Friday, October 25, 2013

Dr Theo

This morning we welcome back Dr Theo Claptrap, eminent Anglican scholar, academic and eccentric, to the site to answer your questions on matters liturgical, biblical and ecclesiastical. Prepare for insensitivity if our experience is anything to go by. Welcome Dr Theo.

Morning. Do you have questions or what? I'm busy.

Quite. Only one today. That Royal Baptism? Was it a proper baptism or just a Christening?

Two words for the same thing. You had me drive all the way out here just to say that?

So why do we use two words?

Well the non-conformists - you know Anabaptists, free evangelicals, house church movement, other fruit loops - don't think what happened was a proper baptism so they tend to use the other word. Plus lots of people who can't tell their font from their baptistry just like a nice do for the baby and they avoid the b word.


Who cares what the Methodists think?

So why don't some people think it was 'proper'?

The general objection is that you need to make a profession of faith from your own lips before you can be baptised. Babies can't do that.

Isn't that where confirmation comes in?

Well yes. But a moment's thought tells you several reasons why others - the dumb, the stoopid - also can't make a profession of faith from their own lips so it ain't a hard and fast rule.

So you would say the only way to include someone in the household of faith is to baptise them?

Not just me. The Bible sees whole households baptised and this was the practice of the early church from way back when. It's only those whack-jobs who want to make faith a 'personal' thing who get this utterly, utterly wrong. It's about inclusion not maturity.

Some people say the service must be public.

Yeah right. Like the Ethiopian official in Acts?

And how many godparents?

Three is plenty but give royalty a bit of leash. You don't want to go upsetting Benjamin Battersby-Blenkinsop or the co-Prince Regent of Lower Bavaria.

Are those real people?


Sprinkling or immersion?

Who cares? Inuit have a problem either way.


What, like re-building, re-constructing, re-opening?


Well it's nothing like those things. Only thing you can do is argue that the first baptism wasn't valid. Either it was the opening ceremony or not. You don't re-open something that has never been closed.


Have a re-affirmation of baptism vows. Or a confirmation. Chuck some water around if that's what makes you happy. Inuit watch out for the sharp bits.

Christening gowns?

No time to stitch those up or get them cleaned. Bible's motto is 'Quick, get the water.' One baptism. Once. Now.

Thank you very much Dr Theo.

My burden. Got any gin?

Well that should won't might get on the agenda of theological colleges any time soon. Dr Claptrap will be back when the flack has died down. About two years is normally the gap. Thanks to the late Miles Kington for doing this sort of thing so well.

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