[*] Re-buttal on re-baptism

After Richard Abanes said this in the comments of my blog:
I have no comments—that would just take too much time and energy (and for no real reason that I can see). You've made up your mind.
apparently he found the time and energy to respond a second time because he finds me dishonest. Fortunately, all the exchange so far has occurred in a piece of cyberspace that hasn’t been treated in an anathemacious way.

Thus we follow the exchange as it goes forward:
CENT: Richard Abanes did find our little corner of cyberspace -- only to say, "it's not worth responding because defending the ordinance of baptism would destroy the church".

RA: Well, truth be told, that's not really what I said at all—now was it?? C'mon, be honest, I know you can do it. (snicker).
His exact words were:
    No one escapes my watchful, New Age, heretical eyes. But I have no comments—that would just take too much time and energy (and for no real reason that I can see). You've made up your mind.

    So be my guest, defend the faith by attacking anyone or any chruch [sic] that doesn't see things or do things exactly like you and your church sees things and does things. I am quite sure that if I wanted to, I could also take your approach and probably write a whole book tearing apart just about any chuch [sic] in this country—because we are all sinners saved by grace. But that, my friend, is not apologetics.
Now, since Mr. Abanes has not yet retracted his statement, and he has not expounded upon it, and he has not explained why my summary is unfair to him, calling me dishonest is merely a tactic – not a rebuttal. If it turns out that centuri0n is dishonest, then all of my arguments are spurious or at least come into question – and then Mr. Abanes’ views are safe: only dishonest people attack them.

I stand by the assertion that what Mr. Abanes has said here is, “it's not worth responding because defending the ordinance of baptism would destroy the church". When he can demonstrate he meant something else, I’m open to correction. However, his statement simply says this:
(1) I have no comments
(2) Responding would take too much energy
(3) I could take your approach and tear apart any church in this country
Now if, by implication, he is not saying that whatever it is I have done here “tears apart" his church, and that the same method would “tear apart" any church, so that doing what I have done here (defending the ordinance of baptism) would destroy (“tear apart") all churches, then I am wide open to what he is actually saying.
Although you totally invented a new statement from me, I do like the quotes you put around it to make it seem like that's what I really said. The unwary reader looking for great material to quote will probably just read what you said and start quoting it all over the internet. (That's how research is done now, you see).
OK: what I should have said to be completely and utterly academic in my citation was:
    : Richard Abanes did find our little corner of cyberspace -- only to say in effect, "it's not worth responding because defending the ordinance of baptism would destroy the church".
Emphasis added to note the correction. Anyone reading the exchange who wasn’t straining at gnats would certainly understand what I did – which is to summarize your dismissal of my response to you. And anyone citing this exchange, it is hoped, would link to it so that those reading would read the citation for himself to understand the nature and tenor of the exchange.

I took research methods in grad school, Mr. Abanes. I can use notes and cite sources with the best of them. It is a shame that you cannot see the difference between citing a source and summarizing an adversarial claim in common dialog.

BTW, the finger-wagging on methods (especially the use of quotation marks in an informal dialog! Wow!) doesn’t advance your opinion about Saddleback one bit.
Actually, what I said was "I have no comments—that would just take too much time and energy (and for no real reason that I can see). You've made up your mind." This, of course, is a far different message. Ah well.
Ah well, indeed! It should be noted that your citation of yourself leaves off the sarcasm and the broader claim that using “my method" would tear churches apart. It’s odd that you object to a summary of the whole statement you yourself have made but will not them recite the whole statement – in order to avoid the problem that the whole statement makes.
And as for your comment about me about being on record with regard to "matters of doctrinal correctness in CBA stores" (yet somehow I do not find "doctrinal correctness at Saddleback" to be "of serious consequence") is of course, yet again, a misrepresentation of my position. SO, please, think before you speak.

Does it make ANY sense for someone to have written the article I wrote for CBA and the books I have written on apologetic issues to not feel that doctrinal correctness is "of serious consequence" at Saddleback? Good grief, man. Think.
Mr. Abanes: I am thinking, and that seems to be what is standing in the way of your argument. You reject the idea that the matter of rebaptism is consequential – yet there is no basis for that claim except that this is the case at Saddleback and you “don’t agree" with it, but you do defend it with very sentimental anecdotes.

You have cited a handful of infant-baptizing denominations to make the point that I would reject those baptisms (which, btw, I am not sure is the case), but the problem is that none of those denoms would rebaptize – and the issue is rebaptism. Rebaptism. Not whether you are a New Ager (speaking of putting words into an adversary’s mouth), but whether baptism is an inconsequential thing.
I take the classic professional apologetic approach that focuses on essentials vs. non-essentials when it comes to doctrinal teachings or practices at a church. I suggest that you read Robert Bowman's fine book on discernment and judging of doctrinal views titled "Orthodoxy and Heresy" (Baker Books). It will be of immense help to you.
I happen to take a different position on apologetics: you have to mean what you say and stand by what you say or stand corrected. Whether that's "classical" or "professional", I have no idea. And again we find you doing what I have said over and over: you have relegated the practice of baptism to a less-than-essential as part of the faith. You have an opinion about the ordinance (if you would even use that word to talk about the matter; you haven’t yet) which you hold as provisional at best – until it is questioned, in which case those who oppose your view are on a witch hunt.

I asked you once to compare to the LBCF to establish some confessional basis for you views, and now I’ll offer a more-forgiving confession: the BFM2000. There is says:
    Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper.
Is there any way to interpret that statement as saying that it is an ordinance which should be repeated – or that allows for the liberty to do over and over to participate in celebration or in joy?

All I’m asking is whether there’s any justification for the practice. The only justification you have offered so far is, and I quote, “have a heart".
And believe me, I could indeed tear apart just about any church or better yet, denomination, from a biblical perspective and make it look terrible. But this would be nothing new. It's already been done by Calvinists against non-Calvinists. Non-Calvinists against Calvinists. Lutherans against non-Lutherans. Non-Lutherans against Lutherans. Calvary Chapelites against most denominations. Fundamentalists against everyone. Tongue-talkers against non-Tongue-talkers. Baptists who fully immerse against those who only sprinkle. Pre-tribbers against amillenialists.

Get the picture??? It's called a variety of names: sectarianism, divisiveness, dogmatism, etc etc etc. My article in CBA was dealing with materials that include heretical views infecting the church and pulling people away from Christ. Read it again. I belive [sic] I cited such theologically dangerous concepts as Open Theism and Oneness theology.
You and I would stand on the same side of the fence regarding OT/OV and Oneness. That is hardly the point. The question is whether it means anything to be a Baptist church – or any kind of Christian church – and then treat Baptism like an inconsequential thing. You are here saying, without being very careful in the way you say it, that baptism is, in the best case, only something that divides people without any reason for it to be that way – so that paedobaptism, credobaptism, and rebaptism are all matters which are street-fights that bring disgrace on the church.

Well: back up your claim. You toss out all these assertions, but you make no effort to support them. If your best argument is, in effect, “I have one book which defines orthodoxy in such a way that things like the number of baptisms one ought to have is simply not a question, and you should read it" take another look at church history. UPDATED: In an attempt to be 100% fair to Mr. Abanes' point here, I spent yesterday morning looking for a copy of Robert Bowman's Orthodoxy and Heresy (1992), because what's one more book to read in service of the blog when you own a bookstore, right? It turns out that Bowman's book is so influential and definitive on this subject that Baker has allowed it to go out of print. Now let's keep in mind that many very good books wind up out of print from time to time, but for a book on orthodoxy not to last 10 years in print when that subject is frankly at the center of concerns over matters like OT/OV and Oneness (not to mention the Emergent "conversation") indicates how influential is has been. Which is to say, "not very". Read Calvin; read Zwingli; read Spurgeon; read Packer. Or better yet: read the Bible. There’s only one example of rebaptism in it, and if you can somehow apply that to the situation at Saddleback, I’d be wide open to see that.
There is a clear difference between such issues and whether or not a mom and pop get bapotized [sic] again with their teenager, or whether a wife get's [sic] baptized again with her now-saved husband who she's been praying for for [sic] 20 years.
I would agree that there is a difference between saying that God’s knowledge is limited and saying “it doesn’t matter how many times you get baptized". But what kind of difference is it? Here’s what the latter cannot be: it cannot be a matter of taste. It may not be a matter of heresy, but it cannot be a matter of merely-human desire.

As for the end of your response, haloscan chopped you off. Sorry about that. Have a nice Holiday.