It is being taught today that all people ever born in the entire world are born children of God, sanctified and believing in Christ. This is, as the Scripture says, a Damnable Heresy. How dare we think even for a moment that the Church of Christ, wherein are the Word and Sacraments, is not essential unto salvation!
The following is the doctrine of the Apostolic Lutheran Church of America:
"As we condemn most other errors of the Anabaptists, we condemn this also, that they dispute that the baptism of little children is unprofitable. For it is very certain that the promise of salvation pertains also to little children. Neither indeed does it pertain to those who are outside of Christ's Church, where there is neither Word nor sacraments, because the kingdom of Christ exists only with the Word and sacraments." Apology to Augsburn Confession.
"That we may obtain this faith, the Office of Teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted. For through the Word and Sacraments as through instruments, the Holy Ghost is given, who worketh faith where and when it pleaseth God in them that hear the Gospel, to wit, that God, not for our own merits, but for Christ's sake, justified those who believe that they are received into favor for Christ's sake. They condemn the Anabaptists and others, who think that the Holy Ghost cometh to men without the external Word, through their own preparations and works." Augsburg Confession.
"On the other hand, the enthusiasts should be rebuked with great severity and zeal, and should in no way be tolerated in the Church of God, who fabricate that God, without any means, without the hearing of the divine Word, and without the use of the holy Sacraments, draws man to himself, and enlightens, justifies and saves him." Formula of Concord.
Let it never again be said among us that the oral proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ is not essential unto salvation. Whatever questions this might bring to our human reason must be left to God's wisdom. We must stick to the revealed Word, and let the secret things belong unto the Lord.
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" Mt 27:19.
"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" Rom 10:14.
"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" v 17.
"This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Gal 3:2.
"Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance" I Thes 1:4,5.
Scripture also testifies that little children can hear the gospel, believe, and receive the Holy Spirit even while in their mother's womb.