THE DOCTRINE OF BAPTISMAL REGENERATION:
AN ANALYSIS OF ITS ASSOCIATION WITH THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT
A Research Paper
Submitted to Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary Online
In Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Course
Systematic Theology II (TH 530-D09)
Justin Hartpence (23828793)
May 12, 2013
This paper shall argue that this is an inaccurate depiction and seek to put forth the common view of baptism in the Restoration Movement as distinct from the common understanding of baptismal regeneration, while pointing to key factors that play a role in popular inaccuracies.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
DEFINING REGENERATION 2 ...view middle of the document...
This has lead many, especially in the Reformed tradition, to dismiss those in the Restoration Movement as heretical baptismal regenerationists, and as such associated with cults like Mormonism, leading people "captive" into doctrinal error. Is this an accurate depiction, demagoguery or simple ignorance? This paper shall argue that this is an inaccurate depiction and seek to put forth the common view of baptism in the Restoration Movement as distinct from the common understanding of baptismal regeneration, while pointing to key factors that play a role in popular inaccuracies.
Regeneration is a term that is pregnant with meaning. The mere application of the word to a subject implies an antecedent status of death. One who is regenerated is one brought to new life. The Greek word translated as regeneration only appears twice in the New Testament. A lexical analysis of this word shows that, to be regenerated is to "experience a complete change in one's way of life to what it should be." It is evident that the first usage of this word, in Matthew 19:28, is clearly connected to an established Jewish association to the eschatological resurrection from the dead. Its second usage, in Titus 3:5, however is connected to baptism in the phrase "washing of regeneration." This connection will be explored further later, but association between regeneration and new life stands. All other import to the meaning of regeneration is made through logical association. One of the most prominent associations is found in John 3. In this passage Christ is sharing with the prominent Pharisee Nicodemus that citizenship in the kingdom of God is only possible if one is "born again." Being born again or regenerated is a resurrection and re-creation of the fallen soul and spirit of the individual by the Holy Spirit. J. I. Packer looks at regeneration as the concept of "God renovating the heart, the core of a person’s being, by implanting a new principle of desire, purpose, and action, a dispositional dynamic that finds expression in positive response to the gospel and its Christ." This analysis by Packer breaks down the internal components of the new birth. Regeneration is an instantaneous event that reorients the individual to continue in the process of sanctification with a proper relationship with God.
Though there has been variance to the concept of regeneration over the course of Christian history, what was just presented is a basic understanding that is widely accepted today across denominational lines. What seems to be more disagreed upon today is where regeneration fits in the ordo salutis (order of salvation). This is where the Restoration Movement theology collides with Reformed theology. Reformed theology puts regeneration early in its ordo salutis but sees baptism as coming later. Restoration Movement theology, on the other hand sees them as the same event. Because of this the Restorationist is lumped with the Catholic and the Lutheran...