Baptismal regeneration

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Ps104_33, Dec 30, 2002.

  1. Ps104_33

    Ps104_33
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    I am not attempting to start a debate on this subject,but just have a question. I know that there are a few Protestant denominations who practice infant baptism such as Presbyterians and Lutherans. Do these denominations believe that baptism infuses some sort of grace as do the Catholics?
     
  2. blush

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    While I've never heard if my church and/or denomination (Presbyterian Church in America) has an official stand on this, my personal opinion is yes. In infant baptism, the parents and the congregation pledge to raise the child in the truth, and I believe it is by God's grace that a child is raised in a godly home. Many people are not so fortunate, and many of my friends who came to Christ recently, in their teenage years, tell me that they wish they could have been raised in a Christian home as I had been.
     
  3. CatholicConvert

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    The Presbyterian Church in America uses the Westminster Standards as a guide to their understanding of the Christian Faith.

    The Westminster Confession of Faith records the following regarding the Sacrament of Baptism (Yes, the PCA uses the word "sacrament").

    "The efficacay of baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited and conferred, by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongeth unto, according to the counsel of God's own will, in His appointed time" (WCF Chapter 28 para 6)

    Do you get that?

    It is saying that baptism is only good for the elect, and that in God's time and not at the time when the infant is baptized. So in other words, it gives grace, but only to the so called "elect of God" and even then, not at that time, but when God decides it will.

    It was when I began to examine the covenants more closely that I read this and realized that this makes the New Covenant not a "better covenant speaking of better things" but a far worse covenant, for every infant circumcized in the Old Covenant was made a member of the OT church and partook of all the ordinances of God for the atonement of their sins and the looking forward to the Messiah.

    If the Old Covenant had an ordinance of covenant entrance which worked every timeex opere operato, and the New Covenant didn't, then how could I really say with a straight face that I was under a better covenant?

    And that was the beginning of the end for me as a Presbyterian!!

    BTW Blush -- When I left the PCA four years ago, there was a real firestorm brewin' over the issue of paedocommunion. There were a bunch of pastors who had made a tape of a preaching which demonstrated the corollation between infants partaking of the Passover Supper in the Old Covenant and the "right" of our infant children to partake of Jesus, the Passover Lamb in the the New Covenant. The General Assembly in Atlanta had tried to put the kibosh on the whole thing by saying that "this is not our tradition", but it was getting pretty hot and heavy when I left.

    You know anything about it yet?

    Cordially in Christ,

    Brother Ed

    PS I remember in Sunday School discussions that we would refer to Baptism and the Lord's Supper as being "means of grace", but it is obvious that they are not unless you are truly of the elect. The Catholic and Orthodox Churches, on the other hand, do indeed believe that when these Sacraments are done, the grace is there and operative for "whosoever will come".

    [ December 30, 2002, 11:41 PM: Message edited by: CatholicConvert ]
     
  4. Johnv

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    This is a toughie. There's some who feel that Lutherans believe in Baptismal regeneration, but every Lutheran I've talked to say that ain't the case, that grace as we know it comes from faith in Christ alone. My guess is that it's probably in how non-Lutherans read Lutheran writings. I'm gonna have to go with what Lutherans tell me, which is that they don't believe in baptismal regeneration as we define it.
     
  5. blush

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    Well, to be honest, I'm not sure what you mean by "regeneration" to begin with, and CC, I did find your post confusing because... the Westminster Confession is hard for me to understand, and I don't speak Latin either ;) But I think the part that you posted makes sense. If I am not one of God's elect and I am baptized anyway, it will do me no good salvationwise, though I believe that God does also extend some measure of grace to the non-elect. And if I am, I may not experience the grace of God (which would lead to my acceptance of Jesus) until later on in my life. However, I believe that I experienced God's grace as a baby... whether that was because of my baptism or not, I have no idea and I would not presume to make any conclusions on that. In short, I feel strongly that God, in his grace, honored my parents' committment to raise me in a godly home.

    As for children taking communion, I haven't heard anything about that. I did not take communion until I became a member of the church and made a public confession of faith. Not sure if that was my church's standard or the denomination's. I'm not up on their news at all, partly because I'm away at school during the year, during which time I attend an Anglican church, so I don't get to any of the congregational meetings. I know the Anglicans let kids take communion when they are old enough to understand it, which in some cases is around 6 or 7, and most other people I know find that unusually young.
     
  6. dumbox1

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    For what it's worth, here's a link to a Lutheran discussion of this issue (from what, I think, is the "official" site of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod).

    LCMS Discussion

    As to whether the belief they describe amounts to "baptismal regeneration," I guess it depends on what you mean by the term.

    Mark H.
     
  7. Ps104_33

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    What else, pray tell, could "baptismal regeneration" possibly mean?
     
  8. GraceSaves

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    Having been raised Missouri Syond Lutheran, they do in fact teach regenerative baptism. Trinitarian baptism, of water and of the Word, is a valid sacrament through which one is "born again." This is why they decree that Baptism is necessary for salvation, and is why the baptise newborns.

    God bless,

    Grant
     
  9. blush

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    What else, pray tell, could "baptismal regeneration" possibly mean?</font>[/QUOTE]Perhaps you could tell me, since I don't know at all. I've never heard this term used at church. And whatever it is, I am sure that there are many different interpretations.
     
  10. SolaScriptura in 2003

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    How would you define or explain the idea of experiencing God’s grace? In what way do/did you experience this?

    “For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning [recognizing] the Lord's body.” (1 Cor 11:29 NKJV)

    It would seem foolish to say that a person is a member of the church and in the covenant but cannot partake of the meal of the covenant. Therefore, I would say that the FACT that infants cannot observe communion proves they are not to be baptized and that no one may be either in the church or the covenant until they are old enough to understand and believe in Christ. An infant cannot recognize the Lord’s body in communion, nor does an infant yet believe in Christ, for Paul says, “how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?” (Romans 10:14) Peter also makes it plain that “baptism saves us” because it is “the answer of a good conscience to God” in 1 Peter 3:21. This shows that a person is not to be baptized unless they CHOOSE to do so in answer to their conscience. Further, Jesus did not say “drag the children to me” but “Allow the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them” (Mat 19:14) showing that we are merely to allow those who choose to be baptized to be so, not to baptize them without their knowledge or consent when they are to young to consent. Justin Martyr also says that we were ignorant of our first birth because our parents came together without our knowledge or consent, but we choose our re-birth (baptism) that we might not be children of ignorance and necessity but of knowledge and choice.

    As far as baptismal regeneration is concerned, what does Paul mean here[?]:

    “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” (Titus 3:5 KJV)

    And what does he mean here[?]:

    “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,” (Eph 5:26 KJV)
     
  11. DHK

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  12. SolaScriptura in 2003

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    What is baptismal regeneration? Simply put it is the belief that baptism = re-birth. Our English word "generation" comes from the Greek word meaning "to be born," so regeneration means "re-bith" or "born again." Christ said "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5) And Paul speaks of "the washing of regeneration" or "washing of re-birth" in Titus 3, where the NSRV actually says "the water of rebirth." He also speaks of "washing of water by the word" in Ephesians 5. Peter also says that "baptism saves us" in 1 Peter 3:21.

    DHK errs in not knowing what the term "regeneration" means nor understanding that Christ said we are to be re-born of water.

    [ January 02, 2003, 01:54 AM: Message edited by: SolaScriptura in 2003 ]
     
  13. DHK

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    I never said that Sola. John 3:5 does indeed mention "water," but it never mentions baptism. You err not knowing the Scriptures neither the power of God.
     
  14. blush

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    hmm. Then I do not believe in regenerative baptism according to DHK's definition (although I'm sure there are others) and I would not interpret that 1Peter passage the same way. Good works are also an answer of good conscience to God but they do not save us either. And to be honest I'm not sure what Jesus meant when he said you must be born of water and the spirit, so I can't say I agree that water refers to baptism.

    As for me experiencing God's grace as a baby - I avoided accidents, my parents taught me the truth, they prayed for me, I was nurtured by loving Christians, I did not suffer from any sort of abuse... in short God protected me and brought me to Himself. I see these things as manifestations of His grace.
     
  15. SolaScriptura in 2003

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    So I suppose you are going to tell me that we are born of water, not by being baptized into it, but by drinking it? Come one DHK! Accept the truth and be saved!

    [ January 02, 2003, 01:56 AM: Message edited by: SolaScriptura in 2003 ]
     
  16. blush

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    There are other things that water could mean besides baptism Sola. Physical birth maybe, living water, being washed clean (I'm thinking of something like a spiritual bath here ;) ) and probably others.
     
  17. SolaScriptura in 2003

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    Blush, what do you think of Acts 2:38 that baptism is "for the remission of sins"? Or Acts 22:16 that in it you wash away sins? Or why would those already baptized in the Holy Spirit also need to be baptized in water as Peter commands them in Acts 10:47-48? Why would Paul say "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death...because if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:" in Rom 6:4-5? Isn't he saying that spiritual resurrection DEPENDS on baptism? Also, how can you say that baptism doesn't save when 1st Peter 3:21 SPECIFICALLY says "baptism saves us"? Isn't that DENYING the Word of God?

    [ January 02, 2003, 02:05 AM: Message edited by: SolaScriptura in 2003 ]
     
  18. Bible-belted

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    Acts 2:38, taken aalone, can easily be taken to teach baptismal regeneration. However given the rest of the Bible's teaching about salvation (such as Acts 3:12-26, which speaks only of repentance) is is clear that even for Luke baptism is not an indispensable criterion for salvation.

    The most important passage is Paul's in Romans 6. But there he is nottewaching that one is saved in baptism, nor regenerated, but that one identifies with Christ's death burial and resurrection in the act of baptism. It is a participationist, and into a regenerationist, belief being expounded.

    So no, Paul is not sayng that salvation depends on baptism.

    And Peter in 1Peter 3:21 does NOT say that baptism saves us. He says that the water of the flood symbolises baptism, and that baptism symbolises salvation. This dovetails perfectly with the idea of a person's baptism being an act of identification with Christ's work. In both cases, baptism symbolises salvation, and salvation is in both cases presuposed as the validating factor in baptism.
     
  19. g_1933

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    Does one that is not saved receive the Holy Ghost?

    Acts 10:47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

    These men had already been saved and now were going to be baptised in obedience. If baptism is a part of your salvation then why had these people already received the Holy Ghost?

    G
     
  20. SolaScriptura in 2003

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    They received the Holy Ghost not because they were saved, but as a sign to the Jews that gentiles can be accepted of God. Peter interprets the even this way in Acts 10:47 when he says "Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?" He's basically telling those Jews that came with him "God is showing us that these gentiles are just as eligable for salvation as we are by giving them the Holy Ghost."
     

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