MARTIN LUTHER
and
Baptismal Regeneration?

By E. L. Bynum

   Was Martin Luther the great religious and spiritual
hero that he is declared to be by Baptists, Fundamen-
talists, and Evangelicals?   During the lifetime of this
writer, he has often heard devout Christians speak
highly of the man who led the Protestant Reformation.
Most of these seem to think that Luther was sound on
the subject of salvation and that he restored the
doctrines preached by Christ and His disciples.   Nothing
could be further from the truth, and we intend to prove
it if our readers will accept what Luther himself said.
   While Martin Luther did leave the Roman Catholic
Church, he did not leave the false doctrine of Rome.   In
fact, he brought most of his doctrine out of Rome, and
he perpetuated the awful heresies in the Church that he
founded.   Many of the heresies of modern day
Protestantism can be traced back to Luther and through
him to Rome.   Of course, we are not saying that Luther
did not say some good things, and we are not saying
that he was not a great man.   Yet, we can truthfully say
that he was not a hero for truth.

LUTHER & BAPTISMAL REGENERATION

   We hear much today concerning Luther's doctrine of
justification by faith.   It sounds good when it is stated in
Luther's own words, or when used in the historical
sense of Luther and his reformation.   However, when
you take a look at Luther's own writings on the subject
of baptism and salvation, his doctrine of justification by
faith has a hollow ring to it.
   In his commentary on Romans, Luther wrote
concerning Romans 6:3, as follows: "We are not found
in a state of perfection as soon as we have been
baptized into Jesus Christ and His death.   Having been
baptized into His death, we merely strive to obtain (the
blessings of) this death and to reach our goal of
glory.   Just so, when we are baptized into everlasting
life and the kingdom of heaven, we do not at once fully
possess its full wealth (of blessings).   We have merely
taken the first steps to seek after eternal life.   Baptism
has been instituted that it should lead us to the
blessings (of this death) and through such death to
eternal life.   Therefore it is necessary that we should be
baptized into Jesus Christ and His death."
  (Commen-

tary On The Epistle To The Romans, By Martin Luther,
translated by J. Theodore Mueller, page 85).
   Luther's understanding of baptism did not come from
the Bible, but from the Roman Catholic Church.   This
led him into infant baptism, which was also an
invention of Rome.   This has been Satan's vehicle for
carrying countless millions of people into Hell, while
they were trusting in that infant baptism for salvation.
   Haldane's comments on Romans 6:3 certainly show
that Luther was wrong on his interpretation of the
verse.   "The figure of baptism was very early mistaken
for a reality, and accordingly some of the fathers speak
of the baptized person as truly born again in the water.
They supposed him to go into the water with all his sins
upon him, and to come out of it without them.   This
indeed is the case with baptism figuratively.   But the
carnal mind soon turned the figure into a reality.   It
appears to the impatience of man too tedious and
ineffectual a way to wait on God's method of converting
sinners by His Holy Spirit through the truth, and
therefore they have effected this much more extensive-
ly by the performance of external rites.   When,
according to many, the rite is observed, it cannot be
doubted that the truth denoted by it has been
accomplished.   The same disposition has been the origin
of Transubstantiation.   The bread and wine in the Lord's
Supper are figuratively the body and blood of Christ;
but they have been turned into the real body, blood,
soul, and divinity of the Lord, and the external rite has
become salvation."
  (Romans, by Robert Haldane, page
245).
   Haldane's above statement concerning the perver-
sion of the Lord's Supper reminds us that Luther had a
perverted view of this ordinance also.   Luther's doctrine
was little removed from the Roman Catholic doctrine of
transubstantiation and consubstantiation, in reality
they are playing ducks and drakes with the Word of
God.   Luther's views are clearly set forth in an article on
the Lord's Supper in ISBE [W&H].   "The original position of
Luther, that the elements in the Supper were signs and
seals of the remission of sins, was soon replaced by the
doctrine of 'consubstantiation.'   The bitter controversy
with Carlstadt, and esp. the failure of the Marburg
Conference, drove Luther forever into the camp of the
realists.   As early as 1524 he had outlined his doctrine
against Carlstadt.   He placed himself squarely on the
realistic conception of the words of the institution, and
held that 'the body of Christ in accordance with the will
and omnipotence of God and its own ubiquity is really
and substantially present in, with and under the
Supper, even as His Divine nature is in the human as
warmth is in the iron.   Wherefore the Supper is
physically partaken of by those who are unworthy,
albeit to their own destruction' (Bavinck, Geref.
Dogm., IV, 318).   This doctrine has been fully developed
by the Lutheran divines, and is till this day the view of
the Lutheran Church."
  (International Standard Bible

Encyclopaedia, page 1926).
   There was considerable debate among the reformers
concerning this doctrine.   Zwingli to a large extent sided
with Carlstadt, even going so far as to say that Luther's
doctrine was "an opinion not only rustic but even
impious and frivolous."
  Calvin did deviate some from
Luther's view, but in the main their view was very
similar.   Unfortunately many of the Protestant denom-
inations have followed after Luther and Calvin in this
unscriptural view.   Transubstantiation and consubstan-
tiation are both serious errors and both came from the
Roman Church.

BAPTISMAL REGENERATION VS.
JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH

   Did Martin Luther really believe in justification by
faith?   If we can believe his own words, then he did not.
We are indebted to The Rehoboth Clarion, May 1980,
for a quotation from Luther's commentary on Galatians.
Luther is commenting on Galatians 3:27, which says,
"For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ
have put on Christ."
  Below we give Luther's comments
on this verse.
   "To put on Christ is taken two manners of ways;
according to the law, according to the Gospel.
According to the law, as it is said in chap. xiii to the
Romans: 'put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ,' that is,
follow the example and virtues of Christ.   Do that which
he did, and suffer that which he suffered.   And in I Peter
ii, 'Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example,
that ye should follow his steps:'   Now we see in Christ a
singular patience, and inestimable mildness of love,
and a wonderful modesty in all things.   This goodly
apparel we must put on; that is to say, follow these
virtues.
   "But the putting on of Christ according to the
Gospel, consisteth not in imitation, but in a new birth
and a new creation: that is to say, in putting on Christ's
innocency, his righteousness, his wisdom, his power,
his saving health, his life and his spirit.   We are clothed
with a leather coat of Adam, which is a moral garment,
and a garment of sin; that is to say, we are all subject
unto sin, all sold under sin.   There is in us horrible
blindness, ignorance, contempt and hatred of God:
moreover, evil concupiscence, uncleanliness, covet-
ousness, &c.   This garment, that is to say, this corrupt
and sinful nature, we received from Adam; which Paul
is wont to call the Old Man.   This man must be put off
with all his works (Eph. iv; Col. i;) that of the Children
of Adam, we may be made the children of God.   This is
not done by changing of a garment, or by any laws or
works, but by a new birth, and by the renewing of the
inward man; which is done in baptism, as Paul saith:
'All ye that are baptized, have put on Christ.'   Also,
'according to his mercy he saved us, by the
washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy
Ghost;' (Tit. iii.)   For besides that they which are

baptized, are regenerated and renewed by the Holy
Ghost to a heavenly righteousness and to eternal life
,
there riseth in them also a new light and a new flame:
there rise in them new and holy affections: as the fear
of God, true faith and assured hope, &c.   There
beginneth in them also a new will.   And this is to put on
Christ truly and according to the Gospel.
   "Therefore the righteousness of the law, or of our
works, is not given unto us in baptism; but Christ
himself is our garment.   Now Christ is no law, no
lawgiver, no work; but a divine and an inestimable gift,
whom God hath given unto us, that he might be our
Justifier, our Saviour, and our Redeemer.   Wherefore,
to be apparelled with Christ according to the Gospel, is
not to be apparelled with the law or with works, but
with an incomparable gift; that is to say, with remission
of sins, righteousness, peace, consolation, joy of spirit,
salvation, life, and Christ himself.
   "This is diligently to be noted, because of the fond
and fantastical spirits, which go about to deface the
majesty of baptism and speak wickedly of it.   Paul
contrariwise commendeth and setteth it forth with
honourable titles, calling it 'washing of regeneration,
and renewing of the Holy Ghost;'
(Tit. iii.)   And here
also he saith, that all they which are baptized have put
on Christ.   As if he said, Ye are carried out of the law
into a new birth, which is wrought in baptism.
Therefore ye are not now any longer under the law, but
ye are clothed with a new garment; to wit, with the
righteousness of Christ.   Wherefore baptism is a thing
of great force and efficacy.   Now, when we are
apparelled with Christ, as with the robe of our
righteousness and salvation, then we must put on
Christ also as the apparel of imitation and example.
These things I have handled more largely in another
place, therefore I here briefly pass them over."

(Emphasis ours.)   (This quote from Luther was taken
from the unabridged: "A Commentary on Saint Paul's
Epistle to the Galatians."
  Robert Carter--Publishers,
N.Y., N.Y. 1848, pgs. 346-347).

LUTHER AND THE ANABAPTISTS

   Baptists who are always speaking so highly of Luther
and Calvin surely need to read what they said about the
Anabaptists.   The Anabaptists are now known as
Baptists.   Luther and Calvin both reserved some of their
harshest words for this truth-loving people who refused
to follow the false doctrine of Luther and Calvin.   In the
Preface of the above named book by Luther, we find the
following: "For thus do the Anabaptists teach, that
baptism is nothing except the person do believe.   Out of
this principle must needs follow, that all the works of
God be nothing if the man be nothing.   But baptism is
the work of God and yet an evil man maketh it not to be
the work of God.   Moreover, hereof it must follow, that
matrimony, authority, liberty, and bondage, are the
works of God; but because men are evil, therefore they

are not the works of God.   Wicked men have the sun, the
moon, the earth, the water, the air, and all other
creatures which are subject unto man; but because they
be wicked and not godly, therefore the sun is not the
sun, the moon, the earth, the water, are not that which
they are.   The Anabaptists themselves had bodies and
souls before they were re-baptized; but because they
were not godly, therefore they had not true bodies and
true souls.   Also their parents were not lawfully married
(as they grant themselves,) because they are not
re-baptized; therefore the Anabaptists themselves are
all bastards, and their parents were all adulterers, and
whoremongers; and yet they do inherit their parents'
lands and goods, although they grant themselves to be
bastards, and unlawful heirs.   Who seeth not here, in
the Anabaptists, men not possessed with devils, but
even devils themselves possessed with worse devils?"

   It is a shame that Luther and others have made such
havoc of the doctrine of baptism.   No one was ever saved
by baptism, for it is only a form, picture, and symbol of
our salvation and not the very means of salvation.   We
quote from a well-known Bible teacher of the 20th
Century concerning Romans 6:3.   "It must be plain that
baptism is a form.   It is not in itself a means of salvation.
It is a previous faith which saves.   It is not our death that
is set forth in the form of baptism, but Christ's death
which alone is the means of our salvation."
  (Romans
Where Life Begins, by Roy L. Laurin, Dunham, pages
192,193).

THE RESULTS OF THE DOCTRINE
OF BAPTISMAL REGENERATION

   While we do not always agree with A. T. Robertson,
he did hit the nail on the head on baptismal
regeneration.   "Out of this perversion (baptismal
regeneration) of the symbolism of baptism grew both
pouring as an ordinance and infant baptism.   If baptism
is necessary to salvation or the means of regeneration,
then the sick, the dying, infants, must be baptized, or
at any rate something must be done for them if the real
baptism (immersion) cannot be performed because of
extreme illness or want of water.   The Baptist
contention is to protest against the perversion of the
significance of baptism as the ruin of the symbol.
Baptism, as taught in the NT, is the picture of death
and burial to sin and resurrection to new life, a picture
of what has already taken place in the heart, not the
means by which spiritual change is wrought.   It is a
privilege and duty, not a necessity.   It is a picture that is
lost when something else is substituted in its place."

(A. T. Robertson in The International Standard Bible
Encyclopaedia [W&H], page 387).
   Luther and those who have perpetuated the doctrine
of baptismal regeneration are responsible for a whole
raft of false teaching that afflicts Christianity today.   No
doubt but what our modern day Church of Christ

teaching on baptismal regeneration came from Luther's
Protestantism.   Although we are sure that Luther would
cringe at the thought, this false teaching has resulted in
the Mormon perversion of baptizing for the dead.

MODERN LUTHERANS AND
BAPTISMAL REGENERATION

   There are three large Lutheran bodies in the U.S.A.
Of the three, the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran
Church is considered to be the most evangelical.
However, I am sad to say that they continue to
perpetuate Luther's baptismal regeneration error.   For
evidence we are reproducing a four page tract printed
by Concordia Tract Mission of St. Louis, Missouri,
entitled, "How To Keep Your Baptism Alive."   Frankly
it is about the crudest and most heretical statement that
we have ever read on the subject of baptism.   Although
it is made cute by the cartoons which adorn it,
nevertheless it is filled with poison doctrine that will no
doubt lead many astray.   It is printed in tract form for
wide distribution, and this makes the error all the more
terrible.

[(Tract, adapted:)]

HOW TO
KEEP
YOUR
BAPTISM
ALIVE

[ Gods
Word
and
Holy
Communion ]

[ flower
of baptism ]

GREEN
THUMB

[ BIBLE ]

[ PEACE ]

THE GOSPEL GARDENER ... SAYS

The relationship established through Baptism is like a
fragile flower.

The new life in Christ, created or confirmed by
Baptism, can wither and die from lack of caring.

The bond of Baptism between God and man is not a
permanent condition.   It can be broken like the stem of
a flower, through carelessness and neglect.   Heaven is
opened and sins are forgiven in Baptism.   It is an act of
God, through which He claims people to Himself.   It is
His grace.   But the Baptism is only the beginning of
Christian growth, which should continue throughout
life.   Keep close to God.   Keep the bloom of new life
from your baptism alive.   Water it regularly with the
Word and Sacrament of the Holy Supper, lest it wither
like the grass.

We baptize the whole family, including children and
infants.

God's Word records in Acts 16 the
Baptism of the Philippian jailer and
all of his household; "And they spoke
the Word of the Lord to him and to all
that were in his house [children,
servants, family].   And he took them
the same hour of the night and
washed their wounds, and he was
baptized at once, with all his family"
(vv. 32,33).

Acts 22:16:
"And now why do you wait?   Rise and
be baptized, and wash away your
sins, calling on His name."


Concordia Tract Mission
Box 201
St. Louis, MO 63166

[(End.)]

   According to the cover, the way to keep your baptism
alive, is by watering the flower of baptism with God's
Word and Holy Communion.   This is purely the figment
of someone's imagination for nothing like this is taught
in the Bible.   Of course the Bible teaches that those who
have been saved should study God's Word, but this is
not in order to keep one's baptism alive.   No such thing
as Holy Communion is taught in the Bible, but rather it
is the Lord's Supper.
   According to the tract, the Green Thumbed gospel
gardener says, "The relationship established through

Baptism is like a fragile flower.   The new life in Christ,
created or confirmed by Baptism, can wither and die
from lack of caring."
  The gospel gardener may say
that, but certainly the Word of God does not.   No
relationship is established with God through baptism,
nor is new life in Christ created in baptism.   It is the
blood of Christ and not baptism that washes away sin.
As Paul tells us in Eph. 2:8, it is by grace through faith
that we are saved.
   The tract further states, "The bond of Baptism
between God and man is not a permanent condition.   It
can be broken like the stem of a flower, through
carelessness and neglect.   Heaven is opened and sins
are forgiven in Baptism.   It is an act of God, through
which He claims people to Himself."
  No Scripture
proves that any bond between God and man is
established through baptism.   Sins are not forgiven
through baptism, but rather baptism does picture the
taking away of sin.   It is apparent that the unnamed
writer is trying to scare people into believing that this
bond can be broken and the soul lost, if one does not
water it regularly with the Word and the "Sacrament of
the Holy Supper."
  Those who are saved do not lose that
salvation, and the Lord's Supper is not a "sacrament."
   The tract then reads, "We baptize the whole family,
including children and infants."
  This is as unscriptural
as it can be.   There is not one instance in the NT of any
infant ever being baptized.   Although millions of infants
have been baptized by the Roman Catholic Church,
Lutherans, and other Protestant churches, they have all
done it without one bit of Scriptural authority.   The best
proof that the writer could produce, was to insert words
in brackets to the account of the baptism of the
Philippian jailer.   Here is what he says, "God's Word

records in Acts 16 the Baptism of the Philippian jailer
and all of his household; 'And they spoke the Word of
the Lord to him and to all that were in his
house [children, servants, family], And he took them
the same hour of the night and washed their wounds,
and he was baptized at once, with all his family' (vv.
32-33)."
  There are a number of things that we object to
in this quote.   (1) We object to the version quoted from
for it is obviously not the King James Version.   He is
quoting from the modernistic Revised Standard Version
produced by the National Council of Churches.   (2) He
entirely leaves out the salvation Scripture from this
passage, where the jailer said, "Sirs, what must I do to
be saved?   And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."
  He
could not quote these verses, or he would have to forget
about his baptismal regeneration.   (3) In the quote that
he does make he inserts in brackets "children,
servants, family."
  This is pure conjecture, as there is
no hint of "children" being in the house or being
baptized.   There are many houses today which have no
children in them, and why should we automatically
believe that the Philippian jailer had children in his
house?   There is one verse that proves that no children
or infants were in view.   In v. 32 we read, "And they
spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that
were in his house."
  It is evident that the ones that were
baptized in v. 33 were the ones that heard the "word of
the Lord"
in v. 32.   Since infants cannot hear the "word
of the Lord"
or any sensible teaching, they could not
have been baptized.
   The NT pattern of baptism is plainly declared in Acts
2:41.   "Then they that gladly received his word were
baptized: ...."
  Since infants cannot receive the word,
none were baptized in New Testament times.
   I Peter 3:21 makes it clear that baptism is a figure or
a picture.   "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:"
  Baptism is a
figure or picture of our salvation, but it does not
produce or provide salvation.   The Lutheran tract writer
evidently believed that baptism actually washes away
sin, by his use of Acts 22:16.
   Luther's stand as a religious hero is greatly
diminished when we look at what he believed and what
he has produced in the modern Lutheran movement.

TRACT # A-344 ORDER FROM: TABERNACLE BAPTIST CHURCH
1911 34th St., P.O. Box 3100, Lubbock, Texas 79452

Send payment with order and we pay postage!   If total order is less
than $5.00, add .50 cents.   ..All foreign add 20% and send U.S. funds..
10 for $2.00 - 100 for $8.00 - 500 for $28.00
50 for $5.00 - 250 for $16.00 - 1,000 for $44.00

For current discount prices send stamped envelope!

[Christian Helps Ministry (USA)] [Christian Home Bible Course]