Question on WCF and baptism

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Neogillist

Puritan Board Freshman
"VII. The sacrament of Baptism is but once to be administered unto any person.18"

"18 TIT 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. "

I really don't see the connection between Titus 3:5 and why baptism is to be administered only once. Does any one of you know? I think there are better passages that can be raised in support of baptism once only, such as "One baptism, one faith, one Lord."
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Maybe it is because baptism is a sign of regeneration (NOT REGENERATION, a sign). Regeneration occurs once, baptism therefore occurs once.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Jean-David,

It actually does apply because there are views of Baptism that focus attention on the intent and worthiness of the individual Baptized for its effectualness. Even among some who have a somewhat Reformed soteriology, there are some that make the rite one that is a sign of something inside - that is, it is of nothing if the person is not regenerated and not exercising true saving faith.

Thus, what if somebody is baptized when they have an Arminian soteriology and they begin to wonder if the Baptism really "counted" because, after all, they really didn't exercise faith in the right way so their Baptism doesn't "count" unless it was linked to a real faith.

In a very real sense, Arminians do make faith a work of righteousness so this verse points out that baptism is not in response to a work of righteousness in our faith but is of the promise of God. It also serves as a reminder that, even for the Reformed, the efficacy of Baptism is tied not to the quality or quantity of our faith but to God's promise and election.

:2cents:
 

Neogillist

Puritan Board Freshman
I guess it makes sense that since regeneration occurs once, and baptism is a sign of it, then it is to be administered once; but I've heard that some semi-Pelagians believe one may be regenerated multiple times and "fall from grace" also multiple times.

I've actually been baptized as a baby, and I personally lean towards paedo-baptism but I don't have any problem with credo-baptism. I think both views are biblical, so long as we don't exclude the children of believers from the covenant as some hyper-Calvinistic baptists would do, and those who hold to NCT. I personally would not mind joining a Reformed Baptist church if only they would not require me to be re-baptized in order to become a member. But because they don't think my baptism was valid, they do not view it as "re-baptism," like I do. So I stick to the confession; I think it would be abuse and misuse of the sacrament to be re-baptized anyway.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Just to add a slightly different angle, baptism is not a 'work of righteousness' either. Being dunked or sprinkled does not, in and of itself, make anyone more righteous. If this fact is not stated by Paul and the confession, some might seek rebaptism as a way of making themselves more righteous. ("I have been baptized 25 times and you only 18! Look how holy I am!) It would be similar to those who believe that taking grape juice with the Lord's Supper makes them more righteous than those who use wine. Or those who afflict their bodies in an effort to make themselves more righteous.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
I personally would not mind joining a Reformed Baptist church if only they would not require me to be re-baptized in order to become a member. But because they don't think my baptism was valid, they do not view it as "re-baptism," like I do. So I stick to the confession; I think it would be abuse and misuse of the sacrament to be re-baptized anyway.

There are some Reformed Baptist churches (William Einwechter's for one) who would allow you, as a paedobaptist, to be a 'communicant' member but not a 'voting' member. They do this for the sake of unity.
 

Neogillist

Puritan Board Freshman
Actually, I heard that a few paedo-baptists were allowed to become members in John Piper's church without being re-baptized if they could support their position from Scriptures. His church was actually going to make a constitutional change to their declaration of faith to accept paedo-baptists as " second-class members" of their church, but the move was vetoed by a few elders. There is even one elder who wrote a long letter on the issue, dissagreeing with Dr. Piper over the point that credo-baptism vs paedo-baptism was a secondary issue. It actually frustrates me to see how ignorant Christians, or at least those who have not carefully studied a controversial issue can hold to their position so dogmatically, even to the point of becoming irrational about it. Here is the last update on the issue taken from their website:

Bethlehem Baptist Church : Baptism & Membership

For the most part, it is usually paedo-baptists who end up penalized for their belief in that they are largely unwelcomed into Reformed Baptist churches, while Reformed Baptists are typically welcomed into Reformed/Presbyterian churches so long as they accept to have their unbaptized children baptized. I personally like the stance of Ian Paisley's Free Presbyterian Church best, as they give their members the freedom to hold to either paedo/credo-baptism. That is the position I personally hold to.
 
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