Omission of repentance from ‘new’ baptism service ’serious’


The Times reports here  Dr Nazir-Ali wrote in TheMail on Sunday: “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.

“When it comes to the service itself, the need is not to eliminate crucial areas of teaching but to explain them.

“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.”

Canon Chris Sugden, a trustee of the group Anglican Mainstream, said: “Why have they omitted repenting of sin? It is a very serious omission. When Jesus began his ministry the first thing he said was, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’.”

He said that the inclusion of repentance was important because it reflected the traditional teaching that everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. “In coming to God, we have to be aware of that, acknowledge that and repent of it. This new service, by omitting repent appears to suggest that God just loves us as we are. No change needed. I am all for making it more accessible, I am all for making it simple. But when key elements like repent are not there, there is something more serious afoot.”

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