So, I've been surprised by some of the sort-of negative response I've gotten to my post about baptizing Victor William in the Hospital. I'm not surprised that there are people who wouldn't want to baptize in the hospital and would rather just maintain the custom of Sunday morning baptisms. I'm surprised at the... it's not an assertion, but the way as though people seem to think that as I prefer baptizing in the hospital that I must be condemning waiting for Baptism until a Sunday morning service.
Here's my question. What do the Scriptures say?
Now, I know that Baptism is good, that it works life and salvation, that it forgives sins and joins to Christ. That's all Scriptural. I know that many were baptized on Pentecost, and I know that 1 was baptized out in the middle of nowhere by Phillip in Acts 8. I know whole households were baptized together.
If this is what the Scriptures say... how would I be able to say that baptizing in Church is "wrong"? Seriously, why would anyone even think I'd say that? Of course, I think it would be (and is) silly if anyone chides me for baptizing my kid in the hospital -- show me the Scripture, don't just tell me about your customs or traditions.
So, what's the problem? What's the disconnect where suddenly because I say, "I do Y" people start thinking that I am condemning "x" or burdening the consciences of those who do x? It's because we have forgotten something:
Preference Does Not Mitigate Freedom
I have a preference for baptizing as soon as possible. I'd rather baptize in the hospital. If not that, as soon as the kid gets discharged, swing by the Church and I'll be there (a la Luther's dad on St. Martin's day). If not that, as soon as the kid makes it to church on a Sunday.
Now, if you start pushing it off longer than that - I'll get on your case a bit (I don't care if Aunt Betty ain't there - baptism is for your kid's benefit, not Aunt Betty's sentimental entertainment -- she'll still ooo and ahh when she shows up).
But there are multiple options -- my preference for one does not fundamentally mean you can't have a different preference. Seriously - because my congregation just does DS III does that mean any of you would think that you stand condemned or less in my eyes because you use DS IV? Or still have LW instead of LSB?
Actually, some of you might. Might feel that way because that's what you are used to people doing to you, or you yourself might even condemn those who don't follow your own preference.
This is because we let our Egos run unabated today. We are so often not content to merely exercise our own freedom, but rather we want to dominate others and make them do what we in our freedom do.
That's just foolish.
What do the Scriptures say? That's where we live. That's where we dwell. Where the Scriptures speak, we speak - where they are silent, we are silent. Simple as that. And my preference to act in one way (in which I am free to act) doesn't do away with your freedom to act in another way in which you are free to act.
Or in other words - there are times where someone can do something different than you, and that's okay.
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But, but, but what about Contemporary Worship? Guess what - Scripturally, they *can* do that. Now, in the LCMS we've agreed to use Synodically approved worship materials, so I'd say we shouldn't here... and I'd argue that it's foolish so to do.
But you know what - you guys are free to be foolish.
Consider Luther being asked how often a person *had* to commune. He wouldn't answer, he wouldn't say how often someone *had* to commune -- finally he said, "If you don't commune at least 4 times a year, you ought ask yourself whether or not you are still a Christian."
I'm not saying when you have to baptize... but if you keep putting off your kid's baptism for weeks and weeks, perhaps you ought to consider whether or not you believe what the Scriptures say Baptism gives.