baptism is the symbol of regeneration and baptism must be administered to infants or the State church falls. With an audacity truly sublime, the great reformer declares that infants are regenerated in connection with baptism and that they are simultaneously justified by personal faith. An infant eight days old believe? ?Prove the contrary if you can!? triumphantly ejaculates Luther, and his point is gained. If this kind of personal faith is said to justify infants, is it wonderful that those of more mature years leaned to take a somewhat superficial view of the faith that justifies??
Yet Luther had written: ?Whatever is without the word of God is by that very fact against God.? See his Briefe, ed. DeWette, 11:292; J. G. Walch, De Fide in Utero. There was great discordance between Luther as reformer and Luther as conservative churchman. His Catholicism, only half overcome, broke into all his views of faith. In his early years, he stood for reason and Scripture, in his later years he fought reason and Scripture in the supposed interest of the church.
<401810> Matthew 18:10 ? ?See that ye despise not one of these little ones? ? which refers not to little children but to childlike believers. Luther adduces as a proof of infant baptism, holding that the child is said to believe ? ?little ones that believe on me?(verse 6) ? because it has been circumcised and received into the number of the elect. ?And so, through baptism, children become believers. How else could the children of Turks and Jews be distinguished from those of Christians?? Does this involve the notion that infants dying without having been baptized are lost? To find the very apostle of justification by faith saying that a little child becomes a believer by being baptized, is humiliating and disheartening (so Broadus. Com. on Matthew, page 334, note).
Pfleiderer, Philos. Religion, 2:342-345, quotes from Lang as follows: ?By mistaking and casting down the Protestant spirit which put forth its demands on the time in Carlstadt, Zwingle and others, Luther made Protestantism lose its salt. He inflicted wounds upon it from which it has not yet recovered today and the ecclesiastical struggle of the present is just a struggle of spiritual freedom against Lutherism.? E. G. Robinson: ?Infant baptism is a rag of Romanism. Since regeneration is always through the truth, baptismal regeneration is an absurdity.? See Christian Review, Jan. 1851; Neander, Church History, 1:311, 313; Coleman, Christian Antiquities, 258-260; Arnold, in Bap. Quarterly, 1869:32; Hovey, in Bap. Quarterly, 1871:75.
<- Previous Table of Contents Next ->
Was this article helpful?