Online baptism

The Church of Scotland wants to increase membership by letting worshippers attend online.   The Presbyterian state church is also considering allowing “access to the sacraments” for people are not “physically present in the congregation.”

It isn’t clear what this would look like.  I believe this has been done for communion in other “virtual churches” by streaming the words of institution to consecrate elements in front of your computer.  I would think baptism would be harder.  Baptism wouldn’t have to be part of a church service anyway, so people could be baptized at home by a pastor or even a layperson, but my impression is that members of a virtual congregation would not like even that much human contact.  So can you baptize yourself?

You pastors, if someone were to transfer into your congregation from the Church of Scotland who had an online baptism, would you consider that a valid sacrament?

Even if you draw away from virtual sacraments, do you see any possibilities for online worship, as described here?  For shut-ins?  For other members?  For visitors?  Or does online church fall short of the Biblical exhortation to “meet together” (Hebrews 10:25 )? [Read more…]

Garrison Keillor on kinds of Christianity

Garrison Keillor has written a humorous, yet touching column about Christianity.  He starts by lambasting some immoral Christians in the news.  But then he recalls his own less worldly evangelical upbringing.  And finally he writes about his current high church Anglicanism.

Best line:  “I love my neighbor as myself, but only because I don’t much care for myself.”

Big finish:  “For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endures to all generations. And wherever two Corinthians are gathered together, there he is in the midst of them.”

Read it all, linked after the break. [Read more…]

A Lutheran exorcist

Harold Ristau is a pastor in the Lutheran Church of Canada (with which the LCMS is in fellowship).  And he is an exorcist, with extensive experience in casting out demons.

He has written a book on the subject, with an introduction by John Kleinig, the great Australian writer on Lutheran spirituality.  I’ve sampled Rev. Ristau’s book and found it scary, fascinating, and strangely encouraging. [Read more…]

The Holy Spirit

Sunday was Pentecost, fifty days after Easter, commemorating the day that the Holy Spirit was given to the Church.  The Holy Spirit may be the most mysterious person of the Trinity–the revealer rather than the revealed; not the Savior, but the one who brings us to the Savior; not the prime object of faith, but the creator of faith.

After the jump, what we need to believe about the Holy Spirit, and what it means.   [Read more…]

Deleting “He descended into Hell” from the Apostles’ Creed

I have learned that there is a movement to delete the line about Christ descending into Hell from the Apostles’ Creed.  Those who wish to do this are called “deletionists,” or “neo-deletionists.”

The phrase in question can be interpreted in a number of different ways, but it is certainly part of the Apostle’s Creed.  I remember as a child going to Methodist churches that don’t include it.

Lots of Christians don’t have creeds at all, but if you do have a creed–that is, if you are confessing your doctrinal agreement with the historical Christian church–it makes no sense to delete part of it!

[Read more…]


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