12 Nov 2004

Water-baptismal regeneration?

Submitted by theshovel
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What biblical contradictions arise when believing in water bapstismal regeneration? Anonymous

Since the Biblical record (NT, that is) is the collected accounts and letters from those who witnessed of the living reality of Christ it is not really a source for all the many oppositions to the free grace of Christ. However, as the testimonies contained in these writings do in fact relate to the miraculous life of Christ the very notion of something like "baptism regeneration" contradicts the very heart and soul of the good news of Christ.

Those who argue FOR this issue no doubt can find "Scriptural proof texts", but the fact that such proofs must be searched out and held as Christian dogma should make its own argument. Why? Because life is not restrained or constricted or amended by off-hand out-of-context snippets taken from the recorded testimony of that which is purely miraculous. That's a lot of words to make a simple point that though there are biblical contradictions the real issue is not about biblical contradictions.

Consider the whole letter Paul wrote to the Roman believers. Everything he wrote was a testimony of life instead of legality. His arguments make it clear that salvation is solely the work of God through Christ, which is why it must be by faith so that it could be by grace. For someone to argue that a ritual of baptism was somehow "necessary" would have stirred up an argument of the same magnitude as that of circumcision in both Romans and Galatians. He would have framed it as being of the same legal insanity as any "biblical" issue that might be posed as being "necessary".

Consider the writings of John where Jesus constantly had his hearers in a tail spin over the life vs death distinction between spirit and flesh. In chapter 6 where Jesus spoke of the necessity of consumption of his body and blood the whole crowd went into a fervor over what they could only imagine as being cannibalism. :) He wasn't surprised by their reaction because he knew that being fleshly minded they couldn't perceive anything else by it. His later comment - "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life." 6:63 - may have stuck with his disciples only to make "sense" later but went right by the fleshly mind as being immaterial to the argument.

If one could be "regenerated" by a ritual then Christ did not have to die. Teachings of baptismal regeneration have to totally deny the otherness of the life of Christ - not I but Christ - because such a concept is permanently fixed to the physical world.

Take a good read through Galatians and silently include water baptism into Paul's argument against circumcision. It will shed a whole new light on the argument. Notice how Paul's use of scripture is not really a "scriptural refutation" of a false teaching but is instead a foundational premise of the distinction between law and grace ... between flesh and spirit ... between works of man and the miraculous work of God in Christ.

Don't allow yourself to get caught up in a scriptural argument, instead speak to your dad's heart. By all means, refer to the written record of Christ ... but only as it testifies to the life of Christ that has done away with the flesh, the world, and sin itself.

Thoughts? :)


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