The decision whether to baptize a child or not is a highly personal and individual one, but what do Lutherans believe about baptism?
What Is Baptism?
Baptism is the ritual act by which one is admitted to the Christian church. The ritual of baptism involves water - either by sprinkling water or by immersing in water, depending on the faith that is performing the ceremony. Baptism is a holy sacrament in every sect of the Christian faith, including Catholicism.
History of Baptism
Baptism most likely arose from the Jewish purification right of mikvah - ritual immersion. In the New Testament, Jesus underwent the ritual of baptism in the river Jordan. He was baptized by John the Baptist, who was baptizing Jews for repentance. This was done at the start of Jesus' ministry, and his early followers were also baptized in the same manner by John the Baptist.
From that point forward, early followers of Jesus felt that this purification rite of baptism was necessary for salvation. It was believed that the un-baptized would not enter the kingdom of heaven. This belief came from Jesus' commandment in Matthew 28 to "Go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
What Do Lutherans Believe About Baptism: the Facts
The above is a generalized history of baptism, but what do Lutherans believe about baptism?
Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation
Lutherans do not believe that baptism is necessary for salvation because they believe that salvation is a gift from God which doesn't depend on what any human does or doesn't do.
Why Baptize Infants
Lutherans baptize infants because there is the expectation that they will raised in the Christian church. There is also a belief that early baptism of infants works in helping to raise the children to live faithful, Christian lives.
If A Baby Dies Before Being Baptized, Will He Get into Heaven
According to the Lutheran church, baptism isn't necessary for salvation. A baby's entrance into Heaven doesn't depend on whether or not his parents had the time to get him baptized prior to his death. It is believed that all are welcome in God's kingdom, because salvation is God's gift to bestow.
What Do Lutherans Believe Baptism Is
Another way to answer the question, what do Lutherans believe about baptism is to look at what role the Lutheran faith feels that baptism plays in the lives of its parishoners.
According to the Lutheran church, baptism is an individual's incorporation into the crucified and risen body of Jesus. It is symbolic of God's love for all, and provides a sense of comfort and assurance that all are saved from sin in the name of Jesus Christ.
Who Should Be Baptized
According to the Lutheran church, anyone living a Christian life should be baptized. This includes infants whose parents expect them to be raised in the body of Christ.
Should Baptism Ever Be Repeated?
The Lutheran church believes that baptism is never repeated. It is done once in a lifetime as a sign of faith in God, and the sacrament becomes God's promise to His followers.
What Is the Significance of Baptism
According to Luther's Small Catechism, baptism is a sign that "the old person in us with all sins and evil desires is to be drowned through daily sorrow for sin and repentance, and that daily a new person is to come forth and rise up."
Are Only Babies Baptized
Anyone of any age can be baptized. Adults and older children who have not been previously baptized in another church can be baptized in the Lutheran church.
How Does Baptism Take Place in the Lutheran Church
Depending on the church, baptism either takes place at a font or by total immersion. Some Lutheran churches have a baptistery with a pool where people are immersed, but in most cases the person being baptized is sprinkled with water from a basin in the font.
What do Lutherans believe about baptism? In a nutshell, baptism is considered by the Lutheran church to be a holy sacrament that welcomes the person being baptized into God's family. It is God's promise to His followers, not the follower's promise to God.
If you are considering having your child baptized in the Lutheran church, talk with your pastor to learn more about this sacrament.