RomGabe – “Why we don’t have Lutheran Baptists” – thoughts and reflections

Recently I have linked on my Facebook wall a First Things article of Collin Garbarino, titled “Why we don’t have Lutheran Baptists“, which in turn comments on another article of David Koyzis, in the same publication, titled ‘Calvinist Baptists, But No ‘Lutheran’ Baptists?’ Quite interesting reading, to be fair.

Having done that, I have also sent the link to my friend Gabriel Borlean, who is one of the few Romanian Lutherans that I know. Here is his response:

* * *

Thank you for the link Danut.  Very good one.
Many thoughts and impression/reflections reading this article.
I love the fact that it is NOT polemical, but at the same time, it is well-thought out (concise) and very charitable. That is the Christian spirit!
Why Baptists are not Lutherans ?  … some are closer to Lutherans than other Baptists … the pedo-Baptists for example (baptists who baptize children/infants also) … mentioned in the now well known/heard speech “Modern Day Downgrade: A Call for Repentance to Southern Baptists and Other Evangelicals by Jordan Hall, Fellowship Church, Sidney, MT” (check out the YouTube video done for this .. )  Anyways, Ps. Jordan Hall (a “Reformed Baptist”) does not believe Pedo-Baptists know their baptist confessions.
Why Baptist are not Lutherans ? … because unfortunatelly Lutheran doctrines and confessions have only been available in German and Scandinavian tongues (Lutherans have been culturally myopic, unfortunatelly, and have not learned to speak in the American jargon, until recently … check out book “Broken, 7 Rules Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possible“).  BTW, do you know if anyone has translated or exists in Roumanian, Luther’s Small Catechism and Large Catechism, or even the whole Book of Concord ?!?  I would love to know it.  (Calvin’s The Institutes have been available in evangelical bookstores/church tables for years now in RO).
Why Baptists are not Lutheran ? … because they would have to take back the baby they threw out the window (Anabaptist-style) with the bad-water … bad-water was the reason for the Reformation 16th century  … meaning affirm again the holy Sacraments and treat God’s Word as also efficacious and awesome (not just innerant, inspired, God-breathed). – video worthwhile watching!
Why Baptists are not Lutheran ?  … because Lutherans approach to Scripture is not as as spelled out in John Calvin’s “Institutes of the Christian Religion” (reformed theology) where everything has to be systematized and forced to fit neatly in square places.  Lutheran doctrines lives well with biblical paradoxes (fx. Real Presence in/under/with simple bread and wine, why some saved others damed, 2 natures of Christ, saved but can lose one’s faith, saint & sinner, living in 2 kingdoms, etc.)   Gene Veith, with his impecable English-literature-professor’s skills does a perfect job describing this in his “Spirituality of the Cross – the Way of the First Evangelicals“.
Remember, Dr. Luther was more of a pastor and univ. professor (spent 5 or 7 years going thru the Psalms in his univ. lectures, wrote commentary on Galatians, and a few others ….) but Lutherans do not hold what he wrote as part of Lutheran doctrine.  Lutheranism … if one desires to use such a word (an …ism) is defined by the Book of Concord – the Confessions of the Lutheran Church (which make appeal to the Bible and Ancient Church – Church Fathers to show that they – the Reformers, were in continuity with & sharing the Ancient Faith, against the abuses of the Roman-Catholic medieval Church and the Extreme Reformers-Enthusiasts a.k.a. Anabaptists).
Why Baptists are not Lutheran ? … because as the author of the article astutely pointed out … the historical influence and linguistic/cultural heritage came from England and not Germany.  On relation between Anglican and Lutheran Church, found this short answer quite insightful:
Well, that is all the indtrykker (take in, impressions) and reflektioner I had when I read the link from FirstThings blog you pointed me to.
Hope I also provided you and others Cc’ed with some thoughtful resources.
Because of our Beloved Lord,



Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

8 thoughts on “RomGabe – “Why we don’t have Lutheran Baptists” – thoughts and reflections”

  1. It is critical to mention, (also supported by Bryan Wolfmuller’s speech “God’s WORD is AWESOME”, linked in the article), that American confessional Lutherans consider their Baptist brothers and sisters as their allies, especially since the Evangelicals (Baptists + others) that a serious stand on Sola Scriptura.

    While the biggest stumbling block from a Baptist perspective (Baptist-Lutheran conversations)
    is Baptism for infants&children:
    “Why Do Many Evangelicals Find It Difficult To Accept Infant Baptism?”

    … the biggest stumbling block from a Lutheran perspective (Baptist-Lutheran conversations) is Communion/Eucharist and its meaning:
    “The Sacrament of the Altar”


  2. reg. the first point above “Why Baptists are not Lutheran ?” .. it is important to also note, that Baptists are not very uniform on their beliefs/confession (not all Baptists subscribe to the 1689 (2nd) Baptist Confession of Faith

    Thus one finds also baptist who are “creedal” (believe in any of the 3 Ecumenical ancient Creeds), or pedo-baptist (believe in infant baptism).

    The Lutheran camp has its own non-uniform (in belief) problems: not a full subscription to the Book of Concord (which leads to Gospel-reductionism, not preaching the 3rd Use of the Law, low view of Scritpures, etc.). A great article on this is the Spring 2013 Issues Etc. Journal (“I believe …” article) … well worth your short-time.


  3. some of us “5 point” baptists can relate better to Lutheran emphasis on “outside assurance” than we can to Reformed puritans who put all the weight on “the practical syllogism”. In a time when the greatest enemy of some Reformed folk is “once saved always saved” (faith works, and you must cooperate in perseverance), the Lutheran concession to the possibility of apostasy doesn’t look so bad anymore.

    I can see somebody who thought they trusted Christ alone finding out that they don’t (and thus never did), and I can even understand a person saying right now, they both believe and don’t believe the gospel, so (Schrodinger’s cat) they don’t know if righteousness has been imputed to them, but the idea that a person can be certain that they believe now (and thus have righteousness imputed to them now), but might not later…well, that I don’t understand…

    has imputed, and thus imputed for good, OR

    think i believe now, so think God has imputed already, but don’t know if i will keep believing, so don’t know if God has imputed



    Cary That’s just how Christian faith goes, a continual struggle when unbelief is in fact stronger than the faith of our own hearts, and we have no hope at all except the truth of God’s promise in Jesus Christ. But that’s enough. For precisely the experience of the inadequacy of my efforts to believe is what convinces me that I must put my trust in Christ’s word alone, not in my ability to believe. So Anfechtung is agony of conscience but not a struggle to come to the belief that I truly believe. Save me from such inwardness, I say.

    We need to see that conversion happens many times in life, I think, if we are to understand exactly what Luther means by justification. As he puts it in the famous 1519 sermon on the two kinds of righteousness, the alien righteousness by which we are justified before God ” and whenever they are truly repentant.”
    So justification occurs many times, as often as you repent. We are converted whenever the Holy Spirit teaches us to take hold of Christ himself in his Word, rejoicing at the preaching of the Gospel. We are justified and converted many, many times in life.

    But that’s not how the formula of Concord seems to put it: “The chief issue is solely and alone what the unregenerate man’s intellect and will can do in his conversion and regeneration….” Here too conversion marks a before and after: before conversion, I have no free will that can cooperate with God or do anything good by way of faith or obedience; afterwards my will is freed by grace to believe and obey God with gladness, making a real inward co-operation between God and man possible. Identifying this turning point, this before and after, is a crucial move in the
    Formula of Concord’s effort to clarify the sense in which our free will can and cannot co-operate
    with the grace of God, which is the key point at issue in the synergist controversy.

    The Formula of Concord does not follow Calvin’s lead, however, in making the event of
    conversion irrevocable, as if after conversion there is no going back to what was before. On the contrary, it speaks of the possibility of sinning against conscience in such a way that
    sin reigns again in their hearts, so that they “grieve the Holy Spirit within them and lose him” and therefore must be “converted again.” but only this passage explicitly draws the
    striking but necessary conclusion that there may be more than one conversion in a person’s life.

    The recent essay by Cary in Christianity Today


  5. Dear Danut, may I ask you that you replace my full name “Gabriel Borlean” from your site or posts ?

    (One suggestion is to use my moniker RomGabe or simply Gabriel).

    I am kindly asking for this request, because I have had a couple of negative job interviews in the IT field here in Denmark, due to my religious online footprint (fx. your site).

    Thank you in advance, and God bless.


    1. Done. It was tedious. I don’t think I would have done it for many other people.
      What I cannot modify though, except by deleting, is the comments signed Gabriel Borlean.
      Do you want me to go ahead and delete these also? But maybe you can edit them.


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