Anglicans and Baptismal Regeneration

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KMK

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From the Book of Common Prayer 1662

ALMIGHTY and immortal God, the aid of all that need, the helper of all that flee to thee for succour, the life of them that believe, and the resurrection of the dead: We call upon thee for this Infant, that he, coming to thy holy Baptism, may receive remission of his sins by spiritual regeneration. Receive him, 0 Lord, as thou hast promised by thy well-beloved Son, saying, Ask, and ye shall have; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: So give now unto us that ask; let us that seek find; open the gate unto us that knock; that this Infant may enjoy the everlasting benediction of thy heavenly washing, and may come to the eternal kingdom which thou hast promised by Christ our Lord. Amen.

WE yield thee hearty thanks, most merciful Father, that it hath pleased thee to regenerate this Infant with thy Holy Spirit, to receive him for thine own Child by adoption, and to incorporate him into thy holy Church. And humbly we beseech thee to grant, that he, being dead unto sin, and living unto righteousness, and being buried with Christ in his death, may crucify the old man, and utterly abolish the whole body of sin; and that, as he is made partaker of the death of thy Son, he may also be partaker of his resurrection; so that finally, with the residue of thy holy Church, he may be an inheritor of thine everlasting kingdom; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Do Anglicans believe in baptismal regeneration in some form?
 

AV1611

Puritan Board Senior
Do Anglicans believe in baptismal regeneration in some form?

:rofl: Well, six of one and a half dozen of the other. :D

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who of thy great mercy didst save Noah and his family in the ark from perishing by water; and also didst safely lead the children of Israel thy people through the Red Sea, figuring thereby thy holy Baptism; and by the Baptism of thy well-beloved Son Jesus Christ, in the river Jordan, didst sanctify Water to the mystical washing away of sin: We beseech thee, for thine infinite mercies, that thou wilt mercifully look upon this Child; wash him and sanctify him with the Holy Ghost; that he, being delivered from thy wrath, may be received into the ark of Christ's Church; and being stedfast in faith, joyful through hope, and rooted in charity, may so pass the waves of this troublesome world, that finally he may come to the land of everlasting life, there to reign with thee world without end; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Seriously though, some would say yes it does however evangelicals would interpret the language so that it does not. That is why I passionately advocate its rewording.

Generally evangelicals would understand every child possessing faith (the faith of the parents) and so assume they are regenerate although there are as many evangelical fudges of the language as there are evangelicals.

Look at the Gorham judgment also ;)

Some articles of interest.
Baxter to Cummins: The Debate over the Language of Baptismal Regeneration in the Book of Common Prayer, 1662-1873
The Evangelical Doctrine of Baptism. Churchman article by John Stott
Regeneration and Baptism. Church Association Tract by J. C. Ryle.
 

KMK

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From the link:

The term "regenerate" was no doubt used in the Anglican formularies of all baptized infants; but the term was from Patristic times onwards ambiguous. It had, firstly, a "poetical, rhetorical, or hypothetical" sense, carrying on the language of the Old Testament about the chosen people, and that of the New Testament about the Church as a whole, where the whole nation or Church "is by supposition regarded as being what certain individuals of it really are"; secondly, a "technical or conventional" sense, in which it is only used as a term for outward and visible baptism; thirdly, a "doctrinal sense; and under this head we have," says Mozley, "first, the general statement that regeneration is the grace of baptism; secondly, that adults are regenerate in baptism upon the condition of faith and repentance; and, thirdly, that all infants are regenerate in baptism." The main body of language employed in the primitive Church, down to A.D. 300, was composed with adult baptism specially in mind.

So anglicans do believe in baptismal regeneration but they are not really sure what 'regeneration' means?
 

AV1611

Puritan Board Senior
So anglicans do believe in baptismal regeneration but they are not really sure what 'regeneration' means?

Ryle attempts an explanation in Knots Untied. The language is one of baptismal regeneration in my opinion.

The Gorham judgment stated:

‘That baptism is a sacrament generally necessary to salvation, but that the grace of regeneration does not so necessarily accompany the act of baptism that regeneration invariably takes place in baptism; that the grace may be granted before, in, or after baptism; that baptism is an effectual sign of grace by which God works invisibly in us, but only in such as worthily receive it – in them alone it has a wholesome effect; and that without reference to the qualification of the recipient it is not in itself an effectual sign of grace; that infants baptized and dying before actual sin are undoubtedly saved, but that in no case is baptism unconditional.’​

For Anglicans the sacrament is only effectual in a worthy receiver i.e. one who possesses faith. Now, Ryle argues, every one the priest baptises has faith or at least confesses that they do, even infants possess faith - the faith of their parents who act as their surety. Therefore the prayers are based upon a judgment of charity otherwise known as presumptive faith.

Stott writes:
The question may be asked why, if baptism does not by itself confer the graces it signifies (but rather a title to them), the Bible and Prayer Book sometimes speak as if they did. I have already mentioned such phrases as ‘baptized into Christ’ (Rom 6:3), ‘as many as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ’ (Gal 3:27), ‘baptism saves us’ (1 Peter 3:21), and ‘this child is regenerate’ (Book of Common Prayer).

The answer is really quite simple. It is that neither the Bible nor the Prayer Book envisages
the baptism of an unbeliever; they assume that the recipient is a true believer. And since
‘baptism and faith are but the outside and the inside of the same thing’ (James Denney), the
blessings of the New Covenant are ascribed to baptism which really belong to faith (Gal 3:26,
28). Jesus had said ‘he that believes and is baptized shall be saved’, implying that faith would
precede baptism. So a profession of faith after hearing the gospel always preceded baptism in Acts. For instance, ‘they that received the word were baptized’ (2:41), ‘they believed Philip preaching... and were baptized’ (8:12), ‘Lydia gave heed to what was said by Paul. And when she was baptized...’ (16:14, 15), ‘believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved...’ (16:31-3). It is the same in the Prayer Book service. There is no baptism in the Church of England except the baptism of a professing believer, adult or infant. The adult candidate’s declaration of repentance, faith and surrender is followed by baptism and the declaration of regeneration.

The same is true of an infant in the 1662 service, where it is not the godparents who speak for the child so much as the child who is represented as speaking through his sponsors. The child declares his or her repentance, faith and surrender, and desire for baptism. The child is then baptized and declared regenerate. So he is regenerate, in the same sense as he is a repentant believer in Jesus Christ, namely in the language of anticipatory faith or of sacraments.

It is in this sense too that we must understand the Catechism statement ‘I was made a child of God’. It is sacramental language. I was ‘made’ a child of God in baptism, because baptism gave me a title to this privilege, not because baptism conferred this status on me irrespective of whether I believed or not.

J B Mozley writes of ‘a class of statements which are literal in form, but hypothetical in
meaning’. Again, he says it is ‘a literal statement intended to be understood hypothetically’ (p241).​
 

KMK

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From the link:

We praise you, most merciful Father, that all whom you receive and adopt as your own are spiritually regenerate and made true members of your church: grant that this child, being buried and raised with Christ, may have victory over sin, the world and the devil, that he may live a righteous life and that at the end he may inherit your eternal kingdom along with all your faithful people, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

It still sounds like baptismal regeneration to me. (But that's just me) Maybe if the wording was, "Grant that this child, upon being buried and raised with Christ..."

What does your average run-of-the-mill anglican believe?
 

AV1611

Puritan Board Senior
It still sounds like baptismal regeneration to me. (But that's just me) Maybe if the wording was, "Grant that this child, upon being buried and raised with Christ..."

Note that it is asking God to do something rather then declaring that he has. Although I would far prefer the Reformed liturgy found here. :handshake:

What does your average run-of-the-mill anglican believe?

I can only speak for the Church of England and then the only two CofE congregations I have been to are the best and one of the best.

Most evangelicals would have a problem with the language but be happy with Stott's or Ryle's explanation. Some evangelicals who, like myself come from a Reformed position, would want the baptismal rite re-written hence that is what Church Society did. Others would hold that baptism regenerates one corporately which is very FV in my opinion.

Others have tried to retain both baptismal regeneration and justification by faith by diluting the content not of faith but of regeneration. They debase it from the inward new birth unto righteousness (which it always means in the New Testament) into an admission to the external privileges of the Covenant; or into an implanted capacity or faculty which does not necessarily issue in good works, i.e. a goodness which is potential rather than actual; or into merely the negative remission of original sin (as Augustine, and some Calvinists). But there is no biblical warrant for this eviscerated idea of regeneration, which in Scripture always means a supernatural birth effected by the Holy Spirit and manifest in holy living.

However a lot of Anglicans, through the Tractarians and the rituralists following them would hold to the RCC doctrine.
 

AV1611

Puritan Board Senior
As an aside, I would say that the baptismal rite of the BCP 1662 is Lutheran whilst the Holy Communion is Calvinist :)
 
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