The Anglican church has begun implementation of a new version of the church’s baptism service. In the watered down version, there is no more “repenting sins” and no more mention of the devil for parents and godparents at baptism services in Anglican churches. There’s also no more “submitting” (as in “Do you submit to Christ the Lord?”) because people—women especially—don’t like to submit nowadays.
Around 1,000 Anglican churches are utilizing a new trial version of the traditional Anglican baptism service which eliminates key phrases such as “Do you reject the devil and all rebellion against God?” and “Do you repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbor?”
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, Visiting Bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, told the Daily Mail that the new baptismal formula will be used on a trial basis until Easter 2014, at which time it may become permanent. The formula has the approval of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, leader of the world’s 80 million Anglicans.
Bishop Nazir-Ali accused the Episcopal Church—from which the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina has formally separated—of a “constant dumbing down of Christian teaching”. He told the Daily Mail:
“Instead of explaining what baptism means and what the various parts of the service signify, its solution is to do away with key elements of the service altogether. Rather than the constant ‘dumbing down’ of Christian teaching, whether for baptism, marriage or death, we should be spending time preparing people for these great rites of passage. It is best to call a halt to this perhaps well-meant effort before it further reduces the fullness of the Church’s faith to easily-swallowed soundbites.”
I am reminded of a story that surfaced two years ago regarding new, “inoffensive” translations of the Scriptures by three Bible translation organizations: Wycliffe Bible Translators, Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL), and Frontiers. In 2012 those organizations produced new Bible translations which changed the baptismal formula to:
“Go ye therefore into all the nations, baptizing them in the name of Allah, his Messiah and his Holy Spirit.”
The editors noted that the customary Christian reference to the Trinity was offensive to Muslims; and the new translation eliminated any reference to God as three-in-one.
Click here for the full story of that misguided attempt at appeasement which hides the real meaning of the Gospel from people who need to hear the story.
And 2011 must have been a big year for baptisms: That’s the year I wrote about the little girl who was baptized in the Stanley Cup.