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Taking the Devil to Task (The Baptismal Covenant)

Question: Do you renounce Satan and all the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God?
Answer: I renounce them.

Talking about the devil today might seem quaint or silly to some. Many of the things that go on in this world have explanations that don’t involve anything supernatural. It doesn’t help that some people literally blame demonic activity on everything that goes wrong,  or see the devil as some creature that has a power nearly equivalent to God.

There is real evil in the world that’s impossible to ignore. Even most people without religious convictions have a definition of evil. Regardless of whether evils like hatred, greed, exploitation and violence are the result of the direct influence of the devil or human malice, the effects of evil distort our relationships with God and each other.

When we renounce the devil and his forces of wickedness, we’re taking a stand against these evils. In effect, we’re saying that we’ve joined God’s team. While we won’t be completely free from evil this side of the grave, we can start on that journey that brings us through the trials of life and leads to everlasting peace and joy.

October 22, 2014 Posted by | Baptismal Covenant Series | , | Leave a comment

I Believe… (The Baptismal Covenant)

Celebrant      Do you believe in God the Father?
People           I believe in God, the Father almighty,
                      creator of heaven and earth.
Celebrant      Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God?
People           I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
                     He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
                     and born of the Virgin Mary.
                     He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
                     was crucified, died, and was buried.
                     He descended to the dead.
                     On the third day he rose again.
                     He ascended into heaven,
                     and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
                     He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
Celebrant     Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit?
People          I believe in the Holy Spirit,
                    the holy catholic Church,
                    the communion of saints,
                    the forgiveness of sins,
                    the resurrection of the body,
                    and the life everlasting.

The first part of the Baptismal Covenant is an affirmation of Christian belief. Its basis is in the Apostles’ Creed, which was formulated in early Christian times as an affirmation of faith. While it isn’t believed to have been written by any of the apostles, the beliefs summarized in it are consistent with known beliefs from early in the Christian era.

The fact that this creed starts off with “I believe” emphasizes its use as a personal affirmation. When the words are spoken, they show the importance of these beliefs in our lives.

October 2, 2014 Posted by | Baptismal Covenant Series | | Leave a comment

A Covenant Community

No, I’m not talking about a deed-restricted neighborhood here. 🙂 Over the next several weeks, I will be running a series on this blog about baptismal covenants, with an emphasis on the version used by The Episcopal Church. I hope this will not only be instructive, but will also give all of us some food for thought about how we live out our witness to Christ.

In TEC and other liturgical churches, infants and young children may be baptized. They have the opportunity to affirm the words of the baptismal covenant when they reach an age where they can choose to follow Christ and undergo confirmation.

Regardless of whether one is baptized at an age where they can make an affirmation of faith or whether that affirmation comes later, the covenant is the same. It includes not only an affirmation of the earliest Christian beliefs, but helps motivate us to live more Christlike lives.

Please share more about what type of covenant members of your church make in baptism.

September 25, 2014 Posted by | Baptismal Covenant Series | Leave a comment