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8 Posts

Posted - 15 Mar 2010 :  16:16:03  

Here is another question about grammar in the Holy Scriptures. I have heard it claimed that in Mark 16:16, the phrase 'ο πιστευσας και βαπτισθεις σωθησεται' implies, because of the ordering of the words, that faith must precede baptism (as an argument by certain protestants against the tradition of infant baptism).
Now, in English, such a conjunction would not by any means afford grounds for inferring any chronological order. Nor am I familiar with any reasons why such an inference would be permitted by the Greek; I also assume that there is no grammatical reason for such an inference, since the Fathers who natively spoke ancient Greek never made such an inference and since such an inference is certainly no part of the tradition of the Church. Also, comparison to a similar use of conjunctions and the aorist tense in James 2:11 appears to confirm that no ordering is grammatically implied.
However, I am just wondering if anyone with more knowledge of Greek can shed any light on whether I am correct in thinking that there are no grammatical grounds for inferring a chronological order?



615 Posts

Posted - 15 Mar 2010 :  17:39:37  



There is no necessary chronological order in this scheme - however, it does mean that salvation requires both of these actions. In this ground a protestant perhaps would ask, what the point of baptism might be, when faith is not even possible! A right question, in my opinion.

There is a difference here which is not doctrinal, but social. Protestants developed a rather individualistic approach towards God, while Orthodox saw the way of salvation inside a community.

As a father I wouldn't like to keep anything good away from my children. This is why a give them baptism, believing and hoping that they will provide their faith when the time comes, this way telling them in the most clear and decisive manner what I think as good and what I hope for them too, helping them as much as I can.

Other reasons exist besides this, since a child must have a name. What kind of name should I give to my children, how will I call them, if I wait for them to come to an x age in order to be baptised? Unless name giving and baptism are separated, which is absurd.

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8 Posts

Posted - 16 Mar 2010 :  05:53:21  


Well, of course many, maybe most, Protestants practice infant baptism, and the practice is certainly rooted in the traditions of the Church and is theologically understood. However, some of the more extreme groups among Protestants claim that a chronological order between faith and baptism is necessary , and one justified this by citing Mk. 16:16 as evidence (without any further analysis of the grammar, just the assertion that an ordering was implied). Which seemed strange to me (the citation, that is) since I thought this was just a plain conjunction with no particular order implied, as you confirmed, but my Greek is quite limited, so I did not trust my own analysis completely.

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