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Holy Sacraments Baptism Essay

2564 words - 10 pages

The Lutheran faith defines a sacrament as being, “A sacred act instituted by God, in which God Himself has joined His Word of promise to a visible element, and by which he offers, gives, and seals the forgiveness of sins earned by Christ.” With this narrow description of a sacrament within the Lutheran church, Dr. Martin Luther constricted the number of sacraments from seven, which was what the Roman Catholic Church had taught, to two; The Lord’s Supper and Holy Baptism. Luther put a heavy emphasis on reading the Bible and the two sacraments that the Lutheran tradition holds are both clearly present and strongly supported within the text of the Bible. The additional five Roman Catholic sacraments that Luther left out included; Confirmation, Confession, Marriage, Holy Orders, and Anointing of the skin. Luther did not feel as though these five “sacraments” were supported by the Bible and because the Bible was and still is the sacred word of God himself, Luther did not believe these five extra sacraments to be as important as Holy Baptism and The Lord’s Supper. Within the Lutheran faith, the sacraments are considered Means of Grace given to us by God and along with the Word of God lay the foundation for the Lutheran religion. Because these two sacraments are a Means of Grace given to us by God, Lutherans believe that The Lord’s Supper and Holy Baptism are ‘gifts’ from God and we cannot do anything within our power to receive this gift. It is all in God’s Grace that we as sinners receive these gifts for our forgiveness, resurrection from death, and the promise of eternal life. Through the means of a called and ordained servant of God, a Pastor, we receive this give of Holy Baptism so that we may receive Christ and live the life that he has called for us.
This paper will look at Luther’s explanation of the sacrament of Holy Baptism in the Small Catechism, the stance taken by modern Lutherans in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in American (ELCA) and the Lutheran Church of the Missouri Synod (LCMS), and finally it will summarize what a few Pastors within the ELCA/ LCMS had to say about Holy Baptism. Within the Lutheran faith, Holy Baptism is a Means of Grace given by God to his people as a gift to forgive our sins, rescue us from death, and provide us with eternal life.
Luther defines baptism in the small catechism as, “baptism is not just plain water, but it is the water included in God’s command and combined with God’s word.” The sacrament of Holy Baptism is given to us by God and we are commanded to baptize all nations, “Go 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 I have commanded you.” Luther states that God has given us this wonderful gift of Holy Baptism that we are to go and share with all of God’s people, including babies and small children. This is a relatively unique characteristic of the Lutheran faith. Many...

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