Hoagies & Stogies: Baptismal Regeneration is now in the can, and all kinds of guys have told me they thought it was the best one yet (check out this review)! Thanks especially to Court for stepping in as interim braumeister while Mike Hess had to be out of town. Thanks also to Jack Attack for bringing his recorder for backup, because I forgot I started my recording, and then in the middle of my opening statement “remembered” to turn it on, which actually turned it off, which I did not discover until the Q&A! Jack didn’t start recording until after the moderator’s statement, but that’s no loss because I pasted the full text below.
Here are the .mp3:
For further examination, you could look up Understanding Four Views on Baptism, in which Lutheran, Reformed (and Baptist and Church of Christ) theologians all state their views and interact with each other.
If you want to read about the Lutheran view of Baptismal Regeneration, here are some resources:
- Infant Baptism in the First Four Centuries, trans. D. Cairns (1962; reprinted, 2004; German ed.: 1958)
- The Origins of Infant Baptism: A Further Reply to Kurt Aland, trans. Dorothea M. Barton (1971; German ed.: 1962)
- “Luther, Baptism, and the Church Today,” David P. Scaer
- “Why We Baptize Babies,” Richard Bucher
- “Baptism and its Purpose,” LCMS
And here are some resources from the Reformed side:
- Shorter: “Baptism in Our Confessional Standards”, Alan D. Strange.
- Longer: “Baptism and the Benefits of Christ: The Double Mode of Communion in the Covenant of Grace,” R. Scott Clark.
- (If you want to know what the Hoagmeister General thinks about baptism, try this and that)
And here’s my opening statement:
Hoagies & Stogies is a debate fellowship primarily by and for Reformed men. So, Reformed men, have you ever asked yourself, “OK, so Luther started the reformation, so why aren’t we “Reformed” just all Lutherans?” Recently WSCAL professor R. Scott Clark summarized “the various areas of genuine disagreement … between reformed confessionalism and Martin Luther” as “baptism, the supper, and the theory and practice of worship”. Well, about a year ago, Hoagies & Stogies: Communion invited a Lutheran in (Pastor John Kent, right over here) to hash out our differences over communion. In 2007, Hoagies & Stogies: Exclusive Psalmody dealt with the RPW. So by the end of tonight, we’ll have Baptism taken care of, and I’ll get in touch with the Lutherans to let them know we sorted it all out (or John, maybe you should talk to them?)
You might recall, from last year’s H&S on Communion, that the Reformed position of real, spiritual presence in communion stands between an under-realized, mere memorial (or no presence) anabaptist view on the one hand, and what we consider an over-realized Lutheran doctrine of real, physical presence in communion.
This time around, we have a nearly parallel debate centered on the other sacrament, baptism. On the one hand, there is the historically novel position of baptism only for those who are already saved (by evidence of profession of faith). This position will not be addressed in tonight’s debate. And on the other side of the Reformed from the Baptists, we have the Lutherans. Reformed and Lutherans agree that infant children of believers should be baptized, but differ as to why. The Lutherans maintain that baptism causes regeneration in the subject; as Peter says, “Baptism now saves you“. Luther’s Small Catechism asks and answers: “What does Baptism give or profit? It works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.” This position is known as Baptismal Regeneration.
The Reformed thus draw fire from both fronts — from baptists who think we’re pretty much catholic because we baptize babies, and from Lutherans who think we’re pretty much baptists because we deny that our baptized babies are necessarily saved. Rather, in WCF 28.6, we confess that
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 belongs unto, according to the counsel of God’s own will, in His appointed time.
We also confess that, although baptism is very important, “grace and salvation are not … inseparably annexed to it”. Rather, the community of the baptized constitutes a visible church, but the invisible church includes only those members of the visible church whose call the Holy Spirit makes effectual by working faith in them, thereby uniting them to Christ — and the invisible church includes even a few elect that are saved through faith outside the ordinary means. (Note that the Lutherans have a similar terminology to our visible/invisible distinction, which will undoubtedly come up in our debate tonight; This is the church militant vs. the church triumphant — a division that cuts through time at the 2nd coming, rather than visible/invisible distinction, which cuts through the church at all times).
So speaking first tonight, setting for the Reformed position on baptism, we welcome Dave Okken, ordained OPC minister. This is his first H&S, because since before the inception of H&S, he has been a missionary evangelist in Uganda. And for the Lutheran side, we invite John Bombaro. John has an MTh from Edinburgh, an MDiv from Cambridge, and a PhD from University of London. Nowadays, John is Sr. Parish Priest at Grace Lutheran Church, San Diego, he’s a faculty member in the Theology and Religious Studies Department of the USD, and a regular contributor to the Officially Favorite Magazine of Hoagies&Stogies, Modern Reformation.