A Jagged Contention: Sanctification


“Sin’s power is to point the finger; death is to believe sin:  ‘Yes, you are right, that sin belongs to me.’ But to believe sin is to call God a liar, and negate Christ’s cross. Baptism is the only thing that stops the voice of sin along with its accusing finger once and for all, but of course, it stops it only for faith by putting another word from Christ in the ear: ‘I have taken the sin of the world, including yours.’ Faith that trusts this promise cannot sin anymore – it is impossible.”

– Steven D. Paulson, “Lutheran Theology” (160)


How central is the gift of Holy Baptism in modern preaching? Is it critically associated with a believers sanctification or is it viewed as an old rite without much practical benefit?

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2 thoughts on “A Jagged Contention: Sanctification

  1. We protestants, for the most part, have reduced Baptism to a non-important outward sign of an inward work. For all practical purposes it has become meaningless. I am not saying that it is meaningless, but we have made it appear to be so.


  2. Out of context and without further explanation, this statement seems to deny the simul – which is the at the very heart of Luther’s understanding of baptism and, specifically, what it indicates. Surely this isn’t what Paulson is up to? Could the OP provide some clarification?

    As an aside: Paulson is generalky boring. He relies on ostentatious radicalism and lack of clarity to cloak a lack of actual catholic/Lutheran substance. Anology: he’s the guy in high school playing guitar under a tree for a handful of girls who think he is “profound.”

    Also, to the question, it is my opinion that baptism is much harder to preach than one might think. Even in Lutheran churches baptism is often preached in cliche and overly simplistic ways. A steady diet of this has people rolling their eyes – in other words: when poorly done it does more harm than good.


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