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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Eine Alte Kircheanschauung

Shouldn't this be in German?
I am reading through Martin Luther's Basic Theological Writings and loving every page. This passage seemed especially relevant:
Therefore I maintain and know that just as there is no more than one gospel and one Christ, so also there is no more than one baptism. And that baptism in itself is a divine ordinance, as is his gospel also. And just as the gospel is not false or incorrect for the reason that some use it or teach it falsely, or disbelieve it, so also baptism is not false or incorrect even if some have received or administered it without faith , or otherwise misused it. Accordingly, I altogether reject and condemn the teaching of the Anabaptists and Donatists, and all who rebaptize. (66)

Timothy Lull notes that the Donatists rebaptized members of the orthodox church because they deemed the orthodox priests to be impious, and therefore unable to perform "true baptisms." Luther's view seems to be the reasonable one to me, because his path runs between two very deep ditches. The one on the right is the idea that piety or doctrinal perfection replaces grace. The one on the left is the idea that any baptism will do, regardless of a profession of faith. Baptism can be done wrong, but when saving grace is present it is right--even retroactively.

Category: Theoblogia


  • Retroactively!??? And you're not a paedobaptist?

    By Blogger David Gadbois, at 9:23 PM  

  • I'm saying, like Luther, that something doesn't need to be done perfectly to be done.

    By Blogger Jeremy Felden, at 4:55 PM  

  • The Lull anthology was the text used when I took a class on Luther's theology via Westminster Seminary. It's a great compilation.

    Serious Lutherans don't mess around when you start talking about baptism- Luther's view isn't the easiest thing to square with sola fide- but then again, Luther didn't care if it made sense. If the Bible said it- he believed it.

    By Blogger James Swan, at 2:27 PM  

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