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By Five Solas
Full disclosure: I subscribe to believer baptism (also called credobaptism). I find the order of events throughout the New Testament (particularly the Book of Acts) persuasive, baptism follows conversion and not the other way round. My oldest is 9 and she has not yet been baptized. We’ve talked about it and she’s thought about it – but it’s not something she’s yet asked to do nor do we want her to feel pressured or feel that baptism is something she should do because it’s what her parents desire for her. When the time is right, it will come from her, not from us.
Now that acknowledged, I respect the arguments made by those who practice infant baptism. Certainly nowhere in the Bible is this practice forbidden. I’m very comfortable with Christians following their conscience on the matter.
So now with all that said, I wanted to explore the topic of baptism and Christianity here. A few weeks back an LDS poster told me I was mistaken to have claimed to have become a Christian in my 30’s – he wrote: "Sorry to interrupt, but if you were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ at age 8, then you were already a Christian."
I found the statement startling and its implication profound. If I were a Christian all along—then the change in my life when I came to profess faith must be attributable to something else, something besides the converting work of the Holy Spirit. But the point here isn’t to encourage speculation on my life or motives, the point is to illustrate why the question matters, why it is important and worth our time to consider.
So what do folks here think, does baptism make a person a Christian?
Avatar4321 and Scott Lloyd were challenging my assertion that virtually every Mormon doctrine has changed and evolved over time. So a topic was picked for discussion and I'm opening this thread for us to discuss. The topic is Baptism. To represent the most recent official teachings about this doctrine, I'm going to use two sources. First is the LDS.org site, and the second link is the entry in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism.
It will take me a little time to look at some of the sources for doctrinal development, but an interesting essay that I just started reading (anyone can get a free account at JSTOR, just sign up) is this essay in the JMH by Jonathan A. Stapley and Kristine L. Wright titled ""They Shall Be Made Whole": A History of Baptism for Health". It starts by talking about the history of rebaptism in the church and then expands on the use of baptism for the purposes of healing an individual with health problems, both of these rituals are no longer performed today in the church.
Well, lets get started, thanks
Can non-members have their sins forgiven through the atonement without being a member of the church? (without being baptized?)
The question seems to me to obviously be "YES" without question, and I am sticking to that. THAT is my belief and interpretation of doctrine and I am not likely to change it unless the spirit testifies otherwise to me
It seems to me that the atonement is a requirement for the ordinance to even exist, that Christ said to the thief that he would be in paradise, obviously without baptism, and we have other instances of Christ forgiving sins without baptism.
Because John Williams made the assertion, and we often do not get along, I will avoid further comments- I have made my opinion known.
Here is a link to one of the assertions made:
I suppose this will inevitably end up being about ssm, but I really would like to stay on the topic of whether or not baptism is a pre-requisite for having sins forgiven through the atonement
THAT is the question I am interested in
Mormon Interpreter's “Most Desirable Above All Things”: Onomastic Play On Mary And Mormon In The Book Of Mormon By Mathew L. BowenBy Darren10
Here's what I just posted on my facebook wall:
From reading a couple of Mathew L. Bowen's (Matt Bowen's) articles and from chatting with him directly on facebook, I can say that Bowen is a master at breaking down words to their etymological roots. He also implements onomasticon usage in order to find deeper meaning behind proper names. In one article, Founded Upon a Rock: Doctrinal and Temple Implications of Peter’s Surnaming, at Mormon Interpreter, Bowen used a wide range of scriptures in order to demonstrate the meaning behind Peter being the rock upon which Jesus Christ would found His church. In his most recent article at mormon Interpreter, called, “Most Desirable Above All Things”: Onomastic Play on Mary and Mormon in the Book of Mormon, Bowen continues this task with the Book of Mormon on the names Mary and Mormon.
Nephi's vision of the tree of life in the Book of Mormon has always stood out to me as one of the most honorary passages in all of scripture regarding Mary the mother of God. Bowen points to an Egyptian origin of the name Mary as deriving from the word "mr" - "mr(y)" or "mr(i)". "mr" in ancient Egyptian means desire, love, or wish. In Nephi's vision of the tree of life, the fruits represent God's love to the world through giving the world his Son, Jesus Christ. Nephi describes the fruit as being the "most desirable" over anything else. And in order to explain the tree and its fruit, Nephi had a vision of "a virgin". This virgin was described by Nephi as, "A virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins". The spirit of the lord then explains to Nephi that this virgin [is to be] the mother of the Son of God. It is striking that Mary means desire or love and was chosen by God to give birth to Him whose love should be desired above everything else.
Bowen then focuses on the name Mormon. Bowne cites Hugh Nibley who originally proposed that Mormon is derived from the Egyptian "mr" + "mn". As noted beforehand, "mr" means, desire, love, wish and "mn" means enduring, firm, established. This is very interesting since of the most significant baptismal events noted in the Book of Mormon took place at the "waters of Mormon". Furthermore, Mormon, more than anyone else in the Book of Mormon narrative, details love and charity. Mormon pronounces charity as "the pure love of Christ" and that it is absolutely necessary to obtain charity and "endure to the end" with it. The Book of Mormon also connects baptism as a conversion of oneself into a new person. this new person should obtain the love of Christ and a love of / for their fellow man. I was pretty much stunned by what is a new scriptural insight for me.
Bowne connects Mary and Mormon together and demonstrates how the principle authors of the Book of Mormon knew precisely the meaning of these two names and used them to teach gospel truths to their audiences. this happened in their own ancient settings and I am thankful that Mathew Bowen has pointed this out for Book of Mormon readers today.
I recently reread Eugene England's essay, On Fidelity, Polygamy, and Celestial Marriage, and I was perplexed by this line:
I have sat in a number of lessons and discussions that suggested that death before the age of accountability is a free pass to the Celestial Kingdom. In fact, this assertion came up in my quorum meeting this week. Brother England's belief sounds reasonable, but it seems to oppose the majority opinion.
Do you know of any sources to support his opinion/interpretation?