‘Sprinkling’…’Full Immersion’…does it matter to God?

I was (am)  involved in a discussion over at ‘The Prodigal’s Knot…Untied’  http://prodigalsknots.wordpress.com/   on wether baptism has to be full immersion in water, or if sprinlkling or pouring of water is also effective, and constitutes a proper baptism.twins baptism by BEY CHUAComing Clean In Dirty Water by wvgasguy

 

 

 

 

 

 

The discussion at one point turned to inmates in prison, who coud not be baptised because there was “no water available”.

I said, “use some saliva if necessary”,… and then we went on from there.

Is full immersion the only biblical definition of baptism and is that the only way a baptism can be a real baptism?

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197 Responses

  1. You just love the agitation, don’t you…lol.

    From what I have been taught, the word baptism comes from the Greek word baptizo (correct me someone if I’m wrong). The word literally meant to immerse, soak, cover.

    If baptism meant sprinkling, then I’m sure the writers would have used another (or other) word(s).

    I believe in full immersion – baptizo. The Scripture does not support any other method (if it does and someone can find it, I would like to read it) of baptism.

    Is this the only ‘real’ baptism? What is someone gets saved in prison and wants to be baptized and only has access to running water out of a faucet?

    Then get a cup of water and pour it over him. I mean, what else can we do but leave those kinds of things up to God?

  2. Wayne,

    Well…maybe I am gulity of that (a little bit)…but more so I think what I’m trying to do (at least with this post) is point to the graciousness of God and the importance of His Word, vis a’ vis the mode or legality of the method.

    I think that if the components are there (water and Word), and they are there in some of the accepted traditional Christian modes of baptism, immersion, sprinkling, pouring, dunking, etc….then you have a valid baptism.

    I had water poured over my head and was baptised in the name of the Triune God .

    That was enough for God to make His promise valid in my life…so I guess that is enough for me.

    Thanks Wayne!

    – Steve

    • Steve, Praise God for what you said. However, in Immersion baptism a believer boldly shows to the world, angels and the devil that he /she is with Jesus and no more with the world.

      How? The person baptized identifies himself with the death and resurrection of Jesus for his/her sin. When we go into the water we are completely buried – which proclaims the death of our sinful nature and its burial- identifying with Christ’s death on our behalf. Then when the believer raises from the water, he comes as the new man in Christ – to live for Christ. In this he/she identifies with Christ’s resurrection. Why? Death could not hold Christ. Thus we are Spiritually born. Thus we symbolically proclaim the inward change of heart known as Salvation or ‘Born again” experience; outwardly for all to see. (People around, angles above and the devil himself)

      For example when a male and a female have decided to marry; in truth they have actually got married in their mind the moment they decided to marry each other. However, to proclaim the union of their mind we observe the wedding ceremony by inviting others to witness their union. The same way our new found union with Christ takes place between us and Lord Jesus the moment we believe in His death at our place, for our sins on the cross and invite Jesus to wash away our sins. No one else knows about that. In immersion water baptism we show our union with Christ in public.

      Finally, this can happen only after believing in Jesus and repenting. Thus, infant baptism stands invalid cause an infant can either believe or repent. There is no record of such baptism in the Bible. If any one is baptized without repentance, well ,as Bro. Derek Prince says, “That will only make a dry sinner a wet sinner”. Jesus, John the Baptist, Peter and Paul have all said that repentance should precede immersion water baptism.

      Jesus Himself was immersed because the Bible says that after His Baptism He walked out of water. Why not follow Jesus’ pattern?

      I will encourage you to listen to Bro. Derek Prince’s message on water Baptism. He leaves no stone upturned.

      God bless you. Be baptized by submerging in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.

      God bless you.

      • Thanks so much, Jim, for your comment.

        I think we can get sidetracked and enter an area of legalism when we start to believe that the amount of water, or where the water is (a river, a font, an ocean).

        Jesus was baptized in a river. In the river Jordon. Should we say then that Baptisms aren’t valid, unless we too are baptized in the river Jordon?

        It’s not the water that makes Baptism effective, but rather God’s Word attached to that water. I was baptized as an infant and not submerged. However the Lord has seen fit to Baptize me and adopt me as His own.

        I believe that this understanding actually lets God be God and act for us, because of His Word…and is not reliant on any certain amount of water.

        Thanks, and God bless.

  3. Is full immersion the only biblical definition of baptism and is that the only way a baptism can be a real baptism?

    Does it matter?

    I think the only thing matters is our TRUE baptism – uniting us with Christ Jesus through regeneration.

    Anything we do with water is just a proclamation of this internal fact.

  4. WayneDawg, you are spot on with regard to baptizo.

    However, there have been occasions where full immersion is not possible. For example, we have a convalescent home down the street from our church. We’ve had folks come in from there (we have a whole ministry set up for them) in wheel chairs, etc. Having them get in to the baptistery is next to impossible so we have to make accommodations for that which is to pour water over their heads.

    To Bino’s point, does it matter? Well, to fulfill Jesus’ commandment to us, it does if the person is able to be baptized by immersion. But if they are not able, God knows the person’s heart. If we acknowledge Christ before men, He will acknowledge us before the Father.

    As Bino said, anything we do with water is a proclamation of what’s happened internally.

  5. “As Bino said, anything we do with water is a proclamation of what’s happened internally.”

    So when Jesus commands us to “go…baptising and teaching…”

    Why does the word baptising come BEFORE teaching?

    Why does it say in 1st Peter that “baptism now saves you..” ?

    In Acts 2:38, the bible says that you receive the Holy Spirit in baptism.

    I think God has chosen to work in baptism and that’s why He commanded it.

    How could the disciples (in Matthew 28) go..and give the people the Holy Spirit? They could not. But they could baptise and in that baptism, the Lord would do what He would do.

    And the Lord is not hamstrung by the amount of water, or the mode of baptisim. The water is symbolic of the death (drowning ) and the new life in the forgiveness of Christ (the resurrection) and the Word of promise to that effect is what gives baptism the real power and what makes it effective. The mode is not what makes it effective. And the trust of that promise, the faith that God gives to us (the gift of faith) grabs ahold of, or accesses that promise.

    What am I missing?

  6. Joe – I wasn’t diminishing the value of Water Baptism but I don’t think water baptism has anything to do between a believer and God, it has something to do with a believer and others. Between God and man, what matters is what happens inside us. The externals are for us…

    But like you said, is there if there is a chance to be baptized in water, why not make use of that opportunity to tell the world about the greatest thing happened in our life? I am all for it.

  7. Well, well, how deep must be the well and not the water into which the candidate fell.

  8. Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    Repentance and trust in Christ = forgiveness of sins; saved. The water does not save – If water baptism saves then Christs work on the cross was not enough to redeem man….and that would be heresy.

    Paul lays out what the Gospel is in I Corinthians 15:1-4…..there is no mention of baptism.

    Act 10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.

    Here it says that the people recieved the Holy Spirit before they were baptised, not after as Acts 2:38 says……

    Should we insert into the Scriptures after the word faith ‘and be baptised’…….

    “Therefore being justified by faith (AND BE BAPTISED), we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 5:1)

    Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace (WITH BAPTISM)are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works (EXCEPT BAPTISM), lest any man should boast.”

  9. Wayne,

    You have brought up some interesting points, Wayne.

    So if repentance should precede baptism, why then should we not be re-baptised after we fall into sin?

  10. Here is John speaking to Christians –

    1 John 1:8-10 – If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

    we can only be born-again once – Christ died for all our sins (past, present and future). That’s why baptism is an outward showing of an inward work that God has done in us. We are being saved – we are still in the tent of the flesh and will fall into sin (NOT dive into it).

    When I fall, I repent to re-establish fellowship with God and get up and walk again. I do this until I die when I will finally be saved from the wretch I am.

  11. Jesus didn’t say, “Get baptised and believe the Gospel”

    He said, Repent and believe the Gospel.

  12. baptism may very well be done – to steal a phrase from malcolm x – by any means necessary.

  13. Man, Steve… you’re baiting a Baptist!

    I gotta pick up my kids from school, but I’ll be back.

    Good post! This is good stuff to chew on!!!

  14. Steve L.,

    Enjoy the kids, and then stick it to me!

  15. I think I’m encouraging the baiting……lol.

  16. Wayne,

    Right! 😀

    When it comes to encouraging the baiting of Baptists…you are second to none!!

  17. Mark 7:3-4 (ESV)
    (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands, holding to the tradition of the elders, [4] and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing (Baptizing) of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.)

    The Greek word Baptizo merely means to wash, there is no way that you can make the claim that it means immersion only and maintain any intellectual integrity. It is used interchangebly with washing in the above verse for one and other places throughout the New Testament.
    As for those who don’t think baptism has anything to do with man and God, but man and other men. that it is nothing more than a confession of faith to other men. That is silly. If God wanted a confession he would demand a confession. Actually he does Romans 10, but we confess with our mouths, what we believe in our hearts. At this point I find it hard to come up with a reference where baptism is said to be nothing but a confession of faith. There is a lot more going on there. God sanctifies us Christians with baptism, Ephes. 5:25-27 (ESV)
    Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, [26] that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, [27] so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

    He pours the holy Spirit out on us in baptism, regenerating and renewing us. Titus 3:5 (ESV)
    he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

    And he saves us through it :1 Peter 3:21 (ESV)
    Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

    I think we need to come up with a new name for Baptists, as they don’t believe in baptism. We used to call them Anabaptists, but I don’t want to confuse them with the Amish. Maybe baptism naysayers. what cracks me up is the way they can maintain it does nothing for you. And in the same breath tell you your baptism is invalid because you were sprinkled when you were a baby. And now you need to do it over again. Why? If it doesn’t do anything for me why would I need to do it over again?

  18. Bror,

    “The Greek word Baptizo merely means to wash, there is no way that you can make the claim that it means immersion only and maintain any intellectual integrity.”

    Well, many of our friends do, because it fits into their preconceived notions.

    Thanks Bror!

  19. It seems to me that Baptism is one of those areas where we have to give our fellow Christians some latitude, because, as this thread and many others demonstrate, you can go round and round in scripture about it. It seems that sometimes the Spirit comes at Baptism, as Peter suggests in Acts 2:38; sometimes the much later (Acts 8:14-17); and sometimes before, (Acts 10:44-48). I think we’re probably all inclined to emphasize these passages that fit our preconceived notions, and it’s a job of work to do otherwise.

    My thinking is that each position is prone to certain errors, and each has certain benefits. Which is the most correct? Only God can say for sure, and Spirit will blow where and when it will, no matter what we think about it. 🙂

    And Bror: I do know plenty of Baptists that don’t believe that sprinkling is invalid or that believer’s baptism is a requirement for church membership. My Baptist church recognizes any previous experience of baptism. If someone who was baptized as an infant wants to experience believer’s baptism, they can, but we don’t ask them to. I will acknowledge that we are somewhat odd ducks within the Baptist church, however.

  20. Teresa,
    Acts can give some very good theological insight, but you can’t apply what happened to others to you. Namaan had leprosy and was able to have it cured by washing in the Jordan. I don’t recommend you try that. I grew long hair as a kid hoping to have the strength of Samson. That didn’t work.
    But when Scripture attaches the Holy Spirit, and sanctification in no uncertain terms to Baptism, not to mention salvation you can believe it. You want to point to anecdotal stories and say see it didn’t happen this way here. I’ll just point to those places in scripture that says it happens and believe it. When it comes to Baptism the Bible saying it is enough for me to believe it.
    The rest of the anecdotal evidence you point at can be explained by different manifestations of the Holy Spirit. That is to say he comes in different ways at different times, but he is always at work doing something in Baptism. That something is sanctifying, regenerating, and renewing.

  21. Hey, Steve

    It seems that there are two distinct threads of thought going on here – the mode of baptism and the significance of it.

    Baptists and Lutherans are historically miles apart on the significance, so let me start with mode.

    Part of our problem, I think, is that “baptize” was transliterated from the earliest days of English translations rather than translated, which adds a layer of complication to the discussion.

    The Greek word baptizo does mean “immerse”, if you look it up in the BDAG or the NIDNTT. Even where it is used for “washing”, the word “immerse” still works there.

    What it definitely does not mean is “sprinkle” or “pour”. I for one am of the strong conviction that Scripture is God-breathed and so the words are all intentional, deliberate and significant. In other words, I believe the Holy Spirit chose the word “immerse” for a reason (which takes us to the significance conversation, where I’m not going just yet).

    So the words chosen are weighty to me and should not be ignored. I feel that immersion is important. Having said that, however, I’m not willing to disfellowship a Presbyterian or Lutheran or anyone else who disagrees with me on this issue! And I also think there are circumstances, as many have already mentioned, that force us to be creative; like places where even drinking water is scarce, people with physical issues, etc.

    I would also go so far as to say that it’s difficult to be dogmatic about things like mode when the gospel itself is under attack worldwide. We have bigger fish to fry when it comes to which hill we’re willing to die on. (Talk about mixing metaphors!)

    One of the reasons I think I can afford to be less than dogmatic about mode, as important as it is, is because I see baptism as a secondary issue, which should come as no surprise to any of you who understand Baptist theology. Paul said, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel…” (1 Cor. 1:17). I’m with Paul :0)

    While it seems that we can each bandy Scripture about to make our point, I believe that a good systematic theology and an understanding of what “baptized by the Spirit” means can go a long way to clarify things.

    I say this very respectfully – I understand that Lutherans and Covenant theologians have a rich and deep theological tradition, so I’m not attempting to make light of it. I just feel that such an understanding is wrong.

    Consistently throughout the NT, people believed and then were baptized. Even in Acts 2, the passage often cited by those of you who disagree with me, verse 41 says, “Those who accepted his message were baptized…”. He had just told them to repent and be baptized in v. 38. Clearly they were convicted by the Spirit of God (v. 37), they believed (accepted his message) and THEN were baptized.

    Acts 10 is an even better example. “While Peter was still speaking these words [the gospel], the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message… Then Peter said, ‘Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have recieved the Holy Spirit, just as we have.'” (vv. 44, 46-47).

    I just feel that it’s so clear – As a result of the power of the gospel, the hearers recieved the Holy Spirit, and THEN were baptized.

    I know that Acts is difficult to make prescriptive and normative, since it’s sort of ‘the church in the birth canal’, but the examples were chosen by the Spirit of God, and are good to learn from.

    I know that some of you guys define “Spirit baptism” very differently than I do, but if you can at least see it from my perspective, you can see how I come to my conclusions. 1 Corinthians 12:13 says, “For we were all baptized (immersed) by one Spirit into one body…”. Looking at passages like Acts 1:5 (“for in a few days you will be baptized with thre Holy Spirit”) and how no water was involved whatsoever in that account, I feel very confident concluding that 1 Cor. 12:13 is talking about regeneration. It also fits nicely with John chapter 1, Ephesians 2:1-9, and other passages that describe the new birth.

    We have nothing to do with our regeneration whatsoever. There is no human activity involved. No matter how you slice it, trying to tie water baptism with my regeneration seems very incongruent to me, since water baptism is indeed a human activity.

    I do eagerly anticipate learning what you guys think, however!

  22. Ah, but Bror Erickson,

    If baptism is how we are saved, then there can be only one “right” way to do it. And that is where the contention begins.

    If God saves us through baptism why would He leave it so open to ambiguity and disagreement as to the how, when and where of it? Jesus Himself said “Your faith has saved you” to the woman who bathed His feet with her tears. (Luke 7:50) Why did He not tell her to go and be baptized since He and His disciples were baptizing earlier?

    I agree with Bino as regards the purpose of baptism. It’s God’s way of including a visible act of participation for the sake of our little faith.

  23. “But when Scripture attaches the Holy Spirit, and sanctification in no uncertain terms to Baptism, not to mention salvation you can believe it. ” (Bror)

    I honestly, truly do not see that in Scripture, and I want to learn how Lutherans think. Please help me see how you guys come to that conclusion.

  24. Bror: I totally agree that we shouldn’t try to take anecdotes and generalize them to apply to ourselves today. (I shudder to imagine what would happen if we read the book of Judges that way. Men growing their hair for strength would be the least of our troubles.) I think the difficulty is deciding which cases are meant to be normative and which are anecdotal exceptions to the general pattern. For many baptists, the fact that the overwhelming pattern it that the baptisms we see in scripture are all of people old enough to actively desire baptism is enough to suggest that this should be the normative pattern.

    I do think that baptism, faith, repentance, salvation, regeneration, the gift of the spirit, etc., are very, very closely bound together in scripture. So closely bound together that’s it’s difficult to impossible to separate them out and say *this* is the crucial moment. And passages like 1 Peter 3:21 and Titus 3:5 certainly bear some thinking about, but then there are all the passages cited above that talk about salvation/justification without mentioning baptism, 1 John 1:8-10, Ephesians 2:8-9.

    As I said, it’s one of those topics that Bible-believing Christians can go round and round about and not come to an obvious conclusion. (At least, it isn’t obvious to me–but maybe I’m just dense 🙂 )

  25. The powerful thing about immersion is that it is a sermon in pictures.

    Jesus died, was buried and rose – the essence of the gospel. Once I am in Christ, what is His becomes mine. His death becomes my death; His payment is reckoned to me; His righteousness is imputed to me; His resurrection becomes mine, too.

    Immersion pictures that – Jesus’ death burial and resurrection, and consequently, mine.

    When you change the mode, you lose the picture and so the message.

  26. BTW Bror, I LOVE the ESV!

    Is it common among Lutherans to use it?

  27. Steve L.,

    “BTW Bror, I LOVE the ESV!

    Is it common among Lutherans to use it?”

    I’ll answer for Bror,

    It is not common for Lutherans to use any Bible. 😀

  28. This Lutheran likes the RSV.

  29. Steve – here’s another question: What percentage of baptisms among Lutherans do you think are by immersion? Do you guys do it at all?

    What about people who are reached as adults – new converts. How are they usually baptized?

    Inquiring minds what to know, as Jason would say…

  30. Guys and Gals,

    I’ve got to go out for a couple of hours.

    I’ll try and throw some more of my cents in (since I have no sense) later tonight.

    If you think of something else…throw it up there!

    Thanks for making this a great discussion with no blood letting…yet!

    – Steve

  31. The ESV is based textually on the RSV, but is updated and, I would argue, better. 🙂

  32. Teresa,
    In view of Acts 2:38-39 I don’t think you can make a case that it is to be a normative pattern at all. Of course parents are going to be baptized Christians before the begin baptizing their children. And so when the Gospel first goes out there are going to be many adult baptisms, but they baptized whole households also, so children though not expressly mentioned are undoubtedly baptized also. It isn’t an either/or. We baptize both. The normative in it all is that you baptize non-Christian’s young and old, and in doing so make them disciples of Christ, and give them the Holy Spirit. IF they become believers as adults and are not baptized you baptize them If the parents bring them to you at week old you baptize them and bring them up in the faith. The norm;”Go and make disciples of all nations, Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them all that I have commanded you.” Now unless you don’t think I should be making disciples of little infants I don’t think there is much more to be talking about.

  33. Steve L.,

    One more before I head out the door (this stuff is addicting!)

    I don’t lnow of any adult conversions that are by immersion.

    I think it is a conscious decision to say that no baptism is better than another. And since we baptise moslty infants in America, anyway, and we pour water over their foreheads at the font…that is what we do for the adults also.

    Remember, us Lutheran types believe that we do not baptise anyone. God does all the baptising. That was jsut a quick one before I split for errands.

    Thanks!

  34. Steve,
    First the picture is secondary and doubtful. I have yet to figure out how bobbing in a pool is a picture of being buried and raised to new life. I don’t think it was meant to be a picture at all. And there isn’t one instance that you can point to in the Bible inconclusively showing that they were immersed. This becomes imminently clear with a walk through the Holy Land.
    That being said I don’t care if one is immersed or not, as long as water is used in conjunction with the word of God. But I take strong objection to people questioning my baptism, and the baptisms of others based on fuzzy reasoning and preconceived notions. No one has the right to rob another Christian of the comfort of Baptism. It should rather be a joy for Christians to point other Christians to their baptism in times of spiritual angst and say of course you are saved, you were baptized!

    Now for your other questions.
    The LCMS has switched to using the ESV for its new hymnals. So it is getting quite common among Lutherans. And Steve is the only Lutheran I know that doesn’t use a Bible. The rest I know use them as paper weights. 🙂

    I doubt two percent of Lutherans are ever baptized by immersion, because we have been in statu confessionis against the anabaptist since 1529. Which means we agree that you can, but when people maintain you have to or call into question other forms, we are bound by cantankerous personalities to do the opposite. We love it when people tell us we can’t drink. If you guys really wanted to put us on our toes tell us we have to drink. Of course then we would just agree with you, as that is a fact like the sky being blue.

    Adults who convert from non trinitarian religions are baptized the same as children. We apply water to them saying “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” We find it works just as well for them as it does for the little ones.

  35. Thanks for answering my questions, Bror!

    I’m learning a lot. As I mentioned to Steve some time ago, I sort of lumped Lutherans in with other Mainline Protestants, but I see that there are some significant distinctions!

    “No one has the right to rob another Christian of the comfort of Baptism. It should rather be a joy for Christians to point other Christians to their baptism in times of spiritual angst and say of course you are saved, you were baptized!”

    Man, we are so far apart on this one!

    Far be it from me to rob you of your comfort! I would argue, of course, that my assurance of salvation comes from the evidence of a regenerated life rather than an event in my childhood, but we see baptism so differently. I see no connection whatsoever between one’s salvation and one’s baptism besides the picture that I believe immersion paints.

    Wher could I find a good apologetic on the Lutheran view of baptism? (Website, book or anything). I can see my understanding of your view is very inadequate. I can never see myself agreeing, but it certainly can’t hurt to understand you better!

  36. Here’s another question for you guys: An honest but million-dollar question.

    I know I was born again at age 9. I believed and was saved, and my life was truly changed. There was no response to an invitation, no repeat-after-me prayer, no doing anything. I had heard the gospel all my life and one day at my dad’s house it just clicked: The light came on and I trusted Jesus.

    Because of a number of things – my parent’s divorce among them – I did not get baptized until I was an adult.

    Would you say I was not saved until I was baptized?

  37. I just can’t quit… lol

    Steve, you said way back, “So when Jesus commands us to “go…baptising and teaching…” Why does the word baptising come BEFORE teaching?”

    The passage is “Make disciples – baptize – teach”

    I’m not sure chronological order is the thing that Jesus was trying to get across here, to begin with. When we make disciples, we baptize and teach them.

    But even if order is being stressed here, one could argue that first they become a disciple by faith in Christ(regeneration/conversion/justification, used synonymously with “Christian” for my purposes) and then they are immediately baptized (as per typical pattern in NT) and then they are taught what Jesus taught. In fact, this is the very pattern seen again in Acts 2:41-42: “Those who accepted his message were baptized… three thousand added… they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching…”

  38. I will throw an interesting curve out there for everyone. I would hope we can agree that our Christian faith and practice didn’t come about in a vacuum, but rather sprung from the Jewish faith. In that light, I have a couple of interesting points. The Bible refers to the church as the bride of Christ and so us by an extension. Jewish brides actually did something very similar to baptism when they were “betrothed” to their husband. It was called a mikvah (if you look for a picture of one, they look remarkable like a modern day immersion style baptismal). It was a ceremonial act of separation showing her going from a former way to a new way. She now has been bought with a price and is to spend her time preparing to live as a wife and mother in Israel. Spending her days learning how to please her husband and waiting for his return.
    Does this sound at all familiar?

  39. Bror: I agree that logically there would be more adult baptisms than infant ones during the time of Acts because of the historical circumstances. The fact is, we really don’t know for sure when infants started being baptized, or when it started to be more common than adult baptism. We baptists just choose to copy what we actually see done in scripture.

    As for whether we should be making disciples of little infants, I guess the question is what does it mean to be a disciple? And can an infant fit that description? Maybe. I’m not sure. We should certainly be telling the gospel story to babies and praying for their salvation. Is a disciple one who has been baptized or one who believes and follows?

    I seems that it really does come down to whether baptism is a sacrament by which God gives grace or an ordinance that celebrates God’s gift of grace. If it’s a sacrament, then it make sense to baptize immediately without waiting for evidence of grace. If it’s a celebration, then we wait for evidence that God has given that grace.

    Personally, I think that Christ can be glorified in either practice. For me, that’s the most important thing. God is the one who saves. I’m pretty sure he smiles on any baptism that honors him.

  40. I will say one other thing about mode of baptism. If I may be allowed to be provocative for a minute. The only reason sprinkling even came about is that no one wanted to drown an infant accidentally. The church’s fears about the fate of unbaptized infants led directly to its decision to baptize them and consequently to the practice of sprinkling instead of immersion. Do I think God gets hung up on our mode of baptism? By no means!!

  41. I’m still wondering how you get to sprinkling infants from the biblical portrayal of immersing adults. It just doesn’t square with Scripture from anything I can see.

    But I think I have exceeded my quota of questions!

    Teresa – good thoughts on infants and discipleship. You push back very graciously, and you make good points.

    Steve – I’m looking forward to your thoughts… finish up those errands!

  42. I’m baaaack! (big deal)

    I think that the symbolism of total immersion is good. drowning and being raised up again.

    But being a Lutheran, I believe that Bror’s points about the word baptism referring to washing and how1st Peter speaks of how baptism isn’t just that. But how it also saves you, line up more with what I believe.

    I believe that it isn’t a religious ritual… and that God does something in baptism…like the baptism. I don’t know anywhere where Jesus commands us to do something that is just for symbolism’s sake . It seems to me that Jesus who wasn’t a big fan of religious ceremony for the sake of the ceremony. So I believe that it certainly is a sacrament.

    And if it is the Word, along with the water that makes baptism effective, then it seems that the mode takes on les importance and that having a rigid requirement for the mode would be a legalistic approach.

    What Bror said stuck with me, “if there is no power in baptism then what difference does it make how it’s done.” It’s just ‘religion’ at that point.

    ” make disciples.” OK…how? Baptising them and teaching them…that’s how. That’s the Lutheran take. mke disciples.” OK..how? You guys go and give them the holy spirit. ?? Huh? That doesn’t sound right.

    Sorry, got to run again. I know I know…I’m a lousy blogger.

    I’ll try and give more on my take a bit later.

  43. Since my outfit only has two ordinances, I am glad I was old enough to remember my baptism.
    Believers baptism emulates the baptism of Jesus. It seems to me that infant baptism is a bit of a ritual, as the participant is below the age of reckoning. Was that a second can of worms I hear opening?

  44. While you are gone I will snipe at that last post! What would God do in a baptism of an infant? Cleanse the sins of someone who knows not right from wrong? Without a conviction and desire on the part of the baptized how can it be anything other than a ritual? Infants can not repent or believe, so what is the point?

  45. I will pour in another worm by expanding on Will’s question. What do you think about this picture from Ezekiel 16: 8-9:

    8 ” ‘Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign LORD, and you became mine.
    9 ” ‘I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you.

    This picture is of Israel and actually goes on to talk of her unfaithfulness after being taken in by God, but can you see the same idea echoed here as in Hebrews 10:22, “let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” Or better yet, Ephesians 5:25-27:

    25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

    And 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 talks of people who were wicked but then washed clean as well. Titus 3:3-7 has the same imagery.

  46. Steve L,

    “Far be it from me to rob you of your comfort! I would argue, of course, that my assurance of salvation comes from the evidence of a regenerated life …”

    Steve..are you sure? Are you sure you are doing enough? Are you sure that you are not sinning too much for that to be true? How can you really be sure your life is regenerated enough?

    Instead of looking towards ourselves and our perfomance, we Lutherans look to the place the God made His promises to us. We look to God’s action, not our own. That , for us, is REAL assurance we can count on and never wonder if our life is really regenerated enough…or not.

  47. Willohroots,

    “Believers baptism emulates the baptism of Jesus.”

    I think not.

    I think believer’s baptism emulates the baptisms that John (The Baptist) was doing.
    No power there…just your own comittment.
    John said one will come after me and He will baptise with fire and the Holy Spirit.

    When we invoke the name of the Triune God, Jesus baptises with fire and the Holy Spirit…something actually happens!

  48. Jeff,

    You may be right. Fear of drowning may have been a reason the early church went to pouring or sprinkling.

    And I think you are right, that it makes no difference to God, which mode is used, as it makes no difference whether we break off pieces from a loaf of bread, or use pre-made wafers…with gluten or no gluten…whatever. Bread is bread and water is water.

  49. Teresa,

    Nice one!

    I agree!

    God honors baptism. Because He is doing it. Whether it be with a 67 year old in a swimming pool, or a six day old at the font. He honors it. His promise is good and valid the entire lives of those two people.

  50. Steve L.,

    “Because of a number of things – my parent’s divorce among them – I did not get baptized until I was an adult.

    Would you say I was not saved until I was baptized?”

    You were saved when God gave you His Spirit. Since it’s awfully hard to tell by any means that we can concoct such as feelings, obedience, sincerity, or comittment, because of the fact that we are sinners, God gives us the gift of baptism that we might know, for sure, that we belong to Him.

  51. ProdigalKnot,

    The woman was saved by her faith. The theif on the cross as well, etc. God saves apart from baptism. We Lutherans are in agreement there.

    But He also saves in baptism also. He has chosen to do so.

    We believe it (baptism) to be a concrete act of God that we can look to and trust in completely aside from our faith.

    You mentioned “little faith.” So true! We do have little faith. And should we put our trust in our weak faith (often weak at best) ?

    To do that, we are putting our faith in our faith…instead of putting our faith in a real time, tangible act, that we can return to, over and over and over again for the assurance of our salvation.

    Assurance is the key. I believe that is why God commanded that we “be baptised”.

    “Be baptised”. That shows that it is something outside of ourselves.

  52. Bror,

    I do NOT use my Bible as a paperweight!

    I leave it out on the coffee table, so that when you come over now and then, you might think I actually open it up once in awhile.

    My pastor knows (by now) that I do not…not often enough, anyway.

  53. Steve L.,

    I had some good articles( by Lutherans on infant baptism) saved in my favorite file (from a long time ago), but the pages have disappeared. Obviously the work of the devil.

    Here’s one I found at my budy David’s site over at ‘Five Pint Lutheran’:

    http://fivepintlutheran.blogspot.com/2008/08/case-for-infant-baptism.html

    Here’s another one I just found:
    http://www.mtio.com/articles/aissar55.htm

    My pastor has a really good one titled, ‘God’s Decision for You’, but of course I don’t have that on my computer either.

  54. (a commentor on another blog)

    I remember some 20 years ago, having a baptismal discussion with a dear Lutheran pastor about infant baptism and sprinkling. For most of the sprinkling churches, the child’s decision is made upon confirmation when they are old enough to understand. Baptism is then a covering over the child until such time…a period of grace if you will until confirmation of the decision. Baptism then also is representative of Christ working on our behalf before we are even able to “do” anything for ourselves. While I understand the principle and for the most part find it not objectionable, when included with the confirmation…I still hold to dunking upon confession of faith in Christ. Baptism and it’s representable form is not the saving “act” for we are saved by faith not works and the faith is a grace given gift of God, perpetuated by the blood of Jesus on the cross.

    theoldadam Says:

    February 24, 2009 at 6:40 am

    That dear Lutheran pastor you spoke with, didn’t have a clue about what baptism really is, or did a lousy job explaining it to you.

    What you have described is exactly what baptism is not, in Lutheran theology.

    The whole question here boils down to your theology.

    If you want to let the old Adam (a shameless plug) rule your life and call the shots…you will be a believer’s baptism person. Reason is the force behind this.

    If you want to kill off that old Adam and let God and what He has done for you take dominion over the old sinner in you, you will believe that God actually does the baptising, and that His promise is good and valid at any age, at any time, with anyone.

    I know how powerful that old Adam is. I prefer that God kill him off in my baptism (Romans 6) rather than let some weak decision that I have made be the force of the day.

    Thanks.

  55. Allright everyone I am back. I will blog somewhat today and then quit for Lent. It is doubtful that I will blog even on Sundays during lent. And by Blogging I mean commenting on other sites. I will keep my daily devotions and what not going.
    Here are a couple points.
    Steve Laughlin,
    “The Spirituality of the Cross” by Gene Veith. Or “To Live with Christ,” by Bo Giertz. Two great books for those wanting to investigate the Lutheran position.
    Theresa,
    And we Lutherans don’t think copying the Bible is necessarily what we should do when the Bible has told us to do something else. Sleeping with one’s daughters as Lot did is not a Biblical thing to do. The bible tells us to baptize so we baptize. It tells us the promise is for our children so we baptize them too, right away.

    As for Sprinkling there is this passage that I can only see as a prophecy concerning Baptism: Ezekiel 36:25 (ESV)
    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.

    As for does faith save or Baptism? Well Both. Don’t play the one off the other. If you were not baptized as a child and you come to faith then you will want to be baptized and receive the promises and gifts of the Holy Spirit. But if you die on the way to the font we will still see you in heaven. But faith that refuses to be baptized is no faith.

    Steve Laughlin,
    again. A Christian in spiritual angst over whether they are saved or not should not be directed to their works. Works which can be mimicked by any mormon, moron, or muslim. They should be pointed to the cross and resurrection of Christ, with whom they were buried in baptism. Buried not dunked.
    I’ll check in later. Celebrating mardi gras today, just a little indulgence in incense for the temple of God. I’m actually going to try and fast this year.

  56. Bror,

    Your lucid comments have earned you a few more sliders.

    BTW, nice job with today’s post on your site:
    http://utah-lutheran.blogspot.com/

    Thanks!

  57. How does one ‘bury’ without actually digging a deep enough pit ?

  58. Broapocalypse,

    He (the Lord) does it with a little Word.

    One little Word that would slay him.

  59. Never mind the amount of water, why does it have to be water? Here’s a quote you’ll all enjoy:

    “… Besides, the Word is the principal part of baptism. If in an emergency there’s no water at hand, it doesn’t matter whether water or beer is used.”

    Martin Luther

  60. Josh,

    I’m with you (and Marty) on that one!

  61. Good morning, all!

    A couple thoughts:

    Steve, Steve, Steve!!!!

    You said, “Steve..are you sure? Are you sure you are doing enough? Are you sure that you are not sinning too much for that to be true? How can you really be sure your life is regenerated enough? …Instead of looking towards ourselves and our perfomance…”

    I’m not looking to myself. Nothing to do with my performance. NOTHING. I just don’t know how you get that out of my statement. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation… the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor. 5:17)

    A fundamental change took place in me when I believed. I was a new person with a new heart and a new perspective and new life. I was resurrected with Christ. This new ID resulted in the gradual but real change that has taken place in what I do. My assurance comes from the reality of the new man and the testimony of the Spirit to my spirit that I am a child of God (Romans 8:16). There is both an objective Scriptural and a subjective experiential aspect to this reality. The way I can tell the subjective part is not concocted is that it matches with what Scripture said would happen.

    I realize the debate (and the pendulum swing) between subjective experience and objective truth is an old one, but I believe it is unnecessary. When the Bible says such and such will happen to the believer as a result of new life, I have no problem simply letting the experience vindicate Scripture.

    I think about 1 John 5:13: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” John never mentions my baptism as an infant as one of the things that lets me know – gives me assurance – that I have eternal life. Rather, he points to the change and subsequent life evident in the believer. That is the point of the book.

    The change in my life and the resultant change in my actions is not me trying to perform, but is simply the result of having heart surgery. It’s what God has worked in me. I fall short, but my assurance comes from the evidence of God’s work in all of my life.

    Here’s an interesting passage, from Paul no less: “Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.” (1 Tim. 3:13)

    One way I can tell I’m saved is that I’m different than I used to be. Not that I try to perform for God or make myself different, but rather that God has changed me.

    I also separate regeration, conversion, sanctification and justification significantly even though they are closely related.

    I am made alive in Christ even while I’m dead in my sins and tresspasses (Eph. 2:1-9; Col. 2:13). The gospel is preached and God works new birth in me by its power apart from any human activity or decision whatsoever (John 1:12-13). That is regeneration. Because I have been made alive, I am enabled to believe (Eph. 2:8), which is a gift from God, for even the faith to repent and believe is not generated by me. Repenting/believing is the theological definition of conversion. When I believe, I am justified (Romans 3:21-24; Gal. 5:16, etc.).

    Once I am saved (regenerated/converted/justified), the sanctification process begins. Here is where we may be even farther apart: I believe that the believer, who is now alive in Christ, participates in his sanctification process. It is a work of God that the believer has a role in (for example, 2 Tim. 2:20-22: “In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master, and prepared to do any good work. Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”). I feel you guys are not taking those passages and many others like them into account. Paul speaks of a man “cleansing himself” and tells Timothy, the believer who is already justified, to “pursue righteousness.” Not right standing with God, as that was won on the cross by Christ. But rather living righteously. We are to “run in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Cor. 9:24).

    These passages do not condemn me. I know I am justified by faith, and not anything I have done. I know God’s love is not conditional on my performance. I am at peace. Rather, these passages inspire me to pursue Christ. Surrender to the Holy Spirit produces the fruit fo the Spirit (Galatians 5) and abiding in Christ produces the fruit He requires (John 15). I surrender to the power of God so God can produce fruit in my life. This is where my good works that came as a result of salvation (Eph. 2:10) come from.

    So to say that I’m looking to my performance or deeds for my salvation is completely misreading me.

    Bror: “A Christian in spiritual angst over whether they are saved or not should not be directed to their works”.

    Amen. They should be directed to God’s work in them, which manifests itself, among other things, in a changed life.

    If we aren’t supposed to expect fundamental change as a result of our salvation, how can Scripture command, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, thought htey accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”?

    Though I fall short, that is not my focus, I know I am changed. I have testimony of what God has done to change me. This is not the only source of assurance for me (Scripture says if I believe I will be saved, and so I look to the time when by God’s grace I believed as well), but it is valid.

    Anyhoo, Steve you told me to “stick it to you”, so I hope I didn’t disappoint you! 🙂

    Again, I appreciate this opportunity to have it out with you guys!

    May we all walk closer to Jesus as a result of our dialogue…

  62. Steve L.

    Good morning. Your mission, if you decide to accept it (Mission Impossible…Baptists?)

    You stuck it to me pretty good, Steve. But your blade needs sharpening 😀

    “One way I can tell I’m saved is that I’m different than I used to be. Not that I try to perform for God or make myself different, but rather that God has changed me.”

    So, the mormon, or the JW who’s life has changed for the better, who no longer does those bad sins, who feels close to God and who lives a “godly life” can rely on that to know that he/she is saved?

    You are going to have to do much beter than that, Steve. “We walk by faith and not by sight.”

    That’s why we Lutherans do not trust in anything we say, do, think, or feel, when it comes to the things of God…but in His Word alone…and that includes the sacraments of holy Baptism and Holy Communion.

    Nice try…eeeennnggggg. (that’s a buzzer saying wrong answer!) 😀

  63. God hasn’t changed the Mormon or JW. They generate their own works. People can behave themselves and do better. That’s not what I’m talking about.

    Scripture says that God changes me. I AM trusting in His Word alone 🙂

    My works that result from God’s work in me (Eph. 2:10, etc.) simply vindicate the Word.

    You still didn’t answer my specific objections, like the 2 Tim. passage or the 1 Peter passage…

  64. And I agree that we walk by faith, not by sight. If it is God who produces fruit in me (Gal. 5; John 15) then only by faith will that fruit be produced..

  65. BTW, even though I’m a pastor in a Baptist church, and even though I like the Baptist distinctives, I do not primarily identify myself as a Baptist.

    I am a Christian – a regenerated, born again child of God and believer in Jesus. I couild do without the Baptist moniker… 🙂

  66. Steve L.

    The passages you site all revolve around your striving and your doing. There is nothing wrong with that…unless it is to prove to yourself that you are really a Christian.

    We ought do good. No argument here.

    But Jesus will tell many good church people that did all kinds of things in His name, to get out of His sight.
    And they will be shocked! They were ‘doing’ all the right things!

    Like the Pharisee in the temple. he was ‘doing’ all the right things. He could look to his performance and say, yep…I’m doing alright.”

    But Jesus said that the guy who wasn’t doing alright was the one who went away justified. The scumbag. he was the one who Jesus was after.

    Food for thought.

  67. Steve L.,

    I’ll make you an honorary Lutheran! Poof…it’s done!

    Now you and the Lord can work on that Baptist theology (moving away from it 😀 )

  68. Steve,
    We are not ignoring those verses. It is just that they have nothing to do with baptism.
    Quite frankly I had a couple mormon missionaries at my door the other day talking about a changed life. Big deal. I see it in jail too, when a guy goes to AA.
    Does faith manifest itself in works and a changed life yes, but that is not and should not be the primary focus of a Christian. God works in us by the use of his word, we hear it, we believe it. Are you saved is answered objectively in that Christ died for you, and more concretely you have been baptized, Jesus Baptized you with the Holy Spirit. You took the Lord’s Supper last week and Christ forgave you your sins. In this way we put our trust in Jesus, despite the depression we might be facing, or the guilty feelings for sins we have committed.
    You want to talk about living a life and doing things that distinguish you from pagans. Mormon’s and Muslims are pagans, and often do the same things you do. Quite frankly not all pagans are dirty whoring swine. I live a righteous life among them. They take out the trash. I take out the trash. They remain faithful to their wives, I remain faithful to my wife. They avoid porno movies and so do I. So what distinguishes me from them. Not my works, or my avoidance of certain gross sins. What distinguishes me is my baptism, and my faith in Jesus Christ that is a gift from God given in Baptism.
    But many of the baptists I know fail to distinguish themselves at all. They live a squalid life of self righteousness and personal pride, bragging of what they have done for God. If a pagan sees my good works good for him. I don’t care to see them. But when the cloud lifts and Elijah and Moses disappear, there is Jesus, and him alone. I’ll stare at him thank you very much. He has done more for me than my navel.

  69. Philippians 3 is a good passage. Paul is refuting the Judaizers who say that one must be circumcised to be saved. He speaks of real circumcision – that done by God to the heart rather than anything done by men. Regeration.

    He says, “Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the [real] circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh.”

    The problem you have been describing, and which I wholeheartedly agree with, is people who put confidence in the flesh to be right with God. Such people will be sorely disappointed when they stand before God.

    Jesus describes such people in Matthew 7:21-23. “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not porphesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never know you. Away from me you evildoers.'”

    They were counting on their works – putting confidence in the flesh – to enter the kingdom. Jesus said that they did not DO the will of His Father. What would that be? John 6 gives us a clue: “Then they asked him, ‘what must we do to do the works God requires?’ Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent’.” (John 6:28-29)

    So I think we are on the same page as far as principle (we are not justified by anything we do), but we somehow are miles apart on the application of that principle.

    Food back atcha 🙂

  70. Bror:

    “Are you saved is answered objectively in that Christ died for you, and more concretely you have been baptized, Jesus Baptized you with the Holy Spirit. ”

    Amen and amen:

    Amen on the cross. Christ died for me to propitiate God’s wrath over my sin, and since by His grace I believed, I have been justified.

    Amen on the baptism of the Spirit. I was baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). Where we are miles apart is in the role of water in that baptism. I maintain that water has nothing to do with me being immersed by the Spirit into the body. It was a supernatural act of God apart from any human activity.

    I know you guys say that water baptism is just that, but the pictures of a guy pouring water on a baby on the post are incongruent with that, at least to me.

  71. I really gotta go. It’s my day off and my wife hasn’t seen me yet 🙂

    I love this back-and-forth, and I appreciate you guys. This is a hot little blog you have here, Steve!

    I’ll check back in later.

  72. Steve L.

    Enjoy your day off and your wife!

    You guys and gals make this blog work with your intelligent, civil, discourse.

    Now…get outta here ya crazy knuklehead!! 😀

  73. Mode does not matter one bit. To lay emphasis on the mode is to lay emphasis on human works and not the name of God. One of numerous examples: The Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 is reading OT prophecy in Isaiah, quoted is particularly a part from chapter 53 at the point Phillip arrives. Later the eunuch asks about what prevents him from baptism. What was his point of reference since in Acts it’s not mentioned? The early chapter that he had been reading in chapter 52 verse 15 “so will He (the Christ) sprinkle many nations. Here we see it is in fact God baptizing, something Baptist rage against. The eunuch is reading a prophecy of the future that has become now, the eunuch is OF the nations, a gentile, Jesus is the ONE the prophecy is about, Jesus will sprinkle the nations/gentiles, this eunuch. To this the eunuch says, “what prevents me from being baptized”. Answer, nothing. He is baptized and dances away with GREAT JOY. Mode is hardly what he’s joyful about, “Oh great I was immersed joyful day that sure is peace beyond all understanding that I was immersed in water…”. No that GOD had baptized Him and he had no problem understanding the OT prophecy “sprinkling” with NT baptism – his concern was the Christ FOR HIM, hence his great joy.

    Of course there is the link in every Gospel and Acts of the “pouring out of the Spirit” and baptism, and the dry baptisms of Noah, and the Exodus. We always seem to shelf those in these needling legal arguments.

    Immersion, sprinkling, effusion, pouring, anointing are all perfect baptismal modes. My children’s baptism is no less in any way than my own (immersion). I confess that to my death and in the face of and against the Baptist religion with no reservations or fear whatsoever. And I’m rightly damned and condemned if I dare to think so against the Word of God.

    Steve,

    If you really want to kick this post into high gear, push it over 100, since we are speaking of sacraments – I’d bring up the fun question of grape juice or wine as the sacrament in the Lord’s Supper.

    Which brings us an interesting dilemma with Luther. While he said baptizing in beer in an emergency was doable, assuming he was serious, he also said of the Lord’s Supper that it would be better to not partake of the sacrament, the Lord’s Supper, rather than change its elements (in other words wine only and juice is not the sacrament). He’s actually being very consistent but can everyone see it?

    And if you REALLY want to kick it up a notch ask the question “Is grace universal and how”. You’ll find some ironic contradictions in many answer to this one. Is it universal, Christ died for all, or universal “if” ______ and thus not universal.

    Yours,

    Larry

  74. Larry,

    Why in the world do you not have your own blog? (I think I have asked you this before..but I forgot)

    Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE it that you drop by and give us some wonderful comments, but you gotta get a blog!

    Great references to the Eunuch! You are spot on, once again.

    Great ideas for blasting the comments over a hundred!

    I think, though, I’ll take your suggestions and do new posts with them. (If I get over 2 comments..I’m happy)

    Some of our friends that visit here, have terrific posts on their blogs and don’t get a lot of comments, so I would encourage that the folks here try and visit them and add to the fun. I do realize that we are all limited in time, and this stuff can take up a lot of it. My wife was calling me ‘Robert’ for a few days there…hmmm. Maybe I ought spend a little less time blogging and a little more time with my wife. Who the heck is Robert!!

    Thanks, Larry!

  75. “The problem you have been describing, and which I wholeheartedly agree with, is people who put confidence in the flesh to be right with God. Such people will be sorely disappointed when they stand before God”.

    I’ve been following this thread with much interest, waiting for a good moment to add my bit, and here it is…

    Can baptism, whatever the mode, amount to a ‘work of the flesh’ – of course, just look at the example of the Corinthians, but what matters about this sacrament, as Luther himself noted, as the work of the WORD within it – the same Word which spoke creation into being speaks regeneration into our hearts, so age, nationality, etc are truly irrelevant at that moment – it is the word of life which changes us. CHRIST IN YOU is the hope of glory, nothing more and nothing less, so spot on Bror re:good works, etc. Baptism simply is a moment of union between us wretched ones and the objective work of Christ at the Cross – something we come back to every time we partake of the supper. The children of Israel built pillars – markers – to remind themselves of times and places where they met with the work of God – why shouldn’t we view and use baptism in the same manner – our own Peniel.
    Great discussion – sometime I’d like to throw in something about the “Creational” aspect of the sacrament as understood by the early church (it’s practice in relation to creational redemption), but that’s for another time 🙂 Keep looking to the one lifted up!

  76. Thanks you, Steve!!!

  77. Howard,

    “The children of Israel built pillars – markers – to remind themselves of times and places where they met with the work of God – why shouldn’t we view and use baptism in the same manner – our own Peniel.”

    Great point!

    That is what Luther meant by “returning daily to our baptism.”

    We return (not physically, allthough we could…if we could) to the place where God spoke to us. Where God acted for us. Shiloh. Bethel. This is our assurance of the promises that God made to us in a real tangible thing (water) (or bread and wine), and at the real place, and in real time.

    Wonderful, Howard! Just wonderful! 😀

    Thanks!

    – Steve

  78. It is no more difficult for me to “see” God acting for the sinner as I pour water over a baby’s head than it is to “see” God acting for a sinner in a crucified bloodied man on a cross.

  79. Steve,

    Believe it or not I’m working on setting up a blog. I’m a bit unsavvay when it comes to blogging myself. But I’m actually working on it.

    Thanks for the encouragement,

    Larry

  80. “It is no more difficult for me to “see” God acting for the sinner as I pour water over a baby’s head than it is to “see” God acting for a sinner in a crucified bloodied man on a cross.”

    That’s a great one Pastor Mark, man that’s good!!!

    Larry

  81. Here’s a nice distinction that helps in discerning the difference between Luther and Calvin on the sacraments in the NT and in the NT versus OT. Phillip Carey points this out, very helpful.

    Using the Lord’s Supper the main example:

    For Calvin the SIGN in the LS is the bread and wine and the THING SIGNIFIED is the body and blood of Jesus.

    For Luther the SIGN in the LS is the body and blood of Christ and the THING SIGNIFIED is grace.

    HUGE difference as to how faith operates, in fact these show how the two operate on differing understandings of faith altogether. This extends to baptism as well in Calvin versus Luther.

    Thus, in the OT for Calvin there is no SIGNIFICANT difference in OT signs than NT signs. There is a sign that points to Christ both in the OT and NT. The Passover meal for example, the meat and blood of the paschal lamb did not point to (signify) the four legged animal itself but the Messiah to come. Thus, there is no significant difference in the signs OT (meat and blood of the lamb) and the NT signs (bread and wine) other than the later being bloodless. Both point to, signify, Christ the later only more revealed. One could say Calvin in fact returns, contra Hebrews, to the OT signs in this fashion.

    Now as I understand Luther he saw the OT signs pretty much the same way Calvin did. The difference arrives, for Luther, in the NT. You see the OT signs meat and blood of the lamb) indeed point to Christ. But in the NT, post Christ, the signs ARE Christ’s body and blood and the significance is revealed as the grace itself. Here Luther has moved beyond returning to the OT signs and their way of operating, per Hebrews, to the real sacrifice and a better way of operating.

    That is a nice helpful simple distinction between the two. Zwinglians and Baptist pretty much are a variety of Calvin as opposed to Luther and a true sacramental (mystery = what my eyes see are bread and wine but the word reveals what the mystery is in fact) view.

    Blessings,

    Larry

  82. This really is a great discussion. I do enjoy the opportunity to better understand the rationale behind infant baptism, as opposed to believer’s baptism. We baptists (like anyone else) are at times awfully quick to dismiss something that has been the typical practice for centuries because we don’t understand it. I’m with Steve L. in seeing myself as a Christian first and a baptist second. It seems to be we’re generally in agreement that salvation is the work of God; that to me is the important thing to cling to.

    Bror: I think you know that no reasonable baptist would argue that we should copy everything we see in scripture. That’s just silly, and although we all might make some silly hermeneutical leaps at times, I hope we never get that far off track. As baptists, when trying to sort out what the command to baptize means, we look at the baptisms we see in scripture. That’s it.

    Steve L.: Thanks for articulating the baptist position so well. The pastor of my previous church used to make the burial/resurrection picture incredibly vivid by speaking the words “buried with Christ in baptism” as he immersed the person being baptised and then saying “risen to walk in newness of life” as he raised the person from the waters. Really a lovely picture. And the picture of coming before Christ as a helpless infant is also beautiful.

    Steve: Thanks so much for raising such great questions. I look forward to seeing the discussion that might ensue if you raise the excellent questions Larry suggests.

  83. One of the hermeneutical leaps or “failures” that the Baptist doctrine (to separate the people versus the doctrine), one hears of it a lot, is to take a text that doesn’t use the term “baptize or baptism” directly and say, “I don’t see baptism here” or to reference it to “spirit baptism” (e.g. Acts 2 it is oft said it means “spiritual children” rather than the plain meaning of the Holy Spirits speech “children”, “spiritual is NOWHERE in that text, just children). Other examples are in Titus and Ephesians. Even though the text clearly are speaking about it. That is in part due to spiritualizing the text to support the doctrine first and really, honestly, trying to twist God’s plain word. Just like Calvin and Zwingli did with the Lord’s Supper. From this all kinds of error arises and it’s a serious issue on the doctrinal level. God is serious about His Word not being altered.

    To show the point and how bizarre this really is and show just how far men will assert their doctrine over God’s word one need only look to some OT passage like Isaiah 53: 3-5, “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” And give the Baptist logical extension to this and reply, “I don’t Jesus Christ anywhere in this text”.

    Now I’m using an obvious text to show the obvious problem, a deadly problem for the soul. It’s not that God’s Word is not very very very crystal clear. It is:

    Matt. 21:25, Mark 11:30, Luke 20:4, “The baptism of John was from what source, from heaven or from men?”

    Acts 2:38-39, “Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.”

    Romans 6:4, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”

    Col. 2:12, “having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”

    1 Peter 3:21, “Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you– not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience–through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,”

    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,”

    One really has to read into and disdain God’s plain language and words spoken to us to make them fit the false doctrine. And it boils down, whether explicitly or implicitly intended, to prevent and NOT give Christ to the people without conditions, just like Rome and the Pope did/does. Which is in fact another gospel plain and simple. The great comfort of these passages to the suffering soul is robbed of them while others remain in a delusion concerning them.

    It is the exact same thing with the plainness of “this is my body/blood”. The language could not be plainer. As one Lutheran pastor once joked but making a serious theological point, “If Jesus would have only told us plainly that it IS His body, this matter could be settled”. Point should be well taken. Well if the Holy Spirit had only said plainly that baptism saves you and that children should be baptized it would all be settled. Well the plain fact is – is that He has. And it takes disdaining the Word of God and letting fallen human reason insert explanations on these matters to overturn the Gospel in them. It really doesn’t take a huge fancy rational argument to answer believers baptism nor Calvin, nor Zwingli on these matters. Everything God wrote in His Word is FOR OUR salvation and really, really, really is plain and simple. It’s fallen human reason and religion that does basically what their father, the devil, does, “hath God really said _____”. Half truths, lies and confounding explanations on clear speech from God. “eat of everything, but don’t eat of this”, “this is My body/blood (not “this is not my body and blood), “baptism now saves you…”, etc.

    The Word is actually quite plain and simple on this matter.

    Larry

  84. Teresa,
    I think I might stop trying to look to the examples in Acts for clarification when I realize that it is recording a transitional period of time between the Old and New Testaments. I might start looking at what the Bible says Baptism does and start wondering if I want that for my child who is susceptible to death and hence a sinner in need of salvation.
    Unless you think it is impossible for your children to be saved. And if they can be saved how? I mean faith is necessary on that we seem to be agreed. But then you refuse to baptize your children because, evidently, you don’t believe they have faith or the capacity for faith. They aren’t innocent, they were conceived in sin. And because of that sin they are susceptible to death. The wages of sin is death. Without sin you have no death. So how are your children to be saved?
    If they are saved by faith don’t you think they ought to be baptized. Personally I tend to think God has an easier time giving the gift of faith to little children, than he does to adults. Since Adults have to become like little children if they want to enter the kingdom of heaven.
    You also have that promise in Acts 2:39 that it is for your children. To me it is a shameful sin, for which I have very little tolerance, that parents refuse to baptize their children. What gives you the right to deny your children the grace of God. I think Jesus says something about a millstone and being cast into the sea in regards to that.

  85. “What gives you the right to deny your children the grace of God?”

    Bror, since when is grace tied so exclusively to baptism that you could suggest such a thing?

    After Jesus rebuked his disciples for not allowing the parents to bring their little children, He received the children and blessed them. I would argue that His grace was valid and extended to these children long before His hands ever touched them and I believe the same is true for baptism.

    I’ve never discouraged any parent from bringing their infants to be baptized. But I’ve also never discouraged parents who chose to dedicate their children and wait until they are old enough to request baptism themselves and experience it in a much more conscious way.

    I grew up in the Lutheran church, my wife has Anabaptist background. When the time came to decide what to do with our own children, we discussed our individual understanding of the Bible’s teaching and eventually agreed to have them dedicated. To suggest that we witheld God’s grace from them by doing that, is just plain silly.

  86. “To me it is a shameful sin, for which I have very little tolerance…”

    And why would it matter what YOU think is shameful and what YOU have tolerance for or not?

  87. Thanks, Josh, for expressing my thoughts better than I could. God is the one who saves. When and how is a mystery. And I’m content to leave it at that.

  88. Bror, Josh,

    I’d appreciate it if we could keep this discussion in a non accusatory vein.

    I know how it can be when we hold our beliefs dear, but it doesn’t help the discussion when we get heated.

    Josh, I know you were just defending Teresa, but I thank you for your help here also.

    Thanks fellas!

    – Steve

  89. No problem, Steve! At the same time, we need to be able to say some clear words if we get the impression that lines have been crossed that aren’t just an expression of a personal view anymore.

    Someone who sees the need to say what he has tolerance for or not, can certainly do that – but he should also be aware that this says more about his tolerance level than it is supporting any argument.

    Discussions always escalate when they move from being topical to being personal. And when I see this happening, I see nothing wrong with pointing that out.

  90. Josh,

    I agree whole heartedly.

    That’s why I brought it up. And I do understand why you came to Teresa’s aid.

    Sometimes things can get out of hand very quickly if we don’t catch ourselves.

    I have been guilty of that myself, and I don’t like it.

    I don’t want to speak for Bror, but I think he would agree with us.

    Thanks Josh.

    – Steve

  91. Thanks for understanding, Steve! And I’ll try to work on my “tone”. Gentleness is not exactly one of my strong suits.

  92. Thanks, Josh and Steve. I think it is all to easy to get personal and to take things personally when that’s not the intention at all.

    I also find it helpful to remember that it’s unlikely that anyone will convince anyone else that their long-standing convictions are incorrect in a series of blog comments. The best we can do is try to understand each other’s view a little better and prayerfully consider what we learn from others. Let God do the rest, I say.

  93. Thanks everyone and especially Steve (the OldAdam) for extending the conversation here.

    I am finding this discussion to be helpful in this sense: I was having a real issue with baptism being essential to salvation, yet it wasn’t baptism itself, but the mode!

    I wondered how a dying person could be saved, or a person in an iron lung could be saved, if immersion was the only proper mode for baptism. Now, seeing the harmony between baptism and sprinkling and what Paul says about believrs and their households in 1 Corinthians 7:14.

    If sprinkling or pouring are acceptable to God, then the problem is solved!! No one can refuse baptism that simple.

    I need to investigate this more thoroughly. Thanks Larry for the special insight into what the Ethiopian Eunuch must have perceived. Great thought!

  94. Josh,

    I dunno…I think you’re a lot better at it than I am.

    Thank you, Josh.

    – Steve

  95. Teresa,

    “The best we can do is try to understand each other’s view a little better and prayerfully consider what we learn from others. Let God do the rest, I say.”

    Good thoughts, Teresa!

    I agree with you. Throw it out there, and see what sticks (stinks?) …sticks!

    Thanks, Teresa!

    – Steve

  96. Larry,
    Since you brought up the passage in Acts 2, I would like to point out that the reference to children doesn’t pertain to infants either. That word refers to a child and I do believe that a child can grasp the concept of God’s grace, perhaps better than most of us. All of my children are baptized as children who are responding to God’s command to do so.
    To my knowledge, from much reading and study, there is no clear Biblical mandate to baptize infants. It simply isn’t there.
    I would assert that the baptism of infants has instead been brought about as much by human reasoning as anything. In fact, it is only necessary when it is believed that baptism “saves” or “keeps that infant safe” from God’s judgment in some way. I would instead assert that if God has indeed chosen that person for Himself, as the Bible says that He does, His baptism as an infant or as an adult is beside the point.

  97. ProdigalKnot,

    Thanks to you for getting all this started. I’m happy to give you ALL the credit. (and any blame 😀 )

    There are some really good thinkers and bible expositors here. Better than I could ever dream of being.

    We appreciate your excellent comments and points of view and hope that you might stop by and help us out every now and then.

    Glad that some comments here on baptism have helped with your understanding of the modes of baptism and their importance, or lack thereof.

    Your blog
    http://prodigalsknots.wordpress.com/

    is a great place to discuss these matters of faith. You have great topics and a cadre of wonderful Christian thinkers as well.

    I encourage you good folks out there to go over there and check it out!

    Thanks very much, Prodigal Knot!

    – Steve

  98. One last shot… I couldn’t resist.

    Larry, you said, “It is the exact same thing with the plainness of “this is my body/blood”. The language could not be plainer. As one Lutheran pastor once joked but making a serious theological point, “If Jesus would have only told us plainly that it IS His body, this matter could be settled”. Point should be well taken. ”

    Jesus was sitting there in person pointing to an object in His hand. This is the very passage I refer to to prove that the elements are NOT the actual body and blood of Jesus.

    It’s like holding a picture of myself and saying, ‘This is me’. Plain language? Well, think about this – the picture is in fact not me. I’m the guy holding the picture. The picture is a PICTURE of me.

    That’s what’s plain to me 🙂

    Not that I want to chase another rabbit here… lol

  99. Well, I’m late, but I really enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. Congratulations on getting over 100 comments here. Wow. Thanks so much, “Robert!”

  100. Steve L.,

    This is nothing less than Zwingli’s false argument all over again. This argument only shows itself all the more bizarre and only serves to reinforce what Christ said and meant, namely that it IS His body and blood.

    It’s imaginary nature is shown in that you or I would never hold up a picture of ourselves and say “this IS me” or “this IS my body” and anyone hearing that would think, due to plain language, that we had lost our minds. This only goes to reinforce what Christ clearly meant and clearly spoke and is clearly said consistently no less than four times in Scripture. You will be hard pressed to find ANYTHING repeated so very clearly and with such exactitude as the institution of the Lord’s Supper, four times. Common language in this scenario would be “this is me at the beach, when I was____, etc…”. Time and space would be indicated showing a static representation, which shows you are already missing the ENTIRE point of the present tense reality of Christ with us in the supper and His eschatological nearness.

    The Holy Spirit does not speak confusingly. Thus, the circuitous argument reveals itself in that it is merely reasserting Zwingli’s false doctrine of “this represents”, which Christ plainly never spoke. And with it one gains what one desires, nothing but bread and wine and one’s own vain and empty memory – making one’s own “memory” one’s saviour and god. This goes back to the idolatry Luther speaks of in baptizing one’s self on one’s faith. Whenever we “tweak” the word of God we violate the First Commandment by our fallen human reason and say in essence “God didn’t say or mean, he meant _______”. Thus, as we treat the Word of God we treat and disdain God as our God and make for ourselves our own vain reason our god.

    The gravity of the Lord’s Supper lay in the fact that it took place “on the night He was betrayed” (Forde discusses this very well). Because in this he was about to be handed over (His body and blood as is) and taken by the authorities. Which could look as if “this was not according to plan” and that he was taken, His body and blood incarnate as is, upon Roman and Jewish authority to be later crucified. You miss the point of the Lord’s Supper if you only see the Lord’s Supper as “at the Cross” and not the GIVING from authority On High from Heaven Above from start to finish – the WHOLE incarnation and purpose of Christ coming. However, Christ is communicating very explicitly, sweetly and intimately to His disciples then and now, to His Christians, just like He said before, “No one takes my life from Me, I lay it down and take it up” – asserting HIS authority to do so, the Roman and Jewish authorities per se are but mere instruments in His hand and ultimately subservient to HIS authority. Thus, on the same night when He was betrayed (His body and blood given over to those authorities), before THAT happens Jesus communicates and gives over to His disciples and us today in the very real now present, His body and blood. It is His last will and testament to us, and His last will and testament IS the new covenant. Thus, He in fact and not fiction gives His disciples (and us) His very body and very blood as a gift. This He plainly communicates to the upper room that they know it is there’s savingly even as His body and blood would later be given over to the Roman and Jewish authorities.

    Jesus does not lie as Zwingli teaches.

    Larry

  101. Jeff,

    See how recalcitrant unbelief is in despising God’s word that it needles all the way down to “responding children” ripping infants out the church as if they are nothing. Your response is merely another “I don’t Jesus Christ in Isaiah 53” logic and is rejected out of hand. You don’t SEE the explicit because you redefine everything according to the false doctrine. They are not children they are “spirit children” or “children” cannot mean infants. Funny how sense day one upon the very birth of every child of mine I (everyone else in the human race – excepting abortionist) call them “our children”. In fact I named my CHILD before they were born. So the Baptist doctrine plays games not only with plain language but the Word of God for its antichristic believers baptism doctrine.

    The mandate to baptize children is clear enough throughout the entirety of scripture – aside from the baptistic logic of “I don’t see Jesus Christ in Isaiah 53”. Only recalcitrant unbelief twists God’s word in order to call him a liar and false. It’s really that simple.

    From the OT, God, that is the Lord of the Covenant, put them into the Covenant and has no where, NO WHERE, explicitly removed them from the Covenant, period. In fact Peter reasserts the reality quoting from the OT, “for the promise is to you AND YOUR CHILDREN…” How obviously asinine it would be for someone to say, “Well that just means my speaking and reasoning children, and not this infant of mine that cannot be my “child” because they cannot speak or talk. The parallel of the BB argument is stunning: “A child cannot be my/a child in language unless they speak or reason” and “A baby cannot be baptized (God’s adoption of us as His children) because it cannot speak or reason”. BB, the more it speaks, the more it vainly attempts to defend itself, the more obvious and evident is its falsehood revealed. Over time it practically hangs itself. BB proves over and over again that its god is faith and reason, and not God.

    The Entirety of the ten commandments presuppose infants. Baptist BB doctrine is so entrenched in unbelief and false doctrine that it twist even the plainest of words of Scripture as in the NT like “household” baptisms. Its stony unbelief says in pure foolishness to historical fact and reality, not to mention common sense, that “household” doesn’t mean infants. Asserting its doctrine to say, “hath God really said”, one lie or falsehood must of necessity multiplicatively beget dozens of other lies and falsehoods in order to keep sustaining itself – as to where truth simply rest sound on the ground. When in historical Latin society and language the household specifically included male and female servants and in particular the children, which includes infants. As a part of the family or household group named are sub categories of servants and the children. When Scripture speaks plainly of “households” being baptized it necessarily includes the infants and children and excludes absolutely none whatsoever. Any argument to the contrary is simply asinine for the sake of inserting the heretical doctrine. Try in vain as you will you cannot take the Gospel out of baptism, it is a vain labor – because God speaks true and all else of necessity must fall. He who says He loves God’s Word and Gospel but yet thinks lightly or as a matter of indifference baptism, is simply incredibly ignorant or a hypocrite (and here we mean not the laity who sadly suffer underneath but the originators, leaders, preachers and teachers of the false doctrines).

    Larry

  102. Larry,
    With all due respect, I don’t believe you understood what I said at all. You have assumed my beliefs based on your picture of me as a baptist and argued against that. The word in Acts 2 is never used of infants. That is a simple fact. There are Greek words in the Bible that are used to indicate infants elsewhere and Peter didn’t use those words there. Greek is a very specific language. He spoke about children as in little kids or even paternalistically like the “children of Israel”(which included adults as ‘children) possibly, but not explicitly infants by any stretch. I am not the one reading my theological desires into that passage. The same thing applies to the household logic. It doesn’t say infants and it doesn’t exclude them either, so the use of those passages to “prove” anything one way or another isn’t going to work. There is no statement in Scripture that says we are disobeying God when we don’t baptize an infant or explicitly obeying Him when we do.

    Additionally, it appears that you misunderstood the point of my last paragraph entirely. I would assert that the baptism of infants has instead been brought about as much by human reasoning as anything. In fact, it is only necessary when it is believed that baptism “saves” or “keeps that infant safe” from God’s judgment in some way. I would instead assert that if God has indeed chosen that person for Himself, as the Bible says that He does, His baptism as an infant or as an adult is beside the point.
    What I am saying here is that God has chosen people before they are born in point of fact and it doesn’t matter what we as humans do or say about them or to them, they belong to Him and He will accomplish His plan with and for them. I am not removing children or infants from the Kingdom of God, but I am not trying to include them all by proxy because of their “innocence” either. I don’t buy the Baptist “doctrine” of age of accountability any more than I subscribe to the idea that baptizing an infant somehow “saves” them either. God is the one who does the choosing and the saving, not me!

    Lastly, if I might make a request for some charity. I am a child of God and do not despise Scripture. I am sure that you don’t mean to offend, but statements like that make for very inflammatory rhetoric and are unbiblical in discussions with other believers.(Romans 14:4, 1 Cor. 4) I don’t know why you keep referring to Isaiah 53 as I quite plainly do see and acknowledge Jesus is portrayed in that passage

  103. Sorry, I hit send too fast before completing the last thought. I enjoy hearing what your perspective is on this Larry, and I am sure we will continue to disagree. But I love you as a brother in the Lord.

  104. “God is the one who does the choosing and the saving, not me!”

    Well said, Jeff! Grace and salvation are an expression of God’s attitude and will towards us and neither the presence nor absence of anything we do (or mess up) can thwart or reverse that.

    I’m wondering if the marriage analogy may help illustrate that fact: what is the essence of oneness between two people? Is it the ring on their fingers? Is it the marriage certificate? Is it the proper pronouncement of the minister declaring them man and wife?

    While nobody would want to cut out any of these elements, we still know that they’re all meaningless in comparison to the mutual commitment of love in those who say Yes to each other. As a matter of fact, if there’s ONLY a ring, a paper and a pronouncement, there is no true oneness of heart at all! And I would argue that salvation is all about that oneness, initiated by God, wooing us to respond in faith, sealing it with His promise and the gift of His Spirit.

  105. Just a note about one of the active participants in this thread; Bror has given up blogging (except for maintaining his own blog) during Lent.

    He is sorry not to be able to continue in this discussion.

    He did apologize to me for the tone he used in some of his comments.

    I told him that everyone is alright and that there seemed to be no hard feelings amongst the participants.

  106. Jeff,

    You must understand I do not reject you in specific as a brother in the Lord but I do reject and MUST reject without exception the doctrine. None of this is rhetorical for the naked sake of being inflammatory. None of it. I would be the most unloving brother to you if I in essence pussy foot around about it. These are not in the least matters of indifference but key essential doctrines. Please understand that, I say what I say the way I say because I DO love the brethren in the sects from which I too came. I must for the sake of those who do believe and struggle within the true doctrine the trials of the devil, flesh and world, which is always unto the true Law and true Gospel, of be exacting in what is said and not mingle the waters (no pun intended), AND for those not in it so they will know why their doctrinal “belief” is rejected. I’m not being loving to you if I in essence bear witness that the death you hold is life to you. What you hear as hyperbole or rhetoric is really calling a thing what it is, I cannot help if it is indeed antichristic as a doctrine in and of itself. Those terms, antichristic, false doctrine, lies are not rhetorical terms but shouts of the reality. To in essence “soften the blow” so as to address “sensitivity”, especially this Americanized sensitivity, itself is to fall into the trap of the wicked devil. No it is not “unbiblical” at all – in fact to not do this is entirely hateful and unchristian.

    Franz Pieper lovingly captures this better than I could reproduce it:
    “The objection is raised: “You yourselves admit that also in heterodox bodies there are still dear children of God, and yet by separating from these churches, you separate yourselves from these children of God; yes, you condemn them by avoiding these heterodox churches. In that case, isn’t it better to practice fellowship with the heterodox?” First of all, we answer: No! It cannot be better, because God expressly forbids us to do this. Moreover, we do not even separate ourselves from the children of God among the sects, but from the sects as such. Rather, the sects separate these dear children of God from us. They hold those who belong to us — for children of God are determined to accept the whole Word of God — captive among themselves. So these believers must outwardly support the wicked cause of the sects while in their hearts they belong to us. These children of God would at once come over to an orthodox congregation if they were better informed. It is also for the benefit of the children of God among the heterodox that we refuse church fellowship to these churches. Thereby we are constantly reminding them that they are in the wrong camp. According to God’s Word, Christians do not belong in the company of those who openly contradict some doctrines of Christ. Many a person for this reason also steps out of the wrong camp into the right one.”

    I know you do indeed love me as a brother in the Lord as do I do you, I do not doubt you there! It is because of this that I speak forthrightly and plainly.

    Yours,

    Larry

  107. And just another reminder to keep the discusion civil.

    Think twice about what you want to say and listen to it as if someone were saying it to you.

    It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

    There are places and times to get rough with one another…but this ain’t one of ’em.

    Thanks for understanding.

    I appreciate your help in this regard.

    – Steve

  108. Larry,

    Bror said to tell you, “Thanks!”

    And He said you should go to seminary.

    He told me to go somewhere, also, but I can’t say where.

  109. The best argument in favor of baptizing infants comes from its connection to circumcision by Paul. In truth, I don’t have a problem with infant baptism as an idea, but I find that the reasons that most people do it lead to faulty presumptions about their faith and/or standing before God.
    Baptism no more makes a “Christian” belong to God than circumcision made the Jews belong to God. Many Jews placed their trust in the fact that they had been circumcised and were AOK, and I see many Christians who do the same thing with their baptism. This is the attitude that Paul condemns in Romans 2-4 and I couldn’t agree with him more. We are not saved by our baptism; we are not kept by our baptism. We are saved by God’s grace and mercy and nothing else.
    I am not accusing you of this sort of “faith” in baptism, but you would have to admit that it is a common thing. My main appreciation of the doctrine of BB is that it separates this falsehood from our thinking. There is a lot of decision language in the Bible, and while I don’t pretend to understand how the process of God choosing us and us choosing Him works; I can’t deny what He says. Why does Jesus tell stories like the one in Matthew 21:28-32 about the two sons who said one thing and did another?
    There is some kind of interaction between us and God. Look at Romans 4:3-5 regarding Abraham:

    What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.

    Paul makes it plain that something took place between God and Abraham. Abraham believed God, and God credited righteousness to him. There is no circumcision yet, no baptism, nothing but belief in God.
    I find it interesting to note how the passage in 1 Peter 3: is used without reckoning its decision language. It says, “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” It says baptism “saves” you, but it doesn’t stop there, it tells how it does so: as an appeal to God for a good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That word appeal is a volitional word and the volition is not God’s in that statement.
    I am just trying to reconcile the whole council of Scripture together for as complete a picture as I can get. Hopefully, you can see how I have come to understand this and if you feel that I am off the tracks somewhere, then I certainly welcome the insights on where and why.

  110. Jeff,

    I’m with you there. Baptism doesn’t consist of the form so much as it a response of belief. I like the use of Romans 4 as well. That was what got me started on thinking baptism doesn’t justify us. Faith does. And faith produces obedience which is what baptism is a result of.

    And I agree that many trust in their baptism instead of having a true faith in Christ. This applies to paedo-baptists, Believer’s baptists and ana-baptists.

  111. ProdigalKnot,

    “That was what got me started on thinking baptism doesn’t justify us. Faith does. And faith produces obedience which is what baptism is a result of.”

    Baptism is a result of obedience? Hardly. Never can be, since none of us is obedient.

    Faith justifies us, but where does it come from? God, of course, is the right answer, but how? In the hearing of the Word AND IN THE SACRAMENTS.

    The direction of the sacraments is God..to us. Not us …to God.

    So God gives of Himself in the sacraments. Part of what He gives is faith.

    I trust in the promise that God has given to me in my baptism. He has given to me the faith to believe it.

    I have faith in God…not faith in my own faith, or belief in God.

    Just thought I’d throw a little Lutheran theology in there to brighten your day! 😀

  112. It’s interesting to me how baptists seem to always pit faith and baptism against one another, as though they were mutually exclusive. “We’re not saved by baptism, we’re saved by faith!”

    This is where all the Lutherans kind of look at the baptists in a puzzled sort of way. Anyone who has ever read the Augsburg Confession or the Apology to the Augsburg Confession (something I am currently in the process of reading) knows that justification by faith alone was THE major argument of the Lutheran Reformers against the Roman Catholics. Philipp Melanchthon goes on for pages and pages about this in the Apology. So someone who says that “we are justified by faith, not by baptism” is setting up a straw man (as though Lutherans believe they are saved by a human work in addition to or instead of faith).

    Yes, we are saved by faith alone, but baptism is one way that faith comes to us as a gift from God. It is God’s work, not man’s work. As long as you see baptism as man’s work, you will misunderstand what Lutherans believe about it.

  113. Dawn,

    You hit the nail on the head.

    The circumcision argument only digs the hole deeper for believers baptism for what is being argued against how the Jews ultimately used circumcision, as their work, is PRECISELY the same issue with believers baptism.

    And it no where released them from circumcising their infant men. In fact God sought to kill Moses for not doing so, which is why in the WCF and in Reformed circles to not baptize your children it is said to not just be a sin but a GREAT sin. Paul’s argument is not against the OT covenant sign but as it was seen and used – man’s work rather than God’s work. Circumcision DID make them God’s people as the OT is plain enough on, but when the inverted its meaning, man’s work, (a.k.a. believers baptism) they had changed the worship. Perhaps that needs some spelling out to be seen.

    Idolatry ultimately comes from the sin against the first commandment, God to BE our God to us 100% period. As an important side the old Adam, us, die not by our own effort but by God “invading” upon us as it were. Idolatry comes from the inverting of THE God to something else WE DO to make ourselves ultimately God. Our participation every how vainly small we should confess it, ultimately becomes the saving factor and as such we deify ourselves and what we do. The outside religions do it grossly and they rename their god/gods (e.g. Islam, animism, etc…). As Christians we easily recognize these a false works righteousness religions because they are very “flagrant” and glaring due to our knowledge of THE true Word of God. But the problem is that, like the Jews, as Paul WELL points out in Romans, Christians have become the bearers of God’s Word like the Jews of OT times. Our old Adam creates for us the same inherent danger as occurred to the Jews. And THAT is creating “home grown” “Christianized” or “biblically” distilled idolatry. So that we don’t grossly make idols with names like Islam, Allah, Buddha, Vishnu, etc…and all the attending works righteousness ceremonies that are not biblical named rites. Rather we like the Jews of old have a tendency to hone other gods named in a mixed kind of way. We invert the worship from receiving (the first commandment) to our doing toward heaven, very subtly, we even use “faith” and “grace” this way. We don’t “see” these idols because their names are not outside of Scripture like Allah. Rather they have the monikers and general concepts of “God of the bible”, “christ”, “spirit”, “jesus”, “circumcision”, “baptism” and so forth. Thus, we develop elaborate schemes, called (false) doctrines, and we don’t see these as false idols or false gods or false doctrines on the various rites because we don’t call them “Allah”, “drinking cows blood” or other such works righteousness. No like Rome (and the Jew) we say “God of the Bible”, “Jesus”, “Spirit”, “Circumcision”, “Baptism”. This is what Jesus meant when he rebuked the Pharisees saying, “You search the Scriptures and think that by them you have life, but these continually bear witness of Me.”

    So the circumcision did make a Jew a person of God’s owning, it was in FACT to receive His name and His salvation. This is why upon circumcision Abram’s name changed importing God’s name (Yaweh) into his own as Abraham. And they were to actually BELIEVE IN their circumcision. Paul does NOT argue against that. What he argues against was how they flipped circumcision from God’s work to man’s work. Just like Rome did baptism and precisely what Baptist do in believers baptism. All of these are taking the GIFTS to be received to cause, strengthen and preserve faith and flipping them upside down making them “man’s” works. This is why Luther could say very accurately to baptize or receive baptism based on faith was shear idolatry, and it is. Baptist “trust” their baptism in a false way just as Rome does and do the Jews circumcision. One might even say the Jews had a anachronistic Calvinistic understanding of election and predestination about themselves.

    That’s very different than Luther and baptism. When we say “I am baptized” and our faith is increased that is saying, “I trust in that Word and name, “Yaweh saves”, the only name under heaven by which man is saved. But the man who says on the one hand, “I trust in Jesus” but then goes over to believers baptism and says, “I was baptized because I possessed faith” is denying the former with the later.

    In the shortest analogy and in essence what the Jews on circumcision as Paul was arguing against, Rome on baptism and Believers Baptism ALL have in common as to the idolatrous doctrine is inverting and taking the gift and salvation from God and honing for themselves an idol called these things. It would be like me adopting a child and giving him my name for free on his new birth certificate as an utter free gift, and that child later on saying, “Boy look how I changed my name and cause my new dad to give me a birth certificate”. Because the fundamental of the fall is really not a fall at all, but a rising up to “be like God”. Luther saw this as he interpreted correctly the Genesis narrative on the fall through the lens of Christ’s temptation in the desert. We fundamentally as fallen creatures “reverse” the loves, and rather than God loving us ex nihilo, out of nothing, loving the unlovable and unattractive, His love is creative, as Luther said God shows Himself true Creator at the Cross – rather we are forever more trying to move God and cause “His love to come into being” by making ourselves attractive (the harlot imagery connected to idolatry – the whore always shows “leg” to gain the eye of the beholder, likewise does fallen religion in ALL its forms show “attractiveness” to “gain the eye of God, god, gods” as it were). So in this we see the true idolatry the Jews made of circumcision, Rome of baptism and Baptist of believer’s baptism. When it is “an obedience” that I do, it matters little if I sprinkle it with “by faith” or “by grace”, when I loose the FACT that it is purely God’s gift to me, His name, His WORD in the water sans any faith I do or do not have, THEN I’m showing a little leg to God in order to gain His attention my way. I’m attempting to make myself “attractive” religiously to God so He will love me. And THAT is idolatry and making MYSELF out to be god, the essence of the fall. Because I’m attempting to “make God’s love come into being or come about” by already “being something”, creating (which is the realm of God alone), so He can love me. That’s quite opposite of the Creator who calls INTO BEING OUT OF NOTHING, ex nihilo, loves not just the unlovable but that which is unattractive, that is to say the sinner. THIS is His love and election. To be a sinner is to be nothing, nihilo and OUT of that, “ex”, God calls INTO being, the Creative Word. Thus, we see the ENTIRE connection of the creative Word John connects back to the beginning in Genesis and the same Word that came incarnate to call into being the NEW creature. Here we see the DEEP regenerative reality of baptism both as it is displayed at the beginning when the Spirit brooded over the deep of the waters as the Word went forth and said, “Let there BE…”. THAT creative connection as we see that IN FACT the Holy Spirit broods over EVERY baptism and calls into being the believer as the Word of Christ, the ENTIRE name of God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) go forth in and with the waters of baptism and call forth the new man ENTIRELY BEFORE faith exist – ex nihilo!

    Blessings,

    Larry

  114. Steve,

    Tell Bror thanks much. Part of me would love to, seminary that is, but the resources aren’t there yet.

    Tell Bror to keep up the GOOD fight, his strong Gospel postings has more than once refreshed me deeply! I don’t know how true shepherding pastors of the pure Gospel like him do it and not fall into depression over it. He was faithfully right to defend baptism so strongly. We need more Paul’s and Luther’s like that in our day. Because what many don’t realize is that it is WORSE to make a compromise on the sacraments than to deny them outright. The suffering soul, the smoking flax, and I know I’ve been there, the man or woman about to literally hang themselves or is contemplating suicide due to the spiritual battles the devil brings about in doubts of “am I saved” – are much harder smitten by the devil’s lies and blows when the sacraments are made “iffy” and “if that’s what you believe that’s ok with me”. THAT is worse than a rank atheist saying, “It IS nothing”. It is THERE the devil, the white devil, does his GREATEST work of deception.

    To example this, and raise the awareness level of just what is EXACTLY at stake; let me tell you a little true story about my BEST friend and brother in the faith who is still a Baptist pastor with a strong Lutheran bend as to Law and Gospel preaching, yet the issue with the sacraments. One day we were talking and he was dealing with his elders on membership and baptism. He knowing me to be Lutheran for some time theologically. He was defending against the elders not wanting to let say those baptized by another mode or in their infancy in as members (of course one must wonder why such would want to be but it happens due to doctrinal ignorance and not seeing the danger clearly). He kindly rebuked his elders and members saying, “If someone believes God gave them something in baptism I’m not going to take that from them”. He thought that to be the Gospel way, but he didn’t see the devil’s trick in this that denies the Gospel. The sacraments are IN NO WAY an optional theology or doctrine. I told him as kindly as I could, “I don’t think you could say anything more dangerous and antichristic than that to anyone’s soul”. He was puzzled then I spelled it out, “See how THAT more than an atheist denying it entirely makes it subjective, “if someone believes…”, and makes them understand it to be “their subjective reality” and not God’s firm objective Word FOR for them”. It shows just how deeply believers baptism roots in the self and not in the Word. There’s nothing worse than coming half way and thereby making it objective. Baptist don’t realize, due to the doctrine, that if infants cannot be baptized entirely, neither can adults. The white devil strikes hardest in this subjective theology. For if an atheist says, “Baptism is nothing from God because there is no God”, that does try one but one can fight that off easier. It’s entirely a antichristic, however, to say, “If you believe it is so…”. The breath of the devil there is exceedingly deadly! The suffering weak soul hears that and is turned away from Christ back into himself and begins his death plunge.

    Luther said constantly, repeated it continually, no Lutheran should miss this, that is to say no Christian should miss this; it is the GREATEST wickedness to make man uncertain about the Word of God. It is the greatest sin from which all other sins issue for it is a sin against the first commandment…to make God’s word uncertain. It is the essence of the fall, to make baptism ok for believers baptism and ok for infants, the various doctrines on the Lord’s Supper equally true, all of these over arching acceptances are nothing less than the very essence of the fall – to make God’s Word uncertain. Thus, those who mingle sacramental ideas make the sacraments, that is to say God’s Word, the shifting sands, and thus make God not to be a solid God for me/us. It is the greatest wickedness there is above all other sins man can commit to the most heinous degree and without exception. It is in fact a greater sin than murder itself, the sixth of fifth commandment depending on how you count them.

    God bless pastors like Bror and Luther who make God’s word certain to the ever shaky sheep.

    I encourage you and Bror to keep up the good fight Steve, I need to hear the Gospel from brothers like you all too!!

    Blessings,

    Larry

  115. Dawn K.,

    “Yes, we are saved by faith alone, but baptism is one way that faith comes to us as a gift from God. It is God’s work, not man’s work. As long as you see baptism as man’s work, you will misunderstand what Lutherans believe about it.”

    Now, why could I not say that as easily and eloquently as you!?

    Thank you, Dawn! Nice job!

    – Steve

  116. John 8:39-41:

    “Abraham is our father,” they answered.
    “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do the things Abraham did. As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the things your own father does.”
    “We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”

    These were circumcised Jews that Jesus said were not God’s children.
    Romans 2:28-29:

    A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.

    It seems that we are talking past one another for some reason. I have never tried to suggest that baptism is anything other than a work of God and indeed rail against those who try to make it anything else as well.
    Romans 4:9-12:

    Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. And he is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

    Paul’s argument here is plain. Abraham was justified by God period. Without circumcision or anything else. There was no work. You claim that baptists “trust in their baptism” or something like that, and the claim makes no sense. I don’t know any baptist that trusts in their baptism, me least of all. I trust in God and Him alone.

    Honestly, Larry, I have read over your last four or five responses to my comments and then reread both my comments and yours and wondered if we are speaking the same language or reading the same things. You are arguing against a “baptist stereotype” that I am neither advocating or defending. Baptism is God’s thing, as is the Lord’s Supper. This post started with a question about whether sprinkling or immersion is the “proper” mode or does that even matter. You freely admit that there is error in Rome’s view of baptizing infants. I can tell you that the reason we even have sprinkling as a baptism mode is because of Rome and its doctrine. Lutherans can defend their holding of that practice by redefining the doctrine and its reasons, but it doesn’t change its source in church tradition. Yesterday, I actually went and read a Catholic answers site about infant baptism and the arguments were nearly identical to yours. I do not understand your condescension of Rome in this matter, except that it mirrors my own.
    I think if you stopped arguing against the assumptions about what I think based on your experiences with previous Baptists, you would find that I am a lot closer to you in belief and sympathies than you realize.

  117. Dawn,
    I want to thank you for what you said. You said, “We’re not saved by baptism, we’re saved by faith!”
    Amen and amen. I have been trying to say that all along. I am not trying to pit the two against each other. I have simply been pointing out that even people who are baptized as infants don’t always understand this or acknowledge it. I don’t see baptism as man’s work and I am baffled when people continuously accuse me of such.

  118. Jeff,

    We really are not talking past each other of the same thing. Bear with me, maybe this will help. None the less, I don’t consider this a bad conversation but a good one!

    I reiterate again that the difference is shown in the “would you rebaptize” in the case of the adult (we will assume the mode immersion to narrow the argument down), that came back later? Now if you say, “No”, then you really don’t have a Baptist view of baptism nor believers baptism, nor would you have a basis theologically for not baptizing infants (because you cannot argue from the end of covenant either because that’s against you). Nor can you punt the issue to the realm of “it’s basically optional, to each his own”. If you say you would rebaptize then you really don’t believe baptism is God’s work I don’t care how you define it. Most Baptist punt the answer to this because it point blank shows the doctrine for what it is and ends all the word games, and that is to say, “not God’s work”. See as a pastor of Christ’s sheep you MUST and are commanded to be able to say that a person was or was not baptized, you cannot leave it up to their conscience which truly is cruel and to cast uncertainty upon the Word of God for them and in fact is despising the Word of God. You have to make a decision yes or no and not ride the fence line, else you serve no one.

    See that’s the problem whether you speak of circumcision or baptism. It really doesn’t matter whether faith is their or not as to the sacraments validity. That ALWAYS gets lost in the argument when Lutherans get sucked into the Baptist huffing and puffing about whether or not an infant can or cannot have faith. We can set that aside for a minute, whether you believe they can or cannot, it REALLY DOESN’T matter as to the sacrament. The sacrament STANDS firm as the sacrament, the name and Word of God (Gospel) given sans faith. Faith NEVER makes the sacrament, its just the opposite. This is Paul’s argument in Romans. Faith doesn’t MAKE the sacrament which is precisely what the Jews were doing (as is believers baptism, even by its own names admission, not to mention all the confessions, LBCF, B F & M, and the others on it). And that’s the difference. For Paul says of the Jews who where circumcised, “It’s not as if the Word of God failed, let God be true though every man a liar”. Jesus’ point that they “are of their father the devil” is that they REJECTED their childhood as God’s children. Not that God rejected them. You see they claimed God as their father, but rejected the revealed God, which manifested their unbelief or non nude trust in the Messiah alone. Their circumcision was not invalid due to this. You are STILL seeing baptism and the sacraments as man’s work and not God’s. Just because men throw it aside doesn’t mean that it is not God’s work and word.

    All this talk about faith only serves to show the reality that we are doing what Luther warned against and that is making faith an idol and our false god. That is a subtle danger but a very real danger and BB causes this false doctrine. For you see the fact of the matter is we are NOT saved by faith. We are saved by the life, finished work, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. To put it another way so it’s CRYSTAL clear: We are not saved by Jesus Christ + faith. And we take His name in Holy Baptism for there is “no other name under heaven whereby men are saved”. Now you should be able to see very clearly how inserting faith into baptism or any sacrament is pure idolatry and making a god out of faith, a creature by its usurping the name and Word of God (in baptism in this case and in the Lord’s Supper faith so taught, be it Calvin or Zwingli, usurping the very body and the very blood of Jesus Christ).

    Jeff, we are not talking past one another at all, but opposite of each other entirely. But it is my true hope that we will talk WITH each other some day sooner than later.

    Blessings,

    Larry

  119. To even make it more clear. To say “I am baptized” as a certain hope and assurance that I HAVE the hope of eternal life both in body and soul, is to say “I am God’s, Christ’s, the revealed God’s who is the glory of God (if you have seen Me you have seen the Father)”. My hope is not “faith” but Christ alone, and this is baptism to be clothed with Christ as Paul CLEARLY states. The Word of God is very clear, it’s the doctrines of men that muddy the water.

    Larry

  120. Josh,

    Phillip Carey who actually is not a Lutheran has analyzed this well, I can get you a link to the larger article if you wish. You will find it tremendous I think!

    In short he lays out the two positions in two simple syllogisms for analysis:

    The Standard Protestant Syllogism
    Major Premise: Whoever believes in Christ is saved.
    Minor Premise: I believe in Christ.
    Conclusion: I am saved.

    For the protestant as the syllogism shows very clearly, here is the infamous “if/then” we discussed before. Conditional salvation and not unconditional justification.

    Luther’s Syllogism
    Major premise: Christ told me, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son and Holy
    Spirit.”
    Minor premise: Christ never lies but only tells the truth.
    Conclusion: I am baptized (i.e., I have new life in Christ).

    So that for Luther (and Scripture) faith does not make it so but rather merely recognizes that IT IS SO, a recognition that happens because we dare not call Christ a liar when he tells us, on that one momentous occasion, “I baptize you…” (my paraphrase of Carey’s conclusion in that section of the article).

    Yours,

    Larry

  121. Earlier, Dawn said: “We’re not saved by baptism, we’re saved by faith.”

    So then, why does 1 Pet. 3:21 say that baptism indeed now saves us? After all, Peter is speaking about a water baptism, since he had just finished speaking of the water of Noah’s flood. Baptism is intricately connected to Noah’s flood, being its “antitype.” But Baptism is not just a washing of water alone (“not the removal of the filth of the flesh”), but like Paul says in Eph. 5:26, the washing of water with the Word.

    Baptism now saves us. It doesn’t matter whether the baptism is applied by immersion, sprinkling, washing, scrubbing, being sprayed by a hose, flicking water on someone, or any other way, as long as the Word of God is given with it. God has given no law about this, and to make a new law that demands only immersion is contrary to Scripture (Mt. 15:9).

    In Christ,
    Rev. Robert Mayes
    Fullerton, NE

  122. Thanks Larry!

    I’ll give you my own syllogism:

    Major premise: Salvation lies in the fact that God loves me, a sinner, and has justified and redeemed me through the substitionary death and the resurrection of His Son.

    Minor premise: Christ has called us to make disciples of all nations through baptizing in the name of the triune God and teaching them to obey what he taught his first disciples.

    Conclusion: Evangelism, baptism and discipleship are all part of God’s way of saving us and should never be pitted against each other.

  123. Robert,
    I actually touched on that earlier but it got lost I think in the mass of words here. 🙂
    I find it interesting to note how the passage in 1 Peter 3: is used without reckoning its decision language. It says, “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” It says baptism “saves” you, but it doesn’t stop there, it tells how it does so: as an appeal to God for a good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That word appeal is a volitional word and the volition is not God’s in that statement.

  124. Larry,
    Thank you for your patience, and I want to say that the last explanation you gave sheds a much clearer light on the similarities that we have and the differences. I am going to take this in smaller chunks if possible to keep a clear line of target and understanding. You said, “Faith NEVER makes the sacrament, its just the opposite.” How does this work or how is this understood in the context of Hebrews 11:1 and 6?
    My understanding of the Greek word that is translated here and elsewhere of faith is that it connotes the idea of trusting. The Hebrew words that are translated as faith carry much the same connotation of trusting.

  125. I know I said I would try to stick to one thing at a time, but I just saw a statement that left me puzzled. I was always under the impression from stuff I had read that infant baptism was assumed as normal “from the beginning,” albeit without a lot of evidence, but there was a quote posted at iMonk in a discussion about fasting from the Didache which says this:

    “Before the baptism, let the one baptizing, and the one being baptized, and any others who are able, fast. Command the one being baptized to fast for one or two days beforehand” (Didache 7:4)

    I am not being facetious, how does this square with baptizing infants in the early church?

  126. Jeff,

    Thanks for your kind reply. Sometimes it takes certain words to click between folks to see the differences, it does for me too. I’m not 100% sure what you are asking about Heb. 11 but I’ll give it a try on the next post.

    As to your second question, which I assume was not just to me; The Didache. I think first, and I say this coming from the angle of having been an ex-baptist who STILL has Baptist though in him. I say that because when you grow up in a thing, whatever it is, even when you make a change you retain some old things and/or you often understand why a fellow of what you once where might ask the question. I know I would have asked the same question and why I would have as a Baptist (it may or may not be exactly why you are so that part I’m taking a ‘stab’ at – and if not you can clear me up on that).

    I think part of the reason, the basis, I would have come to this and at least asked the same outward question as a baptist, even ex-baptist saying, “yea how would you answer that” is; is that my Baptistic paradigm is “steering the boat” of the question if you will. Let me give you an example from the whole “they went down and up” immersion argument I use to follow. And I’m not being polemical here it is pure analysis, as I know you and I have gotten past. I’m putting my scientist hat back on. We often approach a question in our paradigms, what ever they are, those assumptions and epistemologies, right or wrong, we have that form, right or wrong, “a working cohesive picture” for us (the paradigm). So back in the day me and my Baptist friends would always see the “going down and coming up” lingo as a kind of proof for immersion, or at least strong evidence of it. So we put emphasis on that “syllable” if you will. When we’d read Jesus’ baptism or the Ethiopians in essence that was the “thing” in that account because it fitted the paradigm from which we were coming. But that is not at all the accent in any of those accounts. The going down and coming up is simply natural language describing a very natural narration of events, not doctrine of mode of baptism. I’m a geologist/hydrogeologist by education, license and profession. I make my living in this realm of earth science. I did college studies, work and papers to this end. We once did a study of an area surveying streams and some other data points, calculating flow and rates. As part of that we’d, three of us in teams, would measure stream flow real time. Two of us would remain on the bank while the third would actually go into the stream to measure the current along a transect of equally spaced data points (not to bore you with details just drawing a picture). When we’d narrate what we did in the paper or speaking on it we’d re-describe our efforts. We’d say, “James, Glenn and I went down into the stream (took the data) and came back up out it to _____”. James and Glenn never even got wet and I only went as deep as my waders, about my chest in some of the deeper stream cases. This is common language describing basic footsteps whether one is recount what we were doing, going fishing, washing off in an ankle deep creek, getting a sip of mountain stream water on a hike or baptizing in a locally available body of water. It’s not setting up nor defending a doctrine of religious modal requirement. In fact in a conversation regaling our efforts or a fishing trip we would think a person quite odd to fixate on “you all must immersed yourselves because you ‘went down and came up’” as if the syllable or accent lay there in the narration of events (there’s a bigger picture at hand, Christ sprinkling/baptizing the nations NOW). But reading that with my Baptist paradigm high in mind, my mind would go there and ask the question, “What about all the going down and going up, how do you resolve that”. Somebody understanding baptism otherwise and never had been in our Baptist paradigm might find the entire question rather odd. As a similar note the issue is the same with the wrestlings Baptist have with “household baptisms” and a whole bunch of other terms.

    ALLLL that hoopla to answer the question at hand, “how does this square with baptizing infants in the early church?” I think it lays in the fact, which is actually in the text itself of the Didache, that it says “those who are able”. But more importantly, it is speaking naturally to adults as it can apply and doesn’t address infants because it doesn’t apply. The fast is not a necessity doctrine but can, used not as a legal requirement, be fine. But the address is like the “down and up” language, its simply natural to any audience. E.g. adults entering upon a ship to go over seas, whole families, adults, children, suckling infants. Before boarding they announce, “Before boarding onto the ship, let the yeoman, and the one boarding, and any others who are able, dry the souls of your shoes on the provided carpet so as to not slip. Yeoman make sure those boarding dry the bottoms of their shoes so they don’t slip and fall”.

    That doesn’t mean the infants were left behind and the rest of the family didn’t enter the ship. Likewise on baptism and the Didache.

    Yours,

    Larry

  127. Jeff,

    I think I understand your questions. If not just clarify for me.

    How does it work in the sacrament, cause faith. There are a number of things to answer that that are crucial. Number one is probably grasping the reality of the “for me” and getting away from “the when faith is” concerning the sacraments. You see the Gospel is objective but as “good news” subjectively, that is as I “finally get the hilarity of it all, the joyous laughter” is when I get the “its for me” in particular (its FOR Jeff, its FOR Larry). E.g. (our economic times allow us a nice example) your deeply indebted neighbor down the street is given freely a billion dollars. Now that is to your ear objectively good news…for your neighbor. You may be happy for him. BUT, is it good news for you who are in sinking and ever increasing debt? But imagine the difference when a guy arrives at your door and hands you a real, true and valid check for a billion dollars. Now I ask, “Is that not truly good news to and for you?” You see one has not really gotten at the Good News until you finally know that it is “FOR YOU”. We can describe most wonderfully all day long the works of Christ and cheer back and forth about this to each other. But NONE of that is actually Good News, Gospel, the evangel, until you hear and receive it as FOR YOU as opposed to John Doe over there. It is a hearing as it were of the voice of Christ say, I God forgive you all your sins. The Gospel is absolution, the two are connected. The release of the Gospel comes in the particular “for you”, the “you” is meant to be a specific person (Jeff, Larry, Steve, Dawn, etc…). Upon hearing that faith comes INTO being and/or is strengthened and “recognizes that it IS so”, the hilarity of the Gospel as Forde puts it, the joyous release and exchange, the kingdom doors actually and in fact swinging WIDE open for you. This is where the means of grace come in. This is why Baptism is not a nice ancillary thing but CRUCIAL doctrine. Because YOU, Jeff, were baptized by God. Jesus said, via the Great Commissioning, “I baptize you Jeff in the year 19XX or 20XX (whenever it was for you). That’s why when Satan assaults you with divine election, are you elect, or do you have enough proofs you are converted, turning you in to yourself (the very essence of sin), the answer is a resoundinig, “No Satan I AM baptized, Christ baptized me”. And the enemy flees, this is why the enemy attacks this doctrine about the sacraments. Because if he can unloose the “for you” of the Gospel from you, it’s simply a hop skip and a jump before he turns you into yourself and on the road to saving yourself, which is of course hell.

    You see we baptize infants not because they HAVE faith but so their faith, and ours for that matter, will have something to believe in. Faith’s existence before, during or after is really irrelevant, the Gospel in it is not.

    The same works in the naked Word (Gospel). It really doesn’t matter that on X day you gave me the true 200 proof Gospel and I walk away unbelieving, even remaining so for decades. I’m rejecting actively Christ for me, not trusting Him, unbelief. BUT if 20 years later, and I’ve not darkened the doors of a church, bible or anything Christian since then, I recall that Gospel in naked word you gave to me and I suddenly believe it (nakedly trusting) my unbelief before nor belief now do not make that Gospel real. It is real in and of itself, both when I rejected it and when I believed “that it is so”. The same is with both baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

    The Good News, Gospel, is not “faith”, “my faith”, “your faith”, anyone’s “faith”. That’s not the proclamation. I’m quite sure you don’t preach or proclaim to people “Jeff or Larry and his/their faith”. If you added water to that “word”, our faith, what would you have. Just water and some talk about our faith. I’m quite certain you would agree that the Gospel generally for the world is, “Christ Jesus died for the sins of the world and lived a holy life for the world”. Now just add water to that Word (Gospel) and you have baptism “for you/me”. And it is as objectively real as the Gospel was in our 20 year example with or without faith. It does not matter. A baptized infant may come to faith decades later, but they were baptized (evangelized to the chagrin of many who do not really understand evangelism).

    Let me give you an example that I know of personally how this may be with adults even, because its not just about infants faith but ours! I’ll leave the names out and some specific details to ‘protect privacy’. Suffice it to say this is a first hand story though. Recently an event occurred, tragic event, in which a very young teenager had been thrown for a few years now out of their home (a girl). It’s a horrible story. Her mom and remarried husband literally rejected her. This was a person with dreams and hopes, totally heart breaking without going into all the details. If I did it would bring tears to everyone’s eyes, even me and I don’t cry that easy. Anyway this basically produced a young homeless teen who sleeps under bridges in the cold, prostitutes themselves for crack and drugs, totally rejected person. This youngster described to this other person in this situation they found themselves meeting, all strung out on crack and alcohol, who they were and how they use to be, much better, and now look at me. This person had dreams of being a X like all children dream of what they want to do when they grow up and now they are just this one big “F” up (their words, sorry for the inference but its real world not gratuitous on my part), addicted, prostituting, homeless, etc… I’m telling you I’ve hardly heard a worse story in my life. I asked this person telling me of this, were they ever a Christian or not. Keep in mind that in their conversation the youngster was in and out of rational conscience due to how much drug and alcohol and general emotions they were in. They’d go in and out of fits and rage and normal conversation. They said that they had several moments to speak about that and the Gospel. The youngster in a moment of clarity and tears told this person, “I was baptized and tried to clean up my life…”. This person took that opportunity to tell the teen, who was going in and out of rational reasoning, “ I want to tell you something. I don’t care if its tomorrow or 20 years from now and you are strung out on drugs again, laying right next to or in the act of prostituting with your next person for drug money, homeless, bottoming out for the nth time…I want you to know that none of that matter and that Jesus Christ died FOR YOU . And how YOU know this is back when you were baptized (she’d been baptized as a teen) it was God and Jesus Christ Who Baptized you and telling you “I FORGIVE YOU”, no matter when! This person telling me this reiterated this several times during the moments of lucidness. This person told me it hit them even DEEPER now why Luther regaled baptism so, they were formerly Baptist too. Because this person didn’t know given the drug induced state and fits of rage if or when they even grasped much at all of what they were saying. But she anchored the Word (Gospel) in that EXCEEDINGLY crucial “FOR YOU” in the waters of baptism. It was real regardless of faith there or not. For you see this is a person, this teen, who has been utterly abandoned by those who should be in the earthly realm the most trustworthy for them and cares for them (their own parents). She has become what she has become because she has been utterly abandoned and is just this short of suicide, life and the world is nothing to this tragic teen. A refrain she kept saying to this person was, “I’m tired of trying to take care of myself, I wish someone would take care of me”. There is not a greater plea than this, this should be our plea, beggars. This is a beggar. And what this other person gave her was Gospel that is tangible in the water baptism they received and a very real in fact FOR YOU Christ already is whether you believe it or not.

    Now I have no update or idea where this particular person will go, that’s future, and I won’t know.

    This is part 1 to your answer. You see, it is not just about infants, the implications deeply affect adults!

    I hope it finds your faith well,

    Larry

  128. Hebrews 11 1 – 2 and 6

    “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.”

    “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

    I assume, Jeff, by the first verse you are asking about the “not seeing” part. Baptism causing faith offers us no problem here any more than the naked Word of Gospel does. For baptism, again, is merely as they say “the wet Word” or “the wet Gospel” that brings the for me to make the Gospel Good News to you. There faith simply being nude trust realizes that IT IS SO. Faith is eschatological to use a $50 term. It lays in a tension that is utterly passive, suffering and passion of “now” in Word and promise, but not yet, (in realize reality). We really hang on the Word of God until then. In a way its very very simple. That’s why we are saved in HOPE (certitude) but not actuality (awaiting the finality and consummation of it all, the unseen part). The water is not something seen suddenly, merely another medium the Word communicates along. Keep in mind when we say “naked Word” or Gospel spoken and/or written it really is not “naked per say”. That is to say a communication without means. The Gospel Word is transmitted along molecules of a mixture of air including oxygen, nitrogen, CO2 and some ancillary elements along with what we call energy incited by vocal cords which in turn are fueled by the various mechanisms or means that construct our bodies. All creatures of God. Across the air waves this energy formed into a specific message travels into the ear canal of another where it is further decoded and transmitted to them. Similarly when the Gospel is read. It is not really “naked communication”. It is usually scribed upon carbon formed from a paper process with a metal in a liquid or aqueous medium onto that paper forming a particular message. Light reflecting back differentiating between the background of the paper and the now dried metallic/liquid medium registers in the back of our eye balls communicating (a means “of grace”) the message of the Gospel.

    So you see using water as a means of communicating the Gospel is not all that unusual and is in fact utterly objective, that is with or without faith a baptism IS still a baptism because of the Word! The difference comes, and this is why baptism can NEVER be viewed as a nice side addition, is that the water brings the very specific “For Me”. It really does regenerate/rebirth. But it’s the Word that does it, not the water, not the air, not the ink, not the energy that propagates it and not even the pass through pastors. When a pastor baptizes an adult or infant it is in REALITY and FACT, even false pastor, for the pastor themselves, their faith is utterly irrelevant – God picks up the pastor and his hands like an feather quill pen, dips His human pen into the inkwell, the water AND WRITES HIS NAME AND GOSPEL ON THAT SPECIFIC PERSON, “I AM YOUR GOD, SAVIOUR AND LORD WHETHER YOU BELIEVE IT OR NOT”.

    Yours,

    Larry

  129. About the passage from the Didache and fasting. You mentioned it said and those who are able as an out to exclude infant candidates for baptism from fasting. But that is not what it says. It twice “specifically” calls on the “candidate for baptism” to fast for one or two days. The others who are able are anyone but the pastor and the candidate for baptism.
    Please understand that I am not treating the Didache as infallible or Scripture or anything, just using it to show the early practice of the church. I don’t think the early church would have starved an infant for two days, so this one is a real puzzle for me.

  130. That’s why when Satan assaults you with divine election, are you elect, or do you have enough proofs you are converted, turning you in to yourself (the very essence of sin), the answer is a resounding, “No Satan I AM baptized, Christ baptized me”. And the enemy flees, this is why the enemy attacks this doctrine about the sacraments. Because if he can unloose the “for you” of the Gospel from you, it’s simply a hop skip and a jump before he turns you into yourself and on the road to saving yourself, which is of course hell.
    This is part of the disconnect. When a challenge to my faith comes, from Satan or elsewhere, I don’t go back to my baptism to answer the challenge. I go back to the cross. Jesus died for ME. That is the “for you” of the Gospel as I see it.

    You see we baptize infants not because they HAVE faith but so their faith, and ours for that matter, will have something to believe in. Faith’s existence before, during or after is really irrelevant, the Gospel in it is not.
    I am taken back to Romans 10:6-17:

    6But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?'” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7″or ‘Who will descend into the deep?'” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: 9That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 12For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
    14How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
    16But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

    Now if I understand your thinking, this can or would be related to baptism as the “wet Word” you referred to, but the thrust of this passage in Romans is to hearing, calling and trusting. I am not sure what you mean by “believing in” baptism. Even “believing in” baptism is contingent on “believing in” the One who commands and does that baptism.

  131. Jeff,

    Again the fasting was not a necessity in the early church as both Scripture and other historical documents show. You are almost reading in the “mode must” kind of way. And you are also forgetting the “and any others WHO ARE ABLE”.

    Infant baptism is referrenced directly or alluded to in a number of places in the early church, including Polycarp who was a direct disciple of John’s.

    It’s not NUMEROUSLY referred to, infant baptism, because it wasn’t an issue like it is today. 2,000 more years from now an historian looking back from 50,000 of historical perspective will read along the timeline of the church, its confessed faith and heresies dealt with will go along and find no “blip” as it were inferential moments about infants being baptized, but no blip as to a controversy until he gets to around 1520’s plus. Then there will be this escalating ramping up of the issue of baptism, as to infants and suddenly mode because a new heresy arose needing delt with.

    It’s kind of like the Trinity, not much on it until the heresy arose. The same with other heresies like Arainism, not much addressing it until it happened.

    You will find that the confessions for the faith grow in size and verbage in direct proportion of the heresys needing stamped down. Right out the door the confession of the faith is a simple Apostle’s Creed not much more than a small paragraph. Then by Nicene Creed time it doubles in size to address several heresies between the division of the church at that time to spell out the person of Christ versus the Holy Spirit and actually stating ONE baptism and so forth. Calcedone nearly doubles that one and so forth until now we need entire books to stamp out the growing heresies.

    Untruths or falsehoods, are like that because they by definition do not need to be singular as does truth. 2+4=6 is singular, but 2+4=5 can be 2+4=7 or 2+4=50 because it doesn’t need to express truth. Also one falsehood perpetuates dozens more to sustain itself. Thus in our number example when you don’t hold to the truth of 2+4=6 but something else. Suddenly the truth of the subcategories are meaningless and can be falsely manipulated and interpreted such as the function of addition itself, the unit value of 1 that makes up 2, 4 and 6, etc…. So falsehoods grow exponentially where truth cannot, and truth has to come back around and address it, these exponential falsehoods. The difference is truth is reigning BACK IN to the singularity even though it has to strike in many directions at the plethora of falsehoods.

    We see this principle in the Confessions growth over time. That’s why there is no direct address as to infant baptism, it was rather well understood. We don’t argue about the color of the sky being blue and write much about it because its rather accepted.

    It’s kind of the point that God put the children explicitly in the covenant in the OT and has no where removed them. It would take nothing less than the Lord of the Covenant to do so especially since He sought to kill Moses over it. If Peter had stopped the predominantely Jewish audience from baptizing their infants upon the Pentecostal sermon it would be recorded as the Jews would have recognized this as a sudden “new doctrine” and without explanation in need of one.

    The NT speaks no where explicitly of women taking the Lord’s Supper, yet they do.

    (BTW I agree the Didache is not Scripture) However, the Didache (like all confessions today say universally) also says, “But let no one eat or drink of this eucharistic thanksgiving, but they that have been baptized into the name of the Lord;”. This goes back to what IS baptism and basing it on faith or not and my example of the adult and rebaptism and what was that first baptism. You must answer, did a baptism occur affirmatively, you are commanded to do so. You see you cannot be in the middle ground here on this, nor can one say it is BB if you believe and it is infant baptism if you believe which is to unsure the Word of God. See one, especially a pastor, MUST be able to authoritatively say, “You have IN FACT been baptized”, not “if you think or believe you have”, because partaking of the Lord’s Supper depends upon it too.

    Yours,

    Larry

  132. Jeff,

    The “for you” and the general Gospel as opposed to baptism. A couple of things. First, even if you say the “for you” comes in the general Gospel, lets say we agree there entirely. To turn around and say, “Well it’s optional in baptism (Gospel) as BB or infant baptism, up to you, is to entirely contradict what you just confessed”. If I tell my girl friend (I’m married by the way, this is just a hypothetical) I love her but we don’t need to get married to “be married”, I’m a liar.

    I suspect, only by what you are saying to me, that you don’t even have an understanding of BB or if you do you don’t adhere to it which makes it odd why you defend it at all. See you have to be a believer TO BE baptized under BB for it to be so, else you rebaptize (the example reveals this every time). So if you adhere to that or even include it as equal with those who baptize infants, because the issue is REALLY not infants but the sacrament and Gospel itself, the real question is do Baptist who baptize by BB only non-infants have the same doctrine as a Lutheran on baptism EVEN IF you set aside infants and ONLY consider the Lutheran adult baptisms. And the answer is a resounding no. BB is another gospel and that is why it’s primarily rejected and only secondarily the issue of not baptizing infants. So if you MUST have faith before baptism to be baptism, for what Christian doesn’t want to be baptize (which is the REAL question here at ALL levels), you must “prove” that this faith is so. You either fall into one of two camps in the Baptist realm or a confused amalgamation of the two. Either Calvinistic or Arminian. The former requires of the elect alone to be baptized which are secondarily distilled by works and changes in ones life. The later require direct immediate proves of faith to be baptized. Along comes Satan, “Are you really elect”. “Yes says the Baptist”. “Oh, I see”, says Satan, “prove it.” “well I did this or that and this or that change has happened”. “Hmmm, that proves nothing anybody can fake those.” “Well I believe in Christ and trust Him”. “Do you really seeing the heart is so wicked that not even you yourself can know it”. “Well Jesus died for me on the Cross”. “For you, you say. How do you know that? Did he mention your name specifically?” “No he died for the whole world though.” “Really, universalism, so all are saved why then bother joining a Christian church if this is so” “Well you have to believe”. “I see, so we are back to faith.” “How do you know you have this faith so that Jesus died for you as you say he did?” “I just do” “How do you know you believe, what infallible evidence of this do you have for you must have it else you cannot prove you are sure…what is it?” “Well Jesus died for me” “Again, how do you know this, you say I have faith, but you cannot prove this faith infallibly, and Jesus didn’t say ‘Jeff’”

    You cannot win this argument with Satan. This is why God GAVE us the sacraments. They deliver the Gospel to our address as it were.

    Larry

  133. Sorry to interrupt but I’d like to ask all the Lutherans here one more time why you see any need for the Rite of Confirmation if baptism creates saving faith within you, regenerates you and accomplishes spiritual rebirth. The presence of a personal response confirming the original vows spoken by parents and godparents seems almost irrelevant in that whole context.

    And I have second question for those who see baptism as the sign of new covenant inclusion.

    If infant baptism replaces infant circumcision, wouldn’t that also include the limits of this outward procedure, clearly indicated in places like Romans 2:25-29, where Paul differentiates between the mere physical circumcision and a circumcision of the heart?

    Similar things could be said regarding 1 Corinthians 10:1-5 where the actual term “baptized into Moses” is used and spiritual results were anything but automatic.

  134. Josh,

    I don’t think you could have picked worse verses against your case, truly I don’t!

    “And I have second question for those who see baptism as the sign of new covenant inclusion. If infant baptism replaces infant circumcision, wouldn’t that also include the limits of this outward procedure, clearly indicated in places like Romans 2:25-29, where Paul differentiates between the mere physical circumcision and a circumcision of the heart?”
    This is why we are commanded to examine a man’s doctrine and not just a bible quoter. For Satan quotes scriptures and in fact his deepest temptation of Christ was to quote Scripture in order to falsely lead off into a spiritual leap off of the tower.

    Of course Paul clears this up in the next chapter of Romans quite clearly to the chagrin of the false teachers. Let’s see what does Paul say in Romans 3 verses 1 and 2? Is it, “What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? None whatsoever and it is an insignificant thing you may choose to leave or take at will.” Hardly. Here it is, “What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? MUCH in EVERY WAY! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God.” That’s what I like about the clarity of the Word of God, it does the work for you. Paul hardly champions indifference to it and says, “much”, but not just “much” but “in every way”. “It’s insignificant, up to you, a matter of how you feel or believe about it” just doesn’t sound like “Much in every way! (exclamation point for even MORE emphasis on the statement by Paul)

    Then in verses 3 through 4 Paul continues (in reference to versus 1 and 2 which explicitly includes the covenant sign) to truly clean this up, “What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written: “So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.”

    The Jews grasp of circumcision we might rightly call believers circumcision was precisely what Paul was addressing regarding the spirit, not this Gnostic bifurcation of physical versus spiritual circumcision (or baptism). Men’s lies, not having faith, does not nullify God’s faithfulness to His word and His word in sign. In fact in the very OT where circumcision is reference with Abraham and first instituted it is so connected with the Word and promise itself that it is interchangeably spoken of so that we find numerous OT references in which “circumcision” is on the level of “the promise” such that in fact one is the other. That is circumcision = the promise. So it is with baptism. So what if men don’t believe it, will their unbelief make nothing the promise and faithfulness of God? Not at all! Let God be true, even though EVERY man is a liar. Why? So that as it is written “THAT you may be PROVED right and true when YOU speak, oh God, and triumph when you judge.” That is when you forgave, if man rejects it, your judgment reveals itself just for men love their self salvation and desire deeply to be their own god.

    “Sorry to interrupt but I’d like to ask all the Lutherans here one more time why you see any need for the Rite of Confirmation if baptism creates saving faith within you, regenerates you and accomplishes spiritual rebirth…”
    The short answer: It really doesn’t matter one bit whatsoever how Lutherans answer this as to the sacraments objective reality. Faith or no faith, doesn’t matter. It matters little whether the faith is at the time of or 100 years later, the Gospel stands on its own objectively.
    Ask it all you like, the answer is going to always be the same, “It doesn’t matter at all”. Ask it again, just recall the answer, “It doesn’t matter at all”. Ask it again, and the answer is still “it doesn’t matter at all”. Ask it yet again and the answer is, “it doesn’t matter at all.”. Ask it again for the next 100 years and the answer is still, “it doesn’t matter at all”. You see the answer to your question that you are asking, the answer, reply, response, rejoinder, solution to your question, interrogation, query and inquiry is, “It doesn’t matter at all”.
    Beside, have you not been preaching to me that you don’t have a problem with infant baptism at your church? Oddly this sounds like you do. So either you are untruthful with me or incredibly careless. Because this is an odd way to speak if you are so “indifferent” as you have already stated that you are.

    Yours,

    Larry

  135. “I don’t think you could have picked worse verses against your case, truly I don’t!”

    I wasn’t aware I was making a case, I asked for an explanation from your point of view.

    “For Satan quotes scriptures …”

    Yes, he does and so does Jesus. Whether I’ve misquoted or not is not up to you to decide, although I do thank you for quoting the larger context. The question remains whether the advantage of the physical mark of circumcision is really one in terms of salvation. Romans 1-3 still leave the verdict that as far as salvation is concerned, Jews and Gentiles are on the exact same level (Romans 3:9).

    “Beside, have you not been preaching to me that you don’t have a problem with infant baptism at your church? Oddly this sounds like you do. So either you are untruthful with me or incredibly careless.”

    I’m sorry if I have left you with the impression that I was “preaching” to you. As far as my acceptance of infant baptism is concerned, you need to understand that our church practices both, believers’ baptism and infant baptism. We do emphasize though that infant baptism is not automatically regenerational. Here we clearly do not agree with Lutheran doctrine. But so do quite few denominations who practice infant baptism, like Anglicans, Presbyterians and most Reformed churches.

    We like to compare baptism to a cheque that is valid for adults, older children and infants alike. Just as important as the cheque, is the “cashing in” (our personal response – which is also a work of God but not necessarily simultaneous to baptism) in order to enter the reality of savation which is always relational at its core.

  136. Josh,

    The check analogy is a good one.

    But I like to think that the transaction is too important to leave it to sinful man to complete.

    God gives us the check in baptism. And then He cashes the check for us…whenever He feels like it. Maybe right then and there, maybe on the deathbed.

    But that check was always good as gold the whole time.

    Why do Lutherans have Confirmation for their kids?

    We feel that the kids are so important to God, to us and the church, that we want them to learn about the faith and the church, so that they won’t be tempted away by a Baptist…no matter how good looking he or she is! 😀

  137. “Maybe right then and there …”

    I don’t think Larry would agree with this particular “maybe”. If I understand Lutheran teaching correctly, it’s a certainty that it happens right there and then, and it’s exactly this certainty I don’t see supported by Scripture. I personally would agree with the “maybe” and let the mystery of how and when God creates saving faith remain a process linked to the Holy Spirit who blows where HE wants, not where our doctrine defines and limits His activity.

  138. Josh,

    He gives us everything we need in baptism, nothing is left wanting.

    But somehow, and somewhere along the line, God blows on those hot coals (that He has given at baptism) and faith comes alive.

    For me, it wasn’t until I was fortyish that my faith came alive. But I have no doubt that it was there all along, in some form or another I was a Christian from the moment I was baptised.

  139. Larry,
    You are absolutely right about one thing. I do not agree that baptism or the Lord’s Supper are sacraments. I cannot find support for “sacramentalism” in the Bible at all either in OT or in NT. While you are possibly rending your garments on my behalf at this “heresy,” let me explain. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are given to us to communicate the gospel in much the same way that the Jews communicated the salvation plan of God by keeping His commands to them. They don’t save us; they tell His story to all who will see and hear and understand.
    The gospel isn’t about baptism or the Lord’s Supper, it is about the cross. 1 Cor. 1:17. I am not trying to separate baptism from the gospel. It has never been “the gospel.” Paul helpfully tells us exactly what the gospel is in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8:

    1Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
    3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

    And if you want a thorny baptism issue to deal with, just try to decipher what Paul is talking about when he finally mentions baptism in this chapter. 1 Cor. 15:29 says, “Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them?”
    Baptism is necessary, because the Lord commanded it. And He said if we love Him we will obey His commandments. Let me give one more example of why baptism cannot be said to save. The preaching of Peter in Acts 2 has been cited several times in this discussion, but I did a little more digging. The phrase that Peter uses, “Repent and be baptized, . . . for the forgiveness of your sins” is used verbatim in Mark 1:9 by John the Baptist. They are the same Greek root words and all. The phrase is used in Luke in the same context. And then you find the story in Acts of the men who were baptized with “John’s baptism” and Paul rebaptized them after telling them to believe in Jesus. If baptism is a sacrament (which I have understood defined here as God does the work of grace in it regardless of our understanding) and John’s baptism is described with the same language as Peter’s, why did these guys have to believe and be rebaptized?
    I don’t anticipate changing your mind, and that isn’t my goal really. I am confident before the Lord that if I am wrong, He will correct me if it needs correcting.

  140. Jeff,

    ” I cannot find support for “sacramentalism” in the Bible at all either in OT or in NT.”

    A sacrament is a promise. In Lutheran theology it is a promise of God to us.

    When Jesus tells us to do something, He promises to be there in it.

    “Go …baptise.” A promise to be there in it.

    ” Do this…” (eat my body and drink my blood) A promise to be there in it.

    I see it. I want to see it. I don’t want to leave it up to me and my faith. I want to leave it up to Jesus to fulfill his promises.

    Thanks Jeff!

    – Steve

  141. Steve,
    I honestly don’t think I have ever heard anyone talk about sacraments in that manner. As a promise, of course Christ will do what he said He will do. It actually reminds me of 2 Corinthians 1:20-22:

    20For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

  142. This is what I am used to hearing about sacraments:

    The sacraments thus far considered[OT “sacraments”] were merely signs of sacred things. According to the teaching of the Catholic Church, accepted today by many Episcopalians, the sacraments of the Christian dispensation are not mere signs; they do not merely signify Divine grace, but in virtue of their Divine institution, they cause that grace in the souls of men.emphasis mine

  143. Jeff,

    The word sacramentum comes from the oath that the Roman soldiers took promising faithfulness to their commander.

    The early Christians ascribed it to Christ and His promise of faithfulness to us.

    We break our promise of faithfulness every time we sin.

    “But in our faithlessness, He is faithful.”

    Nice work, Jeff!

    – Steve

  144. Jeff,

    We Lutherans believe that when Christ makes a promise to be there…He backs it up!!

  145. Jeff,

    You still didn’t answer the question regarding the rebaptism of the adult immersed and returning. It’s the standard “theological punt” one gets from a baptist because suddenly he cannot hide behind his aversion to infant baptism and constructed doctrines regarding that and must now show his doctrine in the light of day.

    Thus, the immersed adult that goes atheist then returns 20 years later; is he rebaptized or not?

    How you answer that reveals whether or not you answer that baptism and the LS by extension are Gospel and so communicate it.

    Regarding “baptism” and the “LS” being the Good News is painfully foolish. No one says they are the NEWS itself but the communication of it which Jesus and Paul themselves plainly say. Your preaching is not the Gospel either, just a man talking from a pulpit, but hopefully, the message you preach is.

    However, the “for you” is the essence of the Gospel. Because if its not FOR YOU Jeff, it’s hardly good news to you and that’s the point you miss entirely not just of the sacraments but the Gospel altogether. As it stands you could not properly care for nor shepherd a crying out soul, a sheep under attack from the wolves so deeply under the attack of the devil. For you have no answer for them.

    All the struggles people have with the Gospel and the sacraments that deliver it really do boil down to a theology of glory that is withholding, ever so tiny it appears to be, something “to do” to get to heaven. Rather than a naked receiving. “We have to do something don’t we, at least believe”, reveals the old adam finding a work he at last has to do. THAT old Adam that says, “we have to believe”, is really not hearing the death word from the cross, the unconditional declaration, the death blow that says, “No”. This second death is dealt out to all men without exception, what matters is whether or not we survive this as the new man of nude faith (which we don’t do ourselves). The old Adam procures for his use all the religious things he can muster, sanctification, faith, baptism, LS and etc… and turns them into tools he can use to in all truth save himself with a buck slipped into the pocket of the Holy Spirit for “helping out”. The old adam takes these and turns them into his works he will call “grace”. Thus, sanctification becomes the post conversion tread mill program, faith becomes a work that is not called a work but a ‘rose is a rose by any other name’. baptism becomes “believers baptism” or Rome’s baptism (which are really the same – Rome’s is ex opere operato, the work worked, and BB is ex opere operatis, the work of the worker)….and so forth.

    So I repeat the question to reveal that there is no real middle ground on baptism between us but opposition entirely. The immersed adult that goes atheist then returns 20 years later; is he rebaptized or not?

    Again, how one answers that reveals whether or not one sees that baptism and the LS by extension are Gospel and or Law, or God’s work or mans decorated up to pretend to be God’s.

    Larry

    PS: Steve we agree on the maybe, for the record and clarification! Very well stated.

  146. So I repeat the question to reveal that there is no real middle ground on baptism between us but opposition entirely. The immersed adult that goes atheist then returns 20 years later; is he rebaptized or not?

    Real simple. The answer is no.

  147. “Steve we agree on the maybe, for the record and clarification! Very well stated.”

    Thanks, Larry!

  148. Jeff,

    I like your answer, ‘NO’.

    That is correct, sir! (read with Ed McMahon voice)

    One baptism is all that is ever needed…when it is God that is doing it.

    If we are doing it, then you could do it every other day!

  149. By the way, the only reason I didn’t answer that question is that I must have missed it in the midst of all the rest of the conversation. It was not a deliberate dodge.
    I think I also failed to answer what I would do in the case of someone who was baptized as an infant, but wanted to be baptized as an adult. I would baptize that person, in fact I would probably encourage it, because baptism is a proclamation of the gospel and for them it is a proclamation of what the Lord has done in their life to all who see it.
    Have I come across as thoroughly confusing yet?

  150. Jeff,

    Just to be clear. You’d rebaptize both correct?

    Larry

  151. Assuming yes, which is what I think you meant. And I appreciate your honest answer, one usually doesn’t receive one.

    Let’s stay with that adult only, ignore the infant one for now.

    Then, was that previous one a baptism?

    L

  152. If you answer “no”, then what was it? Which is the baptist true confession here, it was not a baptism.

    If you answer “yes”, then why did you rebaptize and where do you find that to be valid in Scripture?

    If “yes”, why was the first one not a proclamation of the Gospel? And similarly, it appears to me that in order for the Gospel to be the Gospel you are saying faith must be there. Thus, confusing faith with the Gospel itself.

    See you cannot have it both way, objective Gospel and requiring faith for it to be so. And here is the crux of the issue.

  153. Jeff,

    Also:

    “and for them it is a proclamation of what the Lord has done in their life to all who see it.”

    So the first baptism, which apparently was “not a baptism”, without faith, what on that date when all thought he believed did they objectively see? Apparently nothing but a public bath.

    Which brings us full circle by making adult baptism, BB, and not infant baptism baptism: Since no man can see another man’s heart nor know with absolute certitude that faith exists in a particular person and baptism is based on faith’s real presence per BB, NO baptist can in particular on any given day or event know for sure that they have SEEN a baptism and have viewed “a proclamation of what the Lord has done in their life TO ALL WHO SEE IT”. They can only in GENERAL hope that statistically since at least some real believers are baptized and thus a baptism occurs have viewed a baptism and SEE “a proclamation of what the Lord has done in their life to all who see it.” But they can never be sure, just generically and statistically maybe “I’ve seen one”.

    So you can never point out to me a particular baptism for certain, just ‘hopefully so’. As to where I can point to all baptisms and say, “It is so” objectively and with certitude.

    L

  154. And finally bringing it home. You don’t know if I was baptized nor do I you. You claim you where, I claim I was, you claim you believe and so do I but we could both be false and thus maybe you were not baptized and neither was I, nor where a number of folks here and abroad. Because men’s hearts are so wicked and full of lies, the producers of deception and lies that “no one may know it” but God alone, and to claim otherwise is to pretend to be God himself – since this is true no man knows he’s baptized.

    Thus, it is not only infants that may not be baptize or have faith, so it is with me and you. Do infants have faith? Let’s say I agree with you on BB. The question is valid for me and you, do adults in particular have faith? At the end of the day under BB what I cannot answer for infants I cannot truly answer for adults.

    Where you baptized, do you have faith, Was I baptized, do I have faith. Well just have to cross our fingers and hope so, finding out only after death.

    Hell, with such assurance you can just feel the peace of mind. Why I’m convinced now BB is true, and as such, Jeff, I’m not sure you yourself was baptized now. Which is a problem for a minister. (yes, I’m being exceedingly sarcastic here).

    L

  155. Wow, believers baptism is SUCH a gospel!

  156. Jeff,

    Just to be clear. You’d rebaptize both correct?

    Larry

    Larry, sometimes you make me wonder if I am typing in English. How did you get that after I said this

    So I repeat the question to reveal that there is no real middle ground on baptism between us but opposition entirely. The immersed adult that goes atheist then returns 20 years later; is he rebaptized or not?

    Real simple. The answer is no.

  157. Hell, with such assurance you can just feel the peace of mind. Why I’m convinced now BB is true, and as such, Jeff, I’m not sure you yourself was baptized now. Which is a problem for a minister. (yes, I’m being exceedingly sarcastic here).

    The minute I start trusting my feelings or my opinion about anything I am going to be sunk for sure. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness, to quote an old song.

  158. 16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
    21Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. 23And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
    1 John 3:16-24
    I don’t have to know everything, because I know this is true. I don’t know the state of anyone elses heart beyond what they tell me and I accept their testimony at face value, without harassment. If someone tells me that they feel they should be baptized and they have been baptized before, I would certainly ask them what led them to that decision. But am I the one to judge their relationship with God?

  159. And I guess I have to clarify what I mean about everything. When I said that baptism is a proclamation of the gospel to all who see it, I wasn’t trying to be esoteric. It is like all other communication. If someone doesn’t hear or see it, they don’t “get it.” If I write a blog post and no one reads it, did I communicate anything to anyone? If only some read it, did I communicate it to all? Because there is the category of people who see or hear but don’t get it anyway because they don’t understand.

  160. Jeff,

    Whether you mean to or not you are jumping all around the obvious of whether a baptism is a baptism or not. Your avoiding consciously or subconsciously with dance words. At some point we have to get a the question Luther required concerning the LS when men like Calvin were playing word games, “Ask the pastor what it is that he puts in your mouth.”

    SO:

    First it is my fault I missed the upper one on the answer to the question and was going off your lower one. That’s where I became confused because you said you had not answered it.

    Anyway. First of all, that answer would not be a Baptist answer and a Baptist would tell you, you are not practicing Baptistic doctrine on the issue. And perhaps you are not a Baptist but an offshoot, I don’t know.

    However, you would rebaptize the infant and not the adult that didn’t have faith. If I’m clear this time? So, was the infant’s baptism a baptism, even if they were immersed which does happen? I’m keeping mode out for now. If so, why would you or would you encourage this unscriptural practice? On what basis do you rebaptize or encourage it? When you say you “encourage it” how so, what’s the “encouragement”? And for the sake of argument let’s say the infant didn’t have faith (I’ll give you that one too for the sake of argument). Thus, we have a baptized (maybe because you have not said) unbelieving infant and an unbelieving baptized (for sure according to you) adult. Therefore, you would rebaptize the infant over the unbelieving baptized adult because ___________________. And similarly you’d, as you say, “encourage”, such a rebaptism to the heretofore baptized (jury’s still out on your side) infant and not the baptized unbelieving adult because _____________ and by saying ______________(the actual encouragement applying to one but not the other on some basis presumably.

    L

  161. Why would an “unbelieving” adult be baptized in the first place? You asked about an adult who had been baptized as an adult (I presumed that meant that they professed Christ as Savior and Lord) and “walked away from the faith” for 20 years and then came back. I would treat them the same way the father treated the prodigal son. Welcomed with open arms and much love and maybe even a party.
    I thought that you might find the answer to your question in my above statement after I quoted from 1 John 3.

    I don’t have to know everything, because I know this is true. I don’t know the state of anyone elses heart beyond what they tell me and I accept their testimony at face value, without harassment. If someone tells me that they feel they should be baptized and they have been baptized before, I would certainly ask them what led them to that decision. But am I the one to judge their relationship with God?

    Let me ask you a couple of questions that may reveal where my heart is on this matter a little better. Can we do baptism wrong so that God will not do what He has promised? If we baptize someone twice and it should have only been once, but we made a mistake, will God condemn us for that? If I love the Lord, because He loved me and this is where I am in my relationship with Him as imperfect as it may be, is there someone who feels qualified to judge me in that?
    I asked this question earlier and it isn’t new in any case, but I didn’t get an answer to it here either. The Scriptural language regarding John’s baptism and the baptism that Peter speaks of in Acts are exactly the same. Why were the men in Acts 19 rebaptized?

  162. AND

    “If I write a blog post and no one reads it, did I communicate anything to anyone? If only some read it, did I communicate it to all? Because there is the category of people who see or hear but don’t get it anyway because they don’t understand.”

    Jeff my dear brother, don’t you recognize this philosophy? Do you not see it as the Gnosticism it is. It’s pure Buddhism, which is some of the most pure Gnosticism in one religious package there is. This goes back to why the sects who spiritualize the sacraments are fundamentally inserting Gnosticism.

    “If a tree fell in the woods and no one is around to hear it. Did it make a sound? Did it fall?” Or Schrödinger’s cat which is Gnosticism in science. The cat in the black box with the poison. If there was no observer did the cat die?

    But Christianity is this: The Gospel comes to a man or woman or infant and finds NO FAITH whatsoever, the utter nothingess, the ex nihilo. You fail to see, reason doesn’t receive the Gospel faith does. That’s what it means for God to create ex nihilo, that’s what it means that the Gospel creates out of nothing, ex nihilo, the nothing IS the unbelief (even though the unbelief has reason) – there are NO observers or hearers even though there is an objective message.

    NOW you see the connection to the false teaching for what it is once the “christian glaze” is scratched off of the surface. Baptism is not a gnosis it’s a fact.

    L

  163. What are you talking about Larry? I didn’t say baptism is a gnosis. I was talking about the level of simple observation. And I wasn’t saying that no one observing a baptism somehow nullifies it either. Aside from the obvious problems with that idea, namely that a baptism involves people. I was actually working from your own expressed skepticism. But I was also trying to say that the only people who see the gospel proclaimed in a “particular” baptism are those who actually witness it in some way. How in the world is that gnostic? That is just common sense truth.

  164. Larry and Jeff – 2 ships passing in the night …

  165. Josh,
    Thanks for the comment. At least I don’t feel alone. I made some comments last night and Steve commented and understood me and I felt pretty good about getting my viewpoint across (not being agreed with necessarily, but at least being understood). Then Larry, when you started commenting today, it was like I hadn’t said anything. When I stated that in the midst of all of the discussion about baptism, it became the only thing you noticed and proceeded to call me a Buddhist or Gnostic because of it. I am still sitting here baffled and wondering if you even saw my last comment before yours, since you haven’t responded to anything in it.
    Just so you understand me clearly (maybe) let me iterate this as well.

    But Christianity is this: The Gospel comes to a man or woman or infant and finds NO FAITH whatsoever, the utter nothingess, the ex nihilo. You fail to see, reason doesn’t receive the Gospel faith does. That’s what it means for God to create ex nihilo, that’s what it means that the Gospel creates out of nothing, ex nihilo, the nothing IS the unbelief (even though the unbelief has reason) – there are NO observers or hearers even though there is an objective message.

    I agree with this statement 100% with the only qualification about the impression you have that I fail to see this.

  166. Jeff, I did indeed read your last comment before sending mine. I’m not accusing you of misunderstanding Larry or of not responding in a coherent manner.

    The problem is that the two of you are using 2 entirely different paradigms in talking about the subject of baptism. Paradigms are like different dimensions and although you may employ some of the same terms and connect them in a logical manner, it still doesn’t make sense in that other “world”, so it is reinterpreted according to those other familiar “coordinates”, if you know what I mean.

    Hence, puzzling labels (for you) like “dance words” and “gnosticism”, and the attempt to put you in the straightjacket of this other paradigm by being challenged to fill out blanks when you don’t agree with the presuppositions and dichotomies of those statements in the first place.

    I’m really not sure whether there is enough common ground right now between the two of you to have enough of a real understanding and consequently a real dialogue. I actually hope I’m wrong in that assessment but that’s the impression I get.

  167. Josh,
    I think there is a lot of wisdom in what you are saying, but I also note that I must be a terrible communicator at times. Maybe I should have started a new paragraph earlier, because I was attempting to address Larry with the statement about not reading a comment I wrote earlier. It is my comment directly above his last comment in this thread and was the one I was referring to. I suppose that is what I get for writing in a fog of back pain this morning.
    Write – Read – Rewrite – Reread – Think and then send.

  168. No, it was entirely my mistake – unfortunately I didn’t catch it in time before sending the response.

    So it’s really me who needs to read slower and reread before reacting.

    Nevertheless, the disconnect between Larry and you is well beyond the natural flaws of poor communication. Thinking outside the box of our preconceived ideas and treasured doctrines is very difficult for ALL of us!

  169. Jeff,

    I fear that you misunderstood me with this post:

    Dawn,
    I want to thank you for what you said. You said, “We’re not saved by baptism, we’re saved by faith!”
    Amen and amen. I have been trying to say that all along. I am not trying to pit the two against each other. I have simply been pointing out that even people who are baptized as infants don’t always understand this or acknowledge it. I don’t see baptism as man’s work and I am baffled when people continuously accuse me of such.

    The sentence in quotes (I originally had it in quotes) was an attempt to summarize what the baptists here were basically saying. I was not the one saying it. I apologize for being unclear with that. I was trying to point out the dichotomy being promoted that Lutherans find to be a false dichotomy. It is not either/or. One of them is an instrument to deliver the other. To a Lutheran, saying something like “we’re not saved by baptism, we’re saved by faith!” is kind of like saying, “you’re not reading ink on a page, you’re reading words!” or “you’re not hearing sound waves, you’re hearing someone speak!”

    As to not seeing baptism as man’s work, please explain. I have heard baptists say that they believe in “means of grace” when they really mean something completely different than what Lutherans mean.

    Blessings,
    Dawn

  170. Hi everyone,

    For you see the fact of the matter is we are NOT saved by faith. We are saved by the life, finished work, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    Technically, we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).

    I think a lot of people look at the first sentence of the quote above and immediately the alarm bells start ringing. “What do you mean we’re not saved by faith?!?” But the second sentence of that quote is the key. Technically speaking, I was not saved when I exercised faith, but I was saved 2000 years ago when Christ died on the cross for my sins. Faith took hold of that, and that faith itself came through God’s Word and Sacraments. It was all a gift of God from beginning to end. It is not that faith is not necessary (see Mark 16:16) – it is that faith is not what makes a baptism a baptism, any more than faith makes the Gospel the Gospel. It is what it is, regardless of faith. Faith is what takes hold of the Gospel, and that faith itself is a gift from God. Baptism is a way of knowing that that gift was FOR YOU, personally.

    Dawn

  171. Dawn,
    Sorry for the misunderstanding. If I may borrow your illustration:

    To a Lutheran, saying something like “we’re not saved by baptism, we’re saved by faith!” is kind of like saying, “you’re not reading ink on a page, you’re reading words!” or “you’re not hearing sound waves, you’re hearing someone speak!”

    It may just be my way of thinking, and I of course understand that illustrations are never perfect. But you have hit an interesting note with these. Is it possible that a baptism can be done apart from saving faith? The answer I would assume from the majority here is no. If that is the case, what is Paul doing in Acts 19:3-7?
    John’s baptism is explained in terms identical to Peter’s language in Acts 2, but apparently in Acts 19 it is missing something. What is it missing?
    Jesus asks an interesting question on these same lines in Matthew 21:23-27:

    23Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”
    24Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or from men?”
    They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26But if we say, ‘From men’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”
    27So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
    Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

    All I am trying to do is be consistent with Scripture.
    You said, “faith took hold of that, and that faith itself came through God’s Word and Sacraments.” There is no place I can find in Scripture that says that faith comes by baptism or the Lord’s Supper. I can find a place that says, “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, however. Please understand, it isn’t as if I haven’t heard of sacraments or the idea that they convey grace or faith, I just can’t square the arguments with Scripture.
    One last thing, you asked about my mention of not seeing baptism as “man’s work.” What I mean is that baptism is pointless apart from God. Dunking or sprinkling someone with sincere intentions or the “right formula” or “the right understanding” doesn’t guarantee anything. Only God gets to make that determination (Rom. 9:16). If we are so confident to tell someone that they are going to be fine with God because we baptized them as an infant, where did God say that?
    It is also possible to eat the Lord’s Supper and not be “eating it” apparently. (1 Corinthians 11:20, 27) That faith and belief is outwardly generated by God as Larry had mentioned, but it isn’t done by baptism or by the Lord’s Supper. It is strictly a God thing and is done completely apart from any work we do. Ephesians 2:4-10:

    4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

    Sorry to be so long winded. I will stop now.

  172. Jeff, Larry, Josh, Dawn, and others,

    I took these few sentences from Luther’s large Catechism. He may be saying what some here have said, as well…

    “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.

    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? 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.”

  173. Josh,

    You are right about Jeff and my discussions. I thought about that myself last night, coming from two different paradigms.

    L

  174. Jeff,

    I apologize for misunderstanding your other statement.

    However, and I may have missed your answer (I read back and didn’t see it).

    Why would you “rebaptize” an infant but not the unbelieving baptized adult the second time around? Similarly, why would you encourage it? Similarly, was the infant baptized the first time? And was the unbelieving adult baptized the first time? Would you call the second time “the first real baptism” or a RE-baptism or second baptism.

    Finally, in your thought is baptism a means of grace (Gospel) or not.

    Because what Steve posted on Luther is what I’m getting at.

    By the way, I’m not in ANYWAY upset, I find these conversations very productive and not “two ships passing in the night”. I’m use to vigorous debate, its in part what I do for a living and I grew up around such – it doesn’t “upset me”. Honest people debate honestly without getting “nervous” about it. I find you a refreshingly honest person EVEN if we are not in agreement as well as when we are.

    Yours,

    Larry

  175. Here is an ancillary but related set of questions:

    Who is really baptizing when you or a pastor baptizes? God/Christ or you/the pastor or the church?

    Depending on your answer to that, is God expressing His will to the baptizee – namely to save them and give them this salvation?

    Yours,

    L

  176. Jeff,

    “Why would an “unbelieving” adult be baptized in the first place? You asked about an adult who had been baptized as an adult (I presumed that meant that they professed Christ as Savior and Lord) and “walked away from the faith” for 20 years and then came back. I would treat them the same way the father treated the prodigal son. Welcomed with open arms and much love and maybe even a party. I thought that you might find the answer to your question in my above statement
    after I quoted from 1 John 3.”

    It might be my cpu connection but for some reason I’m not seeing your answer, seriously, not every thing is posted and I’m not sure why (not being sarcastic).

    This is why I glean that you are dancing around the question often times even if you don’t intend to. It’s very simple. A man confesses faith, it is viewed legitimate, he doesn’t just walk away, but leave entirely. Don’t dodge the issue at hand, of course we’d welcome him with open arms, that’s not the question. The question was would you rebaptize him or not. He says to you, “I didn’t believe when I was baptized X years ago”. Do you rebaptize him or not? It is a person who yes as an adult. He was baptized AS an unbeliever unknown albeit to himself and the pastor and the congregation. Would you rebaptize him, why, why not, then what was that that happened to him then as an unbelieving baptized person?

    You see you NEVER actually define baptism as objective, you dance around it. You say “it’s gospel” but then you “rebaptize infants”, or at least encourage it. When do you have a baptism. Both of us would agree that many unbelievers are baptized unknowingly. The issue at hand for you, the question you must be able to answer is “where they baptized” or “did a baptism occur?”

    Your question: Can we do baptism wrong so that God will not do what He
    has promised? It really depends on what you are asking and from what paradigm. Here is where Jeff is right about us speaking from entirely differing paradigms and in this particular situation, two different religions. Seriously. The trick is how do I answer your question coming from your paradigm (my former paradigm) with my paradigm’s answer now? And that is tricky. If a man has based his baptism on his faith, it’s possible. But, and here’s where the paradigm language gets tricky, you probably as a Baptist heard me say, “God will punish a man for ignorance” or some such. See your question depends on the paradigm. At the end we really do have two differing views of God. Staying in the neutral and not identifying that right now suffice it say they are two differing views. No, God will not punish ignorance in that due to heretical teaching (the originators and teachers are another question though). But yes if a man bases his baptism in his faith because he rejects Christ in this way.

    See you have to answer the question of “when did you or I or anyone really get saved?” And that was 2000 years ago. ALL sins of the ENTIRE world are expatiated (even John Calvin says this explicitly). The ONLY sin men are punished for are not their own but rejection, the blaspheme of the Holy Spirit, OF THAT GRACE. Not due to its magnitude or gravity but it’s NATURE. It rejects the grace itself and thus is unforgivable in and of itself BECAUSE it reject forgiveness. Thus, its not about “doing baptism right or wrong” (Law) but what witness you are giving it Law = believers baptism or Gospel utterly objective. That’s why it’s not repeatable.

    If we baptize someone twice and it should have only been once, but we made a mistake, will God condemn us for that? Them, no, the doctrine yes and the false teachers yes.

    Here is the difference, I think, in your last questions between Baptist and Lutherans, its very revealing. Because Baptist view baptism as man’s work they really are never sure about baptism. It’s why MANY Baptist famous and unknown are baptized multiple times. It shows the shaky inward turning ground it is on. So you pose the question to me in an “if we make a mistake” because you honestly know you may. But here you manifestly are confessing it doctrinally to be man’s work, “if we make the mistake”.

    “If I love the Lord, because He loved me and this is where I am in my relationship with Him as imperfect as it may be, is there someone who feels qualified to judge me in that?”

    See you are asking a Law question. That’s not it. It is again about the Gospel witness.

    In a nutshell this argument is not “my law is better than your law” or “my rightness is better than your rightness”. Rather, The Gospel is THIS and that, BB, is not. It’s not about Law, getting it right, obedience (your “ordinance” paradigm), it’s GOSPEL (sacrament = means of GRACE or means of Gospel if you will) not “more right” in the opinion of the Law which is the BB ordinance paradigm. That’s why your questions are Law oriented “how we do it”.

    Blessings,

    L

    PS: I sympathize with your back pain. I just passed a kidney stone this morning!

  177. Larry,
    I have to keep this brief, because I am working against a time crunch to finish a final exegetical paper for my Greek tools class that is due Friday and I have a long way to go. It is a cause for much prayer for anyone who would like to do so as it accounts for 50% of my final grade. And by the way, I sympathize with you as well; it sounds like you got the worse end of the pain scale.

    I am going to play by the KISS rule and try and answer everything with one explanation. I believe that when Paul speaks in Romans 9 about God’s mercy, he is telling us that the ball isn’t in our court.

    14What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. (Rom. 9:14-16)

    Now, I am not a hyper-Calvinist (mostly because the L in the TULIP seems to imply that God had to choose who to save, because He couldn’t save everyone and I don’t buy anything that limits God’s ability), but I do believe that if God doesn’t do it, it didn’t get done. So, let me say this about baptism. If a church baptizes an infant and God didn’t choose that infant; the baptism avails nothing. If a church baptizes an adult because they confess the name publicly, but God knows the heart and that person isn’t chosen by Him; it avails nothing.

    See you have to answer the question of “when did you or I or anyone really get saved?” And that was 2000 years ago. ALL sins of the ENTIRE world are expatiated (even John Calvin says this explicitly). The ONLY sin men are punished for are not their own but rejection, the blaspheme of the Holy Spirit, OF THAT GRACE.

    To this I would give a hearty AMEN!
    Let me just assure you that I am not mad at you either, though part of our problem communicating would make more sense if you really aren’t seeing all of my posts. That is what I wondered more than once when you would re-ask a question I had already answered. This comment thread is up to about 180 comments counting this one, so I guess anything is possible.
    If you don’t hear from me much in the next few days, it is because I have my head buried in a Greek interlinear and a half-dozen reference books.
    Shalom,
    Jeff

  178. Jeff,

    Thanks for your response. I understand being busy and would NEVER take offense at that, if I’m ever long in responding to you too it the same thing.

    At least we are seeing one of those “huge” disconnects. We agree on the savedness of the saved, but not on the lostness of the lost. I use, to be open and honest, believe exactly as you said. Then I saw the common synergistic link between Calvin and Arminian theology making them actually one. Being an ex-calvinist I know how that sounds, but it’s true – it just manifests itself differently (it shows up in the various doctrines on the sacraments). Only Luther truly taught the true bondage of the will.

    “If a church baptizes an adult because they confess the name publicly,
    but God knows the heart and that person isn’t chosen by Him; it avails nothing.”

    Right here you admit that it is not the work of God but man or the church (which is precisely no different than Rome – this is why other protestant sects, Baptist/Anabaptist, Reformed, etc… really never left Rome other than formerly by name). This is actually a variety of hyper-calvinism, double predestination, (i.e. God picks some and not others, so the others can’t believe by force per se or left to themselves). So here is a nice one to point out the HUGE difference and why I say it is here we worship two different gods. You are seeing election outside of Christ and thus seeking the “hidden God”, election in heaven. You see that IS the “theology” of the fallen man, a theology of glory, to seek the secretness of God. When we do we hone an idol of God. Bear with me. I’m not just saying that against “you” in particular but “US” as fallen men. But the election IS Christ, THAT is the predestinating and contra-wise to this the REAL bondage of the will is revealed. This is where MANY use their fallen reason to subdue the Word of God, so it thinks. Rather than have every thought (reason) captive to the Law of Christ (the principle of the REVEALED God). Because the sacraments, in particular baptism, is EXACTLY the opposite of what you are stating. It is for such devil’s temptations, an “I don’t CARE if I’m elect, I AM baptized and if I AM baptized I have the promise of eternal life both in body and soul”. And THAT response IS PRECISELY faith breathing.

    Election is for the Christian not those “outside” rejecting Christ. For you see it is exactly this heart of God, the electing IN Christ, the Gospel, His will that the fallen heart repulse at. THIS is the bondage of the will that holds out for “something to do” at last so as to in the end be the deciding factor of salvation. It doesn’t matter one bit that we whitewash it with “by the grace of God I did it, believed, etc…” We will not LET God save us freely. THIS IS the insidious real “total depravity” and fallen bondage of the will of man. That man in the end wants (freedom of the will IS the bondage) as he fell he wants to save himself, be his own god and he will procure EVEN the scriptures for his purposes, procure “grace” to say “I didn’t do it God did”. But this is all smoke and mirrors. For in reality man doesn’t will God unconditionally save him, he doesn’t WANT the election (which is Christ and God BEING God to him). The rejection or repulsion is NOT God “not electing him and thereby he doesn’t have some kind of “power” to choose and believe, but a rejection of exactly so rejecting the free grace. Man rejects the electing, man rejects the grace, rejects Christ FOR HIM, rejects the baptism. Not, “God knows the heart and that person isn’t chosen by Him” and the church made a mistake. God’s baptizing through the church and the pastor as authorized authorities IS EXACTLY GOD ACTING IN REAL TIME TO EXPRESS HIS WILL AND ELECTING GRACE TO THE MAN. In this way, and in vocations in general, via delegated authority (via means i.e. means of grace when speaking of salvation), is how God serves man and is as the first commandment speaks “the Lord our God” to us.

    If a man rejects his baptism, as believer baptism does, then such a man is rejecting the grace of God openly. Because it IS God’s electing grace handed over to us. And a man rejects it in many ways, one way specifically is to reject it as surety of his salvation and looking elsewhere. Refusing to believe (BELIEVE) baptism is God’s work and expression of His grace and electing and redefining it as believers baptism IS despising baptism AS IT IS TRULY and really. It is a form of “not liking what God has said on the matter” using the very same words of God, charged by the devil’s voice, and changing there clear meaning. (the same with the Lord’s supper and the very real body and blood of Christ). The demonic error here is not having reason subdued by the Law of Christ and using the same fallen human reasoning not subdued by Christ to “know God in the nude”. It’s just as the fall, God didn’t detail “why don’t eat of the tree”, we were just to trust Him on it and ask no questions. Asking the question, ultimately in the form of eating it, we didn’t trust God, fell, and were attempting to BE god, the fall is thus really a rising up. The fall was not first and foremost a “downward movement” into debauchery, but a pious movement upward, a usurping. The error and yes heresy of Zwingli and other like believers baptism is precisely the fallen human reasoning trying to understand how God operates secretly and not just believe Him. When this happens it is the ACTIVE bound will doing what it does, trying live and trying to save itself and trying to be its own god – EVEN when it confiscates for its purpose even the very words of God.

    Thus, “If a church baptizes an adult because they confess the name publicly, but God knows the heart and that person isn’t chosen by Him; it avails nothing.” Is the heresy, it is blaming God for man’s active rejection (his freedom of will IS his bondage). What hides this from you even more is you speak from the “once saved always saved” or “can’t fall away” paradigm as opposed to in the tension of faith constantly, the true simul et peccator. So you will speak like Rome with a twist. Rome says grace is distilled as a substance to enable choice and so forth giving false plausible deniability that one is saying man is doing it, “God is helping”. Which is just the same exact thing in double talk. Protestants in the “can’t fall away paradigm”, whoever they are, say the same thing they just move it to “after the fact of conversion” in the ordus salutus (works righteousness) and give themselves plausible deniability so that “after you in” by God’s power and empowered now on “this side of the door” you can say, “by the grace of God alone I could/can do______”. This is just warmed over Pope religion, i.e. fallen religion, i.e. a theology of glory. It is a variation on the Pharisee’s prayer, which he prayed genuinely you must realize, the fallen will doesn’t appear flagrant but “humble”, “…I thank you God…” (by “grace”). But it is the EXACT free unconditional word of justification, in Word, in baptism and in the Lord’s Supper that men reject. And they do so by doctrines such as Romes or BB just to name a couple.

    The rejection of baptism, as is truly defined not BB, IS rejecting Christ. One says one doesn’t reject baptism but only means they don’t reject BB, but they do reject BAPTISM. That is to say the same baptism that baptizes infants – in short the confession that Luther brought forth from the Scriptures. Rejecting that, which is baptism, is despising it. That’s why the paradigm language is tough. In the reverse, I reject BB, that is I despise it. But THAT, BB, that doctrine not the actual baptizing for baptism is baptism there but the doctrine is not and as such is not really baptism. OR if you want to speak neutrally by paradigm, you reject and despise the baptism that baptizes in essence infants too and regenerates and I reject and despise the baptism that is defined as believers baptism. That’s neutral language. NOW, these are mutually exclusive, both are at utter opposition to the other, in fact one Satanically inspired and one Christ spoken. Without saying which is which we are speaking neutrally. But one is one and the other is the other, and one of us rejects/despises the other and vice versa. We both call “from God” the doctrine. But one is Satan as an angel of light and one is spoken in fact by God. Still neutral here. Now, what I’m saying is what Luther said is from the Scriptures, as God spoke, Christ revealed, NOT “just because or what Luther said”. So I’m speaking ‘out of neutral’ now, and as such identify BB as the Satanic “paradigm”.

    AND THAT is why we cannot mingle the confessions and pretend we are of the same spirit on this (go back to the neutral language if you need). Because ultimately they are NOT neutral and one is from Satan and the other is from God in FACT and not theory. This is why the orthodox church (even if we stay in the neutral) cannot mingle with the heterodox church in the least! EVEN if we just look at this neutrally and don’t “pin down” for now who is ortho and who is hetero. In principle from the neutral we can agree that the two cannot mingle because one is in fact from Satan on these articles and one is not and God does not give us release to do this. IN fact he does not allow in the least His word be mixed with Satan – ‘enmity between the Seed of the Woman (Christ and the seed of the serpent’, it’s a fact, God has proclaimed it so, true and real. It cannot be altered. So, we see we cannot mingle “churches” here. Once again we can come out of neutral as one confession has the true articles of God’s word, God guarantees He will maintain this somewhere with someone, “The Gates of hell WILL NOT PREVAIL against My church”. Once we come out of neutral, our doctrines asserted, there we can never mix the two doctrines nor churches.

    I’ve tried as best I know how neutralize the paradigms for neutral examination so that we might “see” the principles at hand. NONE of it is inflammatory rhetoric for the sake of being polemical. The Cross is naturally polemical, foolishness to the wisdom of man. So, I’ve tried to show in neutral gear as it were the issues at hand then bring it back to the particular – at least things to ponder if you will.

    Blessings to you in Christ our Lord,

    Larry

    PS: STEVE, 180, I told you we’d get there!

  179. Jeff,

    I’m being a little “tongue and cheek” and simultaneously serious here. This literally just came up today afresh.

    This just came up in our family who are mostly baptist and baptist ministers. We did it too when I was involved with our youth in my former SB church a few years back.

    Unbaptized, i.e. unbelieving, children and youth doing “missions work” including evangelism. How does that work? In my former SB circles (which were numerous), this is a very standard practice, the youth at various levels are employed for missions and evangelism. It seems odd to employ heathen unbelievers (the doctrine of BB) for the works of missions and evangelism. The church employees them like believers but won’t allow them to be baptized as believers.

    A real head scratcher.

    L

  180. Larry,

    Over 180!! Who woulda thunk it??

    Baptism.

    What a gift.

    I like what Pastor Mark said here once, “I’ll baptise anyone, anywhere, anytime.” (Sounds even better when you read it with a ‘Gen.Patton’ voice.)

    Pastor Mark delivered an excellent sermon on baptism yesterday. I’ll put a link to it here, if Brent Gordon (I don’t want to mention any names) will get off his keester and put it up on the Lutheran Church of the Master’s web site.

    Keep on keepin’ on, Larry!

    – Steve

  181. Larry,
    Quick question that I still haven’t gotten an answer to, because I suppose it keeps getting lost in the shuffle. It is a serious question for me.
    The preaching of Peter in Acts 2 has been cited several times in this discussion to say that baptism saves. The phrase that Peter uses, “Repent and be baptized, . . . for the forgiveness of your sins” is used verbatim in Mark 1:9 by John the Baptist when he calls people to be baptized. They are the same Greek root words and all. The phrase is used in Luke in the same context. And then you find the story in Acts 19 of the men who were baptized with “John’s baptism” and Paul rebaptized them after telling them to believe in Jesus. If baptism is a sacrament (which I have understood defined here as God does the work of grace in it regardless of our understanding) and John’s baptism is described with the same language as Peter’s, why did these guys have to believe and be rebaptized?

  182. Steve,

    This has been a great discussion I think, heck we are in range for 200!

    Please DO post it, I can’t wait to hear pastor Mark’s sermon!!!

    BTW, we are really loving our LCMS transition to membership. You think you “are there” theologically having read and studied a bunch, but NOTHING replaces actually being in such a rich Law/Gospel worship! It’s hard to explain, I’m sure you know what I mean. It’s one thing to “understand it” another to “hear it proclaimed live to you”.

    Larry

  183. Larry,

    You are absolutely right, there is nothing like having the Law and the Gospel actually DONE TO YOU.
    Glad you are enjoying and being edified in your new church!

    I’ll put pressure on Brent to get that sermon up before Christ returns, or at least shortly thereafter (the hereafter).

    – Steve

  184. “It’s one thing to “understand it” another to “hear it proclaimed live to you”.”

    Amen, Larry! I am absolutely loving my new LCMS church too!

  185. Jeff,

    “why did these guys have to believe and be rebaptized”

    Whew, that’s an easy one. John’s Baptism was different from the baptism instituted by Jesus at the Great Commission.

    This might help too. One always has to always keep the redemptive history as it’s playing out in mind. Ultimately these are not timeless truths like other religions, or cyclic time wheel going around, but time and space are being subsumed to the singular purpose of God – redemption and eternal life. So as the “fullness of time” was dawning and “this age”, “these last days” (Joel/Acts) “kicked into gear” unto “the last day” and “age to come” (Rev. and consumation). Things play out as they are to. Eschatology plays a HUGE role in this too. Thus, John’s preparatory baptism was different than that commissioned by Jesus. It wasn’t a “RE-baptism” as the typical baptist thinks of baptism – rebaptism (e.g. the Cambellites and Churches of Christ). They had NOT received the sacrament Jesus instituted. Most baptist to be honest already concede this, at least Reformed Baptist do.

    Another thing to be careful about, and I’m 100% pro languages, Greek, Latin, Hebrew the whole bit. But it is a nice caution for all of us. A good theologian once told me this; learning the biblical languages is a TREMENDOUS aid, but it doesn’t mean we will unlock things our unbelief is not willing to believe (the same with human reason, good tool subdued to Christ, devil’s whore if not). Because the Greeks spoke the Greek langauge and the Hebrews spoke their language, but missed God right in front of them. Same with ANY language, English as well. We can be unbelieving in ANY language. I know that’s stating the obvious but I have to remind myself often too.

    Yours,

    Larry

  186. Steve and Dawn,

    Oh YEA it’s so true. We went to our first Wed. Lent service and the HEAVINESS of it all was something we were not use to nor prepared for. A REAL fear of God pervades the sanctuary. I told my wife, “I cannot describe it but its the WEIGHTINESS of it all.” In this particular case our deaths, no frills, no sugar coating, no apologies for the painfully obvious – just stark naked DEATH and our mortality versus Christ. And they didn’t mamby pamby to the kids either, point blank, “from dust and ashes you came, to dust and ashes you will return”. This I will be saying over your grave. The REALITY was over whelming and refreshing.

    When we first visited a few Sunday’s back, I’ll never forget that one line, “We do what we do here every Sunday to prepare men to die…because no man knows his last day when all other things disappear to nothing.”

    Thanks,

    L

  187. Larry,

    Absolutely!

    The road to the cross and the sure death that follows is the focus …that is for sure.

    Without that death…there can be no life.

    Our pastor put dried up dead branches and twigs around the font, on the cross (an extra large one that is not normally in the sanctuary), and on the altar.

    Death is in the air. But new life isn’t far behind.

  188. Jeff,

    Sorry I haven’t responded more quickly to your questions. Lately work has not given me the time write a proper response. I have had more time to ponder them, though.

    You wrote, “Is it possible that a baptism can be done apart from saving faith? The answer I would assume from the majority here is no.” It would help if you would define “saving faith,” as I suspect that there are different understandings of what this means here at this blog.

    “If that is the case, what is Paul doing in Acts 19:3-7? John’s baptism is explained in terms identical to Peter’s language in Acts 2, but apparently in Acts 19 it is missing something. What is it missing?”

    First of all, John’s baptism was NOT identical to Christian baptism – they were both for the forgiveness of sins, but one did not receive the Holy Spirit with John’s baptism.

    When I first read this passage from the perspective of a Lutheran, it struck me that Paul even brought up baptism here. Paul asks these disciples if they received the Holy Spirit when they believed, and they hadn’t even heard that there was a Holy Spirit. Then Paul asks them about baptism. From a baptist perspective, this is rather odd because according to baptists, the Holy Spirit isn’t tied to water baptism at all. One would think that if the baptist understanding of baptism is true (that it’s an outward symbol of an inner reality) then these disciples wouldn’t have had to be re-baptized – they would simply have been further instructed about the Holy Spirit and about the death and resurrection of Jesus.

    So if this passage is a problem for Lutherans, it is also a problem for baptists. I think this illustrates the difficulties of deriving regular practice from the book of Acts, which describes the church in its early/transitional stages and is not necessarily normative for all ages. I am not sure that it logically follows to use this passage to justify re-baptism of people who were baptized as infants or even people who were baptized and later fell away and then came back. None of these conditions is being spoken of in the Acts 19 passage.

    These disciples were looking forward to the one who was to come, whom John was pointing to, but apparently did not yet know about. Their baptism was not explicitly tied to the death and resurrection of Christ (since at that time those things had not yet happened). I don’t know of any situation today where that would be the case, so I don’t think it’s valid to argue for re-baptism from this passage.

    Dawn

  189. Jeff wrote:

    “you asked about my mention of not seeing baptism as “man’s work.” What I mean is that baptism is pointless apart from God. Dunking or sprinkling someone with sincere intentions or the “right formula” or “the right understanding” doesn’t guarantee anything. Only God gets to make that determination (Rom. 9:16). If we are so confident to tell someone that they are going to be fine with God because we baptized them as an infant, where did God say that?”

    I don’t think anyone here is saying that. That would be like saying that the sacraments work ex opere operato (by virtue of the work being performed), which was something that the Lutheran reformers rejected. I am not sure that anyone on this blog has said that baptism is effective without God.

    What Lutherans do say is that God is the one performing the baptism. It is done by His Word and in His Name. Because of this, one’s faith is strengthened because one’s standing with God is not dependent upon trying to figure out the status of one’s faith. One can boast that they have great faith, but really be trusting in their works. My faith is weak but my Savior is most certainly not weak – He will do what He has promised. If a person rejects their baptism later in life, it is not because God’s Word has failed, but because that person has rejected God’s Word.

    Dawn

  190. Dawn,

    That is exactly correct. Luther rejected both ex opere operato (because of the work worked – Rome) AND ex opere operatis (because of the work of the worker – essentially what believers baptism is). That is Luther rejected baptism is valid by the work being performed (Rome) AND based on the truth or validity of repentance and faith of the one being baptized (Anabaptist/Baptist).

    In fact these two concepts ex opere operato and ex opere operatis were rejected by Luther in ALL doctrines from the sacraments to confession to repentance and faith themselves. That’s what many baptist don’t realize, they never actually left Rome, they retained the “operatis” in most of the doctrines, particularly in repentance and the sacraments (ordinances). Their “new” doctrines on these were not really all that new and had been heretical developments within the Roman church under various theories and philosophies inserted and growing among the various cloisters of monks even before Luther. All they really did was resurface under the anabaptist and worked their way into what we now call “baptist”.

    Liturgically by outward form Rome and baptist look very different, but doctrinally very similar.

    L

  191. Lets discuss the Problems in this discussion.
    Why don’t we Take it by the numbers…

    1) The Definition of Baptism= Immersion or Overwhelm with water… and not Sprinkle or get wet.

    2).. Why?
    A) To fulfill the great Commission
    B) To fulfill all righteousness
    C) To Show Christs death until he returns
    D) To proclaim publicly that we have died to this world and have arisen with Christ in our hearts

    3)… What did Jesus tell us to do?
    4)… What example did Jesus give us?
    5)… What testimony do we have of the early Church fathers on this subject??
    6)… How long before Sprinkling, Aspersion and :-))) spitting:-))) came into practice?
    7)… What is Baptismal Regeneration and how does it apply to this discussion?

  192. I think the definition of Baptism is water, and God’s Word of promise.

    What difference should the amount of water make?

    Of the two components, don’t you think that’s God’s Word of promise is the more important and that the Living God would not be hindered by the amount of water used?

    I and millions of Christians were not submeged in Baptism, and I know that my gracious and loving Savior has adopted me and forgiven me my sins. I would find it quite hard to understand a God who is all about grace, being legalistic about the amount of water used in a Baptism.

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