Thursday, March 02, 2006

336 Baptizing adults in the Lutheran church

Our pastor announced at the Ash Wednesday service that he hoped for 100 adult baptisms next year. At least I think I heard that correctly--something about the period of Lent set aside for catechumens. I googled that, and found a reference at a Roman Catholic site, but not much for Lutherans--actually nothing. Like many large churches (we have 3 campuses and 11 services) ours takes in a lot of transfers, and even the "unchurched" new members were often baptized when they were infants or very young, but had parents who didn't bring them up in any faith family.

I've seen one or two adult baptisms and a few teenagers in my 30 years as a member of this church, and of course, many infant baptisms, always a lovely service. Lutherans don't rebaptize since it is a sacrament and believe that we don't get "do-overs," when God has done something. Your pleas that you don't remember, or that you want to "experience" something will fall on deaf ears in our new member classes.

Other denominations do it differently, and getting rebaptized is sort of like restating your marriage vows for your 25th anniversary. This certainly adds to their adult baptism roles. Our local Grace Brethren Church would probably want me to be rebaptized even though that denomination is a "granddaughter" of the Church of the Brethren where I was baptized at age 12. The word "anabaptist" the label for that faith family means, "rebaptized."

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