I am usually skeptical about liturgical revision. And I’ve long derided mainline churches’ propensity to confess the sins of others rather than their own. So it will not surprise that I look with a jaundiced eye upon proposed changes in the Church of England’s baptism rite.
David Koyzis succinctly points out the chief problem with the proposed language – it does indeed enable those who’d rather confess other people’s evil.
I can reject the evil found in oppressive systems out there or in the pettiness of my neighbour next door. But I needn’t look into my own heart. I can, if I like, but the altered rite itself seems not to require it. By contrast, if I am asked, “Do you repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbour?”, I am compelled to look within, to weigh my own heart in the balance and actively to renounce certain destructive tendencies within myself.
But the one who has opened my eyes to the sheer awfulness of the proposed rite is one with which I have had my disagreements, one who is certainly not a mossback uberorthodox reactionary such as yours truly. Yet Bishop Pete Broadbent has cut the proposed rite down to size, calling it “baptism lite”. A few highlights:
3. Where is the truth that we are rebels against God expressed?
4. Where is repentance from sin?
5. Where is renunciation of the devil and evil? ("reject" is a much weaker word - I can reject your ideas, but I need to reject and renounce the devil and evil)
6. Where is the sense that Christ is Saviour - and that we need saving?
His whole post is quite short; he cuts apart the proposed rite very well with only a few thrusts of his virtual sword. So go read for yourself.
FWIW, it would not surprise me to see the proposed language go down in flames. That is certainly where it belongs.