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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.






01 August 2005

Christian vs. Mormon Baptism


Q: I grew up in a Christian home but joined the Latter-day Saints (Mormons) for a time. They convinced me that they were truly Christian and I was baptized by them. I then found that what the Mormons claimed was different from the Christianity I’d grown up with. I’ve now found an Evangelical church, but they want me to be re-baptized before I can become a member. I don’t think this is necessary. My heart was in the right place when I was baptized and I knew I was doing the right thing. My belief is that it doesn’t matter where or by whom you are baptized, only what is in your heart. Can you please give me your opinion on this?

A: I don’t know about your particular church, but many Christian churches, including the Lutheran Church, do not practice “re-baptism” of people who come from other Christian bodies. However, we do baptize those whose only baptism is from the Mormon religion because we do not consider what is done by them as Christian Baptism. While Mormons speak the words, “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,” their teaching denies the Trinity, teaching three gods. Orthodox Christianity instead claims upon biblical testimony that there is One God in Three persons who makes us His own in Baptism (see these previous posts for bit more about Baptism and the Trinity).

Likewise, while Mormons say that Jesus is (a) god, their understanding of Jesus is not that He is true God, of one substance with the Father and also true man. This is not a matter of what was in your heart but what was in the teaching of those who baptized you and in the formal confession of faith of the religious body to which you were joined. Speak with your new pastor if you want to further clarify this.

Send email to Ask the Pastor.

Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.

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