Random and Simple Theology Notes on Liturgy and Baptism

I wrote a couple of notes as I prepared to meet with an inquirer this morning:

Liturgy: The Bible shows us patterns. These patterns when looked carefully all reveal a similar structure.

First, God calls us into His presence, then we are mute (undone) and we confess our sins, but God forgives us by cleansing us from our sins (absolution), then we are consecrated (set-apart) when God instructs us (preaching of the Word) to grow up and no longer be children (maturity), as the instruction ends God feeds our weary souls with bread and wine (Communion), and finally when we are nourished by Word and Sacraments (Communion), God sends us out into the world to live faithfully before God and man (Commission). This entire pattern can be seen in the sacrificial system in Leviticus, in the famous Isaiah calling in Isaiah 6, and the final book of the Bible, Book of Revelation, and other related texts.

Baptism: The Bible shows us that God never forsakes His promises.

The pattern found in the Bible is that God makes promises with you and your children (see various OT passages, but see its repetition again in the NT in Acts 2:39). The New Testament provides us many examples of baptisms of adult, but it never denies the baptisms of infants, rather it assumes it when entire households are baptized (households in the Ancient world included infants and slaves). Further, there is not one example in the Bible where a child grows up in a Christian family and is only baptized later in life through an adult-like profession of faith.  Not one. There are many examples of former pagans professing faith in Christ and being baptized as adults, but no examples of children growing up in Christian homes waiting to be baptized.

In Ephesians 4:5, Paul says that we have one faith, one Lord, one Baptism. Though many evangelicals have been re-baptized (for whatever reason; perhaps they did not believe their first baptism was not valid because they were not truly living for God), the Bible opposes this idea. If our first baptism was done in a Christian Church in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, then God views it as valid and acceptable. Any other baptisms do not undo the first, and though not sinful, are unnecessary.

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