Baptism Does Not Regenerate! – Calvinism Versus “Christening”

Dr. Lee is a man of astounding erudition and — of much greater importance — one who humbly and unreservedly accepts the authority and infallibility of Holy Scripture.  He is one of the few Scholars of our day who has really probed the literary heritage of the great Reformer John Calvin.

This paper is no exception to the rule: solely by grace!   Infant baptism is based on the Covenant of grace.  Depraved man has no meritorious works. Regeneration and the seed of faith thus implanted in the heart of the smallest child, are indispensable for Baptism.   But these are gifts of God!

The prior existence of faith as deserved merit, could never be proved — not even before Baptism. That is why the Belgic Confession (art. 21) explains: "We do not mean that faith itself justifies us."

However, faith is indeed the implied prerequisite for all advocates of Adult Baptism alone.  Indeed, the [Adult] Heathen — who have as yet had no participation in the Covenant — do need to profess their faith before receiving Baptism.

Professor Lee brings out in bold relief that even children of believers "while yet in the womb -according to Calvin — have been adopted into the Covenant of eternal life."   Compare too also the Canons of Dordt, I:17.   What a comfort for so many worried and wondering parents!

Calvin once wrote: "Doubtless the design of Satan, in assaulting Paedobaptism with all his forces, is to keep out of view and gradually efface that attestation of divine grace which the promise itself presents to our eyes."   Institutes IV:16:32.

May this piece of painstaking research into the Opera of Calvin, be used by the Spirit of God to make many a seeking soul conscious of the real meaning of the grace of God!

(Rev. Professor Dr.) F.J.M. Potgieter (Th.D., Ph.D.),  Professor-Emeritus of Systematic Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, University of Stellenbosch, Republic of South Africa.

Note by Dr Lee: The late Rev. Professor Dr. F.J.M. Potgieter above was my teacher, and is the author of scores of Calvinistic publications.   His Th.D. dissertation was on Calvin, and he was an authority especially on Calvin's view of Baptism.  He taught me a great deal of what I ever learned.  Here I would not be innovative.  I just present Scripture and Calvinism, almost without comment.

         

7

          BAPTISM DOES NOT CLEANSE: CALVINISM VERSUS 'CHRISTENING'

Not even Holy Baptism can regenerate a single sinner.  That can only be effected directly by the Holy Spirit of God the Father.  He it is Who cleanses us from all our sins.  He does so only by virtue of the precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself alone — shed for us once and for all, at Calvary.

In the words of the well-known hymn: "What can wash away my sin?   Nothing but the blood of Jesus!   O, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow!   No other fount I know — nothing but the blood of Jesus!"

The Spirit-filled Holy Bible repudiates both circumcisional and baptismal regeneration.   So too do the uninspired Jewish writings which appeared between the Old and the New Testaments. Thus: the Tanna on Genesis; the early Talmud; Philo; and Josephus.   Similarly, so too do all extant documents of the Christian Church which arose during the first two hundred years after Calvary.

It was as late as A.D. 250 when the ritualist Cyprian perhaps unconsciously began to syncretize Christianity and Paganism.   Before then, no patristic writings advocated baptismal regeneration. Indeed, even Baptism as such is but little mentioned in the earliest post-apostolic extant evidence.

Page 3 of 12812345...102030...Last »