BAPTIST ANSWERS CONCERNING

BAPTISMAL REGENERATION

By Wm. Troy Sheppard

Roman Catholics, Campbellites, Oneness Pentecostals and many other religious groups say that the Bible teaches that a person must be baptized in order to obtain or receive the remission of sins. They say that the act of baptism regenerates, or that one is regenerated in or through the act of baptism. They say that Baptist don't believe the Bible because we teach that Salvation is ONLY in and through the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Who is right? What does the Bible really say?

As Baptists we should always be ready to give an answer to every man that asks us of a reason of the hope that we have in us (I Peter 3:15). With this in mind, the following are some Biblical, Baptist responses to some statements made by a baptismal regenerationist.

The baptismal regenerationist says, "The Bible says that baptism saves (I Peter 3:21). Baptists say that baptism does not save."

The Baptist answer: We do not say that baptism does not save. We say baptism saves! The Bible teaches that baptism saves, but that is not all it teaches. The Bible also teaches HOW baptism saves. The Bible says that baptism saves in FIGURE (I Peter 3:21). The Bible says that baptism DOES NOT put away the filth of the flesh (I Peter 3:21). The Bible does not say "baptism saves the soul from eternal hell" or "baptism gives eternal life" - ONLY JESUS can GIVE eternal life (John 10:25-30; 17:1-3). If baptism saved in the SENSE that the baptismal regenerationists says that it does then Jesus never saved anyone because he never baptized anyone (John 4:2).

The baptismal regenerationist says, "The Bible says that baptism washes away sins (Acts 22:16). Baptists say that baptism does not wash away sins." 

The Baptist answer: We do not say that baptism does not wash away sins. We say that it does, but only figuratively (I Peter 3:21). It does not actually wash away sins. The only thing that can actually wash away sin is the BLOOD of Jesus Christ (I John 1:7; Hebrews 9:11-15).

The baptismal regenerationist says, "The Bible says that one must be born of water and spirit (John 3:3-5). Baptists say that water is not necessary."

The Baptist answer: The baptismal regenerationist never heard a Baptist say that the water and the spirit in John 3:3-5 was unnecessary. We believe what the Bible says! The water is necessary, but the water in this text is not baptism. The Bible DOES NOT say that one must be born of "BAPTISM and the spirit" it says "water and the spirit". Baptism is not a BIRTH, it is a burial in relation to a death and a resurrection in relation to a new life (Romans 6:4). Where is Baptism said to be a Birth? Only in the depraved mind of a baptismal regenerationist!

The baptismal regenerationist says, "The Bible says that baptism causes the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). Baptists say that baptism does not cause the remission of sins."

The Baptist answer: The Bible DOES NOT say baptism causes the remission of sins. What it does say is, "...be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ FOR the remission of sins..."."FOR" DOES NOT mean, "in order to obtain" but in this text it means "in relation to". The Bible commands the repenting one to "be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ FOR (in relation to) the remission of sins". Baptism is, "for remission" much like the offering made by the man healed of Leprosy in Luke 5:12-14 was "FOR" his cleansing. Notice how he was cleansed, "…behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him. And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer FOR thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, FOR a testimony unto them." How was the leprous man cleansed; by a ceremony? No! Jesus cleaned the man up and cured him of his leprosy. The only thing that the ceremony did was TESTIFY to the fact of a work of cleaning already done. Baptism is a TESTIMONY of a work that Jesus has already done. Jesus ALONE is the CAUSE of the remission of sins!

The baptismal regenerationist says, "The Bible says that baptism makes us sons of God (Gal. 3:26-27). Baptists say that baptism does not make us sons." 

The Baptist answer: The Bible does not say, "baptism makes us sons of God". What the Bible says is, "...ye are all the children of God BY FAITH" (Gal. 3:26). Faith, which is the gift of God (Eph. 2:8-9) is the channel by which we can know and say that we are the children of God. NO WHERE IS BAPTISM SAID TO "MAKE" ANYONE A CHILD OF GOD. Please, give one verse that says baptism causes you to be, or makes you a son or child of God. There is no such verse! There however are many verses that teach that faith is the channel of sonship and righteousness (Rom. 4:1-5, 9-12, 20-25; 5:1-2).

The baptismal regenerationist says, "The Bible says that baptism makes one put on Christ (Gal. 3:27). Baptists say that baptism does not make us put on Christ."

The Baptist answer: The Bible does not say "baptism MAKES one put on Christ" What the Bible does say is, "as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." We as Baptist do believe that as many as are baptized "in relation to Christ" (not "in order to Christ") have "put on Christ". Every regenerated person who submits to baptism "puts on" Christ - they identify with Christ. The act of "putting on Christ" is the act of someone who is already alive in Christ. Their baptism is a declarative statement that they are already "IN" Christ. The uniform doesn't make the solider. The uniform (baptism) identifies the solider with army he is already in.

The baptismal regenerationist says, "The Bible says by baptism one puts off the body of sins (Col. 2:12-13, Rom. 6:3-4). Baptists say that baptism does not put off the body of sins."

The Baptist answer: The baptismal regenerationist again misquotes and misuses the scripture. The Bible does not say, "baptism puts off the body of sin". What the Bible does say is baptism is, "in the LIKENESS of his death" (Rom. 6:5), and is, "into (in relation to) his (Christ's) death (Rom. 6:3). Baptism does not do away with the body of sin. Only Jesus and his work can do away with our sins (Heb. 9:11-15, 23-26; I Cor. 1:30-31).

Oh! How lost the man is who is trusting in his WATER BAPTISM to save him! He can only sing, "What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the water of Baptism!" and "There is a fountain fill with WATER drawn from the city main, and sinners plunged beneath THAT flood loose all there guilt and stain." and "There is power, power, wonder working power is the WATER of the land. There is power, power, wonder working power in the precious WATER of the land".

The baptismal regenerationist says, "Who really believes in the Bible?"

The Baptist answer: The baptismal regenerationist may believe IN the Bible, but they surely don't BELIEVE THE BIBLE! There's no telling how many things they believe IN. A man who is trusting IN water to save him will most likely trust in just about anything. They are a very superstitious bunch! We as Baptist BELIEVE THE BIBLE! We are not trusting IN it or any THING else. We are trusting IN the person and finished work of the LORD JESUS CHRIST. The Lord Jesus Christ ALONE is our SALVATION!

"In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;" (Ephesians 1:7)

"In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:" (Colossians 1:14)

"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:"(I Pet. 1:18-19)

There is a fountain filled with BLOOD

Drawn from Immanuel's veins;

And sinners plunged beneath THAT flood,

Loose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see

THAT fountain in his day.

And there may I, though vile as he,

Wash ALL my sins away.

What fountain are you trusting in?

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