Baptismal regeneration

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Rebel, Feb 23, 2015.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Rebel

    Rebel
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2014
    Messages:
    1,011
    Likes Received:
    3
    How would you refute this doctrine?

    Personally, I am strongly opposed to it.

    However, those who hold to it have scripture that they point to for support. It does seem that the early fathers believed that baptism was more than just symbolic.
     
  2. Doubting Thomas

    Doubting Thomas
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Messages:
    2,616
    Likes Received:
    6
    This is true. I wrestled with both of these realities several years ago when I was still a Southern Baptist and found them troubling.
     
    #2 Doubting Thomas, Feb 24, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 24, 2015
  3. Reformed

    Reformed
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,227
    Likes Received:
    57
    A good book on the subject of baptism in the early church is, "Baptism in the Early Church" by Hendrick F. Stander and Johannes P. Louw.

    Keep in mind that the early church was a hodgepodge of doctrinal teachings that were often in conflict with each other. Heresies abounded. This is remarkable considering the the early patristic age unwittingly embraced doctrinal plurality even before the last of the Apostles died.
     
  4. Darrell C

    Darrell C
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2010
    Messages:
    6,249
    Likes Received:
    118
    This is a response which I typically run on the forums I visit:



    1. Baptism refers to identification or association with someone or something:


    This one may be a little confusing, but it must be remembered that often when we consider baptism it refers to identification or association with someone or something. Why that is significant to the Baptism with the Spirit of God there is the spiritual union of the believer with God. We are identified and associated with God through the Spirit, Who indwells the believer upon salvation. The view of the Baptismal Regenerationist is that it is the immersion in water which is salvific, rather than the genuine identification the believer has with God as he/she is brought into union with God through the indwelling of God within the believer.


    2. Baptism carries the picture of immersion:

    Like unto point one, immersion is not into physical water, but into the Body of Christ, which is the condition of every believer that is Baptized with the Spirit of God. One becomes a part of the Body of Christ, that is, the spiritual union between God and man that was lost in Adam is restored. When the Baptismal Regenerationist looks to the immersion in water as salvific, rather than the reality of immersion into relationship with God, they make that which is meant to picture the reality the reality itself, thus diminishing the Work of Christ on the Cross as the only means by which man can be brought back into relationship with God.


    3. The Book of Romans does not mention water Baptism specifically:

    If, as the BR teaches, water baptism were necessary for salvation (rather than obedience), it seems Paul would have mentioned this in his Epistle to the Romans.


    4. Hebrews warns against a foundational view:

    The Book of Hebrews not only does not speak of water baptism (washings, Hebrews 6:1-2), but gives solemn warning to the Hebrew believers of that day not to "lay again the foundation of...washings." The writer contrasts the ritual method of cleansing of the Law (Judaism, not the Word) with the completion found in He that the foundational doctrines pointed to, that is, Christ. The Law presented the picture, Christ presented the reality. There is little difference between one viewing Christian Water Baptism as a means of cleansing and the cleansing those engaged in Judaism saw in the washings they performed.


    5. Christ is the Baptizer:

    Whereas in Christian Baptism this is performed by a Minister/Pastor. Why this point is significant is due to the fact that the Baptism with the Spirit is said to be performed by Christ, not men, as we see it contrasted with the Baptism with John (Matthew 3:11). When we give salvific value to water baptism we make the one performing the baptism the Baptizer. But the Word of God makes clear that Christ is the Baptizer and He baptizes with the Spirit of God, not water.


    6. Christ baptizes with Spirit (salvation) and fire (judgment)...never with water:

    Nowhere do we have a record of Christ baptizing with water (John 4:1-2), but this was, just as it is today, accomplished by men appointed for this task. The baptism performed during His earthly ministry was not the Baptism with Spirit but a foundational baptism which had in view the picture of both cleansing and association as discussed in the first two points. But we can say with certainty that the Baptism with the Spirit of God did not begin until after the Ascension (John 16:7) by which we do well not to confuse that Baptism (with Spirit) with the Baptism of John or those performed by the Disciples of Christ.


    7. Paul states he was not sent to baptize:

    In 1 Corinthians 1:17 we see Paul state he was not sent to baptize, which would be the same thing as saying "I was not sent to lead men to salvation" if in fact water baptism, even Christian (water) Baptism...were intrinsic to salvation. In view is sectarianism in which men vaunt those they were baptized by as though this made them a superior member in the Body of Christ, when in fact Paul makes it clear that their baptism itself is not the important issue. In 1 Corinthians 1:13 & 18 Paul makes it clear that it is the death of Christ, not water baptism by which men are saved. He ascribes salvific value to the preaching of the Cross and in 1 Corinthians 1:14 actually thanks God that he himself did not baptize them.


    8. The remission of sins is consistently taught as through the Death of Christ:

    ...not water baptism. Baptismal Regeneration attributes salvation as requiring water baptism, effectively adding to the Work of Christ.


    9. The Disciples of Christ are never recorded as being baptized:

    The Disciples of Christ are never recorded as being baptized either in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, nor in the Name of Christ. If water baptism were a requirement for one to be saved...it seems that the Disciples themselves would have undergone water baptism. We cannot attribute the foundational baptism prior to the coming of the Comforter as that precedes the Age of Grace and remains a part of the Age of Law. What we do see is that they were baptized with the Spirit when He came on the Day of Pentecost.


    10. We have record of men being saved before water baptism:



    Acts 10:44-48

    King James Version (KJV)


    44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

    45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,

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

    48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.




    The Baptism with the Spirit of God is what is in view here. This is what John spoke of when he diminished his own baptism unto repentance and glorified Christ and the Baptism He would perform in regards to salvation.

    I would also add that John's baptism had an identification with repentance. And that repentance was required before one was baptized, rather than taking a view that because one was baptized...repentance came. He rebukes the Jews that had not truly repented and forbad them from being baptized, calling for them to first bring forth fruit meet for repentance, or in other words...prove it! The works of the Pharisees gave testimony that they were falsely confessing repentance, though we also see that this rebuke was not just for the Pharisees (Luke 3:7-8).

    The single greatest proof-text the Baptismal Regenerationist has for this doctrine is found here:



    Mark 16:15-16

    King James Version (KJV)


    15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

    16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.




    One being baptized after believing is a given. I believe it is water baptism in view here, but I do not see it as the Lord affirming Baptismal Regeneration. When we look at the means of salvation as consistently taught in Scripture we see that it is attributed to Christ alone, and that nothing can be added to that. We do believe it is commanded that men be baptized in water to affirm their profession of faith in Christ, and that this pictures the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But, we understand that one is saved through faith in Christ...alone. No work of man can bring about salvation, for if that were possible, Christ need not have gone to the Cross to pay the penalty of our sin Galatians 2:21).


    God bless.
     
  5. Rebel

    Rebel
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2014
    Messages:
    1,011
    Likes Received:
    3
    Yes, this is certainly true. Reminds one of today. :)

    Some see this as a bad thing, and it could be, but not necessarily.
     
  6. Rebel

    Rebel
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2014
    Messages:
    1,011
    Likes Received:
    3
    Excellent and detailed post. Thank you for this!

    I would mention that the the Lutherans see baptismal regeneration a little differently than others. They hold that water baptism does regenerate, in an objective manner, but that it requires faith from the recipient to be efficacious.
     
  7. Doubting Thomas

    Doubting Thomas
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Messages:
    2,616
    Likes Received:
    6
    That's basically the classical (high church) Anglican position also. Perhaps it might be a little more precise to say that according this view that GOD regenerates during water baptism but not apart from faith (which itself is supernatural enabled by the Spirit).
     
    #7 Doubting Thomas, Feb 24, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 24, 2015
  8. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Messages:
    17,097
    Likes Received:
    49
    Problem is though that there are NO verses in the entire NT that supports that one is saved in addition to the grace of God alone received thru and by faith alone, as there is NOTHING else required to get saved!
     
  9. Doubting Thomas

    Doubting Thomas
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Messages:
    2,616
    Likes Received:
    6
    You may not have noticed them, but there are verses that, at the very least, seem to somehow connect receiving the gift of the Spirit, having one's sins washed away, being buried and risen with Christ, and putting on Christ with baptism... and, yes, even being in some sense "saved" by baptism.

    One certainly can try to argue and explain these in alternate ways than what seems to be the straightforward reading (stating perhaps these refer to some other baptism than WATER baptism), but the fact that the earliest Christians were basically unanimous in interpreting these passages at face value (as far as we can tell based on the written evidence that we have) should give one pause before stating "there are no verses in the entire NT that supports" this idea. I think that was the point of the initial post on this thread.

    The idea that baptism was not somehow instrumental in salvation really didn't seem to get any traction until after Zwingli. As Rebel alluded to, Luther (among other early moderate reformers) did not see any necessary conflict between Salvation by Grace through faith and "baptismal regeneration" (properly understood)--and neither did the early Church Fathers.

    Now, here's the point where folks jump in and basically say one or two things: (1) "I don't care what the ECFs stated, I'm just going by the Bible!"; and/or (2) "The Bible does NOT teach that those things you mentioned are connected to (or effected by) water baptism, regardless of what you think is the plain reading of the text, since baptism is a WORK and WORKS don't save". As I've seen this same scenario play out over and over again during my 12 plus years on the Baptistboard, I don't see the point in becoming further involved in yet another potential 30 page thread on the topic. Those who are adamant (as I once was) that "baptismal regeneration" is a heresy probably won't be swayed and will continue to restate variations of (1) and (2) mentioned above. I don't have the time and energy (now that I have four kids) to invest in a most likely fruitless endeavor, trying to debate with multiple fonts at once (half of which won't meaningfully engage in my arguments, if past experience is any indication of what I can expect).

    I do have a passion for this kind of discussion, but don't feel this board is necessarily the best venue to adequately debate these issues (despite the fact that I can't seem to stop myself from popping in from time to time to see how things are going!). For those who ARE open to considering the other side, I would encourage them to read these passages and then see for yourself how these were interpreted by the earliest Christians and then decide whether the alternative explanations really make the most sense.

    At any rate, have a Blessed Lent. :wavey:
     
  10. Walter

    Walter
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2011
    Messages:
    1,285
    Likes Received:
    2
    You nailed it, Doubting Thomas. :thumbsup: You have a Blessed Lent as well! :wavey:
     
  11. Rebel

    Rebel
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2014
    Messages:
    1,011
    Likes Received:
    3
    I'm against the doctrine, but I'm open to hearing every viewpoint. I can even see where people like Luther are coming from.

    One issue is this: Can God work through the physical? I believe He can, and I think the Incarnation is the prime example of this. of course I also know that one can affirm this and still not believe in baptismal regeneration. I think it is a fascinating subject, though, and I wish we could discuss it in a civil and reasonable manner.
     
  12. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Messages:
    17,097
    Likes Received:
    49
    Jesus Himself NEVER stated that we HAD to be water baptized to get saved, but that one had to receive him by faith alone!
     
  13. Rebel

    Rebel
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2014
    Messages:
    1,011
    Likes Received:
    3
    I know, and I agree.

    I think the question is, whether baptism is just a sign or symbol, or does it convey grace in some way, does God work through it.
     
  14. Reformed

    Reformed
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,227
    Likes Received:
    57
    Baptism is a sign of the thing signified. The Reformers considered it a means of grace in that the thing signified (the death of the old man and the new birth) strengthens our faith as we dwell on its significance. The thing itself does not contain some mystical power.
     
  15. Zenas

    Zenas
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    Messages:
    2,640
    Likes Received:
    6
    The problem with discussions like this is that those who hold to baptismal regeneration see their faith through a sacramental lens. These would be Catholics and their near kin, i.e., Anglicans, Lutherans, etc. Evangelicals and fundamentalists reject sacraments, probably on account of the influence of Ulrich Zwingli. The word sacrament is not found in the Bible. Therefore, those on this side see no reason to understand them. Consequently, both sides are usually talking past each other.

    For those who reject sacraments, including baptismal regeneration, I would simply say that we are made of clay. We are gifted with five senses. Although the Holy Spirit resides within us, we are first and foremost corporeal beings. We receive knowledge with those five senses and process it with brains that are also made out of clay. Therefore, it would be perfectly natural for Jesus to impart His graces by the use of physical things—water, bread, wine, laying on of hands, etc. These are things we understand.

    Jesus understood this. Indeed, one of the best examples of a sacrament in the New Testament is found in John 9 where Jesus heals a blind man. “He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went away and washed, and came back seeing.” John 9:6-7.

    A sacrament is a visible sign of an inward grace. Keeping that definition in mind, we see that the blind man was favored with the grace of healing. Jesus could have merely spoken the man into his sight. However, in this instance He deemed it more appropriate to make mud with His spit and apply it to the man’s eyes. Did the fact that Jesus used mud on the man’s eyes, and then told him to go wash in the pool of Siloam, detract from Jesus’ healing power? I think not. Likewise, the water of baptism should not take anything away from the forgiving power of Jesus.

    The water doesn’t impart the grace. That would indeed suggest that Christ is not enough without some works on our part. Jesus uses the water as the modality of our receiving His grace. You say, “Couldn’t it be done without the water?” I say, “Certainly, Jesus can do anything He wants to, but He chose baptism as His instrumentality for our spiritual regeneration.
     
  16. Rebel

    Rebel
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2014
    Messages:
    1,011
    Likes Received:
    3
    Although I don't agree with your conclusion, yours is a good post, and you make some good and valid points.

    A couple of things: Not all Anglicans believe in baptismal regeneration. Also, the EOC believes that sacraments can be many, not just the seven that the RCC believes are sacraments. Further, the EOC doesn't think they have to specifically define things the way the RCC does. Thats why the EOC prefers the term "mysteries".
     
  17. Doubting Thomas

    Doubting Thomas
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Messages:
    2,616
    Likes Received:
    6
    Excellent post! :thumbs:

    (PS: although I will not be debating the issue in this thread, if anyone is interested in one-to-one discussion about this, he/she can send me a PM. That way there won't be the pressure to respond to multiple posters at once, and the conversation can proceed in a more leisurely pace as time allows)
     
  18. Rebel

    Rebel
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2014
    Messages:
    1,011
    Likes Received:
    3
  19. Robert William

    Robert William
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2015
    Messages:
    460
    Likes Received:
    0
    If regeneration has to precede faith, and only believers are baptised, then all of the above makes no sense.
     
  20. Robert William

    Robert William
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2015
    Messages:
    460
    Likes Received:
    0
    Amen, and nowhere dies scripture teach baby baptism. :)
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

Loading...