Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Who said this

[HT: Jim P.]

Your Baptism does you no good if you don’t have faith in Jesus.

Who could have said this? You only have 2 choices.

a.) A Lutheran pastor said this.
b.) A non-Lutheran pastor said this.

Discuss your answer. Why is the statement true/not true?

11 comments:

T.C. said...

A Lutheran pastor said this...specifically Luther himself in the Small Catechism:

"What does Baptism give or profit?--Answer.

It works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.

Which are such words and promises of God? Answer.

Christ, our Lord, says in the last chapter of Mark: He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that does not believe shall be damned."

Does baptism save? Of course, but only through faith in Christ alone. Sacramental theology does not need to contradict (nay, should not contradict) sola fide.

T.C.

Anonymous said...

Non-Lutheran -

What Luther is saying is that those who believe Christ's promise about Bapitsm (that it is the washing of forgiveness) receive his benefits.

What the quote says is "faith in Jesus".

Granted we may be splitting hairs but the quote sounds reformed. Meaning that the spirit which works salvation can (and does) occur outside the means of grace.

Luther would say that faith is given BY the means of grace. As such it is a matter of realizing that Christ does not lie, and trusting in the promise he made and connected to Baptism.

Subtle, and nuance, but an important distinction nevertheless.

J. K. Jones said...

It's hard to judge a brief quote outside its context. I'll guess non-Lutheran.

Why would anyone want to be baptized before they had faith in Jesus? No one in the New Testament does this. (Hee Hee)

JK

T.C. said...

Yes, in the Small Catechism, Luther is explicitly referring to faith in the promises of baptism...I do not argue that...however, to have such faith in the words of Christ (especially as discussed in the Large Catechism [to lengthy to quote here]), I would argue that one must implicitly have "faith in Jesus."

Perhaps I assume too much...

Honestly, I don't think this particular quote is from a Lutheran pastor...I'd bet it was a non-Lutheran, Reformed, Auburn Avenue flavor of Presbyterian who sticks so radically close to Calvin as to sound Lutheran much of the time (grin).

L P Cruz said...

T.C.

Actually you were right the first time! It was indeed from a Lutheran pastor as Jim Pierce related in the Wittenberg Trail.

And I agree with this Lutheran pastor.

I do not consider baptism as a good work that merits us brownie points with God; well that would be an ex opere operato way of taking baptism. I believe Lutherans believe in JBFA. In other words, we believe the promise attached to the baptism, we look to the promise that for Christ's sake we have a gracious God and that at Baptism we were given a gift - union with Christ at his Cross. God gave Christ gift to us.

Hence, a person who was baptized and says, I am ok I got baptized and I can do anything I want even not believe in Christ -- well that person is believing ex opera operato - he just walked away from his baptism. His baptism does him nothing.

We look to the promise attached to the sacraments and not to the action we do in it. In other words, we look to the action of God in it rather than our actions in it.

Also a baby being baptized is a sure way of removing any notion of the baby taking part in doing anything for himself.

Lastly, to the credo-baptist, I have a question, say we have a pagan person who was born deaf, blind and mute. How will a credo-baptist preach the Gospel to this person so that he might believe?
;-)
I asked a credo-bapt Calvinist of this question -- his answer was "what is the need of that" i.e. of preaching the Gospel?!?!?

Another thing, is faith reflexive in order to the faith? So what happens when you are sleeping and so you are not conscious of your faith? What happens when you are busy typing in this computer your consciousness in 1000 different places? You are not reflecting faith then, so has your faith flown away?

LPC

Augustinian Successor said...

Yes, yes, and if I may add, Roman Baptism *operates* differently from Lutheran Baptism. Hence, the issue is NOT of "validity", but "efficacy".

In Roman Baptism, grace is treated ontologically, i.e. a quality in its own right. Hence, grace subsists in man, i.e. grace is INFUSED into Baptism. Grace according to the Roman theological scheme is INTRA NOS. This means that man re-claims grace for his use. Thus, the movement is an ascent upwards -- the ladder scheme. As such, Baptism is not the Christian life, but only the start of it. Therefore, faith support good works coram Deo.

In Lutheran Baptism, grace is eschatological. The direction is completely reversed - downward movement of the breakthrough of the new age into the present age. Faith receives grace as a total and final gift. Faith looks EXTRA NOS in Baptism. Hence, grace re-claims man for its use. Baptism therefore is the Christian life. As such, good works support faith coram homnibus.

In other words, faith as understood in Roman Catholicism is *professing*, i.e. "I believe in God the Father Almighty ..". Hence, Roman faith is implicit faith in the church's dogma = ABSTRACT faith. Thus, faith is added to Baptism as something external to the Sacrament as grace is ontological. This is why faith in this case is always insufficient. It must be supplemented, complemented by grace-filled good works.

However, Lutheran Baptism sees faith as identical with grace. Faith is therefore a total gift. Thus, Baptism as the whole Christian life, from start to finish implies and presupposes faith. The Christian life is "temporised" (i.e. bracketed) in Baptism, just as faith believes in the totality and finality of justification.

This is possible only because Baptism spells the death of the Old Man and the resurrection of the New Man - the Sacrament brings the reality of death and life in the crucified Jesus to us in the living present, here and now. So, Lutheran faith is confessional - faith in the Gospel FOR ME embodied in Word and Sacraments. In this case, faith is CONCRETE - it believes in Baptism as a concrete event. Hence, faith alone is sufficient.

L P Cruz said...

A.S.

Thanks so much, you explained this better than I can.

This is one thing hard for others to understand what we mean by means of grace. They think we look at it as a form of works. But actually we see that it is God giving to us rather than us giving to him, none of that. The means of grace such as baptism actually and literally delivers the work of Christ 2000 years ago into our space and time continuum. It is from the outside breaking into our realm of existence.

You said it quite well for me, faith is identical in the end to grace.
the Sacrament brings the reality of death and life in the crucified Jesus to us in the living present, here and now. So, Lutheran faith is confessional - faith in the Gospel FOR ME embodied in Word and Sacraments. In this case, faith is CONCRETE - it believes in Baptism as a concrete event. Hence, faith alone is sufficient.

Faith is sufficient because if God gives all we need, then faith is by default sufficient.

We are enjoined "come for all things are ready".

LPC

Doorman-Priest said...

I think it was probably me.

L P Cruz said...

Ah D.P.

You are a true Englishman indeed, a scholar and a gentleman.

You finally owned up to your mischief.

LPC

J. K. Jones said...

LP

“How will a credo-baptist preach the Gospel to this person so that he might believe?”

Leave it to the Southern Baptist to answer like this:

I assume that this person is not incapable of believing the gospel. (I would argue that those without the mental capacity to have saving faith in Christ are saved. For example, infants dying in infancy, the severely mentally retarded, and others.)

Spend time with them. Let them feel your touch. Take care of their basic physical needs. Find some way to communicate with them using touch. Develop a complex method of communicate one touch at a time. This has been done before (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Keller).

There is informational content to be shared. The gospel is to be understood and then acted upon in faith. This is the priority. We can worry about whether they need to be baptized after they have found faith.

JK

L P Cruz said...

J.K.

(I would argue that those without the mental capacity to have saving faith in Christ are saved. For example, infants dying in infancy, the severely mentally retarded, and others.)

This is the conclusion I was driving at. That means to say credo-baptists would have to believe there are people that are not affected by original sin.

Think about it bro. Effectively you would be saying some are not tainted by the sin of Adam.

Whereas we would have no problem baptizing that deaf mute and blind person. Granted we do not know the fate of such a person but the Lutherans though at least has a promise they can cling at.

There are many reasons why I switched from being a credo-bapt to a paedo-bapt, this is just one of them.



LPC