Baptism Today

P1670398 

This morning out little grandbaby ‘Chloe’ will be baptized.

She will be adopted into God’s family and given all the promises and love and forgiveness that all of God’s children receive.

Her old sinful self (she’s almost 8 months old!) will be put to death in the water and the Word of baptism (she will participate in Christ’s death), and the new person will be raised out of that water and the grave by God’s Word and the resurrection of Jesus Christ Himself.(Romans 6)

During her life she will share in the sufferings and the grief and the sorrows of our Lord, and she will know the Joy of His resurrection and share in that Joy also, and the Hope of the New Kingdom.

She will be taught and reminded of these facts all throughout her life, that these realities will stay with her, and that she may be kept in the one True Faith of our Lord Jesus.

 We thank the Lord for His graciousness that He would have these little ones come to Him. We thank Him for His gracious gift of Holy Baptism…the forgiveness of our sins, life, and the salvation that only He can give.

_______________________________________________________________

 

Some of you may not like this.  That’s ok. 

But we absolutely love it!

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

278 Responses

  1. St Stephen,

    That is wonderful. I welcome a new sister in Jesus! And what a beautiful darling she is!

    God’s peace. †

  2. Steve,

    That’s great news! Literally Good News. I often remind my wife that EVERY single time we hear of or see a baby baptized we are receiving ourselves the purest evangelistic evangelism of the Gospel. It’s so pure the world rejects it and acts as if it is nothing at all. But the eyes of believers, of faith see it and rejoice with the angels of heaven. Reason, affections, experiences, the world, the flesh and the devil all scoff at it as if nothing – like passing a rock on the side of the road, “nothing to see”. But faith sees it, faith rejoices in it, faith sings with the holy choir in heaven when it happens.

    Praise be to our God!!!

    Larry

  3. You can love it.

    But it is NOT biblical.

    • Matthew, Don’t you know?

      Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

      All that have been baptized into Christ. No age requirement here if the age of the baptized is your objection. God through baptism does marvelous things. After all it was instituted by Jesus. He does not fool around boy!

  4. Spoken like a true enemy of Christ.

  5. Steve,

    What was that Luther quote again, “If they use the Scriptures against us we will use Christ against the Scriptures”. I believe that was it.

    Let Ishmael laugh and scoff, he always has laughed and persecuted believers, always will as St. Paul says in Gal.

    Larry

  6. Spoken like a true enemy of Christ?????

    • Jesus commanded, go and make disciples of ALL nations, baptizing them and (then, next) teaching them to obey.

      Why should we disobey Christ’s instruction to first baptize and then teach in order to make disciples?

      The promise is for you AND your children and ALL who are far off.

      Baptism is not about what we decide to do; it is about Christ’s sure promise to us that we are His and our sins are forgiven. By God’s gracious enabling, we cling to the promise given to us in the water of baptism.

  7. Thanks, David, Larry!

    We just got in from our wonderful day that was highlighted by Chloe’s baptism.

    We do appreciate the kind words of encouragement for our new sister in Christ.

    Infant baptisms are PURE Gospel! I get choked up when it is anyone’s child, let alone our own little one.

    What a great day! The devil hates days like this! Good!!!

  8. Matthew,

    There’s plenty of Biblical grounds for infant baptism.

    David and Larry have already mentioned some of it.

    Romans 6 1st Peter 3:20,21 Acts 2:38 Galatians 3:27 Matthew 28:19,20

    There are more. No where does the Bible give an age for baptism.

    Jesus says baptize and teach. Baptisim comes first in the order.

    Jesus tells us not to hinder the little ones from coming to him. He also tells us that we need to become as these little ones in order to enter into the KIngdom.

    Whole households were baptized in the New Testament. That includes everyone (certainly little children and babies).

    It’a late, I’m tired. Goodnight.

    • So my belief makes me a “true enemy of Christ”???

      Gracious.

      • Calling somebody whom Christ died for an enemy of Christ…………………….blasphemy.

      • Do not confound graciousness with accepting or allowing false doctrine to go unchecked. I was not trying to be gracious, you attacked the Cross and faith itself. Faith always draws its sword against unbelief and defends without flinching. So you received a rebuke not graciousness. Now if you are in trouble and in need and I have means to help you, I will be glad to do so, that is be gracious.

        Actually, Mathew, your view on baptism is blaspheme and idolatry. He who basis baptism on faith, as the anabaptist/baptist do, is idolator. Yes baptism, infant baptism in particular, is an essential breaking point upon which we are not of the same spirit or religion. Like it or not, that’s the facts plain and simple. Every baptized infant is an open and bold witness of God’s name against believers baptism as a doctrine. I no more adhere to the doctrine of believers baptism than I do rank atheism.

        Luther once said, “The world is now so full of sects clamoring that Baptism is an external thing, and that external things are of no benefit…but God’s Word and command institute, establish, and confirm Baptism.”

        Prophetically Luther has been proven right. True secularist (agnostics/atheists) are by far a minority. This is no more evident than in the American religion today. The sects in our country are like massive swarms of flies who belch out false doctrine everywhere.

    • “Whole households were baptized in the New Testament. That includes everyone (certainly little children and babies).”

      An argument from silence.

      Jesus said to repent and be baptized. Seems it would be hard for a baby to repent before the baptism… at least, my 18 month old can’t talk yet, much less understand what it means to repent.

  9. Mathew,
    take heart – but don’t hate, brother….

  10. St. Paul called those who taught reliance on anything other than the gospel of Jesus Christ, “enemies of the cross”.

    We who, for reasons explained in earlier comments, believe the Sacraments to be pure gospel, see in those who disparage Baptism and Holy Communion a desire to put the sinner back into himself.

    To internalize the faith. To make faith the object, rather than the grace of God poured out for sinners.

    So we do not want to have our faith in ‘our faith’…but rather, the external work of God..for us…in the Sacraments (that he commanded that we do – btw).

    When the Lord commands us to do something, He is in it. When He is in it…it is He who is doing the work.

    God baptizes. God gives Himself in the Lord’s Supper.

    This is awfully hard for many who have been taught otherwise to get their heads around. It is not logical in the human way of looking at things.

    But then, I wouldn’t expect God to do things the same way that we would do them.

    Thanks, Matthew.

  11. Steve… thumbs UP!

  12. Besides not being Biblical, sounds great.

    So what happens if she turns away from the faith (as many if not most people who are baptized as infants do)? Maybe the magic just didn’t stick?

  13. Matthew, just so you know, Larry hates anyone who doesn’t subscribe to his version of the Bible. So anyone who disagrees with him is conveniently labeled a heretic or worse…

  14. “Whole households were baptized in the New Testament. That includes everyone (certainly little children and babies).”

    An argument from silence.

    Jesus said to repent and be baptized. Seems it would be hard for a baby to repent before the baptism… at least, my 18 month old can’t talk yet, much less understand…

  15. Larry, you could stand to stop quoting Luther or the other Lutheran geniuses and actually use Scripture to support yourself. That seems to be an inherent weakness in your comments, always going to what Luther said but rarely to what God said.

    • Darius,

      I quote scripture all the time and I only quote Luther as he himself quotes scripture itself. So don’t feed me that tired old argument, I’m well familiar with it. The devil quotes Scripture too.

      But if you wish. Here’s one for you, quite explicit, when you respond ONLY quote scripture:

      While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Mathew 26: 26-29)

      Now, quote ONLY Scripture where Jesus says this is not My body and blood.

      Yours,

      Larry

  16. By the way, is it just me, or does she look like she has four legs? 🙂

  17. The link doesn’t work, Patrick

  18. I should be clear that I am NOT saying that God couldn’t save via baptism… God can do whatever He wills. I am saying, however, that the Bible indicates repeatedly that salvation comes through repentant faith (which is given by God and not of our own choice), which seems to indicate that a baby would fall outside that possibility, since babies can’t repent. The baptism usually comes after the repentance (the household baptisms being the POSSIBLE exception, since we’re not told to whom “household” applies or if they all repented).

  19. Patrick,

    I agree completely with that sermon. I guess I don’t see how that contradicts my position. We are commanded to repent and believe, but that repentance does not come from us, but through us via God’s Spirit. A baby is unable to repent. An adult is able to, and when God gives that person a heart of flesh, then he can repent. God could give the person a heart of flesh when he is still in his mother’s womb or when he’s 5 months old, but not because of some fancy ceremony we do. It’s not of our works, yet Lutherans want to keep making salvation come via works such as baptism or drinking the right liquids or eating the right kind of bread. We can’t force God’s hand by sprinkling water on babies. God does the choosing, and the person does the repenting (by God’s power).

    • You have a paradigm that you cannot see beyond. Baptism, Communion, Repentance, Belief… none of them are our “work”… but rather God’s work and declaration to us. If you completely agree with that sermon, then you see your utter inability to repent and believe… both are a gift. God commands you to do something you cannot do (repent and believe) but as in the illustration He then lifts you up above the hoop until you drop the ball and it goes through the hoop. He does it all… for all of us infants and adults.

  20. Hmm, I just said that we are unable to repent. God gives us the ability to do so. But He never says “if you sprinkle a baby with water, I will have to send my power onto that baby and save it.” Again, you’re making salvation a work and not of God’s free choosing. It is odd that you can’t see past this paradigm and realize that you’re promoting a works-based righteousness. “Say the right words, jump in the water (or have it sprinkled on you), and you’re saved.” Sounds a lot like the works-based religion that Judaism had morphed into by the time of Jesus’ coming… they believed that if they sacrificed the right animal, sprinkled some blood on it, and said the right prayer that they would be saved. Actually, now that I think about it, it sounds almost identical to what you’re saying.

  21. Your logic is confounding… You say “we are unable to repent” but you also say “A baby is unable to repent. An adult is able to”. The only one speaking of human ability and volition (works) here is you.

    Baptism isn’t our “work”… it is God’s gift … a visible means by which He gives invisible grace. Salvation doesn’t come from our doing but from His doing.

    Israel didn’t sacrifice animals as a “work” but rather did so out of obedience to the one who commanded it and because of the promise attached to it. Jesus was the final, ultimate, and once for all sacrifice for sin. We baptize now out of obedience to Christ who commanded it and in it we receive all of the benefits Christ accomplished for us by His death and resurrection.

    Baptism isn’t an action on our part to appease God, but is rather a gift of God to which He attaches His promises to us. Baptism is God’s work, not ours.

    Baptism only becomes a work when we put the emphasis on the reason and understanding of the one being baptized over that of the Spirit who acts in baptism.

  22. The Old Adam certainly is fighting to keep alive in some of these comments.. The old anabaptist arguments that despise baptism as a means of grace is alive and screaming. Funny that they call it semi-pelagianism and not semi-augustinism

  23. “Israel didn’t sacrifice animals as a “work” but rather did so out of obedience to the one who commanded it and because of the promise attached to it.”

    If you think that, then you need to re-read your Bible. The sacrifice of animals never brought salvation (Hebrews 10:4) Faith brings righteousness, not sacrifice. That was the Jews’ mistake, and that seems to be yours as well. God brings faith and repentance; the sacrifices in the old Covenant symbolically pointed to Christ just as the baptism and Lord’s Supper of the New Covenant serve as symbolic reminders of what Christ has done for us and in us. “Do this in REMEMBRANCE of me…”

    God isn’t the one sprinkling the water, a person is. Thus it’s a work. Do this and you save someone. I prefer to leave the choice in God’s hand rather do the choosing for Him.

    • Did I say salvation? I said promise. Do you think God commanded sacrifice for no good reason in the OT? Read your Bible and read what I said in context.

      “God isn’t the one sprinkling the water”… nor is He the one preaching the word, or hearing the word, or reading the word or teaching, or anything visible and tangible… he has commanded us to do these things… He sent us.

      God has shown Himself to be a God who is pleased to use physical means to deliver invisible grace… in the OT the blood sprinkled over the doorway brought deliverance, long hair on Sampson preserved strength, Moses arms raised brought victory, Joshua marching around Jericho etc etc… not because they were a work of man but because they were the commands of God with promises attached to them. Similarly in the NT Jesus has given us the means of grace… Word, Baptism & Communion.

  24. I think if someone wants to baptize a baby – big deal…the family can enjoy the ceremony which is basically a promise to train that child in the teachings of Jesus. I mean that’s how I would internalize infant baptism…since they don’t even remember being baptized – only all the adults that were there do…so if u ask me…they bare the responsibility to raise that child right…which can be done with or without baptism.

    What is up with Lutherans and their love of baptism? I just don’t get it – it doesnt line up with any observable reality nor does the logic attached make much sense.

    Someone pulled out Romans 6:3 “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” This kid is still a baby and we want to talk about it’s ‘death’ already…let it live a bit.

    • “This kid is still a baby and we want to talk about it’s ‘death’ already…let it live a bit”…

      The point is that even a baby has yet to live….

      “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” Ps 51:5

    • societyvs,

      Just take a 50,000 foot look back from what you just said and compare that to Scripture. I mean in this way. Because you ask a very nice question I think that gets at least in part to the matter. You state, “What is up with Lutherans and their love of baptism?”

      Good question. Now look at how you speak of baptism, just in principle the tone (tenor, character) about it (and others non-lutheran). Get the tone of the speech in mind. Then, I commend you to read every single passage that explicitly speaks of baptism in the NT. Get the tone of that speech in mind. Note the tone or tenor of the two.

      After you have done this set them side by side, the two tones and ask yourself. Does Scripture, that is to say the very true Word of God speak at all as negatively, disapprovingly, disparagingly, pessimistically, etc…as does this other tone? Why? What’s missing between the two?

      Larry

  25. Good words, societyvs. Our church does child dedication, which serves as a covenant with God between the parents and the Church body to raise the children to love, know, and follow Him (as much as any of that is in our “control,” that is) … that’s how I would view infant baptism if I was part of such a baptism (and that’s probably how the people in the early church viewed it as well if indeed the “household” baptisms included small children.

  26. “God has shown Himself to be a God who is pleased to use physical means to deliver invisible grace… in the OT the blood sprinkled over the doorway brought deliverance, long hair on Sampson preserved strength, Moses arms raised brought victory, Joshua marching around Jericho etc etc”

    Those examples didn’t deliver grace at all. Samson’s hair had no power in itself, nor did Moses’ arms raised in a V lead them to victory. They were symbols of what God was doing within the person, but had no inherent power. This is why your hermeneutics are flawed… you read everything so literally when God intended some stuff to be symbolic. The Passover blood didn’t bring deliverance, it showed the faith of the Jews which was what actually brought deliverance. The blood was just an outward proof of an inward reality. Same thing is true of baptism… outward obedience which points to an inward reality (assuming the person is truly reborn and not just doing it because they think that by doing so they are garnering favor with God, which you Lutherans apparently teach in error).

  27. Of course they had no inherent power! Neither does the water of baptism or the bread and wine of communion have inherent power… in all cases it is the command and word of God that gives them power. You throw out the baby with the bathwater… Just because those visible and tangible things are a “means” of grace doesn’t make them the “grace” itself. Just as a cup is the means by which I get life giving and sustaining water, the Word & Sacraments are “means” by which God delivers or dispenses invisible grace.

  28. Bottom line is that you sir ( Larry) have called somebody whom Jesus died for an enemy of Christ.

    That is blasphemy.

    Every idle word……….

    • The irony of your words.

      No Matthew, I called you who espouse heresy (which you own up to) and enemy of Christ, just like Paul spoke of the heretics in his day who denied Christ. In galatians for example. Even Peter rebuked Simon the sorcer. Because you are actually denying the very thing you say you affirm “somebody whom Jesus died for…”. Heresies are to be openly rebuked and them who espouse them. Heresies arise up from among us to show who is approved and not, teachers and preachers that is.

      In fact Christ is against your entire concept on this very issue who rebuked forcefully the disciples for preventing the little children from coming to Him and said, “Suffer the little children to come unto Me and forbid them not for of such is the Kingdom of God”. The Kindom of God of course being nothing but the forgiveness of sin.

      Larry

      • So Spurgeon is in hell. John MacArthur is on his way. John Piper too. Not to forhet A.W Tozer, Ravenhill. Oh and the vast majority of Reformed Christians worldwide for the past few hundreds of years…..

        At least I am in good comany.

        You are a joke. Darwin Fish is waiting for you join his ‘true church’. You better hurry.

        Pfffft. Soli Deo Gloria

  29. Again, those things are means of nothing. They are merely representations of what God is doing through His Spirit. The Spirit is the means of everything. I don’t see why you have to put God in a box and limit him to physical acts that YOU DO in order to get His grace.

    Again, I would like an answer to my first question… what happens when the infant turns away from God later in life (I know plenty of people who fit this description)? Did the magic of his baptism wear off? Or was God just not faithful in bringing grace to that individual through baptism?

    Is the answer this: that any infant faithfully baptized by his parents is saved no matter what he does in his life to reject Christ? If so, it would seem you have a very low view of the power of Christ to change people IN THIS LIFE. If that answer is not accurate, what is your answer to my question posed above?

    • So if God commands something of you… for instance (if you were an Israelite) and were commanded to put blood over your door in the OT… would you have not done it because it was just a mere representation? Would you conclude that God didn’t really mean it and that all that matters is how you feel inside?

      Yes, the Spirit is the one who works… but that doesn’t negate His commands.

      When an infant who was baptized ‘turns away’ in later life, only God knows when and if that actually happens… but the Christian life is one of daily repentance and faith. You are the one using the disparaging words like ‘magic’ and mischaracterizing Lutheran theology. Lutheranism does not blend together our understanding of infant baptism with Calvinistic eternal security and then wrongly simply go out and sprinkle babies and think that’s it. We baptize and teach and train a child in the faith… reflecting upon and remembering the good work that God began and is carrying on to completion in Christ.

      We would deal with an apparently “straying” person who had been baptized as an infant the same way we would deal with an adult who was converted and baptized as an adult but who was “straying”… we would declare the law of God and the Gospel promises of forgiveness and grace.

      God is always faithful to His promises… if we stray, the choice downward is ours, not His.

  30. SM,

    She is adorable. I rejoice with you in her baptism.

    For those here who do not believe in its validity for children, read

    Acts 2:38.

    Non-Lutherans here think that we are gaining favor from God by being baptized. There is a philosophical idea going on in that analysis, that is – gnosticism and reverse flawed incoherent logic of what a gift and favor is.

    Baptism is a gift of God as per Acts 2:38. Jesus died for that baby 2000 years ago, he did not ask for the baby’s approval, he did not checked with any of us if it was OK, he did it without our agreement nor consent, so how can you say that were are gaining favor from God?

    If God has given a gift, gaining favor for being baptized is not a gain, the favor has happened first, we are just receiving what has been given.

    Your baptistic logic goes like this: be baptized and so gain favor (so you think we teach this, no?) Wrong.

    Rather, by virtue of Jesus death for you, be baptized.

    Now in order to miss the import of the last one, you will have to make faith and repentance a form of man’s work hence, you guys are semi-pelagians.

    LPC

  31. “You guys are heretics, semi-Pelagians, spiritual nazis…”

    Tell us what you really think. 🙂

    Seriously, could we cease with the ad hominem attacks and stick to the issues? It doesn’t make your side look very confident in your position when you have to sling names around instead of badly interpreted Scripture.

    Where did I say that faith and repentance is a form of man’s work???? I keep saying that it’s all from God, yet you keep telling me that I say the exact opposite. Where I come from, we call that straw man argumentation or intellectually dishonest discussion. Either way, you’re being dishonest.

    • Darius,

      I will turn it around using your arguments, you said which you Lutherans apparently teach in error

      Now isn’t that ad hominem? To tell a spade a spade is not ad hominem.

      And for arguments I gave Acts 2:38 of which I should have thought that posing such a scripture is obvious it is one of our scriptures for in there the promise attached to baptism is to ours and our children.

      But you see one does not have to blatantly admit or deny something, it is deduced from the mode and manner of reasoning.

      If faith and repentance is from God then neither you nor the baby is able on its own believe or repent.

      The problem is that we are also saying the same thing, that faith and repentance are a gift of God yet in our case when we baptize babies we are in error.

      I call that special pleading, you admit with us that faith and repentance are God’s gift yet when we baptize babies we are in error and you are not. So special pleading.

      LPC

  32. Steve, you (and at least one other) mentioned Acts 2:38. But that says to “repent and be baptized.” How is she able to repent? Or does that come at a later date?
    Thanks,
    Dorci

  33. And yes, she is beautiful. 🙂

  34. Salvation is a gift, it can ever be rejected. A baptized baby can later as an adult fall away from the faith, just as someone who makes a profession of faith and is baptized after repentance as an adult can still fall away from the faith.

  35. ps…so sorry, after reading through some of the comments I see that I was asking a question that had already been asked.

  36. Thanks, Dorci and all!

    Spent the day with Chloe and family.

    They go back to Chicago tomorrow.

    I appreciate your well wishes and compliments for Chloe.

    I’ll try and catch up on the theological debate on the controversial, yet time honored and fully Biblical and Christian practice of infant baptism that most of the world’s Christians believe in and practice.

  37. “Salvation is a gift, it can ever be rejected.”… “if we stray, the choice downward is ours, not His.”

    Hmm, here is the problem. Jesus said that no one can make Him lose hold of His sheep who are CALLED according to His name and plan. We cannot reject His call, otherwise you’re once again making our acceptance of His call OUR doing, rather than totally His. He quickens our spirit, giving us a new heart. That new heart cannot reject His call and go back to the things of Old Adam (not to be confused with our not yet-renewed flesh still warring against the new heart), just as God doesn’t have a divine eraser which He uses to remove names from the Lamb’s book of Life. Once we’re written there, it cannot be undone. If your name is not written there, it doesn’t matter how many times you get dunked in the tank, you’re not saved. You can appear to be repentant, but if God doesn’t do it and just man does it in some special MAN-ordained ceremony, you’re not saved. Those who turn away completely (as opposed to those who struggle with mortifying their evil flesh) did not have saving faith and then reject Christ later… they were never saved. God doesn’t give a partially new heart which has only limited power to sanctify a believer and overcome his urges to totally rebel against God. Get a bigger God!

    It’s interesting how when it comes down to it, this Lutheran theology is actually man-centered, works-based at the root. “We can reject the all-powerful God, we can make Him save babies by sprinkling them with water, etc.”

    • Darius,

      “We cannot reject His call”
      Really? So when Jesus called the rich man to sell all he had and follow him and the man walked sadly away, Jesus didn’t really mean it?

      “Those who turn away completely… were never saved.”
      Really? I could easily subscribe to your theology if I ignored certain scriptures… and I could easily subscribe to a theology of decision/works based theology if I ignored some of the scriptures you embrace. Lutheran theology embraces all of scripture, embraces the mystery and concludes that our only free will is downward and not upward. Salvation is totally from God and not works based yet I am free to reject the gift offered & given to me.

      Your repeatedly simplistic and wrong characterization of Lutheran theology only shows your refusal to reason together and understand.

  38. Once we’re written there, it cannot be undone

    This is not taking the overall teaching of scripture. Here is the scripture that denies this.

    Revelation 3:5
    He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels

    LPC

  39. LPC, your god is quite impotent. He says that He won’t lose any of His sheep, yet you say that He can. Do I believe God or you? Just because Jesus says that He won’t blot out a believers name doesn’t mean that He blots out anyone’s name.

  40. “Really? So when Jesus called the rich man to sell all he had and follow him and the man walked sadly away, Jesus didn’t really mean it?”

    Wow, talk about simplistic. God has a general will that all be saved, but His specific will chooses who to save. Jesus was making a point (getting at the rich man’s true god). I’m astounded that you read Scripture so poorly.

    Romans 9 pretty clearly sets it out that God chooses some for salvation and some for damnation. In fact, all of Scripture pretty clearly lays this out. He hardened many people throughout Scripture. That’s not to say that they were good otherwise, but that He chose to make their spiritual enmity certain. You can ignore all the Scripture you want, but if you first come to the Bible rather than first see what Luther tells you it says, you can’t honestly come up with some of these Lutheran ideas.

    • You only prove my point… take care.

      • As a side note, it’s interesting that your church website says “Why Lutheran?” on the front page. As opposed to “Why Christ?” or “Why the Cross?” Something tells me Luther would be distraught with so many people making him the center of their religion rather than Christ. Something that Luther himself said comes to mind: “I ask that people do not make reference to my name. Let them call themselves Christians, not Lutherans. What is Luther? After all, this gospel teaching is not mine. Neither was I crucified for anyone. In 1 Corinthians 3, St. Paul does not allow Christians to call themselves “Pauline” or “Petrine” but only “Christian.” How then should I-the poor, stinking bag of maggots that I am-come to have people call the children of Christ by my wretched name? Let it not be so, my dear friends. Rather, let us abolish all partisan names and call ourselves Christians, after him whose teaching we hold.”

      • You really enjoy taking things out of context to be argumentative don’t you? … the context is FIRST “CHRISTIAN by God’s Grace” and secondarily ‘Lutheran by choice’. You are obviously a Calvinist… but I haven’t been speaking disparagingly about Calvin or Calvinism other than identifying the grid Calvinism uses to understand scripture. I think if you were in my congregation, you would hear and understand the centrality of Christ in what we believe and teach contrary to how you characterize. Believe it or not, we do not worship Luther any more than you do Calvin.

        Again… and finally…. take care.

      • The point was to be as nit-picky and ungracious as some of you Lutherans are toward your non-Lutheran brothers.

      • Ungracious? This post was Steve sharing his joy about the gracious work of God in the life of his granddaughter. I came here to congratulate and share in his joy. Who has been ungracious?

  41. Larry…

    “But if you wish. Here’s one for you, quite explicit, when you respond ONLY quote scripture:

    While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Mathew 26: 26-29)

    Now, quote ONLY Scripture where Jesus says this is not My body and blood.”

    Okay, two can play the same game. Rather than go to some other verses, let’s first honestly look at this text with unbiased eyes. Leave aside the Lutheran codebook glasses and dive into the text with me… Jesus says he won’t drink of this cup (which you say is literally his saving blood) until after he rises again. Why would He drink His own blood? He doesn’t need salvation… let’s look at what Luke tells us about the Last Supper: “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” Hmm, do this in remembrance of Christ. Seems like it might just be a time of reminding oneself what God did for us on the Cross, like the stones were in the Old Testament a reminder of God’s salvation in a time of need.

    But since you love to take things literally, let’s go look at other things Jesus said that should have a second look.. maybe He meant that He was truly a vine. Maybe we’re mistaken, maybe He didn’t speak in riddles and parables like we thought. Let’s see… how about Matthew 5? Jesus tells us to gouge out our eyes if they cause us to sin. Yet I have a feeling you don’t do that.

    Or look at John 4 with the woman at the well… Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Hmm, now He says we have to drink water instead of wine. Which one is it? And why didn’t He have any of this holy water with him to offer the woman? He tells her to ask for it, yet He doesn’t have it with Him. Another example of SYMBOLISM.

    You do this right, Larry, which many evangelicals don’t: you interpret Matthew 5 as primarily symbolic language pointing to the need of a savior, rather than a need to be a better person. Many evangelicals tend to slip into the view that Jesus is trying to get all of his hearers to be better people, to in fact “be perfect just as [His] heavenly Father is perfect.” You rightly recognize that instead He is saying “Dudes, this is the standard that I have. Can anyone live up to that? Didn’t think so. So despair and die! OR, trust in me and die yet live all the more, cause I will provide both the perfect righteousness that you lack and the ability to live a more perfect life.” Unfortunately, you then change your interpretative style and stop seeing symbolism and just see literalism. “The wine is really Jesus’ blood, and anyone who drinks of it will be saved. And anyone who dares believe a completely reasonable understanding of Matthew 26 that takes it to be symbolism is a heretic!”

  42. Actually Romans 9 is about belief and unbelief and not election. The common link between Arminian theology and Calvinistic theology is it doesn’t want to stay in the paradox that is the only atmosphere in which true naked faith must remain. They always want to resolve the paradox of the saved/lost into one of two synergistic ditches, which really end up being the same error (even Rome) God gives some power (infused grace) somewhere down the train of creation/salvation whereby one can choose, etc… Arminian theology puts this in the inherent created man as God’s creature to choose, Rome puts it in the sacraments (ex opere operato), and Calvin/Owen in some naked action by the Spirit elsewhere apart from, beside, behind, in front of the Word (but not the Sacraments, visible Word).

    That’s worlds apart from Luther in which the paradox remains and is not answered but faith HEARS the Good News, forgiven. All fallen religions of man be they the Pope, sacramentarians, Islam, others attempt to ascend their ladders into heaven, as it were by one of three ways. I believe Koberle (sp??) points this out. Heterodoxy to greater and lesser degrees falls into one of these three, mixtures of them with emphasis leaning one way or another. The three? By use of the will, mind or affections. The will through morals to reach up to God, the mind by rationalism and reason to understand the truth attempts to vainly reach up to God, and the affections by mystical experiences or some such experiences. Generally speaking example confessions of each (though all mingle these in some form or another), will ladder climbers are seen much more in Arminian/Roman circles, reason ladder climbers are seen most acutely in Calvinistic brands of religion and experience ladder climbers in the more charismatic confessions. It’s not to say Lutherans in particular don’t too wrestle with this and on the individual church by church level this will be even in orthodox congregations (that we all share as simul Justus et peccator in common), but the orthodox confession doesn’t do this itself as opposed to the heterodox confessions which explicitly do.

    That’s the reason the Lutheran answers to the sacraments will NEVER satisfy rationalistic theology, because the former maintains to the very offense of reason the paradox, that ONLY atmosphere in which faith is and can be. When reason, Arminian or Calvinistic, attempts to “resolve the paradox”, faith begins to come under siege by fallen human reason and thus they wreck the car on one of two sides of heresy. Thus, in these theologies it’s always “the other guy” to whom their theologies apply in actuality, “the other guy” might or might not be elect, for example, but “not me”. It’s the “other guys” fruits that might not be good enough. Or more often its highly nebulous, an unknown “other set of Christians” never identified, just a theoretical “other guy/group”, but not “me”. Kind of like the very ignorant saying we here often in defending some nebulous thing, “…well you know THEY SAY…”. Who is the “they” that “say”. And all of this is nothing but one big witness of ‘self justification’, which further proves where Calvin’s or Wesley’s or Rome’s error/heresy ultimately leads – a very hidden “the other guy” maybe is not elect, surely Christ didn’t die for everyone (the REAL stumbling block of the Cross and does it ever cause many to stumble. One sees it CONSTANTLY in these conversations).

    L

  43. What does it matter then if babies are baptized or adults? If it is merely an outward sign or symbol, and we know that people can falsely repent or falsely convert before a believer’s baptism then what does it matter if babies are baptized now or later in life? Surely you aren’t hinging baptism on a public confession or repentance are you and making it a work of man?

  44. I believe the purpose behind Romans 9-11 is to really explain how God uses a partial ‘rejection’ of Israel (which could quickly be reversed – see 11:23) to extend, universally, the understanding of the scope of His mercy to all mankind. It is clearly imperative in this message that people 1.Continue in His mercy and 2. Do not continue in unbelief. This marries entirely with Christ’s teaching in John 3.

    In relation to this, can use baptism to “save” us? Paul marks a major examples that says so (1 Corinthians 10:1-4 – which echoes the present sacraments) as does Peter (1 Peter 3:20,21). These, and other Biblical examples, speak of the importance of our adhering to Paul’s clear warning in His conclusion on the matter of being called by God’s mercy in the Romans passage. God’s mercy has been extended to our fallen race. The horror is that we so often look away from that amazing wonder to the miserable waste of our own darkness.

  45. “Esau I hated”

  46. “Note, then, the kindness AND the severity of God….
    And even they, if they do not continue in unbelief,
    will be grafted in to”.

    Are you noting God’s severity – against our unbelief
    and His mercy to those, who CONTRARY to nature, become His children?

  47. “Why should we disobey Christ’s instruction to first baptize and then teach in order to make disciples?”

    Actually, He said first make disciples, then baptize them, then teach them what they are to obey. You had it half right.

    This makes sense based on what we see in Jesus’ life. People came to Him in broken repentance, then He taught them how to truly live. “Repent and be baptized” was His message. Not “Be baptized and then repent”. It would serve Lutherans well to pay closer attention to His words.

  48. Since it is God that makes us disciples by calling us, choosing us, giving us His Holy Spirit…we cannot do it.

    That’s why when Jesus said, Go…make disciples, baptizing them in the nane of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them about himself…Jesus was telling them HOW to make disciples…baptize and teach.

    Repentance is the work of God also, as so many here have rightly stated.

    God does it all.

    Unless we take the humanist tack and actually believe that WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING (repent – of our own volition) in addition to what Christ has done for us on the cross.

    And NO…baptisim isn’t something that WE DO. As so many others here have rightly said…God is the One who does the actual baptizing.

    Once we can learn to drop our humanist, logical way we think God ought to act, then we can start to learn to actually trust God and to believe in His ways (which really are different than our own).

    Until then, we will put God into a box and tell Him that He really can’t be that gracious and give little one’s His Spirit or His promises.

    That is a ridiculous notion which turns God into us…a wimpy little god that is waiting for man to do something before he can do something.

    That’s not my God.

  49. Lutheran Christianity is a “down” religion–God reaches down to us. Every (yes, really–EVERY) other religion and Christian tradition are “up” religions–we humans try to reach up to God for our salvation.

    I cling to the Gospel promise of Christ crucified on the cross in whatever means it comes to me–Word, Water, Wine/Bread. I put no trust in my “faith;” rather, I put my trust in Christ and His promise. Baptism understood as a statement of personal faith gives no assurance.

  50. Well said, Erich!

    Thank you!

  51. Wrong, Erich! All protestant forms of Christianity are down religions. You clearly misunderstand what we non-Lutherans have been saying on here (to be fair, you’re not the only one with a problem with reading comprehension). It is unfair and dishonest to claim that Calvinists are about humans trying to reach up to God for our salvation. Who said that? Point him out, if you can. I have repeatedly said that God does the choosing/saving/redeeming/sanctifying/etc., NOT man. By you choosing to baptize an infant, you are doing the choosing and putting yourself in the place of God. Why in the world can’t you see that you’re making God do your will rather than let Him work as He chooses?

    • Jesus commanded us to “go therefore and make disciples of ALL nations, baptizing and (then, next) teaching them…”

      We do it at his command. The effecaciousness of the Word connected to the water is HIS work, not ours.

      God chooses the simple, the weird, the unassuming things to work HIS will, to confound the proud. Baptism as a means of grace is HIS gift. You are free to reject the effectiveness of it for your salvation. (“Baptism now saves you.”)

      It is very odd how you are amenable to the outlandish idea of God’s use of a savior crucified as a common criminal, yet say that God in Christ cannot offer forgiveness of sins in simple water and HIS spoken Word.

      Good luck believing in your faith in your belly.

  52. Darius,

    Having been to many Christian churches before I became a Lutheran, I have to agree with Erich.

    In far too many Christian traditions, one needs to do something to become a Christian.

    One needs to make a decision, or have a certain”experience”, or say some particular prayer, or be a member of a certain denomination.

    In Lutheranism, we realize that there is NOTHING that we can do, to become a Christian.

    We baptize, and gather to hear the Word and recieve the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper because Christ commands that we do so.

    But Christians are called and chosen by Christ. He chooses to do this through His spoken and written Word and through the visable Word of the Sacraments.

    This is how Christ comes to us and acts for us.

    Many, many churches are relying on things they do, say, feel, or think.

    That is trying to reach up and ascend to Heaven.

    That propensity is in us all (because we are basically non-trueters), but we rely on God’s external Word, to keep us out of that game.

  53. Steve,

    Jesus said to repent, which is something we do. But at the same time, it is something we cannot do unless God gives us a new heart. To repent means to change one’s mind. So to “make a decision” for Christ is just a euphemism for repentance… something Christ demanded from His followers (which they could only do once He empowered them to do so).

  54. I appreciate your desire to make certain that people don’t think they are doing things in their own power… you are correct that plenty of churches neglect the gospel and preach moralism. But I think you (or at least some of the Lutherans on here) go too far in claiming things that the Bible doesn’t claim or rejecting things that the Bible does say. Like we discussed in our Bible study last night at my church, we should avoid bringing our theological blinders to the text and wincing when the Scriptures say certain things. For example, last night we were reading in 1 Samuel 15, and it says that God regretted making Saul king, yet later it says that God is not a man that he would have regret. If you’re a person who believes God is all-sovereign and all-knowing, you could tend to be tripped up by God showing regret, and if you’re an open theist who believes God doesn’t know the future, you could be tripped up by the verse where it says God doesn’t have regret. Why not accept both texts as true and figure out how they both can be true?

    Likewise, when Jesus commanded that people repent and believe in Him, He was demanding a decision. It is being faithful to the text to affirm that. However, based on a full reading of Scripture, we also know that we’re all enemies of God and cannot choose Him, but He chooses us. So Jesus demands a decision that is outside of our ability… so He provides the ability.

  55. “All protestant forms of Christianity are down religions”

    Genuine Christianity is always about God reconciling the world to Himself, but there have been plenty of ‘protestant’ groupings which have been tainted with all manner of strange beliefs and practices, principally because they have added to or subtracted from the clear message of the faith.

    “By you choosing to baptize an infant, you are doing the choosing and putting yourself in the place of God”

    If there were no instances where God had saved, for example, entire households through a ‘baptism’ of some form, you might make such an argument, but the Apostles themselves (as shown earlier) contend against such opinion, so at the risk of being one who might be seen as ‘reading without comprehension’, I think it might be wise to stick with them.
    God saves us through Christ, and various means are given and used to aid in that work. That, at least to this fool, seems quite evident.

  56. Darius,

    Since no one seeks for God , and since we are dead in our sins and trespasses, no on will repent without the Holy Spirit leading them to do so.

    If repentance is a work that we do, than that would mean that the cross did not accomplish everything.

    One little work on our part, is one work too many.

    You see?

    That is why Lutherans believe that Gos has come down to us and gives us everything needful.

    We don’t rely on anything that we do, say, feel or think.

    We rely on God…completely.

  57. Darius,

    Now Darius, you are not being quite forthright with some of our more or less life long Lutherans that didn’t come up through the Calvinistic confessions. I really was a Calvinist (my children to date were baptized while in a PCA WCF church not LCMS). Since you don’t baptize infants you are not even a Calvinist at all nor can lay the slightest claim to it. So it is quite specious and dishonest that you are pretending to defend Calvinism. Not to mention you are confounding its, Calvinism, doctrine all over the place. John Calvin whose name sake it is, quite rebuked the baptist of his day often as roundly as did Luther himself. John Knox considered them worse than the Papal religion. And the WCF very clearly says it is, not just a sin, but a GREAT sin to not baptize one’s children. So much so that Presbyterians, most at least today, all in the old days, would deny the Lord’s Supper to you.

    So what ever you are, you are not a Calvinist. Let me repeat that, you are NOT a Calvinist. For your information the famous TULIP was constructed around infant baptism and against in part what was then the early form of “believers baptism”. So you cannot even honestly claim the TULIP as your own.

    As Reformed theologian Dr. Richard Muller points out it is quite impossible for Baptist to actually be a Calvinist, Reformed or even to rightly understand much less profess the summary TULIP of Dort.

    Dr. Muller writes in Conclusion of his article “How Many Points”, “In conclusion, we can ask again, “How many points?” Surely there are more than five. The Reformed faith includes reference to total inability, unconditional election, limited efficiency of Christ’s satisfaction, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints, not as the sum total of the church’s confession but as elements that can only be understood in the context of a larger body of teaching including the baptism of infants, justification by grace alone through faith, the necessity of a thankful obedience consequent upon our faith and justification, the identification of sacraments as means of grace, the so-called amillennial view of the end of the world. The larger number of points, including but going beyond the five of Dort, is intended, in other words, to construe theologically the entire life of the believing community. And when that larger number of points taught by the Reformed confessions is not respected, the famous five are jeopardized, indeed, dissolved —and the ongoing spiritual health of the church is placed at risk.”

    L

  58. Howard, look carefully at Acts 10. The gentiles there received the Holy Spirit FIRST, then they were baptized. The baptism was clearly not being used in a saving sense there.

    Look at Acts 16 and the story of Lydia: “When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.”

    Seems like the apostles didn’t assume her baptism saved her, since she had to still persuade them.

    Or look later in Acts 16 about the jailer. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” The baptism comes later.

    Or Acts 18: “Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.” Again, the baptism comes after saving belief.

    “If there were no instances where God had saved, for example, entire households through a ‘baptism’ of some form…

    There are no instances where God saved entire households through physical baptism. Show me one.

  59. Darius,

    Heed well the comments of ex-Calvinists here and I was once too.

    In fact your religion is not even part of the catholic/universal church founded by the Apostles. Note I stress the small “c” catholic.

    Your religion cannot and does not confess the Nicene Creed. Since you re-baptize baptized as infant people, you cannot confess with all honestly that one line in the creed – “We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins”.

    As to my God being mentioned by you as impotent, from the point of view of man and that of Islam, yes, because my God did become human and did die on the Cross. And at that point from human reasoning, as did the devil reasoned, Christ looked defeated, impotent.

    It is customary for Lutherans to call people names, your theology has a name – it is called Theology of Glory.

    LPC

  60. Since you re-baptize baptized as infant people, you cannot confess with all honestly that one line in the creed – “We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins”.

    Actually, I can, since I recognize that the baptism spoken of in the Bible is a spiritual one from God, not something we do. You don’t recognize this, instead you think that you save people by getting them wet.

    I’ve heard the term “Theology of Glory” from you folks before… could you explain what exactly that means? Who gets the glory, or what is the glory about, etc.? If by it you mean that God does everything for His glory, then I admit it, I’m one of those guys (just like Piper). God is not man-centered, He is God-centered.

  61. Anyone willing to tackle the book of Acts? I won’t blame you if no one does.

  62. Go way back in the comments and you’ll see where I (and others) have cited the book of Acts.

    The problem lies in the interpretation.

    We have a Gid centered (what God does) view…and you have a man centered (we must do something, i.e. ‘repent’ view.

    I’ll stick with God handling it all for me.

  63. Here’s an example of what I have been talking about:

    In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us that “we must be perfect as our father in Heaven is perfect”, right?

    Is that a work that we must do?

    Or does He provide that perfection to us and for us?

  64. Is that a work that we must do?

    Or does He provide that perfection to us and for us?

    I give up. I’ve repeatedly said that God works that perfection in us, yet no one seems to be listening.

    As for Acts, yes it was cited like one time, and I quickly explained why you were misreading it. Anyone willing to explain why Acts repeatedly shows people groups repenting and being saved, and THEN being baptized. The Holy Spirit comes on unbaptized people.. aghast! I guess they weren’t Lutherans.

  65. Darius,

    You give up?

    How do you think we feel?

    One the one hand you say repentance is something that WE DO. And then you admit that God works perfection in us.

    My friend, it has to be one way, or the other.

    It is not a little of both.

    Either we save ourselves with the help of God, or He saves us completely.

  66. Matthew,

    We don’t condemn anyone to hell. That is God’s domain.

    Remember when Jesus called Peter, satan, because Peter wanted to use his humanistic way of dealing with the situation and not listen to God’s way?

    jesus could have condemned him to hell (only he has that right to do so), but he didn’t. He did, however, let him know that his theology of glory was not going to fly, and he let him know just where that theology comes from…hell itself.

  67. Okay, so when do we obey scripture and *repent* and be baptized?

    John the Baptist’s entire ministry was to call people to repent. Jesus preached that we should repent. The apostles preached repentance.

    And yes, it is a 2-way street. God draws us, we either repent and accept Him or reject Him. There is a clear picture of that with the 2 thieves on the cross. One repented, the other did not. One saw Jesus in Paradise, the other did not. (And he was not baptized, btw)

    In Revelation, Jesus said to the church in Ephesus in Rev. 2:5, “Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent, and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and will remove your lampstand out of its place unless you repent.”

    And again to the church in Pergamos in Rev. 2:16, “Repent! But if not I will come to you quickly, and will fight with them by the sword of My mouth.”

    Just as death passed over only those who chose to find refuge in a house that had been covered with the blood of the lamb in Egypt, spiritual death passes over only those who choose to find refuge in the blood of the Lamb by admitting their sins and receiving forgiveness for them.

    If Jesus’ blood paid for everyone’s sins regardless of their unbelief in God, everyone would be saved. But everyone is not saved. Only those who repent of their sins and willingly receive that free gift of salvation.

  68. “And yes, it is a 2-way street. God draws us, we either repent and accept Him or reject Him.”

    That’s the difference, right there.

    Lutherans believe that salvation and faith in God is a One way street. God’s way.

    If we come to faith, it is ALL His doing. If we reject Him…it is ALL our doing.

    Christ died for all, but not all come to faith.

    Why not?

    That is THE big question. We can ask God why not, when we get there.

  69. “That is THE big question.”

    Actually, God already answered this: because He chooses to save some and not others. Some He calls to heaven, others He sends to hell. “Jacob I loved, Esau I hated.”

    I don’t see why Lutherans keep asking “hath God really said?” when it comes to this issue. The Bible lays it out pretty clearly.

  70. What’s interesting is that based on what we know of the characters, Esau was the more “deserving” guy in human terms. Jacob was a complete loser, at least early in life. Which is what the Old Testament is all about, God choosing the undeserving as His children.

  71. And 1st Timothy 2:4 says that God desires that all people come to Him.

    And the Bible clearly says that Jesus died for the whole world.

    And the Bible clearly states that Jesus’ prayer to the Father was that God forgive those that crucified him (that would be…everyone. We all had a hand in it).

  72. Nooooo…….God does not choose to not save some. God said in John 3:16, let alone many other places in scripture, that God loved *the whole world* so much that He gave His only begotten Son so that *whoever* believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.” Whoever..as an anyone who desires to believe in Jesus Christ and be saved.

    God desires that all be saved, but not all will repent and be saved. If some reject God, then that shows that it is a 2-way street.

    A marriage proposal must be accepted for a marriage to take place.

  73. Jesus told Nicodemus that the Holy Spirit is given when and where God wills.

    Faith is a gift. Not a work that man does.

    God give people faith, when and where He wills.

    That’s how it works.

    That’s what the Bible says, anyway.

  74. Darius,

    “I’ve heard the term “Theology of Glory” from you folks before… could you explain what exactly that means? Who gets the glory, or what is the glory about, etc.?”

    Good question. First I would recommend that you read Luther’s Heidelberg Dissertation for its full import. Don’t feel overwhelmed by it at first, it takes some reading over and over at times.

    I cannot cover it all here but in short:

    In its most simple form a theology of glory is this; that which seeks to know God by his glory, including through the creation, reason, affections, changed life, power to subdue sin, etc… It is in opposition to the theology of the Cross which knows God through His opposite, suffering on the Cross, EVEN, and this is crucial when the faculties of reason, emotions, experiences (which are tools as it where of the theology of glory).

    Sometimes putting the two in juxtaposition helps:

    A theology of glory “wets its finger” as it where by many ways to say, “here I see God operating for me”. A theology of the Cross (ToC) hangs nakedly (and that nakedly is critical to grasp the reality of faith) on the Word. A theology of glory (ToG) uses all the senses of the created man, including his faculties to reason to “see” God in his life. The ToG “sees” by faith alone and at that the Word alone.

    A ToG attempts to detect rebirth, conversion, election, salvation (that God has done so to him/her) by various means. Through emotions, reason, improvement in holiness, health and wealth, disasters in the general population (Katrina for example) or personal, etc… The ToC suffers only the Word, in fact it primarily suffers in the face of the opposite of all of the above. The ToC does not say “this is a sin and that is not”, nor does it concern itself about its good works, it sufficient to it that it suffer the Word of the Cross so that it may all the more die. A ToG does just the opposite, in fact it works to avoid suffering. The ToG works in many ways, morally, rationally, mystically in the broadest since, in fact it does so to avoid the suffering of the Cross. E.g. A ToG will not suffer itself to not have some measure of good works or fruits, it must have them for in these it thinks God has blessed them in order to do them, including the very power of faith itself (so it thinks). The ToC, on the other hand, suffers the cross, “My grace is sufficient for you” is its key Word. ToC knows that God may suffer a man to do no good works or fruit his entire life that God may save his soul. This is utterly incomprehensible to the ToG. A ToG manifest itself, this is the difference in Calvin versus Luther, will not suffer the Word for example when it is challenged (via reason). That’s why sacramentarian doctrine cannot and will not and refuses to “just believe the Word” when Jesus says, “This is My body/blood…”. Via reason, one of its tools, it refuses to “just believe the Word”, that is to say it refuses to “suffer the Word”. So goes to work solving it thinking it arrives at God via rationalized truth. ToC suffers the Word, that is it nakedly believes it when it speaks even when reason is offended. To offend reason (and emotions and experiences) is to place before it an unsolvable paradox, that YET the Word speaks of and wishes to not be reasoned out but believed in the very face of the very offense. That’s why faith is and lives in suffering the Cross and its Word, hence the term theology of the Cross. It is not a “doctrine” per se but literally “God logic of the Cross” or the way God speaks in the Suffering. He hides Himself to reveal Himself in where He should not be normally found, crucified on a Cross, in bread, in wine, in baptism. Lowly things that offend reason and the world so that ONLY faith may have them and not reason itself, nor affections, nor experiences. This is why a ToG via reason likewise wishes to resolve election and baptism for it does not make sense to it that baptism is God’s work, regenerative for the ToG, again, uses experiences, some fall away forever, and reason, ergo baptism must not be regenerative and the Spirit must not always be there, rather somewhere else. Faith, again, suffers the Word. Faith never leaves the paradox, in fact the paradox in this life is the very home of faith for it is the Cross, it suffers it, it passively (passion) believes in opposition to all things to the apparent contrary. That’s the ToC dismisses the question that reason cannot, because faith stays quite nakedly AT the Word.

    The Scriptures from the OT to the NT are replete with this, the Cross being the apex of it all. When God said to Abraham sacrifice your son. Noah’s Ark offended reason and thus the ToG. Reason would say that God is asking for murder which violates His holy Law, but faith followed the Word nakedly in the face of that reason and ToG. Reason says baptism doesn’t do anything, faith says, “The Word says so here I stand”, in the face of opposition to it, even its own experience, it remains AT THE WORD. Reason assesses, “how can the body and blood of Christ be in the bread and wine truly”, faith remains, again in opposition to the offense, AT THE WORD, “THIS IS MY BODY/BLOOD”. Even when all of hell laughs at it, that is to say persecutes it. A ToG may be outside of the church or it may use the Word of God for its purposes, the devil’s mistress works either way. But only faith suffers the passion of passive naked paradoxical trust in the Word, even, ESPECIALLY, when the ToG is offended by its many tools. ToC stays in the suffering of the derelict Word, “why hast Thou forsaken me…” just as Christ did, and thus rest in the Word, of forgiveness, of grace, of resurrection, of baptism, of the Lord’s body and blood in the supper…ALL of which are the same Word of the Gospel of Christ and Him crucified.

    This is what the ToC and faith see, the Word. The ToC looks past the things the ToG looks to. It looks past reason, affections and experiences and does not seek God in these but in the Cross of Christ alone. Faith is as blind to them as they are to the Cross. The ToG does just the opposite, it looks through and past the Cross and into the creatures in various ways, events, experiences, reasoned thoughts, emotional reactions, mystical experiences, good times, bad times, health and wealth, sickness and poorness. These are the ToGs touch stones for “where God is for me”. The ToC stays suffering passively, in passion, in the nude with the naked Word even when and especially when the other sees things otherwise, even when the other persecutes it. That’s why the Word must and can ONLY come all the way down to it, in the Word, in baptism, in the body and blood of Christ in the Holy Supper. A ToG is forever persecuting so as to kill and murder this faith, separate it from the Word, either by laughing at it, finding it incredulous, or by the Sword. But the ToC is like the three in the fire who said, “our God can deliver us from this fire, but even if He does not…we still will not bow down to your gods oh king.” (my paraphrase).

    I hope that helps, very good question!

    Yours,

    Larry

  75. Yes, faith is a gift, and that gift, as explained by Jesus in John 3:16, (which is the same conversation that Jesus is having with Nicodemus) is offered to *whoever (all, any, whole, as many as) believes..*

    Jesus is explaining to Nicodums in John 3:4 that the Holy Spirit works however He wills in those who have believed in Christ as Lord and Savior.

    You can’t discount all the verses that say we need to repent for salvation. Again, all of scripture works together, it does not contradict itself.

    Even in John 3:14-15 it says, “But even as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

    Faith is a gift to anyone willing to receive it. But they must be willing. God does not push Himself onto anyone.

  76. Darius,

    Actually, I can, since I recognize that the baptism spoken of in the Bible is a spiritual one from God, not something we do. You don’t recognize this, instead you think that you save people by getting them wet.

    No you cannot. Because the Baptism mentioned in the Nicene Creed is water baptism. Try not to make the Nicene Creed mean what you like it to mean, you are off base from the rest of Christendom and I mean that in a polite way. You just make your doctrine as you go along. If you do not recognize the baptism of others because they were baptized as a child and your doctrine says you must re-baptize them, then, the truth hurts – you are not catholic and not part of the universal church.

    But that is ok, you got the Bible correct, right?

    So you are not catholic, of course you are not Catholic (big C) I can see that!, but you are also not catholic (small c).

    So this should I hope get you thinking of your baptistic position.

    Dont worry I was baptistic like you before, there is hope for a repentant mind.

    LPC

  77. “Howard, look carefully at Acts 10. The gentiles there received the Holy Spirit FIRST, then they were baptized”.

    There is more that needs to be said on this, but time is against me at the moment, so I’ll seek to write more on the subject later today after work,
    but you certainly need to consider the passages I’ve already touched upon – which clearly speak of God saving through baptism – and the teaching of numerous Reformed (not just Lutheran) scholars and theologians on this matter.

    More later.

  78. The point of seeing the Holy Spirit in and around baptism in the Book of Acts is not to show the order thus, Spirit first, then baptism which is to base baptism on faith which in turn is idolatry denying the first Commandment and further to profane, make God’s name vain and thus deny the second commandment (third by some counts). Rather the point is as it has always been to show that the Spirit comes ALWAYS not sometimes in baptism. He is ALWAYS in and with the waters of baptism in OT and NT. This is richly throughout the Old and New Testaments. That’s the said thing about heterodoxy, it has so doctrinally hidden things under false teachings that many poor laymen unwittingly stuck in such miss the richness of God for them in the Scriptures. It’s no wonder Pentecostalism ultimately arose out of the arminian/Calvinistic confessions, they were simply searching for the Spirit that had been denied them and covered up to them through those doctrines. So they search in vain for the Spirit in other things, its just a logical extension of Calvin’s thought that the Spirit does not always operate or appear in baptism or the Word for that matter. Therein lay the disconnect of Calvin, tearing asunder the Word and the Spirit.

    The point of the appearance so explicitly in Acts with baptism is not to establish an order or insight into His work, but that He attends the Word in Baptism every single time to every single person without exception or failure…He brings Christ and gives Christ. To resist the Holy Spirit (e.g. Acts 7) is to resist the real Spirit really in that Word in baptism. It is as Luther says the denial of thing doesn’t prove its non-existence, but its existence. To put it another way, as an atheist I did not want to be baptized because baptism before “my faith” was there was not a baptism, but that I denied a real and tangible thing, baptism is baptism with or without faith for it is not based on God’s Word but His work and His name and His Spirit whether I believe it or not (throw it off, deny it). A baptist according to his/her doctrine, if consistent can NEVER be sure that he/she ever has seen an actual baptism. They know in general and generically basically based on nothing more than the statistical probability that some faith occurs prior to surely in the numerous baptisms they’ve seen or witnessed, in general. But since they cannot actually see faith nor see the heart of a man in particular, nor can any observable fruit be sufficient to guarantee faith (all can be faked perfectly outwardly) also in the particular – for these reasons, according to the doctrine, they can never say with 100% assurance say that X was a baptism.

    Furthermore, they “rebaptize”. Thus a man baptized at 25 denies the faith out right at 35 and becomes a flaming atheist. Then at 55 he comes to faith again and is rebaptized. The Baptist cannot explain that ceremony at 25. Was it a baptism? Not according to the doctrine, else why rebaptize? Because the man didn’t have faith, which proves the sine quo non of baptistic baptism is to base it upon faith (a creature of God) and thus idolatry, rather than the objective name of God (the Trinitarian name) in which they utter and baptize. For no faith means no baptism, its independent of the name of the Trinity spoken during that baptism, thus the very ESSENCE of the Baptist doctrine on baptism manifestly and confessionally says baptism is based upon the creature (faith) and that is why Luther called it idolatry and it is, even a Baptist must admit this. It foists faith above the very name of God.

    Thus many suffer and miss the Holy Spirit right in front of their own eyes during baptism. They miss that the fact of the Spirit in and around baptism in Acts is to SHOW He is there always, not part of the time or by other manifestations. The overt manifestations are testifying to THAT fact, the Spirit ALWAYS attends and is in Baptism with the objective name and work of God, without failure and not vice versa (i.e. baptism is not attesting to the overt manifestations which is enthusiasm).

    This is every where in the Scriptures. The foreshadow picture of the Spirit in creation is found hovering/brooding over the waters of the deep, then the Word is put into the water and out comes life from nothing. The dove descending on Noah’s Ark after the flood (explicitly called a baptism by the Apostles, Peter), the dove is the Holy Spirit, again attending the waters, the baptism, the Word coming to it and lighting on it, on the Ark which is a foreshadow of Christ Who saves them. Again, the Spirit broods over them as the pillar of fire (the Spirit is often depicted as fire and a dove) while Israel crosses the Red Sea and they are baptized by the sea and the cloud (explicitly stated by Paul as a baptism). Again in the NT, the Spirit descends as a dove and sits upon Christ (the Ark) when Christ, the Word incarnate, is quiet literally PUT INTO THE WATERS OF BAPTISM. There we see the ENTIRE Trinity involved in baptism, just as the Trinitarian name is given that MAKES baptism baptism with or without faith whatsoever. Again, and by this time it is no surprise whatsoever that the Spirit comes with the waters of baptism in the book of Acts. Thus, the book of Acts is NOT showing a procession of baptism basing baptism on faith, which would be idolatry and blaspheme, but that HE the Spirit is doing what has been foreshadowed for a long time, attending the waters of baptism based SINGULARLY on the name of God. And where He puts His name there He IS FOR YOU unfailingly every single time every single day every single baptized infant or adult whether they believe it or not. Faith is irrelevant concerning the sine quo non of baptism, it so obviously causes faith by this operation, “Here I God am for you unfailingly savingly FOR YOU, nothing can tear Me away from you in your baptism”, that it finally dons on the dead in sin and trespasses, “So THIS is God…that much He saves me, He really comes allllllllll the way DOWN to me to my depths, to my grave and to my unbelief and He baptizes me with the pastor’s hand and gives me His saving name that is sure and certain…So THIS is God”. When that hits home, THAT my friend is the causing and sustaining of faith. And that is worth dying 10,000 deaths for and THAT bears witness to Christ and Him crucified alone, not faith.

    Luther was right when he rightly extolled the greatness of baptism just like the Scriptures do, you cannot exhaust its greatness. I am constantly amazed at its witness of Christ and Him crucified for me, my children and other Christians when I ponder it. And I can hardly, HARDLY, scratch the surface…yet still that teeny tiny scratch is overwhelmingly joyful! Just imagine what grasping the fullness of it would be like, will be like in heaven. It is no wonder they worship and praise constantly in heaven!

    That’s just a taste of the joy of little Chloe’s baptism, my children’s baptism, your children’s baptism, our baptism!

    Larry

  79. Second paragraph:

    but that I denied a real and tangible thing, baptism is baptism with or without faith for it is not based on God’s Word but His work and His name and His Spirit whether I believe it or not (throw it off, deny it).

    Should read:

    but that I denied a real and tangible thing, baptism is baptism with or without faith for it is based on God’s Word, His work and His name and His Spirit whether I believe it or not (throw it off, deny it).

    Sorry about that!

  80. Praise the Lord for His Gospel Promise in liquid form!

    Lord Jesus, help us daily to remember our baptism and so to drown the Old Adam who would have us deny your Word of promise to us that we again may walk in newness of life.

    In Your Name, Amen!

  81. For what its worth, this is a message delivered at the baptism of my first grandchild 7 years ago. (Larry, thanks in advance for any theological corrections). 😉

    Luke 18:15-17
    15 People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them.16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.17 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
    New International Version

    Why do it?

    Why bring a little baby to the Baptismal?

    Why recite the words “I Baptize you in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit” while sprinkling with water?

    First of all lets recognize that throughout History, God has shown Himself to be a God who has attached his promises to physical means….

    Naaman was cured of Leprosy by washing seven times in the waters. of the Jordan

    Joshua..defeated the city of Jericho by marching around it seven times and blowing trumpets

    Samson.had strength when his hair was long

    The Israelites won in battle as long as Moses hands were raised in the air

    The 1st born sons of the Israelites received deliverance from death because of blood smeared over the door posts their homes

    The people of Israel when bitten by a poisonous snakes were given life by looking at a bronze serpent on a pole

    Children became part of the faith community through circumcision

    Jesus healed the blind man by placing mud on his eyes

    The arc of the covenant was a special place of the presence of God

    God came to us in the flesh… in person…

    Physical, tangible, visible, touchable means to which God attached his word of promise.

    Just as a glass is a ‘means’ by which I can receive life sustaining water, God chooses to use physical ‘means’ to give us life giving grace.

    Why would God use something so ordinary to do something so great? Why such common things as water in Baptism and wine and bread in communion and the written and spoken word of scripture?

    I think the answer to that lies in the nature of God.

    It pleases Him to come to us in perceptible ways – in the world of matter.

    It pleased Him to become flesh and dwell among us in Jesus Christ and it pleases Him to be found in the ordinary and not just the extrasensory experiences of life.

    God could have done all those things without any physical means, but He has demonstrated that He chooses to do so.

    Jesus, while he walked this earth and when he established the new covenant with us, gave us two such means to which he attaches His word of promise.

    Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

    They aren’t merely symbols… they aren’t just religious acts that we perform… they are physical tangible means to which He has attached His word of promise.

    “Do this” he said…
    “This is my body… This is my blood” for the forgiveness of sins

    “Do this”… “Baptize and teach in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

    He does something. Grace is conveyed…. promise is given…. life is received….
    That is what distinguishes Lutherans from most protestants… the sacraments aren’t regarded as just symbolic… God actually does something.

    It’s a wonderful thing.

    But, you may wonder…..Why a baby? She doesn’t understand?

    In one sense that is true… Rylee doesn’t understand…

    Neither did the infant sons who were spared in Egypt because blood had been sprinkled on the door post… they didn’t understand, yet they were saved….

    Neither did the Sons of Israel who were made part of the faith community by being circumcised on the eighth day of life

    But the fact remains that it was effective. Not because of their understanding… it isn’t about us or what we comprehend… It’s about God and what he does.

    Perhaps instead of thinking of faith in terms of ‘understanding’ we need to think of it more in terms of ‘dependence’…

    Rylee is a beautiful picture for us of complete dependence…. She can do virtually nothing for herself… all she can do is receive.

    That is what faith looks like.

    Faith is the gift of God by which we depend upon Him… and receive from Him

    Faith is God’s requirement of us that He (thankfully) also gives to us….

    Rylee has such faith….

    David said that as an infant he had faith… He trusted in God while at his mothers breast. Ps. 22:9

    And he also acknowledged his need for God from the very beginning.

    He said: Surely I was ‘sinful at birth… from the time my mother conceived me’ Ps. 51:5

    Why baptize a baby? Because Jesus told us that unless we receive the Kingdom just as Rylee has, we will not enter it.

    The promise is for her… now… today…

    God has given to Rylee the gift of life… it’s hers!

    The problem isn’t that she doesn’t understand it…. in fact with understanding as she grows older, will come doubt and rationalization, and temptation to reject the very gift she has received.

    That is why continuing to bathe her in God’s Word of promise and in instruction is so important.

    One day Rylee will be confronted with the continual choice to reject what she has been given here today or to celebrate it.

    God’s grace is resistible – we can refuse it… and so we teach our children and raise them in the grace and knowledge of Jesus… so that they will always know that it is GOOD NEWS…. worth cherishing.

    Why bring a little baby to the Baptismal?

    1. Because she needs it… she was born sinful and separated from God…

    2. Because God has attached His promise to it… (we bring her in obedience to that word)

    3. Because we want her to continue on in faith as a woman who can say:

    I can’t… but God can… and has promised Life for me and all who believe…

    Amen.

    • To those who, in their haughty human wisdom, scoff that God doesn’t deliver what He promised in Baptism–namely forgiveness of sins, life and salvation–take note:

      “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” (1 Cor 1 25-32.)

      I am happy to boast that I have the promise Jesus delivered to me at my baptism–through simple water connected to His all powerful Word–that my sins are forgiven.

      If you think you know better from your own reason and strength, I say you must be far superior (really!) So good luck with that.

    • Haha:-)

  82. “He is ALWAYS in and with the waters of baptism in OT and NT. This is richly throughout the Old and New Testaments”.

    Thanks, Larry. That really provides the backdrop to my previous points to Darius (as taught, not by me, but the Apostles themselves) regarding our basic understanding of Christian baptism.
    Those first baptized at Pentecost encountered the outworking of God’s promises – promises ‘made for you and your children, and for all afar off’ (2:39). The universalism of this promise is certainly affirmed by Paul in Phillipi when, after preaching Christ, the gentile family were baptized (Acts 16:33).

    The ramifications of these truths, both in the early church and amongst those working for Biblical Reformation. Numerous statements and confessions confirm that “it is impossible to separate baptism from salvation” (Michael Horton – Putting Amazing Back into Grace, page 229).

    The poverty of Nominalism, that ‘a material thing cannot have, induce or bring about an intellectual or spiritual operation’, flies in the face of the very promises and work of God amidst His creation.

  83. I had the promise when my heart received the Lord. God cares about the heart, not about water. Baptism is an outward symbolism of something that has already taken place, it does not replace what MUST take place first in the heart.

    • Then why was God baptized and said to John the Baptist, “let it be so to fulfill all righteousness”, if He, being God, didn’t care so much about water. If He being God, being the Holy Spirit why does He being God the Holy Spirit speak so lavishly and positively about baptism and not so blasphemeously as you speak here? If God was not concerned about baptism why then did He, God that is, baptize Israel in the Red Sea? If He, meaning God, didn’t care about the waters of baptism then why did He, that is to say God, baptize Noah and his family. And if God didn’t care about the waters of baptism then why did He, meaning God ENTIRE Trinity, attach His very Holy name to it.

      I don’t think I’ve heard anything so assinine in my entire life.

  84. Dorci, I think they’re saying that it’s just a coincidence that in every single instance where baptism is mentioned, faith and/or the Holy Spirit has already entered the person(s). “Pay no attention to the Holy Spirit behind the curtain. God can’t work unless we sprinkle water and drink some wine or preach the Word. We control God.”

  85. Darius,

    You would be right…IF God had not commanded that we baptize and eat his body and drink His blood.

    Do you really think He would command we do things that are mere symbols of something…and not contain His actual promise and power?

    I don’t.

    • And His Word. Don’t miss Darius’ comment disparging of His Word roped in with it above. God doesn’t attach to His Word is rank shattering of the Trinity altogether. Especially since the very Word became flesh and lived among us and was crucified for us. The Holy Spirit in now way operates without the Word, the devil does those and so do other spirits.

  86. Steve, God also commanded the Israelites to observe the Passover every year… it wasn’t a way they were saved, just a way that they could be reminded of what God did for them. God commands lots of things for our benefit, especially things that remind us of His love, grace, sovereignty, etc. Jesus said “do this in REMEMBRANCE of Him.” Not “Do this to be saved”. You have to ignore or explain away a TON of Scripture to defend the Lutheran position. I don’t have to ignore any to hold to mine.

  87. Darius,

    Jesus commanded these things of his disciples.

    We do them because of that. He doesn’t mess around with empty religious symbolism.

    He acts for us when He commands us to do anything.

  88. Where did Jesus say go and baptize children? I have no problem with baptism, just the idea that we can save people by getting them wet. It’s ludicrous. I have yet to hear a good answer to my question of why so many people who are baptized as children turn away from the faith. Are some people just too strong for God to hold onto?

    Oh, I just had an epiphany… this is what you are saying when you claim that people who are saved at one time but can lose their salvation later: some people are more rebellious toward God than others. You’re saying there is some merit within Christians that make them predisposed to staying saved, while those who fall away are just worse people. I didn’t quite realize this before, but ultimately Lutheranism as you all are understanding it preaches a gospel of merit. Some people have more enmity toward God than others. Now that I see this more clearly, I am afraid that this Lutheranism isn’t just a different way to look at theological things, but nearly an entirely different and false gospel. Anyone who says people can choose to fall away NECESSARILY is saying that some people are less inclined to rebel… but based on what we know from the Bible, this is FALSE! ALL people are equally opposed to God, and would if they could reject Him totally.

  89. We are going over the same things over and over (now).

    Jesus said baptize “all peoples” ‘ponta ethnae’.

    He never said just baptize adukts or those who make a profession of faith…He said..Go…baptize and teach…”

    So we do…and we get grief from people about it.

    Gotta run.

    Out for most of the day.

    Ciao!

  90. But Steve, there are at least 2 instances in the bible that I can think of off the top of my head where Jesus forgave the sins of people yet they had not been baptized…1. the thief on the cross; 2. the man who had been lowered on a mat through the roof of a house where Jesus was speaking by the man’s friends. Jesus told him “your sins are forgiven.” Yet there had been no baptism. Or communion for that matter. It was a matter of the man’s heart. Anyone can be dunked or sprinkled or drink wine. But God does not require sacrifice.

    “For You do not desire sacrifice; or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” Psalm 51:16-17

    When you do anything, baptism or communion or anything else FOR salvation rather than believing in Christ with a repentant heart, it becomes a sacrifice, a work, the exact thing that you are purporting to preach against.

  91. Actually, he said make disciples of all nations. It would serve you well to quote Scripture accurately.

    He basically said make Christ followers from all people groups, baptizing them (the disciples, not all people groups) in the name of the Trinity.

  92. “When you do anything, baptism or communion or anything else FOR salvation rather than believing in Christ with a repentant heart, it becomes a sacrifice, a work, the exact thing that you are purporting to preach against.”

    Which makes it all the more odd that they preach such a doctrine…

  93. Dorci,

    I heard the click of your e-mail (comment coming in as I was heading out the door.

    The Lord can certainly forgive apart from baptism.

    And He can certainly forgive in baptism.

    We (as Lutherans) hold to that.

    But He commanded that we do it…so we do it, and trust that His promises are good and valid in baptism…even if someone walks away from their baptism and does not access, or utilize those promises.

    OK…now I’m late! 😀

  94. It isn’t about us and what we do, it’s about God and what He has done.

    It’s about Jesus EVERY TIME, ALL THE TIME and IN EVERYTHING!!

    There is nothing in me, or of me, or in my ability to be saved, it is totally and completely given to me. It is a GIFT from God. My heart is black and evil, it’s undeserving of God’s grace all the time, but thanks to His mercy, Jesus became sin for me. He paid it all!! He vetoed my sinful nature on the cross and declares me innocent. All I can do is believe it or not.

    Only out of graditude of what He did for me does any goodness reflect from me. It isn’t me but Christ living in me that is good. I plead for constant forgiveness and grace the rest of the days of my life. We are at the same time (as believers in Jesus Christ) both saints and sinners.

    God doesn’t wait for my heart to be right, he doesn’t wait for me to understand the unexplainable grace giving mystery in the sacraments. I can’t put God in a box and begin to understand the things of God. He has already saved everyone, the only thing we can do is deny that fact!

    The only choice I have is to reject Gods free gift offering with a theology of glory that is based on my decision in the matter of heavenly things or glory in the sense that I’m too good for God period and don’t need Him whatsoever.

    It doesn’t make sense, it can’t make sense to us. We don’t deserve it. We don’t decide anything when it come to our relationship with God. He is the ruler over us all and has told us to spread the word about Him and what He did on the Cross so that all might hear it and believe it. That is it. The new covenant has been given to us and even our ability to believe it is given to us. Sorry, but that’s just the way it is.

    God Bless Chloe and all who have been Baptised into Christ’s Kingdom!

  95. “I had the promise when my heart received the Lord. God cares about the heart, not about water. Baptism is an outward symbolism of something that has already taken place, it does not replace what MUST take place first in the heart”.

    An interesting quote on the Mocking Bird Blog this week:

    “But sir, if you do not give your heart to Jesus, you cannot be saved.”- The young pastor

    “You are right, my boy. And it is just as true that, if you think you are saved because you give Jesus your heart, you will not be saved. You see, my boy,” he continued reassuringly, as he continued to look at the young pastor’s face, in which uncertainty and resentment were shown in a struggle for the upper hand, “it is one thing to choose Jesus as one’s Lord and Savior, to give him one’s heart and commit oneself to him, and that he now accepts one into his little flock; it is a very different thing to believe on him as a Redeemer of sinners, of whom one is chief. One does not choose a Redeemer for oneself, you understand, nor give one’s heart to him. The heart is a rusty old can on a junk heap. A fine birthday gift, indeed! But a wonderful Lord passes by, and has mercy on the wretched tin can, sticks his walking cane through it, and rescues it from the junk pile and takes it home with him. That is how it is” -The Rector

    The Hammer of God by Bo Giertz, p. 123

    “God cares about the heart, not about water”.

    This is simply a way too narrow, almost gnostic (expect they’d emphasize wisdom) of the work of God. God is RECONCILING the WORLD to Himself – ALL of creation is totally effected by the work of Jesus Christ, and it is that objective work, especially on the Cross, which saves (rescues) and Redeems us and creation – see Paul in Romans 8. Baptism is clearly spoken of by the Apostles as something which ‘saves’ (applies) that work to us. The church has clearly understood this from the first century, so why would we place our assurance in any vehicle or means other than those provided and ordained by Christ Himself? The ‘promise’, the gift, the work are actually outside of us. When someone asks are you and you answer yes, where do you look for the assurance of that? Do you look to a day of decision, a sinners prayer, coming forward in church, or do you look to a Cross outside a city wall where the MAN was hung for your sins and mine? Faith allows us to see Him and to trust in that ‘once and forever’ work at Golgotha.

  96. (Amended)

    “I had the promise when my heart received the Lord. God cares about the heart, not about water. Baptism is an outward symbolism of something that has already taken place, it does not replace what MUST take place first in the heart”.

    An interesting quote on the Mocking Bird Blog this week:

    “But sir, if you do not give your heart to Jesus, you cannot be saved.”- The young pastor

    “You are right, my boy. And it is just as true that, if you think you are saved because you give Jesus your heart, you will not be saved. You see, my boy,” he continued reassuringly, as he continued to look at the young pastor’s face, in which uncertainty and resentment were shown in a struggle for the upper hand, “it is one thing to choose Jesus as one’s Lord and Savior, to give him one’s heart and commit oneself to him, and that he now accepts one into his little flock; it is a very different thing to believe on him as a Redeemer of sinners, of whom one is chief. One does not choose a Redeemer for oneself, you understand, nor give one’s heart to him. The heart is a rusty old can on a junk heap. A fine birthday gift, indeed! But a wonderful Lord passes by, and has mercy on the wretched tin can, sticks his walking cane through it, and rescues it from the junk pile and takes it home with him. That is how it is” -The Rector

    The Hammer of God by Bo Giertz, p. 123

    “God cares about the heart, not about water”.

    This is simply a way too narrow, almost gnostic (expect they’d emphasize wisdom) an understanding of the work of God. God is RECONCILING the WORLD to Himself – ALL of creation is totally effected by the work of Jesus Christ, and it is that objective work, especially on the Cross, which saves (rescues) and Redeems us and creation – see Paul in Romans 8. Baptism is clearly spoken of by the Apostles as something which ’saves’ (applies) that work to us. The church has clearly understood this from the first century, so why would we place our assurance in any vehicle or means other than those provided and ordained by Christ Himself? The ‘promise’, the gift, the work are actually outside of us. When someone asks ‘are you saved’ and you answer yes, where do you look for the assurance of that? Do you look to a day of decision, a sinners prayer, coming forward in church, or do you look to a Cross outside a city wall where the MAN was hung for your sins and mine? Faith allows us to see Him and to trust in that ‘once and forever’ work at Golgotha.

  97. “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by Me.” Not by any other means can we be saved except through Jesus Christ Himself.

  98. Howard – “This is simply a way too narrow”

    “Go in through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who go in through it. Because narrow is the gate and constricted is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

  99. Dorci,
    The verses you have quoted affirm that Christ is the only one who can truly rescue us – no argument there. The issue is how does He do this?
    Is it through our gaining some ‘higher’ experience, or is it because of what He did at Calvary? If it’s the latter, then it is His bestowing His faith to us that allows to to trust in His work and promises, in His finished work. It is that work alone, in the final analysis, which truly saves us.

  100. Darius,

    Lutherans don’t only Baptise infants. If an adult hasn’t been baptised we joyfully baptize them as well. Because Jesus instructed us to do so. The ceremony of Baptism isn’t conducted for the salvation of those physically doing the baptizing, it’s for the individual being baptized. Your arguement that this is a work by us Lutherans for salvation is totally and completely false!

  101. Darius,
    Your intense argument that we have to make the decision to be baptized when we are able to understand what is going on (which if properly looked at isn’t possible) and make an act of our will in regards to salvation is only proof that you have a pride problem. For you it’s about Jesus, but…….

    Thank you Jesus, but…….
    I have decided to follow you,
    I humbled myself,
    I carried my cross,
    I waited to be baptized when I was ready,
    I took my first communion when my heart was worthy,
    I, I, I.

    Give it a rest and realize that God came to us. He humbled Himself, He carried the Cross, He gives us grace in the sacrements. He is trying and doing everything to be in relationship with us.

    Please surrender to the Good News of Jesus…..no but I anything.

  102. “The ceremony of Baptism isn’t conducted for the salvation of those physically doing the baptizing, it’s for the individual being baptized.”

    So it’s okay that you’re holding God hostage to your deeds because it’s not selfish but in the interest of another? It’s still superstitious poppycock.

    If I may modify a quote from one of my favorite movies… earnest men standing in ponds distributing salvation is no basis for a system of faith. Spiritual power and life derives from a mandate from the Father, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony. 🙂

  103. Howard, Jesus spoke it over and over – repent! believe! We never gain salvation through any outward action. It is always through believing in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, which leads us to acknowledging and repenting of our sins. Those alone save.

    Jesus gave us baptism and communion as outward expressions of what has already taken place within our hearts. He desires a heart after Him, not an outward expression.

    That’s why Jesus was all over the Sadducees and the Pharisees all the time, calling them white-washed tombs. They did these actions, these sacrifices, but they’re hearts were all wrong! They’re hearts were not devoted to God, they were only trying to appease God by these outward actions.

    That is what religious people try to do today. They try to follow these “rules,” but they give no thought to whether or not they have repented of their sin. And if they haven’t, they can go to church on Sunday and live like hell the rest of the week.

    Salvation and our lives after salvation have to be about getting right with God through Jesus Christ. HE is the One…HE is our salvation..and no other.

  104. Nick, this Lutheran doctrine which you espouse, as I said above, teaches that people earn their way to heaven. That’s a false gospel. If people don’t earn their way to heaven, then they cannot choose to reject God. Cause if they can choose to reject Him, then all would. Please chew on that for a bit and let me know how you actually don’t believe mankind earns his spiritual stripes.

    Also, you misunderstand the point of water baptism, so thus you misunderstand who should be baptized.

    Anyone wanna honestly tackle the Acts verses I mentioned awhile back or the part where Jesus said to make disciples of all nations and baptize and teach those disciples? Or the part where Jesus said to do the Lord’s Supper in REMEMBRANCE of Him? Any takers? Anyone? Why do you insist on arguing past me and Dorci rather than grappling with what we’re actually saying?

  105. “That’s why Jesus was all over the Sadducees and the Pharisees all the time, calling them white-washed tombs. They did these actions, these sacrifices, but they’re hearts were all wrong! They’re hearts were not devoted to God, they were only trying to appease God by these outward actions.”

    Amen! Of course, works-based righteousness didn’t end with the Pharisees, as is evident in these comments. We GET to participate in the Lord’s Supper and Baptism as a reminder and outward evidence of what God has done in our lives… we do this out of love, not ritualistic law.

  106. Yeah! 😉 I was just wondering why no one, that I’ve noticed, has addressed why Acts says, “repent and be baptized.’ It doesn’t say some can choose that way and some can choose another. Repent. Period.

    Look, make no mistake, Jesus IS our salvation. If anyone could be saved any other way, His sacrifice would be in vain.

  107. “We GET to participate in the Lord’s Supper and Baptism as a reminder and outward evidence of what God has done in our lives… we do this out of love, not ritualistic law.”

    Yes, amen.

  108. Ew, I spelled “their” wrong. I hate it when I do that. 😉

  109. To all my baptists and reformed on here objecting to the clear teaching about the gift of baptism. Don’t you know?

    Romans 6:Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

    Clearly a work of God for we could not baptize ourselves into the death of Jesus. Could we?

  110. Yeah, Dorci, I was going to say you might benefit from reading this post of mine: http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com/2009/03/how-to-read-and-write-good-iv.html 🙂

  111. David, go back and read our comments closely. God does the SPIRITUAL baptizing, calling us and giving us the new heart (Ezekiel 11:19) so that we are able to do what He commands (which is repent and believe).

    • Do what God commands? Does that mean loving God fully as he requires? Loving our neighbours as ourselves? In other words our works measure up to Jesus?

      Grace is rather an attribute of God instead of a power source for good deeds. The belief of grace as a spiritual steroid for us to maximize our holiness muscles is faulty to say the least. We recieve the fruits of the cross of Christ thru baptism as clearly states in Romans 6. The burden of proof that it is a spritual dry cleaning remains in your corner Darius.

  112. I will read that, Darius. Thanks.

    Okay, here’s another illustration from scripture,

    “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20.

    Jesus knocks.

    We hear.

    We can either open the door and let Him into our hearts, or we can turn Him away. But we must choose Him – not an action.

    Again, it is all about Jesus.

  113. HE DOES IT ALL. You can’t come along and say “I’m going to get myself baptized and then I’ll be saved.” That’s a WORK.

    Once you are saved (given a new heart), THEN you can go get baptized out of love, not duty. As Jerry Bridges once wrote, “duty without desire soon produces drudgery.”

  114. Dorci,
    It’s pretty clear from what’s recorded in the New Testament and early church history that there were two pretty major problems. You’ve identified one of these, legalism – when we add to what God requires and seek to justify ourselves by our own righteousness. This indeed lead to a people which espoused God outwardly, but their ‘hearts’ (their actual affections and goals) were very far from Him. We can all fall victim to a religion whereby we seek to justify ourselves by our actions, our piety – that certainly is a miserable estate. The remedy is to be, as Paul notes of the Romans, ‘obedient from the heart to the form of doctrine which has been delivered to you’ – in other words, trusting in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which frees us from self-righteous legalism and the other falsehood I’ve touched upon – Gnostic Dualism, which divorces the spiritual from the material (Paul deals with some of this problem in Colossians chapter 1&2).

    Yes, we can turn virtually anything into an empty ritual, but the scriptures clearly tell us that the ‘outward expression(s)’ of Baptism and Communion are MUCH more, and we mis-interpret or mis-use these means to our peril. The need, then, is not remove the actual value of these means, but to recognize what Christ and His Apostles are actually teaching us about them.

    This may not be easy – I spent much of my Christian life in churches that taught they were ‘just symbolic’, but I was never settled, because the scriptures themselves argued with that view. When I sought to examine these matters deeper with teachers and ministers, they would shy away from the difficult passages that discuss these, rather than actually facing what is being said. It took me around a decade to come to recognize that whilst many of the Reformers, for example, had had to recognize the weight of what the Apostles say, very few really conclusively place God’s words here where they should be.

    Look at Paul’s passage on this in Corinthians (regarding Moses and the Israelite’s), and Peter’s (regarding Noah) in his 1st epistle. Let the text ‘trouble’ you, work on you. Study it, deeply, and I think you’ll be surprised where it leads…
    I’m still stunned.

    Thank you for your replies. I hope this helps.

  115. I will piggyback off of Dorci’s last comment… just to be clear, we are not saying (at least, I am not) that the ability to “open the door” comes through us UNTIL God has given us the new heart that He promised in Ezekiel. So basically He opens our ears, opens the door, yanks us through, and never lets us go.

  116. Darius – Ha! That link was funny. I’m actually a very good speller, but when my mind gets going at 100 mph, I can confuse those words sometimes or even leave entire words out of my sentences. That’s why I had to have a follow-up correction – it just bothers me. Why can’t we edit on these things!

  117. Dorci & Darius,

    You are hung up on baptism as a ritual that “man does”… that is where you are mistaken. Baptism is merely a means… Look at it this way….

    If I was floating dead face down in the water and Jesus came along and scooped me up with a net and and pulled me out and breathed life into me, or jumped in the water and pulled me out and breathed life into me, or hooked me with a stick and pulled me out and breathed life into me. The result and essential thing is the same… Jesus did it all… but using different means. Word, Baptism, Communion are all means Jesus uses. Baptism & Communion are merely a “visible word”.

    I don’t hear you disparaging the preaching of the Word as a means of grace… Romans 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

    Baptism & Communion without the word are merely bread wine & water… it is the WORD of Christ connected to them that makes them what they are… Means of Grace.

    Baptism is necessary because Christ commanded it but not absolutely necessary… He has bound us to it, but not himself. The thief on the cross was saved with just a Word from Jesus.

    Baptism, Belief, Repentance occur because of the Word of Christ, not the work of man.

  118. Yes, agreed, Darius.

    The verse in Romans 6 that is talking about baptism is not discounting repentance. As a matter of fact, the chapter starts off by saying, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin so that grace may abound? Let it not be! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”

    We die to our sin by repenting of it, or acknowledging or agreeing with God that we have sinned, we receiving rightousness through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Then, as a sort of ceremony to celebrate the transformation that has taken place in our hearts, we have a water baptism.

    The baptism cannot replace a relationship with Jesus.

  119. Spot on, Patrick!

  120. Howard, let’s look at 1 Peter 3.

    “In it [the ark] only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water [the floodwaters] symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body [in other words, NOT a physical baptism…] but the pledge of a good conscience [… but a spiritual one, a new heart promised in Ezekiel] toward God. It [God’s spiritual baptism] saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.”

    • It is really sad to use a verse that teaches baptism saves to prove baptism does not save. To say that baptism in that verse is spiritual baptism is also to say the flood was only spiritual with no water involved.

      • Not at all… read lower down. The flood was a physical salvation for Noah and his family, while God offers us a spiritual salvation with the waters of His Holy Spirit. The means and the end were physical in the case of Noah, and the means and the end are spiritual in our case. Noah’s “salvation” symbolized what God was going to do later for all mankind on the spiritual level.

  121. “Then, as a sort of ceremony to celebrate the transformation that has taken place in our hearts, we have a water baptism”.

    Warning – where does Christ or His Apostles instruct us that baptism is a ‘ceremony’?
    Didn’t Christ come to do away with such things?
    If that’s the case, why does He and His Apostles COMMAND us to be baptized?

  122. No…the only means is through Jesus Christ. He Himself is the only way. Why would He give another way to be saved and then die an agonizing death? We have to receive His sacrifice as payment for our sins.

    We have to pay for our sins one way or another. Either ourselves, through death and being eternally separated from God, or we can receive Jesus Christ’s sacrifice as payment for our sins.

    Baptism doesn’t pay for our sins. Communion doesn’t pay for our sins. Only Jesus Christ can pay for our sins. Or us, whichever we choose.

  123. “Didn’t Christ come to do away with such things?

    If that’s the case, why does He and His Apostles COMMAND us to be baptized?”

    That’s terribly weak… God commanded plenty of things in the Old Testament that are for ceremony’s sake. Jesus came to do away with ceremonies that lead to salvation and inaugurate new ones which remind us of His salvation… which is where you Lutherans are in big error.

  124. How can you say that some need baptism for salvation but others don’t? How would we know then who would need baptism and who wouldn’t?

    The thief on the cross didn’t need baptism. The man lowered through the roof didn’t need baptism.

    Even in Galatians 3:6 it says, “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.”

    Even someone who lived prior to Christ, believed in God and that belief in God was counted as righteousness.

    Its. In. The. Heart.

  125. Darius – did you miss it…?
    The eight, saved through the water, SYMBOLIZES our reality –
    that through the waters of Baptism, we are saved,
    that is, given a good conscience, etc before God.

    Why have you inserted ‘Not a physical baptism’ when Peter emphatically states that it is the means of actual baptism which SAVES (rescues) you?
    He’s saying that by being baptized, we receive a FAR DEEPER “CLEANSING” than the removal of dirt from the body!
    This is really my point, and you’re missing it entirely.

  126. “How can you say that some need baptism for salvation but others don’t? How would we know then who would need baptism and who wouldn’t?”

    Dorci,
    See Patrick’s last reply on means (as discussed by Paul concerning preaching the word in the book of Romans).

    What ‘opened your heart’ to the gospel?
    What ‘operated’ upon you to bring you to Christ?

    These are the means which God has ordained and uses.

  127. Howard, I’m sorry, but you keep putting words into Peter’s mouth. He said this baptism is what saves you. Nowhere does he say that it’s a physical baptism that he’s talking about. So we have to connect the dots. You connect them wrongly in saying that it’s some ceremony that we do, while I point to the fact that the Bible says it’s a spiritual baptism that God brings. He transforms our heart with the fires of His Spirit.

  128. What ‘opened your heart’ to the gospel?
    What ‘operated’ upon you to bring you to Christ?

    Not what, but who. God and His Word, Jesus Christ. They operate on our hearts, not something we do. We are dead, we can’t do the open heart surgery on ourselves or anyone else for that matter. God does it.

  129. Nowhere in that Romans 10 verse did I read anything about baptism. I heard the word of God, I believed it and received Jesus Christ as my Savior. I was saved at that point.

    And in fact, Romans 10:9 says this, “Because if you confess the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.”

    Doesn’t say anything about having to be baptized first.

    And in fact, Jesus even says that many who did acts “in His Name” but did not truly know Him as Savior, He will have to turn away from heaven and say, “I never knew you.”

  130. So, Peter (and Paul), referring to the presence of water, in no way relates to “baptism”(by water) as commanded by Christ and practiced by Christians since the beginning of the early church? I didn’t give the examples of the flood or the parting of the red sea – the Apostles did! You can talk about ‘spiritual’ baptism as much as you like, but just how does that apply to the examples Peter and Paul use?…Join the dots…the ‘means’ present in both cases is water.
    Peter is clearly talking about water baptism – as I noted before, he is instructing that such a means does far more than wash the body.
    I think there’s more to unpack here.

  131. “I heard the word of God, I believed it and received Jesus Christ as my Savior. I was saved at that point”.

    Dorci, and thus you admit the key point – God used the MEANS of His word to bring you to Christ, Baptism and the Lord’s supper are also means of grace to us, as Patrick noted.

  132. “You can talk about ’spiritual’ baptism as much as you like, but just how does that apply to the examples Peter and Paul use?”

    Except you miss the most obvious “dot”… the salvation that Noah received through physical water was PHYSICAL salvation, just as the spiritual salvation we receive comes through the SPIRITUAL waters of God’s Holy Spirit. Connect the dots indeed.

  133. No, God spoke to my heart. It’s that relationship that begins by God drawing me to Him. He woos me as a bridegroom woos a potential bride.

    He did not use a book only. He spoke truth into my heart through the living, breathing Word of God, by the Holy Spirit, and I willingly received that truth.

    Baptism and communion are not means of salvation. Only Jesus Christ is.

  134. Many things in the OT were used as symbolic precursors of what would be once Jesus Christ came.

    Even in Acts 15 it describes how many still believed that physical circumcision had to take place for salvation. The apostles and elders gathered together to talk about this “And after much disputing, Peter rose up and said to them, Men, brothers, you recognize that from ancient days God chose among us that through my mouth the nations should hear the Word of the gospel, and believe. And God, who knows the hearts, bore them witness, giving them the Holy Spirit even as to us. And He put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why do you tempt God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples, a yoke which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, according to which manner they also believed.”

    The moment we say salvation must be Jesus and…..anything, we weaken the work of Christ on the cross.

    Salvation does not occur through Jesus and anything. lest we put a yoke again around another’s neck. Jesus is sufficient in Himself for salvation.

  135. Uff da! “What we have here is a failure to communicate!”

    • “What we have here is a failure to communicate!”

      I’m a little late to this party … but I would definitely agree with that assessment!

  136. It’s a form of reductionism on the Gospel, seeing that which is reduced from it as “legalism” or a “yolk”

    “The moment we say salvation must be Jesus and…..anything, we weaken the work of Christ on the cross. ”

    An outsider who believes in God in general could say the same thing of Christ. “I believe God is gracious and forgives my sins, so why do you Christians insist on all this legalism of Jesus being the only way, truth and life”

    OR more similar in quoting, “The moment we say salvation must be God and…..anything, we weaken the work of God. After all God doesn’t need the yolk of His Word to perform the Work.”

    The problem with such reductionism is shown in the Lord’s Supper itself when Christ, that is Jesus Christ the very Son of God and God the Son Who was in fact crucified took the elements of bread and wine and said explicitly to “TAKE eat/drink….this IS My body and blood…GIVEN for the forgiveness of your sins”.

    L

  137. So Jesus isn’t enough? His sacrifice was not enough to pay for my sins?

    I don’t insist on Jesus being the only way, He does. He said He was the way, not a way, not one way, but the way, the truth, not a truth, not one truth, the truth, and the life, not a life, not one life, the life. And no one comes to the Father except through Him. He said it. If you have issue with that, take it up with Him. But I’ll warn you now, He’s not changing.

    Please take the bible as the whole word of God rather than breaking it up into pieces to mean what you want it to mean.

    If drinking wine and eating a cracker were the sacrifice itself, Jesus would not have needed to die on the cross. It was a symbol of what He was about to do and He told us that whenever we eat or drink, do it in remembrance of Him. It is for the purpose of remembrance.

  138. In a nutshell;

    Larry – He will call anybody who does not prescribe to his heretical ‘regenerational’ baptism as an apostate. I liken him to Darwin Fish the fruitloop. He is also simliar to most, not all Lutherans. They will use Luther on the same authority as the Scripture, even though they deny it by writing a thesis of how they dont.

    Darius – A gracious man who stands on truth.

    Theoldadam – The webmaster who has holes in his theology (and we all do!) so big you could drive a truck through em. Also prescribes to his silly baptism is regenerational or die notion. An

    Dorci- A lovely sincere lady who contends for the faith.

    Soli Deo Gloria

  139. The Sacraments are another way God delivers to us the Gospel, the forgiveness of sins. Through baptism, through the Lord’s Supper forgiveness of sins is delivered to us. Christ’s imputed righteousness is delivered to us.

  140. Darn… I got left out of the lineup for judgment…sigh.

    I’ve never witnessed a more blatant refusal to understand.

    “Though seeing, they do not see;
    though hearing, they do not hear or understand.”

  141. Darius, Dorci & Matthew-

    In the essentials: Unity
    In the non-essentials: Liberty
    In all things: Charity

    Calling a fellow brother or sister in Christ a heretic and saying they are believing / spreading a false gospel is unbelievable to me! Maybe you should all take a second and check your judgement and slander of others at your google home page prior to jawing that garbage around this blog or any other for that matter!!! You should be ashamed of yourselves.

    These are non-essential views of the sacraments. Jesus demonstrated that on the cross to the thief that he brought to heaven with him. This proves that it’s a mystery and it’s non-essential. God doesn’t care how or when we baptize, it only pleases him that we do so and do so from the Word.

    Those of you that have to be able to explain away the mysteries of God in order to feel that your salvation is secure (have fun with that) have it all wrong. Doing that is a never ending battle that only preoccupies the endless hours of joy you could be experiencing in knowing that Jesus does it all.

    Even when you realize that you believe in him, Jesus is already residing in you. He is the “Faith Giver”. You just think that it was your idea at first, but then over time you realize that you only didn’t reject the truth when you heard it. This is the only way to experience true peace and rest in Christ. You see Darius (the ringleader) you are the only people who think that you decided to do a “work of decision” to be saved.

    I can actually see how easy it is to fall into this “decision trap” and I sympathize with you guys. As a Christian falling into this type of “glory theology” is so common in this day-in-age. We don’t get anything absolutely free. Why or how could salvation be any different? Well guys, that is just the way it is, you can’t study or explain that mystery of God. He did it that way. You don’t deserve it! We cannot by my our own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called us by the Gospel.

    For what this was worth….I’m sure I’m just another silly Lutheran going to hell for spreading a false gospel. But at least I’m not spending my days on this planet telling everyone they need to try harder (decide)!

    Darius, I challenge you to chew on something for me, what did Jesus mean when he spoke the words in John 16:1? This might be difficult for you but it’s worth bringing to the surface. And yes read the verses prior and after. Be my guest.

    The Holy Spirit is present in baptism. The Holy Spirit is received in baptism, and it’s received in just believing in Jesus. Again, Lutheran Baptism isn’t exclusive to infants, it’s just encouraged. I know plenty of people baptized as infants who later in there life have asked if they should be baptized a second time because in their later years have come back to church or say that they believe. How is it that the Holy Spirit wasn’t residing in them, trying to reveal itself to that individual leading up to their vocal confession of faith etc….. Why is that so hard to believe?

    I don’t want to continue the debate, we are at least going to have to agree to disagree, but again for what it was worth. You might still think I’m spreading a false gospel, boy am I glad my salvation doesn’t rest in you.

    Goodnight or should I say good morning.

  142. “He did not use a book only. He spoke truth into my heart through the living, breathing Word of God”.

    Dorci, think about this, about what you’ve said, because it matters. Faith comes how? Through What?

    The ‘word’ is not just ink on a page. We cannot say God does not use a means to bring us to Christ, to save us, when the Apostle Paul teaches us in Romans 10, that he does?.
    Paul goes further. He tells us you cannot actually be saved without the use of such a means. That’s not Old Testament, it’s here and now.

    You need to understand how God works THROUGH those things He has chosen to work through.

  143. Faith comes through Whom…

    God brings us to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Faith takes place in the heart, not with an outward motion.

    You keep saying Jesus does it all, then you turn around and say you have to baptised or take communion to be saved. Those would be works a person does. Jesus speaks to the heart and we receive Him..or not. If you want to throw away the verse the says repent and be baptised, go ahead. I’m not telling anyone to try harder. I’m saying a person needs to simply believe in Jesus Christ. You’re the one saying people have to try harder by being baptized or take communion to be saved.

    And the Holy Spirit is not an “it,” He is a person of the triune God.

    I am not ashamed of one thing I have said. Salvation, and the way to it, is the most base essential there is.

    God can speak however He wants, but that does not negate the fact that a heart must receive Christ by faith in order to be saved.

  144. “just as the spiritual salvation we receive comes through the SPIRITUAL waters of God’s Holy Spirit. Connect the dots indeed”.

    So, are these ‘spiritual’ waters the waters of baptism, or not?
    If they’re not, then why do we have water baptism?
    What is the point, especially if the Gospel frees us from empty rituals?

  145. “Though seeing, they do not see;
    though hearing, they do not hear or understand.”

    Correct Patrick, it is hard for folks to shed off their gnostic paradigm.

    LPC

  146. One doesn’t have to take communion or be baptized to attain salvation, as the thief on the cross showed. Yet God works through such physical means to deliver to us His Grace. Was Christ’s death itself not a physical means?

    And these things are for our benefit, to build and strengthen and give us faith. God chooses to work through such physical means because our senses can grasp and record such events in our minds.

    So these aren’t mandatory works one must perform but, maybe this isn’t the best word, modes of delivery for us to receive the benefits of Christ’s death and atoning work.

  147. Sorry all, I was out all last evening. Looks like we’re closing in on 200 comments… ah yeah, baby!

    First, Patrick, I didn’t call anyone a heretic, Larry did. Get your facts straight. That said, it was funny that you ripped your own side. 🙂

    I agree completely that this shouldn’t be such a divisive issue, since it is perfectly reasonable to understand Jesus saying “I am the bread” as symbolic yet somewhat understandable thinking he was being literal when He preceded Bart Simpson in saying “Eat me!” (I guess just one more place where He was the “firstborn” :)).

    Anywhere I used language like “Lutheranism might be a false gospel” was primarily done to both make people think a little about what they are saying and because it does seem that some are taking it so far as to promote disunity in the Body (which the Bible tells us is worth excommunication over… in other words, it’s heresy).

    • Darius,

      You said: “First, Patrick, I didn’t call anyone a heretic, Larry did. Get your facts straight. That said, it was funny that you ripped your own side.”

      I NEVER said the word heretic anywhere in this string. Where did I rip on my “own side”?

  148. “Even when you realize that you believe in him, Jesus is already residing in you. He is the “Faith Giver”. You just think that it was your idea at first, but then over time you realize that you only didn’t reject the truth when you heard it. This is the only way to experience true peace and rest in Christ. You see Darius (the ringleader) you are the only people who think that you decided to do a “work of decision” to be saved. “

    Wow, when someone is that intellectually dishonest, I just have to say wow. Almost 200 comments (probably 30 of my own), most of which have been spent rejecting this very idea that we make the decision in our own power or understanding, and yet you still think I’m saying that salvation is something we do. Until you can argue in an honest fashion, I don’t see the point in continuing this discussion.

    As for John 16:1, I’m not sure the connection to this topic. If you go back to chapter 15, we find out that Jesus was literally a vine and we are literally his branches… no? Oh wait, you only interpret him literally where it suits your theology.

  149. Your faith is based on your intellect, mine is based on the mystery of what God has done, and does.

    Take care.

  150. Actually, incorrect. Mine is based on what God has said in His Word (as opposed to what Luther said), while yours is based on superstition and ceremonies. Saying that mine is based on my intellect is such a copout… can’t deal with the Scriptures or my argument, so you just tell me that I’m wrong. I’ve shown time and again where your interpretation of Scripture is wrong, and no one has yet been able to show me otherwise. For those who have eyes to see, I suppose.

    This is basically what this whole comment thread has been about:

    Darius – Here, here, and here are Scriptures that refute your argument.
    Lutherans – You just don’t understand them or realize that they may SEEM to be saying one thing, but there’s mystery involved, so you’re wrong.
    Darius – And what about these Scriptures that say that it’s all God’s doing, not our own?
    Lutherans – Heretic! You’re saying you earn your salvation!

    Look at my analysis of 1 Peter with Howard… I connected the dots for him, yet he still doesn’t see it. Physical water=physical salvation… God’s spiritual water=spiritual salvation. Or is it that God offers us a physical salvation in baptism?

  151. “Calling a fellow brother or sister in Christ a heretic and saying they are believing / spreading a false gospel is unbelievable to me!”

    I didn’t say you called someone a heretic. You thought you were ripping us here, but in fact you took on your fellow Lutherans (particularly Larry).

  152. Here, I’ll make it clearer…

    In the essentials: Unity
    In the non-essentials: Liberty
    In all things: Charity

    AMEN, now one of you should let Larry know this rather than patting him on the back every time he calls his brothers in Christ heretics.

  153. Oops, sorry, I thought it was you. Rather, it was Nick who said that. My bad.

  154. Matthew,

    I never expected you to believe our (Lutheran) theology.

    But I am very glad you at least got to hear it (many never do).

    I always prefer clarity to agreement.

    It’s quite clear (to me anyway) where you stand, and it’s evident where we stand.

  155. “Look at my analysis of 1 Peter with Howard… I connected the dots for him, yet he still doesn’t see it. Physical water=physical salvation… God’s spiritual water=spiritual salvation. Or is it that God offers us a physical salvation in baptism?”

    That’s probably because you haven’t answered my last question, Darius, on the role of water baptism. Is it the ‘spiritual’ baptism that Peter is speaking about, and if it isn’t, what is the value of water baptism? If it’s just ‘physical’ (in your terms), merely symbolic, then where does it belong in our faith? Hasn’t Christ freed us for empty rituals?

    There are actually very clear reasons why our redemption IS (so entirely encompasses) the physical, but we can come to those when we come to a viable conclusion regarding the Apostolic guidance on the baptism matter (from Corinthians and 1 Peter).

  156. Dorci wrote:

    “Faith comes through Whom…”

    And here, Dorci, you argue directly with the Apostle.

    Paul writes:
    “Faith comes by HEARING, hearing the Word of Christ”
    God uses the means of His preached word to bring Christ in saving grace to us. The Apostle is even bolder – it isn’t possible for us to ‘hear’ without such a message or a messenger – in other words, grace is bestowed to us THROUGH the physical means (i.e. the preached word) that God provides.
    It’s simply not possible, as Paul argues in this passage, for us to ‘ascend’ and ‘descend’ to heaven to gain some direct encounter, but His Word is near us, and it is that Word, when heard, which creates faith, allowing us to confess Him as Lord.

    “You’re the one saying people have to try harder by being baptized or take communion to be saved.”.

    I’m simply saying that baptism and the Lord’s supper are places where God meets with us by His grace, and grants mercy in our time of need.
    Christ literally feeds our needy souls – what is so burdensome about such a marvel? Why do equate this as some kind of ‘work’ on our part – does scripture ever look upon them that way?

  157. Using syllogisms concerning “sola fide” justification may shed more light on the differences at play here:

    The Standard Protestant (Anabaptist, Calvinist, Arminian) Syllogism:
    Major Premise: Whoever believes in Christ is saved.
    Minor Premise: I believe in Christ.
    Conclusion: I am saved.

    Standard Lutheran (Theology of Cross) 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).

    The standard protestant syllogism is focused on confidence in personal belief (visceral/intellectual power); that is, the theology of glory.

    The theology of the cross looks only at Christ and His promise.

  158. Who do you think speaks the word of God to our hearts? God does. God speaks His own words. He may speak through another person, or through the bible, but He is the One speaking.

    Okay, one more time….a work is some outward action that a person does in order to be saved. That would include baptism, communion, going from house to house and preaching, going to church, or standing on your head.

    When those actions are not works is when they are done as a result of salvation which has already taken place in the heart by faith in Jesus Christ. Then those things are done to honor the Lord through a relationship that is already in place.

    Do you see the difference?

    One way, they are done for salvation.

    The other way, they are done out of love after salvation.

  159. Using syllogisms concerning “sola fide” justification may shed more light on the differences at play here:

    The Standard Protestant (Anabaptist, Calvinist, Arminian) Syllogism:
    Major Premise: Whoever believes in Christ is saved.
    Minor Premise: I believe in Christ.
    Conclusion: I am saved.

    Standard Lutheran (Theology of Cross) 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).

    The standard protestant syllogism is focused on confidence in personal belief (visceral/intellectual power); that is, the theology of glory.

    The theology of the cross looks only at Christ and His promise.

  160. “Christ never lies but only tells the truth”

    Do you “believe” that?

    • I think I would rather have that agony of conscience as to whether Christ is telling the truth than the standard protestant agony of conscience of having to know for certain whether I really actually believed in (decided for, chosen, accepted) Jesus.

      Every day, I can come back to the trust in His promise made to me through the water of baptism. Otherwise, I’d have to just fall back on myself and my ability to muster up faith inside.

      • “I think I would rather have that agony of conscience as to whether Christ is telling the truth than the standard protestant agony of conscience of having to know for certain whether I really actually believed in (decided for, chosen, accepted) Jesus.

        Every day, I can come back to the trust in His promise made to me through the water of baptism. Otherwise, I’d have to just fall back on myself and my ability to muster up faith inside.”

        I don’t have any “agony of conscience.” I know in whom I have believed and know that He is faithful to hold me in His hand until that day when He comes again.

      • You are a better man than I, Darius.

  161. Dorci wrote:
    “He may speak through another person, or through the bible, but He is the One speaking”.

    Finally,,, so God uses actual, physical means to bring His life, mercy and salvation to us.

    “a work is some outward action that a person does in order to be saved”.

    So baptism cannot be this. When those gathered in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost responded to the preaching of Peter with the question, “What must we do to saved?”, he replied:
    “Repent and be Baptized, every one of you 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”.

    The question: how are we saved?
    The Answer: Repentance and Baptism in the name of Jesus.
    It’s as straightforward as that.

    Was Peter (and the company of the church standing with him) wrong?

    “those actions are not works is when they are done as a result of salvation which has already taken place in the heart by faith in Jesus Christ”.

    Baptism is not a ‘work’ by us, because it is something done as a consequence of what is given to us – faith in Christ, which alone makes us new creations.

    If we believe that anything we do of ourselves saves us, we are in serious trouble, but repentance and baptism are works which God does ‘in’ us (Romans 6).

  162. “Baptism is not a ‘work’ by us, because it is something done as a consequence of what is given to us – faith in Christ, which alone makes us new creations.”

    So you finally admit that baptism comes only AFTER God has given us saving faith… all this time we agreed completely. It just took us 200 comments to flesh out.

  163. (Amended due to typo):
    Look at my analysis of 1 Peter with Howard… I connected the dots for him, yet he still doesn’t see it. Physical water=physical salvation… God’s spiritual water=spiritual salvation. Or is it that God offers us a physical salvation in baptism?”

    That’s probably because you haven’t answered my last question, Darius, on the role of water baptism. Is it the ’spiritual’ baptism that Peter is speaking about, and if it isn’t, what is the value of water baptism? If it’s just ‘physical’ (in your terms), merely symbolic, then where does it belong in our faith? Hasn’t Christ freed us FROM empty rituals?

    There are actually very clear reasons why our redemption IS (so entirely encompasses) the physical, but we can come to those when we come to a viable conclusion regarding the Apostolic guidance on the baptism matter (from Corinthians and 1 Peter).

  164. “Hasn’t Christ freed us for empty rituals?”

    A Freudian slip, I presume… 🙂

  165. More like old age!

  166. “AFTER God has given us saving faith… all this time we agreed completely”

    I think where we diverge is to who God can grant such faith to – children for example. If God can “call” people, even whilst in the womb, there is no limit determined by age or intelligence.

  167. Nope, I don’t diverge there either. I just don’t see how we humans can either know to whom He grants such faith or hold Him hostage to doing so for whomever we choose.

  168. So, if we are, by His mercy, called into the ‘household of faith’, is it wrong to include our children into that household, especially when God’s promises are extended to them?

  169. So I can be saved because my parents are Christians? Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 7… Paul says that a person with an unbelieving spouse doesn’t save them just by being married to them (though they are “sanctified”). Familial ties do not bring salvation, but they do bring blessings. If you’re a follower of Christ, God will bless your children and your spouse (even if they don’t believe in Jesus) through your faith, the biggest blessing being the Christian example that you set which could win them to Christ. But that doesn’t mean they will be saved outside of their own repentant faith.

  170. Howard,

    Agreed to what Peter said.

    But he said repent, and then be baptised. But you keep leaving out the repentance part. That’s my whole issue. You are saying that only the second part of that command, the baptism, is what needs to take place. The repentance has been continuously discounted.

    God uses means to speak to our hearts to bring us to repentance. After that comes the baptism and the communion. Don’t get the cart before the horse.

  171. Dorci wrote:
    “God uses means to speak to our hearts to bring us to repentance. After that comes the baptism and the communion. Don’t get the cart before the horse”.

    And don’t actually loose sight of the relationship between faith and the means by which is consequence (salvation) is applied to us (hence my nod to Romans 6).
    The next thing that really needs to be looked at is why Christians from the 1st century have viewed Preaching and the Sacraments as, to use a common Protestant terminology, ‘means of grace’, but that’s a Big one, and I have to be up for work in around 7 hours, so maybe the next topic here will be along those lines?

    Darius wrote:
    “Familial ties do not bring salvation, but they do bring blessings”.

    I think we have to unpack if such blessings provide a context in which awakening/quickening towards Christ can and does occur in children.
    Jesus speaks of how the Holy Spirit moves and works as He wills, and if God has promised something towards the homes of those who are His, I’m sure the Spirit will indeed work deeply in such circumstances.

    My study of primarily Reformed theologians on this (child baptism), holding to some measure of Covenant theology, would affirm that this is certainly the case in children, but I’d like to hear more from our Lutheran friends on that, as I confess my scant understanding of Lutheran theology here 😦 – input please!

    Thanks, Darius and Dorci, for the discussion – I hope it generates more related chat soon….

    And so, to bed!

  172. It is true Jesus + or “Jesus and” is not the Gospel. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are not a “Jesus and”, they are just “Jesus alone”. The irony of those who deny the true efficacy of both baptism and the Lord’s Supper (a.k.a. the sacraments) default AUTOMATICALLY to a “Jesus and” position. Because they must necessarily distill they are saved/elect/reborn/born again/regenerate/converted by some other means. And that means of assurance is linked to their secret works found in their reasoning power, affections or growth in so called holiness. They seek even their own faith as a sound ground for assurance, it is not that is sand. An, “I know I’ll be saved and go into heaven because I believe in Jesus” is a “Jesus and”.

    We see this immediately in baptism, believer’s baptism. The doctrine says, “We don’t believe in that Lutheran Jesus and baptism saves.” Ignoring the fact or rationalizing away that the Apostle actually says baptism saves you. But they can only say this when they tear asunder what God’s Word has put together, namely that baptism is His work, His name, His Word and reinsert into baptism that which is never there in Scripture that it is man’s work, his faith etc… So that they end with what they confess, “just plain old water”. Ironic indeed that one would defend to the death a doctrine of “just plain old water” (believers baptism). Turned away from the Gospel Word in the baptism, as above explained, they must then discern, “how do I know I’m saved/converted/reborn/elect…etc.” Now they turn inward to themselves and their heart, their good works and say “Perhaps this is evidence God has worked in my life_______”. Upon this they build assurance. The Law cannot then be preached in all its wrath in such churches because the Law destroys all these when rightly preached. And if the Law cannot be rightly preached as the very hammer of God, then the Gospel cannot be truly preached in all its purity and sweetness. Looking inward now and to their works and fruits as “signs” of God operating in/around them (theology of glory) they have gone exactly where they blamed the doctrine of baptism of Lutherans they didn’t want to be…namely at a “Jesus and”. The devil has tricked such toward works.

    Such don’t believe baptism to actually BE God’s work. “Don’t believe” is the very unbelief itself. That’s something that finally donned on me when I was struggling with this and in particular in the Lord’s Supper. Namely via my reasoning, what was really going on was I was not believing it to be so. When I use to say concerning the Lord’s Supper (when I was in heresy for I’m not afraid to call myself a heretic when it is so) via the use of my Calvinistic doctrine that in essence said most plainly, “This is NOT the body and blood of Christ…”(which is what the doctrine says plainly), I was denying that is not believing what the Son of God so obviously stated, “This IS…”. It’s like one Lutheran once said tongue in cheek, “If only Jesus would have said it IS His body and blood…that would settle the argument”.

    Here we see how great our unbelief is and how much we really truly rely on are rationalism and reasoning power making them to be our gods. It is no accident that the same devil’s mistress, fallen human reason, denies via rationalism the true body and blood of Christ and by the same devil’s whore, fallen human reason, denies the grace of God to babies because of a lack of “reason”. Because in such confessional paradigms the real god is Reason. This is the same false god, reason, otherwise called wisdom of the world to which the Cross destroys by its folly.

    L

  173. No one is saved BY their repentant faith but by Christ crucified for them. Faith is not the coin that garners or purchases salvation. Grace is not an infused grace, neither is faith an infused faith. Grace is God’s disposition in spite of no faith, and faith is that that comes about when it is finaly heard, “I forgive you even though you don’t believe it”. “So that is God…” responds faith joyfully.

    L

  174. The reason why Jesus and baptism for salvation or Jesus and communion for salvation or Jesus and anything else for salvation is not Jesus alone is because anyone can be bapised and anyone can take communion. That does not make them necessarily saved because those actions in themselves do not mean that a repentance, as Peter and Jesus and many others stated, in the heart has taken place.

    A person has to repent of their sins or the baptism and/or communion are just going through a motion.

    If it has to be repentance and baptism (or, heaven forbid, baptism alone, what about a person who cannot be baptised? Or cannot take communion? How can we change the rules from one person to another?

    The salvation is in the repentance, the water baptism is an outward symbolic identifying with Christ in His death and the communion (and actually Jesus said as often as you eat, which means all the time) is how Jesus said we should remember His sacrifice.

    A person can’t just go through motions with no relationship with Christ and call themselves saved.

    Larry, faith comes when one believes in the work that Jesus did on the cross for them. “By faith you are saved..”

    God’s grace must be accepted by the individual. Not everyone is saved. Many are unbelievers and are not saved and will not see eternity with God.

  175. Here’s a good explanation of why paedo baptism is wrong not in keeping with the Bible: http://truebaptist.org/?p=57

  176. Oops, that should read “why paedobaptism is wrong and not keeping”

  177. It’s also an argument FOR paedo baptism, as you’ll see. 🙂

  178. When I think of “my belief”, “my repentance”, “my faith”, etc and anything like it, I always come up short.
    I believe… but not enough.
    I’ve repented… but not enough
    I have faith… but not enough…
    My only hope is in Jesus and what HE declares to me in His Word. He makes that declaration of forgiveness and life in Word and Sacrament… it’s always about HIS WORD and what HE HAS DONE. He is my belief, repentance & faith. HE is my everything and only hope.

    EVERYTHING God requires of you, He gives to you in Christ.

    Lutherans have been mischaracterized here as trusting in sprinkled water and bread and wine… NO. We trust in the declared WORD of Christ that is connected to and declared when we receive those visible and tangible means. It’s ALWAYS the WORD ALONE.

    His WORD is for all people… all ages… all times. The only volition involved for me is the freedom to reject the gift He offers.

  179. The reason why my belief in Jesus Christ is enough is because of what Jesus has already done.

    “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”

    Is that a true statement in scripture or is it not?

    • Of course it’s true… and even your ability to “believe” is a gift of grace through the Word. Without the Word that gives you faith, you could not believe. It’s all Jesus all the time.

  180. Hi Nick ,

    You said [“Calling a fellow brother or sister in Christ a heretic and saying they are believing / spreading a false gospel is unbelievable to me!”].

    You may have not read the entire thread but it was good ol’ Larry who threw down that!

    I believe that regenerational baptism is just like Rome’s heresies.

    Baptism is an ordinance, not a means of salvation. It is a command but not the means by which somebody is regenerated.

    HOW CAN A BABY REPENT & BELIEVE?

    To call somebody an “enemy of Christ” , which is what Larry called me beacuse I dont believe in regenerational baptism is wrong mate.

    To call somebody whom Jesus died for, who He bore the sins of, is a henious sin. Close to blasphemy, if not actaully that in fact.

    This debate is pointless. But to call a person a an enemy of Christ over that is wrong.

    Its like me saying, ” so you are an Arminian? Well then, you are an enemy of Christ!”.

    Absurd to the highest degree.

    Visit : http://www.narrowseventhirteen.blogspot.com

    • Matthew,

      I don’t think calling someone a “heretic” is particularly helpful to the discussion/debate… however you essentially said it first when you started the debate saying “it is NOT biblical”… which is a pretty good definition of “heresy”. So, my point is there are not many clean hands in the room.

      Regarding your question “HOW CAN A BABY REPENT & BELIEVE?”, I would ask “how can an adult repent and believe?”
      All of us… infants and adults… are “dead” in our trespasses and sins. The point is, that of our own volition none of us have a chance of being saved except for the gracious Work and Word of Christ that raises us to life and gives us all that He requires of us. I rest not in ‘my’ pitiful attempts to repent or ‘my’ belief that is weak at best… but rather on the grace, mercy and promises of Christ who declares to me with judicial certainty that my sins are forgiven. A baby resting trustingly in his or her mother’s arms are a picture of the kind of dependence and resting in Christ that is required of me. God is pleased to give all the blessings of Christ to infants, children, and even us hard headed adults. Whew!

  181. Matthew,

    You’re scandalized by Larry calling “somebody whom Jesus died for” a heretic.

    Therefore, either:

    a) You believe that nobody should ever be called a heretic, that effectively heresy does not exist.

    or

    b) You believe in the 16th century heresy of limited atonement.

    Assuming b), then you must also believe that Larry is a heretic, since you both disagree, and it’s a really important question. So the use of the word “heresy” is more a matter of honesty and frankness than one of you being blindsided.

    “Its like me saying, ‘so you are an Arminian? Well then, you are an enemy of Christ!’.”

    We are all enemies of Christ, it is only by the grace of God that we are reckoned righteous. But Arminianism is a form of trust in man, not in Christ, and is against Christ.

  182. Yes I did Mathew and I reaffirm it. But let me be clear, it is not just “Larry’s opinion” as you erroneously seem to imply, but every Lutheran confession compiled in the book of Concord, Luther himself, Chemitz, Pieper, Sasse, etc… Perhaps you should invest some time in reading these because you pretend it’s “just Larry’s” statement when it is not. Go read for yourself the smallcald articles, Augsburg, Luther at Marburg and against the anabaptist, the solid declaration.

    If you wish I can supply you with numerous quotations concerning this issue in which Luther and Lutheran confessions with one solid voice state these as heresies and essentials. So essential was it to Luther that he denied both Zwingli and Bucer the right hand of Christian fellowship and in more than one letter by his own hand stated that it was of another spirit and that they could not affirm these doctrines as Christian in the least. So convicted of it’s truth on his impending death he penned a confession to in the most clear words confirm his confession of the LS and clear calling as heresy the other views. So convicted of it was he that he could not say, based on Zwingli’s own confession not Luther’s opinion, whether Zwinglis was in heaven or hell. Luther was not a man given to hyperbole as his enemies lie of him but bound by the very Word of God.

    So I thank you for a compliment and blessing I find myself hardly worthy of and of which I do not deserve.

    Larry

  183. Dorci,

    You first say, “God’s grace must be accepted by the individual. NOT EVERYONE IS SAVED. Many are unbelievers and are not saved and will not see eternity with God.” Then you contradict yourself with, “Larry, faith comes when one believes in the work that Jesus did on the cross FOR THEM. “By faith you are saved..”

    Let’s stop playing games. You are comfortable with it only in hypothetical. Your doctrine only works when you keep it in the nebulous “general other people”. That’s why you can state such obvious contradictions which really don’t even pass a laugh test.

    You say not everyone is saved. Then name for me, be specific, for whom did Jesus not die. To whom by name would you face and say “first name” “middle name” “last name” (fill in the blanks with a specific) that you would say to them, “Jesus did not save you.” For that is what you just said. Then show me how the “for them/you/me” works given your statement that “not everyone is saved”. How do you get to the specific “for you” from the general “not everyone is saved”?

    How do you know that YOU are saved since YOU are a specific person but in general “not everyone is saved” of which YOU a specific person is a sub class? Don’t list your fruits because first of all that’s simple self glorification and secondly every single one of them can be imitated and even better imitated by a rank unbeliever. Don’t say you are altruistic as any atheist worth his/her salt will tell you that only an atheist can truly be altruistic since he has no hope of reward at death since according that THAT doctrine there is nothing after death. Don’t say to me “because I believe” for Scripture clearly points out that the heart of man is desperately wicked and above ALL knowing, who can know it…so you can fool yourself into thinking you believe when you really do not.

    So how do you know God has been gracious to YOU since “not everyone is saved”. It’s easy to stay in the general and self righteously require this to “that guy over there” and not to me. And it’s very easy to think “I’m” pulling it off when I’m not really suffering the pains of death today. But one day death will come to every one, one day laying dying wracked with cancer, fading from a stroke, or tomorrow from sudden car accident not foreseen in youth or adulthood, or just lonely dying of something in an “old folks home” – when the gig is up and your fruit and works finally hear the Law, hear the deception of the heart, realize your faith is uncertain coupled with if you believe “not everyone is saved” a category of everyone to whom YOU quite belong, you will NEED to know that other contrary reality you state that it is “for me”. How will you know that?

    L

  184. Did John the Baptist not leap for joy in Elizabeth’s womb upon hearing Mary speak? Did Christ not say all things are possible with God? This is proof that God can grant faith and repentance to an infant.

    Lutherans don’t see salvation as faith and communion or faith and baptism. Or just baptism, or communion. Rather, that the sacraments are mechanisms of God delivering faith and repentance and the forgiveness of sins. Those that receive the sacraments but live in unbelief receive nothing to their benefit.

  185. Larry,

    In response to your last comment directed towards me; I again respond with :

    So Spurgeon is in hell. John MacArthur is on his way. John Piper too. Not to forhet A.W Tozer, Ravenhill. Oh and the vast majority of Reformed Christians worldwide for the past few hundreds of years…..

    At least I am in good comany.

    Seriously Larry c’mon mate!

    • Luther points out that many heresy’s men hold on to in life they at the last hour reject. Whether this is recorded for your and my benefit to read remains without answer.

      It’s actually your baptist doctrine that casts doubt on the very men you name. For the works of men visible give no one comfort that any man, no matter how great he was in life is saved, for no one is justified by works but grace alone.

      Here would be my Lutheran answer. These men were baptized, and I have that hope for them as I do for myself, as I do for many Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and all others.

      My hope is not in the display or lack of public display of ANY man’s life, not yours, not mine, not Luther’s, not Spurgeon’s but in the objective Word of God and the objective Word in the Sacrament of baptism for them. There I KNOW FOR A FACT that God objectively via the pastor’s hand, even by a false devil’s hand SURELY, gave HIS NAME to them. And part of that name is “Jesus” (in the name of God the Son) which means, “he will save His people from there sin”.

      I consider this grace for the Spurgeon’s of the world, a grace he himself denied to many in his own doctrine, false doctrine, yes false doctrine.

      Spurgeon, whom I’ve read a great deal, once asked in a sermon, “how can mere water do such things”. To which if he had read Luther already answered, “Not just plain water but water in which is put the very Word of God”. That’s how water does such great things, just like mere ink and paper do such great things, in which the Word of God is put and written, just like how mere sound waves forming a voice from a mere man can do such great things, in which the Word of God is spoken. God picks up the creature, voice, ink, paper, water, wine and bread and puts His word into it and thus through these things such great things are done.

      So my hope, my sure hope for these men is not by their works or displays which any man and heathen can imitate, but in the objective Word poured onto them… no more or less for me, no more or less for you.

      Yours,

      Larry

  186. Part of the problem is extending the Romish idea of ‘infused grace’ to faith and seeing faith as this “infusion of power to believe”. In other words according to Calvin, Rome, arminian and baptist doctrine faith is this “other thing” distributed like a package of cookies or something in the mail that God lays onto a person, then once laid he delivers the Word. That’s really just pure star wars gnosticism. That’s very different than faith being a quality that arises PURELY out of the Word and sacrament and never is disconnected at any point from them.

    The parable of the seed really brings this out in which it clearly links faith and the Word without a fracture into this gnostic substance faith. When faith dies its simply another way of saying the Word is thrown off or stolen by the devil from the heart of the believer. It’s a very real picture of true spiritual warfare. Those who reject the sacraments, in which the Word is put, fall into grave danger of actually throwing off the Word and thus faith its self under the guise of faith, ironically. For their eyes are focused on the instruments and elements tossing out the Word with them.

    Saying it (baptism) is just mere water is like saying as many pagans do that the ink and page Words in the bible are just words of men. The same principle in both operates. More precisely saying baptism is the work of man is the exact same thing as an atheist saying the bible is just the words and works of men. In essence and principle there is no difference whatsoever.

    L

  187. What is most stunning about Luther and Lutheran doctrine concerning the sacraments in general and the Lord’s Supper in particular is that Luther well saw that the denial of it as the true and very body and blood of Christ as Christ stated it “this is…” ultimately leads to the denial of the entire Word of God as the very reliable Word of God. We see it acutely when we link up the first sacrament baptism. If when Christ said, “This is…” He was being metaphorical or symbolic as all Calvinist, arminians, and Baptist affirm then nothing in the Word of God can be reliable…all is undone. How? The most acute example is how Baptist/Anabaptist use baptism. Suddenly a firm “this is” is metaphorical or symbolic and then every written Word concerning baptism is likewise made metaphorical or symbolic of some other “spiritual” reality that is “detected” otherwise. So that when Peter for example in Acts 2 says “repent and be baptized…for the promise is to you and your children…” we cannot take the sure Word of God as SURE AS STATED and thus trust in time of trial, temptation or persecution. Rather the words are made metaphorical, symbolic and spiritualize so that “baptism” means symbolizes. So that one has to search, quite in vain in some other reality for God’s surety, but not in His plain Word spoken and written AS IS. Thus, begins the Gnostic search inward and outward in other things…which is essentially no different than pagan religion that searches for God outside of the very Word of God.

    A clarity few since Luther have understood.

    L

  188. Larry, I would say to everyone on the face of this planet, now and always, that Jesus Christ died for their sins. But they must accept that gift of having their sins paid for by Jesus Christ’s sacrifice.

    That is why we are told to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” Not everyone believes. If they don’t believe, they aren’t saved. That is what Revelation is all about. That is what the wheat and tares is all about. The sheep and the goats.

    I know I’m saved because when I was 25 years old I put my faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, repenting of my sins, and accepting the gift of Christ’s payment for them.

    I am not saved because of my fruits, my fruits come as a result of having been saved, and the subsequent work of the Holy Spirit in my life. I am not saved because I was baptised, although I was sometime after I received Christ into my heart. I am not saved because I take communion, though I do once a month when it is offered.

    I am not saved because of anything else except the pure fact that Jesus died for me and I said, yes, I need Him. I need God in my life, and I ask for forgiveness for my heinous, ugly, painful sins.

  189. “I know I’m saved because when I was 25 years old I put my faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, repenting of my sins, and accepting the gift of Christ’s payment for them.”

    The way you describe your assurance is telling. How many times do the words “I” or “my” appear here? What is the subject of the sentence and clauses, is it Christ or you?

  190. Arg.

    Does the bible say “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved”?

    Does the bible say “repent and be baptized”?

    Does the bible say, “The one who believes and is baptized will be saved, but the one who doesn’t believe will be condemned”?

    Does the bible say, “But what does it say? “The message is near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart.” This is the message of faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For a person believes with his heart and is justified, and a person declares with his mouth and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be ashamed.” For there is no difference between Jew and Greek, because they all have the same Lord, who gives richly to all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”?

    I simply did what scripture explains we must do to be saved.

    I honestly don’t understand the controversy. The bible is absolutely full of scripture that talks about the need for a person to receive Christ by faith to be saved and that many, many will not find salvation, although God does not wish that any perish.

    I am not going to convince anyone of this. It is the Holy Spirit who will have to do it. Everything I have said has been in the utmost of sincerity and love. Not out of a need to be right, not to win an argument, but because this is what the bible teaches. I will speak no further on it. If anyone has any questions they would like to further address with me, please feel free to email me at groovychick44(at)yahoo(dot)com.

    God bless.
    Dorci

  191. Absolutely, believing is required. Here’s what belief in Christ looks like:

    “I’m saved because Christ died for me.”

    Here’s what belief in belief looks like:

    “I’m saved because I believe Christ died for me.”

      • I second that Bingo!

        In fact I use to say that second sentence. Then

      • Here’s what belief in Christ looks like: “I’m saved because Christ died for me.” Here’s what belief in belief looks like: “I’m saved because I believe Christ died for me.”

        Thanks for that Xan… I made that my facebook status for today. To many that seems like a subtle distinction but in reality it’s huge! That sums up theology of the cross (Christ focus) and theology of glory (me focus).

      • That is SPOT ON! I had to Tweet that one!

  192. Wonderful!

  193. I love how once I’ve announced that I won’t talk on the subject anymore you all feel free to take pot shots at my motives.

    • Dorci,

      I think the motives of everyone on this string have been good (aside from a few pokes in the eye here and there by some). You have spoken your conviction, however, with sincerity and grace.

  194. It’s all good, Dorci. Thanks for trying…

  195. Guess Jesus never said this: “He who believes in me will live”

    I affirm Jesus’ words and say that I live and am saved because I believe in Him.

    • Darius,

      “In me”.

      The distinction Xan is making seems subtle… however, so much of evangelical speak these days puts the emphasis on the sincerity of my belief instead of on the object of our faith which is Christ.

      I don’t think that error is always intentional… but it is so easy to do… I find myself doing it and saying it too.

      You might enjoy this article http://www.mtio.com/articles/aissar51.htm

      “I believe… help my unbelief”.

  196. Patrick,

    Based on that article, none of the Reformed theologians (Piper, Sproul, etc.) of today preach a theology of glory. Every single one recognizes the fact that the Gospel is not just for unbelievers but for all people. I just finished reading CJ Mahaney’s “Living the Cross-Centered Life” and it’s all about preaching the gospel to yourself every single day. I think you Lutherans should stop tilting at windmills and get your facts straight. In fact, look at the very last paragraph in that article: “The Reformation theology that characterizes both Lutheranism and traditional Calvinism is a theology of the Cross.”

    That Lutheran has it figured out.

  197. I was just pointing out that the article doesn’t agree with what some of you have been telling me for the last few days. Larry and others have been calling me a heretic who follows a theology of glory, yet that article completely disagrees with that. Sorry I misunderstood your intended purpose of the piece… though I’m now confused because I’m hearing mixed messages from you Lutherans. I’m fairly sure that Larry would think the writer of that article is a heretic, but apparently you agree with the writer.

  198. Darius,

    The author of that article is a LCMS Lutheran pastor. Yes, Reformed theologians often do preach a theology of the cross instead of glory and some Lutherans fail at doing so.

    I don’t presume to speak for Larry, but my observation is that he is a precise theologian who takes a thing to its logical conclusion. I don’t think his pronouncements are as judgmental as they may sound but he is simply calling a thing as he sees it.

    I suspect that our discomfort with the Reformed doctrines of “limited atonement”, “irresistible grace” and “perseverance of the saints” leads Lutherans to conclude that ultimately (in spite of their preaching a theology of the cross) taken to its logical conclusion, it will end up with an introspective theology of glory. (Am I one of the elect?) Larry could speak more intelligently to that than I can.

    I mean no offense by that… and ultimately our only hope is in Christ who in spite of us and our theological missteps… saves us by His grace.

    I’m sure ALL of us are inconsistent in our theology at points… I had a seminary professor who spoke about “felicitous inconsistency”… the idea being that at some point in our theology it may logically lead us to apostasy, but in spite of our theology we are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone who atoned for that too and saves us from ourselves.

  199. “in spite of our theology we are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone who atoned for that too and saves us from ourselves.”

    Amen to that! That reminds me of something the late Richard John Neuhaus (a Catholic priest and conservative thinker and author) once said… “When I come before the judgment throne, I will plead the promise of God in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. I will not plead any work that I have done, although I will thank God that he has enabled me to do some good. I will plead no merits other than the merits of Christ… I will not plead that I had faith, for sometimes I was unsure of my faith, and in any event that would be to turn faith into a meritorious work of my own. I will not plead that I held the correct understanding of “justification by faith alone,” although I will thank God that he led me to know ever more fully the great truth that much misunderstood formulation was intended to protect. Whatever little growth in holiness I have experienced, whatever strength I have received… whatever understanding I have attained of God and his ways—these and all other gifts I have received I will bring gratefully to the throne. But in seeking entry to that heavenly kingdom, I will… look to Christ and Christ alone.”

  200. Even some Lutherans… maybe. 🙂

  201. Patrick,

    You are exactly right. Calling out heresy and heretical teaching is not wrong nor is it meant in the vain of name calling. It is accurate to say that many of the better Reformed pastors and some of the Baptist pastors do inconsistently preach a real Gospel, but they just as inconsistently take that Gospel away in the Sacraments. The sacraments are not nor have ever been non-essentials in the Christian church. This has been ubiquitous throughout the entire history of the church up until our day in American where in Christendom, broadly speaking, there is this false doctrine of the truth is relative (I.e. the sacraments are non-essential). Those who take that position fail to see that if that is true then it is they who divide on non-essentials, which is the way the explicitly define it and if one does THAT then one is most clearly by definition a sectarian person or group. To define something as non-essential then divide on it is worse than to be wrong on it, ignorantly due to the heresies that have arisen in these last days, and call it essential (though wrong) and then break. Because “non-essentialist” do not take the Word of God rightly, at least a wrong person who defines it as essential understands it is essential. This is a point even Charles H. Spurgeon, a Baptist, made. He said to fly under false colors is the worse thing anyone can do.

    Furthermore, non-essentialist have “no dog in the fight”, or you have to at least wonder why they pretend to. Because if its truly unessential, then they should have NO PROBLEM WHATSOEVER with the baptism of infants.

    Ultimately though some reformed preach out of one side of their doctrine a decent Gospel, they are utterly inconsistent when it comes to the sacraments which are the Gospel themselves. He who makes them law or ordinances or mere signs or mere symbols does not understand the sacraments at all nor fully the Gospel. And yes that is heresy by definition.

    Pieper put it this way God tolerates heterodox churches (heterodox/false churches) for the fact of the mercy toward those true believers blindly stuck in them. God does not desire heterodox churches for the sake of “variation in His garden” as many say. God only desire orthodox, right praise, churches for the sake of protecting the very Gospel message in purity in Word and Sacrament. The dear true Christian brothers and sisters in those churches, like I was myself not that long ago, belong TO US not them (the recalcitrant heterodox false teachers). We belong together in the unified faith, one baptism (not many, not rebaptism), and partaking of together the real body and blood of Jesus GIVEN to us for the forgiveness of our sins. Praying together the Lord’s Prayer, forgive us our sins, not that we are not already forgiven for we already HAVE the Gospel in which there is nothing BUT forgiveness, but that so WE WILL KNOW IT IS SO TO EACH AND EVERYONE OF US AND NOT DOUBT IT! (Luther paraphrased).

    A pious Christian can do NO LESS than tell the truth forth rightly as it is, not pretend there is unity where there is not and not pretend an essential thing is unessential. When Scripture commands that we confess the faith it also commands that we condemn that which is false and constantly poisoning the faithful. Not because its of the Law to do so, not to “win an argument”, (I could give a crap about winning an argument), but to protect the Good News for the starving soul.

    It is a lament that Satan has so well done his work of deception since the Reformation, a thing Luther keenly recognized in his dying days, just as in Jude, the heretics have arrived – that so many are deceived in to mixed and blended faiths. It is wrong for me or any other Lutheran to pretend there is unity and that someone else is in the true faith, and that it is all non-essential (i.e. the sacraments). It would be very evil of me to every Sunday partake of the body and blood of Christ truly for the forgiveness of my sins, enjoy that Gospel and its richness, then say to a heterodox person, “yours is ok to”, when I know it is not. Yet, the minute you say that you castigated for it. In reality it’s no different than in any deconstruction of our idols. Every Christian, even heterodox, have experienced this from the outside – HOW HARD IT IS to approach a rank sinning unbeliever, like a homosexual, or similar and attempt to communicate to them they are in deadly sin and have them understand you really love them and are trying to help them, not be judgmental. But how many of us have heard that cry from the unbelievers on the outside, “You are judgmental…you are calling what I believe is false and thus are very arrogant and self righteous, how dare you call my beliefs false, apostate, heretical, sect…you narrow minded Christians what makes you think Paul was right.” The accusations flung by the heterodox at Luther and the orthodox confessions that the pagans fling at Christians in general.

    Orthodox confession believers are to flee heterodox teachings. That sounds harsh but a necessary thing. On the one hand, if I’m honest, and I suspect many orthodox are too, I’m tempted to sinfully lament this and look back as Lot’s wife did in fleeing Sodom and lament this. It’s a greater temptation than all the overt temptations I can think of. Because it’s an appeal to the heart, that old deceiver that deceives with both smiles and tears, to lament wrongly over the Word of God the false doctrine. It’s very tempting to turn away from the true body and blood of Christ in order to unit with false fellowship. It’s very tempting to turn away from baptism as the Gospel upon both adults and infants just to unit with false churches. This is in fact the greatest temptation of the orthodox confessions and its congregations, because we all know how lonely it gets. We have to be reminded this is the lot for the church, suffering and often that suffering comes from inside the doors of Christendom. It’s a very insidious thing the devil does. Those who think it is easy to refuse the right hand of fellowship simply don’t realize in the least how hard that is, because it’s not due to animosity, it is not due to “winning the argument”, it is due to what God’s Word demands we due – guard your doctrine carefully for the very sake of the Gospel.

    Larry

  202. Steve,

    You should print this string and show it to Chloe someday… quite a tribute! 😉

    May she grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ and rest in His promises to her!

  203. Patrick,

    I think I will!

    I’ve been out to the desert to visit my Mom, so I haven’t read any comments today, other than yours.

    Gone most of the day tomorrow, too.

    But I’ll catch up. I know there’s some really good ones in here!

    Thanks for your prayer for her (Chloe), Pat!

    We really appreciate it!

  204. I missed any of my baptists or reformed answer to my question. I repeat: Don’t you know?

    Romans 6:3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

    St Paul is pretty clear here that all of us who were baptized into Jesus was baptized into his death. Yes I know many will say that is a spiritual baptism and not water. First try to tell a baptist minister you were baptized spiritually so you do not need water baptism. Second, there is only one baptism taught in scripture according to our same St Paul.Eph 4:4-6

    This one baptism is referred to as baptism in the Name of Father Son and Holy Spirit, water baptism, baptism by fire and the Holy Spirit, washing of regeneration etc.

    So? Don’t you know?

  205. David,

    “First try to tell a baptist minister you were baptized spiritually so you do not need water baptism. Second, there is only one baptism taught in scripture according to our same St Paul.Eph 4:4-6”

    Very good. It’s also similar to the Lord’s Prayer. Do you teach you unbaptized children to pray it? If not, well you are violating the commandments and pretty much everything Paul speaks about in Ephesians, and if you do how do you teach this unbaptized heathen to say, “OUR FATHER…”

    Some good friends of ours who were in our former church with us together, he was in S. Seminary down became Lutheran before we did, we were PCA leaning into it at the time. We were shocked, we thought they were the baptist baptist…anyway she was telling my wife it hit her during homeschooling. She was teaching per Paul in Ephesians her children and run into a road block. She said, “Yea but this is teaching Christians”. Now he’s in Ft. Wayne finishing up seminary.

    L

  206. David Wrote:
    “First try to tell a baptist minister you were baptized spiritually so you do not need water baptism. Second, there is only one baptism taught in scripture according to our same St Paul.Eph 4:4-6″

    Nicely put. I was seeking to make a similar case in my discussion with Darius (my comments on Baptism on the 1 Peter passage) – you cannot actually sever ‘spiritual’ baptism from water baptism, and God’s mercy and grace is so much deeper to men, women and children than we so often recognize, or most certainly ‘rationalize’. Too much theology is still unpacked upon the premise of a Platonic approach to reality (be that defined as realism or nominalism). The great value of discussions like this is they allow us to return to the Apostles doctrine itself, to by-pass the oh so common dualistic bias to spirituality, and face the naked blade of essential truth once again. Such inter-action can indeed aid us in truly learning and understanding the faith once delivered to the saints, so thank you to those who have engaged in this – I for one have most certainly learned through this discussion, and I hope it will spark off others on related matters.

  207. “Too much theology is still unpacked upon the premise of a Platonic approach to reality (be that defined as realism or nominalism).”

    Howard you said it nicely, very nicely. Between what you and LP packed into two statements begins to unearth the very issue. That’s why these discussion, heated at times as they may be, are really very good.

    I’ve been beating my head against a wall trying to find a succinct way, not my strong point, to show that issue/link.

    It’s really what Luther saw. Once you unhinge via a doctrine the reality, (e.g. the Spirit, body, blood…etc…) from the Word. The Word becomes de facto empty and of no use. It’s subtle but very deadly. That point donned on me about a year ago when I was struggling with Lutheranism versus Reformed. Because everyone says in some way or another “I stick to the Word of God”. Finally that’s what I saw in Luther, he really really really did. That platonic divorce of spirit and word is very subtle, very hard to detect, especially in one’s self, I admit that for myself most of all.

    L

    • Larry,

      Not trying to be nitpicky, but the phrase you’re looking for is “dawned on me”, as in the sun coming up.

      Keep up the blogging and commenting!

      • Xan,

        Not at all. I appreciate that. There are certain phrases and words I’m always forgetting. One of my worst one’s is where and where.

        Thanks much,

        L

      • oops “were” and “where”, SEE!

  208. Steve,

    You are nearing 300! Steve “King of the Blogs”!!!

  209. Larry wrote:
    “That platonic divorce of spirit and word is very subtle, very hard to detect, especially in one’s self, I admit that for myself most of all”.

    This is certainly the case, and it is no doubt most especially true at those places and points in life where God’s grace is most directly mediated to us (the genuine application of the salve of the Gospel, the remedy and medicine of the sacraments Christ has instituted) for this is the one point the father of lies most wants to muddle us, most wants to sever us from the life which sustains us, thus legalism and gnosticism focus here, to uncouple and dislocate us from the aid He alone can bring to our needy souls.

    It is no doubt part of our now natural (fallen) disposition to stagger at the idea that God acts (mediates His mercies) towards us through material reality, but this reaction skips the major point that Paul makes us about the nature of true spirituality in Colossians 1&2. This overview is crystallized in the main events that Paul touches upon here – the initial ‘good’ work of creation, the Incarnation of Christ, the reality of the church and how the Lord is evidenced amongst His body. The ‘tangible’ reality this amounts to – Christ, present and at work amongst us, is something that we naturally wish to evade, for it means the death to our self to allow the raising of the new man, thus religion everywhere which muffles such immediacy.

    Decades of sitting beneath ‘ministry’ which spoke much of our faith, our walk, our growth, and the like, will finally bring us to ask ‘where is Christ?’ – Standing at the door, waiting, that He may truly sup with us.
    The true wonder and intimacy of God’s feeding us by His grace, mediated by Christ through the Word, the water, the bread and wine, is astounding, but like those in the wilderness, so near to the presence of God, we scurry for the shadows, wanting someone, something else than such immediacy. Thanks be to God that in spite of ourselves, His love, His beauty, ravishes us, and draws us to the pools of aid in the desert of this broken creation – a foretaste of the redemption at hand.

    Let us come, naked of any confidence in ourselves, to that one altar twixt heaven and earth – let us go outside of the gates to find remedy in the covering of His imputed righteousness, and mercy in His justifying work alone in this, our time of need.

  210. David,

    You never got an answer and neither did I get one for my one line in the Nicene Creed. Kinda made me smile when it was alleged that the baptism mentioned in that creed stood for spiritual baptism.

    Talking about Enthusiasm as what Luther said, the discussion here serves to highlight where one leads to when spiritual baptism is separated from water baptism. You are left navel gazing, wondering if it happened to you. So incurvatus inse, there you go.

    Howard,

    I agree. As for me, the discussion serves to strengthen more (at least in my case) my decision to abandon my credo-baptistic background of long ago.

    What did it for me was looking at the Scripture, at its face.

    The weird thing that happened to me was that when I published to my baptistic friends I was abandoning my baptistic position, not one,( no exaggeration) bothered to ask me what happened. They were just silent. They were not interested in why I changed my mind. No one interviewed me nor sought to correct me and lead me back.

    Larry,

    If you suggested that Piper is one of those who is heretical, I am with you. I have not been following him around for years now but I used to be a fan.

    I soaked his Desiring God of long ago – until I looked at the book from Law/Gospel point of view and the criticism is correct, the guy is a neo-legalist, having Puritanistic ideas, which is again leads to incurvatus in se. Each time someone says Jonathan Edwards is his hero, you know Enthusiasm is around the corner. Enthusiasm has its twin brother, Revivalism.

    I wonder why his sermon – Sinners in the hands of an angry God is hailed to be a good sermon. It has no Gospel just Law. It appeared to me the sermon should be re-titled – Sinners in the hands of an angry preacher.

    LPC

    • I think the apologetic proof-texting as shown over the past 200 or so replies simply may not work to win over generic protestant rationalism.

      Maybe what is needed is a more basic Christological approach, backed up by the tradition of the church. For, in denying the sacramental union, our reformed brethren and sisterin(?) are really denying the very nature of Christ as taught by the church, aren’t they?

      Perhaps just the simple question then, ‘So what do you think of Christ?’ might be of some use. For, to rationalize as the reformed and anabaptists do that Christ can’t really come to me or offer forgiveness of sins in water/bread/wine, then it must follow that he can’t be both at the same time fully God and fully human either.

    • You are 100% right on Piper, MacArthur and any of them. Enthusiasm is the mark that the sacraments have ALREADY been doctrinally disconnected. That’s the common link between Rome and other protestant confessions. Luther no less saw the other reformers, for the VERY ESSENTIAL issue of the sacraments no less enthusiasts than the very Pope himself.

      As much as they, other Reformers, hate Rome they really never left her, only in externals. Doctrinally they are still home at “Rome Sweet Home”. That’s why, for example, when John MacArthur wrote his golawspel book “The Gospel According To Jesus” better titled “The Other Gospel According To John MacArthur” – when the rebuke book “Christ The Lord” came out by a compendium of solid Lutherans and what I call “hard Luther leaning Reformed folks disliked even by their own as cryptolutherans” wrote back; one of the writers rightly picked up inadvertantly on JM’s portion of “how do you know” you are saved, what separates a true fruit from a false one and likewise a sin proving ‘never converted” versus “just sin that the converted can and do do”, they replied that this comes dangerously close to Rome’s old venial mortal sin system.

      They were being kind, but I am not, it wasn’t “close” but IN FACT the exact same thing. Luther burns this up in his HD in which he turns the venial/mortal system against them. Mortal sin in the RC system being that which is deadly and separates one savingly from God, venial being not so. It hinged ironically similarly to the protestant “can’t fall away” paradigm’s what “magnitude, frequency, kind of sin” proves truly or falsely converted. Non-lutheran protestants just moved the works system to the to the “cannot fall away paradigm” and just doesn’t use the venial/mortal terminology. But whether or not you use that terminology or just some generic language, AND whether or not you call it “post conversion fall away (Rome)” or “proof of false conversion” is the same for both wish to communicate that “sin” which means God’s grace is not FOR ME. Luther turned Rome’s system, and later day protestants by extension on its ear. No longer are venial and mortal or their generic protestant romish versions based on that type, magnitude, frequency bit but Luther lays the death blow to them. The TRUE and ONLY mortal sine, that deadly sin which separates man from God savingly is ONLY those sins or good works viewed as not being mortal or deadly. In other words man MUST confess ALL deadly sin. And those sins that are NOT deadly or mortal (truly venial) are those sins and good works that are always confessed AS DEADLY. Here Luther slays, like Paul via that theology of the Cross ALL works with no exceptions. Makes man’s only hope, faith and assurance in Christ alone and thus the very sacraments which are Christ and Him crucified alone.

      This is well noted because to the chagrin and ignorance of much Baptist thought Rome is just LIKE Baptist concerning the sacraments/ordinances. I use to think as a Baptist that Rome “trusts in baptism” etc… but that is patently not true. They do not, just like other protestants, that’s why the elaborate works and penitential system is in place. Other protestants have simply moved the address of purgatory from the here after to the here now. We need a heterodox version of Dante’s “Purgatory”.

      Larry

  211. Larry said: “The sacraments are not nor have ever been non-essentials in the Christian church. This has been ubiquitous throughout the entire history of the church up until our day in American where in Christendom, broadly speaking, there is this false doctrine of the truth is relative (I.e. the sacraments are non-essential). Those who take that position fail to see that if that is true then it is they who divide on non-essentials, which is the way the explicitly define it and if one does THAT then one is most clearly by definition a sectarian person or group. To define something as non-essential then divide on it is worse than to be wrong on it, ignorantly due to the heresies that have arisen in these last days, and call it essential (though wrong) and then break.”

    It is absolutely flummoxing, though, that the ELCA has been more than willing to treat the sacraments–especially the Holy Supper–as a ‘non-essential’ thing-of-indifference when it comes to its zeal for ecumenism. This, ELCA proved once again in the most recent overwhelming vote for altar and pulpit fellowship with the United Methodists who, by all accounts, subscribe to a strictly Calvinist approach to the Supper. That, I find even more perplexing than the vote to eliminate the sin of homosexuality.

    Is baptism, then, an impediment to altar and pulpit fellowship in the ELCA and allow fellowship with the pentecostals and anabaptists, as far as ELCA is concerned? (Rhetorical question, I think we know the answer.) Thankfully, though, at least the anabaptists (Southern variety, for sure) would probably still say that it isn’t a thing of indifference when it comes to fellowship.

  212. Eric wrote:
    “Maybe what is needed is a more basic Christological approach, backed up by the tradition of the church, for to rationalize as the reformed and anabaptists do that Christ can’t really come to me or offer forgiveness of sins in water/bread/wine, then it must follow that he can’t be both at the same time fully God and fully human either”.

    This was most certainly a major blow as I began departing Reformed theology. Paul’s words about ‘not holding fast to the head’ in regards to the denial of the actual indwelling work of Christ via baptism spoken about in this chapter (Colossians 2), about the rightness of Christ mediated by such means and the folly of those who renounced such a faith in favor of more dualistic praxis rings very true today. When I then proceeded to study something of the early church’s Christology and use of the sacraments in relation to the Incarnation and the anticipation of the renewal of creation as a consequence of Christ’s redemptive work, I realized just how impoverished our understanding has become of such profound mercies of grace and fellowship.

    There is indeed a rich seam of truth to be mined, but we are so often mesmerized by our ‘small corners’ of understanding, that we miss all that has been placed upon the table in the wilderness.

  213. oldadam

    I know what you mean when you said “if you have the time”

    Thanks for your input into my questions

  214. Gav,

    😀 Yep. There’s no shortage of comments on this one.

    Lots of passion as well.

    Take care, my friend, and thanks for stopping by.

    – Steve

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: