We had a very interesting lesson in Sunday school today. It was about Baptism. We attend a Presbyterian church – they believe in baptism. Not the dunking kind – not that they are against it, but a sprinkle will do ya.
That, however, wasn’t the issue. It was about baptizing posthumously. It just so happens I've encountered this concept recently. I’ve had a visit by three very nice Mormon young men, and we’ve been discussing the tenets of their faith. One of these is the idea that a person can be baptized after death if someone is willing to stand in for them and go through the baptism. I realize I’m watering down the concept, but that’s the gist of things.Anyhow, it came up because one of the young men mentioned his grandfather had been baptized that way, since he died a non-believer. It occurred to me that I had recently read that one of my favorite authors, Eli Wiesel, was taking issue with the LDS (Latter Day Saints / Mormon) church for just this practice. Apparently, some of the LDS churches have been baptizing holocaust victims posthumously.
I see his point – a Jewish person does not want to be baptized Christian or Mormon without consent. It does seem to fly in the face of all they went through. I also had to chuckle a bit since he found out because he was being posthumously baptized. Um – folks, he’s not dead yet! At least Google the guy first.I, initially, was also appalled. However, it made me think. If I believed that the only way to save souls was through posthumous baptism – would I be wrong for doing it? What do other faiths do to ensure the salvation of those they see as “unsaved”? What do Christians do?
I’m on a faith journey. Right now, through self-study, I’m hoping to better understand what others believe and why. In fact, it’s leading to hard questions about my own belief.
What do you think? Posthumous baptism? Would you be upset if you were baptized without consent?