What does the word “baptize” mean?
simply means to wash with water, whether by immersing, pouring, or
sprinkling. Christian Baptism refers to washing with water in the name
of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit according to the institution of
What does it mean to baptize “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”?
be baptized in God’s name is to be baptized not by human beings but by
God Himself. Although it is performed by human hands, it is nevertheless
truly God’s own act” (LC IV:10). In Baptism, God puts His saving name
on us and is truly present to bless us with all His gifts as His
children and heirs.
What is different about the water of baptism?
water in itself is not different or holier than any other water, but
because “God’s Word and commandment are added to it,” it is a “divine
5:25-26 "Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he
might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the
Who instituted Holy Baptism?
Our Lord Jesus Christ, after His death and resurrection, commanded His church to baptize all nations.
28:19-20 "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,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am
with you always, to the end of the age."
Why should babies be baptized?
Babies are included in the words “all nations” (Matthew 28:19)
2:38-39 "And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of
you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and
you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you
and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the
Lord our God calls to himself.”
Babies are sinners who need what Baptism promises, the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit
- Psalm 51:5 "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me."
The Holy Spirit is able to work faith in babies
- Matthew 18:6 Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe
in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone
fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
Jesus invites children, including infants, to come to come and be blessed by Him.
18:15-17 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch
them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus
called them to him, saying, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not
hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to
you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not
Faith is not to be confused with intellectual ability. Those who argue
for “believer’s baptism” and reject the baptism of infants (or those
with severe mental handicaps) often wrongly maintain that (1) infants
are not guilty of (accountable for) sin or able to commit sinful acts;
(2) faith is a human decision that infants cannot make; and (3) Baptism
is primarily our promise to God rather than God’s promise to us. None of
these views is based on Scripture.
Why does the church encourage sponsors at Baptism?
are to confess the faith expressed in the Apostles’ Creed and taught in
the Small Catechism, witness the Baptism of those they sponsor
(whenever possible), pray for them, support them in their ongoing
instruction and nurture in the Christian faith, and encourage them
toward faithful reception of the Lord’s Supper. They are also to be
examples to them of the life of faith and love for the neighbor.
Are all “baptisms” to be recognized as valid?
Christ’s words and command are doubted, changed or ignored, such a
“baptism”cannot be recognized as Christ’s work. No other names or titles
are to be substituted for the name and words which Christ gives us (the
Father, Son and Holy Spirit). The “baptisms” of groups that do not
confess faith in the Triune God also cannot be recognized as Christian
Baptism, no matter what words they use in baptizing. In Christian
churches where Baptism is administered according to Christ’s institution
(using water and His words “in the name of the Father and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit”), there Christ fulfills His promise. Such
Baptisms are to be recognized.