Catholic Cheat Sheet on Regenerative Baptism

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Baptism of Christ, fragment from the Catacombs of Marcellinus and Peter, c. 330. Image via Wikipedia.

Look mom, my blog was mentioned on another Catholic apologist’s blog! And it’s one that I subscribe to. Now this is not the first time this has occurred but it is still pretty cool.

As I was going through my Google Reader list, I came across the following post:

The Biblical Basis for Regenerative Baptism
My niece is getting baptized this weekend, so I thought I’d dedicate this post to her, and to the awesome power of Baptism. The blog Jesus, I Trust in You has a very good “Catholic Cheat Sheet.”  It’s a quick go-to guide of Scriptural support in favor of given Church teachings.

via Shameless Popery: The Biblical Basis for Regenerative Baptism.

The bulk of the post highlights the verses speaking to regenerative baptism but, as I would expect from any blog called Shameless Popery, blogger Joe Heschmeyer even adds a new verse and provides some insight why.

How cool is this?

In addition to these, I would add Ezekiel 36:24-28. In it, God promises that the Day is coming when He’ll unite Him people through a regenerative washing in pure water by the power of the Holy Spirit, and that after it, we will be His people, and He will be Our God:

“For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be cleanI will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit in you and move you to follow My decrees and be careful to keep My laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.”

I can’t think of anything more regenerative than God creating in us “a new heart” with “a new spirit.” This passage outlines all four of the features of Baptism. First, the Holy Spirit is imparted through Baptism (which Acts 2:37-38 also says explicitly).  Second, Baptism cleanses us from sin (as Acts 22:16 says).  Third, not only does it cleanse us from present sins, but it enables us to avoid sinning in the future, with the imparting of a new spirit. That’s how it both justifies and sanctifies us, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:11.

Finally, through Baptism, we become the people of God.  Paul says in Colossians 2:11-12, “In Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not administered by hand, by stripping off the carnal body, with the circumcision of Christ. You were buried with Him in Baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the power of God, who raised Him from the dead.” This is similar to his message in Romans 6:4, but here, Paul specifically describes it as the New Testament fulfillment of circumcision.  If you don’t recall, it was through circumcision that males were made members of Old Testament Israel.  This was done on the eighth day after birth (Gen. 17:12), and failure to do so meant that the boy wasn’t an Israelite (Gen. 17:14).  When Paul describes Baptism as the new circumcision, he’s calling upon an image central to Jewish identity.  From this, we can say with confidence that Baptism is to be extended even to infants, since those were the primary recipients of circumcision.  And since Baptism determines membership in the Church, as circumcision did in Israel, and we know that small children are part of the Church (Luke 18:16).  Otherwise, we’re saying that babies can be Jews (by circumcision) but not Christians (by Baptism), a bizarre conclusion, since the New Covenant is what opened the doors to the Gentile world.

Thanks for checking out my blog Joe. And I am glad the baptism went well. May the Lord bless your niece, your family, your blog and of course yourself and even Fr. Andrew.

Keep up the good work!

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