One of the things I take very seriously is baptism.  It is the normative practice for how we are incorporated into the Body of Christ and become Christians.  This doesn’t mean there is no other way to become a Christian.  The early Church felt that those who died for their faith before they could be baptized received a kind of baptism by blood.  Certainly there are babies who die before they are baptized (and we don’t consign them to limbo, somewhere outside of the community of faith).  Friends Meetings (Quaker Meetings) do not practice any outward and visible signs.  They are generally accepted as members of the Christian community.  (Massy Shepherd made a specific point of this back when I was in seminary.)  Still, it’s the normative practice.  It’s foundational for us. (more…)

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Brian Baker, in his blog, writes something I think is on target and informative:

Recently I received an email from a man I had never met.  Somebody had recommended Trinity Cathedral to him.  He went to our website searching for a “statement of faith.”  Many religious bodies provide a clear list of their beliefs, such as “we believe the inerrancy of the Bible.”   He could find no such statement on Trinity’s site so he emailed me.  He wanted to know if we had a Statement of Faith.  Here’s what I wrote:

You are asking a great question.  Most Episcopal churches don’t have a Statement of Faith.  This isn’t because faith is unimportant to us.  It is just that uniformity of doctrine is not what unifies us.  What unifies us is common prayer and gathering around the altar of Christ.  There are Episcopalians who believe a wide range of things.  We consider ourselves comprehensive of a wide range of Christian beliefs.  There are catholic, evangelical, charismatic, etc. Episcopalians.  There are Episcopalians who are pro-life and those who are pro-choice.  There are Episcopalians who read the Bible quite literally, and those who don’t.  Our views on social as well as doctrinal issues are comprehensive of the spectrum of beliefs of Christians.  [For the whole article, click here]