Friday, June 10, 2005

Baptismal regeneration a heresy?

Protestant 'Pastor Robert' from a Catholic Answers discussion stated,
"I smell the heresy of baptismal regeneration ... a foundational error of Rome that deceives many into trusting their eternal destiny to a sprinkling of water on their head."

It is no more "trust in water" than the blind person trusted in mud to cure him at the hand of Jesus. On the contrary, it is more a trust in the miracles at the "hand of Jesus" and how he conveys his grace through mud, or water, or oil, or any other means.

When Christ was baptized in water, the Holy Spirit came upon him. This pre-figures for us, what the sacrament of Baptism is all about. It is a sacrament (Latin for "oath," sacramentum). It is both a promise and a prayer that the people of God make in obedience to God's will. We believe that our prayer is answered and the recipient is regenerated, not by the power of water, but by the power of God, the one who answers our prayer.

The sacraments are not acts of magic. The are both a prayer for regeneration and a promise or oath to Him who regenerates. Just because the prayer is made with matter, form, and intent in accord with apostolic teaching, this doesn't mean that it is magical. On the contrary, we understand it as a miracle, as do Orthodox and many other Protestant Christians.

You believe in the power of prayer don't you? You believe that God walks with us only when we, in faith, obey, don't you?

Calvinist theologian C.H. Spurgeon puts it...
"Have I that faith which leads me to obey my God?—for obedience, if it be of the kind we are speaking of, is faith in action—faith walking with God" (C.H. Spurgeon, Sermon called "Obedience of Faith," August 21, 1890)

For Catholics, a sacrament is faith in action.

C.H. Spurgeon continues...

"If our faith...lacks the fruit of obedience, it will leave us among the "dogs" who are "'without." The faith that makes us obey is alone the faith which marks the children of God. It is better to have the faith that obeys than the faith which moves mountains. ... If thou believest in the living God unto eternal life, thou wilt be quick to do thy Lord's bidding, even as a maid hearkens to her mistress. Thou wilt not be as the horse, which needs whip and spur; thy love will do more for thee than compulsion could do for slaves. Thou wilt have wings to thy heels to hasten thee along the way of obedience. ... He would have us obey him with the heart, and that will lead us, not merely to regard a few pleasing commands, but to have respect unto all his will. ... Alas! dear friends, we have so much talk, and so little obedience! The religion of mere brain and jaw does not amount to much. We want the religion of hands and feet." (ibid.)

From my studies and experience, Catholicism is truly a "religion of hands and feet!!" Finally, from C.H. Spurgeon...

"Those who practice the obedience of faith look for the reward hereafter, and set the greatest store by it.... They know the words, "No cross, no crown;" and they recognise the truth that, if there is no obedience here, there will be no reward hereafter....The obedience which faith produces must be continuous.... Providence is God's business, obedience is ours.

What comes out of our life's course must remain with the Lord; to obey is our sole concern. We can win "Well done, good and faithful servant": to be a successful servant is not in our power, and we shall not be held responsible for it. Our greatest risk is over when we obey. God makes faith and obedience the way of safety....

Obedience may appear difficult, and it may bring with it sacrifice; but, after all, it is the nearest and the best road....He who through the Holy Spirit, is always believingly obedient, has chosen the good part.... this is a kind of life which will bring communion with God....

If we transgress against him, we shall soon be in trouble; but a holy walk—the walk described by my text as faith working obedience—is heaven beneath the stars. God comes down to walk with men who obey. If they walk with him, he walks with them. The Lord can only have fellowship with his servants as they obey. Obedience is heaven in us, and it is the preface of our being in heaven. Obedient faith is the way to eternal life—nay, it is eternal life revealing itself. (ibid.)

"The Lord can only have fellowship with his servants as they obey." Sounds Catholic!!!

God bless,



Post a Comment

<< Home