Baptismal Regeneration and FV???

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Robert Truelove

Puritan Board Sophomore
Someone please explain this to me...

Why is it that I hear FV advocates constantly disavowing that they teach baptismal regeneration BUT Athanasius Press (aka Steve Wilkins and Co.) has reprinted "The Second Adam and the New Birth" by M.F. Sadler (a 19th Century Anglican) along with a glowing introductory essay by Rich Lusk in the beginning of the book.

Have any of you read this book? I have and I fail to see how this book is not a blatant and clear defense of baptismal regeneration. Please help me if I am totally misunderstanding what this book is teaching.
 

raderag

Puritan Board Sophomore
Someone please explain this to me...

Why is it that I hear FV advocates constantly disavowing that they teach baptismal regeneration BUT Athanasius Press (aka Steve Wilkins and Co.) has reprinted "The Second Adam and the New Birth" by M.F. Sadler (a 19th Century Anglican) along with a glowing introductory essay by Rich Lusk in the beginning of the book.

Have any of you read this book? I have and I fail to see how this book is not a blatant and clear defense of baptismal regeneration. Please help me if I am totally misunderstanding what this book is teaching.

Perhaps you lost the decoder ring that came with the book? Or maybe you haven't been blessed with the FV gnosis. Certainly, it isn't dialectic.
 

Gryphonette

Moderator
You've clearly forgotten the Magic Words which remove any taint of baptismal regeneration from any and all FV teachings.....


"In Some Sense." >:^>

Just toss an "In Some Sense" over whatever sounds remarkably like BP and POOF!....Bob's your uncle. All's copacetic.
 

Robert Truelove

Puritan Board Sophomore
Thanks for the replies folks but I am honestly struggling with this.

"We aren't teaching baptismal regeneration"

AND

Lusk speaking of Sadler's book, "In this classic volume, nineteenth-century Reformed Anglican M.F. Sadler provides invaluable insight into the Sacrament of Christian Baptism."

These two statements are such a stark contradiction in my mind that either I am completely missing the point (and I honestly present that perhaps I am missing something, thus the reason for this post) or the ultimate problem with (some?, all?) Federal Vision proponents is being bold faced liars who intend to deceive.

The later is such an extreme judgment, I halt short of making that accusation. I am honestly trying to discern what I am not understanding in all of this.

Perhaps I should ask someone a little more friendly to the FV position (someone not willing to call it a heresy yet)...Is there something I am not getting here?
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
Thanks for the replies folks but I am honestly struggling with this.

"We aren't teaching baptismal regeneration"

AND

Lusk speaking of Sadler's book, "In this classic volume, nineteenth-century Reformed Anglican M.F. Sadler provides invaluable insight into the Sacrament of Christian Baptism."

These two statements are such a stark contradiction in my mind that either I am completely missing the point (and I honestly present that perhaps I am missing something, thus the reason for this post) or the ultimate problem with (some?, all?) Federal Vision proponents is being bold faced liars who intend to deceive.

The later is such an extreme judgment, I halt short of making that accusation. I am honestly trying to discern what I am not understanding in all of this.

Perhaps I should ask someone a little more friendly to the FV position (someone not willing to call it a heresy yet)...Is there something I am not getting here?

I don't think you're missing anything. It's characteristic of the typical way FV folks seem to deal with their own statements.

FV Freddy: "Final justification is based on works."

Orthodox Oliver: "So our justification is ultimately based on our obedience?"

FV Freddy: "That's not what I said."

Same thing here.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
I think a good thing to keep in mind with heresies is that they are a work of the flesh. (Gal 5:20) Just as drunkenness is a work of the flesh. Heretics are mastered by their flesh just like a drunk. And as a drunk will lie and rationalize and change the subject to hide his addiction, so shall a heretic. If you have ever had anyone close to you who is a drunk you are continually astounded at the bold face lies and rationalizations and denial that go on. It is the same for heretics. It makes you head spin. As Paul said, "Oh wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" These men need us to pray in the same way we would pray for a drunk.
 

AV1611

Puritan Board Senior
Someone please explain this to me...

Why is it that I hear FV advocates constantly disavowing that they teach baptismal regeneration BUT Athanasius Press (aka Steve Wilkins and Co.) has reprinted "The Second Adam and the New Birth" by M.F. Sadler (a 19th Century Anglican) along with a glowing introductory essay by Rich Lusk in the beginning of the book.

Have any of you read this book? I have and I fail to see how this book is not a blatant and clear defense of baptismal regeneration. Please help me if I am totally misunderstanding what this book is teaching.

Our curate lent me his copy of Wilson's Reformed is Not Enough and in reading that I think Wilson could be said to be fluent in double-speak. :D
 

wsw201

Puritan Board Senior
The key to understanding this is to look at baptism "covenantally". Lane Kiester on his blog "Greenbaggins" is going through the statement that was put out by a number of FV advocates, including Steve Wilkins. This might help you get a better feel for what they are saying or not saying.
 

Robert Truelove

Puritan Board Sophomore
I actually understand what they seem to be saying about looking at baptism 'covenantally' (and the 'objectivity of the covenant') but Sadler is an Anglican defending baptismal regeneration and these guys are saying his book is great defense of their position on baptism (see Lusk's article in the beginning of the book)...but then they say, "we aren't teaching baptismal regeneration.

Have any here read Sadler's book, 'The Second Adam and the New Birth'? If so, would any of you that have actually read the book say that the book is not a defense of baptismal regeneration? That I have misread it?


The key to understanding this is to look at baptism "covenantally". Lane Kiester on his blog "Greenbaggins" is going through the statement that was put out by a number of FV advocates, including Steve Wilkins. This might help you get a better feel for what they are saying or not saying.
 

Southern Presbyterian

Puritan Board Doctor
darth.gif


It's the Jedi mindtrick: *Wave hand and persuasively say, "We do not teach baptismal regeneration. And if you persist in thinking so, it's just because you haven't understood us properly. You see, what we really think is ______________."


It's the Wizard of Oz I tell you.....

"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtains!"

;)
 

Robert Truelove

Puritan Board Sophomore
In the recent "Joint Federal Vision Statement" put forth by many of the leading FV advocates (including Steve Wilkins and Rich Lusk)..they state...

"The Sacrament of Baptism
We affirm that God formally unites a person to Christ and to His covenant people through
baptism into the triune Name, and that this baptism obligates such a one to lifelong
covenant loyalty to the triune God, each baptized person repenting of his sins and trusting
in Christ alone for his salvation. Baptism formally engrafts a person into the Church,
which means that baptism is into the Regeneration, that time when the Son of Man sits
upon His glorious throne (Matt. 19:28).

We deny that baptism automatically guarantees that the baptized will share in the
eschatological Church. We deny the common misunderstanding of baptismal
regeneration—i.e. that an “effectual call” rebirth is automatically wrought in the one
baptized. Baptism apart from a growing and living faith is not saving, but rather damning.
But we deny that trusting God's promise through baptism elevates baptism to a human
work. God gives baptism as assurance of His grace to us personally, as our names are
spoken when we are baptized."

My question is, how is it they are saying the Sadler's book is compatible with the statement above? Has anyone tried to understand the FV advocates enough to at least have heard how they attempt to reconcile this?

I'm not asking if you agree or not, but what do they say to this?
 

R. Scott Clark

Puritan Board Senior
Sorry to keep flogging this but...

The problem is not that they don't teach BR, but that they teach MUCH more than this.

That's why they deny teaching BR, because that charge doesn't get at their appropriation of covenantal language and theology. What they teach is baptismal union with Christ. I've explained it (popularly) here:



and more technically here.

rsc
 

Robert Truelove

Puritan Board Sophomore
I think I understand what you are saying, but I am trying to pick at one thing at a time to make sure I understand what all is being said.

If I could stick here on the BR subject though...I understand how it comes back to 'baptism brings one into union with Christ'...but if this is not synonymous with baptismal regeneration, then what is the point they are trying to make out of Saddler's classic defense of BR?

It is confusing to me when someone says, "I am not teaching baptismal regeneration" and then "to help you understand where I am coming from, read Saddler's defense of baptismal regeneration." It's just utterly confusing?!?!?

Sorry to keep flogging this but...

The problem is not that they don't teach BR, but that they teach MUCH more than this.

That's why they deny teaching BR, because that charge doesn't get at their appropriation of covenantal language and theology. What they teach is baptismal union with Christ. I've explained it (popularly) here:



and more technically here.

rsc
 

R. Scott Clark

Puritan Board Senior
Robert,

I think that more than a few of the FV folks do believe in and promote baptismal regeneration. You're right to be confused. They are confusing. Sometimes folk in the FV movement do deny teaching BR. As a group, they do seem to be trying to have it both ways.

I think the point of republishing this work is to say, "Hey, here's a reputable Reformed fellow who says something approaching what we want to say." In other words, for many of them, I don't think this volume is identical to what they want to say, but it's a step away from the confessional view and toward their view.

Obviously the movement is very diverse and while the leaders tend to deny BR there lots of FV followers who post online who do hold BR.

rsc
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Sorry to keep flogging this but...

The problem is not that they don't teach BR, but that they teach MUCH more than this.

That's why they deny teaching BR, because that charge doesn't get at their appropriation of covenantal language and theology. What they teach is baptismal union with Christ. I've explained it (popularly) here:



and more technically here.

rsc


{Jedi Mind trick} Buy my book....

Seriously Dr. Clark, you should stick that in the Book Review section as well. I wish more folks would use that feature. I'd love for more people to be reading the stuff you guys print.
 

Robert Truelove

Puritan Board Sophomore
Right now I am primarily looking at those who signed the Join Federal Vision Statement (http://www.federal-vision.com/pdf/fvstatement.pdf). Among the signers are the very ones who re-published Saddlers book with acclaim.

I am struggling with what appers to be exceedingly contradictory statements/events. I feel like I am trying to reason theology with Homer Simpson ("I'll teach you to laugh at something that is funny!!!" - no. I didn't see the movie but saw the preview).

I am thinking my pastoral approach on this will be to simply go with what they have written, in their own words. When a future congregate challenges what I am showing them based upon some 'clarification' statement the author has made; I will stick to the initial statement and say this IS what is being taught. The more I understand this situation, the more I think what we need is not clarification, but formal retraction and restatement if they still feel like they have something to say.

I am no theologian; just a humble pastor. Unfortunately, it is guys like me who are on the battlefield dealing directly with the souls in the pews over matters like this.

Robert,

I think that more than a few of the FV folks do believe in and promote baptismal regeneration. You're right to be confused. They are confusing. Sometimes folk in the FV movement do deny teaching BR. As a group, they do seem to be trying to have it both ways.

I think the point of republishing this work is to say, "Hey, here's a reputable Reformed fellow who says something approaching what we want to say." In other words, for many of them, I don't think this volume is identical to what they want to say, but it's a step away from the confessional view and toward their view.

Obviously the movement is very diverse and while the leaders tend to deny BR there lots of FV followers who post online who do hold BR.

rsc
 

wsw201

Puritan Board Senior
One of the things that FV'ers are not willing to do is think through the implications of their theology. I think thats why they can say they do not teach BR (probably they don't want to be accused of being RC!) but by implication they actually do. I have noticed the same thing when many FV'ers were endorsing Lewis Schenks book on baptism where he was attempting to make the arguement that presumptive regeneration was the true position of the historic Presbyterian Church. But they would say that they really did not believe in Kuyperian PR.
 

tewilder

Puritan Board Freshman
One of the things that FV'ers are not willing to do is think through the implications of their theology. I think thats why they can say they do not teach BR (probably they don't want to be accused of being RC!) but by implication they actually do. I have noticed the same thing when many FV'ers were endorsing Lewis Schenks book on baptism where he was attempting to make the arguement that presumptive regeneration was the true position of the historic Presbyterian Church. But they would say that they really did not believe in Kuyperian PR.

If by "they" you mean the Federal Vision people, then of course they do not believe in Kuyperian Presumptive Regeneration. It is one of the things the Federal Vision has been attacking from the beginning. Remember the influence of Schilder on the FV. For Schilder baptism has an objective covenantal basis, not presumption.
 
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