My Big Fat Greek Baptism

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Last night, Sharon and I decided to veg and watch a movie after the kids went to sleep.  We pulled out the video of My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  As many of you know, this is a charming, funny movie about a 30 year old Greek woman who is finally getting married, but just not to a Greek guy.  Her family flips out, but he is so willing to become Greek that everything ends happily.

What struck me especially was the scene when Liam (the Anglo fiancee) gets baptized so that they can get married in the Greek Orthodox Church.  He has no apparent faith in Jesus, he receives no instruction, and he doesn't even understand what the priest is saying (although I did, thanks to Westminster Theological Seminary!).  He just submits to the ritual and he is good to go. This, of course, gave me a major case of the heeby-jeebies, particularly in light of some of emphasis being placed on baptism today.  While watching the movie baptism, I could hear the many voices in Reformed circles calling out that "baptism makes you a Christian."  Now, no one that I know is advocating the use of baptism depicted in the movie.  But, knowing how the human heart is in its ceaseless desire to substitute works and rituals in the place of vital, inward religion, My Big Fat Greek Baptism demonstrates the need to exercise great care when we are speaking about sacramental grace.  Following the Westminster Confession, we believe in the grace of baptism to strengthen and increase faith (XIV.1).  But with the apostle Peter, we also believe that the "removal of dirt from the body" does not save, but only that baptism which consists of "an appeal to God for a good conscience" (1 Pet. 3:21).  If we do not demand that proper care be made in making this distinction, I wonder how long it will be until the situation depicted in the movie becomes all too real in our churches.
Posted June 12, 2007 @ 2:24 PM by Rick Phillips
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