Over at the SBC Voices blog, they’re starting a new series of debates between fellow Baptists. The mission statement requires that they be civil, biblical, non-personal 1000-word essays–enforced by the editors. It looks to be interesting.
The first debate is over baptism and local church oversight. Who performs baptisms? Does it need to be done by a local church? Can you baptize yourself? Where the rubber meets the road: If you weren’t baptized by a church, should you be rebaptized?
I like the discussion. Here are the links. (I’ll try to add the rest, as they post more.) As always, I comment under the name “Jugulum”.
- Diverse Voices Debate: Is Church Oversight Essential for Baptism?
- Diverse Baptists Debate: Church Oversight of Baptism- Foster’s Rebuttal of Miller
- A Response to the Baptism Oversight Debate
In my judgment, the case for necessary church oversight isn’t strong. But I want to make two “meta” comments about conversation itself, and one about the content of the debate. (The specific observation is a quote from a comment I left at the first entry.)
The two general issues:
1.) Is it stupid even to be having this kind of debate? Is it just quibbling?
2.) Even if we disagree with the other side’s final conclusion, we can still learn & grow from the principles & arguments they use. (In this case: We can grow in understanding the symbolism & meaning of baptism, and think about how to preserve the richness of what God has given us.)
The specific comment:
3.) We should care about preserving & reflecting the symbolism of baptism in how we practice. But “this preserves the symbolism better” doesn’t imply “it’s not valid without it.” A comparison to the Lord’s Supper may help. (more…)