Mark 5: Adopting a Sacramental Theology
If there’s one thing I disagree with when it comes to Bapto-Catholics…
…it’s this. I disagree with viewing the ordinances as sacraments to begin with, but more importantly I disagree that learning from the authority of the Great Tradition necessarily requires Baptists to change a piece of our theology that we can trace to the early 1600s. A few weeks ago, I posed a question about sacramental theology on my Facebook. Should you be interested, here is that post (the intersting stuff, obviously, is deep in the comments):
Now that you are fully aware of my bias, and the weakness I find in this argument, let me do my best to describe the thinking. As best as I can understand, the goal of Bapto-Catholic thought is to learn as much as we can from Church tradition, while keeping the Baptist distinctives of priesthood of the believer and believer’s baptism. Therefore, we’ve already talked about looking to our tradition for guidance, forming together through an ancient, yet fresh liturgy, and recognizing the value in creeds. All of these things would connect us to a tradition deeper than ourselves. The argument from there would go that from some of the earliest churches, Christians have sought (and found) the presence and endowment of God’s grace. Therefore, the thinking goes, we should add value and meaning to our observances of the sacraments by giving them the understanding that the majority of Christians from the majority of Christian History gave to them.
So, where do we go from here?
It’s painfully obvious that I disagree with this idea. But part of the beauty of being Baptist is the ability to hear the Spirit for yourself. Beyond that, the field of Baptist Catholicity is experimental, new, and… quite frankly, still extremely tiny. In the book Towards Baptist Catholicity, Steve Harmon contends that most Bapto-Catholics won’t agree with all seven marks. Because we are all our own priests, seeking the Tradition together, we can agree to disagree happily.
(Unless, of course, you’re the Baptist General Convention of Texas)