Is belief in baptismal regeneration damnable?

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Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
I recently attended a church retreat with my friend, who attends a Church of Christ. I knew that they erred on several doctrines, and I personally discussed baptismal regeneration with the adults there, trying to convince them that physical baptism by immersion is not a requisite for salvation. In all this, however, I never thought that they were damned heretics for believing such a thing, as outlandish as it was.

I have read elsewhere that the Church of Christ is referred to as a cult and a group of heretics. Is it true that belief in baptismal regeneration is a damnable heresy?
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Is it true that belief in baptismal regeneration is a damnable heresy?

Yes, because it turns baptism into a requisite work in order to be saved. If I can point to my baptism as securing my salvation, I turn the finished work of Christ into a lesser part of the gospel.

Is it damnable? Only if a person places their faith in their baptism and not Christ alone. Like any other sin it can be repented of and forgiven.
 

Hippo

Puritan Board Junior
Only if a person places their faith in their baptism and not Christ alone. Like any other sin it can be repented of and forgiven.

Luckily for us they can also be just plain forgiven.
 

R Harris

Puritan Board Sophomore
I recently attended a church retreat with my friend, who attends a Church of Christ. I knew that they erred on several doctrines, and I personally discussed baptismal regeneration with the adults there, trying to convince them that physical baptism by immersion is not a requisite for salvation. In all this, however, I never thought that they were damned heretics for believing such a thing, as outlandish as it was.

I have read elsewhere that the Church of Christ is referred to as a cult and a group of heretics. Is it true that belief in baptismal regeneration is a damnable heresy?

I can tell you one thing for sure, from personal experience. THEY think that those not in the Church of Christ are damned, as they believe themselves to be the only true church. (At least, a good majority of them believe this, though it is not as high of a percentage as it used to be 20-30 years ago.)
 

Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
From what I have read, the less conservative Church of Christ proponents believe that it is not the physical act of baptism that absolutely saves (at least, not this guy), but that a desire to be baptized is a sign of saving faith. Of course, they still believe that faith itself is not a gift, but they do not see the physical act of immersion as saving. Rather, a desire to be baptized (that may or may not result in the actual, physical baptism) is a sign of saving faith. In this regard, I see them as similar to Arminians. Although, it seems that a consistent adherence to Church of Christ doctrine would require the former view.

This more extreme view is held by the church which sanctioned the retreat. One night, we had seven baptisms (it was quite a night). During the first one, after the girl was immersed and resurfaced, it was re-done because her knee didn't go completely underwater.
 

Davidius

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I certainly hope not. If it is, then there are going to be about 500 people in heaven.
 

Timothy William

Puritan Board Junior
Yes, definitely damnable.

I'm not convinced that an explicit belief in salvation by faith alone is always necessary to be saved (key word being explicit.) However, it is necessary that one trusts solely in the finished work of Christ alone. If anyone who adds baptism as an act which they perform which contributes to their salvation, then Christ has become as nothing to them.

I don't believe damnable heresy can be forgiven without being repented of. One might sometimes have doubts, or confusion, about the true gospel, and still believe and be forgiven, but any who believe and trust in a false gospel are unforgiven and unsaved.

I know a woman on another discussion board who belongs to the Church of Christ. I asked her once if her church believed that baptism was needed for salvation. She pointed me to a website where 2 CoC pastors were arguing the point, one saying it was necessary, another that it was not. They were having a semi-formal discussion on the issue; I was amazed, two pastors in the same denomination openly disagreeing as to what the Gospel was, the same way two Presbyterians might disagree about pouring or sprinkling to baptise babies. This was about 5 years ago, and I don't have a link to the website any more.
 

Davidius

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I certainly hope not. If it is, then there are going to be about 500 people in heaven.
:scratch:

Perhaps we should define "baptismal regeneration" because I didn't think that the popularity of something similar to this view throughout history was debatable. *shrug* I thought that the view of the majority of the Church throughout the last two millenia has been to place a much higher efficacy on baptism than we do today. This is one of the reasons why we sometimes have difficulty marshalling the early Fathers for our causes (I was recently reading Pelikan on the early Church regarding the sacraments). Even today, the Lutherans and Anglicans (?) teach that something actually happens at baptism, not because the water is magical, but because the Spirit is there. For our own tradition, I think many people would be shocked by reading the last few chapters of book IV of the Institutes re: baptism and the children of believers, or some of the things he said in his reply to the canons of Trent. I posted some quotations some time ago here and the responders said he wasn't talking about water baptism, even though it's obvious (to me at least) that he is because he's responding to Roman Catholic doctrinal statements regarding baptism. Using that as a segue...obviously the Roman Catholics and Orthodox believe in some kind of baptismal "regeneration" also. The Baptists and modern Presbyterians seem to be an anomaly. This, of course, doesn't mean that we're wrong, but it means that we are in the minority.
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
I certainly hope not. If it is, then there are going to be about 500 people in heaven.
Confessional Lutherans, if I understand their position correctly, believe that baptism imparts saving faith and is a regenerating ordinance. And while believing this, they wouldn't say that their faith is in baptism -- they still confess that their salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ and that baptism is the means of receiving this faith from God as infants. Of course we disagree with the Lutheran view of baptism, but their view is clearly to be distinguished from that of the Romanists.
 

Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
Yes, definitely damnable.

I'm not convinced that an explicit belief in salvation by faith alone is always necessary to be saved (key word being explicit.) However, it is necessary that one trusts solely in the finished work of Christ alone. If anyone who adds baptism as an act which they perform which contributes to their salvation, then Christ has become as nothing to them.

I don't believe damnable heresy can be forgiven without being repented of. One might sometimes have doubts, or confusion, about the true gospel, and still believe and be forgiven, but any who believe and trust in a false gospel are unforgiven and unsaved.

I know a woman on another discussion board who belongs to the Church of Christ. I asked her once if her church believed that baptism was needed for salvation. She pointed me to a website where 2 CoC pastors were arguing the point, one saying it was necessary, another that it was not. They were having a semi-formal discussion on the issue; I was amazed, two pastors in the same denomination openly disagreeing as to what the Gospel was, the same way two Presbyterians might disagree about pouring or sprinkling to baptise babies. This was about 5 years ago, and I don't have a link to the website any more.

I understand that there is a severe problem in believing that a certain act, i.e., physical baptism by immersion, is necessary for salvation, and I can never hold to such a stance, but I'm not sure if it's as heretical as it seems. At least, it's not trying to say, "Be a good person and go to heaven" -- it's not as bad as Catholicism. Yes, I realize that by making a specific act required for salvation, the Church of Christ advocates a mild works-based salvation, but as I said earlier, I see this as very similar to Arminianism.

The analogy that Al Maxey (the "this guy" in my previous post) used for the doctrine is the following:

Suppose I place a million dollars in a bank in your name and then inform you of this fact and tell you it is a gift from me to you, and that you don't need to work for me to earn it. It's free! I then inform you as to the conditions for accessing this GIFT. You must go down to the bank next Wednesday at 4 p.m. and see the Vice-President who will have a simple release form for you to sign which transfers the money over to you. Will you comply with these conditions, David? If you don't will you be able to draw from those funds?​

Of course, he follows this by claiming that accepting this gift is not worth any merit, with which I respectfully disagree, but it is clear from this analogy that the sensible Churches of Christ are only Arminians.

Of course, if you believe that all Arminians are damned, then it's a different story.
 

tburus

Puritan Board Freshman
The analogy that Al Maxey (the "this guy" in my previous post) used for the doctrine is the following:

Suppose I place a million dollars in a bank in your name and then inform you of this fact and tell you it is a gift from me to you, and that you don't need to work for me to earn it. It's free! I then inform you as to the conditions for accessing this GIFT. You must go down to the bank next Wednesday at 4 p.m. and see the Vice-President who will have a simple release form for you to sign which transfers the money over to you. Will you comply with these conditions, David? If you don't will you be able to draw from those funds?​

Of course, he follows this by claiming that accepting this gift is not worth any merit, with which I respectfully disagree, but it is clear from this analogy that the sensible Churches of Christ are only Arminians.

I would not agree with this. To the best of my understanding, most Arminians simply believe that it is man's responsibility to choose to believe, but not that they believe in works salvation/justification as framed by Catholics or those who profess baptismal regeneration, which would be far different. As a Calvinist, I could be in communion with an Arminian but I could not be in communion with someone who believes that they must accomplish specific works outside of faith in order to secure their salvation.

In a discussion like this I am always drawn to Galatians 5:1-12, where in part Paul says "I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love." (vv.3-6). This passage calls out circumcision simply because that was the nature of the false teaching afflicting Galatia at the time, but I do not think it would be too far to say that this passage can apply to any "Jesus-plus" belief, such as we would see with requiring baptism (Of course, to our Presbyterian friends, they read this passage and see baptism already, since "baptism" and "circumcision" are just synonyms. Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

All that said, it seems to me that if people are putting any amount of their faith for salvation in their own work of baptism then I would have trouble myself in believing that they are truly saved, and would not be able to stand by knowing this without trying to correct them.
 

Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
I would not agree with this. To the best of my understanding, most Arminians simply believe that it is man's responsibility to choose to believe, but not that they believe in works salvation/justification as framed by Catholics or those who profess baptismal regeneration, which would be far different. As a Calvinist, I could be in communion with an Arminian but I could not be in communion with someone who believes that they must accomplish specific works outside of faith in order to secure their salvation.

In a discussion like this I am always drawn to Galatians 5:1-12, where in part Paul says "I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love." (vv.3-6). This passage calls out circumcision simply because that was the nature of the false teaching afflicting Galatia at the time, but I do not think it would be too far to say that this passage can apply to any "Jesus-plus" belief, such as we would see with requiring baptism (Of course, to our Presbyterian friends, they read this passage and see baptism already, since "baptism" and "circumcision" are just synonyms. Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

All that said, it seems to me that if people are putting any amount of their faith for salvation in their own work of baptism then I would have trouble myself in believing that they are truly saved, and would not be able to stand by knowing this without trying to correct them.

As I said, Maxey seemed to be a little more sensible (only in a relative sense, though :detective:), in that he proposed that the physical baptism is not crucial. For example, in his article, he denounced other Church of Christ views that believed that a person who dies an instant before being immersed will be eternally damned, stating that as long as one has the intent to be baptized, one has saving faith. I view him to be akin to Arminians.

However, it needs to be said that I think he believes this only out of inconsistency -- he is trying to reconcile his Church of Christ teachings with their absurd corollaries. He is trying to say that physical baptism is not required (since it's ridiculous to say so) while maintaining the Church of Christ belief that we must repent and be baptized by immersion in order to be saved. It is clear here that the truly logical action would be for him to do away with this belief completely, in favor of a Reformed approach. :D


I do appreciate the Galatians passage. Even though the Church of Christ does not adhere to paedobaptism (obviously), it should be obvious from the passage that any covenant sign, apart from faith, is absolutely useless. Faith, and faith alone, is what truly counts (and I do not intend to say that faith is an act of man). I only fear that, in bringing that up, the Church of Christ proponents will bring up a red herring about Jesus' abolishing of OT law, solely because the word "circumcision" is brought up. Oh well, can't hurt to try. I would love nothing more than to share the truth with these people, for they are all my friends.

Also, it's worth noting that Churches of Christ do not believe that baptism by immersion, apart from anything else, is necessary for salvation. They believe that it, along with faith in Christ, justifies. It is weird, but it only demonstrates a minor aberration from Arminianism in regards to soteriology.
 

Christusregnat

Puritan Board Professor
Davidius,

I believe that your assessment of Calvin's statements in the Institutes about baptism would require some extensive comparison with his statements on 1. Sacraments in general (which he takes up prior to the sections on baptism and the holy supper), 2. Augustinian semantics / epistomology, and 3. his teaching on the relationship between the visible and invisible church.

Calvin's section in the Institutes on the sacraments generally helps to clarify his statements that baptism is regneration, etc. I have no doubt he was speaking of the sacrament of holy baptism, but if taken in the framework of Augustinian realism, there is nothing objectionable with what he says. The WCF says the same thing. It is compared by Calvin with the hypostatic union of Christ, and the theanthropic terms used of Him in Scripture (for instance, that God shed his blood, etc.). In other words, by synechdoche, the sign may be called by the name, or ascribed the effects which belong properly to the thing signified. I believe scripture employs this figure of speech, which Calvin himself explains in the Institutes.

That said, I think the departure from Augustinian and orthodox sacramentalism may be marked from Chrysostom, whom I do not consider to have partaken of the same doctrinal maturity as Augustine. I don't think Augustinianism began with Augustine either, but dates back to Moses and beyond.

Chrysostom's view began to prevail the more ignorant and superstitious (and less Augustinian) the clergy and people became.

Cheers,

Adam




I certainly hope not. If it is, then there are going to be about 500 people in heaven.
:scratch:

Perhaps we should define "baptismal regeneration" because I didn't think that the popularity of something similar to this view throughout history was debatable. *shrug* I thought that the view of the majority of the Church throughout the last two millenia has been to place a much higher efficacy on baptism than we do today. This is one of the reasons why we sometimes have difficulty marshalling the early Fathers for our causes (I was recently reading Pelikan on the early Church regarding the sacraments). Even today, the Lutherans and Anglicans (?) teach that something actually happens at baptism, not because the water is magical, but because the Spirit is there. For our own tradition, I think many people would be shocked by reading the last few chapters of book IV of the Institutes re: baptism and the children of believers, or some of the things he said in his reply to the canons of Trent. I posted some quotations some time ago here and the responders said he wasn't talking about water baptism, even though it's obvious (to me at least) that he is because he's responding to Roman Catholic doctrinal statements regarding baptism. Using that as a segue...obviously the Roman Catholics and Orthodox believe in some kind of baptismal "regeneration" also. The Baptists and modern Presbyterians seem to be an anomaly. This, of course, doesn't mean that we're wrong, but it means that we are in the minority.
 

tburus

Puritan Board Freshman
Also, it's worth noting that Churches of Christ do not believe that baptism by immersion, apart from anything else, is necessary for salvation. They believe that it, along with faith in Christ, justifies. It is weird, but it only demonstrates a minor aberration from Arminianism in regards to soteriology.

I understand. I believe that their are very few groups who actually have a full on Pelagian view of salvation (like Unitarians and their ilk) and it is my understanding that the group which Paul is addressing in Galatians does not fall among these either. I believe, from all I've heard preached on this, that the Judaizers taught faith in Christ, they just taught that faith in Christ must be accompanied by circumcision. That is why I used the phrase "Jesus-plus," becuase it is Jesus-plus-circumcision. In the same respects, this CoC view you are talking about is just Jesus-plus-baptism. In this respect I would put them beyond Arminians because I believe Arminians are solely "Jesus" people, and so fall within acceptable Biblical teachings.

As far as the thought that they might get hung up on the fact that the Galatians passage refers to circumcision, I would just point them then to Ephesians 2:8-9 and ask them if they consider baptism to fall under "grace by faith" or "works." This answer is obvious, and if they say otherwise, then it's probably time to start sharing the Gospel with them again (Unless you just want to shake the dust from you sandals and leave!).
 

Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
I understand. I believe that their are very few groups who actually have a full on Pelagian view of salvation (like Unitarians and their ilk) and it is my understanding that the group which Paul is addressing in Galatians does not fall among these either. I believe, from all I've heard preached on this, that the Judaizers taught faith in Christ, they just taught that faith in Christ must be accompanied by circumcision. That is why I used the phrase "Jesus-plus," becuase it is Jesus-plus-circumcision. In the same respects, this CoC view you are talking about is just Jesus-plus-baptism. In this respect I would put them beyond Arminians because I believe Arminians are solely "Jesus" people, and so fall within acceptable Biblical teachings.

As far as the thought that they might get hung up on the fact that the Galatians passage refers to circumcision, I would just point them then to Ephesians 2:8-9 and ask them if they consider baptism to fall under "grace by faith" or "works." This answer is obvious, and if they say otherwise, then it's probably time to start sharing the Gospel with them again (Unless you just want to shake the dust from you sandals and leave!).

I remember when I was discussing this topic with its proponents, I tried to make them consistent in admitting that if you don't get physically immersed, although you may be the most faithful Christian the world has ever seen, you won't go to heaven (I considered throwing an emotional appeal at them by telling them I was baptized as an infant :)). At that point, one man told me he's not one to judge, and he'll leave it up to God to know a man's heart. I told him that if a man's heart is what's important, then the physical baptism isn't. If our faith is what's important, then the additional work is completely irrelevant as a requirement for our salvation. Just like the Al Maxey fellow, these Church of Christ members seem to recognize that physical baptism cannot be a requisite for salvation, but still seem to believe so. They try to find a nonexistent, "reasonable" middle ground.

And I will definitely put up that Ephesians passage next time I talk to them. I don't know why I didn't do it in the first place. Thank you.
 

jogri17

Puritan Board Junior
yes, but there may be some grace given on judgment day for those who were really kept in ignorance by leaders and did not spend much time in there. Like getting baptized but dying the next day before they could learn the heresy. They may have just went to the closest church near where they live.
 

Davidius

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
If a belief in baptismal regeneration is necessarily a damnable heresy because it is a "work" then what do we say about our own Confessions that teach that outside the Church there is ordinarily no salvation? Why is it that there is ordinarily no salvation outside the Church? The Church is where the means of grace are. But I don't see anyone sounding the alarm on the Westminster Confession, decrying it for teaching that salvation ordinarily hinges on the "work" of going to church, or becoming a member of a local congregation (my congregation won't allow you to commune if you aren't on a membership roll somewhere), or going there to hear the Word preached and to receive the sacraments.
 

Timothy William

Puritan Board Junior
The Confessions do not teach that salvation is dependent on going to church or becoming a member of the local congregation. They teach that the Church has been entrusted with the means of grace - including, crucially, the preaching of the Word, as well as the sacraments - and that God ordinarily operates through the church using these means of grace. That does not mean that a sinner is saved because of the "work" of attending church, it means they are saved by believing the Gospel, which, ordinarily, they will hear when it is preached by the church.
 

Christusregnat

Puritan Board Professor
Also, I believe that what the WC is getting at is that pagans are not ordinarily saved. In other words, there may be the occasional pagan who comes to Christ NOT by the light of nature, but by some wayfaring evangelist, but this is NOT the rule. The rule is that the invisible church may only be confidently sought in the visible church. Also, it cuts off the arminian heresy of salvation by the "light of nature".

Cheers,

Adam



The Confessions do not teach that salvation is dependent on going to church or becoming a member of the local congregation. They teach that the Church has been entrusted with the means of grace - including, crucially, the preaching of the Word, as well as the sacraments - and that God ordinarily operates through the church using these means of grace. That does not mean that a sinner is saved because of the "work" of attending church, it means they are saved by believing the Gospel, which, ordinarily, they will hear when it is preached by the church.
 

Stephen

Puritan Board Junior
What do you mean? (Forgive my density)

I mean that forgiveness is not necessarily dependant on repentance.
I'm going to start a new thread, and I would like (if you're so inclined) for you to build on this assertion biblically.

Joshua, I am afraid he will not be able to build on that assertion biblically because forgiveness of sins is always tied to repentance. Jesus said unless you repent you will likewise perish.
 

Stephen

Puritan Board Junior
I recently attended a church retreat with my friend, who attends a Church of Christ. I knew that they erred on several doctrines, and I personally discussed baptismal regeneration with the adults there, trying to convince them that physical baptism by immersion is not a requisite for salvation. In all this, however, I never thought that they were damned heretics for believing such a thing, as outlandish as it was.

I have read elsewhere that the Church of Christ is referred to as a cult and a group of heretics. Is it true that belief in baptismal regeneration is a damnable heresy?

I can tell you one thing for sure, from personal experience. THEY think that those not in the Church of Christ are damned, as they believe themselves to be the only true church. (At least, a good majority of them believe this, though it is not as high of a percentage as it used to be 20-30 years ago.)

I was a minister in this group before I embraced the doctrines of grace and while many do hold this view there are some that do not. Those that hold this view would actually state that after the church fell into apostacy after 95 AD there was no church until the time of Barton Stone, Walter Scott, and the Campbells who started this movement on the American frontier. The Christian churches and Churches of Christ are part of what is called the Restoration movement. If you compare it to Mormonism it is very similar. Sidney Rigdon, one of the early leaders of this movement defected to Mormonism.
 

Stephen

Puritan Board Junior
From what I have read, the less conservative Church of Christ proponents believe that it is not the physical act of baptism that absolutely saves (at least, not this guy), but that a desire to be baptized is a sign of saving faith. Of course, they still believe that faith itself is not a gift, but they do not see the physical act of immersion as saving. Rather, a desire to be baptized (that may or may not result in the actual, physical baptism) is a sign of saving faith. In this regard, I see them as similar to Arminians. Although, it seems that a consistent adherence to Church of Christ doctrine would require the former view.

This more extreme view is held by the church which sanctioned the retreat. One night, we had seven baptisms (it was quite a night). During the first one, after the girl was immersed and resurfaced, it was re-done because her knee didn't go completely underwater.

As a former minister in this group we never taught and it was never published in anything they wrote that the physical act of baptism does not save. They believe that there are five steps to being saved; 1. hear, 2. believe, 3. repent, 4. confess, and 5. be baptised. This view of a desire for baptism may be your friend's idea but it is not the official teaching of those within the Restoration movement, which is known as the Christian churches and Churches of Christ. Their view of baptism is very much works oriented and is very similar to the Roman Catholic view. They have a very strange sacramental system that you will not find among any group. Their soteriology is an outright denial of the gospel.
 

Stephen

Puritan Board Junior
Yes, definitely damnable.

I'm not convinced that an explicit belief in salvation by faith alone is always necessary to be saved (key word being explicit.) However, it is necessary that one trusts solely in the finished work of Christ alone. If anyone who adds baptism as an act which they perform which contributes to their salvation, then Christ has become as nothing to them.

I don't believe damnable heresy can be forgiven without being repented of. One might sometimes have doubts, or confusion, about the true gospel, and still believe and be forgiven, but any who believe and trust in a false gospel are unforgiven and unsaved.

I know a woman on another discussion board who belongs to the Church of Christ. I asked her once if her church believed that baptism was needed for salvation. She pointed me to a website where 2 CoC pastors were arguing the point, one saying it was necessary, another that it was not. They were having a semi-formal discussion on the issue; I was amazed, two pastors in the same denomination openly disagreeing as to what the Gospel was, the same way two Presbyterians might disagree about pouring or sprinkling to baptise babies. This was about 5 years ago, and I don't have a link to the website any more.

I understand that there is a severe problem in believing that a certain act, i.e., physical baptism by immersion, is necessary for salvation, and I can never hold to such a stance, but I'm not sure if it's as heretical as it seems. At least, it's not trying to say, "Be a good person and go to heaven" -- it's not as bad as Catholicism. Yes, I realize that by making a specific act required for salvation, the Church of Christ advocates a mild works-based salvation, but as I said earlier, I see this as very similar to Arminianism.

The analogy that Al Maxey (the "this guy" in my previous post) used for the doctrine is the following:

Suppose I place a million dollars in a bank in your name and then inform you of this fact and tell you it is a gift from me to you, and that you don't need to work for me to earn it. It's free! I then inform you as to the conditions for accessing this GIFT. You must go down to the bank next Wednesday at 4 p.m. and see the Vice-President who will have a simple release form for you to sign which transfers the money over to you. Will you comply with these conditions, David? If you don't will you be able to draw from those funds?​

Of course, he follows this by claiming that accepting this gift is not worth any merit, with which I respectfully disagree, but it is clear from this analogy that the sensible Churches of Christ are only Arminians.

Of course, if you believe that all Arminians are damned, then it's a different story.

The teaching of the church of Christ is as bad as Romanism and will lead these people to hell.
 

Stephen

Puritan Board Junior
Also, it's worth noting that Churches of Christ do not believe that baptism by immersion, apart from anything else, is necessary for salvation. They believe that it, along with faith in Christ, justifies. It is weird, but it only demonstrates a minor aberration from Arminianism in regards to soteriology.

I understand. I believe that their are very few groups who actually have a full on Pelagian view of salvation (like Unitarians and their ilk) and it is my understanding that the group which Paul is addressing in Galatians does not fall among these either. I believe, from all I've heard preached on this, that the Judaizers taught faith in Christ, they just taught that faith in Christ must be accompanied by circumcision. That is why I used the phrase "Jesus-plus," becuase it is Jesus-plus-circumcision. In the same respects, this CoC view you are talking about is just Jesus-plus-baptism. In this respect I would put them beyond Arminians because I believe Arminians are solely "Jesus" people, and so fall within acceptable Biblical teachings.

As far as the thought that they might get hung up on the fact that the Galatians passage refers to circumcision, I would just point them then to Ephesians 2:8-9 and ask them if they consider baptism to fall under "grace by faith" or "works." This answer is obvious, and if they say otherwise, then it's probably time to start sharing the Gospel with them again (Unless you just want to shake the dust from you sandals and leave!).

The Churches of Christ are not Arminian but would affirm Pelagianism. Pelagianism is rampent within this group. The undergraduate college where I received my degree was filled with Pelagian teachers and this would be fairly typical of this group.
 

Stephen

Puritan Board Junior
If a belief in baptismal regeneration is necessarily a damnable heresy because it is a "work" then what do we say about our own Confessions that teach that outside the Church there is ordinarily no salvation? Why is it that there is ordinarily no salvation outside the Church? The Church is where the means of grace are. But I don't see anyone sounding the alarm on the Westminster Confession, decrying it for teaching that salvation ordinarily hinges on the "work" of going to church, or becoming a member of a local congregation (my congregation won't allow you to commune if you aren't on a membership roll somewhere), or going there to hear the Word preached and to receive the sacraments.

:offtopic:
 

Presbyterian Deacon

Puritan Board Graduate
I recently attended a church retreat with my friend, who attends a Church of Christ. I knew that they erred on several doctrines, and I personally discussed baptismal regeneration with the adults there, trying to convince them that physical baptism by immersion is not a requisite for salvation. In all this, however, I never thought that they were damned heretics for believing such a thing, as outlandish as it was.

I have read elsewhere that the Church of Christ is referred to as a cult and a group of heretics. Is it true that belief in baptismal regeneration is a damnable heresy?

I can tell you one thing for sure, from personal experience. THEY think that those not in the Church of Christ are damned, as they believe themselves to be the only true church. (At least, a good majority of them believe this, though it is not as high of a percentage as it used to be 20-30 years ago.)

I was a minister in this group before I embraced the doctrines of grace and while many do hold this view there are some that do not. Those that hold this view would actually state that after the church fell into apostacy after 95 AD there was no church until the time of Barton Stone, Walter Scott, and the Campbells who started this movement on the American frontier. The Christian churches and Churches of Christ are part of what is called the Restoration movement. If you compare it to Mormonism it is very similar. Sidney Rigdon, one of the early leaders of this movement defected to Mormonism.


Stephen--

Does this group still acknowledge its historical connection to Thomas and Alexander Campbell today, or do they try to "disown" them much like the Jehovah Witnesses have disowned Charles Taze Russell?

The reason I ask is that not long ago I was talking to a "Church of Christ" member, and he claimed to have never heard of the Campbells, or Barton Stone, or Walter Scott. Was this just a member who didn't know his church history, or is this an attempt on the part of the denomination to disassociate with themselves with their history?
 

Stephen

Puritan Board Junior
I can tell you one thing for sure, from personal experience. THEY think that those not in the Church of Christ are damned, as they believe themselves to be the only true church. (At least, a good majority of them believe this, though it is not as high of a percentage as it used to be 20-30 years ago.)

I was a minister in this group before I embraced the doctrines of grace and while many do hold this view there are some that do not. Those that hold this view would actually state that after the church fell into apostacy after 95 AD there was no church until the time of Barton Stone, Walter Scott, and the Campbells who started this movement on the American frontier. The Christian churches and Churches of Christ are part of what is called the Restoration movement. If you compare it to Mormonism it is very similar. Sidney Rigdon, one of the early leaders of this movement defected to Mormonism.


Stephen--

Does this group still acknowledge its historical connection to Thomas and Alexander Campbell today, or do they try to "disown" them much like the Jehovah Witnesses have disowned Charles Taze Russell?

The reason I ask is that not long ago I was talking to a "Church of Christ" member, and he claimed to have never heard of the Campbells, or Barton Stone, or Walter Scott. Was this just a member who didn't know his church history, or is this an attempt on the part of the denomination to disassociate with themselves with their history?

This was obviously a member who has never heard of their history. They still acknowledge their historical connection to the Campbells. You can not be within this group for any length of time without hearing something of its history.
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
I have read several books on their history and theology. Restorationists are typically ... Arminian, amil, inerrantists. In a recent book their scholars were arguing if they are evangelicals. A disproportionate share of mega churches are Restorationists. One of their big guns from Cinncinnati is also a big wig with CBMW (Jack Cottrell). Their current Big Name is Max Lucado.
 

Greg

Puritan Board Sophomore
Also, it's worth noting that Churches of Christ do not believe that baptism by immersion, apart from anything else, is necessary for salvation. They believe that it, along with faith in Christ, justifies. It is weird, but it only demonstrates a minor aberration from Arminianism in regards to soteriology.

I understand. I believe that their are very few groups who actually have a full on Pelagian view of salvation (like Unitarians and their ilk) and it is my understanding that the group which Paul is addressing in Galatians does not fall among these either. I believe, from all I've heard preached on this, that the Judaizers taught faith in Christ, they just taught that faith in Christ must be accompanied by circumcision. That is why I used the phrase "Jesus-plus," becuase it is Jesus-plus-circumcision. In the same respects, this CoC view you are talking about is just Jesus-plus-baptism. In this respect I would put them beyond Arminians because I believe Arminians are solely "Jesus" people, and so fall within acceptable Biblical teachings.

As far as the thought that they might get hung up on the fact that the Galatians passage refers to circumcision, I would just point them then to Ephesians 2:8-9 and ask them if they consider baptism to fall under "grace by faith" or "works." This answer is obvious, and if they say otherwise, then it's probably time to start sharing the Gospel with them again (Unless you just want to shake the dust from you sandals and leave!).

The Churches of Christ are not Arminian but would affirm Pelagianism. Pelagianism is rampent within this group. The undergraduate college where I received my degree was filled with Pelagian teachers and this would be fairly typical of this group.

About 6-7 years ago my wife and I attended a local CoC congregation for about a month or so. We were looking for a place to worship closer to home and was invited by an acquaintance. We had no idea what they believed, but it didn't take long before red flags started to go up.

We came across their Pelagianism as well. We were told that there is no such thing as original sin, that's it's just a man-made doctrine with no biblical basis. I was told, "We are all born into this world just as Adam was in the garden prior to his fall."
 
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