Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Thought on Baptism

Concerning Baptism, our churches teach that Baptism is necessary for salvation and that God's grace is offered through Baptism. They teach that children are to be baptized. Being offered to God, through Baptism they are received into God's grace. Our churches condemn the Anabaptists, who reject the Baptism of children, and say that children are saved without Baptism.
(Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, AC Article IX.)

I. Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church; but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in the newness of life. Which sacrament is, by Christ's own appointment, to be continued in His Church until the end of the world.

IV. Not only those that do actually profess faith in and obedience unto Christ,but also the infants of one, or both, believing parents, are to be baptized.

VI. The efficacy of Baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited, and conferred, by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongs unto, according to the counsel of God's own will, in His appointed time.
(From the Westminster Confession, Of Baptism, Chapter 28)

The Church, Christ's bride, has long held that there is an efficacy to baptism. Exactly what happens varies from denomination to denomination. Both Lutherans and Presbyterians believe that baptism is a means of grace.

I found a list of churches that say nothing happens in baptism in a book. The list of symbolic baptism denominations included Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists, Pentecostals, Quakers, Salvation Army, United Church of Christ, Mormons, and Jehovah Witnesses. I am happy to not be associated with that list. I love my baptistic-type brethren, but feel they miss out on the joy of this holy sacrament.

The verses I posted confirm that as well. It is a wonderful sacrament to look to, to know that we are sealed with the Holy Spirit.

Praise Him!
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