The sacrament of Christian baptism presents a variety of symbolic meanings. In one ritual act, the new Christian is buried with Christ in his death, is birthed to a new life with Christ, and is washed of sin and impurity. This article explains the relationship of these meanings and their implications for the design of baptismal fonts and the practice of baptism today.
Martin Luther, like John Wycliffe, John Huss, and Girolamo Savonarola before him, may be classified as a preacher of “prophetic personality.” For these preachers, preaching was an act of spiritual warfare. Luther’s sermons are polemics against the abuses within the Roman church and the hard-heartedness of many of its priests. Luther also began the tradition of preaching an additional pedagogical sermon. In these catechistic sermons he taught the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, and doctrines of the Reformation. The tradition of featuring both catechetical and homiletical sermons in services became common in some Lutheran (and Reformed) churches, and this practice still continues in some churches today.
Although the Reformed tradition has been more restrictive about the use of music in worship than the Lutheran tradition, it nevertheless highly values the role of music in worship. This article describes emphases important in the Reformed tradition, largely in terms of the writings of Reformer John Calvin.