Erlebnis-Raum Taufe

Water alone is not sufficient…
Luther`s understanding of baptism

Water alone is not sufficient…

Baptism is a sacrament. In Luther’s understanding a sacrament needs the interaction of a sacramental element with the word of proclamation.

Part of the sacrament of baptism is the element water. Three times the person to be baptized is sprinkled with water or submerged in water: In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Receiving baptism, however, is not something material only. Luther says that only by faith baptism can be received as a gift of God’s grace.

Seeing together grace and faithis a characteristic of Luther’s theology: God’s offer of his grace and his love is not conditioned on the faith of the person to be baptized, but on God’s will. Receiving grace as well as faith is an act of God. We know of this by the word of proclamation. Our answer to this word is our ˮyes” when we want to be baptized. In faith we participate in the grace and the love of God, his gift to us.

How can water do such great things? It is not the water indeed that does them, but the word of God, which is in and with the water, and faith, which trusts such word of God in the water. For without the word of God the water is simple water and no baptism. But with the word of God it is a baptism, that is, a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Spirit.…
Small Catechism