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Muddying the Waters of Baptism: The Theology Committee's Report on Baptism, Confirmation, and Christian Formation

James F. Turrell

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This article examines the 2005 report of the Theology Committee of the House of Bishops, “Forming Christians: Reflections on Baptism, Confirmation, and Christian Formation.” It finds that contributors to the report misunderstand the liturgical theology of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, propose the introduction of an initiatory theology alien to the Prayer Book, and neglect the history of baptism and confirmation in the West. Additionally, a survey of bishops’ practices within the report shows that many either reject or do not understand the clear statements of the Prayer Book and canons concerning initiation. The article proposes that confirmation and reception be eliminated, to be replaced by the sole, repeatable, and optional rite of reaffirmation of baptismal vows.

 
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