Thursday, September 4, 2014

Bonhoffer, 1937. Chapter 28, "Baptism"

Chapter 28, “Baptism”

In the New Testament there are different places where attention is focused. The Gospels tend to focus on the call of Jesus and the very physical work of following him. Paul, working among people whose entire Christian experience is after the resurrection, has a greater focus on the baptismal life. It is baptism which makes the clear break from the life of the flesh and the entry into the life of the Spirit. Bonhoeffer suggests that where the Gospels speak of calling, Paul speaks of baptism. This baptism is passive. We receive baptism just as we might receive a call. Our lives change in baptism, since we are brought into the covenant of grace. Baptismal grace justifies the sinner by putting the body of the old man to death. As a consequence we then live by grace. Bonhoeffer states a reluctance to endorse infant baptism without the presence of a community of faith. Otherwise the child will not be brought up in the faith. Baptism is a great and precious gift, received once, and believed upon throughout life.

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