Chaplain Mike: A Lutheran Take on Baptism

Today I wish to direct your attention to a post by “Chaplain Mike” Mercer over at internetmonk.com, in which he gives the reasons why he is on board with the Lutheran view of baptism.

Now I know that a lot of evangelicals out there are thinking “Infant baptism?  Ewww!!!!!  That’s too Catholic!!!!!”  To which I am tempted to respond, “Well, what do you call that ‘baby dedication’ thing that you do?  Let’s just be honest about this thing and call it what it really is!!!!!”  But that would be snarky.  And snarky is something which I do not desire to be to you, my loyal and faithful readers.

There have been many godly people on both sides of this issue.  There are many people out there who are a whole lot smarter than yours truly, who could present the case for believer’s baptism in a very articulate and convincing fashion.  Ditto for infant baptism.  As a matter of fact, I myself have wavered on this issue.  For the longest time since getting saved, I believed that infant baptism was just wrong.  Now, however, I am willing to consider it and may even be swayed to it.

Why?  Because infant baptism, as the Lutherans understand it, is a compelling picture of the Gospel.  Here is this helpless baby, with no capacity whatsoever to intelligently consider his/her options and freely choose the life which God bestows on all who are connected to Him through Jesus Christ.  We evangelicals are all about the idea that in order to become a Christian one must consciously and freely make the decision to accept Jesus Christ.  As the old gospel song says, “God ain’t never had a grandchild, only a child will do.”  But the truth of the matter is that we are all dead in our sins and transgressions.  Completely and totally dead, even though we sit, stand, walk, talk, eat, and think.  What power does a person who is physically dead have to bring himself or herself back to life?  None whatsoever.  In the same way, what power does a person who is spiritually dead have to take hold of the spiritual life which comes from God through Christ?  None whatsoever.  The only thing you can do is just sit back and receive it when it happens.  The infant is a splendid object lesson of this.

Fine.  But isn’t infant baptism contrary to Scripture?  Those who support believers’ baptism generally point to the examples given in Acts.  There’s just one small problem here:  Almost all of the examples in Acts are of first-generation Christians.  What about second-generation Christians?  The Bible simply doesn’t speak to this.  At what point does the child of believing parents become a disciple of Christ?  Is it right to regard the child of believing parents as a heathen and a sinner bound for hell until he/she is old enough to make a fully intelligent, responsible, uncoerced profession of faith?  I don’t think so.

I strongly recommend that you read Chaplain Mike’s post on baptism.  Here you will find a very articulate presentation of the case for infant baptism as the Lutherans understand it.

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