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Tuesday
Aug092011

Theological Term of the Week

baptismal regeneration
The belief that baptism is necessary for salvation, and that the act of baptism causes regeneration; or the belief that baptism is the usual means of regeneration.

  • Scripture used to defend the doctrine of baptismal regeneration: 

    And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38 ESV)

    Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ … (1 Peter 3:21 ESV)

  • From The London Baptist Confession, Chapter 29. (This statement teaches, in opposition to the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, that baptism is a sign of the listed benefits of salvation rather than the means through which one is saved.)

    1. Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, to be unto the party baptized, a sign of his fellowship with him, in his death and resurrection; of his being engrafted into him; of remission of sins; and of giving up into God, through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life.

  • From Baptismal Regeneration by Charles Spurgeon:

    I come with much brevity, and I hope with much earnestness … to say that FAITH IS THE INDISPENSABLE REQUISITE TO SALVATION. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be damned.” Faith is the one indispensable requisite for salvation.

  • From Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem:

    [W]hat about 1 Peter 3:21, where Peter says, “Baptism … now saves you”? Does this not give clear support to the … view that baptism itself brings saving grace to the recipient? No, for when Peter uses this phrase he continues in the same sentence to explain exactly what he means by it. He says that baptism saves you “not as a removal of dirt from the body” (that is, not as an outward, physical act which washes dirt from the body—that is not the part which saves you, “but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience” (that is, as an inward, spiritual transaction between God and the individual, a transaction symbolized by the outward ceremony of baptism). We could paraphrase Peter’s statement by sying, “Baptism now saves you—not the outward physical ceremony of baptism but the inward spiritual reality which baptism represents.” In this way, Peter guards against any view of baptism that would attribute automatic saving power to the physical ceremony itself.

Learn more:

  1. GotQuestions.org: Is baptism necessary for salvation? What is baptismal regeneration?
  2. John MacArthur: Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation?
  3. Greg Koukl: Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation? 
  4. James White: A Brief Rebuttal of Baptismal Regeneration
  5. John Piper: What Is Baptism and Does It Save?

Related terms:

Filed under Defective Theology.

Do you have a term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion and linking back to your blog when I do.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms in alphabetical order.

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