On the Road to Middle East Peace, the Devil is in the Details

Detail #1 is the fact that President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Mahmoud Abbas doesn’t have the authority with his own people to make it stick:

Whether these talks succeed or collapse, this will probably be the last task for the aging Palestinian leader, also known as Abu Mazen. At 75, Abbas, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) since November 2004, is ailing and an increasingly unpopular figure in the Palestinian street.

A series of setbacks has rocked his presidency since he succeeded his boss, Yasser Arafat, in 2004. It started with a political rift with Hamas, the grassroots Islamic party that swept parliamentary elections in 2006 and which since June 2007 has governed the Gaza portion of the Palestinian Territories. Abbas had tried to disarm the group in 2003, when serving as prime minister under Arafat, creating a permanent rift with Palestinian guerrillas from different ends of the political spectrum.

And this takeaway is significant:

The Israeli war on Gaza in 2008-2009 did not break Hamas’ power, much to Abbas’ displeasure. Abbas tried to drown the high-profile United Nations report blaming Israel for the war, further tarnishing his image among ordinary Palestinians who increasingly saw him as an American stooge.

It’s one of those dilemmas of Arab politics that many on this side of the pond just don’t get: a significant portion of the leadership of the Arab world need the Israelis to succeed every now and then, even though they despise the Jewish state.  Another example of this is Iran: Israel right at the moment is the only effective counterweight to Iran’s budding nuclear capabilities, something Sunni Arab states on the south side of the Gulf are all too aware of.

It’s another proof, in my view, that Barack Obama is not a Muslim.  A Muslim, especially one with the purposed sophistication of our President, would have a better handle on the complexities of the way the game is played in the Middle East.  Obama too often acts like what he is, a 1960’s style idealist radical who is looking for the greatest mirage the desert has ever known.

What do you expect us to do with it, give it to the poor?

This priceless anecdote, from a recent conversation re confirmation on StandFirm:

Another move, no LCMS (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod), no CRC (Christian Reformed Church), but an invitation to teach Adult Bible Class at the Episcopal Church (dismal failure; Episcopalians generally have little interest in reading, mush less studying, the Bible). This was before the 1979 revisions were in place in that parish so the liturgy was almost word for word what I grew up with in the LCMS The hymns were for the most part unsingable, but you can’t have everything.  I took the adult confirmation class…twice. I backed away from confirmation the first time because of a crass remark about how much money the parish was sitting on; I expressed surprise that the parish had that much money in the bank and the priest said, “What do you expect us to do with it, give it to the poor?”  I was a full time volunteer with Habitat for Humanity working as Director of Family and Children’s Services (no pay, but a title that allowed the schools and welfare department to treat me as an equal).  I knew considerably more about the plight of the “poor” in the community than the priest could comprehend.  I needed a church home, took the class again, the bishop came and I was officially confirmed in the Episcopal Church.  I worked Alter Guild, sang in the choir, served as a Reader, coached a friend through his required Bible study to become a Deacon, filled the pulpit on one occasion, and moved out of state when they tried to draft me for the Vestry.

I guess it’s stuff like the Rector blurted out about the bank account that gave me such a jaundiced view of the Episcopal Church (or any other Main Line church for that matter) being a suitable instrument of social justice.

Her comments about Episcopalians’ studied disinterest in the Bible rings true as well.  As far as the difficulty in singing traditional Anglican hymns is concerned,  I managed to master the 1940 Hymnal in our paid youth choir, so I never understood my mother’s gripes about it.

But I will have to admit one thing: I never knew of anyone who fled the state to avoid serving on a Vestry.

Élite Panic: A Lesson From Katrina, A Lesson for Today

Rebecca Solnit at The Nation may have unwittingly stumbled upon something in her fifth anniversary article on Katrina:

Those in power, on the other hand, often run amok. They did in San Francisco in 1906, when an obsessive fear that private property would be misappropriated led to the mayor’s shoot-to-kill proclamation; a massive military and national guard on the streets; and the death of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of civilians. Much like New Orleans ninety-nine years later, those who claimed to be protecting society were themselves the ones who were terrorizing and shooting. Earlier this year, Haitians were subjected to a similar rampage of what the disaster sociologists Lee Clarke and Caron Chess call “elite panic.” (emphasis mine) For example, 15-year-old Fabienne Cherisma was shot to death in late January in Port-au-Prince for taking some small paintings from a shop in ruins, one of many casualties of the institutional obsession with protecting property instead of rescuing the trapped, the suffering and the needy.

Surviving the new era, in which climate change is already causing more, and more intense, disasters, means being prepared—with the truth. The truth is that in a disaster, ordinary people behave well overall; your chances of surviving a major disaster depend in part on the health and strength of your society going into it. Even so, countless individuals under corrupt governments, in New Orleans, in Mexico City, in Port-au-Prince, often rise to the occasion with deeply altruistic, creative and brave responses. These are the norm. The savagery of elite panic is the exception, but one that costs lives.

Let me add something Ms. Solnit overlooks: black people, tragic as their situations were, weren’t the only victims of élite panic in the wake of Katrina.

Fast forward to today: we have a disaster called the economy.  Haven’t we been seeing élite panic run amok?  Isn’t that was Henry Paulson experiencing when he initiated the bailout and everyone went along with him?  Isn’t that what’s driven the stimulus?  Isn’t that what’s driving the endless bawling and demonising going on now that things aren’t working according to our élites’ desires?  As Ms. Solnit notes, “…in a disaster, ordinary people behave well overall.”  Were that not the case, we should be seeing much worse than we are with the unemployment and foreclosure levels we have.

The question now remains: when this disaster is done, will there be an Eric Holder, crusading to indict those élites who panicked and committed atrocious things?  Not if our élites can help it!

National Service Committee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal: Newsletter, June-August 1981

In digging through some archives, I’ve put together three issues of the newsletter of the National Service Committee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal for June-August 1981.

There was nothing special in the selection, just what I had available.

There is one noteworthy event covered in the June issue: the meeting of Ralph Martin and other leaders with Pope John Paul II in Rome.  I remember seeing a video of the event where Martin knelt before the Pope before embracing him.  The newsletter doesn’t show the kneeling.  Charismatic leaders at the time made a big deal out of this, although in view of subsequent events I don’t think their optimism was well placed.

Book Review: Andreas Killen's 1973 Nervous Breakdown

The New York Times‘ Maureen Dowd’s recent comments about the US having a nervous breakdown with the widespread reaction to Barack Obama, the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy and the like makes me think of an era when the country had a real nervous breakdown: the 1970’s.  In the wake of the 1960’s, with all of the cultural overturning and the Vietnam War, the US came much closer to coming unglued than most people who came after realise–or most people who lived through it will admit.  Sometimes it seems to be difficult to get meaningful discussion going about the era, but City College of New York professor Andreas Killen gives it “the old college try” (sorry!) with his book 1973 Nervous Breakdown: Watergate, Warhol and the Birth of Post-Sixties America.

Killen’s book starts with the assumption that 1973 was the pivotal year of the decade.  He’s got a strong case going for him: it was the formal end of the Vietnam War, the time when the Watergate scandal spilled into American televisions and radios, the first Arab oil embargo which began the wild energy ride that defined the decade economically.  It’s as good a point as any to say that the 1960’s officially “ran out of gas” and the culture reached a turning point.  For me personally, it was the year I graduated from prep school, a time when my own life was making some significant transitions.

So how well does Killen, who obviously didn’t live through the era, accomplish his task?  There are pluses and minuses to his presentation.

First, the pluses: his recounting of the major events of the year is generally good.  In addition to the major events I’ve already mentioned, he hits some others, such as the hijacking craze, the first reality show (An American Family), the return of the Vietnam POW’s (including John McCain, who hadn’t run for President at the time Killen wrote his book), the Kohoutek comet (I was amused at this, I went to Texas A&M with a Kohoutek), the Fifties “revival,” and the Symbionese Liberation Army, who kidnapped/recruited Patty Hurst.  Throughout his recitation of all of these and other events, he faithfully recreates all of the psychodrama that went with them.  That adds an element of realism that’s hard to overestimate: it was an era when just about everything you said was a Freudian slip and everything that you and everyone else did was couched in psychological (real or pop) terms.  The whole era was, in many ways, a theatre of the mind, and Killen does a good job recapturing that.  He also recaptures the paranoia and conspiracy theory mood of the era on both sides of the political spectrum, something that obviously hasn’t decamped from the American scene.

The biggest minus–and it appears in the middle of the book–is his overemphasis on Andy Warhol.  Warhol is definitely an important figure in American pop culture, but by this time he had become a recluse, and in any case there was a great deal more going on than Andy Warhol.  That overemphasis skews his whole presentation of the pop culture of the time, which in turn degrades from his attempt to use the various works that he does to portray the times.  That’s something that comes off better in a book like Modris Ekstein’s Rites of Spring; Killen’s effort seems both biased and unfocused.

His presentation of the religious trends of the year is mercifully brief.  His focus on “fundamentalist Christian sects”  includes the Children of God and the Moonies, both of which qualify as cults–in the eyes of their “fundamentalist” counterparts.  He notes that TBN was founded in 1973, but “Paul and Ann Crouch” should read “Paul and Jan Crouch.”  In any case it’s interesting to note that the 1970’s, which in Killen’s opinion “…for gays, the decade…represented, in retrospect at least, a golden age,” was also a golden age for Jesus Music as well, suggesting a social dynamic that has long decamped from our society.  One thing that Christian readers will find disconcerting about the book is the language he sometimes quotes, but, as I found out writing this, it’s difficult to document the era without vulgarity.

The best takeaway from the book is the fact that 1973 was the turning point in our culture from modernity to post-modernity.  It’s easy to forget that the 1960’s, which are generally depicted as a revolt from “traditional values,” were also a revolt from modernity.  Killen’s illustration of that is the demolition of the Pruitt-Igoe housing project in St. Louis, that modernist dream in steel and concrete by architect Minoru Yamasaki.  (Yamasaki’s other notable project was the World Trade Centre, which suffered a demolition of a completely different kind.  I’m tempted to think that Killen originally wanted to draw a parallel between the two events, but his editor put a stop to that.)  Students of post-modernity would do well to understand the nature of this turning point.

Personally I found the book fascinating; Killen brings up events that I had not thought about in a long time and brought up some that passed me by when they happened.  After ending my secondary education in that fateful year, I went on to Texas A&M.  The conservatism of that school, and the general unreality of being a traditional college student, made me oblivious to many (but not all) of the trends going on around me.  When I graduated and entered the workforce, I began to realise that something profound had changed in our society.  Killen helps to make that change more identifiable.

At the end of the book Killen tells us that “…the crises of the 1970’s are not so easily buried; indeed they have reemerged with new intensity in our own time.”  Our renewed national upheaval underscores that fact. 1973 Nervous Breakdown: Watergate, Warhol and the Birth of Post-Sixties America isn’t the definitive book on the era, but it’s a reasonable start.

Obama Becomes Nixon: Going After WikiLeaks

It’s amazing what happens when the shoe is on the other foot:

Pentagon lawyers believe that online whistleblower group WikiLeaks acted illegally in disclosing thousands of classified Afghanistan war reports and other material, and federal prosecutors are exploring possible criminal charges, officials familiar with the matter said.

A joint investigation by the Army and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is still in its early stages and it is unclear what course the Department of Justice will decide to take, according to a U.S. law-enforcement official.

He said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange had not been identified by the FBI as a target of the probe.

WikiLeaks in late July posted on its website some 76,000 classified military documents, the largest such disclosure since the release of the Pentagon Papers in 1971. It has promised to publish another 15,000 documents from the cache it obtained. The disclosure infuriated the Pentagon, which warned that the release could endanger allies in Afghanistan and undercut the war effort.

On this site is Sen. Daniel Inouye’s (D-HI) “ambush” of former Nixon administration official John Erlichmann during the Watergate hearings re the Ellsberg “Pentagon Papers” case.  (Inouye is still in the Senate.)  At the time the left heralded the release of these papers–which detailed the US’ growing involvement in the Vietnam War–as a great thing.

Now that the left is in the driver’s seat things are different…but that’s what you get when you do things that go against your core principles.  Barack Obama has no business pursuing a war in Afghanistan, let alone going after Wikileaks.

Self-Financing Isn't the Whole Deal In Elections

Not in Florida, at least:

Despite dumping record-breaking dollars into their maverick political campaigns, self-financed candidates Rick Scott and Jeff Greene trail their opponents heading into Tuesday’s primary, according to a new Mason-Dixon poll released late Saturday.

Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum now leads Scott 45-36 percent in the survey of likely Republican voters, reversing numbers that had him trailing the former hospital chain executive.

Democrat Kendrick Meek, the congressman from Miami, has opened up a 42-30 percent lead over Greene, the independently wealthy real estate mogul. Fresh off visits from President Obama and Bill Clinton this week, Meek shows strong support among the most reliable Democrats: African American voters, said Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker.

“Wealth helps, but it can only get you so far,” Coker said. “I still think a wealthy businessperson can win in Florida, but they have to have had strong ties to their local communities and charities.”

As campaigns get more and more expensive, the temptation for those of substantial net worth to use that to win elections becomes greater.  And the temptation of those who run against such people to gripe becomes greater to, as I noted a few months ago here re Tennessee’s Third District race:

the U.S. House Third District (TN) Republican candidate’s (Robin Smith’s) campaign manager lashes out against Mike Huckabee’s endorsement of her opponent:

“Given Huckabee’s history of denouncing candidates for office that contribute large sums of money to their campaigns in order to win elections, it is curious that he would choose to support the candidate who has ‘raised‘ 73% of his campaign funds from his back pocket.

She (Smith) reiterated the charge at the Hamilton County Pachyderm Club today, touting her own lack of resources and superior fund-raising ability.

As I said at the time, I think it’s disingenuous for Republicans to gripe about self-financed campaigns.  After all, aren’t we supposed to be about the politics of personal economic success?  Isn’t it our money?  Or are we going to slide into the politics of resentment?

In any case, although it’s very difficult to win an election without a great deal of money at your disposal, self-financing isn’t the automatic ticket to success.  As the Herald article noted, you still need to “press the flesh” and make personal contact with your constituencies.  Money isn’t everything, as Jon Corzine found out in NJ last year and Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina are finding out in their tough races in California.

It’s also interesting to note that self-financed candidates appear in both major parties.  The Florida statewide races have one of each and in each party, the Democrat (Jeff Greene) being from Palm Beach.  Home town pride put aside, I think those who still think of the Democrats as the “party of the people” better think again.

Making Progress Moving Away From Civil Marriage, and a Note about the "Ground Zero Mosque" Controversy

I was encouraged to see the Anglican Curmudgeon’s piece Keeping Religion out of Politics, and Vice Versa.  You can see my immediate comments on that post, but it’s heartening to finally see some movement on the “conservative” side of the debate over same sex civil marriage towards getting ride of civil marriage altogether.  Earlier this month I did a piece entitled Civil Marriage: It Is Time for a Divorce.  The article that inspired it came from David Harsanyi, who is a libertarian atheist.

I’ve been plodding away at this cause (and I’m not much on causes, as many of you know) for the last three years.  There are good reasons on both sides of this debate why civil marriage needs to be abolished.  The biggest problem has been to get people to think past their conventional concepts.  In some ways, I’m surprised that we’re still debating the issue of civil marriage in 2010.

I’m inclined to think that there are those on the left (especially in the LGBT community) who are as down on civil marriage as I am.  But their leadership has decided to pursue same sex civil marriage, and in the process has drowned out more libertarian and really progressive voices.  That’s in part due to the judicial (if not electoral) victories that same sex civil marriage has racked up.  But they’ll see how much fun it is to be on the side of “inequality” when the polygamists sue…

And, of course, there’s the de facto abolition of civil marriage by the dropping marriage rate…

One thing I have found in this debate is the deafening silence of my own church people.  My posts are linked to at Facebook and my church has a blogosphere.  But in all of the posts I have put up on this subject, I have gotten only one response (from a layman, and it was favourable.)  I know many of my church people are passionate on “traditional” marriage in my church, but none of them–church leaders, the church’s academia, and the like–have cared to respond.  That’s one reason why I’m inclined to take my energies for discussing anything elsewhere.

Speaking of energetic debate, I’d like to make a few comments on this “Ground Zero Mosque” or “Cordoba Project” business.

The first is to refer to my post Strange Bedfellows: Liberals and Muslims.  There is an odd alliance between the two and I think it needs to be discussed.  One thing I discuss in piece is the eviction of the Kingsway International Christian Centre by London mayor Ken “Red” Livingstone for a large mosque near the site of the 2012 Olympics.

The second is to note that the complicating factor with Islam is that Islam is a religion and political system rolled into one.  Our Western line of thought hasn’t quite figured out how to deal with that, in part because of its Christian heritage.  I’d like to commend to my readers my earlier post Pope Benedict XVI and Ferdinand Lot On the Christian and the State.

The third is to note the obvious: there are many projects that don’t get built in New York City.  It’s that simple.  Just look at Ground Zero itself.  Few places on earth suffer from more politicisation, NIMBY, and litigation about building any major structure than New York.  Why should any group of people waltz in, drop US$100,000,000 or so, and do what they want without a big stink?  As one columnist noted, Mayor Bloomberg could have saved everyone a lot of trouble with a few well placed phone calls.

Beyond that, let’s focus on religious structures.  It’s just about impossible for any evangelical church to build a large sanctuary in a major Western city.  To start with, it’s dreadfully expensive.  Beyond that, if an evangelical church was to be able to raise the funds for such an enterprise, just think about the hue and cry about the “bigots” and “homophobes” coming to the neighbourhood.  From a purely political standpoint, why should we support this when we can’t get our own ecclesiastical pipe dreams realised?

I doubt these days that Christians are the better off for getting their ecclesiastical pipe dreams put into steel and concrete.  Our President and others are correct in saying that we have freedom of religion in this country, although I don’t see what they’re doing to forward that part of our Constitutional agenda.  But the blunt truth is that building anything in a major city is an opportunity for a spirited game of political football, and until that changes this mosque should expect no exception from that kind of dynamic.

There is Nothing Obvious About Barack Obama. And That Includes His Religion.

Irrespective of what Obama’s porte-parole might say:

White House spokesman Bill Burton said most Americans care more about the economy and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and “they are not reading a lot of news about what religion the president is.” He commented on Air Force One as Obama headed for a vacation in Massachusetts on Martha’s Vineyard.

Burton added, “The president is obviously a Christian. He prays everyday.”

When I was an undergraduate in mechanical engineering, I always knew I was in trouble when the professor (or the textbook) stated that something was “intuitively obvious.”  It may have been obvious to the professor and the writer of the book, but at that point in my education it wasn’t obvious to me.  Ever since that time, I’ve always taken statements like Burton’s with a grain of salt.

Barack Obama is the most enigmatic president the US has ever had.  To say something is “obvious” about his personality is either disingenuous or ignorant, especially when you’re paid to say things like that.  Burton (along with a lot of other people) should realise that, just because someone prays, he or she isn’t necessarily a Christian.  Muslims, for example, pray five times a day.

And that brings us to the other point of the article: one out of every four Americans thinks that Obama is a Muslim.  That’s not only not obvious, it’s more than likely not correct.  If it were so, the LGBT community wouldn’t be rolling up the victories it is these days.

One thing that bothers me about Americans is that they, on the whole, consider it worse for Obama to be a Muslim than Obama to be a secularist.  Looking at his agenda objectively, the latter is far more likely than the former.  Yet, even after a fifty year struggle to defeat a left-wing atheistic movement which cost us far more in “blood and treasure” than the war on terror did (including 9/11), Americans still get more riled up about the possible Muslim in the White House than the more probable left-wing secularist.

Catechises, the Preparation for Baptism and Discipleship

This is the third in a sporadic series on the Catechetical Lectures of St. Cyril of Jerusalem.  The previous article in the series is Catechises and Baptismal Regeneration.

In the last piece, I discussed the whole issue of baptismal regeneration and how belief in same was not incompatible with a true transformation of the person through the power of Jesus Christ provided it wasn’t mixed with infant baptism. Now let’s turn the tables and look at this from the other angle: do those who practice believers’ baptism really accomplish what they say they do by restricting it to those who have, in someone’s opinion, made a profession for Christ?

Most churches which do not practice pedobaptism will tell you that they only baptise after a person is saved. But how do they know this? I think it’s fair to say that, in the US at least, most attempts to ascertain that a person has experienced the rebirth are perfunctory at best. Pentecostals love to parody the Baptist process: a person goes forward, shakes the preacher’s hand, joins the church and is baptised. And that’s it. If we accept the Baptists’ usual theology which combines an Arminian view of election with a Calvinistic view of predestination, that really suffices. Pentecostals and others in the Wesleyan Holiness tradition don’t, but their connection of a salvation experience and baptism is frequently casual, undermining the significance of the latter (and the latter cannot be made light of in view of the New Testament.)

Cyril’s view of the matter is entirely different.

To start with, in spite of all of the long term effects of Constantine’s legalisation of Christianity, in Cyril’s day becoming a Christian was still regarded as a serious business. Years of persecution—especially in the last half of the third century and the beginning of the fourth—made it necessary to make sure that those who wanted to profess and call themselves Christians were intent on doing so. Added to this was the simple fact that the Roman world was, from a personal morality standpoint, an open sewer. Those who became Christians were expected to renounce that kind of behaviour. The disputes between the orthodox churches and groups such as the Montanists and the Novatians were in part concerning the rigour of the renunciation, not its necessity.

Baptism at a minimum entailed three things: renunciation of the world, an infusion of grace and formally joining the church. Serious sin after baptism was seriously punished. That’s why even the Emperor Constantine waited until he was nearly gone to be baptised; he was afraid that he would transgress the laws of God in the course of his life and actions as Emperor. (And his life demonstrated that his fears were justified.)

All of this being the case, ministers of the Gospel such as Cyril took care in preparing the catechumens for baptism. The lectures that have come down to us are part of that care, and they were not only instructions in doctrine; they were part of the discipleship of the catechumens.

But, as is the case with any good programme of discipleship, it wasn’t just a series of lectures either, but included the following:

  • Repentance and Confession: “If any here is a slave of sin, let him promptly prepare himself through faith for the new birth into freedom and adoption; and having put off the miserable bondage of his sins, and taken on him the most blessed bondage of the Lord, so may he be counted worthy to inherit the kingdom of heaven. Put off, by confession , the old man, which waxes corrupt after the lusts of deceit, that you may put on the new man, which is renewed according to knowledge of Him that created him. Get you the earnest of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:22) through faith, that you may be able to be received into the everlasting habitations. Luke 16:9)” (I, 2) “The present is the season of confession: confess what you have done in word or in deed, by night or by day; confess in an acceptable time, and in the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2)”. (I, 5)
  • Exorcism: “Let your feet hasten to the catechisings; receive with earnestness the exorcisms : whether thou be breathed upon or exorcised, the act is to you salvation. Suppose you have gold unwrought and alloyed, mixed with various substances, copper, and tin, and iron, and lead: we seek to have the gold alone; can gold be purified from the foreign substances without fire? Even so without exorcisms the soul cannot be purified; and these exorcisms are divine, having been collected out of the divine Scriptures.” (Procatechesis, 9) This may sound extreme, but virtually all of Cyril’s students were converts from paganism. As such, they had at one time or another been bonded to one or more gods, and ejecting these beings from their lives was a necessary prerequisite for becoming a Christian. Although the concept of exorcism has suffered from the “demon under every rock” theory beloved by many Charismatics, getting them out up front certainly saves the headache of having to deal with them later.
  • Renunciation of the Devil: This, done at baptism, is a follow-up to the exorcisms: “First ye entered into the vestibule of the Baptistery, and there facing towards the West ye listened to the command to stretch forth your hand, and as in the presence of Satan ye renounced him. Now ye must know that this figure is found in ancient history. For when Pharaoh, that most bitter and cruel tyrant, was oppressing the free and high-born people of the Hebrews, God sent Moses to bring them out of the evil bondage of the Egyptians. Then the door posts were anointed with the blood of a lamb, that the destroyer might flee from the houses which had the sign of the blood; and the Hebrew people was marvellously delivered. The enemy, however, after their rescue, pursued after them (Exodus 14:9, 23), and saw the sea wondrously parted for them; nevertheless he went on, following close in their footsteps, and was all at once overwhelmed and engulfed in the Red Sea.” (XIX, 2) This is enshrined in liturgies such as the 1662 BCP, but I’ve never been to a Pentecostal baptism where those about to be baptised were required to explicitly renounce Satan (and all of the works associated with him, as Cyril notes,) all of the talk of spiritual warfare notwithstanding.
  • Profession of Faith: “Then you were told to say, “I believe in the Father, and in the Son, and in the Holy Ghost, and in one Baptism of repentance. ” Of which things we spoke to you at length in the former Lectures, as God’s grace allowed us.” (XIX, 9) These days sometimes one sees a profession of faith from the baptised, and sometimes one does not…

All of this shows one weakness of the concept of “believers baptism:” in currently fashionable concepts of salvation, the idea that one needs to be a believer first before baptism robs the whole process of baptism as a discipleship opportunity, irrespective of whether you believe in baptismal regeneration (which is a misleading phrase in many ways) or not.