Baptism is a condition of being outwardly in the kingdom; it is not a condition at being inwardly in the kingdom. The confounding of these two led many in the early church to dread dying without having been baptized, rather than dying unsaved. Even Pascal, in later times, held that participation in outward ceremonies might lead to real conversion. He probably meant that an initial act of holy will would tend to draw others in its train. Similarly we urge unconverted people to take some step that will manifest religious interest. We hope that in taking this step a new decision of the will, inwrought by she Spirit of God may reveal itself. But a religion, which consists only in such outward performances is justly denominated a coetaneous religion, for it is only skin deep. On <430305>John 3:5 ? ?Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God?; <440238>Acts 2:38 ? ?Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins?; <510212> Colossians 2:12 ? ?buried with him in baptism, wherein ye were also raised with him through faith?; <560305>Titus 3:5 ? ?saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit? ? see further discussion and exposition in our chapter on the Ordinances. Adkins, Disciples and Baptists, a booklet published by the Am. Bap. Pub. Society, is the best statement of the Baptist position, as distinguished from that of the Disciples. It claims that Disciples overrate the externals of Christianity and underrate the work of the Holy Spirit. Per contra, see Gates, Disciples and Baptists.
B. The Scriptural view is that regeneration, so far as it secures an activity of man, is accomplished through the instrumentality of the truth. Although the Holy Spirit does not in any way illuminate the truth, he does illuminate the mind, so that it can perceive the truth. In conjunction with the change of man?s inner disposition, there is an appeal to man?s rational nature through the truth. Two inferences may be drawn:
(a) Man is not wholly passive at the time of his regeneration. He is passive only with respect to the change of his ruling disposition. With respect to the exercise of this disposition, he is active. Although the efficient power which secures this exercise of the new disposition is the power of God, yet man is not therefore unconscious, nor is he a mere machine worked by God?s fingers. On the other hand, his whole moral nature under God?s working is alive and active. We reject the ?exercise-system,? which regards God as the direct author of all man?s thoughts, feelings, and volition, not only in its general tenor, but also in its special application to regeneration.
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