Saturday, March 21, 2009

Baptism: Lutheran or Baptist

The baptism of a person is the washing with water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit which the Lord has given to his apostles to administer to all followers as a mark of being a disciple. Both the Baptist and the Lutheran use Matt. 28:19-20 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you everything I have commanded you. And surly I am with you always to the very end of the age. as the institution of baptism. Christian baptism that is done in Lutheran Churches is the means of God's grace until His second coming, for giving people to discipleship for Him. The Baptist and the Lutheran get the command to baptize from Matt. 28:19-20.

Baptist believe that baptism is a work (an act of obedience) that a person does. Baptism is a proclamation on God's part that brings about an outward sign to those who believe. The Baptist also believes that the water of baptism is a symbol for Christ's blood and this in turn washes away sin. No one except believers are baptized. Baptism to the Baptist is a result of faith. Baptism is also a symbol of faith which the Baptist brings from the early proselyte baptisms. Baptism in this case is a representative of salvation. Lutheran's believe that baptism is a work that God does. Baptism is a means that shows God's activity and participation. Faith and baptism are always together and never separated from on another. Faith comes through the Word of God and proceeds baptism. Faith will follow baptism. Acts 2:38-39 says "...Repent and be baptized everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, for all whom the Lord our God will call." Baptism in this verse is done in the name of Jesus. Jesus is where the power for baptism comes from. The word "for" in verse 38 is a key word because it explains the purpose of baptism. The believer is forgiven of his sins and receives the Holy Spirit. "Promise" in verse 39 equals baptism. Baptism involves an event whereby the believer puts to an end the old life and begins the new life in Christ Jesus. Baptism conveys salvation. Lutheran's believe that baptism is a means of salvation.

Baptist believe that only believers should be baptized and that faith is the threshold over which one must step into the Christian life, this faith is confessed in the act of baptism. Baptist believe that the proper mode of baptism is immersion and especially only believers should receive the rite. Baptism takes place after conversion for a Baptist. Baptism for a Lutheran is the inward reality of God's grace which is brought upon an individual through water & word. The water signifies the divine act of grace whereby God through the dying and rising of Christ regenerates sinners by bringing them into the body of Christ. Since baptism is viewed as the gracious action of God it is offered to infants soon after birth. The Holy Spirit as God and giver of life and regenerates the child to make him/her a living member of the body of Christ. The Lutheran's see this in faith. Baptism is a means of grace and it is necessary for all sinners. But baptism is not the only means. Another means is through the Word of God. Baptism is the only means in which infants can be brought to God's grace.

Baptist believe that baptism confirms the outward rite and seals the believer the knowledge of the blessings of Christ, as they are given by faith, rather than conveying them by their own proper working. Baptist and Lutheran's basically have the same benefits of baptism. the blessing that are associated with baptism are forgiveness of sins (Acts 22:16); the creation of faith (Gal. 3:26-27); the receiving of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38); and the gifts of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 12:13). The only ones Lutheran's have that Baptist don't have are regeneration (Titus 3:5); united with Christ (Rom. 6:1-7); and baptism cleanses (Eph. 5:25-27).

Why infants should be baptized. Because the command in Matt 28:19 and Mark 16:16 is all embracing, this is the reason for baptizing an infant. The old covenant had provided for children through circumcision. Baptism replaces circumcision in the New Testament. There is evidence of entire households being baptized in apostolic times (Acts 16:15,33; 18:8; I Cor. 1:16). An argument against infant baptism is a defective view of original sin. Another argument is that of faith. But faith is as necessary for an infant as it is for an adult. This baffles man in an attempt to explain one of God's mysteries.

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