File Submitter: Scribe
File Submitted: 16 Jan 2012
File Updated: 24 Nov 2012
File Category: Reference Books (topx)
Author: Dr. E. Calvin Beisner
e-Sword Version: 9.x - 10.x
Suggest New Tag:: Baptisim
A Critical Analysis of the Doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration
In the study of Christianity the central doctrine is the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul understood the Gospel, the message of the saving work of Christ, to be so important that he said:
I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:6-9).
In the face of the doctrine of baptismal regeneration we must consider precisely what makes a teaching "another gospel... than what we have preached to you." It will be my contention that the Scriptures teach clearly that baptism is not necessary for salvation. Baptismal regenerationists, on the other hand, teach that baptism is necessary for salvation. If the Scriptures deny the necessity of baptism for salvation, then its teaching is "another gospel" than that preached by Paul.
We will examine Scriptures purported to teach the necessity of baptism for salvation, and seek to understand their true meaning. We will also show that the New Testament teaches that salvation is strictly by grace through faith apart from baptism.
There are several religious groups which teach that baptism is necessary for salvation. Among them are several "Church of Christ" groups, some branches of the "Christian Church-Disciples of Christ," and many small groups in the Christian tradition. Of course, the largest and most well-known of the baptismal regenerationist groups is the Roman Catholic church. Such groups teach that water baptism is absolutely essential to the salvation of the soul. Many of them also teach that this baptism must be by immersion, not by pouring or sprinkling. However, we will not herein address the question of the mode of baptism, because baptism's relation to salvation is more important.
It is the purpose of this essay to analyze the doctrine that baptism is necessary for salvation. In the following pages we will measure the teaching against Scripture, examining the New Testament texts used in support of it, and those which we believe show it to be incorrect. It is not our purpose to question the Christian faith of members of the groups teaching the doctrine of baptismal regeneration; there may well be many sincere Christians who are confused or misled on this issue.
Main Scriptures Discussed
I Corinthians 12:13
I Peter 3:19-21
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