McCain, baptism, and keeping his faith private

McCain shies away from religion talk – Jonathan Martin – Politico.com:

Raised Episcopalian, McCain now attends a Baptist megachurch in Phoenix. But he has not been baptized and rarely talks of his faith in anything but the broadest terms or as it relates to how it enabled him to survive 5 ½ years in captivity as a POW.

Notice how the reporter takes the Baptist view of baptism as being definitive. I’m pretty sure McCain, if he was “raised episcopalian,” WAS baptized as a baby. Baptists, of course, don’t recognize that. They only baptize for church membership. Saying McCain hasn’t been baptized in the Baptist megachurch simply means that he has not joined the Baptist church. That the Baptist view of baptism is the only one secular reporters even know is evident again in the story about the Pope baptizing that Muslim journalist, saying that he was “baptized a Catholic.” As M. Z. Hemingway pointed out, you are baptized into Christ, not into the particular denomination that baptized you, at least according to non-Baptist theologies. Baptism makes you a Christian, not a member of a particular denomination.

But what do you think about the way John McCain keeps his faith private? He does write about it in his book recounting his five years in a North Vietnamese prison camp. A lot of people, actually, are reticent about talking about such things in public. Is that a sign of a lack of faith?

UPDATE: Some commenters are saying I don’t have the Baptist view of baptism right, that baptism is not for church membership. If that’s so, thanks for the correction, but I’d like to learn more. Growing up in a heavily Baptist community, I heard this teaching about baptism that I have described.

Isn’t it true that a person who joins a Baptist church, if he was baptized in another denomination has to be baptized again? I thought that held true even if he had been immersed. Or is the mode of baptism the key, not accepting sprinkling but accepting immersion? I have heard that re-baptism is done sometimes even when going from one Baptist congregation to another. Help me out, here. Are there any Baptist pastors reading this who could elucidate the Baptist teaching and practice?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Joe

    I think it is more likely a sign of being raised episcopalian.

  • Joe

    I think it is more likely a sign of being raised episcopalian.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    I wish more candidates would keep quiet about it. It only muddies things, for Christians and non-Christians alike, but especially for Lutheran-thinking Lutherans.
    You can tell more about a candidate’s fitness for office by how he’s handled his office, than by how he’s handled his faith, or even handled his private life.
    Btw, Uwe Siemon-Netto has a wonderfully Lutheran column on the presence of religion in this election, at the Concordia Seminary Institute on Lay Vocation site.
    http://concordia.typepad.com/vocation/2008/04/election-08s-fa.html

  • Susan aka organshoes

    I wish more candidates would keep quiet about it. It only muddies things, for Christians and non-Christians alike, but especially for Lutheran-thinking Lutherans.
    You can tell more about a candidate’s fitness for office by how he’s handled his office, than by how he’s handled his faith, or even handled his private life.
    Btw, Uwe Siemon-Netto has a wonderfully Lutheran column on the presence of religion in this election, at the Concordia Seminary Institute on Lay Vocation site.
    http://concordia.typepad.com/vocation/2008/04/election-08s-fa.html

  • WebMonk

    “They only baptize for church membership.”

    Most Baptist churches do not baptize for membership, but rather upon declaration of faith in Christ. I imagine some Baptist churches do baptize people just for membership, but I think they’re the exception. I know the biggest Baptist denominations don’t. (SBC, etc.)

  • WebMonk

    “They only baptize for church membership.”

    Most Baptist churches do not baptize for membership, but rather upon declaration of faith in Christ. I imagine some Baptist churches do baptize people just for membership, but I think they’re the exception. I know the biggest Baptist denominations don’t. (SBC, etc.)

  • Bob Hunter

    He is part of that generation that thought one’s religious beliefs were private and was one of those topics that wasn’t to be spoken about. It doesn’t mean he is or isn’t a Christian, however.

  • Bob Hunter

    He is part of that generation that thought one’s religious beliefs were private and was one of those topics that wasn’t to be spoken about. It doesn’t mean he is or isn’t a Christian, however.

  • JennaT

    One’s expression of faith, in politics, seems to be in vougue only as it can be expected to further one’s political career. Perhaps McCain’s lack of discussion of his faith could be seen as both refreshing and a proper distinction between the two kingdoms. Although I never doubted his sincerity, Bush’s expression of his faith seemed to elevate him in the eyes of many on the right to the point that he was beyond reproach, even when abandoning core conservative principles. There is plenty that I disagree with John McCain on, but I am not sure this is one. Let’s hope (and pray) that his relationship with his Savior is both sincere and genuine and that it will instruct his politics rather than being a mere soundbite to further his career in them.

  • JennaT

    One’s expression of faith, in politics, seems to be in vougue only as it can be expected to further one’s political career. Perhaps McCain’s lack of discussion of his faith could be seen as both refreshing and a proper distinction between the two kingdoms. Although I never doubted his sincerity, Bush’s expression of his faith seemed to elevate him in the eyes of many on the right to the point that he was beyond reproach, even when abandoning core conservative principles. There is plenty that I disagree with John McCain on, but I am not sure this is one. Let’s hope (and pray) that his relationship with his Savior is both sincere and genuine and that it will instruct his politics rather than being a mere soundbite to further his career in them.

  • http://reformationfaith.wordpress.com/ Les Prouty

    WebMonk, having been a SBC pastor in a previous era (and now PCA elder) I do think Mr. Veith is correct when he says, “They only baptize for church membership.”

    You are correct that baptism for Baptists is upon profession of faith. That is the kind of baptism I had many years ago, by immersion. But if my children, for instance, who were baptized by sprinkling as young children ever wanted to join a Baptist church they would be required to be baptized again by immersion. Their paedobaptism would be considered invalid. So baptism is linked to membership.
    Hence, children are not considered members in a Baptist church until profession of faith and baptism.

    But as to McCain, and any other candidates, I for one do want to know about their faith. I think a person’s faith influences so much of their life and viewpoints.

  • http://reformationfaith.wordpress.com/ Les Prouty

    WebMonk, having been a SBC pastor in a previous era (and now PCA elder) I do think Mr. Veith is correct when he says, “They only baptize for church membership.”

    You are correct that baptism for Baptists is upon profession of faith. That is the kind of baptism I had many years ago, by immersion. But if my children, for instance, who were baptized by sprinkling as young children ever wanted to join a Baptist church they would be required to be baptized again by immersion. Their paedobaptism would be considered invalid. So baptism is linked to membership.
    Hence, children are not considered members in a Baptist church until profession of faith and baptism.

    But as to McCain, and any other candidates, I for one do want to know about their faith. I think a person’s faith influences so much of their life and viewpoints.

  • Art Going

    You’re certainly right about reporters’ general ignorance about theological/denominational particulars. But not even Baptists hold that baptism is into a particular Baptist denomination. It’s just that they beleive that baptism is one’s own action (not God’s)–a personal profession of faith that is evidence of one’s having become a Christian, not the means by which one becomes a Christian.

  • Art Going

    You’re certainly right about reporters’ general ignorance about theological/denominational particulars. But not even Baptists hold that baptism is into a particular Baptist denomination. It’s just that they beleive that baptism is one’s own action (not God’s)–a personal profession of faith that is evidence of one’s having become a Christian, not the means by which one becomes a Christian.

  • http://StevenAdkins.blogspot.com Steven

    I have cringed at the sudden interest of every candidates “faith” and “faith journey”. This country gets on my nerves, especially with this jargon.

    Let the politicians tell me what they believe concerning politics and legislation. I don’t want to hear anything else. In fact, they might say something really stupid that may keep me from wanting to vote for them.

  • http://StevenAdkins.blogspot.com Steven

    I have cringed at the sudden interest of every candidates “faith” and “faith journey”. This country gets on my nerves, especially with this jargon.

    Let the politicians tell me what they believe concerning politics and legislation. I don’t want to hear anything else. In fact, they might say something really stupid that may keep me from wanting to vote for them.

  • Larry

    Ron Paul kept quiet about his devout Christian faith, and look how far that got him.

  • Larry

    Ron Paul kept quiet about his devout Christian faith, and look how far that got him.

  • utahrainbow

    Susan aka… #2
    Great link, thanks!

  • utahrainbow

    Susan aka… #2
    Great link, thanks!

  • Chilibean

    I am Baptist, and yes Baptism in our church precedes membership in our church/denomination. But, it we do not exclude if one was baptized (by immersion) within a Missionary Alliance, Evangelical Free, or other denomination. Baptism as understood by ‘us’ is that it is an outward sign of an inward experience of the death, burial and resurrection of one’s heart and alliance with Jesus Christ. Therefore, sprinkling as a baby/child is not something that the baby has requested and holds no outward expression of the inner change of heart of the baby/child. As to John Mc’s quiet faith, I believe it cowardice not to being Hot as Revelation 3:15-16 speaks of. He’s more luke warm to cold.

  • Chilibean

    I am Baptist, and yes Baptism in our church precedes membership in our church/denomination. But, it we do not exclude if one was baptized (by immersion) within a Missionary Alliance, Evangelical Free, or other denomination. Baptism as understood by ‘us’ is that it is an outward sign of an inward experience of the death, burial and resurrection of one’s heart and alliance with Jesus Christ. Therefore, sprinkling as a baby/child is not something that the baby has requested and holds no outward expression of the inner change of heart of the baby/child. As to John Mc’s quiet faith, I believe it cowardice not to being Hot as Revelation 3:15-16 speaks of. He’s more luke warm to cold.

  • WebMonk

    Baptism is a requirement for membership (non-infant, immersion) in all the Baptist churches I know of, but as long as a believer has been baptized in their previous church, none of them insisted that they be re-baptized to join.

    Of the people I know who joined a Baptist church from another church, none of them had to be re-baptized since they had been baptized as adults in their previous church.

    The Baptist pastors I’ve talked with have never indicated that they require a new member to be baptized if they have already been baptized as an adult by another church/denomination.

    I realize most of that is anecdotal “evidence”, but there is enough of it that I’m pretty sure it’s representative of Baptist churches as a whole.

  • WebMonk

    Baptism is a requirement for membership (non-infant, immersion) in all the Baptist churches I know of, but as long as a believer has been baptized in their previous church, none of them insisted that they be re-baptized to join.

    Of the people I know who joined a Baptist church from another church, none of them had to be re-baptized since they had been baptized as adults in their previous church.

    The Baptist pastors I’ve talked with have never indicated that they require a new member to be baptized if they have already been baptized as an adult by another church/denomination.

    I realize most of that is anecdotal “evidence”, but there is enough of it that I’m pretty sure it’s representative of Baptist churches as a whole.

  • The Jones

    I’m concerned about my lack of observance about McCain’s Christianity on a spiritual level, for I hope it is truly sincere and understood. But on the marco-level, it’s kind of refreshing.

    I like JennaT’s observation, and looking at the same phenomenon from a different angle, I worry about how instead of elevating Politics with Christianity, we lower Christianity with Politics. I have more than once had people reject Christian principles in conversation because of the mental association they had of those principles to the Republican Party. Ouch.

    I think a quiet instruction is far better than a public association.

  • The Jones

    I’m concerned about my lack of observance about McCain’s Christianity on a spiritual level, for I hope it is truly sincere and understood. But on the marco-level, it’s kind of refreshing.

    I like JennaT’s observation, and looking at the same phenomenon from a different angle, I worry about how instead of elevating Politics with Christianity, we lower Christianity with Politics. I have more than once had people reject Christian principles in conversation because of the mental association they had of those principles to the Republican Party. Ouch.

    I think a quiet instruction is far better than a public association.

  • WebMonk

    addendum: I’ve heard of (via the Internet, never personally) of Baptist churches requiring all new members to be baptized, regardless of any previous baptisms.

    Several of those statements were accompanied by suggestions that the re-baptism “requirement” was from a desire to improve the reported numbers of baptisms, not for theological reasons. That sounds EMINENTLY probable.

  • WebMonk

    addendum: I’ve heard of (via the Internet, never personally) of Baptist churches requiring all new members to be baptized, regardless of any previous baptisms.

    Several of those statements were accompanied by suggestions that the re-baptism “requirement” was from a desire to improve the reported numbers of baptisms, not for theological reasons. That sounds EMINENTLY probable.

  • http://merbc.invigorated.org/ Charles Sebold

    I will note, however, that the “Landmark” movement in Baptist churches has a sort of hyperbaptist view of this, perhaps similar to what the author alluded to earlier – baptism was a function of local churches only, one was baptized into membership in the local church, and required a certain understanding of the doctrine of baptism as well as a profession of faith. (In some ways this holds some similarity to the Church of Christ’s view.) However, historically the Baptists that trace their roots to London Baptist confessions of faith would argue that Les Prouty and Art Going (above) are correct in their statements about the Baptist view of baptism – it is an ordinance that follows regeneration and faith, is usually among the first acts of a new believer in Christ, and is only appropriately done by immersion. Having been done in faith, once is enough (although many elect to do it again if they find later in life that they did not, in fact, trust Christ for salvation).

  • http://merbc.invigorated.org/ Charles Sebold

    I will note, however, that the “Landmark” movement in Baptist churches has a sort of hyperbaptist view of this, perhaps similar to what the author alluded to earlier – baptism was a function of local churches only, one was baptized into membership in the local church, and required a certain understanding of the doctrine of baptism as well as a profession of faith. (In some ways this holds some similarity to the Church of Christ’s view.) However, historically the Baptists that trace their roots to London Baptist confessions of faith would argue that Les Prouty and Art Going (above) are correct in their statements about the Baptist view of baptism – it is an ordinance that follows regeneration and faith, is usually among the first acts of a new believer in Christ, and is only appropriately done by immersion. Having been done in faith, once is enough (although many elect to do it again if they find later in life that they did not, in fact, trust Christ for salvation).

  • Chilibean

    Membership in our Baptist Church doesn’t mean you must be an adult to be Baptized. My 9 and 10 year olds were Baptized just this past month. They can now apply for membership, but would not be allowed to vote in Business Meetings until they are 18(?).

  • Chilibean

    Membership in our Baptist Church doesn’t mean you must be an adult to be Baptized. My 9 and 10 year olds were Baptized just this past month. They can now apply for membership, but would not be allowed to vote in Business Meetings until they are 18(?).

  • kerner

    Chilibean:

    It might not be cowardice; it might simply be humility.

    McCain has released a political comercial about a Vietnamese guard secretly helping him and then drawing a cross in the dirt so McCain could see why the guard was giving him the help.

    On McCain’s website you can find a link where he talks about his faith, how it sustained him in prison, and how (when he was delivered from prison) he concluded that God had a plan for his life. Then McCain hastens to add that he DOES NOT (emphasis his) mean that he thinks that God wants him to be president.

    Of course, if McCain DOES become president, it will mean that it is exactly what God, in His sovereign will, wants. But I think McCain, as driven as he is to become president, finds it extremely egotistical to claim God’s divine vocation to the presidency prior to actually being inaugurated.

    McCain is also a big fan of Teddy Roosevelt, who takes the (“talk softly and carry a big stick”) actions speak louder than words approach to alot of issues, and religion is probably one of these. When you add this to his upbringing by religiously observant but flawed men, you probably get a man who does not wear his heart, religiously or otherwise, on his sleeve.

  • kerner

    Chilibean:

    It might not be cowardice; it might simply be humility.

    McCain has released a political comercial about a Vietnamese guard secretly helping him and then drawing a cross in the dirt so McCain could see why the guard was giving him the help.

    On McCain’s website you can find a link where he talks about his faith, how it sustained him in prison, and how (when he was delivered from prison) he concluded that God had a plan for his life. Then McCain hastens to add that he DOES NOT (emphasis his) mean that he thinks that God wants him to be president.

    Of course, if McCain DOES become president, it will mean that it is exactly what God, in His sovereign will, wants. But I think McCain, as driven as he is to become president, finds it extremely egotistical to claim God’s divine vocation to the presidency prior to actually being inaugurated.

    McCain is also a big fan of Teddy Roosevelt, who takes the (“talk softly and carry a big stick”) actions speak louder than words approach to alot of issues, and religion is probably one of these. When you add this to his upbringing by religiously observant but flawed men, you probably get a man who does not wear his heart, religiously or otherwise, on his sleeve.

  • WebMonk

    Sorry, I should clarify – I only meant adult baptism as non-infant baptism. Baptisms as a child/teen were meant to be included when I said “adult baptism”.

    So why didn’t I say so? Brain-glitch. My mistake.

  • WebMonk

    Sorry, I should clarify – I only meant adult baptism as non-infant baptism. Baptisms as a child/teen were meant to be included when I said “adult baptism”.

    So why didn’t I say so? Brain-glitch. My mistake.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    First of all, it’s probably an error to speak of “the” Baptist position on baptism for the same reason that it’s an error to speak of “the” Lutheran position on anything. Not a terrible lot of agreement between ELCA and Missouri, and in the same way, there’s often not a terrible lot of agreement between the American Baptists, Southern Baptists, and fundamental Baptists.

    In general, though, the historic Baptist distinctive is that Baptism is an immersion (its definition after all in the Greek), and it is a step of obedience (not a sacrament) performed on believers. Most, but not all, Baptists will accept other churches’ baptisms as long as they are immersions of believers. It is a generally a prerequisite to church membership.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    First of all, it’s probably an error to speak of “the” Baptist position on baptism for the same reason that it’s an error to speak of “the” Lutheran position on anything. Not a terrible lot of agreement between ELCA and Missouri, and in the same way, there’s often not a terrible lot of agreement between the American Baptists, Southern Baptists, and fundamental Baptists.

    In general, though, the historic Baptist distinctive is that Baptism is an immersion (its definition after all in the Greek), and it is a step of obedience (not a sacrament) performed on believers. Most, but not all, Baptists will accept other churches’ baptisms as long as they are immersions of believers. It is a generally a prerequisite to church membership.

  • Don S

    Also having been raised Baptist, I can confirm that the act of baptism is considered to be an act of obedience to the scriptural command to be baptized, as a public declaration of one’s idenfication with Christ as their personal Savior. I’ve never heard of any Baptist church requiring that one be re-baptized in order to be a member or for any other reason, as long as they were originally baptized by immersion (in any other denominational or non-denominational church) after they were saved. According to baptist doctrine, an infant baptism would not be sufficient, both because the infant has not yet believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, and because he/she has not been immersed. While most baptist churches require baptism for membership, it is most certainly not the reason for baptism. The reason for baptism is obedience to God, and a desire to publicly identify with Christ. My wife had become a Christian in a Friends church in California, which denomination does not regularly practice the Sacraments, and so she had not been baptized when we got married. When she was baptized in our church in northern VA shortly after we married, she invited all of her co-workers in the Congressional office where she worked. It was an awesome opportunity to publicly identify with Christ and evangelize at the same time!

    As for McCain’s reticence to discuss his faith, there are many folks like that and one can’t presume to judge another’s spiritual condition on that basis. Personally, I would rather have a politician say little about their faith than to use it as a political tool. My impression of McCain is that he perhaps was not particularly active in his faith for many years, and in recent years has perhaps been somewhat re-vitalized in his Christian walk, but this impression is not based on anything concrete.

  • Don S

    Also having been raised Baptist, I can confirm that the act of baptism is considered to be an act of obedience to the scriptural command to be baptized, as a public declaration of one’s idenfication with Christ as their personal Savior. I’ve never heard of any Baptist church requiring that one be re-baptized in order to be a member or for any other reason, as long as they were originally baptized by immersion (in any other denominational or non-denominational church) after they were saved. According to baptist doctrine, an infant baptism would not be sufficient, both because the infant has not yet believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, and because he/she has not been immersed. While most baptist churches require baptism for membership, it is most certainly not the reason for baptism. The reason for baptism is obedience to God, and a desire to publicly identify with Christ. My wife had become a Christian in a Friends church in California, which denomination does not regularly practice the Sacraments, and so she had not been baptized when we got married. When she was baptized in our church in northern VA shortly after we married, she invited all of her co-workers in the Congressional office where she worked. It was an awesome opportunity to publicly identify with Christ and evangelize at the same time!

    As for McCain’s reticence to discuss his faith, there are many folks like that and one can’t presume to judge another’s spiritual condition on that basis. Personally, I would rather have a politician say little about their faith than to use it as a political tool. My impression of McCain is that he perhaps was not particularly active in his faith for many years, and in recent years has perhaps been somewhat re-vitalized in his Christian walk, but this impression is not based on anything concrete.

  • Bror Erickson

    I think Kerner may be right McCain probably speaks more with action, than most do with words. I’m not totally enamored with McCain. But he will probably get my vote, barring the second coming of Christ. For all I know it may turn out to be the best vote I ever make. He probably knows also that he makes a much better politician than a theologian.
    For those who want to judge him for his reticence to profess his faith in public, how do you know what his faith is? Can you read hearts? It may be a much stronger, more burning faith, then many politicians who publicly prostitute their faith for the sake of votes, and quite possibly don’t believe a word of it. And for all you know he may be very open to sharing his faith ith others in more appropriate circumstances.

  • Bror Erickson

    I think Kerner may be right McCain probably speaks more with action, than most do with words. I’m not totally enamored with McCain. But he will probably get my vote, barring the second coming of Christ. For all I know it may turn out to be the best vote I ever make. He probably knows also that he makes a much better politician than a theologian.
    For those who want to judge him for his reticence to profess his faith in public, how do you know what his faith is? Can you read hearts? It may be a much stronger, more burning faith, then many politicians who publicly prostitute their faith for the sake of votes, and quite possibly don’t believe a word of it. And for all you know he may be very open to sharing his faith ith others in more appropriate circumstances.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com Kevin N

    All SBC churches that I am familiar with require baptism (believer’s baptism, of course) for membership, but would not give membership as the reason for baptism.

    I was part of an independent fundamentalist Baptist church in college that did not require baptism or re-baptism as a requirement for membership. While I admire this, it did lead to having members who had never been baptized. Because I believe in justification by grace through faith, I believe it is possible to be a true believer without being baptized, but it doesn’t seem right to stay in that state. The phrase “unbaptized Christian” seems a little like an oxymoron.

    I’m in a denomination (Evangelical Free) that has congregations that practice believer’s baptism by immersion, and others that practice infant baptism by sprinkling. I haven’t seen an instance where someone was denied membership in a “baptist” E-Free church because their infant baptism was viewed as invalid, but I suppose it is a possibility.

    Er, um… Isn’t saying that someone else’s baptism is invalid sort of like denying someone communion just because they don’t belong to their denomination?

    Grace and Peace

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com Kevin N

    All SBC churches that I am familiar with require baptism (believer’s baptism, of course) for membership, but would not give membership as the reason for baptism.

    I was part of an independent fundamentalist Baptist church in college that did not require baptism or re-baptism as a requirement for membership. While I admire this, it did lead to having members who had never been baptized. Because I believe in justification by grace through faith, I believe it is possible to be a true believer without being baptized, but it doesn’t seem right to stay in that state. The phrase “unbaptized Christian” seems a little like an oxymoron.

    I’m in a denomination (Evangelical Free) that has congregations that practice believer’s baptism by immersion, and others that practice infant baptism by sprinkling. I haven’t seen an instance where someone was denied membership in a “baptist” E-Free church because their infant baptism was viewed as invalid, but I suppose it is a possibility.

    Er, um… Isn’t saying that someone else’s baptism is invalid sort of like denying someone communion just because they don’t belong to their denomination?

    Grace and Peace

  • WebMonk

    “Er, um… Isn’t saying that someone else’s baptism is invalid sort of like denying someone communion just because they don’t belong to their denomination?”

    ROTFLOL! Yeah, you could say that, but I wouldn’t say it very loudly if I were you! :^)

  • WebMonk

    “Er, um… Isn’t saying that someone else’s baptism is invalid sort of like denying someone communion just because they don’t belong to their denomination?”

    ROTFLOL! Yeah, you could say that, but I wouldn’t say it very loudly if I were you! :^)

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com Kevin N

    WebMonk: Thanks for the advice. I won’t say it again. Perhaps no one noticed.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com Kevin N

    WebMonk: Thanks for the advice. I won’t say it again. Perhaps no one noticed.

  • Bror Erickson

    Kevin N,
    there definitely is something oxymoronic about an unbaptized believer. Faith wants baptism, desires it, and leads a person to it. Of course there is always the “exception.” Often you have adult converts that have not yet been baptized but are going through some sort of adult information course, or confirmation for adults, before they are baptized. I have as a pastor traditionally done this, had adult converts seeking membership wait to be instructed in Luther’s Small Catechism before baptizing them. However, I sometimes wonder if this is the right approach. Or if I maybe ought to baptize and then instruct? I tend to be a traditionalist though, so I wat to thoroughly convince myself that the tradition is wrong before i trow it out. Any other pastors have thoughts about that? I guess I think about Acts chapter 2, the story about the Ethiopian Eunuch, the fact that baptism is all grace, no double edged sword there like with Holy communion, that with children we baptize and then instruct….
    to answer you last question though Kevin, I suppose it is the reason you are claiming their baptism is invalid. I have often found the baptist position to be somewhat confusing for me. i had one baptist tell me baptism didn’t do anything for me, and then get fairly livid over the fact that my baptism wasn’t valid, and I couldn’t rely on it. But I always baptize Mormon converts, their baptism isn’t valid for their messed up doctrine on the Trinity.

  • Bror Erickson

    Kevin N,
    there definitely is something oxymoronic about an unbaptized believer. Faith wants baptism, desires it, and leads a person to it. Of course there is always the “exception.” Often you have adult converts that have not yet been baptized but are going through some sort of adult information course, or confirmation for adults, before they are baptized. I have as a pastor traditionally done this, had adult converts seeking membership wait to be instructed in Luther’s Small Catechism before baptizing them. However, I sometimes wonder if this is the right approach. Or if I maybe ought to baptize and then instruct? I tend to be a traditionalist though, so I wat to thoroughly convince myself that the tradition is wrong before i trow it out. Any other pastors have thoughts about that? I guess I think about Acts chapter 2, the story about the Ethiopian Eunuch, the fact that baptism is all grace, no double edged sword there like with Holy communion, that with children we baptize and then instruct….
    to answer you last question though Kevin, I suppose it is the reason you are claiming their baptism is invalid. I have often found the baptist position to be somewhat confusing for me. i had one baptist tell me baptism didn’t do anything for me, and then get fairly livid over the fact that my baptism wasn’t valid, and I couldn’t rely on it. But I always baptize Mormon converts, their baptism isn’t valid for their messed up doctrine on the Trinity.

  • Barry Bishop

    I’m a Southern Baptist pastor in training (at seminary).

    Baptists, like the Anabaptists, hold that baptism is only for those who believe. This would exclude infants since they do not have the capacity to repent of sin and place their faith alone in Jesus. This “believer’s baptism” is thus a symbol of what has already taken place after the conversion of the believer. Immersion is a picture of the believer being buried to sin and raised to newness of life in Christ (Rom. 6:4). Balthasar Hubmaier, an Anabaptist theologian, defended this view during the Reformation.

    Also, here is the official stance from the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, Article VII, “Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord’s Supper.”

  • Barry Bishop

    I’m a Southern Baptist pastor in training (at seminary).

    Baptists, like the Anabaptists, hold that baptism is only for those who believe. This would exclude infants since they do not have the capacity to repent of sin and place their faith alone in Jesus. This “believer’s baptism” is thus a symbol of what has already taken place after the conversion of the believer. Immersion is a picture of the believer being buried to sin and raised to newness of life in Christ (Rom. 6:4). Balthasar Hubmaier, an Anabaptist theologian, defended this view during the Reformation.

    Also, here is the official stance from the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, Article VII, “Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord’s Supper.”

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com Kevin N

    Bror,

    Baptists run into the same “Do we instruct and then baptize?” vs. “Or do we baptize and then instruct?” issue. I know of Baptist churches here in Eastern Europe that have a two-year instruction and waiting period, just to make sure the candidates for baptism are really sincere and committed. But this really seems to take grace out of baptism, and to say “Christ accepts you only if you measure up.” I’ll take the “baptize the Ethiopian” on the spot approach over that one.

    I agree that baptism often becomes optional in many baptist (with a little-b) and “non-denominational” churches, and this is wrong. To many, baptism (or communion) really doesn’t mean all that much, compared to the “important” things in the Christian life, such as evangelism and being involved in ministry. A lot of this, I think, comes from the discipleship programs of parachurch organizations such as Campus Crusade or the Navigators. There is a lot of good stuff in this material (be in the Word, pray, fellowship, evangelism…) but there is never a mention of baptism or communion.

    And I agree about re-baptizing Mormons or other cult members, or anyone coming from a non-Trinitarian group.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com Kevin N

    Bror,

    Baptists run into the same “Do we instruct and then baptize?” vs. “Or do we baptize and then instruct?” issue. I know of Baptist churches here in Eastern Europe that have a two-year instruction and waiting period, just to make sure the candidates for baptism are really sincere and committed. But this really seems to take grace out of baptism, and to say “Christ accepts you only if you measure up.” I’ll take the “baptize the Ethiopian” on the spot approach over that one.

    I agree that baptism often becomes optional in many baptist (with a little-b) and “non-denominational” churches, and this is wrong. To many, baptism (or communion) really doesn’t mean all that much, compared to the “important” things in the Christian life, such as evangelism and being involved in ministry. A lot of this, I think, comes from the discipleship programs of parachurch organizations such as Campus Crusade or the Navigators. There is a lot of good stuff in this material (be in the Word, pray, fellowship, evangelism…) but there is never a mention of baptism or communion.

    And I agree about re-baptizing Mormons or other cult members, or anyone coming from a non-Trinitarian group.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com Kevin N

    I’m curious: are there instances where someone was baptized with water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, whether as an infant or “adult,” in which Lutherans would re-baptize?

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com Kevin N

    I’m curious: are there instances where someone was baptized with water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, whether as an infant or “adult,” in which Lutherans would re-baptize?

  • fw sonnek

    #28 Kevin N

    Mormons baptize by immersion in the name of the father son and holy ghost. Lutherans would rebaptize them. Or at least I would hope that they would.

  • fw sonnek

    #28 Kevin N

    Mormons baptize by immersion in the name of the father son and holy ghost. Lutherans would rebaptize them. Or at least I would hope that they would.

  • Bror Erickson

    No we don’t re-baptize Mormons, we baptize them. Unfortunately though Mormons use the phraseology, they are not baptized into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But rather, because of their doctrine of the Trinity, they are baptized into the NAMES of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, since these three in their doctrine have no more unity the three men at a board room table.

    If Kevin N was making a slight in his ealrier post to the LCMS for practicing closed communion, then He and Webmonk should know that not belonging to our denomination is not the reason we practice closed communion. Rather it has to do with what a person believes, or has been instructed to believe regarding the Lord’s Supper. Ican’t take responsibility for what my members actually believe, but i can take responsibiblity for what they have been instructed to believe, and if they haven’t been instructed rightly it is doubtful that they believe rightly, and that could cause them great harm judging from what St. Paul says.

  • Bror Erickson

    No we don’t re-baptize Mormons, we baptize them. Unfortunately though Mormons use the phraseology, they are not baptized into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But rather, because of their doctrine of the Trinity, they are baptized into the NAMES of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, since these three in their doctrine have no more unity the three men at a board room table.

    If Kevin N was making a slight in his ealrier post to the LCMS for practicing closed communion, then He and Webmonk should know that not belonging to our denomination is not the reason we practice closed communion. Rather it has to do with what a person believes, or has been instructed to believe regarding the Lord’s Supper. Ican’t take responsibility for what my members actually believe, but i can take responsibiblity for what they have been instructed to believe, and if they haven’t been instructed rightly it is doubtful that they believe rightly, and that could cause them great harm judging from what St. Paul says.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Yep, we do rebaptize here in good old idolatrous Salt Lake City! My understanding is that some time back the R. Catholics in the area stopped doing this. But they repented of that some time ago. Lutheran Pastors, please rebaptize all the Mormons who turn from their false gods to the Living God who forgives all sins now freely apart from works (such as a false understanding of the believers role of working faith in baptism before they can do it – No, Baptism is all God’s Work – its what His Word does – Christ be praised!).

    But for other Christian baptisms, my understanding and practice is that Lutherans should never rebaptize. Our trust is in God’s Work and presence in the Lord’s gift of Baptism. Yay – the pressure is taken from me and all of it is borne by Christ crucified and risen!

    And by the way, let’s pray for a fairly quiet presidency as well – oh for a president who understands the proper limits of presidential powers.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Yep, we do rebaptize here in good old idolatrous Salt Lake City! My understanding is that some time back the R. Catholics in the area stopped doing this. But they repented of that some time ago. Lutheran Pastors, please rebaptize all the Mormons who turn from their false gods to the Living God who forgives all sins now freely apart from works (such as a false understanding of the believers role of working faith in baptism before they can do it – No, Baptism is all God’s Work – its what His Word does – Christ be praised!).

    But for other Christian baptisms, my understanding and practice is that Lutherans should never rebaptize. Our trust is in God’s Work and presence in the Lord’s gift of Baptism. Yay – the pressure is taken from me and all of it is borne by Christ crucified and risen!

    And by the way, let’s pray for a fairly quiet presidency as well – oh for a president who understands the proper limits of presidential powers.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Yeah, Bror – its not rebaptize, but an actual first time / only time Christian Baptism for the Mormon who is brought by the Holy Spirit to true faith. It is good to keep that clear.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Yeah, Bror – its not rebaptize, but an actual first time / only time Christian Baptism for the Mormon who is brought by the Holy Spirit to true faith. It is good to keep that clear.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Closed communion points back to the passage in 1 Corinthians where a curse is pronounced on anyone who takes it in an unworthy manner; church membership is one way of differentiating those who are worthy of taking it from those who don’t.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Closed communion points back to the passage in 1 Corinthians where a curse is pronounced on anyone who takes it in an unworthy manner; church membership is one way of differentiating those who are worthy of taking it from those who don’t.

  • Another Kerner

    Kevin N at #24……

    I think some of us may have noticed. :-)

  • Another Kerner

    Kevin N at #24……

    I think some of us may have noticed. :-)

  • Don S

    Barry @ #26 — I am curious about the last sentence in your post, quoting from what I gather is an SBC document: “Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord’s Supper.” I was raised in an independent fundamentalist Baptist church, but my parents were members of a conservative SBC church in FL for some 17 years. It always struck me that the Communion table was open to visitors from other denominations, with only the customary pastoral admonition from I Cor. 11 that those partaking examine themselves to ensure that they are worthy (meaning saved and in a state of unbroken fellowship with God and others in the Body of Christ). I never heard an admonition that one must be baptized to partake of Communion.

  • Don S

    Barry @ #26 — I am curious about the last sentence in your post, quoting from what I gather is an SBC document: “Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord’s Supper.” I was raised in an independent fundamentalist Baptist church, but my parents were members of a conservative SBC church in FL for some 17 years. It always struck me that the Communion table was open to visitors from other denominations, with only the customary pastoral admonition from I Cor. 11 that those partaking examine themselves to ensure that they are worthy (meaning saved and in a state of unbroken fellowship with God and others in the Body of Christ). I never heard an admonition that one must be baptized to partake of Communion.

  • Bror Erickson

    Of course Kevin n, and Webmonk,
    I have often wonddered why so many take offense at not being able to commune with us Lutherans before they have been instructed as to what it is we believe not only about the Lord’s Supper, but in other areas of basic Christian, that is Lutheran, doctrine. As so many of them think that what we are doing is blasphemous anyway. When I attend to a R.C. service, or one of many different protestant services, I cringe at the prospect of communing there, of affirming the false doctrine of the sacrifice of the mass, or of the false doctrine of the vacuousness of the bread and the wine protestants tend to be adamant in proclaiming.

  • Bror Erickson

    Of course Kevin n, and Webmonk,
    I have often wonddered why so many take offense at not being able to commune with us Lutherans before they have been instructed as to what it is we believe not only about the Lord’s Supper, but in other areas of basic Christian, that is Lutheran, doctrine. As so many of them think that what we are doing is blasphemous anyway. When I attend to a R.C. service, or one of many different protestant services, I cringe at the prospect of communing there, of affirming the false doctrine of the sacrifice of the mass, or of the false doctrine of the vacuousness of the bread and the wine protestants tend to be adamant in proclaiming.

  • Barry Bishop

    Don S @ #35

    Since Southern Baptist churches are autonomous they have no hierarchy above the local church. (However, they voluntarily associate with Baptist churches of like belief to do missions, etc.) Therefore, each individual Baptist church decides whether to have “open” communion, “close” communion, or “closed” communion. However, implied in each of these is the understanding that whoever is taking communion is saved, i.e. born-again, regenerate, etc.

    Since baptism is to be the first act of obedience of a believer (not only in Baptist belief, but we would argue in the Bible) then Baptist churches assume the Lord’s Supper is only for the baptized, that is, saved.

  • Barry Bishop

    Don S @ #35

    Since Southern Baptist churches are autonomous they have no hierarchy above the local church. (However, they voluntarily associate with Baptist churches of like belief to do missions, etc.) Therefore, each individual Baptist church decides whether to have “open” communion, “close” communion, or “closed” communion. However, implied in each of these is the understanding that whoever is taking communion is saved, i.e. born-again, regenerate, etc.

    Since baptism is to be the first act of obedience of a believer (not only in Baptist belief, but we would argue in the Bible) then Baptist churches assume the Lord’s Supper is only for the baptized, that is, saved.

  • Don S

    Thanks, Barry.

  • Don S

    Thanks, Barry.

  • Joe

    Since it has come up could someone please actually tell me what “close communion” is? I have always used the term “closed communion.” So please help me out here. I hear close communion and I think that someone is afraid to actually say closed.

  • Joe

    Since it has come up could someone please actually tell me what “close communion” is? I have always used the term “closed communion.” So please help me out here. I hear close communion and I think that someone is afraid to actually say closed.

  • WebMonk

    Close Communion – The theological belief held by various Christians that communion ought to be held by a group gathered as tightly together as physically possible. This is to satisfy the regulative principle that Communion was a means of drawing the early church together.

    Sorry, that’s the best I could come up. Anyone else have a better one? :^)

  • WebMonk

    Close Communion – The theological belief held by various Christians that communion ought to be held by a group gathered as tightly together as physically possible. This is to satisfy the regulative principle that Communion was a means of drawing the early church together.

    Sorry, that’s the best I could come up. Anyone else have a better one? :^)

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Joe (@39), I believe “close” communion is synonymous with “closed” communion, but was invented to avoid the connotations of “closed”, as in “closed to outsiders or otherwise unworthy” or “we don’t want you”. It also emphasizes the nature of communion that seems to have been lost with the word “communion” itself — that of being gathered, united as one, both between the believer and God, and between fellow believers. This unity, or closeness, comes not from warm mutual feelings (though they are there), but from a shared faith in Jesus.

    That said, I see nothing terribly derogatory about the term “closed” communion.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Joe (@39), I believe “close” communion is synonymous with “closed” communion, but was invented to avoid the connotations of “closed”, as in “closed to outsiders or otherwise unworthy” or “we don’t want you”. It also emphasizes the nature of communion that seems to have been lost with the word “communion” itself — that of being gathered, united as one, both between the believer and God, and between fellow believers. This unity, or closeness, comes not from warm mutual feelings (though they are there), but from a shared faith in Jesus.

    That said, I see nothing terribly derogatory about the term “closed” communion.

  • Duane

    OK, let me set the record straight. I speak as a member of the same independent, fundamental Baptist Church for the past 22 years. A church that is not a member of any organization such as the SBC, but is a truly independent Baptist Church. If you want to join our church, and you have come to faith in Christ previously and been baptized by immersion in any other true gospel believing church, (even a non-baptist church!) you may join our church by statement of faith or letter of transfer from your previous church. As far as being baptized into “the church”, we hold that your baptism is into the true church, The Body of Christ. We obviously require baptism by immersion for membership in our local church because you must be a professing. baptized member of the Body of Christ to hold membership in our local body.

  • Duane

    OK, let me set the record straight. I speak as a member of the same independent, fundamental Baptist Church for the past 22 years. A church that is not a member of any organization such as the SBC, but is a truly independent Baptist Church. If you want to join our church, and you have come to faith in Christ previously and been baptized by immersion in any other true gospel believing church, (even a non-baptist church!) you may join our church by statement of faith or letter of transfer from your previous church. As far as being baptized into “the church”, we hold that your baptism is into the true church, The Body of Christ. We obviously require baptism by immersion for membership in our local church because you must be a professing. baptized member of the Body of Christ to hold membership in our local body.

  • Joe

    Thanks for the info re: close v closed communion.

    Now, why do all you baptists require dunking and reject sprinkling?

    Would you require a person who was baptized as an adult but was baptized by sprinkling to “take the plung”?

  • Joe

    Thanks for the info re: close v closed communion.

    Now, why do all you baptists require dunking and reject sprinkling?

    Would you require a person who was baptized as an adult but was baptized by sprinkling to “take the plung”?

  • Don S

    Joe, I think Barry Bishop at #26 answered your first question, as to why Baptists baptize by immersion. The scriptural evidence points to immersion as the original N.T. mode of baptism and it is a picture of the believer being buried to sin and raised to newness of life in Christ.

    For that reason, regarding your hypothetical, Baptists would insist on re-baptism of the adult in question by immersion.

  • Don S

    Joe, I think Barry Bishop at #26 answered your first question, as to why Baptists baptize by immersion. The scriptural evidence points to immersion as the original N.T. mode of baptism and it is a picture of the believer being buried to sin and raised to newness of life in Christ.

    For that reason, regarding your hypothetical, Baptists would insist on re-baptism of the adult in question by immersion.

  • http://www.myownthoughts.com Suzi

    I visited a Baptist church during college. They said that to become a member of the congregation you had to be baptized. (I asked specifically. They said I would have to be re-baptized, though I was baptized as a young person.)

    But I attended a Baptist church when my children were small and all that was expected was for the person to have been a believer when they were baptized.

    I guess it just depends on the church. Or maybe on the pastor.

  • http://www.myownthoughts.com Suzi

    I visited a Baptist church during college. They said that to become a member of the congregation you had to be baptized. (I asked specifically. They said I would have to be re-baptized, though I was baptized as a young person.)

    But I attended a Baptist church when my children were small and all that was expected was for the person to have been a believer when they were baptized.

    I guess it just depends on the church. Or maybe on the pastor.

  • Don S

    Suzi @ #45 — At any Baptist church I ever attended, there was no requirement that you be an adult to be baptized. There was only a requirement that you make a profession of faith. An interview with the pastor is a typical pre-requisite so that he can ascertain the spiritual condition of the person desiring baptism. My daughter was baptized when she was 5, but she was able to make a very clear profession of faith, and our pastor was very happy to baptize her.

  • Don S

    Suzi @ #45 — At any Baptist church I ever attended, there was no requirement that you be an adult to be baptized. There was only a requirement that you make a profession of faith. An interview with the pastor is a typical pre-requisite so that he can ascertain the spiritual condition of the person desiring baptism. My daughter was baptized when she was 5, but she was able to make a very clear profession of faith, and our pastor was very happy to baptize her.

  • Another Kerner

    Perhaps this may the moment to bring to mind the thief on the cross, who made a confession of faith and was not “baptized”.

    Or:

    Consider the infant in cousin Elizabeth’s womb when Mary
    told of the coming Messiah in her own womb.

    Scripture tells us that the babe in Elizabeth’s womb “leaped for joy” at the sound of Mary’s salutation.

    See Luke 1:41-44

    The thief and the babe in the womb believed at the sound and upon the hearing of the Word.

    “Faith cometh by hearing …”

    The babe grew up to be John the Baptizer.

    (Although I prefer to think of him as John the Lutheran). :-)

  • Another Kerner

    Perhaps this may the moment to bring to mind the thief on the cross, who made a confession of faith and was not “baptized”.

    Or:

    Consider the infant in cousin Elizabeth’s womb when Mary
    told of the coming Messiah in her own womb.

    Scripture tells us that the babe in Elizabeth’s womb “leaped for joy” at the sound of Mary’s salutation.

    See Luke 1:41-44

    The thief and the babe in the womb believed at the sound and upon the hearing of the Word.

    “Faith cometh by hearing …”

    The babe grew up to be John the Baptizer.

    (Although I prefer to think of him as John the Lutheran). :-)

  • Joe

    I understand (and like) the symbolism of the burial of the old Adam that comes with immersion, but I don’t see how that makes it a requirement. And I disagree that we have any Biblical command of full immersion or any proof that full immersion was the order of the day either. It may have been, but Christ could have been standing waist-deep in the Jordan and John could have poor water over his head. I realize that the NIV uses the phrase “coming up out of the water” in the Mathew and Mark’s recounting of the baptism of Christ and again with Philip and the Ethiopian, but in the context of each it seams more likely that refers to walking up the banks of the river. Am I missing something more explicit?

    It seems that the only command we have with regard to how to baptize is that it be done in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

  • Joe

    I understand (and like) the symbolism of the burial of the old Adam that comes with immersion, but I don’t see how that makes it a requirement. And I disagree that we have any Biblical command of full immersion or any proof that full immersion was the order of the day either. It may have been, but Christ could have been standing waist-deep in the Jordan and John could have poor water over his head. I realize that the NIV uses the phrase “coming up out of the water” in the Mathew and Mark’s recounting of the baptism of Christ and again with Philip and the Ethiopian, but in the context of each it seams more likely that refers to walking up the banks of the river. Am I missing something more explicit?

    It seems that the only command we have with regard to how to baptize is that it be done in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

  • Don S

    Joe @ #48 — Baptists don’t believe baptism is a requirement for salvation, just to clarify that point. Other denominations do (Church of Christ comes to mind).

    As for the Baptist doctrine of baptism by full immersion, they believe the best evidence, taken from Biblical context and early church practice, if I recall correctly, is that baptism in the Bible was by immersion. Partly, I think this comes from the Greek word for “baptism” which, if I recall, is “baptizo”. According to many scholars, the primary meaning of this word is “immerse”. I remember once reading something on an ELS website that even Luther recognized that baptism by immersion was preferred (because of Romans 6:4), but that he promoted baptism by other methods as well as a response to a dogmatic approach popular in his day that insisted on immersion only. He thought that doctrine which insisted on immersion only was adding to scripture, and was therefore to be opposed.

  • Don S

    Joe @ #48 — Baptists don’t believe baptism is a requirement for salvation, just to clarify that point. Other denominations do (Church of Christ comes to mind).

    As for the Baptist doctrine of baptism by full immersion, they believe the best evidence, taken from Biblical context and early church practice, if I recall correctly, is that baptism in the Bible was by immersion. Partly, I think this comes from the Greek word for “baptism” which, if I recall, is “baptizo”. According to many scholars, the primary meaning of this word is “immerse”. I remember once reading something on an ELS website that even Luther recognized that baptism by immersion was preferred (because of Romans 6:4), but that he promoted baptism by other methods as well as a response to a dogmatic approach popular in his day that insisted on immersion only. He thought that doctrine which insisted on immersion only was adding to scripture, and was therefore to be opposed.

  • Joe

    As far as I know, early church history does not point to full immersion but rather to the celebrant standing in water with water being poured over his/her head. That is how it is described in the Oxford Dictionary of World Religions.

  • Joe

    As far as I know, early church history does not point to full immersion but rather to the celebrant standing in water with water being poured over his/her head. That is how it is described in the Oxford Dictionary of World Religions.

  • kerner

    As to the meaning of the word “baptizo”, other scholars believe that the primary meaning of the word is to wash or cleanse. In Mark: 7:4, the words “baptizo” (ceremonial washing) and “nipto” (washing) are used interchangeably to describe the Judean tradition of ceremonial washing before eating, and also washing of plates, kettles and eating couches. It would be hard to imagine the Judeans totally immersing themselves before every meal. And, while I can imagine them immersing their tableware while cleaning it, I can’t believe they immersed their furniture.

    I think the use of baptizo in this part of Scripture shows that immersion may often be what takes place at baptism, but the primary purpose of baptism is to cleanse the person (or thing) baptized. Which is how we Lutherans see it now. In baptism, our sins are washed away.

  • kerner

    As to the meaning of the word “baptizo”, other scholars believe that the primary meaning of the word is to wash or cleanse. In Mark: 7:4, the words “baptizo” (ceremonial washing) and “nipto” (washing) are used interchangeably to describe the Judean tradition of ceremonial washing before eating, and also washing of plates, kettles and eating couches. It would be hard to imagine the Judeans totally immersing themselves before every meal. And, while I can imagine them immersing their tableware while cleaning it, I can’t believe they immersed their furniture.

    I think the use of baptizo in this part of Scripture shows that immersion may often be what takes place at baptism, but the primary purpose of baptism is to cleanse the person (or thing) baptized. Which is how we Lutherans see it now. In baptism, our sins are washed away.

  • Barry Bishop

    just a clarification from earlier on “open”, “close” and “closed” communion. (I speak as a Southern Baptist)

    open = open to any other Christian (believer, regenerate, born-again)

    close = open to any other believer of the same denomination

    closed = open to only the believers (or members) of that particular church

  • Barry Bishop

    just a clarification from earlier on “open”, “close” and “closed” communion. (I speak as a Southern Baptist)

    open = open to any other Christian (believer, regenerate, born-again)

    close = open to any other believer of the same denomination

    closed = open to only the believers (or members) of that particular church

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    As others have noted, the reason Baptists immerse is because the primary meaning of “baptizo,” and the Biblical example, is of immersion. In fact, even a lot of the secondary meanings refer indirectly to immersion.

    For example, if you lived in an area without running water–say a city that was about 3000′ above the nearest body of water, like Jerusalem–you would accomplish the ceremonial pre-meal washing by immersing the hands and feet into water. There was, as the story of the Last Supper demonstrates, no cleaning of the whole body prior to meals.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    As others have noted, the reason Baptists immerse is because the primary meaning of “baptizo,” and the Biblical example, is of immersion. In fact, even a lot of the secondary meanings refer indirectly to immersion.

    For example, if you lived in an area without running water–say a city that was about 3000′ above the nearest body of water, like Jerusalem–you would accomplish the ceremonial pre-meal washing by immersing the hands and feet into water. There was, as the story of the Last Supper demonstrates, no cleaning of the whole body prior to meals.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    Does the Bible state clearly that Christ was immersed in the Jordan River?

  • Susan aka organshoes

    Does the Bible state clearly that Christ was immersed in the Jordan River?

  • Joe

    Bike – you restated what others have already said, except you did it after I offered a text that suggests full immersion was not practiced by the early Church, I stated that the Biblical accounts are at least unclear as to whether Christ or the Ethiopian actually went under water and after Kerner gave an explanation as to why the definition and use of the word “baptizo” does not resolve the issue either. Is there anything else?

    But even accepting all of the arguments for immersion – none of them raise to the level of a command to immerse. At best they would create a tradition that may be beneficial for the symbolic reason discussed above. But to make it into Law is a stretch. It also find it extremely odd that folks who maintain that baptism is not necessary for salvation and that it is only an expression of one’s faith would be so strident that it must be done in a particular way.

    After all it is the Word of God working through His chosen element (water) that makes Baptism effective. As long as there is water and the name of the Triune God is spoken you can be sure that you have been cleansed and that God had made you His child.

  • Joe

    Bike – you restated what others have already said, except you did it after I offered a text that suggests full immersion was not practiced by the early Church, I stated that the Biblical accounts are at least unclear as to whether Christ or the Ethiopian actually went under water and after Kerner gave an explanation as to why the definition and use of the word “baptizo” does not resolve the issue either. Is there anything else?

    But even accepting all of the arguments for immersion – none of them raise to the level of a command to immerse. At best they would create a tradition that may be beneficial for the symbolic reason discussed above. But to make it into Law is a stretch. It also find it extremely odd that folks who maintain that baptism is not necessary for salvation and that it is only an expression of one’s faith would be so strident that it must be done in a particular way.

    After all it is the Word of God working through His chosen element (water) that makes Baptism effective. As long as there is water and the name of the Triune God is spoken you can be sure that you have been cleansed and that God had made you His child.

  • Another Kerner

    Water and the Word.
    That’s Baptism.

    I still am not able to apprehend why Baptistic Christians need more water than everyone else in the body of Christ.

  • Another Kerner

    Water and the Word.
    That’s Baptism.

    I still am not able to apprehend why Baptistic Christians need more water than everyone else in the body of Christ.

  • Bror Erickson

    The problem with the word baptism is it has an almost exclusive use as a word for “cultic washing”. It’s secular equivilant from which it is derived bapto, does indeed mean to immerse, generally, but not always. But Baptizo has other connotations, and is used interchangeably in the New Testament with other words for washing, nipto, and lauo, so one is hard pressed to make a stand saying that baptism can only mean immerse.
    As for you Susan and your question, well it says he was baptized in the Jordan. Therefore it depends on what baggage you apply to the word. It says he came up out of the water, many baptists make hay about that statment but it means nothing more than that he was climbing up the bank. Quite frankly it would be awful hard during most of the year to immerse anyone in the Jordan, and at those times it is possible, in that you have enough water, it is still near impossible for the rate of water flow. People don’t normally go swimming in flood waters.
    but it is really meaningless to argue from John the baptists, Baptism to the baptism with which Christ baptizes us. John himself was quite explicit that there was something entirely different going on with the baptism with which Christ would baptize us. And it doesn’t really matter any how, how the water is applied, as long as the water is there, and the word of God is there then you have baptism. Immersion, sprinkilng, pouring, splashing, god works baptism through water and the word.

  • Bror Erickson

    The problem with the word baptism is it has an almost exclusive use as a word for “cultic washing”. It’s secular equivilant from which it is derived bapto, does indeed mean to immerse, generally, but not always. But Baptizo has other connotations, and is used interchangeably in the New Testament with other words for washing, nipto, and lauo, so one is hard pressed to make a stand saying that baptism can only mean immerse.
    As for you Susan and your question, well it says he was baptized in the Jordan. Therefore it depends on what baggage you apply to the word. It says he came up out of the water, many baptists make hay about that statment but it means nothing more than that he was climbing up the bank. Quite frankly it would be awful hard during most of the year to immerse anyone in the Jordan, and at those times it is possible, in that you have enough water, it is still near impossible for the rate of water flow. People don’t normally go swimming in flood waters.
    but it is really meaningless to argue from John the baptists, Baptism to the baptism with which Christ baptizes us. John himself was quite explicit that there was something entirely different going on with the baptism with which Christ would baptize us. And it doesn’t really matter any how, how the water is applied, as long as the water is there, and the word of God is there then you have baptism. Immersion, sprinkilng, pouring, splashing, god works baptism through water and the word.

  • Don S

    Joe @ #55 — with all due respect, the Baptists don’t say that it is law that you be immersed to be baptized. All they say is that if you want to be a MEMBER of their particular church, then they want you to be baptized by immersion, because they believe that is an important distinctive of their doctrine. I think those are two very different things. There are many doctrinal distinctives that Lutherans hold, as well, that are not inarguably supported in Scripture, such as transubstantiation of the elements of communion. The beauty, ideally, of the Body of Christ is that we are all free to associate and worship with local and denominational bodies of believers who hold common interpretations of Scripture while yet being unified with the larger Body of Christ in all its diversity, knowing that we hold in common the irreducible truth of life-giving faith in Christ Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.

  • Don S

    Joe @ #55 — with all due respect, the Baptists don’t say that it is law that you be immersed to be baptized. All they say is that if you want to be a MEMBER of their particular church, then they want you to be baptized by immersion, because they believe that is an important distinctive of their doctrine. I think those are two very different things. There are many doctrinal distinctives that Lutherans hold, as well, that are not inarguably supported in Scripture, such as transubstantiation of the elements of communion. The beauty, ideally, of the Body of Christ is that we are all free to associate and worship with local and denominational bodies of believers who hold common interpretations of Scripture while yet being unified with the larger Body of Christ in all its diversity, knowing that we hold in common the irreducible truth of life-giving faith in Christ Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.

  • Bror Erickson

    Don S,
    With all due respect, I think you ought to sopt confusing Lutherans with catholics, and take a comparative theology course. If you are in So Cal, than audit one of the classes with Dr. Rosenbladt at Irvine.
    You write “There are many doctrinal distinctives that Lutherans hold, as well, that are not inarguably supported in Scripture, such as transubstantiation of the elements of communion.” The lutherans don’t have much of a quarrel with Transubstantiation, it is not our doctrine. But if you make baptismal immersion a requirement to be a member of your church, then it is a law. In fact if you do not allow someone previously baptized as a child or sprinkled as an adult to become a member of your church until they are immersed you are in effect saying their baptism was invalid, for according to Ephesians 4 there is to be but one baptism in a person’s life.

  • Bror Erickson

    Don S,
    With all due respect, I think you ought to sopt confusing Lutherans with catholics, and take a comparative theology course. If you are in So Cal, than audit one of the classes with Dr. Rosenbladt at Irvine.
    You write “There are many doctrinal distinctives that Lutherans hold, as well, that are not inarguably supported in Scripture, such as transubstantiation of the elements of communion.” The lutherans don’t have much of a quarrel with Transubstantiation, it is not our doctrine. But if you make baptismal immersion a requirement to be a member of your church, then it is a law. In fact if you do not allow someone previously baptized as a child or sprinkled as an adult to become a member of your church until they are immersed you are in effect saying their baptism was invalid, for according to Ephesians 4 there is to be but one baptism in a person’s life.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Kerner; does not Matthew 3:16 clearly state that Jesus came up from the water, and does not Acts 8:38 note that the ethiopian eunuch went into the water to be baptized? Is not the Jewish custom that may have been adopted by John one that involves full immersion? (see earlier post by our host; yes, it was)

    And difficult to baptize in the Jordan? Not really. I personally know people who have been baptized there, and it’s worth noting that its level today is much reduced from what it was in Bible times due to irrigation. John would have had little problem getting people fully immersed.

    My hunch; many in the early church started using sprinkling because going to a big enough pool/body of water for immersion was a great way to become lion chow at the local Circus–you and all your brothers and sisters in Christ.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Kerner; does not Matthew 3:16 clearly state that Jesus came up from the water, and does not Acts 8:38 note that the ethiopian eunuch went into the water to be baptized? Is not the Jewish custom that may have been adopted by John one that involves full immersion? (see earlier post by our host; yes, it was)

    And difficult to baptize in the Jordan? Not really. I personally know people who have been baptized there, and it’s worth noting that its level today is much reduced from what it was in Bible times due to irrigation. John would have had little problem getting people fully immersed.

    My hunch; many in the early church started using sprinkling because going to a big enough pool/body of water for immersion was a great way to become lion chow at the local Circus–you and all your brothers and sisters in Christ.

  • Bror Erickson

    Bike Bubba,
    The only place the Jordan is deep enough these days to baptize anyone is a place they dug out with heavy equipment. However the practice of people being baptized in the Jordan today is a topic for another day.
    The real question is what happens in baptism? Why do YOU think it is necessary?
    Coming up out of the water hardly means that he was fully immersed a second before.

  • Bror Erickson

    Bike Bubba,
    The only place the Jordan is deep enough these days to baptize anyone is a place they dug out with heavy equipment. However the practice of people being baptized in the Jordan today is a topic for another day.
    The real question is what happens in baptism? Why do YOU think it is necessary?
    Coming up out of the water hardly means that he was fully immersed a second before.

  • Joe

    Actually Acts 8:38 says that Philip and the Ethiopian “went down into the water” and 8:39 says “they came up out of the water.” This would indicate that “came up out of the water” simply means walked up the bank of the river – unless you also maintain that Philip was submerged while he baptized the Ethiopian.

  • Joe

    Actually Acts 8:38 says that Philip and the Ethiopian “went down into the water” and 8:39 says “they came up out of the water.” This would indicate that “came up out of the water” simply means walked up the bank of the river – unless you also maintain that Philip was submerged while he baptized the Ethiopian.

  • Don S

    Bror @ #59 — I’m sorry, I meant “consubstantiation”, which I believe is more accurately the Lutheran doctrine. I am but a lay theologian, so please forgive me. However, I don’t think that changes the point.

    It is an ordinance, most properly, under Baptist doctrine. I was objecting to Joe’s usage of the term “Law”, with a capital “L”, which implied, in my mind, that it is necessary to salvation. Baptists don’t believe that.

  • Don S

    Bror @ #59 — I’m sorry, I meant “consubstantiation”, which I believe is more accurately the Lutheran doctrine. I am but a lay theologian, so please forgive me. However, I don’t think that changes the point.

    It is an ordinance, most properly, under Baptist doctrine. I was objecting to Joe’s usage of the term “Law”, with a capital “L”, which implied, in my mind, that it is necessary to salvation. Baptists don’t believe that.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Don S (@63), I have heard Lutherans argue that “consubstantiation” is also not an accurate term describing what Lutherans understand from the Bible — however, there clearly is not agreement on that, and that is a level of semantic debate even I am not interested in.

    The point isn’t what word describes it, the point that you raised (@58) was whether “There are many doctrinal distinctives that Lutherans hold … that are not inarguably supported in Scripture.” Frankly, I don’t think you can find a more scriptural approach to communion than what (confessional) Lutherans hold to, though of course I am biased.

    Lutherans happily embrace what might appear to be irrational, as long as it appears in the Bible. So when Jesus says “This is my body,” we don’t quibble. We don’t blink. And we certainly don’t second guess what Jesus said because it seems miraculous or beyond our understanding. So we say that, yes, that is his body, and do not attempt to use our logic to make it say that “this is a symbol of my body, but not really my body.” And yet we agree with Paul that we are “eat[ing] this bread and drink[ing] this cup,” so we cannot agree that the bread and wine are turned into Jesus’ body and blood.

    Lutherans are quite happy to let the text read as it does and understand that they may not fully understand it.

    As for the Baptist (et al.) approach to communion, I’ve never understood the desire for a rational approach, given that this body belonged to Immanuel, God-With-Us, the God-Man. If you believe in the incarnation (and I believe Baptists do), why is it difficult to believe that Jesus’ body is there at communion? I don’t get it.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Don S (@63), I have heard Lutherans argue that “consubstantiation” is also not an accurate term describing what Lutherans understand from the Bible — however, there clearly is not agreement on that, and that is a level of semantic debate even I am not interested in.

    The point isn’t what word describes it, the point that you raised (@58) was whether “There are many doctrinal distinctives that Lutherans hold … that are not inarguably supported in Scripture.” Frankly, I don’t think you can find a more scriptural approach to communion than what (confessional) Lutherans hold to, though of course I am biased.

    Lutherans happily embrace what might appear to be irrational, as long as it appears in the Bible. So when Jesus says “This is my body,” we don’t quibble. We don’t blink. And we certainly don’t second guess what Jesus said because it seems miraculous or beyond our understanding. So we say that, yes, that is his body, and do not attempt to use our logic to make it say that “this is a symbol of my body, but not really my body.” And yet we agree with Paul that we are “eat[ing] this bread and drink[ing] this cup,” so we cannot agree that the bread and wine are turned into Jesus’ body and blood.

    Lutherans are quite happy to let the text read as it does and understand that they may not fully understand it.

    As for the Baptist (et al.) approach to communion, I’ve never understood the desire for a rational approach, given that this body belonged to Immanuel, God-With-Us, the God-Man. If you believe in the incarnation (and I believe Baptists do), why is it difficult to believe that Jesus’ body is there at communion? I don’t get it.

  • Bror Erickson

    Don S,
    What tODD says is an accurate view of what we Lutherans believe. We do reject consubstantiation, that is a position that has been attributed to us from others who refuse to understand us. The bread simply is the body, and the wine simply is the blood. If you want to argue over the word is, contact Clinton.

    That aside. We Lutheran’s do believe that baptism saves, as it says in 1 Peter, so someone telling us our baptism was invalid is tantamount to someone telling us we aren’t saved. I know you don’t believe that, but then us Lutherans get perplexed as to why someone who doesn’t believe in baptism should be so adamant in how it is done. It is inconsistent. Why does it matter how it is done, if ultimately it doesn’t accomplish anything for us? So if you don’t think it is necessary for salvation, please walk a little lighter when you are dealing with others who do see their salvation in it.

  • Bror Erickson

    Don S,
    What tODD says is an accurate view of what we Lutherans believe. We do reject consubstantiation, that is a position that has been attributed to us from others who refuse to understand us. The bread simply is the body, and the wine simply is the blood. If you want to argue over the word is, contact Clinton.

    That aside. We Lutheran’s do believe that baptism saves, as it says in 1 Peter, so someone telling us our baptism was invalid is tantamount to someone telling us we aren’t saved. I know you don’t believe that, but then us Lutherans get perplexed as to why someone who doesn’t believe in baptism should be so adamant in how it is done. It is inconsistent. Why does it matter how it is done, if ultimately it doesn’t accomplish anything for us? So if you don’t think it is necessary for salvation, please walk a little lighter when you are dealing with others who do see their salvation in it.

  • Don S

    tODD @ #64 and Bror @#65 — this thread was responsive to Dr. Veith’s desire to understand the Baptist position on baptism. I am not a Baptist, though I used to be, so I contributed what I know about the Baptist faith. It wasn’t intended to be a debate about who is right and who is wrong.

    tODD — you are obviously biased. But that’s OK, you are a Lutheran, so obviously you believe the Lutheran view of doctrine is the correct one. It doesn’t make sense to practice a faith you don’t believe in.

    Bror — I don’t care what word you want to use for what Lutherans believe about communion, it’s different than what Baptists believe. That was my point. But that doesn’t mean that communion is not a deeply meaningful time of remembrance in both traditions.

    Your admonition to “walk a little lighter” is perplexing. The whole point of this thread was to respond to Dr. Veith’s request for information about what Baptists believe. How can we do that without explaining what Baptists believe? And why would a Lutheran, who believes baptism is a mode of salvation, want to become a Baptist? Unless you want to become a Baptist, no one is going to tell you your “baptism is invalid”.

    Your statement “Lutherans get perplexed as to why someone who doesn’t believe in baptism should be so adamant in how it is done” reflects a lack of understanding of Baptist theology. Just because Baptists don’t believe baptism is the mode of salvation doesn’t mean they don’t believe in it. Baptists believe baptism is a commandment of God for believers. It is an ordinance. As has been explained eloquently by a number of folks in this thread, esp. Barry Bishop, it is a means of publicly identifying with Christ, and His death, burial, and resurrection. Rom. 6:4 states “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” The Baptist view is not inconsistent, and it certainly does not hold that baptism does not “accomplish anything for us”.

    I trust that you do many things in your daily walk with the Lord which do not “accomplish anything for you” in terms of conferring salvation upon you, such as reading your Bible, praying, evangelizing, etc. That certainly doesn’t mean those things are not highly valued by you or important to your growth as a Christian.

  • Don S

    tODD @ #64 and Bror @#65 — this thread was responsive to Dr. Veith’s desire to understand the Baptist position on baptism. I am not a Baptist, though I used to be, so I contributed what I know about the Baptist faith. It wasn’t intended to be a debate about who is right and who is wrong.

    tODD — you are obviously biased. But that’s OK, you are a Lutheran, so obviously you believe the Lutheran view of doctrine is the correct one. It doesn’t make sense to practice a faith you don’t believe in.

    Bror — I don’t care what word you want to use for what Lutherans believe about communion, it’s different than what Baptists believe. That was my point. But that doesn’t mean that communion is not a deeply meaningful time of remembrance in both traditions.

    Your admonition to “walk a little lighter” is perplexing. The whole point of this thread was to respond to Dr. Veith’s request for information about what Baptists believe. How can we do that without explaining what Baptists believe? And why would a Lutheran, who believes baptism is a mode of salvation, want to become a Baptist? Unless you want to become a Baptist, no one is going to tell you your “baptism is invalid”.

    Your statement “Lutherans get perplexed as to why someone who doesn’t believe in baptism should be so adamant in how it is done” reflects a lack of understanding of Baptist theology. Just because Baptists don’t believe baptism is the mode of salvation doesn’t mean they don’t believe in it. Baptists believe baptism is a commandment of God for believers. It is an ordinance. As has been explained eloquently by a number of folks in this thread, esp. Barry Bishop, it is a means of publicly identifying with Christ, and His death, burial, and resurrection. Rom. 6:4 states “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” The Baptist view is not inconsistent, and it certainly does not hold that baptism does not “accomplish anything for us”.

    I trust that you do many things in your daily walk with the Lord which do not “accomplish anything for you” in terms of conferring salvation upon you, such as reading your Bible, praying, evangelizing, etc. That certainly doesn’t mean those things are not highly valued by you or important to your growth as a Christian.

  • Bror Erickson

    Don S,
    It is my experience that threads take on a life of their own. This one has. For the most part though I’m just pushing for a better explanation of the Baptist view of baptism. By the way you write:
    “And why would a Lutheran, who believes baptism is a mode of salvation, want to become a Baptist? Unless you want to become a Baptist, no one is going to tell you your “baptism is invalid”.”
    Unfortunately, that statement just isn’t true. I have never once wanted to become a Baptist. But I have had plenty of baptists tell me that my baptism is invalid.
    It seems to me from your explanation of Baptism that it is law, and worse yet rather arbitrary law (it is something we do only because God has told us to do it, oh and there is some rather fuzzy symbolism in there too.) I am led to believe that being baptized won’t accomplish anything as far as me going to heaven, but if i don’t do it I am most certainly going to hell.
    Now I realize this might be a bit of a caricature. But it is what I am deducing from what you and others have written. Baptism is our work, not God’s, despite what The Baptist had to say about the one who comes after him. As a work it will not earn us salvation. But God has commanded it so we will do it.

    As for the communion thing, the point is I do care what word you use for our position. And it is insulting for you to use a word that identifies us with the Roman Catholic position, or otherwise refuses to understand what it is we Lutheran’s believe. So I will correct you, on that. And please don’t presume to tell me what communion is in my tradition. It is much more than a “deeply meaningful time of rememberance” in my tradition. That is why we are so touchy about what it is. It is a meal with the risen and living God who saved our souls from sin death and the power of the devil, It is a banquet in which we eat and drink the gospel, the forgiveness of sins in His Body, and in His Blood.

  • Bror Erickson

    Don S,
    It is my experience that threads take on a life of their own. This one has. For the most part though I’m just pushing for a better explanation of the Baptist view of baptism. By the way you write:
    “And why would a Lutheran, who believes baptism is a mode of salvation, want to become a Baptist? Unless you want to become a Baptist, no one is going to tell you your “baptism is invalid”.”
    Unfortunately, that statement just isn’t true. I have never once wanted to become a Baptist. But I have had plenty of baptists tell me that my baptism is invalid.
    It seems to me from your explanation of Baptism that it is law, and worse yet rather arbitrary law (it is something we do only because God has told us to do it, oh and there is some rather fuzzy symbolism in there too.) I am led to believe that being baptized won’t accomplish anything as far as me going to heaven, but if i don’t do it I am most certainly going to hell.
    Now I realize this might be a bit of a caricature. But it is what I am deducing from what you and others have written. Baptism is our work, not God’s, despite what The Baptist had to say about the one who comes after him. As a work it will not earn us salvation. But God has commanded it so we will do it.

    As for the communion thing, the point is I do care what word you use for our position. And it is insulting for you to use a word that identifies us with the Roman Catholic position, or otherwise refuses to understand what it is we Lutheran’s believe. So I will correct you, on that. And please don’t presume to tell me what communion is in my tradition. It is much more than a “deeply meaningful time of rememberance” in my tradition. That is why we are so touchy about what it is. It is a meal with the risen and living God who saved our souls from sin death and the power of the devil, It is a banquet in which we eat and drink the gospel, the forgiveness of sins in His Body, and in His Blood.

  • kerner

    Don S:

    I feel a little guilty. This thread WAS started by Dr. Veith asking for the Baptist rationale, and a lot of you provided it. I am sure that all of you hold your opinions in good faith.

    @51 I started explaining why Lutherans disagree. We too hold our beliefs in good faith, but I didn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. These days we Lutherans find ourselves having to defend the Biblical foundation of our doctrine, and I hope we can do that without getting upset, and without offending those who challenge us.

    Anyway, thanks for the explanation, and please consider our position as well. This disagreement has not been unanimously settled for 500 years, so we can probably expect it to continue for awhile. But I hope we can agree to continue to look to the Bible for our answers.

  • kerner

    Don S:

    I feel a little guilty. This thread WAS started by Dr. Veith asking for the Baptist rationale, and a lot of you provided it. I am sure that all of you hold your opinions in good faith.

    @51 I started explaining why Lutherans disagree. We too hold our beliefs in good faith, but I didn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. These days we Lutherans find ourselves having to defend the Biblical foundation of our doctrine, and I hope we can do that without getting upset, and without offending those who challenge us.

    Anyway, thanks for the explanation, and please consider our position as well. This disagreement has not been unanimously settled for 500 years, so we can probably expect it to continue for awhile. But I hope we can agree to continue to look to the Bible for our answers.

  • Don S

    Kerner, thank you for your thoughtful response. Hopefully we can also agree that there is much more that unifies us than that about which we disagree.

    We serve a risen Lord!

    God bless.

  • Don S

    Kerner, thank you for your thoughtful response. Hopefully we can also agree that there is much more that unifies us than that about which we disagree.

    We serve a risen Lord!

    God bless.

  • Don S

    Bror,

    Take a deep breath. I have never, on this thread or any other, intentionally misrepresented or slandered the Lutheran faith. I deeply respect it. To the extent that I said anything that offended you, I assure you that it was completely unintentional and was in no way intended to be demeaning. I am not a Lutheran, and do not fully understand all of the unique aspects of Lutheran doctrine. But, I have learned a lot through this site and have enjoyed the experience.

    On the other hand, if I were a Baptist, I would be offended by your “caricature” of their faith. Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it is “arbitrary law” or “fuzzy symbolism”. If your concern is truly to be an ambassador for Christ and for the Lutheran faith, using such pejoratives about the deeply held faith of others doesn’t seem like an effective approach to me. And as you are so flippantly demeaning the faith of others, you are claiming to be offended that someone else dare speak about their understanding of your faith. It doesn’t add up.

  • Don S

    Bror,

    Take a deep breath. I have never, on this thread or any other, intentionally misrepresented or slandered the Lutheran faith. I deeply respect it. To the extent that I said anything that offended you, I assure you that it was completely unintentional and was in no way intended to be demeaning. I am not a Lutheran, and do not fully understand all of the unique aspects of Lutheran doctrine. But, I have learned a lot through this site and have enjoyed the experience.

    On the other hand, if I were a Baptist, I would be offended by your “caricature” of their faith. Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it is “arbitrary law” or “fuzzy symbolism”. If your concern is truly to be an ambassador for Christ and for the Lutheran faith, using such pejoratives about the deeply held faith of others doesn’t seem like an effective approach to me. And as you are so flippantly demeaning the faith of others, you are claiming to be offended that someone else dare speak about their understanding of your faith. It doesn’t add up.

  • Bror Erickson

    Don S,
    And so I ask though the caricature, how it is not that?
    How is the symbolism not fuzzy, and how is it not arbitrary law. In other words why does God command it? If it doesn’t benefit the believer, or anyone else. Exactly how does baptism, resemble being buried and rising again?
    Romans 6:4 by the way says nothing of symbolism, but of a reality.
    Btw. I wasn’t so much offended, I pretty much expect these misunderstandings from Baptists, or Baptist types. But I want you to know the insult it really is. One that the Baptist churches seem to be intent on propogating. So when I see it I tend to turn the tables rather quickly.

  • Bror Erickson

    Don S,
    And so I ask though the caricature, how it is not that?
    How is the symbolism not fuzzy, and how is it not arbitrary law. In other words why does God command it? If it doesn’t benefit the believer, or anyone else. Exactly how does baptism, resemble being buried and rising again?
    Romans 6:4 by the way says nothing of symbolism, but of a reality.
    Btw. I wasn’t so much offended, I pretty much expect these misunderstandings from Baptists, or Baptist types. But I want you to know the insult it really is. One that the Baptist churches seem to be intent on propogating. So when I see it I tend to turn the tables rather quickly.

  • Joe

    Still wondering if anyone is going to respond substantively to #62 and the first paragraph of # 55.

  • Joe

    Still wondering if anyone is going to respond substantively to #62 and the first paragraph of # 55.


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