Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Power of Baptism

There's something in Narnia that always confused me.  Always.  In The Last Battle, at the end of the book, one of the Calormenes ends up in Aslan's Country.  (In case you've never read the books, this suggests that devotees of a false god will be saved if they have misunderstood their god and imagined him to be like the true God, so that they were kinda sorta worshiping the true God even though they didn't know Him by His true name.)

What would this say about baptism?

Is what we think about God the important thing, the main thing?  What about baptism, where God places His name upon us?

Can people misunderstand what their religion teaches, believing falsely when the truth is taught, OR believing rightly when falsehoods are taught?  Yes, obviously.  Can people die in the faith prior to receiving the gift of baptism?  Yes, of course.  But what happens in baptism --to be made a child of God-- is no small potatoes.  It makes a difference.  It changes who we are.  It gives us access to God. 

And I can't figure out how that fits with this tiny section of The Last Battle of Narnia.


  1. Is it maybe a demonstration of what Pieper called the "Felicitous Inconsistency?"

    This is a gut reaction. I haven't read the book, so I don't about the role of Baptism in the story.

    (maybe if I haven't read the book, I should keep my mouth shut? lol)

  2. :)

    I thought Pieper's felicitous inconsistency was about how Christians could believe wrongly about certain articles of doctrine and yet still trust in Christ. This part of the Narnia story, though, would essentially be the same thing as a Muslim spending his whole life worshiping Allah, but thinking that Allah was merciful and loving.

    But then the question becomes "What IS it for God to be merciful and loving?" It's not just that He wants us to be nice. But that He sacrifices Himself. Can people "misunderstand" Judaism or Islam or Hinduism to be about a self-sacrificing God who joins Himself to undeserving sinners? I don't know.

    how important is His name?

    If you called God "Satan" but still understood Him to be the way the Bible describes the true God to be, would it matter that you had the wrong name attached to Him?

  3. You are right. For some reason I was thinking heterdoxy instead of a fundamentally different religion.

    Re: His name, should we be saying "Yeshua?"

    Good question.

  4. I know some people care a LOT that we say the right vocables for God's name. "Jeee-zuz" or "Hay-zuse" are not okay; only "Yesh-oo-ah" is, they say. I can't explain coherently why I think it's nonsense to say that it doesn't matter how we say His name (in English or Chinese or Spanish or German) and yet it DOES matter whether we say His name "Lord" or "Allah" or "Satan." (I understand that "Allah" really is only the language equivalent of "God" and that some Muslims who become Christians call the true Lord "Allah" just like I call Him "God" sometimes instead of by a more specific name. That's not what I'm talking about though.)