Home > Baptism, Faith, Ransacking the Lost Treasures of the Lutheran Church > Do Babies Believe the Gospel When They Are Baptized? Martin Luther (1524)

Do Babies Believe the Gospel When They Are Baptized? Martin Luther (1524)

MartinLutherWA 15, p. 696.  Sermon on the 19th Sunday after Trinity (1524)

p. 709  Vom frembden glawben.  (Concerning alien faith)

Now shall/should we also alien faith and concerning the authority to forgive sins deal with a little.  I have also said it before (vorhyn), that it is an error that one should baptize the little children in the faith of the church and have preached the same way [gleichsam] about them being baptized without faith.  This error now goes in/enters in [geht herein] with authority/power [Gewalt], because the devil does not sleep.  He means for there to be no faith.  The Pope with his also has held it up until now, that the children have no faith, rather they are laid in the womb [Schoss] of the Christian church, and one baptized them in the faith of Christendom [Christenheit].  These new [ones?  Diese newe] also say, that the children have no faith, like the Pope, but instead that one should wait until they are grown, etc.  We also say that alien faith does not help when [??] This child is

p. 710

was not born for me, also he will not die for me.  It has had its own death and birth.  Shall/should I then [den] live and from death become free [lofs? Loss], so must I also through the faith in Christ come home.  But we pray for the children, as also for all unbelieving and preach, pray, and work [erbeyten? Arbeiten? Erbitten?] to this end [dahin], that the unbelieving also come [home to Christ] [herzukommen].  Therefore also we live.  So/also these [friends] have had faith, not the paralytic.  But he must receive it, otherwise their faith had helped him nothing.  But they him their faith brought (?)[badten] Christ [dem] about one’s [einen] own faith [brought him to Christ, Who gave him his own faith].  So through alien faith, I help him to get faith.  We do not know, whether one believed or not.  If I am right old and come to the baptism, and say, “I believe;”  How can you know whether I believe or not?  How do you know that?  What if I’m lying?  No one can know whether he comes at the prompting of his own word and mind.  If you say it’s true, it’s true. [ists recht, so ists recht.]  The child must not stand on my faith.  I have little enough faith for myself.  I should not lay it in the womb of Christendom only, rather lay [the child] in the word of God, where He says, “Let the little children come to me, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.”  Here I bring to you, Christ, a little child, that you have called me to bear to you.  Here I have done my work.  Christ will also do His.  So I baptize the child not in my faith or in the faith of Christendom, rather my faith and the faith of Christendom brings the child here [to baptism], for this purpose, that He give it its own faith, and believe as I believe.  And in the word, which Christ has given to me, I do not baptize

p. 711

on it, [as though] it [the child] has no faith, as the Bohemians reckon/mean, that, when it is grown, it shall receive faith.  The Word of God speaks over the child: to you shall your sins be forgiven, and shall the child still the word not believe, call you [heisst] that not word of God tightened.?  [heist das nicht Gottes wort geluegen strafft? ] [You aren’t saying that the Word of God is bound [limited], are you?] I can well help another through my prayer and faith, so that he also believes.


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