3mention of the ultimate agency of the Church.While this is indeed a significant difference which will be discussed below, there is adeeper unity between the two answers: in the absence of a pastor
should baptize. Thisis echoed in the hymnals of the Missouri Synod (TLH, LW, LSB) which all state that “anyChristian may administer” baptism in a case of emergency in the absence of the pastor. Whether the modal particle is may or should, both agree in assuming
). For the synodicalcatechisms and the synodical hymnals, a person can baptize if he or she is a Christian.That this is the correct interpretation of these instructions provided for the laity isconfirmed by F. Pieper's comments in
Like all spiritual gifts the means of grace, including Baptism, are given by God directlyto the believers, all Christians. The believers do not get them from the pastors, but viceversa. Pastors administer Baptism in their public office only as the called servants(
) of the believers. If the public servants are not available, every Christian hasthe right, yea, is in duty bound, to administer Baptism. Our St. Louis hymnal thereforecontains several formularies (longer and shorter) for a so-called “lay baptism.”
For Pieper, a lay person baptizes because he or she has been given all the means of grace – andevidently also the authority to administer them, which is not self-evidently the same thing – directly by God by virtue of being a believer. Thus, a Christian, a member of the Church, a person with
may baptize. Pastors simply baptize on behalf of lay people who have faith.Thus it appears that Pieper primarily sees pastors baptizing as an expedient for the sake of goodorder.
1.1.2 The Great Problem with Missouri's Answer
But what if the lay person who baptized me was not a Christian? What if there are seriousdoubts about the faith of the midwife or grandma who pour water on my head and said, “I baptize thee. . .”? Would I be truly baptized if the person who baptized me was not truly aChristian? This question is familiar to Lutherans when it comes to baptisms administered by
Christian Dogmatics, vol III.
(St. Louis: CPH, 1953) 279.