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#44642 Sun May 09, 2010 11:13 PM
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The debate over the salvific nature of a water baptism will always be out there, will it not? I mean, no matter how long it is debated between each side (even when both sides attest the the final authority of Scripture), everyone seems to leave the table still believing what they did before. It seems a little strange that we all can read the same Book and come away with contradistinctively different views of it.

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When you use the phrase, "the salvific nature of baptism" I immediately think of groups such as Roman Catholics, Lutherans, and all others who believe in some kind of efficacy in the sacrament itself. But I have a uneasy feeling they aren't who you are referring to. shrug

Could you be more specific as to the "sides" that have been and will forever be opposed? grin

THANKS!


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Yes, the two sides are the baptismal regeneraionists and the non-baptismal regenerationists

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And ironically, that puts many paedobaptists and credobaptists on the same side who stand united in their opposition to those who hold that baptism has some efficacy toward salvation, whether it be regeneration or salvation itself. Kinda interesting, eh? scratchchin


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Yes, and again, it seems mindboggling to me that these "sides" come from reading the same scriptures........

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It really shouldn't be mindboggling since these very Scriptures teach that it is only by the Holy Spirit that man is able to comprehend the truth of God's inspired written Word. And, for some perfect reason, known only to God, He allows His adopted sons and daughters to misunderstand certain portions of Scripture and embrace error, albeit as to minor issues. Of course, some make those minor issues major issues and increase the divide which separates others, e.g., baptism. Consider the following:

Matthew 11:25-27 (ASV) "At that season Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou didst hide these things from the wise and understanding, and didst reveal them unto babes: yea, Father, for so it was well-pleasing in thy sight. All things have been delivered unto me of my Father: and no one knoweth the Son, save the Father; neither doth any know the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal [him.]"

Colossians 2:8 (ASV) "Take heed lest there shall be any one that maketh spoil of you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ:"

Hebrews 13:9 (ASV) "Be not carried away by divers and strange teachings: for it is good that the heart be established by grace; not by meats, wherein they that occupied themselves were not profited."

1 Corinthians 11:18-19 (KJV) "For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you."

2 Peter 2:1 (ASV) "But there arose false prophets also among the people, as among you also there shall be false teachers, who shall privily bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master that bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction."

Proverbs 1:20-33 (ASV) "Wisdom crieth aloud in the street; She uttereth her voice in the broad places; She crieth in the chief place of concourse; At the entrance of the gates, In the city, she uttereth her words: How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? And scoffers delight them in scoffing, And fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: Behold, I will pour out my spirit upon you; I will make known my words unto you. Because I have called, and ye have refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man hath regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, And would none of my reproof: I also will laugh in [the day of] your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as a storm, And your calamity cometh on as a whirlwind; When distress and anguish come upon you. Then will they call upon me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, And did not choose the fear of Jehovah: They would none of my counsel; They despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, And be filled with their own devices. For the backsliding of the simple shall slay them, And the careless ease of fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell securely, And shall be quiet without fear of evil."



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The debates with unbelievers and heretics will go on, of course, but, in this instance, the ultimate issue between sacerdotalism (Baptismal regeneration) and true faith is the main issue between what is roughly called Calvinism as a system of theology and...everything else. The question at stake is God's sovereignty, or put it simply - is God really God, beside whom there is none other, OR, can humans be, in effect, their own saviors, by effecting their own salvation? In other words, can "baptism by hands", i.e., a rite performed by a priest, effect one's salvation, or, is salvation something, that ONLY God can do?

To a believing soul, the answer will be obvious: "With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible"(KJVS Matthew 19:26). The believing soul KNOWS that only God is the Savior and there is none else beside Him: "I, [even] I, [am] the LORD; and beside me [there is] no saviour" (KJVS Isaiah 43:11).

Fundamentally, the issue with sacerdotalism is settled on these grounds, but not only: every one of the sacramentalists' objections can be met head on and fully answered. There is simply NO single passage of Scripture which teaches a heresy of baptismal regeneration. Not one. There are verses which appear on a superficial reading to agree with their opinions, but when viewed in light of the rest of Scriptures, they bear no such meaning.

Perhaps, it may be suggested that the passages that are of concern to you should be looked at more closely, in an orderly fashion, one by one. What do you think?




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Oh, yes, I wish they would be looked at in orderly fashion by these people, but it simply makes no difference how they are looked at with these people, that is the overriding thing to me. They will even deny they are preaching baptismal regeneration, when they really are. It's just quite amazing.

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Originally Posted by AllToHim
... They will even deny they are preaching baptismal regeneration, when they really are. It's just quite amazing.

Would it surprise you to learn that there are people in so-called Reformed churches who believe in baptismal regeneration (while denying it)? Some even in my own denomination (PCA) have embraced it under a different name: Federal Vision.

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Well, the FV is actually a full fledged sacramentalism in a Presbyterian garb. The movement promotes conditional covenant, losable grace and justification by faith AND works. Ironically, this deviation is sometimes heralded as a "progress" in divinity in the name of simper reformanda...


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Yes, according to FV, the recipient in baptism receives ALL the saving benefits of Christ and is brought into union with Him. In order to maintain and secure those saving benefits as one of the "elect" one must be obedient to the covenant (law). A faithful keeping of the covenant will, according to FV, result in "final justification". If one becomes a "covenant breaker", ALL the salvific benefits of Christ can be lost and one's "election" is forfeited.

How quickly can you say, "Roman Catholicism" (synergism)? igiveup


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yes, this notion of "final justification" via intra-covenant obedience is no different from the Roman idea of justification - they too affirm an infusion of baptismal grace[s] which assist one to perform good works, by which one is finally justified. It is interesting, that I "happen" to be native to a country in which Eastern Orthodoxy dominates as the most commonly established form of religion. It is EO which champions the idea of synergism perhaps even more aggressively than Rome. Corrupt as it is the Latin church still has Augustine as one of it's most influential thinkers (recall also Aquinas) and so Rome, at least has some fashion of a semblance to the scriptural idea of forensic justification and imputation, whereas Greek mysticism despises even the bare term as a "Latin juridical perversion". Speaking of synergism...This is off topic though :-))


For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever (2Jn.1:2).
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Off-topic perhaps, but informative and helpful to those of us unfamiliar with Eastern Orthodoxy.

EO is explored and compared a bit in Keith Matheson's book entitled The Shape of Sola Scriptura. It's quite fascinating how differently Eastern and Western churches define "Tradition," especially compared to the Scriptural definition of Tradition and its authority.

Even before Pilgrim said so I was getting the impression that Federal Vision is "a call back to Rome."

I must admit that tending towards requiring certain duties and the performance of certain rites has a natural appeal to many, including me. Not only because sanctimoniousness makes us feel better, but also because it's easier than living a transformed life, lived in constant surrender to Christ, dependent and childlike rather than lived as we please and punctuated by moments of religious sentimentality.

-R

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well, IMHO, there is nothing wrong with duties and even mandatory rites (as Christian Baptism is) per se. It is when our obedience begins to be viewed as meritorious or, in any other way contributing to perfection of Christ's perfect cross-work, only then, 'duty' becomes a deadly term. Our attitude must always be this: "So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do"(Luke 17:10). Even IF we have done ALL THINGS which are commanded us, we are STILL but "unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do [in the first place]". We owe all obedience to God we can possibly render even in the state of rectitude, it is simply our bounden duty...


For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever (2Jn.1:2).
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As for Eastern / Russian Orthodoxy's particular tenets, surely, discussion thereof would require a whole special thread, but I am not that knowledgeable and besides, I find myself driven more by existentially missionary concerns - how not to replicate a stale image of W.A.S.P. "chosen and frozen" type of religion in a context of a very good works oriented, non-theologizing, mystical religion, whose main and sometimes spoken motto has been - "don't tell me what you believe, - just show me how you pray..." In such a context, where culture expects almost a tangible holiness from a Christian professor, it is quite a challenge to live out (not just to confess) a sola scriptura witness...Because, ultimately, no one cares about my high grace predestinarianism, if my practical walk is laming on all fours...
That's the challenge.


For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever (2Jn.1:2).
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