But is it Lutheran?
The ELCA has always affirmed rigorous training as proper preparation for adult baptism.
Occasional Services, the companion to the Lutheran Book of Worship, suggests a three-stage catechumenate process:
* Inquiry. A candidate is given instruction to explore whether or not to pursue baptism.
* Enrollment. At a service, baptismal candidates are presented to the congregation and blessed.
* Instruction. In a period of weeks leading to baptism, candidates are taught in the faith through informal practice and association as well as practical classes.
In The Use and Means of Grace, the 1997 Churchwide Assembly reaffirmed instruction and spiritual formation as proper preparation for baptismal candidates, parents and sponsors (application 19A). The statement also calls continuing education part of a congregation's baptismal ministry. "Indeed, all of the baptized require lifelong learning, the daily re-appropriation of the wonderful gifts given in baptism," the statement declares (application 19B).
Scott Irwin had drifted away from his Lutheran upbringing and wanted to come back. He longed for an active faith life. So did his fiancee, Angela Hinojosa, who could look back on few positive experiences in church and had never been baptized.
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