Lutheranism?

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FM483
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Re: Lutheranism?

Post by FM483 » Sat Jul 02, 2011 8:12 pm

Darin - in an earlier post you seemed confused over the biblical concept of repentance and confession. Let me ask you a question: just who is creating repentance in a person, Godor the sinner? I would highly suggest you look at passaes such as Luke 15:1-10. The "Lost Sheep" never even knew it was lost, but God went and found it and brought it home to safety. This process and work of God is referred to as "repentance". It is God's work. The sinner may respond in appreciation, but it is the gracious good work of God in essence. Also, you seemes to be bothered at "insufficient" biblical passages about baptism in the Catechisms of Luther? The Book Of Concord and Lutheran Confessions are full of refernces.

In addition to the Scriptural references for baptism contained in Luther’s Small Catechism, there are many others. In addition to the Mark 16:16 passage referred to for baptism in Luther’s Small Catechism, there are so many references to baptism in the Scriptures that this one alone is not critical to the doctrine. I personally think that Mark 16:16 is consistent with the rest of Scripture because it says that only unbelief condemns, not the lack of baptism. Was the thief on the cross next to Christ baptized? Perhaps by John the Baptist but no one really knows. The fact is that Christ commanded that baptism is instrumental in making disciples of all nations, along with teaching(Matthew 28:19). I wrote a paper on on the “Means of Grace” which portrays my understanding of Scripture on the Sacraments. My opening summary expresses my viewpoint:

“Most Christian denominations do not really believe that God is omnipotent. Although most adherents of Christianity profess belief in the Incarnation of Christ and the miraculous appearances and works of God in the Old Testament, they deny His Real Presence in the Lord’s Supper and salvific work in Baptism. Many understand that God communicates through His Word as contained in Holy Scripture, and yet deny that God could choose to convey His blessings of faith and forgiveness in any manner connected with physical elements.”

In my addendum to “Means of Grace” I included many Scriptural references to Baptism other than the Mark 16:16 verse:

- Water included in God’s command and combined with God’s word: a Promise(i.e. Gospel)
- forgiveness of sins and Holy Spirit given. Baptized for the forgiveness of sins – Acts 2:38-39
- commanded by Christ in the Name of the Triune God. Baptism and teaching are the primary means of making disciples – Matthew 28:19
- The person being baptized is immersed into the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, confessing his faith without speaking a word or doing anything but merely receiving – God baptizes him. Baptism is God’s act upon a person through His Church. Faith and surrender is the baptized person’s response
- Christ said you must be born again of water and the Spirit to enter the Kingdom of Heaven– John 3:5-6
- United with Christ in Baptism – Romans 6:3ff
- Clothed with the Righteousness of Christ in Baptism – Galatians 3:27
- Transferred from the Domain of Darkness to Christ’s Kingdom – Col 1:13-14
- Whoever believes and is baptized is saved – Mark 16:16
- Baptism saves by connecting you with Christ’s resurrection – 1Peter 3:21
- Baptism saves through washing of regeneration – Titus 3:5
- Christ loved His Church and died in order to sanctify Her by the washing of water with the word - Ephesians 5:26
- Baptism cleanses the conscience – Hebrews 10:22
- New Covenant Baptism prophesied: The Lord will sprinkle clean water on you, cleanse from filth, give you a heart transplant as an adopted child of God -–Ezekiel 36:25-28
- Even infants are brought into the Kingdom of God through Baptism. Jesus commanded that tiny infants(Greek “brephos”) be brought to Him(Luke 18:15-17). The entire Gospel is foolishness to the world and many fail to comprehend how God can create saving faith in a tiny infant. However, the things impossible with men are possible with God(Luke 18:27).

The major point is that God declares us Righteous on account of His Son: the Word of God is the essential point. This is also true in Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. In Baptism it is the Word of God connected with simple water. The water by itself conveys nothing, but in connection with the Word of God there is a sacramentum, or mystery, whereby God once again creates and sustains faith by His Word. In Baptism we have Christ’s Word joined to water. Many people fail to understand that it is God Who does the baptizing, not man. The pastor involved with sprinkling water on the head of a tiny infant is Christ’s ambassador(2Cor 5:20). When a person is baptized, he is baptized into the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – God is the One Who grafts the baptized person into the True Vine(John 15; Romans 6:4ff). In Baptism, God adopts us as His child. Many overlook the many references to “adoption” and “inheritance” as how God considers us in light of Christ. Many denominations which do not baptize infants have substituted the synergistic teachings of an “age of accountability” and even believe they can remember when they chose Christ and became a Christian. Of course this synergistic thinking flies in the face of Scripture, which says all have sinned and are dead in transgressions; Jesus said He chose us, not vice versa(John 15).

Many people perform baptisms because they believe that God commands it in a legalistic sense. However, by doing this they are “holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power(2 Tim 3:5). Although it is true Christ commanded Baptism(Matthew 28:19), God does the baptizing and actually commits Himself to save you from your sins(1Peter 3:21). In Baptism we see how Christ chooses us,not vice versa(John 15:16). St Paul urges believers to not focus on their works but on those of the Holy Spirit::”[God] saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, BY THE WASHING OF REGENERATION AND RENEWING BY THE HOLY SPIRIT”(Titus 3:5). Just as a human is passive in the birth process, in a similar fashion all men are passive as the Holy Spirit works upon them in their new birth in Baptism, washing away their sins. Jesus said ”Unless one IS BORN OF WATER AND THE SPRIT, he cannot enter the kingdom of God”(John 3:5). In John chapter 13 we encounter Jesus washing the feet of His disciples.When Peter objected to this seemingly humiliating action on the part of Jesus, He responded by telling Peter “IF I DO NOT WASH YOU, YOU HAVE NO PART WITH ME.”(John 13:8). Just as Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, He also washes you through the Holy Spirit in Baptism. The Holy Spirit washes away your sins in Baptism, giving new life and the forgiveness of sins. In Baptism you are connected to the death and resurrection of Christ(Romans 6:4). You donot serve God in your Baptism, but rather God serves you as He washes away your sins.

God’s clear statement: “Baptism now saves you”(1Peter 3:21) has become controversial in recent years. This wasn’t the case during the initial 1500 years of Christianity however. Baptism historically had been viewed as a powerful miracle of God by which the Good Shepherd actively seeks and saves men by grafting them into the True Vine, Christ Himself(John 15; Romans 6:4ff; 11:19ff). Lutherans stand almost alone among Protestants in believing and proclaiming what God Himself says: “Baptism now saves you”(1Peter 3:21; Titus 3:5).

Through the processes of precipitation and evaporation God ensures that the earth is continually nourished and renewed. In a similar fashion God daily uses a “Repentance Cycle” via Baptism. Since there is one Baptism for the remission of sins, this new birth is a non-repeatable, one-time act of assurance that we are adopted children of God and joint heirs with Christ. However, even though the Scriptures testify that those who are baptized have died with Christ(Romans 6:3; Col 2:20), the believer is in a continual cycle of death and removing the “old self with its evil practices(Col3:9).The Christian daily remembers his Baptism which produces contrition and repentance over his sin. As the Gospel comes, the believer is daily raised to new life In Christ. Each day the believer repeats this cycle of recalling his Baptism, repentance, and new life. In Psalm 39:9 we read that God is the “Fountain of Life”. In this life we understand “in part”(1Cor 13:12). The spiritual life of a believer can be viewed as a water wheel. Originally each man is dead in transgressions(Ephesians 2:1); the wheel is not turning. In Baptism, God’s Word comes upon you in His gift of Baptism, making you alive and commencing a life of repentance(Eph 2:1-5;Titus 3:4-7;1Peter 3:21). As the believer is nourished and feeds on the Word of God throughout his life, he is continually fed and washed by the Word. This originally occurred in Baptism and every time the believer hears or reads the Word of God he can have the assurance that his salvation is secure by remembering his adoption by Christ in Baptism and the cycle of contrition, repentance, and forgiveness repeats itself.

The Psalmist said: “I know my transgressions…my sin is ever before me”(Ps 51:3). Most believers have the idea that the forgiveness of their sins comes about by mentally recalling the historical event which took place on Calvary 2000 years ago. These people then continually look inward at their lives in order to measure whether they are becoming increasingly more sanctified and holy people in order to have the assurance of salvation. They can never have the assurance that they have received the forgiveness of sins and the absolute perfection required by God for eternal life. God’s method, as described in His Word, leaves nothing in question. In order to reassure His children of their adopted status In Christ, God delivers the product of the forgiveness of sins won at the cross through certain Means. Since God is aware of our connection with the physical universe, in addition to the spoken Word, He distributes Himself to us in the waters of Baptism and the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper. These are tangible physical realities we can see, smell, and taste. In conjunction with the promises of Christ these events become the Means by which God distributes His gifts won by His Son on the cross.

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Homer
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Re: Lutheranism?

Post by Homer » Sun Jul 03, 2011 12:02 am

4M483,

While I agree with much of what you say regarding baptism, I believe the only baptism that accomplishes anything is baptism of a believer.

You wrote as proof of infant baptism:
- Even infants are brought into the Kingdom of God through Baptism. Jesus commanded that tiny infants(Greek “brephos”) be brought to Him(Luke 18:15-17). The entire Gospel is foolishness to the world and many fail to comprehend how God can create saving faith in a tiny infant. However, the things impossible with men are possible with God(Luke 18:27).


This text is no proof that Jesus contemplated infant baptism. Another text you cited from Mark 16:16 argues against your position; belief is placed before baptism. You also cited 1 Peter 3:21 without exposition of the text:

New American Standard
21. Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,


The Greek word eperotema, translated "appeal", describes the response of a believer to God. How does an infant accomplish this?

You also wrote:
I amcontinually amazedthat non-Roman Catholics are totally ignorant of their history and doctrinal backgrounds.
Why not use the scriptures for "doctrinal background"?

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darinhouston
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Re: Lutheranism?

Post by darinhouston » Sun Jul 03, 2011 12:19 am

I don't remember being confused. However, I don't see repentance as a thing given or created in a man but a thing done. God enables but man chooses whether to repent. It is an action and attitude of the heartv

FM483
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Re: Lutheranism?

Post by FM483 » Sun Jul 03, 2011 9:44 am

Darin - I will try to address your posts. First, if repentance is not God's work, then how do you consider how it is defined in the Luke passages quoted earlier about the Lost Sheep? These passages are the best definition of repentance I am aware of in Scripture: God finds us a nd carries us in the direction of home. The sheep didn't even know it was lost and never even requested assistance. I also recall a bible passage which speaks similarly of the human condition:
Isaiah 53:6
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.



So, the question to you is: is repentance a work of God of of sinful man?

FM483
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Re: Lutheranism?

Post by FM483 » Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:01 am

Darin - you put forward the proposition to let the Scriptures themselves be our doctrine? I used to know people who when asked what they believe would say "the bible". Well, that statement itself is a doctrinal statement! The first confessions included in the Book Of Concord are the three ancient Ecumenical Creeds, the Apostles, Nicene, and Athanasian. These define basic truths garnered from Holy Scripture. It is little use to say your doctrine is the bible, since there is so much in the bible that is purely history, poetry, etc..... Whatever is important for salvation contained in the bible should be stated and that is doctrine. In Mattew 28:19 we have Jesus Himself instructing us to make disciples by baptizing and teaching. This is a doctrinal statement. Doctrine is teaching and specifically about Jesus. Because the doctrine of Christ is the Gospel and the Gospel saves(Romans 1:16), then even doctrine saves. You also seem gto have difficulty believing that God can accomplish anything He wants? In Acts 2:39 we read that the gift of the forgiveness of sins and the Holy Spirit are for everyone, regardless of age. The Christian Church believed this for centuries and children were always included. You may wish to limit God, but I think it is a bad idea.

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darinhouston
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Re: Lutheranism?

Post by darinhouston » Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:16 am

I have no problem letting tradition guide our doctrine but must test it against scripture. It was you who claimed that Lutheranism believed nothing not taught by the bible. (or something like that).

I can't respond to your sheep reference except to say I don't see how it resolves the question of repentance. We are like sheep in some ways but we are not sheep. Moreover, the shepherd calls but we must decide whether to heed his voice and turn and follow him.

FM483
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Re: Lutheranism?

Post by FM483 » Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:42 am

Darin, since you seem confused over the Luke passages and their connection to repentance, allow me to quote:

Luke 15:10
Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents."



This comes after the stories of the Lost Sheep and Lost Coin. Repentance thus is a work of God. The question which every person must address is whether sinful man is capable of making a spiritually correct decision or whether that man is conceived in sin and dead spritually. The Scriptures say we are dead spiritually and it takes a miracle of God to create a new heart, or to be "born again". Apparently you have difficulty with this? You are perhaps confused between Justification and Sanctification?

FM483
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Re: Lutheranism?

Post by FM483 » Sun Jul 03, 2011 11:25 am

Darin - you recently asked a question about infant baptism. You were confused over whether infants can believe in the Lord. If your original assumption is incorrect, then all your subsequent conclusions will be off mark as well. All human beings are conceived in sin and hostile to God(Ps 51:5, Romans 3:10-18,23). We are all conceived dead spiritually(Eph 2:1). This includes infants, as well as the comatose and physically healthy adults. Since it is God Who circumsizes our hearts and creates faith, that is 100 percent miraculous. Infants can trust(believe) as well as adults. That is why Jesus encouraged people to bring their little children to Him(Matt 19:13-15). Saving faith and the ability to verbalize a modern language are not synonomous. Baptism is like circumcision and also adoption. It is the parents who adopt small children and it is God Who does the adopting in baptism. Just as we all have biological parents, in baptism we are adopted into the family of God, grafted into the olive tree, which is Christ Himself. That is why we read all the language in Scripture about adoption(Eph 1:3-6; Romans 8:15-23; Gal 3:26; Gal 4:7; Rom 8:15-17). I especially like the words in John's Gospel which inform us that our adoption and salvation, our inheritance in Christ, is the work of God, not man:

John 1:12-13
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, [13] who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

The point I keep making is that everything to do with the salvation of each and every human being is entirely the work of God in Christ. God does everything. I am monergistic. Are you synergistic and hence medieval Roman Catholic?

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darinhouston
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Re: Lutheranism?

Post by darinhouston » Sun Jul 03, 2011 1:39 pm

Why must you continue to suggest I am confused? It is a bit of an insulting way to preface a discussion.

If you would like to begin a topic or topics related to specific doctrines, we would be pleased to discuss them in a focused manner.

FM483
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Re: Lutheranism?

Post by FM483 » Sun Jul 03, 2011 1:50 pm

I guess I should apologize for thinking you are confused doctrinally on such matters? I am still waiting for a response from you: does God create repentance and faith in a person or does the sinner somehow participate in their salvation? In other words, are you monergistic or synergistic theologically? This is important because if your original assumptions are off target, then all other conclusions will be wrong to one extent or the other. A reading of the Book Of Concord would show how all these conversations were entered into, debated, and published over 500 years ago. Because people are ignorant of such things(I was), we engage in the same discussions over and over. I am not saying our discussion is fruitless. What I am saying is that these same topics were debated centuries ago and by reading about them we may learn.

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