From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Baptism does not, however, pertain to those who are outside of Christ’s Church, where there is neither Word nor Sacraments, because the kingdom of Christ exists only with the Word and Sacraments. Therefore it is necessary to baptize little children so that the promise of salvation may be applied to them, according to Christ’s command to baptize all nations (Matt 28:19). Just as salvation is offered here to all, so baptism is offered to all—to men, women, children, and infants. It clearly follows, therefore, that infants are to be baptized, because salvation is offered through baptism.
Pulling It Together
The universal grace and promise of the gospel is just that: universal. It is not applied to everyone except some persons. There are those however, who insist that a person must understand what is being offered before they are baptized and therefore, little children are not to be baptized because they do not comprehend God’s grace. Yet, those people would not withhold baptism from someone who is mentally challenged. Though people with learning or intellectual disabilities may not understand the grace of God or be able to recount what Jesus has done for them, baptism is not withheld from them. Salvation is possible through God’s powerful grace, not through our intellectual capacity. Therefore, we confess that since salvation is offered through baptism, our Christian duty is to do as Christ instructs us: to offer his promise of salvation “to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15), “to everyone” (Mark 16:15, NLT).
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for making possible the impossibility of my salvation. Amen.
Baptized: Marked for Living is a series of meditations developed in an attempt to use the Lenten season as a time for reflection upon who we are as God's covenant children in baptism and how we are to live as people forever marked with the cross of Christ. Using symbols appropriate to the theme, each person or family is shown how to create a "home altar" as the centerpiece of their Lenten baptismal journey.