Questions on Baptism

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Will a WELS pastor baptize an infant if he/she is going to be raised in a different denomination, one that does not baptize their infants normally?

A WELS pastor can baptize such a person, but the pastor will likely wonder why parents would want their child baptized when the church to which they belong denies infant baptism. Is it a matter of the parents holding to a belief that runs contrary to their church? If that is the case, they will Continued.

Where does it say in Scripture that Baptism creates faith?

We will not find a passage in the Bible that states specifically and succinctly: “Baptism creates faith.” We know that baptism is a faith-working act on God’s part by looking at several Bible passages and seeing how they relate to baptism. The Bible explains that people enjoy the forgiveness of sins and eternal life by Continued.

Who can baptize? Do Lutherans allow lay people to baptize?

The power of baptism rests in Jesus’ promise (John 3:5,6; Titus 3:5,6; 1 Peter 3:21), not in the person doing the baptizing. For that reason, the Lutheran church recognizes the validity of baptisms performed by laypeople. This often happens (and properly so) when there is an emergency, i.e., a situation where the candidate’s survival is Continued.

My boyfriend told me he would like to get baptized again. He mentioned the desire to become baptized again was strengthened after reading his devotional, which was a passage in Romans. Please clarify WELS' belief on the need for only one baptism. Thank you.

If baptism were something we did for God, we might want to be baptized again—and again. But, the truth of the matter—the biblical truth—is that baptism is something God does for us. Through baptism God comes to people and gives them faith, life and forgiveness (Acts 2:38; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 3:21). While Jesus tells Continued.

Is it possible for infants to believe before they are baptized?

Yes, it is possible. The apostle Paul reminded Timothy: “From infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). Luke 18:15-17 describes people bringing children (including infants – the word translated as “babies” in verse 15) to Jesus. The Lord Continued.

I just heard a sermon about Jesus being baptized. Why wasn't Jesus baptized as an infant? Why did he wait so long?

It’s not a silly question at all. Baptism itself was not performed until the time of John the Baptist, and Jesus did not command baptism until the time of his ascension into heaven. What was available for Jesus as an infant was circumcision, and the Bible tells us that Joseph and Mary followed God’s directive Continued.

Does WELS practice infant baptism?

Yes, we baptize infants. We do so because they have a need for forgiveness (Psalm 51:5), they too are included in the command to baptize “all nations” (Matthew 28:19-20), and they can believe through the power of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 18:6; Luke 18:15-17). We are grateful that God has this means of reaching out Continued.

Can a member of the WELS be a baptism sponsor for a child in a Missouri Synod church? Thank you for your time and your service!

You really want to clarify what role parents have in mind for individuals they have asked to serve as sponsors.  The role could range from one end of the scale where sponsors are given an honorary role and are asked to do little more than serve as witnesses to the baptism, to the other end Continued.

I feel this is a silly question, but today's sermon talked about Jesus being baptized. Why wasn't Jesus baptized as an infant? Why did he wait so long?

It’s not a silly question at all.  Baptism itself was not performed until the time of John the Baptist, and Jesus did not command baptism until the time of his ascension into heaven.  What was available for Jesus as an infant was circumcision, and the Bible tells us that Joseph and Mary followed God’s directive Continued.

How does one justify infant baptism with the call to repent in Acts 2:38? Doesn't it imply that repentance (and, thus belief) is required before baptism? Please explain. Thanks!

Peter’s call to repent was not an instruction for the people to do something in and of themselves.  The basic meaning behind “repentance” is “to have a change of heart.”  Because people are powerless by nature to change their hearts regarding their attitudes toward sin and Jesus, the only Savior from sin, God is the Continued.

I have grown up in a WELS congregation my whole life. My girlfriend has grown up in a "free" Christian church her whole life. How do I explain that our practice of infant baptism has scriptural backing?

In the August 2015 “Light for our Path” column in Forward in Christ I addressed that question. From Forward in Christ: When Jesus instituted Baptism in Matthew 28:19,20, he did not limit Baptism to adults. He said “all nations” were to be instructed in his Word and baptized. Think of all the people who comprise Continued.

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