Monday, April 4, 2011

Luther quote bleg

Somewhere, sometime, perhaps in a seminary galaxy far, far away I remember reading a Luther quotation (or somebody who claimed Luther said something) along these lines.

Should a midwife baptize a child who seems to be on death's door, but then the child lives, she should tell nobody and let the baptism at church proceed normally.

Can anyone verify that this is a Luther quote and provide documentation?

Thanks in advance.



  1. This seems to be an odd suggestion by Luther, particularly given his letter to Wenceslas Link, Wittenberg, May 12, 1531, AE 50, 12 et seq, regarding conditional baptisms.

    Luther speaks more than once of midwives testifying that an emergency baptism was not administered correctly (see footnote 16,) rather than keeping silent about it.

  2. I have read the same quote but can't seem to find it right now.

    A little googling yielded this interesting link on midwifery baptisms:

  3. Donald,

    This is why I'm asking - I know I've heard this "quotation" more than once, but I've never seen documentation. But it is certainly not beyond Luther to speak at cross purposes - especially when the Tischreden are in view!


  4. See LW AE, Vol 40, p. 230 for some insight as well as Vol. 50, p. 12 ff

  5. Pastor HR,

    You've already provided the solution to this - have the pastor/husband catch the baby. ;)

  6. That sounded really familiar to me too.

    Scaer wrote nearly that same quote in a CTQ article entitled "The Validity of the Churchly Acts of Ordained Women". p12

    "Luther even suggested that a mother who gave her child
    emergency baptism should, if the child lived, tell no one, so that
    the child could receive baptism according to its ordinary

    Unfortunately, he does not provide a citation.

  7. AWG,

    Aha! Yes, that is certainly one of the places I read it. Now we're just looking for the citation. . .


  8. It's also in Walther's "Pastoral Theology." p. 96 in the "Lutheran News" printing.

  9. Ryan, thanks. Walther includes the Erlangen ed. citation. Anyone have the Vogel guide for other editions?


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