The Heavyweight Baptismal Champion of the World

A child is baptized in a lutheran church of Br...

A child is baptized in a lutheran church of Brazil. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was baptized as a child by a Lutheran pastor. I didn’t actually become a member of a church until about 10 years ago, I’m now 41. During the time between my infant baptism, and joining our church, I spent some time battling the issue of baptism. As Lutheran’s go, baptism is one of the sacraments, meaning it is a gift from God. From the perspective of the believer, age, or even having accepted Christ isn’t important because it is a gift. I’m not turning down my gift.  I’m not about to argue with God on this. Well, wait, yes I am. Just who is the heavy weight baptismal champion of the world?  There are two schools of thought when it comes to baptism, and I vacillate between them freely depending on which way the wind blows.

In This Corner – Sacramental Baptism
In this corner there are those that believe, as Lutheran’s do, that baptism is one of the sacraments. The conditions under which one is baptized (age, ability to believe or not) do not matter. God is “tagging” his people, if you will. When we get around to accepting Christ as our savior, the deal is done, and your membership is in good standing.  I don’t disagree with the idea of sacramental baptism by any means, but the next option seems to make sense to me as well.

Annnnnd In This Corner – Post Accepting Christ Baptism
I don’t know what to call it other than the above, so I’m just going to go with it. There are those that believe you can’t/shouldn’t be baptized until you have accepted Christ into your life, it is a conscious decision to follow Christ, and baptism is one of those things you really need to do, and know why you are doing it.

It is a pretty clear-cut argument on both sides, and I like them both, though I lean towards baptism after one accepts Christ. Folks like Charles Stanley, whom I respect a great deal, believes this. Don’t do so unless you have given your life to Christ. The church of which I’m a member believes otherwise. I asked my pastor one day about this because it was bothering me a great deal. Not only do I have no recollection of the event, it wasn’t even in a church, and for some reason that seems like it’s part of the deal. Perhaps I feel cheated?  That is a story for another time, but my parents both assure me even though it wasn’t in a church, I was indeed baptized by a Lutheran pastor. For some reason I keep asking if it counted or not.

The pastor told me that baptism was a one time shot, and I had already been shot, so to speak.  My consolation prize could be a reaffirmation of baptism, but not a baptism. That didn’t sit well with me because I wanted him to say, “Sure! We’ll get you covered!” I just don’t have the answer, and the question keeps coming up in my head; perhaps God is nudging me, “Psst. Water. Good. Go get some.”  I feel like being a little rebellious one day, and run off to a some non-denominational church to have their pastor give a dunk in front of the church custodian (can I have a witness?!).

I leave you, and God, with a simple question. When does a baptism count?

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7 thoughts on “The Heavyweight Baptismal Champion of the World

  1. One of the reasons we Lutherans don’t believe in the concept of Believer’s Baptism (the one after you choose to follow Jesus) is because we don’t believe we -can- choose God–God chooses us regardless of what we try to do. So for us, it’s kinda silly to hold off on baptism until a choice that really isn’t a choice at all.

    There is something to be said though about adult baptism, people who have decided to start a life in faith. They have such faith and conviction in what they are doing. Sometimes I envy them (I too was baptized as a baby).

    • It’s kind of an interesting conversation for sure. We have a new-ish pastor that I really like. I think I’m now motivated to pester him with this. Thanks for reading, and cheers!

      • I hate how many stakes turn biasptms into an assembly-line occasion. It turns what should be a special event into something much more mundane.I grew up in a stake where anywhere from three to six children were baptized each month, one right after the other. We didn’t even have our own baptismal service. In my last ward, we had a tiny primary, and were far enough from the stake center that all biasptms were performed at the ward house. Those biasptms seemed much more like a special event. One more reason to move out of the Mormon Corridor (and perhaps even the West).

  2. I grew up Lutheran and was baptized when I was a week old. The question has crossed my mind, especially when we decided to start attending a Baptist church and was told we couldn’t be members unless we were “rebaptized”. I got to thinking about God’s purpose and gift of baptism and realized that this is not something I do, it’s what God does that’s important here. I decided not to be “rebaptized” because I already was, and what God did through that act has not changed (after all, God does not change). I embrace my baptism not because I was aware of it, but because of the fact that God has chosen to work in my life in that way. Who am I to question how God works? No one knows the mind of God.

    • That’s a great point Curt. This is one of those topics that ends up in the gray for some reason even though there are two schools of thought. This is all starting to crystallize for me. I’m really looking forward to bugging my pastor about this. We’ll have a good chuckle over it I’m sure. Have a good one, and thanks for stopping by!

    • #6 I can see your point about it quickly bciomeng over the top, but can\’t we find a happy center that means each child gets their special baptism day? If we must squash all attempts at individualism then I say quit making getting baptized a big deal at all. Why have Primary lessons about it? Why sing songs in sacrament mtg. about how great it is to be baptized? Lets be real. Most 8 year-olds do not have the emotional maturity to appreciate 1/10 of what baptism means. What they do know is how loved and appreciated they felt on that day. And why can\’t we have baptisms on Sunday, before or after church? That way the whole ward can attend.

    • Thank you sweet friend for your frdinishep and your prayers! We are certainly blessed and loved having you be a part of Bowen’s special day! Love you!

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