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…]

Christianity is not spiritual, it’s physical

In an interview with Nadia Bolz-Weber, the ELCA “pastrix,” when asked about those who consider themselves “spiritual, but not religious,” turns the terms around, saying that Christianity–what with the Incarnation, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, and the Sacraments–is not so much spiritual as physical. [Read more…]

“The sacraments are what make the church relevant”

Yesterday we blogged about Rachel Held Evan’s contention that church growth techniques designed to reach Millennials–contemporary worship, attempts to make church relevant, efforts to make Christianity seem cool–do not, in fact, work.  Her suggestion instead:   “Keep worship weird.”  That is, recover the sacraments.  “The sacraments,” she says, “are what make the church relevant.” [Read more…]

“No Sacraments, No Protestantism”

Reformed pastor Peter Leithhart says that Protestantism requires a high view of the sacraments.  He focuses specifically on baptism and its role in a key Protestant teaching:  the assurance of salvation. [Read more…]

How God uses the imagination

More from my interview with Mathew Block, who asks how God uses our human imaginations to reach us. [Read more…]

The Millennials’ longing for liturgy & sacraments

Congregations that want to attract the millennial generation are now being told to ditch their contemporary worship services and to bring back the historic liturgy.   Also, it turns out that young adults today have a “sacramental yearning.”  Church growth enthusiasts, take note. [Read more…]


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