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Bishops affirm baptism as requirement for communion

Bishops affirm baptism as requirement for communion

At General Convention today, the House of Bishops affirmed baptism as a precursor to communion.The matter now returns to the House of Deputies. In voting today, the Bishops amended this resolution approved by the House of Deputies, striking the last line (in italics):

Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, that The Episcopal Church reaffirms

that baptism is the ancient and normative entry point to receiving Holy

Communion and that our Lord Jesus Christ calls us to go into the world and

baptize all peoples. We also acknowledge that in various local contexts there is the exercise of pastoral sensitivity with those who are not yet baptized.


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Bill Dilworth

The argument for CWOB based on Jesus’ table fellowship with ” sinners” seems, frankly, wrongheaded, in that it assumes that the prostitutes and publicans he ate with are types of the unbaptized. They are not. The corollary to the unbaptized in Jesus’ ministry is the Gentile, not the “sinner.” All those prostitutes and tax collectors were Jews; on several occasions Jesus makes it clear that non-Jews were outside his purview. If Jesus is in favor of CWOB, his table fellowship simply doesn’t have much to say on the subject. He consistently limited his ministry to those who were members of the Jewish community.

Besides being wrongheaded, it strikes me as condescending in that it suggests that non-Christians – the unbaptized – are societal outcasts. “Why,of course you’re welcome at the altar – after all, Out Lord ate with harlots and collaborators with the enemy, so there’s ample precedent…” It suggests that it’s moral purity that separates communicants from non-communicants under the status quo, but we’ll graciously overlook that because Jesus did/would. The difference between the baptized and the unbaptized is not primarily a moral one, but is based in being a member (or not) of Christ’s Body.

David Allen

Tradition certainly can come from eye witness accounts.

Bro David

Gary Paul Gilbert

Clint, Tradition is not an eyewitness account.

Gary Paul Gilbert

Clint Davis

Jesus could have left the banquet and eating talk at the loaves and fishes, at the feeding of the multitudes, but tradition tells us he didn’t, but rather on the night he was handed over, etc. Bread and wine broken and poured in an intimate setting with those who are definitely a part of the community imparts the very body and blood of the Lord, the eating and drinking of which are INSEPARABLE from his high priesthood of offering himself as a sacrifice on the cross. In the ancient world, if you ate of a sacrifice, you bound yourself to this deity, and acknowledged your relationship to this deity, which is why “meat offered to idols” was a difficult and contentious issue. You eat the sacrifice, you have a relationship with the deity. This is a package deal, this is the Eucharist. This isn’t just an all are welcome at the table, it is far more than that, because again, we could have stopped with Jesus Feeding the Five (also Four) Thousand and been fine, had a lovely religion, simple and much less, um, “spooky”. But Jesus didn’t stop there, and neither did we. The Sacrifice was offered not for our sins only but for the sins of the whole world, to be sure, and not just on a “I’m sorry I lied to mommy” sort of “given for you” level. Receiving the body and blood, you are truly reconciled to one another and to God, you really are. The Sacrament embodies (pun intended) that mysterious Other Power (as the Pure Land Buddhists would say) that seals the deal, that pushes forward repairs in relationships both Here and There which we cannot accomplish with our Self Power alone. This is serious business, not just nice teachings.


“we know the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch, someone who should NOT have been eligible for Baptism.”

And yet the very first thing Philip did after explaining the Gospel to him was baptize him. The Spirit seemed to be calling him to the water. Same with all the other Gentiles the Apostles welcomed into the Church.

– Alex Scott

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