True or False...

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Robert Truelove

Puritan Board Sophomore
Without saying where this quote comes from, could my fellow paedobaptist brethren tell me if this is a proper articulation (especially the first sentence) and why or why not?

"Baptism is also the means by which communion with the death and burial of Christ comes into being (Rom. 6:4), the place where this union is effected (Col. 2:12), the means by which Christ cleanses his church (Eph. 5:26), and God has saved it (Titus 3:5), so that baptism itself can be called the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5). All these formulations speak clearly of the significance of baptism in mediating redemption; they speak of what happens in and by baptism not merely what happened before baptism and of which baptism would only be the confirmation.”
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
I don't know what is said in context of the quote, so I don't know what (if any) elaboration is included by the writer.

I would say: no articulation of the doctrine of baptism may stand alone without (implied at least) a fully developed doctrine of sacramentology.

Where, in relation to the above quote, is the distinction between the sign and the thing-signified? That is what I want to know. For example, the Rom 6:4 reference. Is Paul supposed to be talking about a human rite which is in eternal coincidence, in every single case, with Holy Spirit's own baptizing function? Because, as we all (should!) know, Holy Spirit unites us to Christ in his effectual calling. The baptism of the Spirit does that, and not the application of water.

The connection between Holy Spirit's work and the church's work is called a "sacramental union." And it is mysterious, and we bow before its mystery while seeking deeper understanding. Here is how WCF 28:6 addresses the issue:
The efficacy of Baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited and conferred, by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongeth unto, according to the counsel of God’s own will, in His appointed time
Often these days, we hear people who call themselves Reformed, and who insist on objectifying the sacraments (virtually adopting Lutheranism at best, and Roman views at worst), who call attention to the first bolded clause above, while dropping (or ignoring) the latter clauses (also bolded), up to and including the final. Well, they all go together!

Thus, because faith's function in baptismal efficacy is indispensable, because election, regeneration,--indeed ALL the benefits of redemption--are sealed to believers exclusively, we differentiate between what we can see and what we can't, between Holy Spirit's work and ours, and do not claim for the water or the church what belongs only to God.


Now, I think I detect, from the final sentence, that this statement was worded in opposition to a baptist view of baptism (ref. to baptism's portrayal of past Spirit-activity).

However, it should be noted that one particular use of a doctrinal affirmation to oppose what may be viewed as an error in one direction, cannot be simply turned around and wielded in essentially the same fashion against those who err (supposedly) in another direction.
 

Dieter Schneider

Puritan Board Sophomore
Without saying where this quote comes from, could my fellow paedobaptist brethren tell me if this is a proper articulation (especially the first sentence) and why or why not?

"Baptism is also the means by which communion with the death and burial of Christ comes into being (Rom. 6:4), the place where this union is effected (Col. 2:12), the means by which Christ cleanses his church (Eph. 5:26), and God has saved it (Titus 3:5), so that baptism itself can be called the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5). All these formulations speak clearly of the significance of baptism in mediating redemption; they speak of what happens in and by baptism not merely what happened before baptism and of which baptism would only be the confirmation.”

Sounds like Herman N. Ridderbos?! Sorry to spoil the fun. I had to study him, and he only makes sense if you read him back to front, or in (Double-) Dutch. Ok, that may tell you more about me than him!
 
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