Over at NON-BAPTIZED BELIEVERS AS TEACHERS? II Brad posted a quote from PP Waldenstrom, adding fodder to the thinking process.

"Some say if baptism is a means of grace, it would follow that everyone who is baptized would be saved. The gospel is also a means of grace, but it certainly does not follow that everyone who hears or reads the gospel will be saved. The means saves through faith, but where unfaith steps in, the means serves no purpose... Bread is a means of nourishment, but it does not follow that one who has bread cannot starve. He will starve, if he does not eat." PP Waldenström (1838-1917)

He does like making me think!

OK, so I guess "grace" needs to be specified, eh? In essence (even as I type this my Baptist roots are shaking...), I agree with Waldenstrom. As I said in the March 22 entry,

"Baptism is at least an ordinance, but it is more. It is at least a symbol, but it is more. So, while I have not thought through all the details I believe that baptism in some way incorporates the individual into the body of Christ (maybe psychologically), mirroring what the Holy Spirit does in reality."

I would agree that baptism, Eucharist, and a host of other practices provide actual, spiritual nourishment, and that they do something in reality. Exactly what that entails, I do not know. Frankly, it's a long road from the 'just a symbol' notion with which I was raised, but the Bible seems to teach more, so I'm moving towards more. Though I do not believe I will go as far as some of my more sacramental brethren :-)


  1. Does Baptism provide justification of the believer? Absolutely not! Faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross justifies the sinner. I would rather state that Baptism is (or should be) the first act in our sanctification phase of salvation. It is here where it is a "means of grace". One of the difficulties the Liturgicals have, particularly the RCC, is the melding of sanctification with justification. (Why Catholics cannot claim assurance of salvation)

  2. Too true, but the other side of the coin for many of us "non-liturgicals" is the typical throwing-out-the-baby-with-the-bathwater and being so afraid of practice as a means of non-salvific grace that we refuse to take the time and explain ourselves. Rather we say baptism is a "symbol" (as was heard yesterday in worship service, btw). Frankly, it is not! It is much more. Baptism is indeed the first step in sanctification, which is why I so adamantly oppose a non-baptized believer being a teacher.