Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Baptismal Covenant – insights from Professor Bryan D Spinks

I recently acquired, "Reformation and Modern Rituals and Theologies of Baptism," (2006) written by the Englishman, Bryan D Spinks, who is Professor of Liturgy at Yale.

Having myself on various occasions analyzed and criticized the baptismal Service in the 1979 prayer Book of The Episcopal Church –most recently in my booklet, "Mystical Washing and Spiritual Regeneration", March 07)—I was keen to see whether or not he had anything to say about it.

And he had several pages on the making of the "initiation Services" in the 1979 book (pp.172ff.). And what he says is illuminating and happily for me confirms much of what I have written and been saying about the 1979 service.

He writes: "Perhaps the greatest surprise and innovation is the section entitled 'The Baptismal Covenant'." He notes that the theme of making a personal covenant with God in Baptism has not even been a minor theme in Anglican Services of Holy Baptism. But further, he makes the very important point that the way the 1979 service is constructed itself shows that the obvious interpretation of "covenant" is "contract", that is the one to be baptized make a contract with God.

In the Service constructed by Cranmer and in the various authentic editions of The Book of Common Prayer (1552, 1662, USA 1928, Canada 1962) Baptism is followed by exhortation to the baptized or to Godparents as to duties. That is gift of the Grace of regeneration is followed by a call for human response.

In the Service constructed in the early 1970s and in the 1979 Prayer Book the layout is such as to suggest an agreement or contract followed by Baptism (Grace) so that Grace is limited by contract. And that contract of course—coming from the late 1960s & early 1970s—made the pursuit of "peace and justice" and the giving dignity to all persons a part of the mission given by God (something which comes out very clearly in the public statements of the present Lady Primate who sees working for the Millennium Goals of the U.N. what the covenant is all about).

The Canadian 1985 Service is similar to the American of 1979 and has the same faulty theology. Happily in Canada they can fall back to use the BCP 1962 which has an excellent Service.

In that the leadership of The Episcopal Church has made this 1979 Baptismal Covenant its major charter and guide to much of its life and witness, it has descended from the heights of grace to the depths or error and apostasy, where human beings decide what is their duty to God.

For my booklet, "Mystical Washing and Spiritual Regeneration" (64pp), which is really a strong commendation of Infant Baptism and includes the 1662 Service in Contemporary English (as a real alternative for those who have come to see that the 1979 is unusable by those who want to stay within biblical priorities), go to or call 1-800-PBS-1928 March 31 2007

Monday, March 26, 2007

Is there a dynamic equivalent in 2007 to Justification by Faith alone in the 16th century, the article of faith by which the Church stands or falls?

A discussion starter and question from Peter Toon, Lent V, 2007

For Martin Luther, and not a few others in the sixteenth century, as they sought to reform medieval Christendom with its heavy doctrine of human merit in salvation, justification by faith alone became "the article of Faith by which the Church stands or falls." This doctrine is prominent in Reformation tracts, sermons, confessions of faith, liturgy and hymnody. And it was rejected by the official Roman Catholic Church in its Council of Trent.

The Anglican Way, which emerged as the Religion of the National Church of England in the sixteenth century and became the Religion of a global Communion of Churches later, has the doctrine of Justification by Faith alone written into its Formularies, specifically in The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion (1571) and The Two Books of Homilies (1547 & 1571) but it is also implicit in "The Order for Holy Communion" in The Book of Common Prayer (1662). However, it would appear that in 2007 few Anglicans publicly and clearly speak or write about this topic and few, if any, state that it is the doctrine by which the Church stands or falls.

Now it is true that in academic circles, there remains amongst some New Testament scholars a fascination with the Letter of Paul to Rome, wherein there is much to ponder concerning God's righteousness and the justification sinners by God the Father through Jesus Christ. And thus there is much here to be read by those who have the ability and time to study academic works. This recognized, it remains true that there is very little engagement with the doctrine of justification at the congregational level. No-one seems to declare that it is a crucial or foundational doctrine. Rather, the kinds of themes which are recognized to be crucial or basic are by some—usually in evangelical circles— declared to be the inspiration and authority of Scripture and the right way to interpret the Scripture today. In contrast, others, usually from within the main-line and old-line denominations (the places where progressive liberal theology is endemic), assert that the crucial doctrines are the right answers to these questions: Who/What is God? Who is Jesus? And What is salvation? And, of course, these questions take us very much behind the doctrine of Justification to fundamentals, which need to be stated in a specific way for the doctrine of Justification to make any sense at all.

Justification by Faith alone was never meant to be a summary of what is preached as the Gospel, but rather as to what makes the Gospel the power of God unto eternal salvation in Christ. The Gospel is the Good News of the Father concerning his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, that there is forgiveness, acceptance and eternal life in him to those who repent of their sin and believe the saving promises of God.

Justification tells how God the Father through Jesus Christ accepts a guilty sinner and treats him as a righteous son, for he reckons him to be "in Christ."

One way—and much used by Protestant theologians in the late sixteenth onwards into the seventeenth centuries—to tell this story of Justification is by the analogy of the law court, in this case, God's heavenly court. Here the guilty sinner is declared by the Judge to be righteous, not because in and of himself he is so, but because the same Judge (God the Father) accepts the righteousness of Jesus Christ, the Representative and Substitute Man, in the place of the sinner's unrighteousness. However, it would seem to be the case, that, for whatever reasons, this analogy does not seem to be very attractive to many modern Christians.

Another way—and offered primarily by New Testament scholars—is to tell the story of Justification in terms of the theme of the covenant of grace. Justification is the act whereby God the Father places the believing sinner within the covenant of grace as a forgiven sinner and as an adopted child of God. He is thereby reckoned as righteous for he is in a right relation with God the Father as he lives with other believers "in Christ," that is in the Body of Christ. This approach seems to be more acceptable today, but a real difficulty with talking in covenant terms today is that quickly it can become talk of a contract with God (as often in the ECUSA "Baptismal Covenant") and human merit and rights quickly enter the conversation!

In fact, to be where Luther the great reformer, Tyndale the great translator of the Bible, Cranmer the great liturgist and Calvin, the great Biblical expositor were, we have to have something like their sense and experience of the holy Lord God and their conviction of the depth and depravity of human sinfulness, together with a passionate desire to be in a right relation with and communion with this Divine, Holy, Majesty through Jesus Christ and by the Holy Spirit. It would seem that while they had a profound sense of the Transcendent Glory and Purity of God, we have more a profound sense of the omnipresence (immanence) of God; and thus where they bowed and prostrated themselves in reverence and awe and could not get up, we celebrate as those whom God affirms and so we sit or stand. So for our sixteenth-century predecessors to be reckoned by God as "clothed in the righteousness" of the once crucified and now exalted Christ Jesus was a miracle beyond miracles. For us the message of being accepted into the covenant ("family") of God seems to be more comforting, for while we want comfort and affirmation we do not seem to feel that we are at enmity with a transcendent Lord God and so do not feel the specific need to be reckoned as, or declared to be, righteous!

Of course, we are all familiar with such common themes in contemporary culture and therapy as self-worth, self-justification, self-affirmation, self-promotion, self-satisfaction, self-assurance, self-awareness, self-improvement and so on (not to mention the more traditional, less mentioned, self-denial, self-discipline, self-effacing and self-control). Many westerns appear to be in pursuit both of self-identity, self-worth and self-justification at the basic human level, but whether this ever becomes a quest for acceptance with and before the transcendent, holy God is another matter. Subjectivity and individualism determine so much of how we think and act today and this is hardly fertile ground for appreciating the Lutheran doctrine of Justification!

Indeed, a question facing every evangelist is how to preach the Gospel of salvation from sin and into eternal life in Christ (a Gospel that presupposes Creatio ex nihilo but in a culture where few think of God as the Creator who made the cosmos out of nothing and who keeps it in being) is a real challenge; then, also, there is a further challenge as to which are the most promising New Testament doctrinal themes to advance today as the divine explanation why the Gospel is in fact the power of God unto eternal salvation. The Pauline message of Justification, so powerful against Judaizers in his own time and against human merit doctrines later, is not easily put to similar use today for the context is so different in terms of human experience and felt needs. However, it may be possible in Christian apologetics to contrast the human search for self-worth and justification with the justification freely offered by the Father in Christ to those who believe the Gospel. To do this effectively, one will need to be both a good psychologist and a mature Biblical scholar.

Having written some years ago a reasonably successful book entitled "Justification and Sanctification" (1983, Crossway Books USA, Marshall, UK), I can testify that it is easier—at least for me—to describe the way in which Justification has been explained and used in centuries past, then to offer a viable way of presenting it forcibly and attractively today as an important topic, let alone as the article of faith by which the Church stands or falls.

I am aware of how it has been applied by such as Tillich and Niebuhr, but I would like to know of more recent attempts to present Justification by Faith alone as a necessary doctrine for the western Church today, the Church immersed in human rights, individualism, therapy and subjectivity and dominated by a sense of the immanence of God.

Are there those out there who can help me? If so send me a line, please.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

O Ye Anglicans. What are ye Continuing? A Request for Help.

Episcopalians (Anglicans) in North America are painfully aware of the fact that there have been, and continue to be, groups who leave The Episcopal Church because they believe it has ceased to be truly a Church of The Anglican Way.

Such exits began in the 19th century with those who formed the Reformed Episcopal Church, continued in the 1960s with those who left because of the Civil Rights commotions and other matters, further continued in the late 1970s with those who opposed women's ordination and radical reform of the Prayer Book, and even further continued with those who have left more recently over the new sexual agenda and trampling of biblical authority in this Church.

The result of all these secessions over a period of over a century is that there is a very mixed "Continuing Anglicanism" in North America.

It includes extreme Anglo-Catholics at one end and extreme Charismatic Evangelicals at the other, with many other varieties within the spectrum. It can be confusing to Anglicans abroad and at home.

It is usually easy to determine why each group, whether large or small, exited The Episcopal Church; but, it is more difficult to ascertain what it is that each group intends ands practically seeks to continue. Thus my question, Continuing What?

I think that exiting groups have given much more thought to why they leave then to what it is they wish to establish and propagate as "the true Anglican Way" in their separation. So much seems to depend in their separation on such matters as: when a group left the Episcopal Church; what form of churchmanship they practiced when they left; what kind of leadership they had and what kind of priests served them; how deep and wide had been the theological and liturgical experience of the group as a whole; what social and political affiliations they had; how The Episcopal Church is behaving and what the Archbishop of Canterbury is saying, and so on.

What I would like to do is to write a comprehensive essay in which I seek to state and to evaluate what it is that the growing number of "Continuing Anglican Groups" are looking to be and do. Maybe this is not possible but I think I ought to make an effort.

Precisely, what is it that each group is seeking to continue into the 21st century in terms of what was/is known in The Episcopal Church and in Anglicanism generally? And does this "what" include in the long term the hope of re-uniting with the Anglican Communion of Churches?

It may be that there is a greater harmony, amongst and between the thirty or more continuing groups, in mindset and intention than appears to sociological enquiry at the present, and if so I would like to discover what that basic harmony is—plus accurately report what it is that the Continuers are seeking to continue.

I ask for the help of the busy persons who run these groups! Please write to me at: MANY THANKS

The Revd Dr Peter Toon, President of The Prayer Book Society of the U S A. for 2007. And do visit our &

Baptismal Regeneration & Justification by Faith alone.

Peter Toon

For too long Anglicans (& others) have believed that it is impossible to have within one coherent system of Christian thought and pastoral practice the doctrine that Regeneration occurs at Baptism and the related doctrine that sinners are justified before God the Father by faith alone.

Yet if we examine two of the Formularies of The Anglican Way—The Articles of Religion and The Book of Common Prayer (editions of 1662, 1928 USA & 1962 Canada)—then we find that both doctrines are clearly taught and with no sense of contradiction.

First of all in Article XI, "Of the Justification of Man," of The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, there is the expression "by faith only" based on the Latin, sola fide. "That we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine."

In answer to the question: "What does God look for in a guilty sinner in order to declare him a forgiven sinner and place him in Christ within the covenant of grace?", the answer is faith—faith in the promises of the Father concerning his Son, Jesus Christ. In other words, a guilty sinner is to believe the Good News; and with open hands and heart he is to receive what God offers and gives, and he is to do so in pure receptivity and thankfulness. There is nothing that he has to offer to God to deserve or to pay for the gift of membership of the covenant of grace; all he brings is the genuine desire to be forgiven and accepted (and even this is created in him by the Spirit of the Lord).

The fact that God the Father justifies the guilty sinner by faith alone does not in any way whatsoever negate (a) that God acts in mercy and grace for the sake of Jesus Christ; and (b) that God looks for and actually creates in the soul other virtues to exist along with saving faith—e.g., hope and love. It means that in order for salvation from sin and into the kingdom of God to be by God's mercy and grace alone, it must be received by faith alone, where faith is trust and humble receptivity. Certainly he who is justified by faith alone is called by God to a life of practical righteousness. In Christ he is reckoned and declared to be righteous before God, in Christ by the work of the Holy Spirit he is being made righteous (= being sanctified) as he obeys and serves the Lord Jesus in this life, and in Christ at the Last Day he will be made righteous in soul and body as he is fully redeemed in his resurrection body of glory.

The doctrine of Justification by Faith alone is presupposed in the Services of Baptism in The Book of Common Prayer (1662). And it is united to the doctrine of Regeneration at Baptism. Two things are made exceedingly clear by the Services: first, that no-one is to be baptized who is not repenting of sin and believing the promises of the Gospel of the Father concerning his Son, the Lord Jesus (in the case of infants repentance and faith are present in a substitutionary way in the Godparents and parents); secondly, that in relation to the Dominical Sacrament of Baptism, God the Father places the baptized by new birth in the Body of Christ, the Church, and in his kingdom, and also he adopts him into his Family and grants him the forgiveness of sins. Here the language and doctrine of justification is understood in the references to the baptized being united in Baptism with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection of Christ (see how St Paul explains it in Romans 6, where he is expounding Justification by faith).

There is an abundance of terminology used in the New Testament (and developed in Christian Tradition) to convey what happens as a result of the preaching of the Gospel and the acceptance of its message by sinners in repentance and by faith. In and by Christ and through the work of the Holy Spirit the sinner is saved, justified, sanctified, redeemed, reconciled, born again, adopted as a child of God, made a member of the Church of God, brought under the sovereign, gracious rule of God, and so on. In Baptism God the Father acts upon and within believing sinners in the Name of Jesus and by the Holy Spirit; and the result is that they are born into his kingdom, family and church and are by him forgiven and reckoned as righteous in his sight; and all this is a beginning of a life of consecration to his Son and his way.

The baptized may cry out: " I am forgiven and I am justified by faith because God the Father has placed me in Christ, his Incarnate Son, who died and rose again that I may be saved, sanctified and redeemed."

And we may say, in the words of the traditional Catechism: "A Sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace given unto us, ordained by Christ himself, as a means whereby we receive the same, and a pledge to assure us thereof." Further of Baptism we may say that the inward and spiritual grace is: "A death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness; for being by nature born in sin, and the children of wrath, we are hereby made the children of grace." So let us, as the Baptized, heed the words of the apostle
Paul: "You must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Romans 6:11).

[ In a very recent Essay in a 64 page booklet entitled, "Mystical Washing and Spiritual Regeneration," I have sought to explain the critical importance of Baptism, especially of Infant Baptism, at this time of crisis in The Anglican Way. I invite my readers to take a look at it --- or call 1-800-727-1928 for multiple copies at special rates. Some experienced people have commented that it is an important contribution to the subject of Christian Initiation and Church Growth in the remaking of the dysfunctional Anglican Way in North America.] Lent IV 2007

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A Sunday with so many Names—March 18, 2007

In 2007 in the Calendar we get two special days next to each other and both have traditionally (where Lent is taken seriously) had relaxed discipline attached to them – St Patrick's Day on the 17th March and Mothering Sunday on the 18th. Let us reflect upon the Sunday, for it is much undervalued and often misunderstood. We shall note that its full meaning is only accessible where there is use or knowledge of the traditional Epistle and Gospel in the Eucharistic Lectionary of the Church in the West and in the Ecclesia Anglicana in particular.

No other Sunday in the Christian Year has been given so many different names or titles as the Fourth or Middle Sunday in and of Lent, the period of forty days from Ash Wednesday to Easter. These names provide a window into the liturgy, doctrine and spiritual discipline—as well as the social customs—of western Christian civilization in days past.

As the western Church used Latin throughout the medieval period let us begin with the Latin name, Laetare Sunday, which is taken from the Introit sung by the choir at the beginning of Mass on this Sunday, Laetare Jerusalem, "Rejoice, O Jerusalem." This introit is from Isaiah
which is cited in the Epistle of the Mass for the Day, Galatians 4:21ff.

Certain relaxations from the strict discipline of Lent were/are allowed on this fourth Sunday, of which the most obvious were some generations ago the use of flowers on the altar, and of the playing of the organ at Mass and Vespers. Rose-colored vestments were allowed instead of purple, and the deacon and subdeacon wore dalmatics, instead of folded chasubles as on the other Sundays of Lent. So the name Rose Sunday, suggesting the theme of controlled joy for this day.

Arising from the Gospel sung at Mass, which is the account of the feeding by Jesus of the five thousand (John 6), the Sunday has also been called, Refreshment Sunday. So it is not surprising that there arose a special food delicacy to eat on this day of relaxed discipline and this traditionally was Simnel Cake. [This is a rich fruit cake with a layer of almond paste on top and also in the middle. The cake is made with 11 balls of marzipan (a confection made of ground almonds or almond paste, egg whites and sugar, often molded into decorative
shapes) icing on top representing the 11 disciples (Judas is not included). The cake was boiled in water, then baked. The Lenten fast dictated that the simnel cake be kept until Easter. The word Simnel is said to have been derived from the Latin word "simila" which means a fine wheat flour mainly used for baking a cake. There is also an interesting legend associated with the use of the word Simnel. It says that once a man called Simon and his wife Nell had an argument over whether the Mothering Sunday cake should be baked or boiled. Ultimately, they did both. So the cake came be to named after both of them and was called, SIM-NELL. ]

In the Church of England it has been a common practice to call this day Mothering Sunday. And there are two explanations for this name.

First, it was the custom for people to go to the "Mother Church" of their area—the Cathedral or Abbey—on this day and for families to meet up there. Servants were usually released on this day from duties to be able to do this. Often flowers were picked and taken to be given to mothers at the reunion of families. They went a mothering. Secondly, in the Epistle for the Day, Galatians 4:21ff. there is found the sentence: "The Jerusalem which is above is free and she is our mother." So this day, in theological terms, is the celebration of the Church, whose true center is in heaven where the Lord Jesus is, and She is the mother of all believers. For from her they hear the Word; by her they are baptized and nurtured; from her they receive the Holy Communion; by her they are married and by her they are buried, and sent off to the heavenly Jerusalem.

Regrettably, in the UK Mothering Sunday has been secularized into Mothers' Day. while in the USA the official, national Mothers' Day occurs on the Second Sunday in May, allowing churches — if they are orthodox — on March 18 to celebrate the Church as the Bride of Christ and the Mother of the faithful while not forgetting God the Father, for you cannot have Almighty God as your Father unless the Church is first your Mother!

The Book of Common Prayer (1662 & 1928) has both the traditional Epistle (Galatians 4) and Gospel (John 6) as the Lessons for Holy Communion for the fourth Sunday in Lent.


do visit

--Peter Toon

St Patrick's famous prayer –the Breastplate

Saturday 17 Patrick of Ireland

The beautiful prayer of St. Patrick, popularly known as "St. Patrick's Breast-Plate", is supposed to have been composed by him in preparation for a major victory over Paganism. The following is a literal translation from the old Irish text:

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism, The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial, The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension, The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the love of seraphim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the hope of resurrection unto reward, In prayers of Patriarchs, In predictions of Prophets, In preaching of Apostles, In faith of Confessors, In purity of holy Virgins, In deeds of righteous men.

I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks.

I bind to myself today
God's Power to guide me,
God's Might to uphold me,
God's Wisdom to teach me,
God's Eye to watch over me,
God's Ear to hear me,
God's Word to give me speech,
God's Hand to guide me,
God's Way to lie before me,
God's Shield to shelter me,
God's Host to secure me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me, Whether far or near, Whether few or with many.

I invoke today all these virtues
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets, Against the black laws of heathenism, Against the false laws of heresy, Against the deceits of idolatry, Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids, Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.

Christ, protect me today
Against every poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against death-wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ in the poop [deck],
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.


The recent perusal of a paperback book of sermons by the Lady Primate of TEC entitled A Wing and a Prayer (Feb 07, Morehouse) has further convinced me of the very great spiritual danger there is in the use of the Service of Baptism in The Episcopal Prayer Book of 1979. In particular, it is the use of its "Baptismal Covenant" which the Lady Primate made a central feature of her installation in Washington National Cathedral recently.

Now I concede that with a lot of charity, it is possible to read the Service of Baptism in the 1979 Book as if it were truly a genuine Rite to administer the Dominical Sacrament. In fact, I think that many priests have brought to it a doctrine of Baptism (gained from the classic editions of the BCP editions) and many still do so. However, its real meaning is in the radical theology of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The liberal, progressive reading and use of this Baptismal Rite since 1979 has been to negate Baptism as the Sacrament of Regeneration (birth & entry into the Church, the kingdom of God and eternal life, with the forgiveness of sins) and make it the Sacrament of (liberal, progressive) social Activism. That is, everyone baptized by this Rite is made a member of a community whose primary calling is to be the advocates and bringers of peace and justice ( e.g. via the U. N. Millennium Goals) and to respect the dignity of all persons (e.g., to take people, just as they are, in their "God-given orientation"). That this is how it is understood is clear from the stated themes and agendas of successive General Conventions, the many references to it by Frank Griswold when Presiding Bishop, learned articles on it in Episcopal sources, and, very recently, the sermons/talks of the Lady Primate. In fact, since their theism is nearer to Pantheism than to classic Trinitarian Theism, then these liberal progressive Episcopalians are committed to deity as deity is in, through and with the cosmos and world. The immanence of God is what they emphasize. There is little or no provision for the transcendent, supernatural life of the age to come and the new heavens and new earth brought in by the act of God as the transcendent Lord. The Gospel is for them good news of the improvement of this world for the benefit of human beings therein; salvation is not from sin but from poverty, discrimination and the like.

I must confess that it is a constant surprise and great pain to me to see that the "orthodox" who resist "the revisionists" in the Episcopal Church (I mean of course members of the Anglican Communion Network, the Anglican Mission in the Americas and so on) actually use this Rite and think it is fine. Further, I was really horrified a few months ago to read how the Network Bishops used the Baptismal Covenant as the basis of their claimed profession of orthodox faith to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Amazing indeed! It will be difficult for me ever to forget this!

This week is released my Essay/Booklet of 64 pages entitled: MYSTICAL WASHING & SPIRITUAL REGENERATION. In it I do three things: (a) state with clarity the received Anglican doctrine of Baptism as a Sacrament of the Gospel of Jesus; (b) explain the work of The Episcopal Church in the rejection of this classic doctrine, and the creation of a new doctrine of Baptism to fit its pantheism/panentheism and liberal progressive social views; and (c) offer the classic 1662 Services of Baptism and Confirmation in contemporary English. I do the latter with a view to (i) helping people learn anew or afresh what is the received dynamic teaching in these classic Services, and (ii) making it possible for "orthodox" Episcopalians to use this TEXT/RITE instead of that of 1979 as a sure way of proclaiming the Gospel and being free of the "revisionism" of The Episcopal Church. [Note the same service is printed in larger format in The Mandate for March/April, 2007 which can be read and downloaded from ]

To purchase using a credit card a single copy of MYSTICAL WASHING please go to: and for multiple copies at reduced price call 1-800-PBS-1928.

I shall be pleased to received informed comments from those who do read the Essay and/or use the Service.

Thank you very much,

Dr Peter Toon (

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

New Booklet on Baptism from the PBS

Infant Baptism and the renewal of the Anglican Way in America
(an important and timely 64 page booklet by Peter Toon on a burning modern topic, available at ; or in bulk from 1-800-727-1928)

One important theme of this Essay is that the renewal of the biblically-based, classic Anglican Way will not occur until and unless (amongst other important things) Anglicans take seriously the Sacrament of Baptism, and in particular this Sacrament as administered to children, followed by Confirmation. The meaning and purpose of Baptism has been seriously distorted by the leadership of The Episcopal Church over the last thirty years and, further, the Sacrament has often been seriously neglected by those claiming to be “orthodox.”

The Great Commission of Jesus (Matthew 28 & Mark 16) includes going out to preach the Gospel, making converts, baptizing them and teaching them. In current discussion of this Commission and in contemporary theories of church growth, little seems to be made of Baptism, especially that of Infants. In fact, it is as if Baptism is not in the Commission but has been replaced by the need to have a specific experience of Christ (“making a decision”) which one can claim as the beginning of one’s Christian life. In Scripture, the Early Fathers and the classic Reformers it is Baptism that is the real beginning of the Christian life.

In this booklet you will find a clear summary of the teaching concerning Baptism in the Anglican Formularies (Articles, Prayer Book & Catechism); the reasons why Infant Baptism is pleasing to the Lord Jesus; what follows Infant Baptism in Christian initiation and nurture; the relation of Baptism to Regeneration and to Conversion; and a contemporary English form of the services of Baptism and Confirmation from the BCP 1662. It is probable that the latter will be used-in preference to the flawed text in the 1979 Prayer Book- by renewal congregations both inside and outside The Episcopal Church.

The price at includes package and postage for one copy; for multiple copies at discounted rates call 1-800-PBS-1928, or e mail

The contemporary language BCP Baptism Service in larger print than in the Booklet may be read and downloaded in The Mandate (March-April 2007) at