Monday, September 3, 2012

Baptismal Regeneration a Poisonous Notion (John Gill)

“Once more, the baneful influence spread by Antichrist over the nations by infant-baptism, is that poisonous notion infused by him, that sacraments, particularly baptism, confer grace ex opere operate, by the work done; that it takes away sin, regenerates men, and saves their souls; …

“And this pernicious notion still continues, this old leaven yet remains, even in some Protestant churches, who have retained it from Rome; hence a child when baptized is declared to be regenerate; and it is taught, when capable of being catechized to say, that in its baptism it was made a child of God, a member of Christ, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven, which has a tendency to take off all concern, in persons when grown up, about an inward work of grace, in regeneration and sanctification, as a meetness for heaven, and to encourage a presumption in them, notwithstanding their apparent want of grace, that they are members of Christ, and shall never perish; are children and heirs of God, and shall certainly inherit eternal life. Wherefore Dr. [John] Owen rightly observes “That the father of lies himself could not easily have devised a doctrine more pernicious, or what proposes a more present and effectual poison to the minds of sinners to be drank in by them.”

John Gill, “Infant Baptism: a Part and Pillar of Popery,” Providence Baptist Ministries 

(Disclaimer: We disagree with Gill that infant baptism is itself an error, so long as it is understood that infant baptism plays absolutely no role in salvation.  As such, we join Gill in condemning the Catholic view of infant baptism, which does hold that infant baptism saves.)

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