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This picture shows a hospital physician giving a new mother her newborn baby along with the health report of her newborn.

The physician says: “You have physical HIV/AIDS. You need to get treatment.”
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WHY THESE PAGES?

 Medical journals describe challenging emotional and psychological struggles. Some emotional afflictions have names, others do not. People involved in emotional and psychological struggles seek help from advice published in medical journals.
   Just as medical journals publish diagnoses and treatment of physical and emotional struggles—based on the latest medical research—so also Good News publishes diagnoses and treatment of spiritual struggles—based on solid research of Scriptures alone! The Holy Spirit diagnoses your basic spiritual affliction when He says that your struggle is against Sin (Hebrews 12:4).
   The Holy Spirit sets forth two key teachings that are the basis of the true spiritual life: Sin and Baptism. Using pictures and text from official denominational teachings, Good News gives you a simple comparison of these different teachings, based on Scripture. As you read the Spirit’s diagnosis and treatment, “Do not lean on your own understanding . . . In all your ways acknowledge Him” (Proverbs 3:5–6), pray this Scriptural prayer: “Lord, give me understanding according to Your Word” (Psalm 119:169).
   GOOD NEWS is published by Lutheran Christians. Some people may consider the information on these two pages as an oversimplification. However, the fundamental teaching and practice of all denominations can be traced to the root of two key teachings: What a denomination teaches about Sin and what a denomination teaches about Christ’s doctrine of Baptism.
   These pages show that Lutheran Christians believe that faith-life begins at Baptism—God’s miracle of Baptism creates faith. At Baptism, Lutheran Christians openly acknowledge they are conceived and born in Sin (Psalm 51:5) and need to be redeemed by the blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18–19; 1 John 5:4–6). Lutherans are continually aware of their desperate sinful situation (Psalm 51:3–5), and their need for help, even after the Holy Spirit has worked faith in them (Romans 7:21–25). This acknowledgment of their condition is done when pastors lead the congregation in a Scripture-based confession that they are “by nature” infected with Original Sin (Psalm 51:1). After this initial step prepares the minds of confessing Lutherans, the Holy Spirit causes them to look forward to the spiritual medical treatment they will receive through the preached living Word, and through the Sacraments of Absolution and Holy Communion. Just as people who go weekly to get their kidney dialysis, or their treatment for HIV/AIDS, so also Scripture-based and Christ-centered Christians go weekly, and sometimes even daily, to confess their malady and affliction and to receive the treatment that God wants to give them through His living Word and Spirit.
These pictures show a pastor giving a new­born to its parents. The pastor may or may not in­clude
a “spiritual” report of the newborn—depending
on the church/denomination the parents attend.

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08_baptism

?


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LUTHERAN
pastors tell parents,
“Your child has spiritual HIV/AIDS
called Sin. He must receive lifelong
treatment as soon as possible,
beginning with Baptism.”









ROMAN CATHOLIC priests tell
their parents, “Your child was born
with spiritual HIV/AIDS of Sin.
Baptism removes Original Sin.
Now you must receive grace to
fight all further Sin.







CALVINIST/REFORMED pastors
tell parents, “Yes, your child was born
infected with spiritual HIV/AIDS.”
The child may even be baptized, if the
parents wish. However, the Calvinist/Reformed
 teaching on predestination makes Baptism
powerless and unnecessary: If the child is
predestined to heaven, then the child will go
to heaven with or without Baptism. If the
infant is predestined to hell, then not even
Baptism will save the child!





METHODIST, BAPTIST,
NONDENOMINATIONAL,
PENTECOSTAL
pastors tell parents
their child is not born with spiritual AIDS,
and will not get spiritual HIV/AIDS until
he reaches the so-called “age of accountability.”
They do not need immediate treatment.
Baptism is an act of obedience, not a miracle
of God, and is unnecessary for treating
the infection of Sin.





This chart compares various denominations in their official teachings of (a) Original Sin and (b) Baptism. QUESTION: Why focus on these two Scriptural teachings? ANSWER: The Scriptural doc­trine of Sin and Baptism are related, like disease and medicine, or infection and antidote.




L
UTHERAN: Why does this chart begin with the Lutheran teaching of Original Sin? ANSWER: The Lutheran church is the only church/denomination that officially teaches that, even after God’s miracle of Baptism, the baptized person still carries with him a residual and incurable infection of the disease of Original Sin. No other church officially teaches this, neither the Catholic nor any Protestant church. QUESTION: Where in the Scriptures does the Holy Spirit teach that, even after Baptism, you still carry within yourself the infection of Original Sin? ANSWER: The Holy Spirit teaches this doctrine most clearly in Romans 7. QUESTION: In what expression in Romans 7 can you most clearly see and understand the Holy Spirit’s teaching that, even after being baptized and converted, people continue to carry the incurable infection of Ori­ginal Sin? ANSWER: After he was baptized, in Romans 7:19 St. Paul says, “The good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.” It would be highly unusual to find any member of any church, or denomination, who would not identify with the Holy Spirit’s teaching in Romans 7:19.


ROMAN CATHOLIC
: Like Lutherans, Roman Catholics officially teach that all babies are born with Original Sin (Psalm 51:5). Whereas Lutherans officially teach that the remnant of Original Sin remains active and destructive within you, even after Baptism, Roman Catholics, on the other hand, teach that Baptism wipes out Original Sin entirely. Consequently, for Roman Catholics, Baptism is
a first step as they strive to become holy and justified before God.As a result, good works are given high priority in Catholicism. Furthermore, official Catholicism teaches that you go to Holy Com­munion not primarily for the forgiveness of sins, but for infused grace, for the strength you need to become justified, the strength you need to prevent you from daily and hourly sinning (Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 390, ¶1393–1395).




REFORMED:
Calvinist/Reformed/Presbyterian churches officially teach that all children are born with deadly Original Sin. QUESTION: If this is true, why is an extended discussion on the power of deadly Sin irrelevant when seeking to understand the official Reformed teaching? ANSWER: John Calvin initially formulated Reformed “thinking.” Calvin’s doctrine of Predestination guides
and takes precedence over all other Scripture teachings. Consequently, the Reformed officially teach that while even Christians can be “Sin-sick,” they need never fear! Why? No matter how bad and sin-filled their life may become, and no matter how far they may fall, if they are predestined to be saved, their faith will never be destroyed. They are predestined to be saved. They cannot fall away! Calvinist/Presbyterian/Reformed churches may baptize infants, but they do not officially teach that Baptism has any particular miraculous power to wipe out or control Sin. Therefore, although Baptism may be performed on a newborn person, it is not necessary. Thus, in the picture there is a ? over the baptismal font.




BAPTIST/METHODIST/PENTECOSTAL/NAZARENE/NONDENOMINATIONAL: None of these major Protestant groups teach the Holy Spirit’s doctrine of Original Sin (Psalm 51:5) as a deadly power, or spiritual disease, which all babies are born with—and a deadly spiritual disease that must be dealt with at birth. Consequently, the pastor on the left—dressed in
either a business suit or street clothes—may or may not meet with the parents of their newborn baby. And even if such a meeting does take place—as shown on the left—no baptismal font is needed. Why? Because all of these groups totally reject Jesus’ teaching of God’s miracle of Baptism as God’s Medicine—His divine treatment—for Sin. These groups deny that God’s Word is the “active ingredient” in God’s miracle of Baptism and is God’s way to curb Sin, as taught in Romans 6:6–23.

For further study, turn to the Bible Study on page 36, questions 12–­15.


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