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What Luther Says

What Do Lutherans Believe About Baptism?

You can never talk about the fundamentals of our faith too much.

These days, it's important to know not just WHAT you believe, teach, and confess, but WHY you believe, teach, and confess it.

That being said, I'm always on the look out for new material to help reinforce my new understanding of those fundamentals, especially since I'm still going through some "deprogramming" from my Evangelical/Non-Denominational days.

Here's an excellent explanation I found while trying to catch up on my reading at Worldview Everlasting of what we Lutherans believe about the Sacrament of Holy Baptism and why it's so important in our daily lives.

What Do Lutherans Believe About Baptism? 
First, what is Baptism? Baptism is not just plain water, but water included with Christ’s command and combined with God’s Word, namely Matthew 28:19. Second, what benefits does Scripture say Baptism gives? It works the forgiveness of sins [Acts 2:38], rescues from death and the devil [Colossians 1:13-14], and gives eternal salvation to all [1 Peter 3:21 and Mark 16:16]. After all, to be saved, is to be forgiven, and delivered from death and the devil. But how can water do such great things, you may ask? I would respond, that it is certainly not just water, but the Word of God in and with the water that does these things along with faith (which itself is a gift, Ephesians 2:8-9) which trusts this Word of God in the water. For without God’s Word, the water is plain water, and not a baptism at all. But with God’s Word, it is a Baptism, that is, a life giving water, rich in grace, and a washing of the new birth in the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5-8). 
You see, it is God’s Word that is THE thing. Not the person vocalizing it or using his hands to Baptize, but God’s Word is truly powerful to give life, faith, and salvation. It is God’s Word and therefore God’s action. 
When we confess our sins, this is a good thing. We hear God’s Word, and say what it says about us, that we have sinned… but the saying is our word along with God’s Word. In fact, we could not confess our sins if it were not for the power of the Holy Spirit who sanctifies us through His Word. So when Lutherans speak about what baptism then means to them right now, it is not simply that they got some water put on their head, but that God put His name on them through His Word, and in doing so made the all the promises that Scripture makes concerning Baptism. And it doesn’t stop there! That I am baptized means that daily repentance is part of my life, as, through contrition and repentance, that old Adam in me is drowned and that the new man in Christ arises (see Romans 6:3-6). 
Yours in Christ, 
Matthew Lorfeld, 
Pastor Messiah Lutheran Church 
La Crescent, MN 

Short, sweet, and to the point!

In a Lutheran layman's terms, I have strong opinions on the doctrine of Baptism, which are due in large part to passages like Acts 2:38 and 1 Peter 3:21 that make it clear for me what the truth is about this blessed Sacrament.

NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a "Book of Concord" containing our Confessions even existed. In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by common Evangelical concerns/criticisms that aren't that big a deal for us Lutherans. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Finally, please know that any time we engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible unless otherwise noted. Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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