Saturday, June 21, 2008

Anglican Bishop Baptizes Child with Previous Invalid Episcopalian Baptism.

EASTON MD, USA — The Rt. Rev. Joel Marcus Johnson, Bishop of The Diocese of The Chesapeake, an orthodox Anglican diocese, has baptized a four-year-old boy who had received a vague rite of washing during infancy by a minister of the Episcopal Diocese of Easton, Maryland. The new baptism was conducted during the annual Pentecost Baptisms and Confirmations administered at St. Andrew Anglican Church in Easton.

Bishop Johnson explained that it has been and continues to be diocesan policy that Christians from other churches are welcomed into the Chesapeake diocese if their baptisms are determined to have been valid.

"It is our desire to honor the convert’s heritage in the Faith," Bishop Johnson said, "rather than to suggest the past be open to ridicule."

The Bishop emphasized that this was not a conditional baptism, but fresh, the previous event determined to not have been valid.

"In this instance," Bishop Johnson said, "I had to make an exception because in the original event there were gaping discrepancies over the tests of form, matter, intention and minister. The most obvious were that three different persons had poured the water, and a fourth person (an Episcopal priest) said the words; and there is genuine doubt as to whether the Dominical Words, that is, Jesus’ given formula, had been said at all. It is ambiguous as to just who the minister was."

Bishop Johnson said he is worried that more baptisms of former Episcopalians will fail the same scrutiny.

It already is his protocol that former Episcopalians who have been confirmed after that denomination’s 1976 General Convention must be confirmed a’new, for two reasons. The first is that it is nearly impossible to know which bishops have been consecrated by other bishops who have capitulated to the ordinal of that denomination’s 1979 worship manual. The second reason is that the same manual has replaced the Bible’s theology of confirmation with a rite of passage, coming of age type of event, and that the "Gifts of the Spirit" no longer are conferred.

The names of the child and his family have been withheld.


Canon Tallis said...

Hip, hip, hurrah for +Joel. The story reminds me of an incident in years past when a college friend married a Methodist lass with the wedding taking place in the Episcopal Church. This distressed her very hard shell Methodist parents so much that they sought to mend family ties by having their first child baptized by the Methodist minister. Unfortunately the Methodist minister attempted to do so by patting the child with damp rose petals so the father took the infant from the minister's arms and left the church.
The story of the Irish midwife baptising children in the name of "Jesus, Mary and Joseph" may, just may, be apocraphal, but in the last century too many baptisms probably failed of just the things which the bishop is objecting. All of us need to take much greater care as to precisely how and by whom the sacrament was performed.

Anonymous said...

A convert to Christianity who had been "baptized" in the Reformed Episcopal Church was baptized (not conditionally) in St Mary's Anglican Catholic Church in Denver, many years ago, as the previous "baptism" was found invalid, lacking proper intent.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

As long as the REC uses water and the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, their "intention to do what the Church does" is sufficient. They mean to baptize, even though the DOP reveals serious theological ignorance.

Neither the RCs nor the Orthodox would baptize them "again" either.