than moral salvation, and is more consistent with a materialistic than with a spiritual philosophy.
<440812> Acts 8:12 ? ?when they believed Philip preaching good tidings concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ they were baptized? <600321>1 Peter 3:21 ? ?which also after a true likeness doth now save you, even baptism, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the interrogation [margin ? ?inquiry?, ?appeal?] of a good conscience toward God? = the inquiry of the soul after God, the conscientious turning of the soul to God.
Plumptre, however, makes ejperw>thma a forensic term equivalent to ?examination,? and including both question and answer. It means, then, the open answer of allegiance to Christ, given by the new convert to the constituted officers of the church. ?That which is of the essence of the saving power of baptism is the confession and the profession which precede it. If this comes from a conscience that really renounces sin and believes on Christ, then baptism, as the channel through which the grace of the new birth is conveyed and the convert admitted into the church of Christ. ?saves us,? but not otherwise.? We may adopt this statement from Plumptre?s Commentary with the alteration of the word ?conveyed? into ?symbolized? or ?manifested.? Plumptre?s interpretation is, as he seems to admit, in its obvious meaning inconsistent with infant baptism; to us it seems equally inconsistent with any doctrine of baptismal regeneration.
Scriptural regeneration is God?s (1) changing man?s disposition, and (2) securing its first exercise. Regeneration, according to the Disciples, is man?s (1) repentance and faith, and (2) submission to baptism. Alexander Campbell, Christianity Restored:
?We plead that all the converting power of the Holy Spirit is exhibited in the divine Record.? Address of Disciples to Ohio Baptist State Convention, 1871: ?With us regeneration includes all that is comprehended in faith, repentance, and baptism, and so far as it is expressive of birth, it belongs more properly to the last of these than to either of the former.? But if baptism be the instrument of regeneration, it is difficult to see how the patriarchs, or the penitent thief, could have been regenerated. <422343>Luke 23:43 ? ?This day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.? Bossuet: ??This day? what promptitude! ?With me? ? what companionship! ?In Paradise? ? what rest!? Bersier: ??This day ? what then? no flames of Purgatory? no long period of mournful expiation? ?This day? ? pardon and heaven!?
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