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Toward the end of his life, Martin Luther was extremely critical of the Anabaptists and considered them to be heretics. This inspired terrible treatment of the Anabaptists at the hands of the German princes and rulers of other European countries, both Lutheran and non-Lutheran. I don't claim to be an expert on the Anabaptists, but I do know a bit about Lutheranism and Martin Luther since I was raised as a traditional Lutheran and my grandfather was a Lutheran minister.

While there were some suggestions that the Anabaptists were simply too radical for their day, my understanding is that the central disagreement Luther had with the Anabaptists was with regard to baptism as a means of entering into the Christian faith. In fact, Martin Luther and others who would later become devout Anabaptists worked together for a time. The Anabaptists believed that faith demands that a person must make a willful confession of faith to be baptized, and that baptism of infants was not only a bad idea, it was not a sign that a person had chosen to become a follower of Christ. Lutherans, on the other hand (and I don't know how much of this was from Luther himself), believed that a person was Lutheran if they were born to Lutheran parents, so it was okay to baptize infants since it was just confirming what was already in place. I hate to say it, but if this is the true essence of the argument, I must side with the Anabaptists on this one.

It seems to me, and again, I am not a Lutheran or Anabaptist scholar, that it is contrary to the notion that one must ask Jesus to enter into their life that an infant could choose to allow Jesus to be their Lord and Savior. Free will demands a choice, and choosing nothing is still a choice. Baptizing babies also seems like a convenient way to make sure that a religion has new followers appearing on a regular basis as a matter of lineage, rather than as a matter of choice. The Anabaptist perspective seems to suggest that they would rather have fewer devout believers than a multitude of "believers" who are only there because their parents brought them to church.

As a person who was raised in the Lutheran church and baptized at 6 weeks old (I'm 50 now), I completely get the Anabaptist perspective. I wasn't a good Christian. Even though I was confirmed and attended church every week, I did not have any real faith and I never felt connected to God. It all seemed like something I was supposed to do rather than something I couldn't live without. When I was in my 20s, that all changed. I realized then that I had been ignoring what God was trying to tell me, and I humbly asked Jesus to save me - and he did. I think that is what the Anabaptists were after by objecting to the idea that faith can be inherited.

If there are any Lutheran, Amish, and/or Anabaptist scholars out there, can you make the debate between Anabaptists and Lutherans more clear? Because of my youth and how I came to God, it seems like such an obvious thing to me that baptism should be a conscious choice. At the very least, Luther should have been understanding of the reasons why one group might reject the tradition of baptizing infants, and it should have never been allowed to escalate to a matter of such vitriolic contention.

On the other hand, requiring people to choose is not a guarantee that their motives are pure. It would encourage people to lie about their faith for status or any number of other reasons that have nothing to do with true devotion to God. And because there are many things that can kill young people, perhaps it is better to be baptize infants. Any thoughts?

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    Well Lutherans and Baptists would disagree. Whose views do you want to learn about?
    – curiousdannii
    Oct 19 '21 at 23:43
  • Baptists and Anabaptists are not the same thing. Anabaptist traditions in America are preserved by the Amish and/or Mennonites. I am asking whether Luther was wrong to allow the baptism of infants, or is it okay to be baptized without a profession of faith. Oct 20 '21 at 0:21
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    Either way, they'll disagree. So whose views do you want to learn about?
    – curiousdannii
    Oct 20 '21 at 0:22
  • I was 'christened' at the age of five, and I remember it and it was voluntary (Church of Scotland) and I then went forward at an evangelical meeting at the age of seven. Would you say this was wrong ? Later, I was baptised as an adult at the age of sixteen (Scottish Baptist Church). Was that also wrong ? [Up-voted, nevertheless : +1.]
    – Nigel J
    Oct 20 '21 at 3:17
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    Are you interested in details of the conflict between Luther and the German Anabaptists in the sixteenth century? Or are you interested in the general question of what is the justification for infant baptism? Or something else? Luther did not think of people as "Lutherans", only as Christians, and did not regard the actual personal faith of the parents as relevant to the baptism of their children.
    – davidlol
    Oct 20 '21 at 19:55
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(Disclaimer: this answer, as should be obvious, is from a Lutheran perspective, with emphasis on the beliefs of Luther himself, circa 1530 or so. Accordingly, while only a few sentences are prefaced with "according to Lutherans..." or the like, that qualification should be assumed to apply to all claims in this answer.)

Christ Himself said, "let the little children come to me and do not hinder them" (Matthew 19:14). Insisting that only people of a certain age can "become Christian" would seem to go directly against Christ's own words. That doesn't really answer anything, however, though it may be useful guidance when considering the arguments, and necessary conclusions of those arguments, made by each side.

Let us then explore the true scope of the debate, using some of the statements in the original question to guide that discourse.

I humbly asked Jesus to save me - and he did

[Infant baptism] is contrary to the notion that one must ask Jesus to enter into their life

Can you make the debate between Anabaptists and Lutherans more clear? [The debate] should have never been allowed to escalate to a matter of such vitriolic contention.

As Jess also noted, Jesus didn't save you when you asked, in 19xx/20xx. Salvation was won on Calvary, ~2000 years ago: "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

Lutherans would say that no one is capable of making a "decision for Jesus". Lutherans would further say that, outside the power of the Holy Spirit, no one even has the free will to resist sinning. Christians are utterly helpless to save themselves... much like infants are utterly helpless in all sorts of ways. Salvation is rather the pure gift of God, won by Christ's death on the cross. "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Lutherans are firmly in the Sola Gratia camp, and tend to take great exception with anything that resembles "works-righteousness". Indeed, as you may know, this debate is very much at the heart of Luther's objections to the Catholic church of the time. The Anabaptist position, conversely — their "decision theology" — is about something we do; an expression of obedience to God... when Lutherans believe there is absolutely nothing we can do to obtain salvation, and see baptism as purely an expression of God's Grace. (In technical terms, the dispute is not infants versus adults, but rather monergism versus synergism.) It might not be too much of a stretch to say that the Anabaptist theology represented a regression back into the very issues that Luther was trying to address!

The thought that "one must ask Jesus to enter into their life" (emphasis added) is contrary to a core pillar of Lutheran beliefs. We can offer no such invitation. We cannot even open the door. At best, all we can do on our own is fail in our inevitable, sinful attempt to hold it shut!

Lutherans believe in infant baptism (though note that Lutherans have no objection to baptizing adults!). When one believes that baptism is about God coming to us, and not us coming to God, there is no reason to believe God can only come to adults. There is no reason to withhold baptism from infants, and indeed, there are symbolic reasons (as alluded above) and scriptural reasons (Matthew 19:14) to not do so. The real question, however, isn't about whether or not to baptize infants, but about the underlying theology from which the answer to that falls out. Once understood in that light, and particularly keeping in mind the extent to which monergism is perhaps the key difference between Lutheranism and other sects, I think it should not be surprising that Luther objected so strongly.


This article and its follow-up, which I found rather by accident, actually discuss this exact point:

Monergism, as you know, is completely contrary to any and all free will theologies, thus the reason why infant baptism is so difficult for many Credobaptist Evangelicals to accept.

[T]he degree to which we see the sacrament of baptism as God's actions to us will directly impact the timing of baptism, that is to baptize earlier

[Infant baptism] presents a difficulty for decision/free will theology. In infant baptism faith cannot be misconstrued into an act of the free will—faith does not make baptism but receives its (sic). With infant baptism salvation is most clearly seen as a gift of God descending to a helpless baby, rather than the old Adam using baptism as a token of his obedience.

The difference between these two views are of paramount importance

I would commend you also to read some of the writings of the Lutheran church itself. (Apologies to other Lutherans; LCMS was the first result from Google, and the most concise that was clearly from an official denominational source, as opposed to a blogger or single congregation.)

Those churches which deny Baptism to infants usually do so because they have a wrong understanding of Baptism. They see Baptism as something we do (e.g., a public profession of faith, etc.) rather than seeing it as something that God does for us and in us.

Baptism is God’s act, a divine testimony to what "grace alone" really means, whereby He imparts the blessings of forgiveness, life, and salvation to individuals, children and adults alike.


We don't like "truth question" here, so I have attempted to focus on explaining the doctrinal differences without too much proselytizing. Nevertheless, I would also add the observation (from which I invite the reader to draw their own conclusions) that every non-Christian religion can be condensed into an answer to the question "what must I do to be saved?". Synergistic Christianity similarly says that you must "make a decision" for Christ (e.g. Anabaptists), or must do penance to atone for your sins since baptism (e.g. Catholics), or other such things which place them in the same boat as non-Christian religions. As one of the referenced articles noted, it should be clear from the similar nature of non-Christian religions that our sinful nature desires for salvation to be based in some way on our works.

The rejection of this attitude is one of the pillars of Lutheranism (or monergistic Christianity, more generally), and it is a feature that is unique among religions to monergistic Christianity. According to these sects, you can't do anything to "earn" salvation; it is entirely in God's hands.

One has to wonder if that uniqueness is meaningful...

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  • You write: “I would commend you also to read some of the writings of the Lutheran church itself. (Apologies to other Lutherans; LCMS was the first result from Google,..)” I encourage you to put the best quotes from those sites you recommend into your response. The purpose of this site is to answer a question without having to go offsite.
    – Jess
    Oct 23 '21 at 17:49
  • @Jess, I disagree with your claim that the answer as I originally wrote it does not answer the question (aside, perhaps, from a discussion on the difference between monergism and synergism, which a) wasn't the question, and b) would take significant space to explain further), and I dislike "sound-biting" for its own sake. I summarized the important point of disagreement and provided several resources where someone could investigate further if desired. Still, is the edit is more to your liking?
    – Matthew
    Oct 25 '21 at 17:07
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I'll give you a substantive Lutheran response. Theologically speaking, you were not saved when you asked Jesus into your heart. Rather, you were saved close to 2000 years ago outside a hill in Jerusalem.

What happened in your life, as described in your above testimony, is that you had a renewal experience where the Holy Spirit brought you into a point of stirring up saving faith in what Jesus did on the cross by dying for your sins. “No one can say Jesus is Lord, expect by the Holy Spirit.”

Your initial child Christening was working a time bomb effect, bringing you to Jesus as Lord of your life. You felt being saved when the Holy Spirit did a work of inner healing in your life and impressed upon you, through the faith worked in you, the promise of eternal life (i.e. knowledge, assent & trust).

Asking Jesus to come into your life is an aspect of sanctification & not justification.

The longer Lutheran response is this. Christening is the old European way of describing Baptism. Just as a ship is christened, so in Baptism, followers of Jesus are blessed and than prayed for as they grow in age and embark on a new voyage in life.

All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19)

Baptism is the most powerful form of dedication described in the Bible; only it is not done in a “dry” style without water, but with the command and promise of God’s grace working faith in the hearts of his children. From a Biblical point of view, the rite of Baptism is not so much a time in which we dedicate ourselves to God, but where he dedicates to give himself powerfully to us in an appointed manner.

In the rite of Baptism God specifically promises to pour out his grace into (eis = motion towards, more than in reference to) forgiveness and the gift of his Spirit. Acts 2:38 states:

And Peter said to them, Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for (i.e. into) the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself. (Acts 2:38-39).

In the book of Acts we hear how whole households were baptized. The early church understood this as including little children. For example, shortly after the New Testament was completed, Hippolytus (170-236 A.D.) writes:


And first baptize the little ones; and if they can speak for themselves, they shall do so; if not, their parents or other relatives shall speak for them.

God’s grace precedes our response and Baptism illustrates this truth. While little child do not have the ability to articulate repentance, the very word “repent” implies turning towards God. The power of God working faith is what enables us to turn towards God.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

We know that little children can turn toward God through the power of Holy Spirit as King David states in Psalm 22:9:

But You are He who took Me out of the womb; You made Me trust while on My mother’s breasts.

We also read in the Luke 1:15 a prophecy about how John the Baptist was “filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.”

Baptism is a visible call from Jesus in which he says, “Come follow me.” It is a covenant contract with God, much like a pre-arranged marriage in a foreign land. The difference is that with God we can’t go wrong in establishing relationships. We read in the Bible:

Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. (Matthew 19:13-14).

Baptism promises and conveys a full spectrum of gifts and graces from God. That is why Martin Luther writes in his Large Catechism:

Baptism promises and brings - victory over death and the devil, forgiveness of sin, God's grace, the entire Christ, and the Holy Spirit with his gifts.

Unpacking what Luther writes about in his Large Catechism on the work of the Holy Spirit is an important aspect of understanding his sacramental theology. What is important to understand is that the gift of the Spirit is not time bound to the rite of Baptism itself; as we can never actually possess the Holy Spirit, it is a lifetime gift that needs to be continually received by faith in the context of the receptivity of prayer. In John 1:17 it states:


From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

In the Lutheran Confessions FC SD XI, 71-72 the passage in Luke 11:11-13 (prayer for the Holy Spirit) is connected to sacramental Baptism:

...in order that we may attain this, persevere in it, and remain steadfast, we should implore God for His grace, which He has promised us in Holy Baptism, and, no doubt, He will impart it to us according to His promise, as He has said, Luke 11:11ff : If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him!

Each day God calls us to appropriate or actualize the promise of Baptism and pray to be forgiven and to be filled (i.e. baptized) with the Holy Spirit in a fresh way. For those baptized as children, the promise of Baptism can be actualized later in life through times of re-consecration. This may even involve dramatic spiritual awakening experiences with God. Special rites in the church like Confirmation and Weddings are also times in which we may experience the Holy Spirit coming upon us with power and grace to bless relationships and our walk of faith.

In the Lutheran Confessions it states:

A small spark or longing for divine grace...is the beginning of true godliness...true faith.” (FC, SD, II, 13-14)

There is also an ongoing actualization of baptismal grace through a prayerful reception of Christ through the external Word in the heart. Martin Luther writes about this in his Galatians Commentary:

…faith takes hold of Christ…it takes hold of Christ in such a way that Christ is the object of faith, or rather not the object but, so to speak, the One who is present in the faith itself (in ipsa fide Christus adest)…Therefore faith justifies because it takes hold of and possesses this treasure, the present Christ…There the Christ who is grasped by faith and who lives in the heart (in corde habitans Christus) is the true Christian righteousness, on account of which God counts us righteous and grants us eternal life.

In the Lutheran Confessions it also states:

The faith that justifies, however, is no mere historical knowledge, but the firm acceptance of God’s offer promising forgiveness of sins and justification. To avoid the impression that it is merely knowledge, we add that to have faith means to want and to accept the promised offer of forgiveness of sins and justification.” (Apology to the Augsburg Confession, IV)

The Lutheran theologian Martin Chemnitz also writes:

…justifying faith apprehends all those things not as simple history, nor only insofar as they are in themselves true in general, but in such a way that it specifically includes the person of the believer in that promise of grace, so that each believer apprehends and receives Christ in the Word and Sacraments with true confidence of the heart as given personally to him, and applies them to him individually. (Chemnitz, Ministry, Word and Sacraments)

The Luther theologian, Francis Pieper, quotes Chemnitz in an affirmative manner in how he describes justifying faith is concerned with its object:

not in cold calculation, nor with a general, superficial assent, but in such a manner that it appreciates, admires, desires, seeks, grasps, receives, embraces, its object, Christ. (Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, Vol 2, p. 434)

During the liturgy of Advent & Christmas we pray, again and again, to the Father to send his Son, as though the Son had not yet become incarnate. This is a matter of Christ being received into the heart. For example, Fr. Phillips Brooks, an Anglican, wrote a prayer that was turned into a hymn. The last verse reads:

  1. O holy Child of Bethlehem, Descend to us, we pray; Cast out our sin, and enter in, Be born in us to-day. We hear the Christmas angels The great glad tidings tell; O come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Emmanuel.
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  • Assuming that each appearance of the word baptism has to do with water. "I baptize you with water, but..." Oct 24 '21 at 17:46
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First off, I completely understand (and I understood before I posted this) that Baptists have nothing to do with Anabaptists, historically speaking. I am conversantly familiar with the history involved, I was just seeking some personal clarification through a debate about the theological reasoning behind baptizing infants. I think I am more unsure about this than ever, but that is probably my own failing and not due to the answers I have received here. The answers by Jess and Matthew were very well done and I appreciate your attempts to get them into my thick head.

Next, perhaps I used a poor choice of words. When I said I asked Jesus to save me - and he did, I was not suggesting that it was my act of asking that granted me salvation, but it was by the Grace of God and the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that I was saved, and it is through the gift of faith from God that I know this to be true. Nonetheless, even Lutherans recognize that someone who consciously rejects any member of the trinity cannot be reconciled with God. Hence, I suppose you might rephrase this to say, I stopped rejecting God, and by doing so, I was able to take advantage of the gifts God freely offers to me and everyone else. Is that a little nearer to the mark?

Having been raised and confirmed Lutheran (and having Lutheran ministers in my family), I have read many translated Lutheran texts and have a solid understanding of Lutheran theology.

Matthew's and Jess's answers were pretty much what I was after in posting this question, so everyone who took the time to answer this question has my sincerest thank you. Most of all, I am trying to reconcile the sacrament of baptism to the fact that God, in his wisdom, has granted mankind the ability to reject Him, while simultaneously, and through His grace, he has given everyone salvation through faith and the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. These premises lead to the deductively valid conclusion that, although we cannot "do" anything to be "worthy" of God's grace or to "earn" our way to reconciliation with God, as people, we have the ability and privilege of rejecting God should we so foolishly choose. This raises a linguistic mobius loop, with respect to the tradition of baptizing infants.

It is an obvious fact that an infant has limited free will, and has no real ability to choose or reject anything because it has not yet reached the age of anything close to reason. Infants also have no real grasp of language. Therefore, how do the parable of the prodigal son or the parable of the talents apply to an infant? They do not apply because in both parables (and many others) a choice to submit to the will of God is involved. (As an aside, it also seems that the apostles were a relatively faithless bunch because Jesus certainly reminded them often and in many different ways about how little faith they had as individuals and as a group.)

Although I shy away from any definition of God that assigns human emotions or proclivities to our Creator, it is oftentimes difficult to have a theological discussion without some reference to what God "wants" for people or what is pleasing to "God". This creates a bit of difficulty (at least in the English language) because right off the bat we assign a meaningless gender to God simply because referring to God as "It" is too disrespectful. Lutherans also speak of God's "grace" and God's "will", which I challenge anyone to precisely or accurately define in the context of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent being. So by necessity, all Christian apologists craft arguments using imprecise terms, even if their arguments might seem airtight or if the apologist thinks they have overcome these issues to the satisfaction of all dissenting opinions.

When we attempt to precisely define such terms, we run the risk of assuming the mind of God, which lacks humility and is as sure of a way as any to be wrong. Some things must be accepted on faith and without concise definitions, but we should never fail to recognize this fact. (And I have now just said we must accept the definition of faith on faith, which is an obvious tautology.)

My point is that oftentimes the language of apologetics confuses the issue. For example, when I say one must "ask Jesus to be their personal savior", it is not a statement that people are able to achieve salvation by merely asking (although that can be interpreted in a Lutheran context as being true, depending upon what one means by "asking"), what we are really talking about is opening their heart and mind to allowing the Holy Spirit to work upon them.

Even if God has freely given mankind this gift of faith, and if it is through this faith that we are able to come to Him as well as we are able in this flawed and sinful flesh, people are still able to (and often do) reject God and reject faith. Thus, it could be said that there IS one act that is required of everyone who seeks eventual reconciliation with God: they must not willfully reject these gifts. Whether this choice gets special status and is not considered an "act" like caring for the poor is debatable.

If we consider the parables I mentioned above, do they not imply that choosing whether to be a servant of God is important to our reception of God's gifts? If not, why did the rich master curse the bad servant who buried his talents underground instead of using them wisely? Why did the father rejoice so much at the return of his humiliated and dishonorable son? The servant and the son both chose whether to come to God or reject His will. Even though the son was not required to "do" anything to be welcomed back into the house with a huge celebration, he still had to show up to get in. And even though the servant didn't do anything to cause the master to lose money, he just did nothing, so the master cast the servant away from his house and his protection.

Which brings me back to my original thoughts. An infant cannot choose to accept or reject Jesus Christ; therefore, an infant does not have the same free will as an older child. With few exceptions, an infant's actions are entirely based upon their current situation and limited operant conditioning. They are hungry, so they cry because the last time they cried they were fed. How then, can anyone say that the ideas of "faith" or "rejecting God" apply to an infant? And if we cannot say that an infant has rejected God because such a statement is an absurdity, is it not equally absurd to say that an infant has not rejected God, or that they have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior and opened themselves to the Holy Spirit?

I'm not suggesting that there is an acceptable answer to these questions, I am merely pointing out the contradictions and questions that cannot be resolved due to the fact that God is a perfect God, and people must rely upon worldly comparisons to come to an imperfect understanding of Him. (To me, our thirst to understand God is an essential element to a lifelong journey with Christ.) IMO, anyone who says they perfectly understand God or His will is guilty of hubris, and risks making a god of their own ability to reason. Therefore, maybe Lutherans like myself should consider whether it is sound doctrine to baptize infants, and in any case, be gracious enough to recognize that doctrine so easily disputed with scripture aren't worth fighting about with other Christians, or holding so dear that we feel justified in being dismissive of others' theological concerns.

In closing, I want to address the idea that Jesus said we should come to Him as children. I think there are a few ways to interpret these verses, but only a few that would apply to all of the various ways Jesus made this point. I believe, and I could be wrong, that Jesus meant that we should shed our human tendency to disbelieve things we cannot prove or that we cannot see with our own eyes when we come to Him. When we are children, we see the world through innocent eyes that have not yet learned to overthink things, distrust, or hate what we do not know. Children seek protection and reassurance from their parents. Children trust their parents unquestioningly. Children are fiercely devoted to and protective of their parents. Children of certain ages submit themselves entirely to the will of their parents, and they worry more about making their parents happy than anything else. Children are generally more willing to accept the existence of God in the first place.

I get how these things are consistent with baptizing infants, but I can also see that Jesus was probably not talking about baptizing infants when he made these comments.

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  • Thanks to your eloquent description of your understanding of faith and grace and also of your difficulties, I can simply address your remaining questions with 3 comments: 1) what we are really talking about is opening their heart and mind to allowing the Holy Spirit to work upon them That's precisely all we need to do: "lay down one's arms" (Mere Christianity pg 56), "stop resisting to be 'vaccinated'" (Eleonore Stump on 'Salvation') Nov 9 '21 at 13:27
  • 2) How then, can anyone say that the ideas of "faith" or "rejecting God" apply to an infant? That's why in denominations that do infant baptism (Catholics, Lutherans, and some Reformed) has Confirmation following catechism as infant baptism is not complete without confirmation (for Catholics the confirmation sacrament seals and strengthen Holy Spirit gifts already given at baptism). The dual aspects of community and of parental promise to bring up the infants in the faith should also not be forgotten in infant baptism. Nov 9 '21 at 13:30
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    Infant baptism also serves as a symbol that we are truly helpless and need God to act first to give us grace to respond with faith later. 3) anyone who says they perfectly understand God or His will is guilty of hubris, and risks making a god of their own ability to reason Are we really guilty of hubris considering how infant baptism follows the general trajectory of God's salvation plan? Most would NOT rank this doctrine at the same level as more core doctrines such as Jesus is God. Can't we see this as imploring God to bless the infants while promising to raise them in the faith? Nov 9 '21 at 13:47
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    I'm also not in my 40s anymore and I was also baptized as an infant. I'm thankful that my parents did the baptism for me, as an expression of goodwill to want the best for me and to promise to raise me in the faith. I don't see it as violating my will at all, since the doctrines give space for me to reject the faith if I choose to. At confirmation was when I made my conscious choice to remain in the faith. Even after confirmation if I choose to reject the faith, the possibility is still open to me. I see it more as being given riches (like born of a rich parents) that I can give away now. Nov 9 '21 at 13:52
  • While initial operative grace can’t be resisted, there is bound up in the gift of faith the capacity to reject Christ. Infants can, in theory, self abort the new life that is constantly being generated as a result of having been baptized and/or hearing the Word. A good illustration of faith is Lazarus being given the gift of resuscitation. On the way out of the tomb he could have refused to follow Jesus and suffocate. The Lutheran Confessions (Formula of Concord) speak of sanctification as “cooperating with God, although in great weakness.”
    – Jess
    Nov 9 '21 at 15:08

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