Our high school students study AP Physics, AP Anatomy, Chemistry, Dostoevsky, Dickens and rhetorical strategies used during the Lincoln/Douglass debates. Surely they can handle insights on the blessings of baptism.
Here, taken from LCMS President Matthew Harrison's blog, are a few savory morsels on why baptism is a means of grace and not just a sign or symbol.
- "The ancient church, which always actually identified Baptism and regeneration, and the church of all times with the exception of the Reformed denominations, has understood Titus 3:5 in this sense, and rightly so. There Baptism is said to be “the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”
- In Baptism the Holy Spirit is communicated; we are “all baptized into the one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13). Those who are baptized have been baptized into Christ’s death (Romans 6:3). These are all realities that take place, not alongside of Baptism, but in Baptism.
- That which separates Luther from the Catholic doctrine of Baptism is best stated in his own words in the Smalcald Articles, where he draws the line between himself and Thomism as well as Scotism at the same time:
Therefore we do not hold with Thomas and the monastic preachers or Dominicans, who forget the Word and say that God has imparted to the water a spiritual power which, through the water, washes away sin. Nor do we agree with Scotus and the Barefoot Monks who teach that by the assistance of the divine will Baptism washes away sins, and that this ablution occurs only through the will of God and by no means through the Word and water. (SA III,V 2-3)
God's Own Child, I Gladly Say It
Death, you cannot end my gladness: I am baptized into Christ!
When I die, I leave all sadness to inherit paradise!
Though I lie in dust and ashes faith’s assurance brightly flashes:
Baptism has the strength divine to make life immortal mine.