Lutheran Take on Baptism

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  • Lutheran Take on Baptism

    QUESTION: Can you please clarify the Lutheran view of Baptism and its purpose? Does the child become a Christian when baptized?

    ANSWER: Lutherans believe that the Bible teaches that a person is saved by God’s grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

    The Bible tells us that such “faith comes by hearing” (Rom. 10:17). Jesus Himself commands Baptism and tells us that Baptism is water used together with the Word of God (Matt. 28:19-20).

    Because of this, we believe that Baptism is one of the miraculous means of grace (another is God’s Word as it is written or spoken), through which God creates and/or strengthens the gift of faith in a person’s heart (see Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21; Gal. 3:26-27; Rom. 6:1-4; Col. 2:11-12; 1 Cor. 12.13).

    Terms the Bible uses to talk about the beginning of faith include “conversion” and “regeneration.” Although we do not claim to understand fully how this happens, we believe that when an infant is baptized God creates faith in the heart of that infant.

    We believe this because the Bible says that infants can believe (Matt. 18:6) and that new birth (regeneration) happens in Baptism (John 3:5-7; Titus 3:5-6). The infant’s faith cannot yet, of course, be verbally expressed or articulated by the child, yet it is real and present all the same (see e.g., Acts 2:38-39; Luke 1:15; 2 Tim. 3:15).

    The faith of the infant, like the faith of adults, also needs to be fed and nurtured by God’s Word (Matt. 28:18-20), or it will die.

    Lutherans do not believe that only those baptized as infants receive faith. Faith can also be created in a person's heart by the power of the Holy Spirit working through God's (written or spoken) Word.

    Baptism should then soon follow conversion (cf. Acts 8:37) for the purpose of confirming and strengthening faith in accordance with God's command and promise. Depending on the situation, therefore, Lutherans baptize people of all ages from infancy to adulthood.

    The LCMS does not believe that Baptism is ABSOLUTELY necessary for salvation. All true believers in the Old Testament era were saved without baptism. Mark 16:16 implies that it is not the absence of Baptism that condemns a person but the absence of faith, and there are clearly other ways of coming to faith by the power of the Holy Spirit (reading or hearing the Word of God).

    Still, Baptism dare not be despised or willfully neglected, since it is explicitly commanded by God and has His precious promises attached to it. It is not a mere “ritual” or “symbol,” but a powerful means of grace by which God grants faith and the forgiveness of sins.

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    QUESTION: I believe I understand the LCMS position on Baptism although it seems to lead down a troublesome path. As I understand you can be regenerated through Baptism and also regenerated by believing in Jesus, without Baptism, and then later baptized.

    The Lutheran position forces one to come to this conclusion of two ways to be saved, although both are by faith alone, just two different means. In Acts 10:44ff they believed and as a result were saved, filled with the Holy Spirit and therefore baptized. Eph. 1:3 also speaks of salvation by the work of the Holy Spirit.

    If Baptism also saves, it must not save adults since an adult would not say I do not believe but I want to be baptized to get the faith to believe.

    If indeed the prooftexts of baptismal regeneration do actually refer to salvation, it must only be for babies since adults would of necessity believe before being baptized.

    And if they do only speak of babies who do not have the capacity to believe, why don't these verses say so.

    My question then is, what do you see wrong with my reasoning? You do not have to give me the prooftexts since I have known them and have studied them and have ready many articles and the catechism both from Lutherans and others.

    ANSWER: We are pleased to hear that you have thoroughly studied the Scriptures on the topic of Baptism and other literature dealing with this subject.

    Perhaps you are very familiar with the Large Catechism's treatment of Baptism, but we mention it here because Luther's treatise on infant baptism in this section is extremely useful.

    Luther goes to the heart of the foundational theological questions at issue over against errant understandings of Baptism present among those involved in the Anabaptist movement of his time.

    Perhaps we can make a couple of points that seem pertinent to the issue(s) you have raised. First, as you have implied in your letter, it seems important to note that while Baptism is God's gracious means of conveying to human beings His saving grace revealed to us in Jesus Christ our Savior, it is not the only means.

    On the basis of the Scriptures we teach that the spoken Word of the Gospel (Rom. 1:16-17; 10:17) and the Lord's Supper (Matt. 26; Mark 14; Luke 22; 1 Cor. 11) are also means of grace.

    It is no less a miracle of God's grace at work that an adult should believe by hearing the words of the Gospel, than that an infant should receive through Baptism the Spirit who creates the very faith by which one receives incorporation into Christ (Rom. 6:4, “We were buried therefore with him by [Greek: the instrumental dia] baptism...”).

    Adults who hear the spoken Word and believe eagerly seek to be baptized, not because it is a human rite symbolic of one's commitment or something to that effect, but because of what God promises in and through Baptism.

    It must be remembered that the only theological distinction between the spoken Word of the Gospel and Baptism is that the sacrament includes a visible element; hence, our Lutheran fathers commonly spoke of Baptism as “visible Gospel.”

    The Scriptures distinguish Baptism and the spoken Word — but do not separate them; they are both means of grace. As you also no doubt are fully aware, we teach that it is not the lack of Baptism that necessarily condemns, but it is the despising of this precious gift that endangers faith, for God Himself has instituted it and attached His promises to it.

    The Scriptures teach, of course, that there is only one Baptism (Eph. 4:5). There is no indication that God has limited this blessed means of grace to individuals on the basis of age or levels of maturity.

    Baptism is God’s act, a divine testimony to what “grace alone” really means, whereby He imparts the blessings of forgiveness, life, and salvation to individuals, children and adults alike.

    And as our Lutheran fathers have always taught, Baptism confirms the grace of God upon adults who have already come to faith, and strengthens them in their faith, even as the Lord’s Supper does.

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    QUESTION: What are the teachings of the Lutheran Church regarding who may be a godparent for a child? Can non-LCMS individuals serve as sponsors? What responsibilities would the godparent be agreeing to?

    ANSWER: In response to the question “Why does the church encourage the use of sponsors at Baptism?” Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation (Concordia Publishing House, 1991 edition) summarizes as follows:

    “Sponsors witness that those who receive this sacrament have been properly baptized. They also pray for them and in the case of children, help with their Christian upbringing, especially if they should lose their parents."

    The Catechism adds: “Only those of the same confession of faith should be sponsors.” One of the reasons for this practice is to avoid putting family members or friends who belong to churches of a different confession in a difficult or compromising situation, in which they would be asked to take vows that they may not be able to carry out in good conscience (given their own religious views and convictions).

    The LCMS entrusts to individual pastors and congregations the responsibility of making decisions about finding ways to involve such people in the baptismal service (e.g., sometimes they are asked to serve as “witnesses” to the baptism).

    Since decisions in this regard often depend on the specific circumstances involved, it is best to speak to the pastor himself about such matters. He would also be able to share more specific information about the form of the baptismal service used in his congregation and the precise wording of the vows that sponsors or godparents are asked to take.

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    QUESTION: How does faith play a role in infant Baptism? Is faith later taken care of when the child is confirmed?

    ANSWER: Lutherans believe that the Bible teaches that a person is saved by God's grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ. Baptism, we believe, is one of the miraculous means of grace (together with God's written and spoken Word) through which God creates the gift of faith in a person's heart.

    Although we do not claim to understand how this happens or how it is possible, we believe (because of what the Bible says about Baptism) that when an infant is baptized God creates faith in the heart of that infant.

    This faith cannot yet, of course, be expressed or articulated, yet it is real and present all the same (see, e.g., 1 Peter 3:21; Acts 2:38-39; Titus 3:5-6; Matt. 18:6; Luke 1:15; 2 Tim. 3:15; Gal. 3:26-27; Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:11-12; 1 Cor. 12:13).

    Parents and sponsors of a baptized child bear the responsibility of teaching this child God's Word so that the child's faith may remain alive and grow (Matt. 28:18-20).

    Confirmation is a time-honored church tradition (not required by God's Word, but we believe useful nonetheless) in which the child baptized as an infant is given the opportunity to confess for himself or herself the faith that he or she was unable to confess as an infant.

    Faith is not “created” at confirmation, but it is rather confessed for all to hear so that the church can join and rejoice in this public confession, which has its roots in the faith which God Himself created in Baptism.

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    QUESTION: You say that infant baptism is ONE way of salvation. Since this practice was unknown in the New Testament or even the early Catholic Church, it is speculative. The Bible says that repentance is a pre-requisite for faith. I repented at 5, so it can be early, but not in someone's arms.

    ANSWER: Infants are included in “ all nations" who are to be baptized (Matt. 28:19). Certainly they were included in Peter's Pentecost exhortation in Acts 2:38, 39: “Repent and be baptized everyone one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. ... The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off — for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

    Whole households, everyone in the family, were baptized in the beginning of New Testament times, which in all probability included infants (Acts 16:15 and 33). [The “household” formula used here by Luke has Old Testament precedent, with special reference also to small children, as for example in 1 Sam. 22:16, 19; see Joachim Jeremias, Infant Baptism in the First Four Centuries, 22-23.]

    In Romans 6, the Holy Spirit tells us in the Word that in Baptism we have been united with Jesus' death and resurrection–regenerated, dying to sin and rising to new life. That happens to infants when baptized (Gal. 3:27).

    “For as many of you who have been baptized have put on Christ.” Baptism through the Word creates the faith necessary to receive salvation for infants. Infants can have faith.

    In Mark 10:14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

    The Greek word in this text is “paidia” which means babes in arms. Infants can belong to the kingdom of God.

    “From the lips of children and infants, You have ordained praise ...” Psalm 8:2. “Yet You brought me out of the womb, You made me trust in You even at my mother's breast” Psalm 22:9.

    From the beginning of New Testament Christianity at Pentecost to our time, unbroken and uninterrupted, the Church has baptized babies. Polycarp (69-155 AD), a disciple of the Apostle John, was baptized as an infant.

    Justin Martyr (100-166 AD) of the next generation, about the year 150 AD, states in his Dialog with Trypho The Jew “that Baptism is the circumcision of the New Testament.”

    Irenaeus (130-200 AD) writes in Against Heresies II 22:4 “that Jesus came to save all through means of Himself — all, I say, who through Him are born again to God – infants and children, boys and youth, and old men.”

    Similar expressions are found in succeeding generations by Origen (185-254 AD) and Cyprian (215-258 AD), and at the Council of Carthage in 254 where the 66 bishops stated: “We ought not hinder any person from Baptism and the grace of God ... especially infants ... those newly born.”

    Origen wrote in his Commentary on Romans 5:9: “For this also it was that the Church had from the Apostles a tradition to give baptism even to infants.” Origen also wrote in his Homily on Luke 14: “Infants are to be baptized for the remission of sins.”

    Cyprian's reply to a bishop who wrote to him regarding the baptism of infants stated: “Should we wait until the 8th day as did the Jews in the circumcision? No, the child should be baptized as soon as it is born."

    Augustine (354-430 AD) wrote in De Genesi Ad Literam, 10:39 declared, “The custom of our mother Church in baptizing infants must not be counted needless, nor believed to be other than a tradition of the Apostles.”

    Augustine further states: “... the whole Church which hastens to baptize infants, because it unhesitatingly believes that otherwise they cannot possibly be vivified in Christ.”

    In 517 AD, 10 rules of discipline were framed for the Church in Spain. The fifth rule states that “... in case infants were ill ... if they were offered, to baptize them, even though it were the day that they were born...such was to be done.” (The History of Baptism by Robert Robinson, London, Thomas Knott, 1790, p.269)

    This pattern of baptizing infants remained in Christianity through the Dark and Middle Ages until modern times. In the 1,500 years from the time of Christ to the Protestant Reformation, the only bona fide opponent to infant Baptism was the heretic Tertullian (160-215 AD) who de facto denied original sin.

    Then in the 1520s the Christian Church experienced opposition specifically to infant Baptism under the influence of Thomas Muenzer and other fanatics who opposed both civil and religious authority, original sin and human concupiscence.

    Thomas' opposition was then embraced by a considerable number of Swiss, German and Dutch Anabaptists. This brought about strong warning and renunciation by the Roman Catholics, Lutherans and Reformed alike.

    It was considered a shameless affront to what had been practiced in each generation since Christ's command in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) to baptize all nations irrespective of age.

    Historical excerpts are from “Infant Baptism in Early Church History," by Dr. Dennis Kastens in Issues Etc. Journal, Spring 1997, Vol. 2, No. 3.

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    QUESTION: What about infants who die before being baptized?

    ANSWER: In his book What's the Answer? (Concordia Publishing House, 1960), LCMS theologian Otto Sohn addresses the question, “What is the position of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod with respect to the fate of stillborn children as well as to baptizing them?”

    His answer speaks to your question about children who die before Baptism:

    The position of our Lutheran Church on the first point in this question can best be expressed in the words of Dr. Francis Pieper:

    There is some basis for the hope that God has a method, not revealed to us, by which He works faith in the children of Christians dying without Baptism (Mark 10:13-16). For children of unbelievers we do not venture to hold out such hope. We are here entering the field of the unsearchable judgments of God” (Rom. 11:33).

    What is the basis of such hope? It is this, that God is not Himself bound by the means to the use of which He has bound us. That is to say that while Christ has commanded us to baptize all nations, God can save sinners without Baptism. He did so throughout the entire Old Testament.

    During the first 2,000 years we know of no special means of grace for little children. At the time of Abraham He instituted circumcision, but He did not thereby provide for little girls. It is for God to determine under what conditions He will receive children into His kingdom.

    A most encouraging instance for the Holy Spirit's power to influence even unborn infants in a spiritual way is found in Luke 1:15, 41, 44, where it is stated that the unborn John the Baptist leaped for joy within his mother's womb when the unborn Jesus was brought into his presence by His mother Mary.

    Behind all this is the all-encompassing Gospel pronouncement that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world [including the little children] unto Himself” (2 Cor. 5:19).

    As to the second point we might say: Whether individual Lutheran pastors have ever baptized stillborn children immediately upon their arrival, we do not know, and to our knowledge such practice has never been sanctioned by our church. Nor should it be sanctioned. The means of grace, including Baptism, are for the living only (Heb. 9:27).

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    QUESTION: The LCMS uses the “sprinkle” method of baptism, if you will. The people of the Bible, including Jesus, were baptized using the immersion method. Why doesn't our church follow the way Jesus was baptized by John?

    ANSWER: On the basis of the evidence provided in the New Testament, it is not possible to prove that the term “baptize” always refers to immersion, nor that the Baptisms mentioned were all done by immersion — implying (in the view of some) that only Baptisms done by immersion can be considered valid.

    In fact, taken as a whole, the evidence suggests otherwise. In some cases the term "baptize" is synonymous with “wash” (Titus 3:5-6; see also Heb. 9:19; Eph. 5:26, Acts 22:16; and Mark 7:1-4 — a passage in which some earlier translators considered the term “baptize” to include the washing of “dining couches”), and it is highly likely that Baptisms were performed in the early church by methods other than immersion.

    Three thousand were baptized on Pentecost in Jerusalem, where no river exists and no mention is made of other large quantities of water that would or may have been used.

    In fact, the shortage of water supplies in general in many parts of the ancient world would have precluded Baptism by immersion.

    As the Supplementary Volume of The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible correctly notes, “It is unlikely that in Jerusalem, Samaria, Damascus, Philippi, Corinth, Rome, or Asia Minor enough water was always available for a full bath” (87).

    It should be noted that very early in Christian history methods other than immersion were used and allowed. The Didache requires the administrant of Baptism to “pour water three times on the head” (7:3). No mention is made of immersion.

    Early Christian art depicts Baptisms of persons standing in shallow pools with water poured on the head (see David Scaer, Baptism, 96-101).

    Lutherans have therefore held that the manner of Baptism (that is, immersion, pouring, sprinkling, etc.) does not determine whether a Baptism is valid, any more than the manner of distributing the Lord's Supper (common cup, individual glasses) affects the validity of this Sacrament. Only the Word of God and the “element” (water), according to divine institution, makes a Baptism valid.

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    QUESTION: My wife and I, who belonged to different denominations, wish to become more permanently and actively involved in one of the local LCMS congregations. However, I have been too shy to ask the pastor if we would need to be re-Baptized in order to be full communicants.

    ANSWER: The LCMS recognizes and accepts the validity of baptisms properly administered (i.e., using water in any quantity and/or mode, together with the Trinitarian invocation instituted by Christ, Matt. 28:19) in all Christian churches.

    Assuming, therefore, that you have already received a proper Christian Baptism, there would be no need for you or your wife to be re-baptized, although completion of some form of instruction classes” or “membership classes” is normally required of non-Lutherans who wish to become communicant members of LCMS congregations.

    Please discuss this with your pastor, who would be happy to discuss this issue with you and to answer any other questions you have about membership. There is no need to be shy — pastors encounter these kinds of questions all the time.


    QUESTION: Why do Lutherans baptize infants?

    ANSWER: Lutherans baptize infants because of what the Bible teaches regarding:

    1.) God's command to baptize (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38). There is not a single passage in Scripture which instructs us not to baptize for reasons of age, race, or gender.

    On the contrary, the divine commands to baptize in Scripture are all universal in nature. On the basis of these commands, the Christian church has baptized infants from the earliest days of its history.

    Since those baptized are also to be instructed in the Christian faith, (Matt. 28:20), the church baptizes infants only where there is the assurance that parents or spiritual guardians will nurture the faith of the one baptized through continued teaching of God's Word.

    2.) Our need for Baptism (Psalm 51:5; John 3:5-7; Acts 2:38; Rom. 3:23; Rom. 6:3-4). According to the Bible, all people–including infants–are sinful and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).

    King David confesses, “I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Ps. 51:5). Like adults, infants die–sure proof that they too are under the curse of sin and death.

    According to the Bible, Baptism (somewhat like Old Testament circumcision, administered to 8-day-old-babies – see Col. 2:11-12) is God's gracious way of washing away our sins – even the sins of infants – without any help or cooperation on our part. It is a wonderful gift of a loving and gracious God.

    3.) God's promises and power (Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16; Acts 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21; John 3:5-7; Titus 3:5-6; Gal. 3:26-27; Rom. 6:1-4; Col. 2;11-12; Eph. 5:25-26; 1 Cor. 12:13).

    Those churches which deny Baptism to infants usually do so because they have a wrong understanding of Baptism. They see Baptism as something we do (e.g., a public profession of faith, etc.) rather than seeing it as something that God does for us and in us.

    None of the passages listed above, nor any passage in Scripture, describes Baptism as “our work” or as “our public confession of faith.”

    Instead, these passages describe Baptism as a gracious and powerful work of God through which He miraculously (though through very “ordinary” means) washes away our sins by applying to us the benefits of Christ's death and resurrection (Acts 2:38-39; Acts 22:16), gives us a new birth in which we “cooperate” just as little as we did in our first birth (John 3:5-7), clothes us in Christ's righteousness (Gal. 3:26-27), gives us the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5-6), saves us (1 Peter 3:21), buries us and raises us up with Christ as new creatures (Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:11-12), makes us holy in God's sight (Eph. 5: 25-26) and incorporates us into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13).
    Doctrine - Frequently Asked Questions - The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
    All of this, according to the Bible, happens in Baptism, and all of it is God's doing, not ours. The promises and power of Baptism are extended to all in Scripture — including infants — and are available to all.

    Parents and sponsors then have the privilege and responsibility of nurturing the baptized child in God's love and in His Word so that he or she may know and continue to enjoy the wonderful blessings of Baptism throughout his or her life.

  • #2
    Hi CL, although I was a Presbyterian and baptized as an infant, when the PCUSA decided to further its distance from the Bible and our Confession about 20 years ago, I was invited to move over to the Evangelical Free Church, and they, like Baptists and Anabaptists, practice credobaptism. Many such churches, we are one, "dedicate" children to the Lord instead by praying over them, and then asking their parents to promise to raise them in the training and admonition of the Lord. This, I assume, is not enough to impart saving grace according to the LCMS, correct?

    I think it must also be that aspect of Lutheran Baptism, IOW, that it is believed to be salvific on the part of infants (at least), which naturally leads to the necessity of a secondary belief that one who has been, "born again", who truly "believes"/has "saving faith", and as been "baptized", can lose their salvation. Would you concur?

    Personally, I don't hold to the belief that saving grace is imparted to non-believers through the waters of baptism, but I must say that you Lutherans have the most palatable/appealing beliefs I have ever encountered in regard to this subject :) I'm going to have to go back for a bit more thorough reading of what you just posited for us above (so I hope you don't mind if I come up with some additional questions about it?).

    Thanks!

    Yours in Christ,
    David
    p.s. - perhaps this was already answered above, but if not, what is "faith", specifially, and how can we know that a baptized infant has come to possess saving faith, especially if they seem to immediately head south at a very young age, away from the faith they received during baptism? Also, how do you guys go about nurturing the "faith" of a newborn/infant? Thanks again!
    Last edited by David Lee; 09-30-2016, 01:52 PM.
    Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

    "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

    "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

    "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

    "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
    Comment>

    • #3
      Originally posted by St_Worm2 View Post
      Personally, I don't hold to the belief that saving grace is imparted to non-believers through the waters of baptism, but I must say that you Lutherans have the most palatable beliefs I have ever encountered in regard to this subject :) I'm going to have to go back for a bit more thorough reading of what you just posited for us above (so I hope you don't mind if I come up with some additional questions about it?).
      Neither do I, and ConfessionalLutheran, I am left wondering what difference if any is there between the Catholics and Lutherans on the subject of Baptismal Regeneration? Since it is the Reformed position that regeneration precedes faith, and Lutherans believe baptism creates faith that regeneration/salvation is necessary/and guaranteed when baptized?

      I believe Presbyterians understand water (baptism) as the sign of the NT Covenant, just as circumcision was the sign of the OT Covenant with Abraham, but him having been saved some years before actually receiving the sign, that the sign is not so annexed to grace as to require it. Baptism is not a prerequisite to Grace, and neither does baptism guarantee salvation.

      If we are saved through baptismal regeneration then to a degree I can understand the Catholic's position that we are saved by the merits of not only Christ but also the priest that baptizes, prays, and intercedes for us. Literally, the glory of a sinner's salvation goes partly to all those that are used as instruments by God in performing and raising the child in the precepts of the Lord.

      Originally posted by ConfessionalLutheran View Post
      We believe this because the Bible says that infants can believe (Matt. 18:6) and that new birth (regeneration) happens in Baptism (John 3:5-7; Titus 3:5-6). The infant’s faith cannot yet, of course, be verbally expressed or articulated by the child, yet it is real and present all the same (see e.g., Acts 2:38-39; Luke 1:15; 2 Tim. 3:15).
      As to the second part of your statements, I agree, and is why we also later confirm infants to fully communicable members once the child professes faith in a bible believing church. I believe at that time the child is also able to approach the Communion table and partake of its elements.

      I do disagree that regeneration always happens at baptism though... .

      Let us look into the surrounding context, then. Titus 3:4-7:
      • But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared,
      • He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
      • so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

      When the entire sentence is read, one must wonder where baptismal regeneration holds ground in the first place. For in the text, several things are certain:
      • God is the subject. He is doing the saving (v. 5)
      • God’s mercy is given as the motivation for the action
      • There is an explicit denial of human activity, as he has not saved us by works done in righteousness
      • The agency of the salvation is not of human origin, as both washing of regeneration and renewal have the Holy Spirit as the source
      • The means by which we received the Holy Spirit upon us was Jesus

      So, one has to wonder the basis upon which the adherents to baptismal regeneration feel justified to argue that baptism done by human accomplishes spiritual regeneration?
      • Titus 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,

      He saved us. In looking into this passage, observing these things is important:
      • Who saved? God saved.
      • Saved whom? God saved us.
      • Why did he save? Because of his mercy.
      • By what means did he save? By the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Spirit.

      We observe from the very outset that human activity is explicitly denied in this passage. Certainly, if baptism were in view, we would see some reference to at least our obedience (if, perhaps someone wishes to separate obedience from an act of righteousness). There would at least be some reference to our activity.

      As for John 3:5:
      • John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

      Throughout the OT "water" and "Spirit" are linked to express the pouring out of God's Spirit in the end times, and the purification and new life that flow from His arrival:
      • Isaiah 32:15 until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.
      • Isaiah 44:3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.
      • Ezekiel 36:25-27 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.[a]

      I'd further argue that such a reference to Christian baptism in John 3:5-7 would have been meaningless to Nicodemus before it had been instituted.
      • John 3:10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?

      Jesus nowhere makes John's baptism a requirement for salvation. This would be most consistent with the following verse in John 3:10 when Jesus asked Nicodemus how can you be a "teacher" of Israel? Nicodemus should have known these things because they are in the OT. The Ordo Salutis hasn't changed, OT saints and NT saints are both saved the same way. I think our differences is from asking where does baptism fit in, between us it seems that we will not agree as to whether it is necessary and belongs in the order of salvation from numbers 3-6:

      1) Election/predestination (in Christ)
      2) Atonement
      3) gospel call
      4) inward call
      5) regeneration
      6) conversion (faith & repentance)
      7) justification
      8) sanctification
      9) glorification

      God bless,
      William
      Comment>

      • #4
        Originally posted by William View Post
        I think our differences is from asking where does baptism fit in, between us it seems that we will not agree as to whether it is necessary and belongs in the order of salvation from numbers 3-6:

        1) Election/predestination (in Christ)
        2) Atonement
        3) gospel call
        4) inward call
        5) regeneration
        6) conversion (faith & repentance)
        7) justification
        8) sanctification
        9) glorification

        God bless,
        William
        Theologically, I lean towards baptism belonging around (6).
        In my personal case, I was not led to Christ by any Priest/Pastor/Minister but by regular Christians, so for the first few years I attended Mass but could not in good conscience join the Roman Catholic Church. So my baptism happened around (8) when after 15 years of 'sanctification and growth', I casually mentioned at one Baptism Service that I had never actually been baptized. The Church of God people sort of freaked out and I was baptized within a week to make everything 'kosher'. ;)

        [Something ConfessionalLutheran will appreciate, I was technically baptized as an infant in a Lutheran Church as a compromise between my Atheist Father and unsaved* Roman Catholic Mother.]


        [*FYI: Just for the record, all Catholics are not unsaved, but neither is everyone who calls themselves a Catholic really a follower of the faith or a believer in Christ ... just like Protestants.]
        Comment>

        • #5
          Originally posted by William View Post

          Neither do I, and ConfessionalLutheran, I am left wondering what difference if any is there between the Catholics and Lutherans on the subject of Baptismal Regeneration? Since it is the Reformed position that regeneration precedes faith, and Lutherans believe baptism creates faith that regeneration/salvation is necessary/and guaranteed when baptized?

          I believe Presbyterians understand water (baptism) as the sign of the NT Covenant, just as circumcision was the sign of the OT Covenant with Abraham, but him having been saved some years before actually receiving the sign, that the sign is not so annexed to grace as to require it. Baptism is not a prerequisite to Grace, and neither does baptism guarantee salvation.

          If we are saved through baptismal regeneration then to a degree I can understand the Catholic's position that we are saved by the merits of not only Christ but also the priest that baptizes, prays, and intercedes for us. Literally, the glory of a sinner's salvation goes partly to all those that are used as instruments by God in performing and raising the child in the precepts of the Lord.



          As to the second part of your statements, I agree, and is why we also later confirm infants to fully communicable members once the child professes faith in a bible believing church. I believe at that time the child is also able to approach the Communion table and partake of its elements.

          I do disagree that regeneration always happens at baptism though... .

          Let us look into the surrounding context, then. Titus 3:4-7:
          • But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared,
          • He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
          • so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

          When the entire sentence is read, one must wonder where baptismal regeneration holds ground in the first place. For in the text, several things are certain:
          • God is the subject. He is doing the saving (v. 5)
          • God’s mercy is given as the motivation for the action
          • There is an explicit denial of human activity, as he has not saved us by works done in righteousness
          • The agency of the salvation is not of human origin, as both washing of regeneration and renewal have the Holy Spirit as the source
          • The means by which we received the Holy Spirit upon us was Jesus

          So, one has to wonder the basis upon which the adherents to baptismal regeneration feel justified to argue that baptism done by human accomplishes spiritual regeneration?
          • Titus 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,

          He saved us. In looking into this passage, observing these things is important:
          • Who saved? God saved.
          • Saved whom? God saved us.
          • Why did he save? Because of his mercy.
          • By what means did he save? By the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Spirit.

          We observe from the very outset that human activity is explicitly denied in this passage. Certainly, if baptism were in view, we would see some reference to at least our obedience (if, perhaps someone wishes to separate obedience from an act of righteousness). There would at least be some reference to our activity.

          As for John 3:5:
          • John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

          Throughout the OT "water" and "Spirit" are linked to express the pouring out of God's Spirit in the end times, and the purification and new life that flow from His arrival:
          • Isaiah 32:15 until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.
          • Isaiah 44:3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.
          • Ezekiel 36:25-27 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.[a]

          I'd further argue that such a reference to Christian baptism in John 3:5-7 would have been meaningless to Nicodemus before it had been instituted.
          • John 3:10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?

          Jesus nowhere makes John's baptism a requirement for salvation. This would be most consistent with the following verse in John 3:10 when Jesus asked Nicodemus how can you be a "teacher" of Israel? Nicodemus should have known these things because they are in the OT. The Ordo Salutis hasn't changed, OT saints and NT saints are both saved the same way. I think our differences is from asking where does baptism fit in, between us it seems that we will not agree as to whether it is necessary and belongs in the order of salvation from numbers 3-6:

          1) Election/predestination (in Christ)
          2) Atonement
          3) gospel call
          4) inward call
          5) regeneration
          6) conversion (faith & repentance)
          7) justification
          8) sanctification
          9) glorification

          God bless,
          William
          God bless you too, William! It's been awhile, how've you been? Right, well, let's get right to it. Baptism is indeed a Means of Grace ( like proclaiming the Gospel and the sacrament of the Lord's Supper) through which the Word of God is united with the water to deliver the Holy Spirit to the baptized baby. If the baby isn't baptized,then the Holy Spirit can be implanted into the heart of the believer through the means of the proclamation of the Holy Gospel, through which the Holy Spirit will cause new movements to be made in the heart of the individual who would in the spirit of obedience and faith, receive the sacrament of Holy Baptism. Using myself for an example, as I was raised in a Pietistic ( Baptist) tradition, it took me fourteen years to get the inspiration I needed to go up and ask for baptism. You're right, the Baptism of John was not complete, as St. Paul pointed out in the Book of Acts: Paul in Ephesus


          19 And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passedthrough the inland[a] country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. 2 And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John's baptism.” 4 And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” 5 On hearing this,they were baptized in[b] the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. 7 There were about twelve men in all.
          ( Acts 19:1-7)

          I'm not entirely sure that Baptism " creates" faith so much as it energizes it in the heart of the believer. The Holy Spirit is the Giver of Faith and He gives it by visible means. Allow me to give you the chapter regarding Holy Baptism from Luther's Large Catechism:


          The Large Catechism

          1] We have now finished the three chief parts of the common Christian doctrine. Besides these we have yet to speak of our two Sacraments instituted by Christ, of which also every Christian ought to have at least an ordinary, brief instruction, because without them there can be no Christian; although, alas! hitherto no instruction concerning them has been given. 2] But, in the first place, we take up Baptism, by which we are first received into the Christian Church. However, in order that it may be readily understood, we will treat of it in an orderly manner, and keep only to that which it is necessary for us to know. For how it is to be maintained and defended against heretics and sects we will commend to the learned.

          3] In the first place, we must above all things know well the words upon which Baptism is founded, and to which everything refers that is to be said on the subject, namely, where the Lord Christ speaks in Matthew 28:19:

          4] Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

          Likewise in St. Mark 16:16: 5] He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

          6] In these words you must note, in the first place, that here stand God's commandment and institution, lest we doubt that Baptism is divine, not devised nor invented by men. For as truly as I can say, No man has spun the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord's Prayer out of his head, but they are revealed and given by God Himself, so also I can boast that Baptism is no human trifle, but instituted by God Himself, moreover, that it is most solemnly and strictly commanded that we must be baptized or we cannot be saved, lest any one regard it as a trifling matter, like putting on a new red coat. 7] For it is of the greatest importance that we esteem Baptism 8] excellent, glorious, and exalted, for which we contend and fight chiefly, because the world is now so full of sects clamoring that Baptism is an external thing, and that external things are of no benefit. But let it be ever so much an external thing, here stand God's Word and command which institute, establish, and confirm Baptism. But what God institutes and commands cannot be a vain, but must be a most precious thing, though in appearance it were of less value than a straw. 9] If hitherto people could consider it a great thing when the Pope with his letters and bulls dispensed indulgences and confirmed altars and churches, solely because of the letters and seals, we ought to esteem Baptism much more highly and more precious, because God has commanded it, and, besides, it is performed in His name. For these are the words, Go ye, baptize; however, not in your name, but in the name of God.

          10] For to be baptized in the name of God is to be baptized not by men, but by God Himself. Therefore, although it is performed by human hands, it is nevertheless truly God's own work. From this fact every one may himself readily infer that it is a far higher work than any work performed by a man or a saint. For what work greater than the work of God can we do?

          11] But here the devil is busy to delude us with false appearances, and lead us away from the work of God to our own works. For there is a much more splendid appearance when a Carthusian does many great and difficult works; and we all think much more of that which we do and merit ourselves. 12] But the Scriptures teach thus: Even though we collect in one mass the works of all the monks, however splendidly they may shine, they would not be as noble and good as if God should pick up a straw. Why? Because the person is nobler and better. Here, then, we must not estimate the person according to the works, but the works according to the person, from whom they must derive their nobility. 13] But insane reason will not regard this, and because Baptism does not shine like the works which we do, it is to be esteemed as nothing.

          14] From this now learn a proper understanding of the subject, and how to answer the question what Baptism is, namely thus, that it is not mere ordinary water, but water comprehended in God's Word and command, and sanctified thereby, so that it is nothing else than a divine water; not that the water in itself is nobler than other water, but that God's Word and command are added.

          15] Therefore it is pure wickedness and blasphemy of the devil that now our new spirits, to mock at Baptism, omit from it God's Word and institution, and look upon it in no other way than as water which is taken from the well, and then blather and say: How is a handful of water to help the soul? 16] Aye, my friend, who does not know that water is water if tearing things asunder is what we are after? But how dare you thus interfere with God's order, and tear away the most precious treasure with which God has connected and enclosed it, and which He will not have separated? For the kernel in the water is God's Word or command and the name of God, which is a treasure greater and nobler than heaven and earth.

          17] Comprehend the difference, then, that Baptism is quite another thing than all other water; not on account of the natural quality but because something more noble is here added; for God Himself stakes His honor, His power and might on it. Therefore it is not only natural water, but a divine, heavenly, holy, and blessed water, and in whatever other terms we can praise it,-all on account of the Word, which is a heavenly, holy Word, that no one can sufficiently extol, for it has, and is able to do, all that God is and can do [since it has all the virtue and power of God comprised in it]. 18] Hence also it derives its essence as a Sacrament, as St. Augustine also taught: Accedat verbum ad elementum et fit sacramentum. That is, when the Word is joined to the element or natural substance, it becomes a Sacrament, that is, a holy and divine matter and sign.

          19] Therefore we always teach that the Sacraments and all external things which God ordains and institutes should not be regarded according to the coarse, external mask, as we regard the shell of a nut, but as the Word of God is included therein. 20] For thus we also speak of the parental estate and of civil government. If we propose to regard them in as far as they have noses, eyes, skin, and hair, flesh and bones, they look like Turks and heathen, and some one might start up and say: Why should I esteem them more than others? But because the commandment is added: Honor thy father and thy mother, I behold a different man, adorned and clothed with the majesty and glory of God. The commandment (I say) is the chain of gold about his neck, yea, the crown upon his head, which shows to me how and why one must honor this flesh and blood.

          21] Thus, and much more even, you must honor Baptism and esteem it glorious on account of the Word, since He Himself has honored it both by words and deeds; moreover, confirmed it with miracles from heaven. For do you think it was a jest that, when Christ was baptized, the heavens were opened and the Holy Ghost descended visibly, and everything was divine glory and majesty?

          22] Therefore I exhort again that these two, the water and the Word, by no means be separated from one another and parted. For if the Word is separated from it, the water is the same as that with which the servant cooks, and may indeed be called a bath-keeper's baptism. But when it is added, as God has ordained, it is a Sacrament, and is called Christ-baptism. Let this be the first part, regarding the essence and dignity of the holy Sacrament.

          23] In the second place, since we know now what Baptism is, and how it is to be regarded, we must also learn why and for what purpose it is instituted; that is, what it profits, gives, and works. And this also we cannot discern better than from the words of Christ above quoted: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. 24] Therefore state it most simply thus, that the power, work, profit, fruit, and end of Baptism is this, namely, to save. For no one is baptized in order that he may become a prince, but, as the words declare, that he be saved. 25] But to be saved, we know, is nothing else than to be delivered from sin, death, and the devil, and to enter into the kingdom of Christ, and to live with Him forever.

          26] Here you see again how highly and precious we should esteem Baptism, because in it we obtain such an unspeakable treasure, which also indicates sufficiently that it cannot be ordinary mere water. For mere water could not do such a thing, but the Word does it, and (as said above) the fact that the name of God is comprehended therein. 27] But where the name of God is, there must be also life and salvation, that it may indeed be called a divine, blessed, fruitful, and gracious water; for by the Word such power is imparted to Baptism that it is a laver of regeneration, as St. Paul also calls it, Titus 3:5.

          28] But as our would-be wise, new spirits assert that faith alone saves, and that works and external things avail nothing, we answer: It is true, indeed, that nothing in us is of any avail but faith, as we shall hear still further. 29] But these blind guides are unwilling to see this, namely, that faith must have something which it believes, that is, of which it takes hold, and upon which it stands and rests. Thus faith clings to the water, and believes that it is Baptism, in which there is pure salvation and life; not through the water (as we have sufficiently stated), but through the fact that it is embodied in the Word and institution of God, and the name of God inheres in it. Now, if I believe this, what else is it than believing in God as in Him who has given and planted His Word into this ordinance, and proposes to us this external thing wherein we may apprehend such a treasure?

          30] Now, they are so mad as to separate faith, and that to which faith clings and is bound, though it be something external. Yea, it shall and must be something external, that it may be apprehended by the senses, and understood and thereby be brought into the heart, as indeed the entire Gospel is an external, verbal preaching. In short, what God does and works in us He proposes to work through such external ordinances. Wherever, therefore, He speaks, yea, in whichever direction or by whatever means He speaks, thither faith must look, and to that it must hold. 31] Now here we have the words: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. To what else do they refer than to Baptism, that is, to the water comprehended in God's ordinance? Hence it follows that whoever rejects Baptism rejects the Word of God, faith, and Christ, who directs us thither and binds us to Baptism.

          32] In the third place, since we have learned the great benefit and power of Baptism, let us see further who is the person that receives what Baptism gives and profits. 33] This is again most beautifully and clearly expressed in the words: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. That is, faith alone makes the person worthy to receive profitably the saving, divine water. For, since these blessings are here presented and promised in the words in and with the water, they cannot be received in any other way than by believing them with the heart. 34] Without faith it profits nothing, notwithstanding it is in itself a divine superabundant treasure. Therefore this single word (He that believeth) effects this much that it excludes and repels all works which we can do, in the opinion that we obtain and merit salvation by them. For it is determined that whatever is not faith avails nothing nor receives anything.

          35] But if they say, as they are accustomed: Still Baptism is itself a work, and you say works are of no avail for salvation; what, then, becomes of faith? Answer: Yes, our works, indeed, avail nothing for salvation; Baptism, however, is not our work, but God's (for, as was stated, you must put Christ-baptism far away from a bath-keeper's baptism). God's works, however, are saving and necessary for salvation, and do not exclude, but demand, faith; for without faith they could not be apprehended. 36] For by suffering the water to be poured upon you, you have not yet received Baptism in such a manner that it benefits you anything; but it becomes beneficial to you if you have yourself baptized with the thought that this is according to God's command and ordinance, and besides in God's name, in order that you may receive in the water the promised salvation. Now, this the fist cannot do, nor the body; but the heart must believe it.

          37] Thus you see plainly that there is here no work done by us, but a treasure which He gives us, and which faith apprehends; just as the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross is not a work, but a treasure comprehended in the Word, and offered to us and received by faith. Therefore they do us violence by exclaiming against us as though we preach against faith; while we alone insist upon it as being of such necessity that without it nothing can be received nor enjoyed.

          38] Thus we have these three parts which it is necessary to know concerning this Sacrament, especially that the ordinance of God is to be held in all honor, which alone would be sufficient, though it be an entirely external thing, like the commandment, Honor thy father and thy mother, which refers to bodily flesh and blood. Therein we regard not the flesh and blood, but the commandment of God in which they are comprehended, and on account of which the flesh is called father and mother; so also, though we had no more than these words, Go ye and baptize, etc., it would be necessary for us to accept and do it as the ordinance of God. 39] Now there is here not only God's commandment and injunction, but also the promise, on account of which it is still far more glorious than whatever else God has commanded and ordained, and is, in short, so full of consolation and grace that heaven and earth cannot comprehend it. 40] But it requires skill to believe this, for the treasure is not wanting, but this is wanting that men apprehend it and hold it firmly.

          41] Therefore every Christian has enough in Baptism to learn and to practise all his life; for he has always enough to do to believe firmly what it promises and brings: victory over death and the devil, forgiveness of sin, the grace of God, the entire Christ, and the Holy Ghost with His gifts. 42] In short, it is so transcendent that if timid nature could realize it, it might well doubt whether it could be true. 43] For consider, if there were somewhere a physician who understood the art of saving men from dying, or, even though they died, of restoring them speedily to life, so that they would thereafter live forever, how the world would pour in money like snow and rain, so that because of the throng of the rich no one could find access! But here in Baptism there is brought free to every one's door such a treasure and medicine as utterly destroys death and preserves all men alive.

          44] Thus we must regard Baptism and make it profitable to ourselves, that when our sins and conscience oppress us, we strengthen ourselves and take comfort and say: Nevertheless I am baptized; but if I am baptized, it is promised me that I shall be saved and have eternal life, both in soul and body. 45] For that is the reason why these two things are done in Baptism, namely, that the body, which can apprehend nothing but the water, is sprinkled, and, in addition, the word is spoken for the soul to apprehend. 46] Now, since both, the water and the Word, are one Baptism, therefore body and soul must be saved and live forever: the soul through the Word which it believes, but the body because it is united with the soul and also apprehends Baptism as it is able to apprehend it. We have, therefore, no greater jewel in body and soul, for by it we are made holy and are saved, which no other kind of life, no work upon earth, can attain.

          Let this suffice respecting the nature, blessing, and use of Baptism, for it answers the present purpose. Of Infant Baptism.


          47] Here a question occurs by which the devil, through his sects, confuses the world, namely, Of Infant Baptism, whether children also believe, and are justly baptized. Concerning this we say briefly: 48] Let the simple dismiss this question from their minds, and refer it to the learned. But if you wish to answer, 49] then answer thus:-

          That the Baptism of infants is pleasing to Christ is sufficiently proved from His own work, namely, that God sanctifies many of them who have been thus baptized, and has given them the Holy Ghost; and that there are yet many even to-day in whom we perceive that they have the Holy Ghost both because of their doctrine and life; as it is also given to us by the grace of God that we can explain the Scriptures and come to the knowledge of Christ, which is impossible without the Holy Ghost. 50] But if God did not accept the baptism of infants, He would not give the Holy Ghost nor any of His gifts to any of them; in short, during this long time unto this day no man upon earth could have been a Christian. Now, since God confirms Baptism by the gifts of His Holy Ghost, as is plainly perceptible in some of the church fathers, as St. Bernard, Gerson, John Hus, and others, who were baptized in infancy, and since the holy Christian Church cannot perish until the end of the world, they must acknowledge that such infant baptism is pleasing to God. For He can never be opposed to Himself, or support falsehood and wickedness, or for its promotion impart His grace and Spirit. 51] This is indeed the best and strongest proof for the simple-minded and unlearned. For they shall not take from us or overthrow this article: I believe a holy Christian Church, the communion of saints.

          52] Further, we say that we are not so much concerned to know whether the person baptized believes or not; for on that account Baptism does not become invalid; but everything depends upon the Word and command of God. 53] This now is perhaps somewhat acute, but it rests entirely upon what I have said, that Baptism is nothing else than water and the Word of God in and with each other, that is, when the Word is added to the water, Baptism is valid, even though faith be wanting. For my faith does not make Baptism, but receives it. Now, Baptism does not become invalid even though it be wrongly received or employed; since it is not bound (as stated) to our faith, but to the Word.

          54] For even though a Jew should to-day come dishonestly and with evil purpose, and we should baptize him in all good faith, we must say that his baptism is nevertheless genuine. For here is the water together with the Word of God, even though he does not receive it as he should, just as those who unworthily go to the Sacrament receive the true Sacrament, even though they do not believe.

          55] Thus you see that the objection of the sectarians is vain. For (as we have said) even though infants did not believe, which, however, is not the case, yet their baptism as now shown would be valid, and no one should rebaptize them; just as nothing is detracted from the Sacrament though some one approach it with evil purpose, and he could not be allowed on account of his abuse to take it a second time the selfsame hour, as though he had not received the true Sacrament at first; for that would mean to blaspheme and profane the Sacrament in the worst manner. How dare we think that God's Word and ordinance should be wrong and invalid because we make a wrong use of it?

          56] Therefore I say, if you did not believe then believe now and say thus: The baptism indeed was right, but I, alas! did not receive it aright. For I myself also, and all who are baptized, must speak thus before God: I come hither in my faith and in that of others, yet I cannot rest in this, that I believe, and that many people pray for me; but in this I rest, that it is Thy Word and command. Just as I go to the Sacrament trusting not in my faith, but in the Word of Christ; whether I am strong or weak, that I commit to God. But this I know, that He bids me go, eat and drink, etc., and gives me His body and blood; that will not deceive me or prove false to me.

          57] Thus we do also in infant baptism. We bring the child in the conviction and hope that it believes, and we pray that God may grant it faith; but we do not baptize it upon that, but solely upon the command of God. Why so? Because we know that God does not lie. I and my neighbor and, in short, all men, may err and deceive, but the Word of God cannot err.

          58] Therefore they are presumptuous, clumsy minds that draw such inferences and conclusions as these: Where there is not the true faith, there also can be no true Baptism. Just as if I would infer: If I do not believe, then Christ is nothing; or thus: If I am not obedient, then father, mother, and government are nothing. Is that a correct conclusion, that whenever any one does not do what he ought, the thing in itself shall be nothing and of no value? 59] My dear, just invert the argument and rather draw this inference: For this very reason Baptism is something and is right, because it has been wrongly received. For if it were not right and true in itself, it could not be misused nor sinned against. The saying is: Abusus non tollit, sed confirmat substantiam, Abuse does not destroy the essence, but confirms it. For gold is not the less gold though a harlot wear it in sin and shame.

          60] Therefore let it be decided that Baptism always remains true, retains its full essence, even though a single person should be baptized, and he, in addition, should not believe truly. For God's ordinance and Word cannot be made variable or be altered by men.61] But these people, the fanatics, are so blinded that they do not see the Word and command of God, and regard Baptism and the magistrates only as they regard water in the brook or in pots, or as any other man; and because they do not see faith nor obedience, they conclude that they are to be regarded as invalid. 62] Here lurks a concealed seditious devil, who would like to tear the crown from the head of authority and then trample it under foot, and, in addition, pervert and bring to naught all the works and ordinances of God. 63] Therefore we must be watchful and well armed, and not allow ourselves to be directed nor turned away from the Word, in order that we may not regard Baptism as a mere empty sign, as the fanatics dream.

          64] Lastly, we must also know what Baptism signifies, and why God has ordained just such external sign and ceremony for the Sacrament by which we are first received into the Christian Church. 65] But the act or ceremony is this, that we are sunk under the water, which passes over us, and afterwards are drawn out again. These two parts, to be sunk under the water and drawn out again, signify the power and operation of Baptism, which is nothing else than putting to death the old Adam, and after that the resurrection of the new man, both of which must take place in us all our lives, so that a truly Christian life is nothing else than a daily baptism, once begun and ever to be continued. For this must be practised without ceasing, that we ever keep purging away whatever is of the old Adam, and that that which belongs to the new man come forth. 66] But what is the old man? It is that which is born in us from Adam, angry, hateful, envious, unchaste, stingy, lazy, haughty, yea, unbelieving, infected with all vices, and having by nature nothing good in it. 67] Now, when we are come into the kingdom of Christ, these things must daily decrease, that the longer we live we become more gentle, more patient, more meek, and ever withdraw more and more from unbelief, avarice, hatred, envy, haughtiness.

          68] This is the true use of Baptism among Christians, as signified by baptizing with water. Where this, therefore, is not practised, but the old man is left unbridled, so as to continually become stronger, that is not using Baptism, but striving against Baptism. 69] For those who are without Christ cannot but daily become worse, according to the proverb which expresses the truth, "Worse and worse-the longer, the worse." 70] If a year ago one was proud and avaricious, then he is much prouder and more avaricious this year, so that the vice grows and increases with him from his youth up. A young child has no special vice; but when it grows up, it becomes unchaste and impure, and when it reaches maturity, real vices begin to prevail the longer, the more.

          71] Therefore the old man goes unrestrained in his nature if he is not checked and suppressed by the power of Baptism. On the other hand, where men have become Christians, he daily decreases until he finally perishes. That is truly to be buried in Baptism, and daily to come forth again. 72] Therefore the external sign is appointed not only for a powerful effect, but also for a signification.73] Where, therefore, faith flourishes with its fruits, there it has no empty signification, but the work [of mortifying the flesh] accompanies it; but where faith is wanting, it remains a mere unfruitful sign.

          74] And here you see that Baptism, both in its power and signification, comprehends also the third Sacrament, which has been called repentance, 75] as it is really nothing else than Baptism. For what else is repentance but an earnest attack upon the old man [that his lusts be restrained] and entering upon a new life? Therefore, if you live in repentance, you walk in Baptism, which not only signifies such a new life, but also produces, begins, and exercises it. 76] For therein are given grace, the Spirit, and power to suppress the old man, so that the new man may come forth and become strong.

          77] Therefore our Baptism abides forever; and even though some one should fall from it and sin, nevertheless we always have access thereto, that we may again subdue the old man. 78] But we need not again be sprinkled with water; for though we were put under the water a hundred times, it would nevertheless be only one Baptism, although the operation and signification continue and remain. 79] Repentance, therefore, is nothing else than a return and approach to Baptism, that we repeat and practise what we began before, but abandoned.

          80] This I say lest we fall into the opinion in which we were for a long time, imagining that our Baptism is something past, which we can no longer use after we have fallen again into sin. The reason is, that it is regarded only according to the external act once performed [and completed]. 81] And this arose from the fact that St. Jerome wrote that repentance is the second plank by which we must swim forth and cross over after the ship is broken, on which we step and are carried across when we come into the Christian Church. 82] Thereby the use of Baptism has been abolished so that it can profit us no longer. Therefore the statement is not correct, or at any rate not rightly understood. For the ship never breaks, because (as we have said) it is the ordinance of God, and not a work of ours; but it happens, indeed, that we slip and fall out of the ship. Yet if any one fall out, let him see to it that he swim up and cling to it till he again come into it and live in it, as he had formerly begun.

          83] Thus it appears what a great, excellent thing Baptism is, which delivers us from the jaws of the devil and makes us God's own, suppresses and takes away sin, and then daily strengthens the new man; and is and remains ever efficacious until we pass from this estate of misery to eternal glory.

          84] For this reason let every one esteem his Baptism as a daily dress in which he is to walk constantly, that he may ever be found in the faith and its fruits, that he suppress the old man and grow up in the new. 85] For if we would be Christians, we must practise the work whereby we are Christians. 86] But if any one fall away from it, let him again come into it. For just as Christ, the Mercy-seat, does not recede from us or forbid us to come to Him again, even though we sin, so all His treasure and gifts also remain. If, therefore, we have once in Baptism obtained forgiveness of sin, it will remain every day, as long as we live, that is, as long as we carry the old man about our neck.


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          Baptism's Grace, like the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ present in, with and under the Bread and Wine of Holy Communion, is simply to be regarded as objective fact. It is God's gift to a race of fallen sinners and excites the movement of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of people.

          Comment>

          • #6
            Originally posted by St_Worm2 View Post
            Hi CL, although I was a Presbyterian and baptized as an infant, when the PCUSA decided to further its distance from the Bible and our Confession about 20 years ago, I was invited to move over to the Evangelical Free Church, and they, like Baptists and Anabaptists, practice credobaptism. Many such churches, we are one, "dedicate" children to the Lord instead by praying over them, and then asking their parents to promise to raise them in the training and admonition of the Lord. This, I assume, is not enough to impart saving grace according to the LCMS, correct?

            I think it must also be that aspect of Lutheran Baptism, IOW, that it is believed to be salvific on the part of infants (at least), which naturally leads to the necessity of a secondary belief that one who has been, "born again", who truly "believes"/has "saving faith", and as been "baptized", can lose their salvation. Would you concur?

            Personally, I don't hold to the belief that saving grace is imparted to non-believers through the waters of baptism, but I must say that you Lutherans have the most palatable beliefs I have ever encountered in regard to this subject :) I'm going to have to go back for a bit more thorough reading of what you just posited for us above (so I hope you don't mind if I come up with some additional questions about it?).

            Thanks!

            Yours in Christ,
            David
            p.s. - perhaps this was already answered above, but if not, what is "faith", specifially, and how can we know that a baptized infant has come to possess saving faith, especially if they seem to immediately head south at a very young age, away from the faith they received during baptism? Also, how do you guys go about nurturing the "faith" of a newborn/infant? Thanks again!
            Ask something difficult, why don't you? ;)

            Martin Luther’s Definition of Faith

            by Martin Luther

            Faith is not what some people think it is. Their human dream is a delusion. Because they observe that faith is not followed by good works or a better life, they fall into error, even though they speak and hear much about faith. “Faith is not enough,” they say, “You must do good works, you must be pious to be saved.” They think that, when you hear the gospel, you start working, creating by your own strength a thankful heart which says, “I believe.” That is what they think true faith is. But, because this is a human idea, a dream, the heart never learns anything from it, so it does nothing and reform doesn’t come from this `faith,’ either.

            Instead, faith is God’s work in us, that changes us and gives new birth from God. (John 1:13). It kills the Old Adam and makes us completely different people. It changes our hearts, our spirits, our thoughts and all our powers. It brings the Holy Spirit with it. Yes, it is a living, creative, active and powerful thing, this faith. Faith cannot help doing good works constantly. It doesn’t stop to ask if good works ought to be done, but before anyone asks, it already has done them and continues to do them without ceasing. Anyone who does not do good works in this manner is an unbeliever. He stumbles around and looks for faith and good works, even though he does not know what faith or good works are. Yet he gossips and chatters about faith and good works with many words.

            Faith is a living, bold trust in God’s grace, so certain of God’s favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it. Such confidence and knowledge of God’s grace makes you happy, joyful and bold in your relationship to God and all creatures. The Holy Spirit makes this happen through faith. Because of it, you freely, willingly and joyfully do good to everyone, serve everyone, suffer all kinds of things, love and praise the God who has shown you such grace. Thus, it is just as impossible to separate faith and works as it is to separate heat and light from fire! Therefore, watch out for your own false ideas and guard against good-for-nothing gossips, who think they’re smart enough to define faith and works, but really are the greatest of fools. Ask God to work faith in you, or you will remain forever without faith, no matter what you wish, say or can do.



            An excerpt from “An Introduction to St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans,” Luther’s German Bible of 1522 by Martin Luther, 1483-1546

            Translated by Rev. Robert E. Smith from DR. MARTIN LUTHER’S VERMISCHTE DEUTSCHESCHRIFTEN. Johann K. Irmischer, ed. Vol. 63 Erlangen: Heyder and Zimmer, 1854), pp.124-125. [EA 63:124-125]


            For permissions, please see our Copyright Policy.

            Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: From Ligonier Ministries, the teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul. All rights reserved. Website: Reformed Theology from R.C. Sproul: Ligonier Ministries |

            Faith is a powerful, living thing that must be fed and nurtured if it is to survive. The means of Grace are it's food and water and like we humans have to eat and drink every day if our bodies are to stay strong and healthy, so must the faith in the heart of a person be nourished by the Holy Spirit through hearing the Gospel, through the declaration of Absolution and through the reception of the Sacraments of Holy Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Holy Baptism only needs to happen once, just like a body only needs to be born once, according to the Word and Institution of Christ Jesus, but Absolution? the Lord's Supper? The Proclamation of the Gospel? That nourishment must be consumed frequently. Daily Scripture study and prayer are also essential to the life of faith. Fellowship with other believers who can bolster one another's faith and working within the Body of Christ which is the Holy Christian Church are insisted upon:
            "not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near" ( Hebrews 10:25).

            People can and do lose their salvation after baptism, sadly enough.
            Hebrews 10English Standard Version (ESV)

            Christ's Sacrifice Once for All

            10 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. 2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? 3 But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

            5 Consequently, when Christ[a] came into the world, he said,

            “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
            but a body have you prepared for me;
            6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings
            you have taken no pleasure.
            7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
            as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”

            8 When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure insacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), 9 then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

            11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ[b]had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

            15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,

            16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them
            after those days, declares the Lord:
            I will put my laws on their hearts,
            and write them on their minds,”

            17 then he adds,

            “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

            18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. The Full Assurance of Faith

            19 Therefore, brothers,[c] since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

            26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenantby which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again,“The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

            32 But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33 sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. 35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 37 For,

            “Yet a little while,
            and the coming one will come and will not delay;
            38 but my righteous one shall live by faith,
            and if he shrinks back,
            my soul has no pleasure in him.”

            39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

            Now, I don't know about you, St. Worm ( why do I always think about the Diet of Worms when I see your handle?), but it seems like I am always falling away and I constantly need to ask for God's forgiveness, which I trust he grants to me. Here are some Scripture that relate to this:
            1 John 1English Standard Version (ESV)

            The Word of Life

            1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our[a] joy may be complete. Walking in the Light

            5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, thatGod is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. Footnotes:

            1. 1 John 1:4 Some manuscripts your

            English Standard Version (ESV)
            The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
            10 Brothers,1 my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that bthey have a zeal for God, cbut not according to knowledge. 3 For, being ignorant ofdthe righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. 4 For eChrist is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.2 The Message of Salvation to All

            5 For fMoses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that gthe person who does the commandments shall live by them. 6 Buththe righteousness based on faith says, i“Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the jabyss?’” (that is, kto bring Christ up from the dead).8 But what does it say? l“The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, ifmyou confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and nbelieve in your heart othat God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, p“Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 qFor there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; rfor the same Lord is Lord of all, sbestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For t“everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

            14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him uof whom they have never heard?3And how are they to hear vwithout someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, w“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But xthey have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, y“Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So zfaith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

            18 But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for

            a“Their voice has gone out bto all the earth,

            and their words to the ends of the world.”

            19 But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says,

            c“I will dmake you jealous of those who are not a nation;

            with a efoolish nation I will make you angry.”

            20 Then Isaiah is so bold as to say,

            f“I have been found by those who did not seek me;

            I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.”

            21 But of Israel he says, g“All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.” Footnotes

            [1] 10:1 Or Brothers and sisters
            [2] 10:4 Or end of the law, that everyone who believes may be justified
            [3] 10:14 Or him whom they have never heard
            James 5English Standard Version (ESV)

            Warning to the Rich

            5 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten.3 Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. 4 Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned andmurdered the righteous person. He does not resist you. Patience in Suffering

            7 Be patient, therefore, brothers,[a] until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also, be patient.Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9 Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. 10 As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

            12 But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation. The Prayer of Faith

            13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.[b]17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.

            19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. Footnotes:

            1. James 5:7 Or brothers and sisters; also verses 9, 10, 12, 19
            2. James 5:16 Or The effective prayer of a righteous person has great power

            English Standard Version (ESV)
            The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

            Are we not all apostles of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Did He not graciously bestow His keys to His Church, which is His Body, of which we are all a part? Is not Peter's Confession our own and the Rock on which Jesus built His Church?
            Matthew 16English Standard Version (ESV)

            The Pharisees and Sadducees Demand Signs

            16 And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered them,[a] “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ 3 And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. 4 An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.”So he left them and departed. The Leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees

            5 When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. 6 Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 7 And they began discussing it among themselves, saying, “We brought no bread.” 8 But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? 9 Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 11 How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ

            13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock[b] I will build my church, and the gates of hell[c] shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed[d] in heaven.” 20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ. Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection

            21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord![e]This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance[f] to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus

            24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let himdeny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life[g] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, andthen he will repay each person according to what he has done. 28 Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” Footnotes:

            1. Matthew 16:2 Some manuscripts omit the following words to the end of verse 3
            2. Matthew 16:18 The Greek words for Peter and rock sound similar
            3. Matthew 16:18 Greek the gates of Hades
            4. Matthew 16:19 Or shall have been bound… shall have been loosed
            5. Matthew 16:22 Or “[May God be] merciful to you, Lord!”
            6. Matthew 16:23 Greek stumbling block
            7. Matthew 16:25 The same Greek word can mean either soul or life, depending on the context; twice in this verse and twice in verse 26

            English Standard Version (ESV)
            The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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            Comment>

            • #7
              Okay. I don't know if this is the place to ask for help or not, but I seem to be engaged in a debate with certain apologists from a certain church who seem overtly determined to convert me to their way of thinking. Prayers for my faith to be strengthened would be appreciated. I'm not weakening as far as I can tell, but part of their tactics include ganging up on and wearing down a theological dissenter.
              Comment>

              • #8
                Originally posted by ConfessionalLutheran View Post
                Okay. I don't know if this is the place to ask for help or not, but I seem to be engaged in a debate with certain apologists from a certain church who seem overtly determined to convert me to their way of thinking. Prayers for my faith to be strengthened would be appreciated. I'm not weakening as far as I can tell, but part of their tactics include ganging up on and wearing down a theological dissenter.
                Praying for you CL,

                Yes, there's a difference between debating and being argumentative. If I may suggest, make your case and leave it on your opponents lap. Examine your position according to your opponents argument (and of course Scripture). If you notice any discrepancy on your part or theirs then address it. Then leave it.

                What "way of thinking" are they ramming down your throat?

                God bless,
                William
                Comment>

                • #9
                  The Formal Debate was good for keeping things manageable. Make an opening, rebut your opponent, defend your conclusion.

                  So challenge them to a formal written debate with a week between steps. Then just trade papers and take your time to think it over.
                  It is great for avoiding the need to address the same points OVER and OVER.
                  Comment>

                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ConfessionalLutheran View Post
                    Okay. I don't know if this is the place to ask for help or not, but I seem to be engaged in a debate with certain apologists from a certain church who seem overtly determined to convert me to their way of thinking. Prayers for my faith to be strengthened would be appreciated. I'm not weakening as far as I can tell, but part of their tactics include ganging up on and wearing down a theological dissenter.
                    ... but no matter what, don't use the JW Bible! :)
                    Comment>

                    • #11
                      Originally posted by William View Post

                      Praying for you CL,

                      Yes, there's a difference between debating and being argumentative. If I may suggest, make your case and leave it on your opponents lap. Examine your position according to your opponents argument (and of course Scripture). If you notice any discrepancy on your part or theirs then address it. Then leave it.

                      What "way of thinking" are they ramming down your throat?

                      God bless,
                      William
                      Just the usual Catholic vs. Protestant arguments. I contended that every member of the Body of Christ regenerated by the Holy Spirit was an heir of salvation and spoke on the importance of faith, but that wasn't good enough.
                      Comment>

                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ConfessionalLutheran View Post
                        Just the usual Catholic vs. Protestant arguments. I contended that every member of the Body of Christ regenerated by the Holy Spirit was an heir of salvation and spoke on the importance of faith, but that wasn't good enough.
                        Why wouldn't they believe that? That is, if they believe in "baptismal regeneration" and all members of the visible church are to be baptized according to the Nicene Creed? I would be taking the opposite position of that argument (if I understand you correctly), because I do not contend that everyone in the "visible church" is regenerate.

                        God bless,
                        William
                        Comment>

                        • #13
                          Originally posted by William View Post

                          Why wouldn't they believe that? That is, if they believe in "baptismal regeneration" and all members of the visible church are to be baptized according to the Nicene Creed? I would be taking the opposite position of that argument, because I do not contend that everyone in the "visible church" is regenerate.

                          God bless,
                          William
                          Neither do I and neither did Luther, William. I had already explained that above.
                          Comment>

                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ConfessionalLutheran View Post

                            Neither do I and neither did Luther, William. I had already explained that above.
                            I am only guessing because I have not read the argument that because they believe salvation is synergistic that a man can lose his salvation. Therefore, salvation rests upon the shoulders of man and his works. Literally, God began a good work, but man can lose it. That's really the only thoughts I have as to why they would take an opposite position to the Catholic's baptismal regeneration? I mean from a monergistic position, anyone that God elects or began a good work in... He will finish it. Of course we do not know who the elect are, it isn't like they have a Big "E" painted on their T-shirts. We only know the regenerate by the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

                            Believe me, it would save us all a lot of time to only evangelize those with a Big E on their shirts, but since we don't know we must go out and proclaim the gospel to every tribe, tongue, and nation without discrimination. I agree with your former point that we are to baptize all disciples, but of course as you and I know we differ it seems on the topic of baptismal regeneration. But I am still unclear on your position, but in due time we'll probably eventually talk that through.

                            God bless,
                            William
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by William View Post

                              I am only guessing because I have not read the argument that because they believe salvation is synergistic that a man can lose his salvation. Therefore, salvation rests upon the shoulders of man and his works. Literally, God began a good work, but man can lose it. That's really the only thoughts I have as to why they would take an opposite position to the Catholic's baptismal regeneration? I mean from a monergistic position, anyone that God elects or began a good work in... He will finish it. Of course we do not know who the elect are, it isn't like they have a Big "E" painted on their T-shirts. We only know the regenerate by the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

                              Believe me, it would save us all a lot of time to only evangelize those with a Big E on their shirts, but since we don't know we must go out and proclaim the gospel to every tribe, tongue, and nation without discrimination. I agree with your former point that we are to baptize all disciples, but of course as you and I know we differ it seems on the topic of baptismal regeneration. But I am still unclear on your position, but in due time we'll probably eventually talk that through.

                              God bless,
                              William
                              THERE IS NO SYNERGISM!!!! GOD DOES ALL THE WORK!!! No, no, no!!!! My position is absolutely monergistic! God gives the faith! The baptism is effective because it's God's Word united with the water! Without the Holy Spirit exciting new movements within us, drowning the Old Adam, we reject and walk away from the grace given in baptism, grieving the Holy Spirit and driving Him away because of our own innate pride! No chance are all members of a visible church redeemed just because they have a baptismal Certificate with the name of a certain denomination written at the bottom of it. No, that's blasphemy! God knows who are His! Humans are ABSOLUTELY INCAPABLE OF CONTRIBUTING ANYTHING, ANYTHING, ANYTHING to their own salvation! I'm sorry for the all caps, but I get the distinct impression that we've been talking past each other for the last couple of days.

                              People can and do walk away from salvation and so are not elect. The Holy Spirit keeps those He has favored in the One True Faith and so they are the elect, they are a part of the invisible Church. The Catholics have been telling me about the Holy Spirit delegating His authority to the Pope and others, while I have been arguing that the Church Christ established is subject to the authority of Scripture. I'm going to bang my head on this desk one more time for good measure...J/K. I hope I've been a bit more clear on my own position.
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