Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Err Toward Grace!

Pr. Larry "Father Hollywood" Beane hits another winner with this post entitled "When Does Death Occur?" His blog has been exceptional lately. Go visit--or better, put it on your blogreader. A snippet:

I remember a discussion back in seminary in one of Professor Marquart's classes concerning the question of baptizing a child that has just been pronounced dead - perhaps minutes or even hours ago. His advice: baptize the child. His rationale was that we don't know when the spirit actually leaves the body. What can it hurt to conduct the baptism and commit the child to God's mercy?

It's hard to argue with his logic.
He concludes by writing that if we err, we should err on the side of grace, a worthy statement. I wonder what other implications this may have?


  1. -C said...

    I've thought about this before, but am left with a question: Would God have less mercy on an unbaptized child in these circumstances?

  2. Christopher D. Hall said...

    I don't know. I was thinking another implication for our piety, but I'll wait to see if it comes up with anyone else.

    I guess to answer your question, though, I would say it is impossible to speak of more or less mercy when it comes to God. How can we measure infinity? How can we say there is a decrease in God's compassion?

  3. -C said...

    My thoughts precisely, Pr. Hall. I don't think it's up to us to determine the exact scope of God's mercy, which is broader than any of us can imagine .

    Yet, I would say that Christians must approach God's grace and mercy carefully, lest we fall into thinking that we can preach and teach and do anything we want to, because God's grace gets us "off the hook." I struggled a bit with this as a Luthean myself. It's the notion of "cheap grace" which Bonhoeffer so clearly addressed in many of his writings.

  4. Rev. Eric J Brown said...

    I had the honor of baptizing a man on his death bed. I saw him draw a breath and baptized him. I never saw him draw another breath. It was a . . . it was an experience.