Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Joining The Conversation

With the kind indulgence of both Sean Gallagher and Glen Davis, I have joined their dialogue. For those not following it, Sean and Glen have started a dialogue reflecting on the essentials of Christianity from both a Catholic and pentecostal perspective. Their current thread is focusing on who is a Christian, with the current subtopic being baptism. For the full background on the topic, please take a look at these three posts of Sean's over at Nota Bene and these three posts of Glen at his blog. (Naturally, some overlap between these posts.) I have entered the conversation on this subtopic of baptism, attempting to provide a couple of reflections spelling out some of the Catholic understanding of baptism and Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus in John 3:5.

First, let me give well-deserved credit to Sean and Glen for beginning this dialogue. I think it is one of the best things I have read in St. Blog's for some time now. Also, note that it is a dialogue, not a debate. It's a conversation between two (now three) Christians hoping to understand better what the other believes and wanting to help the other understand better what one believes. I have always felt that this type of dialogue is wonderful. Having been involved in evangelical groups during my college and law school days, I have had a chance to participate in some before. I think, at times, Christians worry about engaging in dialogue such as this because they know differences and disagreements will surface. That's a shame. If done with the respect and honesty that Sean and Glen have shown, I think the end result is two Christians more aware of what they share and a deeper love for one another as brothers in Christ, despite the doctrinal differences. I'm also thankful to participate given my own experiences in Chi Alpha, the campus ministry of which Glen is a part. Call me a bit nostalgic for those college days. I have a great respect for Chi Alpha and the work they do, and treasure the role they played in my own deepening conversion during college.

Now I don't intend to make myself a nuisance in this dialogue. Too many cooks could make it cumbersome. Instead, I will add thoughts or questions where I have some relevant ones and try to respond to questions raised by Glen. Otherwise, I plan to play second fiddle to Sean. And I will be posting any future comments of mine here at Integrity.


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