While adding some links to the Chelmsford Diocese web site I stumbled across an online quiz that assesses your theological stance and categorises you based on your answers. Now, I’m not normally one to participate in such quizes, simply because more often than not they are a load of rubbish, totally wrong, or require you to pay to get your results. This, however, came recommended from a church minister, so I figured I’d be really daring and trust him!
Some of the questions I didn’t know the answers to, not necessarily through the use of long words but through reference to various apparently important events in the history of the church that I am not familiar with. Nevertheless I answered all the questions, and the quiz kindly told me what sort of Evangelical I am.
|You scored as Baptist. If you’ve landed here, then you are probably a well-informed Baptist. You know what separates you from other Evangelicals and why it is important to divide at certain points. You see the church as a missionary organization whose job it is to preach the gospel to a lost world.|
So there we go, I am a bonefide, certified Baptist. I have to admit, that came as something of a surprise, being so clearly labelled like that. I guess that just goes to show that I am a Baptist by conviction rather than habit. That said, I was expecting more affiliation with Anglicanism to be present in the results – recently I have found myself increasingly at ease with the way the Church of England works.
Incidentally, while I do still hold to the idea of believer’s baptism (i.e. baptism of someone who is already a Christian), I am not completely opposed to infant baptism. You may say that they are incompatible, but I have recently begun to realise that adult baptism in a Baptist church is not supposed to be the same as infant baptism in an Anglican church, they mean completely different things. The Baptist baptism is the declaration of a believer that they are willing to be known by everyone as a Christian, that they are taking their faith seriously and are prepared to make a fool of themselves by getting a soaking in public. The Anglican baptism is more about the declaration made by God that He will bless and keep that person; it does not make the child a Christian, it is not about the child doing anything, but about God’s side of the covenant. In that sense, the Anglican baptism is roughly equivalent to the Baptist dedication, and the Baptist baptism roughly equivalent to the Anglican confirmation. I know there are some differences, but to my mind the purpose is similar. In which case, the confusion is more about the usage of the term ‘baptism’ than what it is taken to mean.
This is something that has caused rifts in the church for countless years, and I don’t claim to be reconciling the whole issue in one paragraph, but it is something that I am seriously dealing with in my own mind, since this is something that will probably come up in the not-too-distant future when there are little Matthews and Ellies running around… It may be some way off, but I need to have thought about it in advance to be able to know where I draw the line, and why.