). I know how heinous this sounds that we would also permit such non-baptized folks to partake from the communion table but that’s another discussion altogether.

    Let me entertain the three above individuals

    greek sprinkled northern exposure dude-
    I would ask him why he went through baptism. If he answered along the lines of “it was required to me to get married” instead of something along the lines of “as a profession of faith in Christ Jesus.” I would probably encourage him to consider re-baptism or at least teach him what baptism is really about and allow him to confirm his faith and that was indeed why he was baptized. (That is by far the trickiest of scenarios and I would really have to approach it case by case).

    RC baby –
    I would say he’s converted from pagan to Christian and should be baptized.

    Never has been baptized stubborn refuser-
    Do it. Get baptized. I would encourage him frequently, specifically through teaching the subject and querying as to his reason why not.

    We’ve had many real life examples of these…

    One fellow who had been in the church for some 15 years once said to the senior pastor, “I don’t know if I was baptized as a child or not so I’d like to be baptized.” And so he was.

    One fellow had been attending the church for some 5 or 6 years At first he started with his catholic baptism being the reason why not. Then he moved on to an, “I’m not comfortable with water” thing. Then it was a “I was going to do it but I got stuck in traffic”. Finally this summer the day of a beach baptism he said, “I’m going to do it” drove down to the beach and to almost everyone’s surprise actually was baptized.

    Photographic evidence at lwcpoway.com

    So we don’t really put the screws to someone by closing off tables and invoking church discipline but rather allow for the Spirit of God to do what he does best by teaching the Word. He’s the one who brings the conviction, and if it comes about through pressure of wanting to get married or attend a potluck then we just aren’t too interested in dunking em.

    Let me throw in a 4th individual…
    Rube’s #2 (I’m not sure on the status of #1)
    Let’s say Rube started re-attending and said “my boys ain’t being immersed”. I would have no problem with that. I would say that’s your conscience and your call. But let’s say #2 hits 18 and says “dado I really want to be baptized, I see it as an outward expression of my faith and I don’t agree that the sprinkling of me was meaningful for anything.” Then I would baptize him.
    on the flip side if he said to me, “Dbalc, I was baptized as a baby and I believe that it was representative of me entering the Church and I have faith in Jesus Christ.” I would say “cool #2, keep living for Christ.”

    so I don’t know if that helps but at least it lets you know I still visit ;-)

  12. Thx for dropping by DBalc!

    RC baby –
    I would say he’s converted from pagan to Christian and should be baptized.

    You’re pretty decisive about that one; but if it’s pagan-ness (unorthodoxy) that is the biggest issue, then wouldn’t that hold also for an adult Greek Orthodox baptism?

    I agree with you on my kids. If they grow up and for some reason God turns their convictions Baptist, then they should get themselves rebaptized.

  13. I would almost completely concur with Dbalc here. (surprise!). As you know, we believe that baptism follows repentance, so baby baptism is out. Therefore, if somone was mistakenly sprinkled as a baby, thinking that it was a legitimate, Biblical baptism, we would expect that person to be baptized following their profession of faith.

    If someone was baptized in another denomination (obviously not counting Mormons or other cult groups), we would not expect them to be re-baptized in our church.

    The key for me is that they were baptized following repentance and a profession of faith in Christ.

  14. Al,

    How about a person baptized as an adult in an RC church for legitimate reasons?

  15. I ask that question (for DBalc) because in the reformed world, paganism is viewed as a specific kind of religion and Roman Catholicism isn’t part of it. I ask that question (for Al) because in the RC I am not sure whether any adults that are baptized are “baptized following repentance and a profession of faith in Christ”.

  16. And certainly not by immersion.

  17. Bruce,

    For me, if someone is born-again, and followed that up with water baptism, I would be satisfied. Of course I don’t know too many people who were sprinkled as adults (Big Fat Greek Wedding). Haven’t ever had to cross that bridge. I wonder if Ted Dawson (Stephanie Clegg’s husband), who used to be Presbyterian, was baptized at Living Way or not. Maybe Daniel could elucidate us.

    I laughed with him over lunch at camp. I told him, “Well at least we’re getting a few from them too.”

  18. I don’t know too many people who were sprinkled as adults (Big Fat Greek Wedding)

    Looks more like a new mode – Baptism by wiping!. Nevertheless, we ain’t talking about mode at all.

    Seems to me your story just changed. First it was

    baptized following repentance and a profession of faith in Christ

    and now it’s

    if someone is born-again, and followed that up with water baptism

    I thought determining who is and who isn’t “born again” was above your pay grade. So that right there seems to be a problem, no?

    Surely the RCC must be getting a fair number of adult converts who need to be baptized. Thoughts on that claim?

    As for Ted Dawson, you might want to investigate Dawson’s Presby heritage before you put a notch in your gun. Cause there’s Presbyterian and there’s Presbyterian. And there’s a big difference.

  19. Rube,

    You’re pretty decisive about that one; but if it’s pagan-ness (unorthodoxy) that is the biggest issue, then wouldn’t that hold also for an adult Greek Orthodox baptism?

    Yeah I think the triteness was misinterpreted.

    I suppose the RC baby and the GO adult could be swapped (GO baby and RC adult) and I would have said the same thing.

    my main point is the conversation that takes place between the pastor and the one considering baptism.

    For the record I shouldn’t have called the RC baby “pagan” I just get the vernacular confused at times. Pagan? Heathen? Unchurched? unsaved? Pre-saved? Worldly? Secular?
    The dude who comes into our church and was sprinkled RC was IMO more than likely completely ignorant with regards to anything having to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Consequently having come in and heard the word of truth and being “born again” he should now be baptized.

    Northern exposure guy might not have been totally ignorant and might have truly accepted Christ and thus his baptism experience was satisfactory.

    As for TD he was sprinkled in his Pres church as a baby but in Junior High he was immersed at a summer camp run by a different church without his parents permission or knowledge.

    This shocks me because I’ve had to refuse to baptize kids whose parents did not give permission. I can’t believe a professional camp would do that. Oh well.

    Also for the record his pres upbringing was entirely at la jolla pres, a church I’m sure you don’t consider pres.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: