12 June 2011

Truth and Practice

On this Pentecost Day, our hymnody teaches us to pray to the Spirit that our Doctrine and Practice would be one.

Plenteous of grace, descend from high
Rich in Thy sev'n-fold energy;
Make us eternal truths receive
And practice all that we believe.
Give us Thyself that we may see
The Father and the Son by Thee.
The Lutheran Hymnal 236 stanza 3

08 June 2011

Baptism in Divine Service

I have been having a marvelous discussion about the concept that we would never let the sin of sinful parents (semper peccator) prevent Christ's administration of the life giving Sacrament of Baptism.

But this discussion has brought into clearer focus a question that I have become aware of in the past years. For many faithful Lutheran pastors Baptism is viewed as an ecclesial action emphasizing the congregational aspect of the act and requiring or at least effecting the administration of Baptism during some type of corporate worship. For some it is Divine Service but for others it can be a daily chapel service at a parochial school.

Others of us have grown to realize that the shift from the immediacy of Baptism to the "public" ceremony occurred in the Reformed/Pietistic era. I was taught that Baptism should be done ASAP because of Augustana II. There should be no delay in the administration of the appropriated means of grace because apart from the church's use of the means of grace there can be no salvation (extra ecclesiam nulla salus).

The emergency of the complete poison of original sin mandates the urgency of Baptism. Given my preference I will and have done several, not all, baptisms in the hospital taking the waters of deathly mother and making them the waters of life-giving mother. I teach this, instruct my pregnant mothers of the protocol of baptism in the absence of a Pastor when death is imminent.

Where the called man of God is and while performing his sacerdotal actions the entire church of God is mystically present. Even in a hospital setting, the baptism is in ecclesiam.

I always function with the question "what hinders baptism". If it's to wait for a ceremony on Sunday morning or the convenience of Grandma and Grandpa to come or the conjoining of the Baptism with another family activity to increase attendance at the Baptism or to use it as a catechetical show and tell, I cringe. I want to as fast as I can have Christ rip out of that dead child its dead heart, cold and rotten, and replace it with a living, beating, loving God-given heart.

The Augustana II Georg