Who Said It? #4

“There is not sufficient evidence from Scripture to justify the initiation of infant baptism…. Baptism is a Greek word, and may be translated immersion, as when we immerse something in water that it may be wholly covered…. they ought…to be wholly immersed, and then immediately drawn out, for that the etymology of the word seems to demand…. They who seriously want to be Christians, want to confess to the Gospel, in word as well as deed, these ought to have their names put in a ledger, and they ought to gather in a house apart for the purpose of prayer, the reading of the Scriptures, the administration of baptism, and to engage in still other Christian performances.”

Show answer

Martin Luther
Believe it or not, in the early part of the Reformation, Luther admitted the truth of believers only baptism, baptism by immersion, and a church for “serious Christians” (confessing believers) instead of the state church that included everyone sprinkled as an infant. But then the emperor issued a warrant that anyone was free to kill Luther. The Elector of Saxony hid Luther in Wartburg Castle. During this time, Luther seems to have decided that it was better to pull back the Reformation from its logical and biblical conclusions (such as a church composed of believers only, believers baptism, baptism by immersion, and the separation of church and state—all positions that he had been moving toward). We can only guess why he did this, but likely he felt that without the support of the Elector of Saxony and others (who would never have agreed to a church of believers only and the separation of church and state), the Reformation might be completely crushed (not to mention his neck being on the line).

The Luther of the later Reformation was definitely a different Luther. At that time, he wrote: “How can baptism be more grievously reviled and disgraced than when it is said that baptism given an unbelieving person is not good and genuine baptism! What? Baptism rendered ineffective because one does not believe? What more blasphemous and offensive teaching could the devil himself invent and preach?”

Copyright © 2010 Peter Ditzel