Sunday, March 25, 2012

No to Communion Without Baptism

My parents did not do bumper stickers. Ever. Except for one case: Around 1970, Marriott wanted to build a theme park a few miles from our house, a prospect which was widely loathed among our neighbors. Therefore they affixed a bumper sticker to the our station wagon reading "No to Marriott Proposal".

And I must similarly and relentlessly object to a proposal from Eastern Oregon to eliminate baptism as a requirement for communion. Atlanta, you may recall, tested the waters with a local proposal for "a year for theological and catechetical reflection, dialogue, discussion, conversation and listening among parishes of this diocese on 'Communion of the Unbaptized'", which was defeated there. Now it's going straight to GC, and intends to change of the C&C right away.

I've been over the intellectual climate of this before. As to the theology, it's hard to top Tobias Haller's succinct rejoinder:
The church is radically inclusive and baptism is the means by which people are included. Communion is the celebration of that inclusion, not its means.

It is supremely ironic that a church that spends so much energy (rightly) celebrating the baptismal covenant could then turn its back on its significance in what seems a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of these two sacraments, and their interrelationship.
To this I can only add that abandoning baptism as the standard of membership represents a failure of our religious nerve so profound as to tip the balance against our institutional continuance. What's the point of a church that by implication admits that being a part of it is of no real consequence?

Communion Without Baptism is anathema; this is not negotiable.


Bill Dilworth said...

It boggles the mind. What chance does this have at GC, I wonder?

C. Wingate said...

I think it is reasonably likely to fail, but it will highlight the need for progressives to take a stand for some orthodoxy other than that homosexuality is OK and the Covenant is Bad.