CONFESSIONAL LUTHERAN DOGMATICS
By: David P. Scaer
Preface to the General Introduction
Introduction: Baptism as the Foundational Sacrament
1. Baptism as the Remedy for Original Sin
2. Baptism as Divine Command
3. The Biblical Origins of Baptism
4. The Efficacy of Baptism
Excursus: Ministry: An Effect of Baptism?
5. The Baptismal Formula: Baptism in the Name of the Triune God
6. Administration of Baptism
7. Baptism and the Holy Spirit
Excursus: Living Water: Water and the Spirit
Excursus: A Case in Pastoral Practice
8. Infant Baptism: An Historical Debate with Theological Implications
9. The Biblical Support for Infant Baptism
10. Infant Faith
11. Baptism’s Necessity and Its Exceptions
12. Karl Barth on Baptism
13. The Ritual of Baptism
14. Baptism and Catechesis
From the Book
“Among Lutherans Baptism has not received the level of attention generally given to the Eucharist or to the recently renewed interest in the practice of private confession and absolution. Martin Luther did not value one means of grace over another in offering forgiveness, but he did make distinctions. He viewed each sacrament as having a unique function, and one could not be substituted for another. Baptism was not simply an entrance ceremony into the Christian community, but was equated with the Christian life and established the church’s boundaries. Luther claimed that papists could not call the Lutherans heretics, since they all shared the same Baptism. This sacrament not only ushered the believers into the covenant, but was itself the covenant. Baptism was for Luther the foundational sacrament out of which all the other sacraments took their meaning: ‘But baptism is the first and most important sacrament, without which the others are all nothing, as [the papists] must admit.’ Being in Baptism is equivalent to being in Christ” [p. 1].
“The only solution in restoring to Baptism the place of importance it has in the New Testament and in the early church is understanding Baptism as a totally christological act–an act or ritual in which Christ baptizes and in which the baptized Christian is joined to Christ’s death and resurrection. By His being baptized by John, Jesus was committed by God to death and resurrection, and now in our Baptism he makes us participants in that same death and resurrection. Jesus is at the same time both object and subject of Baptism, the baptized and the baptizer. The One who commands His church to baptize is Himself baptized into death, and baptizes all Christians into that same death. What is confessed in the Apostles’ Creed actually takes place concretely in Baptism. Baptism is the summary of the Christian faith and the history of salvation. The waters out of which the world arose, which lifted the ark of Noah, which were separated at the Red Sea, and which at Jordan flowed from the hands of John the Baptist over Jesus to lead Him to His cross–these same waters are found in every font, and embrace all Christendom. When we confess unum baptisma in remissionem peccatorum, ‘one Baptism for the remission of sins,’ we are only confidently confessing our faith in Jesus Christ, and we and all His church are joined to Him” [p. 202].
What Reviewers have said about Baptism
“In my work as Lutheran parish pastor I found that few topics set my clerical colleagues’ teeth on edge like baptism. . . .
Happily, for those perplexed about the sacrament or simply in need of a good review of confessional Lutheran teachings on baptism, David Scaer’s Baptism is now available to fill the void. This volume is at once intellectual and practical. It covers a wide range of theological topics, such as, the relationship between baptism and original sin; baptism and the Trinity; baptism and the faith of infants. It also contains helpful and insightful sections on practical questions, such as, the fate of unbaptized children and whether pastors ought to honor all requests for the sacrament.
At the heart of Scaer’s book is an attempt to recover a distinctively Lutheran understanding of baptism. . . .
. . . [T]his is a careful biblical and confessional analysis of the sacrament. Accessible and learned, it deserves wide reading in the academy and parish.”
–Mark D. Tranvik, in Lutheran Quarterly
“This is an in-depth look at the Sacrament of Baptism that will give Lutherans firepower against Baptism-despisers for years to come. Arguing mainly from the Bible, [Scaer] shows how the Lutherans alone hold that ‘Baptism remains forever.'”
–Ben Mayes, in Pilgrimage, published by Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, IN
“. . . an excellent study of all aspects of the doctrine of baptism. Scaer strongly emphasizes that dogmatics is intrinsically exegetical in nature and practices this principle throughout the book.”
–John F. Brug, in Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly
Dr. David P. Scaer is Professor of Systematic Theology at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Perhaps the most prolific confessional Lutheran scholar of his generation, he is the author of numerous books and articles and a frequent commentator in a wide range of periodicals, most especially Concordia Theological Quarterly, of which he is the editor.