A great video on baptism, inspired by the Prince

Prince George, the future King of England, was baptized yesterday.  For that occasion, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who baptized the prince, made a quite remarkable video about the meaning of baptism.  Read the excerpts and watch the video after the jump.  Note the very end, especially, about the Sacrament signifying that Christ is “for you.”  It sounds pretty Lutheran to me! [Read more...]

Off for the baptism of Michael Gustavus

This weekend, I’m making a mad dash to Oklahoma to be there for the baptism of my new grandson, Michael Gustavus.

Getting ready to go, I came across this, which has rated a RealClearReligion link, a rather flippant dismissal of infant baptism except as a communal rite of welcome.  Compare that discussion to this one:  The Large Catechism – Book of Concord.  (Notice how, according to the Lutheran confessions, Baptism is NOT a human work, but God’s work and that it cannot be separated from faith.  I understand that some people don’t believe in the efficacy of Baptism, whether or infants or adults, but I wish they would not mischaracterize the position of those who do.)  How would you answer the one you disagree with?

The Salvation of Unborn Children

What is the eternal destiny of children who die in the womb or who are aborted?  Some have said that their original sin merits eternal condemnation.  Most such a horrible conclusion hasn’t rung true for most Christians.  Roman Catholics have posited the existence of “Limbo,” a place of natural–though not supernatural–happiness for the unbaptized.  The Orthodox see the Fall as giving only the predisposition to sin and not sin itself, so children who die before they are baptized go to Heaven.  Calvinists have recourse to their doctrine of election.  Arminians see no problem for those who never had the opportunity for a decision.  Baptists say no one can be lost before the “age of accountability.”  Lutherans leave it to the Grace of God.

But Martin Chemnitz, the second greatest Lutheran theologian and the man most responsible for the Book of Concord has actually addressed this question in his classic treatment of Christology, The Two Natures in Christ:

“This teaching [the doctrine of the hypostatic union] is not idle sophistry, for it is an article of faith that Mary did not beget a man in whom God dwelt. Rather she bore the only Son of God by receiving His flesh, as Augustine says, “He was conceived and born of the Virgin Mary who for this reason and in this sense is correctly called the God-bearer (Theotochos).” If reverently considered, this act produces the most comforting thoughts. For the Son of God embraced the human race with such great love that He did not shrink from descending to such a humble state that He not only did not assume a man who was already formed and born, but rather He united to Himself personally an individual human body in the very moment of its conception and made it His own. Thus the Son of God in assuming His own flesh, but without sin, also endured those things which commonly befall man in conception, pregnancy, and birth (as the fathers of the Council of Ephesus said), so that from His very beginning, rise, and, as it were, root, He might first restore in Himself our depraved nature and so cleanse and sanctify our contaminated conception and birth that we might know that Christ’s salvation applies even to man’s fetus in conception, gestation, and birth.”  

Chemnitz’s Works: The Two Natures in Christ, (St. Louis:  CPH, 2007), p. 102. [Read more...]

The winning thread

I’m back home after two weeks, having taken my vacation and then going to the Consortium for Classical Lutheran Education conference, trying to get back to normal.  Thanks to everyone who posted comments on those general categories while I was incommunicado.  There were some good discussions.  As I promised, I will announce a winner for the person who started a thread with the most comments.  According to my informal, non-counting analysis (correct me if you want to count), the virtual imaginary prize goes to Theological discussions (278 comments) and the thread started by PETE on Baptism. [Read more...]

Good lines on Baptism

The current issue of For the Life of the World, the magazine of Concordia Theological Seminary, has some great articles by its faculty on Baptism.  I’ll give you some samples of what they had to say:

No more than a husband or wife would say “I was married” with the day of the wedding in mind should a Christian say “I was baptized.”  The married man or woman quite naturally answers the question “Are you married?” in the present tense, “I am married.”  If a married person answered this question in the past tense, “I was married,” one would assume that they are now widowed or divorced.  Just so the Christian confesses “I am baptized.”  That is the abiding comfort of Baptism.  The liturgical rite is quickly done with and the water dries but the gift of Baptism does not evaporate.

–Prof. John T. Pless

[Read more...]

Cicadas and Resurrection

Our pastor had some good reflections in our church newsletter on the 17-year locusts (a.k.a. “cicadas”) coming out of the ground around these parts.  He manages to connect cicadas to people, sin, the church, death, resurrection, and baptism! [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X