What is Baptism? (4 of 4)
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: My friends are asking me if I’ve been “born again”. What do I say?
A: Other Christians believe different things about baptism. As Lutheran Christians, we believe that baptism is being “born again” (see John 3:5), and it is God’s work and not ours. When someone asks this question, tell them the day you were baptized!
Q: Don’t you need to make a personal commitment to Jesus?
A: There are many times during your life when you may make a public commitment to follow Christ. For Lutheran Christians, this usually happens when you are Confirmed and when you join a congregation. Baptism, however, is not about your decision to follow Christ but God’s decision to claim you. It is very important to Lutheran Christians that Baptism is understood as God’s work and not the work of the baptized person. Through Baptism, God plants the seed of faith which will grow hidden most of the time in the heart, and at other times may bloom so others can see it (for example, through good works and public commitment).
Q: What about private baptisms?
A: “Private baptism” usually means with only a few family and personal friends, and not in the normal worship service. Because we believe that baptism makes one a member of the church, the normal time and place for a baptism is during a regular worship service. There are exceptions to this rule, typically in the case of medical or personal emergencies.
Q: What happens if a baby or someone dies without being baptized?
A: We don’t know for sure. Baptism is about confidence in God’s promises. Someone who is baptized and believes in Christ can be confident in salvation, not because of his or her actions but because we can count on God’s promises. For those who are not baptized, we don’t have the surety of God’s promises. We believe God is good and gracious, and we commend them to God’s goodness.
Q: Does this mean “once baptized, always saved”?
A: No. Baptism is the beginning of a relationship with God, a relationship that God initiates—but we can end. Many relationships begin with one person more serious than another—that’s how baptism is: God is more serious about us than we about him. It is possible to reject God, Christ, forgiveness and salvation after baptism—and then to be condemned. However, God will continue to seriously pursue the lost sheep (see Luke 15)—and it is always possible to return to God and be received with open arms, forgiven sins, and saved.
At St. John’s Lutheran Church, baptisms may occur at any regular worship service following the sermon.
For more information, or to schedule a baptism at St. John’s Lutheran Church,