Heaven or hell.

Dedesmond's picture

If a baby (child) died immediately after birth. Where will the child go?

De Maria's picture

Re: The Official Lutheran (LCMS) stance on Infant Baptism

Tony,

Excellent message. Apparently the Catholic and Lutheran position on Infant Baptism have much in common.

A layman's apologetical interpretation of the official Catholic position is found here.

Q. How does faith play a role in infant baptism? Is faith later taken care of when the child is confirmed?

A. Lutherans believe that the Bible teaches that a person is saved by God's grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ. Baptism, we believe, is one of the miraculous means of grace (together with God's written and spoken Word) through which God creates the gift of faith in a person's heart. Although we do not claim to understand how this happens or how it is possible, we believe (because of what the Bible says about baptism) that when an infant is baptized God creates faith in the heart of that infant. This faith cannot yet, of course, be expressed or articulated, yet it is real and present all the same (see, e.g., 1 Pet 3:21; Acts 2:38-39; Titus 3:5-6; Matt. 18:6; Luke 1:15; 2 Tim.3:15; Gal. 3:26-27; Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:11-12; 1 Cor. 12:13).

Quite a litany of verses. And although I don't disagree with the answer. I don't find where any of those verses actually touches upon the subject of faith in an infant. Nor even on the subject of infant baptism.

I am assuming that Lutherans also believe in Scripture alone.

Can you provide any guidance?

Parents and sponsors of a baptized child bear the responsibility of teaching this child God's Word so that the child's faith may remain alive and grow (Matt. 28:18-20). Confirmation is a time-honored church tradition (not required by God's Word, but--we believe--useful nonetheless) in which the child baptized as an infant is given the opportunity to confess for himself or herself the faith that he or she was unable to confess as an infant. Faith is not "created" at confirmation, but rather confessed for all to hear, so that the church can join and rejoice in this public confession, which has its roots in the faith which God Himself created in baptism.

The onus here seems to have changed to Confirmation. And the result seems to be that Lutherans don't believe it is required.

Again, the Catholic Church believes in Confirmation. And I believe you will agree that the word "confirmation" is not found in Scripture. So, by Scripture alone, I can't find that confirmation is even useful.

Yet, there are events which illustrate what we consider to be Confirmation. And these events certainly sound as though they are required:

Acts 8 15Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: 16(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

Note that these men were baptized but had not yet received the Holy Spirit. But they received the Holy Spirit when hands were laid on them. Confirmation is the "laying on of hands".

1288 "From that time on the apostles, in fulfillment of Christ's will, imparted to the newly baptized by the laying on of hands the gift of the Spirit that completes the grace of Baptism. For this reason in the Letter to the Hebrews the doctrine concerning Baptism and the laying on of hands is listed among the first elements of Christian instruction. The imposition of hands is rightly recognized by the Catholic tradition as the origin of the sacrament of Confirmation, which in a certain way perpetuates the grace of Pentecost in the Church."

I can only add to this that, as I have seen a few infant/child baptisms, that 'faith' as a community is very much front and center as a local church. In such a way:

1. We are all reminded of our own baptism and our helpless estate before hearing God's word.

2. The church takes a shared responsibility to live in such a way as to proclaim the risen Lord to the next generation.

3. As sponsors, we take on the specific concern for the child, so that they are never without an avenue of grace.

No objections to that list. It certainly highlights the importance of the Church, doesn't it?

Grace to you all.

And to you!

Sincerely,

De Maria




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