It's Not "Re-Baptism": It's Baptism

Note: The arguments presented in this post deal chiefly with the baptismal regeneration view of paedobaptists, and not the covenantal view of baptism particular to Presbyterianism. If we are discussing the covenantal view of baptism, that would require whole different talking points. Please direct your comment accordingly.

The website,, has published an article called “Baptism for the Christian: Rebaptism is Not Biblical.” I whole-heartily agree. Being baptized a second time is not biblical. This is, of course, if we let the term baptism be defined by the Holy Scripture and, by default, God Himself.

The article, from the very beginning, suffers from some common myths, misconceptions and hermeneutic fails common to paedobaptists.

The controversy over whether a Christian should be rebaptized if the person has already been baptized in one church or another denomination is cleared up using Christian creeds and confessions that explain the Bible about this doctrine of Baptism.

A broad generalization, indeed. First, the Christian creeds commonly used to define orthodoxy (the Apostle’s Creed, Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed) are silent on the issue. Secondly in the matter of confessions in particular, it depends entirely upon whose confession you use. For example, the 1689 London Baptist Confession certainly wouldn’t define pouring water on the head of an unrepentant unbeliever (I refuse to the word ‘baptism’ in defining that ritual) to be actual baptism.

The question only comes to us from Baptists because of their belief about what baptism is. The Lutherans, Presbyterians, and other paedobaptist Christian bodies believe that baptism is the work of God and should only be done once in a lifetime.

One must wonder why this ‘work of God’ has to be done by the hands of men upon unwilling and unregenerate recipients, which is what every infant who receives this libation ritual is.

[Baptism] is considered by the Southern Baptist Convention to only be applicable for those who understand the Gospel. Rather than a fully monergistic stance, the credobaptist position requires the person respond to the Gospel proclamation in order to be considered a believer in Jesus Christ.

There’s a reason that credobaptists believe that baptism is only applicable (IE should only be applied) to those who understand the Gospel. It is because only those who have heard, understood, and received (their is no receiving without understanding) the Gospel to the point of repentance should be baptized. It is only believing, repentant individuals who are baptized in Scripture. It is for this reasons that paedobaptists must resort to hermeneutic absurdities to claim the command to coerce unwilling recipients to receive the ordinance by force (for that is precisely what infant baptism is) is biblical. As they turn to the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), for example, to insist that our command to disciple and then baptize the nations is a command to baptize infants, they fall squarely away from reason. Unconverted heathen are in the nations. Are we to baptize them against their will and prior to their conversion? Muslims are in the nations. Are we to baptize them against their will and prior to their conversion? Or clearly, are we to preach the Gospel, disciple, and baptize those who have placed their trust in Christ? I don’t see my Lutheran friends baptizing the tribal third world pagans against their will. Why are they baptizing their infants – also pagan in nature – against their yet-unregenerate and depraved will? And yes – obviously one must respond to the Gospel proclamation in order to be considered a believer in Jesus Christ. Is that even up for debate?

The article from the Southern Baptist Convention website, How to Become a Christian, states: “As soon as you have decided to receive Christ into your life, you can and should be baptized.” This statement explains the position: you decide to become a Christian (not monergistic) and you then are allowed to be baptized.

Here’s where I take real exception. The Baptist believes (at least, let me speak for my Reformed Baptist brethren who hold to our confessions) that when one “decides” to become a Christian (a terrible way to phrase it, granted) it has been a work done in them solely by the Holy Spirit. That is very, very Monergistic. We believe that God works in us both to will and to do (Philippians 2:13). Sadly, some in the SBC have become decisional-regenerationists, which is as much a damnable teaching as baptismal-regeneration. Let me throw this back at the paedobaptist author of the aforementioned paragraph…one who believes people are saved (to be technical, made regenerate) by pouring water on the head (which, of course, is so not baptism anyway) without their consent and at the hands of priest, pastor or parent has to suffer from cognitive dissonance to call that position “Monergistic.” While it is true that the child him or herself didn’t have anything to do with their own salvation (or to be technical, regeneration), certainly God had Synergistic partners in the whole endeavor, chiefly the hands that pour water upon the head of the unwilling participant. Of all things, that is not Monergistic.

Yes, of course the individual needs to repent of their sins and believe the Gospel in order to receive the mark of Baptism. But as any good Reformed Baptist will tell you, that is an act of God that’s wrought by the Holy Spirit alone (confer with John 3).

The article then goes on to assert that even if one had water poured or sprinkled upon them (once again, that’s not baptism) in the pagan Roman Catholic church (which the last time I checked, confessional Lutherans and Presbyterians believe is led by the anti-Christ) they need not be “baptized” again. As I’ve said for some time, the move to confessional Lutheranism, for many, is just a rest stop on the way to Rome. How far Lutheranism has come, that some consider a rite administered in what they’ve confessed to be an unchristian church now accounts for Christian baptism. When Lutherans feels themselves closer with pagan Catholicism than evangelicalism, this unfortunate papal slide continues.

There is no recorded instance in the Bible where someone was rebaptized in the Trinitarian formula: in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Baptist must form the conclusion that rebaptism is biblical from a source other than the Bible or from the misunderstanding that a person must be saved by Jesus Christ first and that if they realize later that they were not truly saved, they should be rebaptized to obey what they consider to be a work to be done after regeneration.

This is a hilarious claim for the paedobaptist to make, considering there’s no recorded instance in the Bible of babies, dogs, or aliens being baptized (and baptism does all of the above three the same good). The idolatry of ritual, in the author’s view, is so pervasive that even if the ordinance is not conducted in the name of the Thrice-Holy God it still counts as legitimate. Here, they separate the ordinance from the ordinance-maker, giving baptism the status of idolatry. Once again, the Baptist does not believe in rebaptism, because this water-pouring ritual perpetrated upon unwilling recipients isn’t baptism. Note: There are some Baptists that believe one must be “rebaptized” if they were baptized in a church not affiliated with their denomination. This should be soundly rejected, so long as the unaffiliated church actually baptized the individual in a biblical fashion (for believers and by immersion), as it would actually be a case of “rebaptism.”

To be clear, the Bible’s stance against so-called “infant baptism” has nothing to do with the age of the recipient. The prohibition against baptizing infants is because they happen to be in the same number as many of the lost, unconverted, unwilling heathen of the world that need to first hear, receive and embrace the Gospel before following Christ into discipleship and being called “Christian.”

How terrible it is to tell so many lost people that they’ve been born again because water has touched the tip of their head! And how wrong it is to steal from an individual their blessing to profess faith in Christ by the means he’s given us to do so! This is why, at my Baptist church, we rejoice when folks whose parents forced them against their unconverted will to take part in a water ritual, make the decision to, for the first time in their life, be baptized.

[Contributed by JD Hall]

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208 Responses

  1. Andrew says:

    I know the author of this article and I can assure you that she does not believe that non-trinitarian baptism is legitimate, biblical baptism. That isn’t what the Lutherans believe in general either. In the interest of Christian charity and concern for truth, you may want to consider editing your article accordingly.

  2. Bruce Zittlow says:

    The bible has no stance against infant baptism. Show the verses.

    • JD Hall says:

      Lol. I could not show you a “don’t baptize a baby” verse any more than I could show you a “don’t baptize a Sasquatch” verse. It’s a Biblical absurdity, however, to claim a purpose or reason to baptize an unrepentant, unconverted, unregenerate unbeliever against theri will.

  3. Charles says:

    As a Reformed Christian, I must agree with Andrew’s point. It is, of course, true that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost must bed invokes when Baptism is applied. From the article, I can see a clear “happy inconsistency,” which is: You would never oppose preaching Christ to the unregenerate, since, they, like infants, are sinful and resistant! And what about Circumcision, administered to infants before Christ came? Certainly Isaac didn’t understand the promise of Christ at eight days of age. Yet, he had to be circumcised. I must also ask you not to use the label “Reformed” to describe your position. You are, theologically, an Anabaptist who holds to some Reformation doctrines. One final thing, Baptism must be administered in a Trinitarian Church. If your gathering doesn’t confess nor teach the Creeds, I have no way of knowing whether you are Trinitarian or not.

    • JD Hall says:

      Look what you’re doing. Instead of finding a clear, didactic teaching to illustrate or command baptizing an unrepentant person against their will, you have to play this kind of doctrinal “connect the dots.”

  4. Born4Battle says:

    I was baptized as a Lutheran infant, and considered a member of the ‘church’. Years later I was catechized and ‘confirmed’ as a member of the church. We also attended other non-Lutheran churches through the years and witnessed ‘dedication’ ceremonies. The parental vows/promises made during ‘baptisms’ and ‘dedications’ are sufficiently similar to be called almost identical. I don’t remember ever NOT believing in God, or the substitutionary atonement of Christ when I was old enough to comprehend its meaning.

    Having said that, I was a ‘prodigal’ (ODF-Out Dere Flappin) of sorts between the ages of 18 and 25. When God hauled me back into the fold, it was through my reading the Bible again. The Bible had only specific examples of ‘believer’ baptism. The practice of infant baptism can only be implied based on certain passages. Therefore I was actually baptized ‘biblically’ as an adult.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 🙂

  5. Douglas K. Adu-Boahen says:

    Here’s my massive issue with that article: baptism by the Triune name is not enough. Baptism, by its very nature, is a picture of the Gospel – if that is indeed true, how on earth can you affirm the baptism of the church of Rome as legitimate when it preaches a false, blasphemous Gospel. If we are going to follow the Biblical record, baptism was always in believing response to the Gospel call so why on earth would Catholic baptism be OK, because they talk about the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all the while denying the redemptive work of the Triune God.

  6. Andrew says:

    Sir, the Lutherans do not accept the validity of non-trinitarian baptism. It is a fact. You are certainly free to disagree with them on the particulars; but they insist, as does the author of the article to which you responded, that baptism must be in the name of Father, son, and Holy Spirit. You would have more credibility with your theological interlocutors if you would admit to making an honest mistake and amend the article accordingly.

  7. paperthinhymn says:

    Bruce, Andrew, when a person argues AGAINST a position, and then uses the argument from silence as a method of defeat, you shouldn’t be surprised when someone takes that argument to its logical conclusion.

  8. paperthinhymn says:

    From the article “Baptist….They consider baptism a command of God to be obeyed instead of the promise of God to His Creation to bring people into the Body of Christ. ” And hows that working out for them- all the people who were baptized as babies and then never repent or convert and die in their sins? Clearly baptism does not save a person, nor does it bring them into the Body of Christ, and either that means that God’s promises are weak and powerless, or that you are understanding it incorrectly. I vote for the latter

  9. paperthinhymn says:

    Here’s what I would like to know. From the authors perspective, what is the material difference in baptizing an unwilling, unregenerate baby, or baptizing a willing, unregenerate adult?

    Also, as far as this comment here goes “Here are a few quotes from leading theologians and Christian confessions which prove the Church teaches that re-baptism is un-biblical:” quotes from certain theologians don’t prove something is unbiblical- quotes from the bible prove that something is unbiblical.

    • Andrew says:

      Allow me to clarify. I am not here taking issue with Mr. Hall’s theology, or his counter arguments aimed at the other article. I am simply suggesting that a better, clearer argument can be had when we allow our opponent’s position to be what it is.

      The author of the first article made some rather broad brush statements about Baptist theology that Mr. Hall took exception to. He doesn’t think it honest to call him and other Baptists synergists. I agree. Some Baptists are; Reformed Baptists and many other Baptists, are not. But if Mr. Hall keeps on insisting that Lutherans accept non-trinitarian baptism, then they will not listen. Nor should it surprise anyone that they don’t.

      • JD Hall says:

        Let me be clear. I do not believe Lutherans accept a non-Trinitarian baptism. I do believe that the misguided Lutheran who wrote this article DOES, which is explicit. Forgive me if I painted her unorthodox view (also validifying papist baptisms) as the predominant Lutheran view.

        • Andrew says:

          A couple things and then I’ll stop belaboring the point. First, Lutherans do accept baptisms done by the Church of Rome. You are correct. Second, as I said before, I know this author; and while I may disagree with her article I can assure you that she does NOT regard non-trinitarian baptism as legitimate Christian baptism. If you interpreted something in her article that way then it was either not clearly written by her, not clearly understood by you, or both. It is simply untrue to say that she does accept non-trinitarian baptism.

          The thrust of your article stands without that point. Why don’t you just let that one go? It isn’t true nor is it central to your argument.

        • Andrew says:

          I went back and reread the section in question. I really think you misunderstood her point. At the same time it was kind of unclear. But what you took her to mean is not what she meant.

      • JD Hall says:

        Andrew, if she would be kind enough to retract her words, I’ll be kind enough to retract my commentary on her words. Also, if you know her, please call her to repentance for believe that a Roman baptism is Biblical.

  10. Bruce Zittlow says:

    Paperthin We will await with incredulity Pastor Hall’s next installment on why his church does not commune women, because of the ‘bible’s stance against it.’

    • Andrew says:

      Bruce, can you recall a theological argument ever in which you have contributed anything of value? I’m just wondering because all I have ever seen from you is this kind of banal, asinine “argumentation” and I wonder why someone with nothing to say even bothers talking.

    • JD Hall says:

      Women can be believers and demonstrate repentance. Infants, on the other hand, neither believe nor repent. IE women may be baptized OR take communion. Babies, dogs and unicorns, on the other hand, can do neither of the above until they are brought to repentance.

  11. Andrew says:

    I want to apologize for the rather mean tone of my comment in reply to Mr. Zittlow. Bruce, I am sorry. My words were not constructive or sufficiently charitable. I have sent a message to Mr. Hall asking him to delete the comment as I cannot figure out how to do so. Please accept my apology. It is sincere.

  12. Dave says:

    I was baptized as an infant. I believe that Jesus is the son of God, whose death made atonement for my sins. I believe everything in the ecumenical creeds. Would you consider me a Christian?

    • JD Hall says:

      That was never a question, obviously.

      • Dave says:

        But isn’t it? Based on your blog, I am not baptized. If you say that I am a Christian but am not baptized, the implication is that baptism is a ritual or a work of man. Yet, according to scripture, he who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved. Peter at Pentecost told the crowd to repent and be baptized. The believers at Ephesus received the Holy Spirit when Paul baptized them in Christ. Peter wrote that baptism now saves us.

    • Dave, the Roman Catholic Church believes that you must be baptized to be saved, either by water, blood or intent. Do you agree with their position? Must one be baptized in order to be saved?

  13. Bruce, I believe that the revelation from scripture that we receive concerning the nature and intent of soteriology and baptism neccessarily excludes infant baptism, in the same way that Jesus’ words about the nature of marriage neccessarily excludes homosexual unions.

    • Bruce Zittlow says:

      Dustin, is a person married on the performance of the words, “I pronounce you man and wife?” In the same way, is not a person baptized (washed) when Jesus proclaims, I baptize you, Dustin, (note the second person singular) in the name….?

      When would you want Jesus to say these words to your children? As early as possible, I’d guess. One of the early councils even declared that there was no need to wait until the eighth day. If we are to be born again of water and Spirit, the earliest is the best time. Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not.” How does one bring children to Jesus in the 21st century? For over 2,000 years the church has been bringing Jesus to them in baptism.

      • JD Hall says:

        First (and I’m not Dustin), but your wedding example is excellent. Although Western Civilization’s traditional wedding ceremony is not prescribed in Scripture, I’ll remind you of the common phrase, “What God has brought together, let no man tear assunder.” We are married in God’s sight, whether or not it is recognized by any man. How sad that many seem themselves no longer as one flesh and still married in God’s sight because they’ve been given a writ of divorce from an earthly judge. Secondly, and I have to say I’m sensing some Popery in you, the preist, pastor or pope is not “Jesus.” The Pope may pronounce forgiveness, the Lutheran regeneration in baptism, or the Baptist in the Sinner’s Prayer, but it’s all superstitious witchcraft if we think that we make God do one thing or another because we repeat the right words. Bruce, you seem to believe that children are saved because words are spoken to them. Once again, this is what Spurgeon calls “priestcraft.” The Holy Spirit uses the Scripture to make one born again (when combined with his effectual call) but there is no promise that if the words are heard that salvation is granted, or else we’d go around preaching at people and pronouncing them saved (which oddly enough, is what infant baptism is). And no – please adjust your math. For 2000 years the church has not been pouring water on infants’ heads (once again, pouring water is not baptism any more than taking a shower in the morning is baptism). Earliest examples stem from the third century and although some argue that this is the VERY early church, I’ll also remind you that every heresy (most still in existence) under the sun was present in the apostolic church and we see the apostles address these heresies in their epistles. The question isn’t “how old is this false teaching” or heresies as old as infant baptism (think Arianism, Pelagianism – or its various forms, gnosticism and the like) would be affirmed by their sheer age. There is one and one question for anyone claiming Sola Scriptura and that is, “Did the Apostles baptize unbelievers, as evidenced in the Holy Scripture, did they command it or do we see it done?” and the answer is a resounding “no.” And when you attempt to answer it in the affirmative, you are stuck with some really, really lame arguments from silence.

  14. paperthinhymn says:

    Andrew, I have deleted your comment, but it wasn’t thaaaaaat mean 😉

  15. If baptism is not an efficacious sign that confers grace, is it safe to assume that those in favor of credobaptism see baptism as a powerless sign that signifies inner grace?

  16. Does this mean that “words,” (which are external signs–puffs of wind that roll over saliva through teeth and lips) are also powerless signs, unable to confer things like grace? Are ‘words’ too simply powerless signs that signify inner things like inner grace?

    • JD Hall says:

      Words do not confer grace. The Holy Spirit confers grace to make a man born again, using words (spoken or read) of Scripture. Yet, there is no promise that if words are spoken or heard, the Holy Spirit is bound to save. Assuming water ever saved (which of course, it doesnot and there’s many a damned Lutheran to show for it), to use likewise as words, it’s use guarantees nothing, let alone the Spirit’s work. For words or water to confer grace is tantamount to spells and witchcraft.

  17. Bruce Zittlow says:

    Words do not confer grace. When Jesus said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven,” that would mean that they were not forgiven. When Jesus said to Zachaeus, “Salvation is come to your household today,” it hadn’t really come. When Peter said to the impotent man, ‘Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee,” he really had nothing to give. When Jesus said, “Woman your sins are forgiven,” no grace there.

    One wonders how anyone would know they have been born again in a scenario such as the one Pastor Hall has envisioned. Maybe the Holy Spirit speaks to him inaudibly, or apart from scripture, or maybe grace is just a prickly sensation, or a heart palpitation. What ever happened to God using the gospel to confer grace?

  18. Bruce Zittlow says:

    None of those words Jesus or the apostles said were scripture when spoken. Yet they conferred grace.

  19. Born4Battle says:

    Is there an issue concerning eisegesis v. exegesis here? Seems to me that, as JD has asserted, that the baptism of believers is what is most clearly found in scripture and that infant Baptism can only be implied, at at best.

  20. Bruce Zittlow says:

    Born4, When Israel was baptized unto Moses in the Red Sea, did they leave the babies and children behind, or were they baptized too? When all Israel went out to be baptized by John the Baptist, did that nation include children or not? When even more people went out to be baptized by Jesus than were being baptized by John, are we told that infants were to be left out? When Peter said on Pentecost, “This promise is to you and to your children,” does that promise have any significance? When Jesus commanded to “Go, make disciples, baptizing…..and teaching” which part were children to be left out of? The baptizing, the teaching, or both?

    • JD Hall says:

      Spiritual…connect…the….dots. How sad, this is the extent of argumentation for which you must grasp when you can’t find a clear, didactic teaching to affirm the coerced baptism of lost people. This is Harold Camping type grasping. Find a word obviously having nothing to do with the Christian rite of baptism and squeeze an analogy out of it like a sponge. Once again, why are you excluding Muslims from baptism? Don’t you love Muslims? Atheists are in the nations. There is one difference between baptizing a baby and a dog. A dog is less an enemy of God.

    • Born4Battle says:

      Thank you for the great example illustrating my point concerning eisegetical implication (although erroneous) rather than careful exegesis of scriptiure, which clearly gives examples of the baptism of believers. As has been said one or two times, there is not a single example of infant ‘baptism’ in the NT.

      Neither the exodus passage to which Paul referred nor the Corinthians passage specifies particular classes/types of people that ought to be baptized. There other reasons for rejecting the Exodus/Corinthians references as prescribing infant baptism, but I won’t go there.

      Concerning ‘all israel’ heading for John the Baptist meaning there must have been infants is a misuse of the word ‘all’ akin to the Arminian trying to say that ‘all’ mean everyone on the planet when it clearly means all ‘sorts’.
      In Acts 19:4 Paul said that John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, leaving the gnawing question of babies being capable of consciously repenting of anything.

  21. Dave says:

    Agree that it is not just the water. Martin Luther preferred immersion because of the symbolism related to death but the key is water and the Word of God. If I rely on my appeal to God, how do I know it is effective? Therein lies the slippery slope into decisional theology where the focus is on me instead of what Christ already did to earn my salvation. But let me circle back to my original question: Do you think I am a Christian? I ask because your writing implies that I am not, based on my infant baptism not being valid (or is it annulled?) and your response was vague. Yes or no?

  22. paperthinhymn says:

    Dave, be reasonable. Jordan has made it clear his position. Neither I nor him know whether or not you’re a Christian. If you believe a biblical gospel and have been saved by it, repenting and putting your faith in the work of Christ, and are demonstrating the fruits of repentance, then you are saved irrespective of whether or not you ever get baptized.

    • Dave says:

      If baptism is not necessary, then why all the fuss as to when and how, other than as some observance of a new law? To be honest, what I am hearing from the Baptist side sounds like law. I grew up in a wishy-washy church where baptism was not a big deal. Did not matter whether you were baptized as a baby or waited until you were older. It was luke warm, neither law nor gospel. As an adult, I became a member of a sacramental church and it took time for me to appreciate the gospel in baptism and in communion. When you view those things as a means of grace, it is very reassuring to one’s faith. No longer is it about what I can do for God but what God has done for me. That’s why people like me get a little touchy when someone says infant baptism doesn’t count. Don’t think either one of us will change our minds on this side of the resurrection but God’s grace and peace to all.

      • JD Hall says:

        Is Baptism a new law? In the same way that every act of Christian discipleship is a “law” (which of course, these are commands to be followed by Christ not in an Old Covenant sense to receive salvation, but out of a renewed nature on account of salvation. Perhaps this explains so much antinomianism in Lutheran circles, viewing privileges of discipleship as law. You may be touchy when someone says it, but infant baptism does not “count” any more than if I were to baptize a Muslim against his will. They are both at enmity with God, have yet to receive the Gospel or repent of their sins, and the libation ritual is rejected by God.

  23. Bruce Zittlow says:

    Born4 Show some verses where households and nations do not have infants, prove they have never been baptized. Show a church anywhere in the world where infants are not baptized (Orthodox, Coptic, Western, even heretical groups), show any church anywhere in the world that does not hold that baptism is efficacious prior to the rationalistic age that produced Calvinists and Anabaptists. Show where scripture prohibits bringing children to Jesus. Show the heresy trial that must have occurred for the first person to baptize an infant. Show one verse in scripture that calls baptism the outward sign of an inward affectation, or one verse that says it is a test of newfound obedience for believers. Prove that it is a work to be added on to salvation. Prove that baptism is a meaningless ritual established by Jesus (replaceing old types and shadows with new) to confuse the church beginning sixteen hundred years after its establishment.

    • Born4Battle says:

      Not biting, my friend. I know all the arguments and could take either side in a debate. I’ve studied it extensively. My only point it that while believer baptism has EXPLICIT examples in the NT, infant baptism has none. That’s all I want to ‘prove’.

      • Bruce Zittlow says:

        Born You don’t know that you have ever witnessed a ‘believer’ baptism., do you?

        And it’s ok. You don’t have to bite. It’s not a debate. It’s a sacrament.

        • JD Hall says:

          …well, if they look like the terrified child in the above photo, it’s safe to say they’re not a believer. But to answer your question, we can know they are a believer by demonstrated repentance. And as soon as a child demonstrate legitimate faith by being led to repentance and then call upon the name of the Lord (I guess babies do that too, just deep down inside where you can’t hear them) I’ll baptize that little sucker.

    • JD Hall says:

      First, let me say again – the nations include a whole slew of people you do not baptize (because they’re neither repentant, nor believers) such as Muslims, Agnostics, Atheists, Mormons, etc. So please, be consistent. Concerning households, your job is to show those households had infants who did not believe the Gospel or repent. In almost every instance baptism is brought up, repentance or belief are prerequisite marks that exist prior to the baptism, but you’re willing to baptize infants because there might have been infants in a couple of households. Hey buddy, there might have been Golden Retrievers in those households. You can’t prove there weren’t. Should we baptize them, too? Furthermore, no one is preventing us “bringing children to Jesus,” although the priest and pope most certainly aren’t Jesus. I would remind you, friend, when Jesus had the little children come unto him, he didn’t baptize them. Furthermore, I am tired of the paedo-“baptist” argument that because the ordinances of the church (baptism and the Lord’s Supper) are not salvific that they are meaningless. Worship is not salvific, and yet it is not meaningless. Furthermore, your whole “1600 years after its establishment” thing. You have a few Papists on your side. We have the Apostles, who didn’t baptize a single baby.

      • Madison Ruppert says:

        The “Critical Evaluation of Paedobaptism” paper published by Founders Ministries deals with the oikobaptism arguments quite well, in my humble opinion. I don’t know if I can link it here but it’s definitely worth reading for those who haven’t.

    • “Prove that it is a work to be added on to salvation. Prove that baptism is a meaningless ritual established by Jesus” — Wow. Talk about a straw man. I’m glad not all the arguments in favor of paedobaptism are based on such blatant misrepresentations of the credo position.

    • Bruce, I would be interested if you offered a counter exegesis to this particular bit of Bible which would support your point and refute my own.

      About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them,26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer[f] called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34 Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God. Acts 16:25-34 ESV

      A few points of observations

      1. The Jailer’s response of falling to his knees, trembling , and asking that question would not make sense in light of the circumstances unless Paul and Silas had spoken of in their prayers and songs the need for salvation. This precipitated the man asking what he specifically had to do in order to be saved- because he was taught a need and a desire for it.

      2. In verse 31, the condition for the individual members of the household believing were the same conditions that the jailer was given- they had to believe in the Lord Jesus. The members of the household would not be saved as an extension and necessary consequence of the Jailers salvation, but rather had to come to those conclusions and confession themselves.

      3. Paul spoke the word of the Lord to the Jailer and members of his household. The words that were spoken had to make sense to those listening to them, the members of the household, and so far we know that we’re dealing with people who at least had the cognitive abilities to understand what was being spoken of, and who were able to receiving teaching. Infants don’t have the ability to meet this requirement or fulfill this condition- as they cannot repent and believe, much less understand what a “Lord Jesus” even is.

      4. The Jailer, having believed and understood the words of the Lord, was baptized. His family was also baptized, but only after they had actively understood and believed. If the members of the household refused to believe and rejected the word of the Lord, would they have been baptized? No. They had to believe in the Lord Jesus, which resulted in their salvation and opportunity to be baptized. Paul presents it as a command to be obeyed, not something that passively happens to you without your knowledge and absent belief.

      5. This is the kicker. After the Jailer and the members of his household first believed, then were baptized, it states that his ENTIRE HOUSEHOLD rejoiced that the Jailer believed in God. Can infants rejoice when someone believes in God? Can a 3 month old rejoice and be glad that his or her father was saved? No. Why was the household rejoicing? Because they were overjoyed at the Jailer having believed, and were probably happy for their own sake. This is a proper and expected response and one that only some people can make.

      6. So lets recap. The “household” were taught the word of the Lord, the “household” was commanded to believe in Jesus. The “household” understood the condition which would result in their salvation. The “household” actively believed that command. As a result of understanding and believing the command, the “household” was baptized, and after the household heard, understood, believed and was baptized, the entire household rejoiced on behalf of another. Are we talking about actions and behaviors that an 8 day old baby could ever partake in and which we could rightfully and fully ascribe these actions and realities to? Not a chance.

      • Gary says:


        This is a perfect example of reading into a text exactly what you want to hear!

        Let’s note these issues with Dustin’s statement above:

        1. “unless Paul and Silas had spoken of in their prayers and songs the need for salvation. This precipitated the man asking what he specifically had to do in order to be saved- because he was taught a need and a desire for it. ” Not one word of this assumption is found in this passage.

        2. “In verse 31, the condition for the individual members of the household believing were the same conditions that the jailer was given- they had to believe in the Lord Jesus.” Again, no where do we see this assumption mentioned in the passage. Dustin is bring his preconceived Baptist doctrine into God’s Holy Word and telling us what God REALLY meant to say. There is not ONE statement in this passage that the members of the household believed before they were baptized!

        3. Notice what Paul and Silas said when the jailer asked what he must do to be saved; “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” What does the plain, simple reading of this passage state: If the jailer will believe…he AND his household will be saved!!! So Paul and Silas promise salvation to the man’s household prior to knowing whether or not each one of them will believe…AND prior to knowing whether or not there are infants in the house! (This household conversion is no different than any other household conversion that has happened in the previous 2,000 years since Abraham’s household conversion.)

        4. “The words that were spoken had to make sense to those listening to them, the members of the household, and so far we know that we’re dealing with people who at least had the cognitive abilities to understand what was being spoken of, and who were able to receiving teaching. ” Another assumption. There is zero mention in the passage that the household members had to understand the words spoken to them in order to be baptized.

        5. “This is the kicker. After the Jailer and the members of his household first believed, then were baptized, it states that his ENTIRE HOUSEHOLD rejoiced that the Jailer believed in God. Can infants rejoice when someone believes in God?” No, Dustin, the REAL “kicker” is that the passage states that the entire household rejoiced that HE (the jailer) had believed. Again, there is absolutely no mention anywhere in this passage that any member of the household believed. Dustin has done a wonderful job of making beautiful baptistic assumptions to prop up his sixteenth century re-interpretation of the Bible, but you know what they say about assuming…

        If I made the comment that my entire church rejoiced that our church softball team had just defeated the first place Methodists, would that statement require me to mean that every suckling baby and every toddler in diapers clapped his hands and cheered when the Lutherans won the softball game? Of course not. Silly, silly, silly.

  24. Bruce Zittlow says:

    You don’t know that Jesus had not already baptized the children, do you….. To meet one argument from silence with another argument from silence is not an argument.

    • JD Hall says:

      I’m not arguing from silence. From the explicit command to “repent and be baptized” to the many examples of repentant believers being baptized, we have 100% authority to baptize repentant believers. We must make no argument from silence. You, on the other hand…the “You don’t know Jesus had not already…” Now that’s rich. Way to form a doctrine, right there.

  25. Bruce Zittlow says:

    What’s interesting is that the baptist arguments arise fully sixteen centuries late. And all based on rationalistic speculation, true to the period of time in which they were formulated.

    • JD Hall says:

      To be fair, the Baptist idea (16 centuries late, as you put it) that only believers should be baptized and by immersion is no more “16 centuries late” than any of the ideas of Luther, including Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide and so on. Yet, to be consistent, you believe what was happening was a “Re-Formation” and not a “Formation.” These ideas, Protestants argue (you and I both being one, although I’m starting to doubt your credentials) were not knew, but merely reiterated and rediscovered and reaffirmed through the power of the Holy Spirit (and on account of the printing press).

    • JD Hall says:

      I assume this is where you’ll start talking about mysteries. That’s where this usually ends up with the Lutheran. It’s a bunch of “Mysteries.”

  26. Bruce Zittlow says:

    Actually, this Lutheran is going to refrain from ad hominem attacks. Thus far, I’ve mostly asked questions. But Pastor Hall has ‘sensed some Popery’ in me, compared me to Harold Camping, although I haven’t made any predictions or mentioned the Pope at all.. In the process he has made fun of baptism, joking about baptizing dogs, unicorns etc. This is just not a very profitable way to discuss issues like this.

    Regarding Martin Luther, he came up with nothing new, unless Justification by faith is new. It was taught in the bible and by numerous church fathers. None of those fathers opposed baptismal regeneration and only one that I have read opposed infant baptism, and that because he considered baptism to be efficacious and that it should be practiced as close to death as possible.

  27. Bruce Zittlow says:

    You’re an expert at insults. You should be proud of yourself.

  28. Andrew says:

    The idea that the universal practice of the early church was infant baptism is laughable. It is reading this claim in a Lutheran magazine that made me suspicious. I am not a church history expert by any stretch of the imagination; but I have read enough to know that there is almost nothing in the history of the church, excepting maybe the deity of Christ, which enjoys such a unanimous consent.

    Allow me to site three historical examples to support what I have claimed, two well known early Christians who were baptized as adults, despite being raised in Christian families, and one passage on baptism from Jerome.

    Basil The Great was born in AD 330 to a Christian family. He was baptized as an adult.

    The same is true of his friend, Gregory Nazianzus. He was baptized in his late twenties and his father was a bishop! He also taught that infant baptism should not be practiced except in emergencies, because…infants can’t give account of their faith. The Baptists did not invent that line of thinking. He did approve of baptizing young children (he said they should be 3).

    Then there is this interesting passage from St. Jerome:

    “Jesus approached them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me.’ This authority had been given to one who had just been crucified, buried in a tomb, laid dead and afterwards had arisen. Authority was given to him in both heaven and earth so that he who once reigned in heaven might also reign on earth through the faith of his believers.

    ‘Go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father, the son, and the holy spirit.’ First they teach all nations; then they baptize those who have been taught with water, for the body is not able to receive the sacrament of baptism before the soul has received the truth of the faith. They were baptized in the name of the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit so that the three who are one in divinity might also be one on giving themselves. The name of the trinity is the name of the one God.

    ‘Teach them to observe all that I have commanded you.’ What a marvelous sequence this is. He commanded the apostles first to teach all nations and then to baptize them in the sacrament of the faith, and then after faith and baptism, to teach them to observe all that he had commanded. Lest we think these commandments of little consequence or few in number, he added, ‘all that I have commanded you’ so that those who were to believe and be baptized in the trinity would observe everything they had been taught.”

    It doesn’t appear to my eyes that the charge of theological innovation is legitimate in this case, as it is leveled against the Baptists.

  29. Bruce Zittlow says:

    Hippolytus(170-235): And they shall baptize the little children first. And if they can answer for themselves, let them answer. But if they cannot, let their parents answer or someone from their family. And next they shall baptism the grown men; and last the women.

    Origen (c.185-254) I take this occasion to discuss something which our brothers often inquire about. Infants are baptized for the remission of sins. Of what kinds? Or when did they sin? But since “No one is exempt from stain,” one removes the stain by the mystery of baptism. For this reason infants are baptized. For “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.”……..”For this also the church had a tradition from the apostles, to give baptism even to infants. For they to whom the secrets of the divine mysteries were given knew that there is in all persons the natural stains of sin which must be washed away by the water and the Spirit. On account of these stains the body itself is called the body of sin.”

    Cyprian(c.200-258): In respect of the case of infants, which you say ought not to be baptized within the second or third day after birth, and that the law of ancient circumcision should be regarded, so that you think that one who is just born should not be baptized and sanctified within the eighth day, we all thought very differently in our council. For in this course which you thought was to be taken, no one agreed; but we all rather judge that the mercy and grace of God is not to be refused to any one born of man… Spiritual circumcision ought not to be hindered by carnal circumcision… we ought to shrink from hindering an infant, who, being lately born, has not sinned, except in that, being born after the flesh according to Adam, he has contracted the contagion of the ancient death at its earliest birth, who approaches the more easily on this very account to the reception of the forgiveness of sins – that to him are remitted, not his own sins, but the sins of another” (Letter 58 to Fidus).

    Augustine(354-430): For from the infant newly born to the old man bent with age, as there is none shut out from baptism, so there is none who in baptism does not die to sin. (Enchiridion; ch. 43)

    • JD Hall says:

      So, I guess Sola Scriptura is dead. Hey, Gnosticism is really old (and yet, not practiced by the Apostles and so we shouldn’t practice it, either). Will you affirm other heresies because they go back to the 2nd century? If you go first to history because you can’t go to the Apostles, go back to Rome.

    • Andrew says:

      Bruce, as is so common, you have completely ignored what was actually argued. No one said that infant baptism didn’t exist in the early church. It most certainly did. But the “this was what everybody except Tertullian did until the 1500s” argument doesn’t hold any water. It isn’t true. The fact that even paedobaptist scholars have acknowledged this should be enough for an honest person to let that argument go. So rather than make a return volley in a game of citation ping pong, which is not my intention, hear the real argument. The argument from historical ubiquity is bunk. It isn’t true. Both positions existed and the credo position appears to have existed in even the earliest years of the church.

  30. Born4Battle says:

    It all still seems to come down to what is explicit in scripture and what is not. There is no instance in all of the NT testament of infant baptism, but we do have examples of the baptism of those who have heard the gospel, repented and believed. I realized that years ago when, having been baptized as an infant, been catechized as a Lutheran, spent some years as a prodigal and was mercifully and graciously brought back when serving in the military. I started actually reading the Bible again and was especially interested in what it had to say about baptism. I was told that my infant baptism was all I needed, but at the same time the Bible was telling me than baptism, where it was spoken about, was something that happened after a person believed. Forget all the denominational teachings about what it means for a moment – I just cared about what was clearly in the NT. I also knew that as an infant, I had no ability to see my sinful condition, repent and believe.

    During the last 30 years or so I’ve studied the topic and history of baptism in the church and could probably debate either side. At the end of the day, The Bible still gives us only one example of baptism in the NT. That’s the bottom line

  31. Bruce Zittlow says:

    Born4 If baptism is what happens after you believe, then you must also believe that 1.first you believe, 2 then you are baptized 3 then your sins are forgiven, right? After all, Ananias said to a guy named Saul of Tarsus, “What are you waiting for, Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” After that his name is Paul. Furthermore on Pentecost, Peter said, “Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” In your ordo, that would then be 4. reception of the Holy Spirit, right? So you are a believer before receiving any of these things, right? We just want to be scriptural, don’t we?

    Paul writes in Galatians that in baptism we ‘put on Christ,’ or ‘ are clothed with Christ.’ I suppose that is also irrelevant to faith. In two plades Paul says that we are buried with Christ in baptism and raised up to newness of life. I guess you waited for that to happen until you were baptized, since none of that has anything to do with salvation, in your view.

  32. Bruce Zittlow says:

    Andrew, long time no speak. And I’m better for it. Ask Pastor Hall if the argument from early church can be made either way. sola scriptura. Oh, who first came up with that phrase?

  33. Bruce Zittlow says:

    So, the argument from scripture can be made either way, the argument from history can be made either way. Baptism saves. The promise is to you and to your children. Need I go on?

  34. Born4Battle says:

    Let me see if I understand where we are in the conversation. infant and believer baptism can be found in the early church. The only form modeled specifically in the pages of scripture however is believer baptism.

  35. Bruce Zittlow says:

    Born4 I reject your premise categorically. That is not the only model in scripture. We’ll have to agree to disagree, but at least (take note Pr. Hall) I won’t question your salvation, your credibility, compare you to the Pope or to Harold Camping.

  36. Bruce Zittlow says:

    Your premise is that baptism is irrelevant. As I said, I reject it categorically. There are no passages in the bible that speak to baptism that indicate anything but its efficacy.

    • Born4Battle says:

      Bruce, since I never even said anything close to baptism being irrelevant, that comment makes no sense. Are you being intentionally argumentative? My point has been so simple even a caveman could get it. I’ve only stated what is clearly in the text of scripture and what must be read into it.

  37. Bruce Zittlow says:

    What good is baptism, in your view? What does it do? I contend that it is the issue here. What difference would it make when or how a person is baptized if it delivers nothing. I’m not the one being argumentative. It was Pr. Hall who responded acidly to Tamara’s article.

    • Born4Battle says:

      Bruce, What good I think baptism is or isn’t is NOT the issue. The issue is what is clear and what is implied in the thxt of scripture, what is found in the words on the pages, clear to anyone who can read and understand those words. Regarding ‘deliveries’ , what does obedience to anything in scripture deliver? What baptism cannot deliver is ‘salvation’, an erroneous notion both Catholics and some Protestants hold.

  38. Bruce Zittlow says:

    Anyone can clearly read what baptism gives: forgiveness of sins, the Holy Spirit, burial with Christ and being raised up with Him, salvation. These are the words of the text.

    • Born4Battle says:

      Bruce, Text of what book? Acts 2:38? Eph 2:8-9 would rather harshly contradict Acts 2:38 meaning that baptism is necessary for salvation, don’t you think? Are you saying the Bible contradicts itself? Without getting into the various meanings of the word “for” in the Greek, there is sufficient teaching in the Bible to know for certain that it is faith that saves, not any rite at the hands of men. All the passages that are used to add something to faith for salvation must, for the sake of intellectual integrity mean something else.

  39. ASouthernSister says:

    Where I’m from (the Southern US), addressing a woman as “Lady” (instead of “Ma’am” or “Mrs. (insert last name here)”) is implied as an insult and deserves a tongue-lashing; pastors, as leaders of the church, should know better than to be rude.

    In the community I’m currently in (United States Marine Corps), it’s fightin’ words to address a lady in such a rude manner. May the Lord help ya if you get on the wrong side of a good ol’ country boy that was trained to be a grunt, sir.

    As a sister of the faith, I urge you to consider this: Regardless on how you disagree with Lutherans or the Reformed believers on baptism, they are still considered professed believers in the one body of Christ. Treat them as brothers and sisters by using gentle words (for a soft answer turns away wrath, as Proverbs 15:1 states) instead of bringing on that bucket of burning coals upon yourself as opposed to heaping that bucket on them for kind treatment (As Romans 12:19-21 reminds us, especially overcoming evil with good.).

    Did you forget to overcome evil with good with your comments, or did your tongue get the best of you?

  40. Southernsister, what are you referring to with your “lady” comments, and what relevance does that bear on the matter at hand?

    • ASouthernSister says:

      For paperthinhymn:

      It was originally a Facebook comment that was made.

      He said this to the author of the article on “re-baptism”:

      “Lady, if you’re under the assumption that babies believe the Gospel, I’m not sure what else to say to you anyway. You’re interpreting these verses in light of your Papist superstition. I’ve never met a regenerate baby, and neither have you. I have met lots of unregenerate Lutheran folks splitting hell open who think they’re regenerate because some Lutheran-Catholic hybrid witch doctor told them they were saved for undergoing a papal ritual.”

  41. paperthinhymn says:

    Bruce…how would you exegete Acts 16?

  42. Bruce Zittlow says:

    I think the text is clear, at least in the passages that mention baptism. Lydia was a woman who was already worshipping God prior to the arrival of the apostles. She heard Paul and was baptized. Oh, and her entire household was baptized. The jailer likewise upon hearing the word of the Lord was baptized with ‘all of his’ immediately, then they rejoiced, believing in God. And those in his household also believed. Pretty straightforward stuff.

    • Did you not see my exegesis I posted above? Here’s the most salient portion, with ammendations

      After the Jailer and the members of his household first believed, then were baptized, it states that his ENTIRE HOUSEHOLD rejoiced that the Jailer believed in God. Can infants rejoice when someone believes in God? Can a 3 month old rejoice and be glad that his or her father was saved? No. Why was the household rejoicing? Because they were overjoyed at the Jailer having believed. This is a proper and expected response and one that only some people can make.

      So lets recap, paying attention to the order. The “household” were taught the word of the Lord, the “household” was commanded to believe in Jesus. The “household” understood the condition which would result in their salvation. The “household” actively believed that command. As a result of understanding and believing the command, the “household” was baptized, and after the household heard, understood, believed and was baptized, the entire household rejoiced on behalf of another. Are we talking about actions and behaviors that an 8 day old baby could ever partake in and which we could rightfully and fully ascribe these actions and realities to? If you take the “entire household” to be literally the entire household, then there were no babies or infants because the entire household rejoiced. If you take it as a figure of speech, referring to most people in the household, then we have no reason to assume that it includes babies,

  43. Bruce Zittlow says:

    When you consider how many entire households were baptized in the New Testament, what are the odds that no children were baptized? Were all of these people childless? All of them? Really?

    • Bruce Zittlow says:

      It strains credulity.

    • Andrew says:

      Okay, let’s turn this back the other way. Where’s your proof, Bruce? Since the bible doesn’t tell us one way or the other does not the Baptist have as much warrant to insist that there were no people under the age of 12 as you do to insist that there MUST have been infants?

      • Gary says:

        Christ told us to baptize all nations. No age requirement is given…ever…anywhere.
        The Apostles baptized numerous households.
        There are only TWO specific examples of adult, believer’s baptism in the NT: Saul, who was unmarried, without a household, and the Ethopian eunuch…who for obvious reasons, also lacked a family/household.

        Therefore the burden of proof is not on Lutherans to prove that the apostles DID baptize infants, the burden of proof is on the Baptists to prove that they DID NOT!

  44. Born4Battle says:

    What strains credulity, in my humble opinion, is for a thinking adult to make a case for infant baptism from texts in which it can be equally implied that the household members who were baptized also received and understood the gospel as both Cornelius and Lydia did. I cannot, with an ounce of intellectual integrity assert that a doctrine infant baptism must be believed out of what one can only imply. We are still left with certain things being clear in the text (s) believer’s baptism, and infant baptism an implication at best.

  45. Bruce Zittlow says:

    Well, if one believes in monergism……..

    • Born4Battle says:

      Well Bruce, since the choices seem to be monergism v. synergism, and synergism by necessitates that I have reason to boast, in violation of Eph 2:8-9 (to start with), I’m going with monergism. For those unfamiliar with the terms, moneergism means that God saves us while synergism means it’s “shake ‘n’ bake” and we help.

      • paperthinhymn says:

        Great point battle, and something I’ve never understood from their perspective. If God is trying to save all people equally, and is exerting maximal power and pressure and effort to save everyone, and is doing all he can to save both me and my friend, and I chose God and he doesn’t, then what other possible reason could there be that I got saved, other than my own efforts, cleverness, or abilities?

  46. Born4Battle says:

    Thas meant to say “synergism by definition means I have reason to boast.”

  47. Dave says:

    Yes, you have reduced baptism to law. By that, I mean a work, rite, ceremony, or as stated in Baptist belief: “an act of obedience” that focuses on what YOU DO, not what Jesus did for you. No different than circumcision, mandatory worship attendance, mandatory tithing, etc. Further, it is scripturally inconsistent with what Paul wrote, saying that our Lord and Savior fulfills the Law on our behalf so that we are free from the Law. But you’re saying Jesus instituted a new ritual, two if you include communion. As for willingness, no one becomes a Christian willingly. How can an act of obedience be done willing? As you rightly note, it is a work of the Holy Spirit because our old Adam, the flesh, continues to rebel against God, even after we become Christians. Stop relying on your own will and works.

    • Born4Battle says:

      “How can an act of obedience be done willingly?” Is that a serious question?

      • Dave says:

        Do you willing pay taxes? If you do something because you have to, there is no will involved. That is why the phrase “accepting Christ” is wrong. Our faith comes through the Holy Spirit and the only will that can be exerted in that situation is to reject faith in Christ, which is the unforgivable sin against the Holy Spirit. But let’s get back to the Baptist theological error. Baptists say that Christ instituted two ceremonies, baptism and communion, which are like circumcision and thus pertaining to the Law. Yet Romans 7:6 clearly states that Christ freed us from the Law.

        • JD Hall says:

          This is why many Lutherans border near antinomianism, confusing law and worship. Obeying God’s commands to obtain merit is law. Obeying God’s commands because we love him (God commands MANY things of us in this post-resurrection world) is worship.

        • Born4Battle says:

          “If you do something because you have to, there is no will involved. ”


          Is that a serious comment? The degree of ‘want to’ makes absolutely no difference. Courses of actin were analyzed and a decision/choice was made. Our will is involved in every decision we make. Jonathan Edwards defined the ‘will’ as the mind choosing. Maybe you were asking a trick question?

  48. Bruce Zittlow says:

    Papterthin You speak of conditions, ” The “household” understood the condition which would result in their salvation.” Sounds like free will Arminianism to me. Let’s look at one of the examples in Acts 16.

    The apostles spoke to all that were in the house the Word of the Lord. Then they were baptized, after attending to the apostles’ wounds. Then they ate, rejoiced, believing. If you are setting forth an ordo salutis here, the believing is the last thing mentioned. Furthermore, as to the household rejoicing and for that reason excluding infants, do you remember John Baptist leaping in utero ‘for joy’ at the appearance of the mother of his Lord? Let’s be honest here. Little children can and do believe. Jesus even spoke of ‘these little ones who believe in me. David spoke of ‘trusting upon his mother’s breast.’

    If you’ve ever had young children you know they are little trust machines. Look at the eyes of a nursing infant as she looks into her mother’s eyes. She has confidence in her mother that she would not have if you or I picked her up, but we could establish trust over time as she realized our trustworthiness. Jesus said we are to ‘become like little children’ and not that the children must be as adults before they can believe.

    • paperthinhymn says:

      “Conditions” as in there is a proper response to the question of what must one to be saved. If the man believes, then he will be saved. I do believe in the doctrines of grace and so I can understand that we may have different ways of understanding terminology and what is going on behind the scenes. For example, in this situation- the jailer is only responding to the gospel because the Father gave him to Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is drawing him and illuminating him. Under normal conditions this Jailer would never accept or believe, because he is a slave to sin and dead in his sins, but because he has been given and is being draw he will necessarily believe, and he will be made alive with Christ.

      Also, your timeline is messed up and doesn’t reflect what happened. First the Jailer heard the gospel. Then he asked Paul the question. Then Paul answered his question seemingly in the presence of the household. Then they spoke the word of the Lord to the Jailer and the members of the household. At that point they believed, and were subsequently baptized. And then they rejoiced in their belief. By your logic, they consented to be baptized as unregenerate, God hating people, and then only after they were baptized they became saved. That doesn’t follow and doesn’t even make sense.

      Furthermore, you’re bringing in irrelevant information that doesn’t matter to the story. Following the context, we only see people capable of receiving and believing the gospel hearing, believing, being baptized, and rejoicing based on their understanding of what just occurred. That has nothing to do with John and the miracle that took place in that context.

      Now you’re bringing up the fact that little children can and do believe? What about the infants who are days old? Are you saying there were no 8-day year old infants in any households? What do you do with that? If your argument is that some children, of some indeterminable age, can be demonstrated to have the mental faculties to fully understand and respond to the gospel, repenting and believing in the work of Christ on the cross, and therefore should be baptized- then great! I’m all for that. But I would just lump them in with the rest of the household. That doesn’t help you with the question of what we do with infants and babies.

      • Bruce Zittlow says:

        According to the text, the jailer’s household was baptized and rejoiced, believing. Sorry, the text is the text.

        If eight day old children cannot believe, are they all lost? Or is there some other way to be saved than through faith? Mental faculties? What mental faculties did the demon possessed man have? Your decisional theology just doesn’t work with the truths of the Reformation.

      • Bruce Zittlow says:

        And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 32And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 33And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. 34And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

      • Bruce Zittlow says:

        Mr Hall, did I say that? Or did I quote the text? In my opinion, you are much closer to Rome than any Lutheran. Perhaps not on the topic of baptism, but most in the Calvinistic Baptist camp are closet Nestorians, deny forensic justification ,deny the genus maiestaticum, hold to the Aristotelian lfiniti capax non infiniti’ horror, etc. We can all hurl insults and call each other papists if we want. I’ve deliberately avoided it here but it seems to be your fallback position. Well, it’s your ballpark, so I guess you can do it, but are you sure that you want to treat believers this way? It reflects badly on you.

  49. Andrew T says:

    If anyone is interested, I wrote a 3-part reply to Pr. Hall’s article over at my blog

    I apologize for posting a link in a blog comment. If the author so wishes, go ahead and remove it.

    Grace and Peace

  50. pastorhering says:

    “First, the Christian creeds commonly used to define orthodoxy (the Apostle’s Creed, Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed) are silent on the issue. ”

    Except that Nicene confesses “one Baptism for the *remission* of sins.”

    What? The early Christians were heretics that not only believed but taught Baptism actually conveyed the remission of sins?

    Yup. They sure did.

    No ritual libation, i.e. pouring out of a sacrifice from men to God, that. Rather it is a sacramental pouring out of God’s grace and inscription of His name upon sinners called to believe and be saved.

    It seems you and your “Pulpiteers” are the ones pouring out the sacrifices of men in your ordinance of baptismal obedience that is over and done as soon as one climbs out of the pool.

  51. paperthinhymn says:

    Bruce, you shouldn’t quote a bible verse from a particular translation if you don’t understand how to read it.

    he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household. NIV
    And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God. ESV
    he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household. NKJV
    set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household. NASB
    he rejoiced greatly that he had come to believe in God, together with his entire household NET
    and rejoiced because he had believed God with his entire household. HCSB
    he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house. KJV

    To say that at the point prior to his baptism that he had not yet believed and was still unregenerate is incredulous, and does not make any sense whatsoever in the context of the story. To sustain this position, and to be consistent, you must necessarily believe this, and that is a quite unenviable position to be in.

  52. Andrew T says:

    Born4 – That is a secondary definition of “eis.” Why are you insisting we accept a secondary definition there, especially when the entire early church believed differently, and all the didactic passages on baptism are quite explicit that baptism does things for salvation.

  53. paperthinhymn says:

    Andrew. If there was a famous atheist at the hospital in a coma, and he had only hours to live, and he could not hear you but was essentially in a vegetative state. Do you believe That if you snuck into his room and baptised him, that he would then be saved?

    • Andrew T says:

      Don’t know, but the question is irrelevant, because wewould not do that. Scripture says baptism saves (1Pe 3) and baptism unites us to Christ (Ro 6, Col 2). It never says that baptism saves a person every time nor does it say that it is impossible to be saved without it (thief on the cross). It’s the same idea that not everyone who hears the Gospel preached is saved.

      The short of the matter in Lutheranism is that Word and Sacrament mediate grace to us. Grace creates faith (cf. Eph 2:8-9). But grace can also be rejected.

      That is where our differences lie. Reformed Baptist theology in essence has no means of grace. That is to say, the spiritual work of the Holy Spirit is in no way “connected” to any natural means.

    • JD Hall says:

      …only if he were consistent.

    • Andrew T says:

      I don’t expect to convert any of you good Baptists to Lutheranism, but I’m not sure many of you understand our positions. For instance, read this, I wrote it awhile ago. It explains how faith alone does not negate Baptismal grace.

  54. Born4Battle says:


    Having been a Lutheran in times past, and also being a fan of the boys over at the White Horse Inn and heard a lot about the ‘means of grace’, I still haven’t figured out how to be able to say water baptism is a means of grace, that we are saved by faith alone, when Luther had this to say: “By the Means of Grace are meant those things by which God offers and gives His gifts of forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation” (Luther’s Small Catechism [Gausewitz edition], 1956, page 191). I also have read that Luther believed that in water baptism is the ‘promise’ of grace and that salvation actually comes later when one can understand what it all means (confirmation). I still have my little red confirmation book. I have also read that Luther recognized believer baptism by immersion as the biblical model and he merely consented to infant baptism because it was so widely used already .I was speaking with a Presbyterian friend just yesterday where I work about this and he easily recognized that believer baptism is IN the text and infant baptism is not. So I remain confused about the Lutheran position. Maybe it’s in Luther’s use of ‘offer’ that what seems to conflict can be reconciled. Water baptism and Communion are ‘means that offer’, but don’t confer? If Christ is the only mediator between God and men, how exactly do sacraments ‘mediate’ You don’t have to answer, those are just questions I haven’t figured out. At the end of the day what matters is that the gospel I share is the one that Paul preached and defined in 1 Cor for us.

    It’s been an interesting discussion. I’m now 64 and if memory serves, the Beatles wrote a song about being 64. The older I get, the more frequently I am reminded that what lies between the pages of scripture that can be clearly understood by the average middle-schooler is of the greatest value and importance. Most of what I have learned via all the theology books I have read, has served more to confirm what I already read and understood by just reading the Book over and over .

    So that’s kind of where I am at. It’s been nice chatting!

    I apologize in advance if I am taking up too much space rambling in these comments.

    • Andrew T says:

      “The older I get, the more frequently I am reminded that what lies between the pages of scripture that can be clearly understood by the average middle-schooler is of the greatest value and importance.”

      Totally agree born4. That’s actually one major reason I am a Lutheran. I find the Baptist hermenutic falsifies one whole group of passages (the baptism ones) at the expense of another group of passages (faith alone).

      You and I have flip-flopped. I was a Baptist for many years, now a Lutheran. 🙂

  55. Andrew, How can you know for certain that every baby is saved? Would it not be because Baptism always saves? Now you’re said that baptism doesn’t always save? That doesn’t make sense. Also, what is the material difference between baptizing a unregenerate, unaware baby and an unregenerate, unaware adult? If both are children of wrath, slaves to sin, and are under god’s righteous judgement, what scriptural and biblical difference do you see that would justify your “baptism saves” distinction?

    • Andrew T says:

      I’m afraid I don’t have a perfectly logical answer for you there paperthin. I’ll simply leave it to Scripture to guide us all on that one. The Scriptures are abundantly clear that baptism unites us to Christ, buries us with Christ, raises us in faith, saves, regenerates, etc, etc, etc.

      And the Scriptures are also abundantly clear that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

      Both/and is what we have to hold to here. In short, we have to reconcile both texts. The only way to do this is if baptism is grace.

  56. Born4Battle says:

    Actually, I am not a member of a Baptist church. For eyars we have been fellowshipping within the military chapel, mostly attending the traditional service vice the blakc gospel service or the contemporary (seeker friendly/purpose driven) one. I served for nearly 30 years, God hauled me back in when I was in US Army Spec Ops, and I got to be ‘boots on the ground’ in that environment. I have been a member of a ministry dedicated to eqipping military members for great comission service. ( Uniformed military folks are our ‘field staff’.

    Concerning what scriptures have been falisfied by whom, I’ll stay away from that. I do know the believer baptism is clearly taught and that’s enough for me. Perhaps we can continue the conversation. Stop by my blog,, say howdy and we can connect via email, if you like.

  57. Gary says:

    Did you know that not one single translation of the Bible has EVER translated Acts 2:38 as these credobaptists insist it should be? Nope, not one. From William Tyndale’s Bible down to the ESV today. AND, not only has this passage not been “baptistically” translated in English, it has not been translated in this manner in German, French, Spanish…or ANY language on the face of the planet! So much for God preserving his Word (and, please don’t tell US that God preserved his Word only in the original manuscripts…because they no longer exist. All we have today are copies of copies of copies).

    Let’s read the Bible as these Christians would prefer it to have been written:

    “And Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ BECAUSE OF the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

    So let me see if I have this straight:

    1. We are baptized BECAUSE of the forgiveness of sins, not FOR or UNTO the forgiveness of sins as every Bible in every language has EVER been translated.

    2. Therefore, repentance also must be BECAUSE OF the forgiveness of sins. Sinners repent AFTER their sins are forgiven?? Do Baptists really believe that??

    3. And lastly, with this re-translation of Scripture, we see that the gift of the Holy Spirit is not given until AFTER baptism! Do Baptists really believe that they do not receive the Holy Spirit until AFTER they are baptized?

    Ask a Baptist to show you even ONE passage of Scripture that CLEARLY states in no uncertain terms that the PURPOSE of Baptism is simply and ONLY as “our act of obedience/public profession of faith”. They can’t do it because there is no such verse. They have re-interpreted the Holy Word of God using a sixteenth century western European worldview to understand a first century Middle Eastern document.

    Why is “baptism” or one of its variants used over 100 times in the NT of the Bible? Baptism is mentioned almost as many times as the word “believe”! And yet the Baptist’s favorite Bible term for regeneration, “born again”, is only mentioned THREE times!! Baptism MUST mean more that what Baptists say it does!

    Lastly after Jesus told Nicodemus that he must be born “of water and the Spirit”, what did Jesus and his disciples immediately go out into the countryside and do? Ask people to make a decision for Christ? Ask people to pray the Sinner’s Prayer? Ask people to ask Jesus into their hearts? NO! They went into the countryside and started BAPTIZING!

    Luther, Baptists, and Evangelicals
    an orthodox Lutheran blog

    • JD Hall says:

      You seem to think Baptism hinges on this one verse, when of course, you can’t find a single verse describing or commanding us to baptize unbelievers (infants).

      • Gary says:

        Dear Pastor Hall,

        Lutherans do not baptize persons who refuse to believe.

        Lutherans only baptize believers, just as our Baptist brethren. Our difference with you is this: We do not require converts to PROVE to us the presence of true belief and faith in their souls prior to baptism. We baptize all who come or are brought to the font. Did Jesus and his disciples give a “Beliefs Test” prior to baptizing the multitudes? There is no record of such. Jesus preached the Gospel and his disciples baptized all who came into the water.

        Here is the key question regarding baptizing infants: Does the sinner create belief by his own human efforts or does God predestine those who will believe, AND at the time of HIS choosing, give them the FREE gift of faith and belief, quickening their spiritually dead soul and saving them? If you are an Arminian, you would say, No. However, as a Calvinist, I hope that you will agree with this statement: God makes the decision for salvation. Since the sinner does not make the decision to be saved, his age is irrelevant. If God has predestined him to be saved, he will be saved.

        Lutherans baptize all who come or are brought to the waters of baptism because the Great Commission does not give any age OR belief requirements prior to baptism. God gifts faith. God gifts belief. God gifts salvation. God decides salvation. We are told to baptize…God does the saving, so leave Election to him.

        Now, I know your next question: “So will everyone who has been baptized in a Lutheran church be in heaven?”

        Lutheran answer: Sadly, no. Every Baptism is efficacious, but faith is not a one time recitation of the Sinner’s Prayer or a dip in the Baptismal font. Once the gift of faith is given, it must be nourished, as a seed planted in the soil. Without nourishment, the seed will die, just as Christ stated in the Parable of the Sower. Lutherans believe that the Elect cannot lose their salvation…but true believers can. We Lutherans refer to this seemingly contradictory belief as a “paradox”: both are true, even if to our feeble human brains that are contradictory. God does not contradict himself.

  58. Gary says:

    Here is what happens when we start redefining God’s words to fit with our preconceived doctrine:

    Sin: for some Christians today “sin” has a completely different meaning than what we conservative Christians believe that GOD says that it means. To liberal Christians there is only ONE sin and that is the sin of breaking the Golden Rule: “As long as I am kind to my neighbor, I can do whatever I want and it is not a sin. So I can have sex with whomever, whenever I choose, and its ok.

    Repentance: Repentance doesn’t mean that I have to give up my sexually permiscuous lifestyle. It means that I need to repent of using a harsh tone with my co-worker last week.

    Murder: Murder is when I kill an innocent human being…except human fetuses, which for some reason do not qualify for the definition of “human being” yet.

    is: Some Christians today will redefine even this simple little word in an attempt to escape justice for their immoral and possibly criminal behavior.

    for: And some Christians will find every trick in the book to redefine this word to mean ANYTHING but what it means when used in the same manner every other English language (and Greek) sentence in which it is found. Such as:

    “Buy a ticket and show up at the gate FOR entrance into the game.”

    “Write a check and mail it FOR your rent to be paid.”

    “You must clean up your room and take out the trash FOR any chance that I will let you have the car tonight.”

    Is means is, my Baptists brethren, and for means for.

  59. Alright Gary- same question to you. If there was a famous atheist at the hospital in a coma, and he had only hours to live, and he could not hear you but was essentially in a vegetative state. Do you believe that if you snuck into his room and baptised him prior to his passing away, that he would then be saved?

    • Gary says:

      I am not a Lutheran pastor, but…Yes, I would baptize him…but only under the following circumstances:

      Again, let’s look at how Jesus and his disciples practiced Baptism:

      1. The Word/the Gospel is preached.
      2. An invitation to be baptized is given.
      3. There is no mention of Christ and his disciples dragging people into the water against their will.
      4. There is also no mention of Christ and his disciples refusing to baptize anyone based on age or physical condition. So if a family, or group of friends, brought a dying, unconscious man to Jesus and asked him to baptize the dying man, I believe that Jesus would have done it.

      So what about our comatose atheist?

      If his wife and children came to me and pleaded for me to baptize their husband and father, would I refuse because the comatose man cannot verbally express to me that he has had a change of heart and now believes? No. Again, God decides salvation, not man. If God has predestined this hell-bound comatose sinner to be his child he will go to heaven. Period. So will his Baptism be efficacious? Yes. Will be wake up in heaven when he dies? That is up to God, not me.

      Lutherans do not sneak into hospital nurseries to baptized all the infants against their parents wishes. Why? Yes, all baptisms are efficacious. All baptisms save. But not all baptized will persevere in the faith. Some will turn back to a life of sin, refuse to repent, and perish in hell. Baptism is NOT a “Get-into-Heaven-Free” card…but neither is a one-time “decision for Christ”!

      We are saved by God’s grace, received through faith; our faith being a gift from God, not the result of our creation. “Once Saved, Always Saved” has sent just as many back-slidden Baptists and evangelicals to hell as has the false belief that Baptism is a Lutheran’s automatic ticket into heaven. We are saved through ABIDING faith, not a one-time emotionally laden appeal to God for a free ticket into heaven.

  60. Gary says:

    So Pastor Hall mentioned that Acts 2:38 is not the only passage upon which Baptists base their belief that Baptism is simply and only a public profession of faith/act of obedience/application for membership in the local church. How about this passage:

    Mark 16:16 “He that believes and is baptized will be saved, but he that does not believe will be condemned.”

    I grew up in a Baptist church and never knew that this passage even existed! So what is Christ saying here? Is he saying that it is impossible to get into heaven unless one is baptized? No. The plain, simple interpretation of this text does not say that Baptism is ABSOLUTELY mandatory for entrance into heaven. And here is a surprise for my Baptist brethren: The Lutheran Church does not teach that it is impossible to get into heaven without being baptized…and neither does the Roman Catholic Church! The thief on the cross got into heaven without Baptism and all orthodox (RCC, EOC, Lutheran, Anglican) churches believe that martyred saints who were not able to be baptized prior to being killed ARE in heaven.

    So it is NOT the lack of Baptism that damns, it is the lack of belief that damns, just as Christ says in the Gospel of Mark above. However… the believer who refuses or avoids following Christ’s command to be baptized needs to be in great fear and trembling: a lack of a desire to be baptized is a strong indicator of a lack of true faith/belief, and THAT is what will damn you to hell!

  61. Gary says:

    So when it comes to the very different doctrinal positions between Baptists and Lutherans on Baptism, there are three issues that must be addressed:

    1. What is the PURPOSE of Baptism?
    2. WHO should be baptized?
    3. Which MODE should we use to baptize?

    In my discussions with Baptists and evangelicals (of Baptist background), they typically want to immediately jump to issues #2 and #3, before trying to reach agreement on issue #1, which I think we would all agree, is the most important of all.

    If Baptists can prove from scripture that the ONLY purpose of Baptism is as OUR act of obedience/OUR act of publically professing our faith, then they are absolutely correct: INFANTS SHOULD NOT BE BAPTIZED!

    Now, let’s see if Baptists can prove from clear, concise statements in Holy Scripture that their view of the PURPOSE of Baptism is what they assert it is.

  62. Gary says:

    Dear “Born4Battle”:

    I will be happy to explain why over 90% of the world’s Christians, including Lutherans, believe that day-old infants can be believers, but first we much reach agreement on the PURPOSE of Baptism. Without reaching an agreement on the purpose of Baptism the issue of WHO should be baptized can never be settled.

    Please provide clear and concise statements from the Bible that states that the ONLY purpose of Baptism is as OUR act of obedience; or public profession of faith.

    • Born4Battle says:

      One does not need to define the purpose of baptism in order to answer the question of an infant’s ability to believe. that can be dealt with entirely on it’s own. I don’t need to find in the Bible statements that the ONLY purpose of baptism is a public profession of faith or just an act of obedience. That those ARE purposes is sufficient for me. I read today that Luther felt that believer baptism by immersion was the biblical pattern, but that he caved to infant baptism because it was already being done. It can’t save anyone, but parents do it. We ‘dedicated’ our children publicly. Some orthodox denominations call it ‘christening’ so there can be ‘unconflicted’ baptism upon believing. Believe what you want. You don’t have to ‘prove’ anything to me. I think some folks who keep beating the dead horse are trying to prove something to themselves that really isn’t beyond the shadow of a doubt in the Bible. Believer baptism is beyond the shadow, so if I had to pick one, guess what I would pick? Nuff said.

  63. Born4Battle says:

    Why do I get the feeling that for some, stepping into the logic zone is trespassing?

  64. Gary says:

    Once again, Lutherans believe in and practice Believer’s Baptism.

    The issue is this: Is belief a creation of God alone or is my belief dependent on my human abilities to comprehend language and make a decision whether or not I WANT to believe? If God creates belief monergistically, then my belief has nothing to do with me. God can create belief in me even if I am severely mentally handicapped, at the intelligence level of a three year old. This is what Baptists, even the Calvinistic ones, don’t get: God does not need nor does he allow your assistance or your cooperation in saving you. If the sinner participates in anyway in his salvation, it is a work of righteousness.

    “But Baptism is a work,” you will say.

    Is belief a work?
    Is repentance a work?

    Both are actions, both involve your PASSIVE participation to occur. You can’t believe if you are dead. You can’t repent if you are dead. But hopefully as Calvinistic Baptists you will agree that belief and repentance are God’s acts, not ours. He creates belief and repentance, we do not produce these actions of our own sinful will.

    And so why is the command to be baptized any different? In baptism, a sinner is not saved based on his decision to be baptized. An infant is definitely not saved by his decision to be baptized, nor by the decision of his parents. He/they have obeyed God’s command and have come to the water. It isn’t there action of coming to the water that saves them. It is the Almighty Word of God, working through the Holy Spirit, in and with the water, that saves. Baptism is God’s work. The baptism/salvation of an infant is the most pure example of God’s monergistic gift of salvation: the baby himself did nothing to receive the gift.

    The story of Naaman is a perfect picture of what happens in Baptism. Was Naaman saved because of his incredible faith in the Hebrew God? According to the Scriptural account, his servants and to beg him and practically drag him into the Jordan. Naaman was healed/saved, NOT by his decision to have faith, but by GOD’S decision to use the means of water, accompanied by the power of his Word…to save a doubting, angry, stubborn sinner.

    • JD Hall says:

      I’m sorry, I couldn’t get past your first sentence. When you find me a believing baby, let me know.

    • Born4Battle says:

      “The story of Naaman is a perfect picture of what happens in Baptism. Was Naaman saved because of his incredible faith in the Hebrew God? According to the Scriptural account, his servants and to beg him and practically drag him into the Jordan. Naaman was healed/saved, NOT by his decision to have faith, but by GOD’S decision to use the means of water, accompanied by the power of his Word…to save a doubting, angry, stubborn sinner.”


      You might want to reread the story of Naaman. He wasn’t dragged kicking and screaming to the Jordan River. True, he was prideful and arrogant, however that pride and arrogance was broken when his servants spoke to him with great graciousness and Naaman, with a conscious decision having considered his servants’ words, went willingly to the Jordan and obeyed the man of God, and was cleansed. Leprosy represents our sin and Naaman was a seeking healing just as someone whose hard heart has been softened by God and opened to hear the gospel. Elisha, the man of God, was God’s spokesman. Naaman meets Elisha, The awakened sinner meets God.

      No matter how you interpret the story of Naaman, you cannot, with an ounce of intellectual integrity (there I go again) compare Naaman’s cleansing with an infant being dragged screaming to the baptismal font. It just fails the test of intelligent thought. I mean no personal rebuke, it’s just the way it is.

      Maybe your continuous reaching for straws to ‘prove’ infant baptism (NO explicit example in scripture) is an indication that you have your own doubts. I pray that it is so.

      • Gary says:

        You are correct. Naaman was not dragged into the waters of the Jordan…but neither did he have faith in the Hebrew God PRIOR to his healing.

        He obeyed God because his servants convinced him (“you’ve come all this way, what is it going to hurt to do what the prophet said”) and was healed/saved IN THE WATER because he obeyed God. He was NOT healed based on his decision to get into the water! That is my point.

        Baptism is not a work, just as Naaman’s reluctant decision to dip himself in a muddy Hebrew river was not a work. We obey God’s command, and HE saves! Christ told us to baptize ALL. And ALL includes infants. We obey Christ and bring our infants to the waters and GOD saves them by the power of his Word/his declaration/his promise…just as he did with Naaman.

  65. Gary says:

    Once again, I call on Baptists to prove from clear and concise Scripture that Baptism is simply and only our act of obedience, our act of publically professing our faith.

  66. Dave says:

    “Obeying God’s commands to obtain merit is law.”
    “Obeying God’s commands because we love him…is worship.”

    Baptists are confused regarding law and worship, as well as justification and sanctification. There is no scripture that says you obtain merit or worship by obeying God’s commands. Show me the scripture that supports the above statements. Romans 3:20 states “…because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight…”

    A good example of worship is the Samaritan leper in Luke 17:15-16, who worshipped at Jesus’ feet out of thanksgiving for what God had done for him. Worship is never about our works. If we obey God’s commands, we are simply doing what we ought to do.

  67. Gary says:

    One thing that is very interesting about the Baptist position of NOT baptizing their infants is this: In their theology, there is no means of assurance for the salvation/eternal safety of their infants. In Baptist theology, the New Testament is COMPLETELY silent on the this issue.

    Isn’t that really, really odd?

    As a parent, the first thing I would want to know if I were converting to new Faith, would be: What about my little children? How can I know that my infants are saved, or at least safe, if, God forbid, they were to die before being able to express faith/belief in Christ?

    But no one ever asks this question in ALL the conversions mentioned in the New Testament. No one. When the five thousand believed, repented, and were baptized on Pentecost…why didn’t they cry out, “What about our children? What about our babies? How can we be sure of their eternal salvation?” Do we find this response from Peter: “Sorry, your infants are in spiritual limbo, we have no answers for you on this topic. You will just have to wait until they are old enough to PROVE to you that they believe.”

    Baptists have two positions on the “safety” of infants. Let’s look at the Arminian “Age of Accountability” and the Calvinist “Age of Awareness of Election”.

    The Arminian says that infants are safe from eternal damnation until they reach an Age of Accountability, at which time they must make a decision to accept Christ and repent of their sins, or reject Christ as lose their “safety net”. If they die without making this decision, they will burn in hell for all eternity. So in this theology, persons who are stained with original sin are allowed into heaven without believing…the very reason why these Baptists do not believe in baptizing infants!!

    The Calvinistic Baptists, like their Reformed brethren, do not require a specific “when” of salvation. If you are one of the Elect, you will at some point in time, acquire enough maturity and intelligence to recognize that you believe and have faith, thereby declare your Election to all. You should then be baptized as a public profession of faith. So in this theology, children are essentially assumed to be saved from birth if they are the Elect (the Elect cannot go to hell), and the non-Elect will never have the opportunity to be saved. There is no specific KNOWN moment of salvation for “cradle Calvinists” in this theology. These Baptist accuse Lutherans of believing in infant baptism though there is no specific mention of infant baptism in the Bible, but these Baptists believer that Elect children are born saved and do not need a specific moment of conversion! Where do we find THAT in the Bible?

  68. Born4Battle says:


    Maybe, just MAYBE, the Bible IS silent about infants/little childrens’ status before the ‘age of accountability’. It’s an issue not unlike ‘infant baptism’ – no definite statements in the text of scripture.

    I have NEVER heard anything in the ballpark of ‘declaring one’s election’, from ANY Reformed thinker/theologian, or that Elect infants are born saved! What reformed thinker/theologians am I talking about? Pick one.

    Not only are grasping at straws, your apparent understanding of Calvinist doctrine is abysmal – and that’s being kind!
    Nothing personal, ‘it’s just the fact, Jack’, to quote Bill Murray.

  69. Gary says:

    The following statement is from the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Statement of Faith of Reformed (Calvinist) churches:

    From the Westminster Directory for the Public Worship of God: “Of the Administration of the Sacraments: And First, Of Baptism.”

    “That children . . . are Christians, and federally holy before baptism, and therefore are they baptized.”

    What this says is that infants are holy and Christians before baptism. To the true Reformed/Calvinists, their infants are born saved. I have a brother-in-law who is a Reformed Baptist pastor. I asked him one day when he was saved. (He was born into a Calvinist Christian family.) He looked at me for a couple of seconds and then said, “I can’t tell you WHEN I was saved, but I know I am because I believe at this present moment.”

  70. Gary says:

    The Roman Catholic Church builds an entire doctrine based on one passage: “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.”

    Lutherans join our Baptist brethren in denouncing this false teaching.

    However, Baptists base their doctrine of adult-only believer’s Baptism on just TWO passages: the Baptism of Saul and the Baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch. These are the only passages that specifically mention individual, adult baptism. All other references of Baptism could be understood to include the entire household, including infants.

    Again, he burden of proof is on the Baptists to prove that infants should NOT be baptized. I have previously proven to Pastor Hall that infants can believe, by giving him the example he requested: John the Baptist. Scripture states that John the Baptist possessed the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb. How can one possess the Holy Spirit without possessing faith and without believing?? Special case? If John the Baptist was a special case then he must either be a god…or God has multiple ways to be saved. Lutherans teach only one “how” of being saved: We are justified by the power of God’s Word/his declaration of righteousness, received through faith.

    John the Baptist PROVES that infants can be believe.

  71. Gary says:

    And here is another human being who believed in God as an infant:

    ESV — Psalm 22:9-11

    9 “Yet you are he who took me from the womb;

    you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.

    10 On you was I cast from my birth,

    and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

    11 Be not far from me,

    for trouble is near,

    and there is on one to help.”

    You cannot trust in a God whom you do not believe in.

  72. Gary says:

    And here is another passage that tells us that infants can and do believe:

    Psalm 71:5-6 (NKJV)

    5 For You are my hope, O Lord GOD;
    You are my trust from my youth.
    6 By You I have been upheld from my birth;
    You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb.
    My praise shall be continually of You.

    Note, first of all, that the word ‘youth’ is expansive in Hebrew, used as a word for infants even unto young men and women2. The context of this word indicates what the Psalmist (presumably King David) means by ‘youth’, adding to the text ‘birth’ and coming out of the womb. This is as young as young can be, and to this young youth the Lord is his ‘trust’, his faith, his Confidence.

    In verse 6 we would perhaps prefer a more literal translation. The word translated “have been upheld” by the New King James Version is reflexive, to ‘support’ or ‘brace oneself’.3 Here are a few different versions:

    New International Version: “From birth I have relied on you.”
    Revised Standard Version: “Upon thee have I leaned from my birth.”
    An American Translation: “I have depended on you from birth.”

    These phrases, ‘relied upon, leaned upon, depended on’, certainly imply faith. This verse, as the one before it, extols the faith and trust of the child “from birth.” This text tells of the trust and reliance of an infant in the true God, and this text is not alone in the Scriptures.

    • JD Hall says:

      If this is your argument, that from “youth” infers a believing AND repenting infant (and it is) it’s pathetic. Can you place faith in something you’re unaware of? I’ve never seen a baby (and neither have you) that knows of Jesus until they’re catechized. Welcome to reality.

      • Gary says:

        You didn’t comment on the passage above. How can an infant suckling at his mother’s breast trust in a God he does not believe in? The psalmist also states that “you have been my God from my mother’s womb”. How can God be this infant’s God if the infant does not have the ability to believe?

        Or like true Calvinists, do you believe that all the Elect are born saved?

        • JD Hall says:

          First, it’s not didactic. Second, it’s Messianic. Third, you don’t need to prove an infant hypothetically CAN have faith. You need to prove the baby you are pouring water on has faith – not that they might.

  73. Gary says:

    There are a number of Greek words for ‘child’. Here is a list of the Greek words used in the New Testament when the writer is referring to a “child”.

    paidion- [paidion] This is the most common word used of a very young child, infant, child, both boys and girls.

    brephos- [brefoj] This word can be used of unborn babies in the womb [St Luke 1:41,44] or of nursing babies and infants [St Luke 2:12,16].

    mikron- [mikron] Literally, “small one,” this word can be used to describe one’s stature [St Luke 19:3], one’s age [St Matthew 18:6,10,14], or in esteem, influence and power.

    napion- [nhpiwn] This word can be used of an infant, often nursing [Hebrews 5:13], or, in the legal sense, of a minor. [Galatians 4:1].

    thalazonton- [qhlazontwn] One who is nursing [St Matthew 21:16].

    teknon- [teknon] Child, with special reference to the relationship with the parents, used even for unborn babies in the womb.

    St Luke 18:15-17 [And parallels in St Matthew 19:13-15 and St Mark 10:13-16] (NKJV)

    “15 Then they also brought infants (brephos) to Him that He might touch them; but when His disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to Him and said, ‘Let the little children (paidion) come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. 17 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child (paidion) will by no means enter it.’”

    Jesus would have the children come to Him, and would have no one forbid them. Why? Because “of such is the kingdom of God.” The children who possess the kingdom are the infants, the nursing babies being carried in their mother’s arms. (Infant and children are used interchangeably in this passage, the infants [brephos] that are being brought are the same children [paidios] that Jesus receives.) And their possessing of the kingdom is not accidental; as if Jesus says, “Because they have not attained the age of accountability I will overlook the necessity of faith and give these babies the kingdom because the are innocent” or some other such thing. No, theirs is the kingdom of heaven in such a sense that the children are the very picture of faith. The children are such a picture of faith that even adults must be like them in order to attain the kingdom of heaven.

  74. Gary says:

    St Matthew 18:1-5 [And parallels in St Mark 9:33-37 and St Luke 9:46-48] (NKJV)

    “1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ 2 Then Jesus called a little child (paidion) to Him, set him in the midst of them, 3 and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children (paidion), you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child (paidion) is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 Whoever receives one little child (paidion) like this in My name receives Me.’”

    Here Jesus sets a child before His disciples to teach them who the greatest in the kingdom of heaven is, and, what’s more, says that unless we, too, become as children, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. There are not two ways to obtain the kingdom of heaven, one for adults (faith) and another for children (apparently just being children). Possessing the kingdom of heaven is the sole result of faith (faith alone). According to Jesus the children are the possessors of the kingdom and, therefore, the very picture of humility and faith.

  75. Gary says:

    I’m going to list just one more passage. I can list more if you would like.

    St Matthew 18:6 [And parallels in St Mark 9:42-43 and St Luke 17:2, see also 18:10 and 14] (NKJV)

    “6 But whoever causes one of these little ones (mikron) who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

    The little ones of verse six is the little child of the previous passage (in my last comment above) whom Jesus sets before His disciples. These “little ones” are explicitly described as the ones “who believe in” Jesus. The clarity of the text needs no comment.

    Later in the text these little ones are described as the possessors of angels who “behold the face of the Father” [18:10] and as those whom the “Father desires that they do not perish” [18:14].

  76. Gary says:

    So, I have shown from multiple passages of Scripture that infants can believe. That issue is now settled unless Baptists want to contest the very words of Christ himself. So if infants can believe in God. If infants can trust in God. If infants can have faith in God…how do they acquire faith? By making a mature, free-will decision to accept Christ into their hearts??? Are faith and the Holy Spirit just floating around in the air and they automatically infuse into sinners when they are old enough to make this mature decision?

    No. This language is nowhere to be found in the Bible.

    So how do infants receive faith? Answer: Infants receive faith in the same manner that adults receive faith: “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”. “For by grace are you saved, through faith; it is a gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast.”

    God gives faith as a gift!
    God gives faith as a gift by hearing.
    God gives faith as a gift by hearing the Word of God.

    God’s Word has supernatural power! It is not just the meaning of the words in the Bible that have power, the VERY WORDS HAVE POWER if spoken under God’s authority. It is the Word of God that saves today, it was the Word of God that has always saved; not the act of circumcision, not keeping the Law, not praying the Rosary or the Sinner’s Prayer, and not even making a decision to be baptized!

    The Word is the only means of Salvation!

    So now, let’s get back to our core disagreement: What is the PURPOSE of Baptism and is Baptism ONE of several means to bring the Word and therefore salvation to infants, children, and adults whom God has PREDESTINED before the world existed, to be his children?

  77. Born4Battle says:

    You said “these Baptists believe(r) that Elect children are born saved and do not need a specific moment of conversion”
    I think that is patently ridiculous, but then again I don’t know ALL Reformed Baptists. I have listened reformed baptists assert exactly the opposite. NO ONE is born saved, but those chosen for salvation WILL be brought WILLINGLY to the Cross of Christ.

    Granted that the WCF (Presbyterian) and Lutheran confessions can be a bit confusing in the matter of baptismal regeneration, the fact remains that believer baptism has examples of believer baptism, while infant baptism does not. That’s my point.

    • Gary says:

      You have two examples of adult converts being baptized: Saul and the Ethiopian eunuch, neither of which had families. All the other passages, especially the passages mentioning infants, COULD involve the baptism of infants.

      You have the right to make the claim that it is Scriptural for us to baptize adult converts, and Lutherans will agree with you wholeheartedly, but your two adult baptisms DO NOT prove that infants should not be baptized. God said to baptize ALL. Again, the burden of proof is on Baptists to prove that God meant (baptize all who can make a verbal profession of faith). You are adding to God’s Word.

      This issue again comes down to: WHAT IS THE MEANING OF BAPTISM.

      If Baptism’s purpose is simply and only as an outward sign of a mature individual’s intelligent, informed decision to believe, then Lutherans will agree with you: infants should NOT be baptized. However, Lutherans are still waiting for even ONE clear Scripture passage of God’s Holy Word that states as such.

      The reason Baptists don’t want to accept that infants can believe is because it defies human reason, reason, logic and common sense. But since when is the God who created the universe from nothing, parted seas, slayed all the first born of a nation, caused great city walls to fall, was born of a virgin, turned water into wine, and ROSE FROM THE DEAD…limited to saving sinful human beings within the boundaries of THEIR reason, logic, and common sense?? It is as if Baptists believe that God stopped using supernatural means the very next day after Pentecost!

  78. Born4Battle says:


    Thanks for finally providing that it is your belief that only believers are baptized in the Lutheran Church, and that in your opinion. Infants can believe. At lease you are not saying that they are saved because their parents are believers. That would be even worse than the assertion that infants themselves are capable of believing the gospel. I guess they can repent also? Don’t answer that. Not sure how that works since believing isn’t magic and requires the ability to receive information, analyze it and then either accept or reject it.

    Having said that, you believe whatever you want to, but you CANNOT deny that believer baptism is actually and specifically performed/demonstrated in the Bible and infant baptism is not. I suppose you could, but I don’t think you are that silly.

    And by the way, I haven’t found any text of scripture that specifically says something like “The PURPOSE of baptism is……”so saying we must define it for this discussion isn’t germane to the discussion. What? Define a purpose and we’ll ‘make it fit’!

    • Gary says:

      Yes, you are correct, brother, Lutherans do NOT teach that the infants of Christians inherit faith or salvation from their parents. That would be “merit”: the infants of Christians have more merit to be baptized and therefore saved, than the infants of non-believers. Not true! It is the Reformed Church that mistakenly believes that the infants of Christians have a “covenantal” right to baptism and Election.

      By the way, we Lutherans have plenty of verses that we believe very clearly tell us the purpose of Baptism. Here is just one:

      I Peter 3:21 “BAPTISM NOW SAVES YOU”

      If that doesn’t indicate “purpose”, I don’t know how much clearer one can get! I will happily discuss the surrounding context of this passage with you if you would like. I clearly shows that just as Noah and his family passed through water and were saved by God, so Baptism does the same thing. It’s purpose is not clean our skin…its purpose is to give us a clean conscience, which is a reference to the soul!

      Baptism gives us a clean soul! Baptism now saves YOU!

  79. Born4Battle says:

    Carl, This is what I am hearing from you.

    Premise 1. The Lutheran church only baptizes believers.

    Premise 2. Lutheran baptize infants.

    Premise 3. Said infants have the capacity to believe the gospel.

    Did I get that right? This is a yes or no question.

    If yes, how does the baptizing minister/pastor know if the infant is a ‘believing’ infant, especially since the Lutheran church ONLY baptizes believers? On the off chance that he baptizes and unbelieving infant and sinned against Lutheran doctrine/procedure, what happens to him?

    See where I’m going with this?

    • Gary says:

      YES! (and, BTW, my name is not Carl)

      You again are hung up on the fact that the sinner needs to do something or possess certain qualities in order for God to monergistically save him. You have not let go of your Arminian upbringing. That is NOT monergism.

      Sinners bring NOTHING to the salvation “table”. There is no TRANSACTION between two parties. There is ONLY God’s action. The Arminian tells us that salvation occurs by the sinner being exposed to the Gospel, contemplating his need for a Savior, weighing the pros and cons of repenting and giving up his life of sin, and then makes a free will decision to believe and repent. If you explain to the Arminian that belief in God is not a “decision”, made by a spiritually dead man, but is a monergistic act of God by his divine election of sinners, he will tell you “That makes no sense! In order for someone to believe, he has to CHOOSE to believe. We are not robots.”

      I don’t understand how Reformed and Calvinistic Baptists can see the folly and human arrogance of the Arminian view of belief, but then turn around and demand that the only way that belief can occur in a sinner, is if that person possesses the necessary mental capabilities and physiological maturity to process Gods’ Words correctly and intelligently through the neurons of his brain!!

      That is Synergism!

      • JD Hall says:

        No, we believe regeneration is an act of God and isn’t created or delved out by men.

      • Born4Battle says:

        Sorry about the misnomer, pal. Concerning belief, we are all ‘born on death row’, completely unable to make a single move toward Dod on our own. God has chosen to save some, but not all of humanity, as a people unto himself, They are dead and unable to do anything. He opens their hearts to the gospel (the Lydia thing) in order to bring about their salvation. Those whose hearts have been opened, unfailingly come to the Cross because it is God’s design and God cannot fail. They are those who are ‘given’ to Christ and who will never perish. See John 6. Yes, there is a thought process involved and a desision made, but it is still all God’s ‘work’. God opens the heart to the true human condition and the opened heart’s greatest desire is to run to the Cross. Everyone who comes to the Cross does so willingly but had the same time had to have his/her heart turned toward God. Think divine sovereignty and human responsibillity. God does all the ‘work’ yet we are held responsible for believing. There’s bucket loads of material writtne by smarter guys than I am who might be able to help you along. I don’t know how else to explain it. Psalm 110:3? Great Spurgeon sermon here:

        Going to actually answer any of my questions? That Naaman is a great example of infant baptism? How does the officiating official at an infant baptism KNOW the little screamer believes, since Lutherans NEVER baptize unbelievers?

  80. Gary says:

    B4B said: “If yes, how does the baptizing minister/pastor know if the infant is a ‘believing’ infant, especially since the Lutheran church ONLY baptizes believers? On the off chance that he baptizes and unbelieving infant and sinned against Lutheran doctrine/procedure, what happens to him? ”

    He DOESN’T know!

    And neither can the Calvinistic Baptist know with 100% certainty that his child is one of the Elect. Yes, you can look for “fruit” of the Spirit as he gets older. You can baptize him once he makes a profession of faith. But STILL do NOT have FULL ASSURANCE that your child is one of the Elect, that he absolutely WILL be in heaven, and you never can? Why? BECAUSE ONLY GOD CAN SEE THE HEART, THE SOUL OF ANY MAN. Calvinistic Baptists rely on the same thing that Lutheran parents rely on for the eternal salvation of their children: faith in God and hope.

    As an example, what about the Calvinistic Baptist’s child who produces good “fruit” in his childhood and teenage years after making a seemingly genuine profession of faith, but then for the next sixty years of his life he lives a life of wicked, defiant sin, and dies unrepentant? Was he saved? Was he one of the Elect? Did his verbal profession of faith serve as his “Get-into-heaven-free” card. Last time I checked my Bible we are saved by faith (ABIDING faith) alone, not a one time profession of faith or even a one time dip in the baptismal font!

    Knowing who is really the Elect, and who isn’t, is NOT our responsibility! It is God’s job to save!

    It is our job to cast the “seed” of the Word far and wide. It is God’s election that will determine which seeds fall on fertile ground and mature to be harvested, and which seeds will grow up among the thistles of sin, and be choked out and killed, to perish in the “fire”.

    Baptism is God’s visible Word. Just applying water from the baptismal font to some sinner is not going to save him. The WORD is the only power that saves sinners. Baptism is not baptism without the Word and the Word creates faith…CREATES faith. It doesn’t require you to possess certain mental or physical traits so you can help out in your salvation.

    God saves monergistically, whom he wants, where he wants, how he wants, and at whatever age or stage of maturity he wants. Baptism is the liquid Word of God that washes away sins and makes sinners white as snow!

  81. Gary says:

    Just to clarify, Baptism CREATES belief, by the power of the Word, in infants and adults. We know that whomever is baptized is saved because God says so. What we do NOT know is if the baptized infant is one of the Elect, but we baptize all anyway, because there is no passage in Scripture that states that sinners must open up their body and show you their inner soul to prove that they possess true belief and repentance.

  82. Gary says:

    I just want to make sure that everyone understands this point: Lutherans do NOT believe that Baptism is God’s only method or means of bringing faith and belief to spiritually dead sinners. God ALWAYS saves by the power of his Word.

    1. God can save the sinner who walks into a Baptist church and hears the story of the Gospel preached, and by the power of the Word preached, working through the Holy Spirit, that sinner’s dead soul is quickened, faith is given to him, and belief is created in his heart. He is saved the split second that God quickens his soul. He is saved BEFORE Baptism. If he died five minutes later, without being baptized, he WOULD go straight to heaven.

    2. God can save the sinner who picks up a Gideon Bible in an hotel, and while he is reading the Word, God uses the written Word to quicken his lost soul, gifting him faith and creating belief. He is saved that second. If he dies five minutes later WITHOUT BEING BAPTIZED, he will go straight to heaven.

    3. God can save a person sitting on a bus who picks up a Gospel tract which tells him that Christ died for his sins, but he rose again and as God he calls on sinners to believe and repent to receive the gift of everlasting life. The sinner believes on reading the Word in the tract. God quicken his or her soul by his Word, giving him or her the gift of faith and creating belief. He or she is saved before baptism and if they die five minutes later, they will go straight to heaven to live eternally with God.

    4. And God can use his Word, spoken in Baptism, to gift faith and create faith in the hearts and souls of spiritually dead sinners, regardless of their age, maturity, or IQ. This is why the apostolic Church has always baptized infants and the severely mentally disabled.

    An infant can skip baptism and grow up and be saved by the hearing or reading of the Word. By why wait when God offers salvation through his Word to all, even infants, in Baptism?

    A severely mentally disabled individual may NEVER have the capacity to comprehend the Gospel. How can God save him? Does God just extend indefinitely the Age of Accountability for these individuals? Even the one passage of Scripture in the OT upon which some Baptists base their doctrine of the Age of Accountability gives no comfort for the adult mentally disabled person. David only speaks of his infant son. That is why God gave Baptism. God can save anyone, regardless of age or IQ in the waters of Baptism, by the power of his Word.

    The idea that infants are saved in Baptism is so obnoxious to Baptists because they believe that “once saved, always saved”. If OSAS is true, then the entire western hemisphere is saved and will be in heaven. If only it were true, but it is not.

    We are saved by ABIDING faith; not by a one time profession or a one time dip in the baptismal font.

  83. Gary says:

    B4B said: ” Concerning belief, we are all ‘born on death row’, completely unable to make a single move toward Dod on our own. God has chosen to save some, but not all of humanity, as a people unto himself, They are dead and unable to do anything. He opens their hearts to the gospel (the Lydia thing) in order to bring about their salvation. Those whose hearts have been opened, unfailingly come to the Cross because it is God’s design and God cannot fail. They are those who are ‘given’ to Christ and who will never perish. See John 6. Yes, there is a thought process involved and a desision made, but it is still all God’s ‘work’. God opens the heart to the true human condition and the opened heart’s greatest desire is to run to the Cross. Everyone who comes to the Cross does so willingly but had the same time had to have his/her heart turned toward God. Think divine sovereignty and human responsibillity. God does all the ‘work’ yet we are held responsible for believing. There’s bucket loads of material writtne by smarter guys than I am who might be able to help you along. I don’t know how else to explain it. Psalm 110:3?”

    Pure unadulterated Works Righteousness!

    “I have to do SOMETHING to assist or complete my salvation. God starts it but I have to help finish it. I’m not a robot. I have to contribute to the process. God doesn’t create belief. I have to do my part of salvation. I HAVE TO CLOSE THE DEAL!”

    This is nothing other than Mother Rome’s papist Synergism… that some Protestants, notably Arminians and Calminians (three-point Calvinists) have not been able to let go of.

    Cut the apron strings, brothers and sisters! Mother Rome is wrong!

  84. Born4Battle says:

    Or maybe you got sprinkled as a ‘believing’ baby? I keep telling folks infants can believe and they all laugh. Even a couple of Lutherans and Presbyterians I know. So somebody else does the something, performs the ceremony and that’s OK. The parents ‘did’ something.

    And BTW, long before I knew much about Calvin or Arminius, I was catching on to the sovereignty of God in salvation, just by reading the Bible.

    And you might want to look at the context around ‘baptism now saves you. Noah by faith entered the ark (the thing ‘corresponded to’ just as we by faith enter Christ, who saves us, by faith. Context, context, context.

    • Gary says:

      I Peter 3:18-22

      18 For Christ also suffered[b] once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which[c] he went and proclaimed[d] to the spirits in prison, 20 because[e] they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

      Let’s break this passage down:

      1. Christ suffered once for our sins by his death to bring us to God.
      2. But he has been made alive in the spirit.
      3. He proclaimed (in the spirit) to the spirits in “prison”.
      4. Why did he proclaim to these spirits: because they did not obey in the past, when all but eight were brought safely through the water.
      5. Baptism corresponds to this. What does baptism correspond to? Answer: Look at the previous sentence: Baptism corresponds (to be equivalent or parallel to) the eight being brought safely through the water.

      So continuing: Baptism, which parallels the saving/salvation of Noah and his family in the waters of the Flood, now saves you.

      6. How does Baptism save you? Answer: Not by the removal of dirt from your body. Baptism saves you as an appeal to God for a good conscience. (Only human beings have consciences. This is what distinguishes us from animals. In other Scripture passages, “conscience” and “soul” are synonymous.)

      7. How do we appeal for a good “soul”? By what ability are we able to appeal to the Almighty, Righteous God of heaven and earth? Is it: By our ability to make a decision for Christ? No. By our ability to process the Word of God and intellectually give assent (reason-based belief)? No.

      Answer: Baptism is an appeal to God the Father for the salvation of our miserable, sinful, filthy souls by the power and authority of Jesus Christ, won by his victory over sin and death in his Resurrection.

      • Born4Battle says:

        Gary, I’m trying to digest your recent comments in order.

        The whole no human decisions in involved in salvation is preposterous, by your own descriptions of the ways God saves other than infant baptism – those who are presented the gospel, consider it…..etc., If I remember what you said. You are making less than no sense at all, if that’s possible. No decision in believing, but you can ‘decide’ not to accept the gift?

        Joh 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. – Jesus.

        We do choose him, BECAUSE he first chose us.


        “I am going to assume that you and I both believe in monergism: a “decision” to accept God’s gift of faith and salvation is unscriptural and impossible by a spiritually dead sinner.”

        Wrong assumption so there’s not a lot to talk about there. Go back and study monergism some more.

        Definition of Monergism: The view that the Holy Spirit is the only agent who effects regeneration of Christians. It is in contrast with synergism, the view that there is a cooperation between the divine and the human in the regeneration process.

        I see you missed the parallel between Noah’s entering the Ark as what saved him just as our entering into union with Christ saves us.

        With a heavy sigh, I will shut up. I’m starting to sense some idolatry in the room, and it’s not mine. Maybe you were a sprinkled baby and never had to consciously repent because it was already done by magic….I don’t know and I give up.

  85. Born4Battle says:

    But we still have human acts, human decisions in the process, don’t we?

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

    How does that work out?

    • Gary says:

      No. There are no human decisions involved in salvation. If there were, then salvation would be a synergistic act of God and the sinner, not God alone. We “receive” Christ and believe, because of that “receiving”.

      “So that makes us robots!”

      No. God decides to whom he will give the gift of faith and salvation. Sinners do not decide to receive it. However, after the gift of faith and salvation is yours, you can toss it in the “trash” and walk away from it…and if you die unrepentant, you will spend eternity in the torments of hell.

      It is only because you believe in OSAS that this concept seems “robotic”.

  86. Born4Battle says:


    Are you saying that Paul was only talking about ‘works’ on the part of the believer (or in your opinion, ‘believing’ baby [oxymoron?]). You speak of monergism in ‘interesting’ ways, saying that infant baptism is the best example of monergistic salvation because the baby didn’t ‘do’ anything. Can’t get any mor ‘monergistic than that! But others (minister/parents) did perform works. That can’t be denied. God can’t just save the babies without human acts, since somebody has get the baby to the baptism and someone has to sprinkle. God can ONLY save infants with the help of human hands, because the baby is blessed with ‘belief” via the word through the act. At least that’s how I read you. At any rate, it is profitable for me to try and work through your arguments, come of which are new to me.

    • Gary says:

      Very good points, brother.

      So let’s compare the conversion of an infant in baptism with the conversion of an older child or adult who comes to your church, hears the Gospel, believes, repents of his sins, and is saved. I am going to assume that you and I both believe in monergism: a “decision” to accept God’s gift of faith and salvation is unscriptural and impossible by a spiritually dead sinner.

      Adult conversion by hearing the Gospel in church:

      1. He had to get out of bed that day.
      2. He had to get dressed.
      3. He had to make the decision to go to the church.
      4. Someone taught him how to understand the language spoken in the church.
      5. Someone helped him come to the church by designing and manufacturing an automobile.
      6. Someone taught him how to read so he could “google” the directions to the church.
      7. Someone had to teach him to walk so that he could get out of the car and walk into the church.

      If all the above had not been done by the adult and by all the persons who HELPED him get to the church, he would not have been exposed to the Word, and would not have been saved. You can change the scenario to turning on the radio and hearing the Word, or picking up a Gospel tract and reading the Word, but the convert had help somewhere in his life from others to walk, talk, understand language, etc.

      Performing “work” to be in the presence of the Word, either by yourself or with the assistance of others is NOT a work of righteousness. A work of righteousness is something that you do to try and earn merit, to gain God’s favor. In Baptism, God does all the work. All the baby did was show up…no different from what the adult had to do to show up to hear the Gospel at your church.

      No one has ever been saved by making the decision to be baptized. ALL sinners are saved by one means and one means only: the unmerited favor (grace) and divine election, based on unknown reasons of predestination, accomplished through the power of the spoken or written Word, quickening the spiritually dead soul, gifting faith and belief.

      Believe, repent, be baptized. They are all commands. Obeying a command is not a work.

  87. Gary says:

    Wow, did the Moderator stop posting comments, or have I finally convinced my Baptist brethren of their false doctrine, and they are busy on their knees….repenting? 🙂

  88. paperthinhymn says:

    alright guys. thanks for the comments but we’re cutting off everyone. thanks for the interaction and feedback, and we hope to see you in other posts 🙂

  89. Alan says:

    JD Hall: “I’ve never seen a baby(and neither have you)that knows of Jesus until they’re catechized.”

    I’ve never seen a man/woman raised from the dead either, should I then reject it. Scripture clearly says it has happened and on the last day it will happen to all the dead. John the Baptist is described as a believer and leaping for joy in his mother’s womb. Now if one has to see/fully understand something before one believes what God’s Word tells us, that is certainly the top of a deadly and slippery slope to unbelief. “But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, for as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ear, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.” (Luke 1:43-44 NKJV) You’d be surprised what the Holy Spirit can teach a baby if you chose to rely only upon your senses instead of Holy Scripture.

  90. Keith says:

    Nice discussion. Re texts that suggest that famililes and households were NOT baptised as the norm I would suggest looking at Acts 5 and the multitudes of believers … MEN and WOMEN who were added to the church and secondly Acts 8:12 where those responding to the Gospel preached by Philip were baptised both “MEN and WOMEN” …

    best wishes,


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