Happy Pentecost and Late Autumn Greetings!
Holy Baptism Reflections: The following text is my Preliminary Thesis Proposal for my masters thesis at American Military University:
Preliminary Thesis Proposal
The Lutheran understanding of Holy Baptism is the most Biblical interpretation of the Doctrine of Holy Baptism and it is the most historically accurate interpretation of it in accordance with the understanding of this Doctrine shared by Jesus, His Holy Apostles, and the Church Fathers like St. Ambrose of Milan, St. Augustine of Hippo, St. Patrick of Ireland, and others. Sadly, Holy Baptism has divided Christianity since the Reformation due to the Anabaptists not accepting Jesus, the Holy Apostles, and the Church Fathers at their collective word on this critically important doctrine. The major problem is, that people sadly want to earn their Salvation. This is a problem, which started with Pelagius and his debate with St. Augustine over Predestination. However, this debate over Predestination affected other Christian Doctrines and in particular Holy Baptism.
During the Reformation, Christianity split into two groups, Protestants and Roman Catholics, over the Justification by Faith Alone debate. Protestantism divided over the Sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. Lutherans were the Original Protestants, but Protestantism became a lot more diverse and many Protestants just wanted to avoid being “too Catholic.” The Lutheran Reformation was a Conservative Reformation, which means, that Martin Luther and his fellow Lutheran Reformers wanted to follow words of Holy Scripture regardless of other Protestants worrying about being “too Catholic.” The problem was, which divided Protestants on Holy Baptism, was the differing goals of the various Protestant Reformations. Lutherans wanted to follow The Holy Bible on all Christian Doctrines and in particular Holy Baptism, but other Protestants just wanted to avoid being “too Catholic.”
The Lutheran understanding of Holy Baptism is most the Biblical and historically accurate understanding of Holy Baptism. The Lutheran understanding of Holy Baptism is basically this: Holy Baptism saves a person from death, Hell, the grave, Satan, Satan’s demons, Original Sin from Adam and Eve, and a person’s own personal sins and being Born Again means to be baptized with water and the Holy Spirit. St. Peter wrote in 1 Peter Chapter 3:21, “The like figure whereunto even Baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ” (KJV 1611: 2316).
St. John recorded Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus in Chapter 3:3-8 in his Holy Gospel:
“3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be Born Again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.’ 4 Nicodemus saith unto Him, ‘How can a man be born, when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?’ 5 Jesus answered, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. 6 That, which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that, which is born of the Spirit, is spirit. 7 Marvel not, that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth, where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell, whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is everyone, that is born of the Spirit’” (KJV 1611: 2008).
Anabaptists believed, that Holy Baptism was their work to please Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit and that Holy Baptism required a person to make a conscious choice in order to experience Holy Baptism, so they rejected Infant Grace Baptism for Adult Believer’s Baptism. Anabaptists foolishly thought, that Holy Baptisms experienced as infants were invalid, so they rebaptized their members. However, they violated St. Paul’s words in Ephesians Chapter 4:5, when he wrote, that there is “One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism” (KJV 1611: 2232). Anabaptists were wrong, because they administered a second Baptism for each one of their members. Anabaptist also ignored Acts Chapter 2:38-39, when St. Luke recorded St. Peter’s words about Holy Baptism, “2:38 Then Peter said unto them, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the Remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the Promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call’” (KJV 1611: 2066). Jesus and St. Peter were quite clear on this topic and so was St. Paul, that being Born Again means to be baptized, Holy Baptism saves people thus giving them Salvation, and that there is only one Holy Baptism.
Roman Catholicism is both right and wrong on Holy Baptism. Roman Catholics do indeed believe, that Holy Baptism saves and it means to be Born Again and that infants, children, and adults can be baptized. The problem for Roman Catholics is, that Holy Baptism is a one time forgiveness vs. a forgiveness, which is ongoing through Confession and Absolution. This is a less of problem than the Anabaptists, who rebaptized their members, but the forgiveness of sins is ongoing with Holy Baptism.
Reformed Christians aka Calvinists historically have always supported Holy Baptism in a somewhat Biblical way. Historically Reformed Christians aka Calvinists have believed, that Holy Baptism is a forgiveness of sins and that rebirth comes from Holy Baptism and that Infant Grace Baptism is acceptable. However, Reformed Christians aka Calvinists also believe, that Holy Baptism only works, if a person is elected until Salvation and not elected unto damnation. They are wrong on Election. The Holy Bible does teach, that people are elected unto Salvation, but it does not teach, that some people are elected for damnation.
MAILING CHECKS TO ME FOR BOOKS: I am now accepting checks through the mail for $15 for copies of each book: The Rising of The Moon Book 1: Changing Tides Part 1, The Rising of The Moon Book 1: Changing Tides Part 2, and The Rising of The Moon Book 2: Faith, Hope, and Love. $15 checks will cover the cost of each book and shipping. Please include a note with your check saying, which books you want to buy off of me with your check. Checks may be written out to me, James O'Flannery, and mailed to James O'Flannery 1524 Crayton Avenue Lima, Ohio 45805. I also can meet up with you, if you live in the following Ohio communities, Lima, Cridersville, Vaughnsville, Fort Jennings, Columbus Grove, St. Marys, Minster, New Bremen, Delphos, and Ottoville, and sell you books directly. For my latest book Martin Luther, William Tyndale, James Ussher, and their Work in Classics: With Other Christian Essays, I will be accepting checks for $20 and $25. The checks must be for $25 ($5 covering shipping if you don't live in Lima, Cridersville, Vaughnsville, Fort Jennings, Columbus Grove, St. Marys, Minster, New Bremen, Delphos, or Ottoville. If you live in any of those communities and if you're willing to meet up with me in any of those communities, then $20 checks via the mail or $20 cash in-person or credit cards and/or debit card payments for $20 in-person work too.
My Green Irish Angel Statues: My Green Irish Angel Statues are really cute! They are only $1 each and they make great gifts. I have three kinds: 1. Cross-Bearing Angels, 2. Praying Angels, and 3. Angels Holding Butterflies. I like the Cross-Bearing Angels the best, because they are carrying Crosses. Each one bearing a Cross reminds us, that Jesus died on the True Cross to save every single person from death, Hell, Satan, Satan's Demons, Original Sin from Adam and Eve, and their personal sins. They're available exclusively at The Menagerie behind Beer Barrel in the St. Marys Business Complex in St. Marys, Ohio.
Stores Carrying My Books: My books, which I’ve written and published, are also available at the following stores: Brunner News Agency on Flanders Avenue in Lima, Ohio, Jen’s Furniture and Collectibles (JFC) on High Street in St. Marys, Ohio, The Menagerie at 1178 Indiana Avenue behind Beer Barrel in the St. Marys Business Complex in St. Marys, Ohio, Readmore Hallmark Stores out at Eastgate Plaza and on Elm Street in Lima, Ohio, and in the Shop section of my website ohioirishlutheranpress.com .
James W. O’Flannery, President and Founder of Ohio Irish Lutheran Press (OIL Press)