Well I’ve promised to get back to these questions and I would have started on this Friday if my health hadn’t gone sour. Now that I’ve returned from the land of syringes and MRI machines I’m going to take this a bit at a time. (that’s blog talk for taking the questions and breaking them into bite size pieces)
I’m very curious how one can emphasize yet de-emphasize baptism simultaneously, while declaring it essential to obedience, yet not an absolute to avoid the idea of works being added to the grace of God.
The bible is clear that we are created “unto good works” and that “faith without works is dead”, so why the bug-bear over baptism being a “work”?
Let me state that as I read Eph.2:10 my interpretation is that poiēma (workmanship) refers to our newly created state and that we can’t do the works until we are newly created.
Now baptism has been used by both Lutherans and Roman Catholics as a means by which grace is infused into the infant and sin is forgiven. It is something that must occur for salvation to be given to the individual. The term for this is baptismal regeneration, it is something in addition to God’s electing grace. And as such it is a work that must occur (according to Lutheran and Roman Catholic doctrine) for salvation to be present. Baptists disagree insisting that the work of baptism doesn’t impart salvific grace of any kind.
To be continued…