Presbyterianism, whose bodies are also called Reformed Churches, share a common origin in the 16th-century Swiss Reformation and the teachings of John Calvin, and today is one of the largest Christian denominations in Protestantism.

Baptismal Regeneration

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    Baptismal Regeneration

    Question:

    Many churches teach that baptism is necessary for salvation. This position is commonly called "baptismal regeneration," because it holds that one is "regenerated" or saved only when a person is baptized. A person who is not baptized, according to this teaching, is not saved and will not go to heaven even if he has believed and professed Jesus Christ as his Savior. Is this what the OPC believes?

    Answer:

    Presbyterians frequently face questions like yours. I have a hunch that many Christians in the "believer's baptism" camp mistakenly tend to believe of Presbyterians, "If you baptize infants, you must believe that baptism saves."

    The confessions and catechisms of churches grounded in the Reformation clearly deny that baptism saves:
    The Heidelberg Catechism (1563), Q. 72: "Does this outward washing with water itself wash away sins? A: "No, only Jesus Christ's blood and the Holy Spirit cleanse us from all sins."

    The Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647), Q. 91: "How do the sacraments become effectual means of salvation? A: "The sacraments become effectual means of salvation, not from any virtue in them or in the one who administers them, but only by the blessing of Christ, and the working of his Spirit in those who by faith receive them."


    The OPC heartily agrees with these historic statements.

    As for someone who professes Christ as Savior and Lord but is not baptized, the Bible is clear: "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.... Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Rom. 10:11, 13). Providential circumstances may prevent a believer from being baptized (e.g., the thief on the cross). Sometimes bad teaching will convince a believer that baptism is not necessary or even is wrong (e.g., the Salvation Army).

    The normal pattern, however, is for true believers to be eager for baptism. And, indeed, the OPC requires persons who profess Christ to be baptized before receiving them into church membership. Baptized infants are enrolled as non-communicant members of the church.

    I hope I have satisfactorily answered your questions. Thank you for writing.

    Source: Orthodox Presbyterian Church

    #2
    Originally posted by William View Post
    The normal pattern, however, is for true believers to be eager for baptism. And, indeed, the OPC requires persons who profess Christ to be baptized before receiving them into church membership. Baptized infants are enrolled as non-communicant members of the church.

    I hope I have satisfactorily answered your questions. Thank you for writing.
    "non-communicant members" is a technical jargon of the OPC that should probably be defined or explained for non-Presbyterians.
    Comment>

      #3
      Originally posted by atpollard View Post

      "non-communicant members" is a technical jargon of the OPC that should probably be defined or explained for non-Presbyterians.
      The two kinds of members in a particular church are: non-communicant and communicant. Non-communicant church members are children of believers, received into the visible church by infant baptism and thus subject to its discipline and oversight, and entitled to many of its privileges and blessings, but not permitted to come to the Lord's table. Communicant church members are those who have appeared before the session and have given evidence of a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, consistency of character and understanding of the Lord's supper, and have therefore been publicly received into the full privileges and responsibilities of communicant church membership.


      A. Some Reasons for Church Membership


      1. Non-communicant membership. The children of believers should become non-communicant church members:

      (a) because it is the will of God, who has ordained that they receive baptism as the sacrament of reception into Christ's church;

      (b) in order to benefit from the guidance and discipline of the church (Rom. 9:4, 5). (See chapter III for the further unfolding of this subject.)

      2. Communicant membership.

      (a) A non-communicant member of the church should become a communicant member:

      (1) in order to accept publicly the promises and assume the obligations of the covenant of grace signified by baptism;

      (2) in order to enter into the full privileges and duties of communicant church membership, i.e., to come to the Lord's table, to have one's children baptized, and to take an active part in the government of the church. These privileges are restricted to communicant church members in good standing (I Cor. 11:29).

      (b) An adult convert who was not in infancy received into the church by baptism should become a communicant church member:

      (1) Because this is a scriptural way of making a public profession of faith in Christ. The believer is commanded to profess publicly his faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9, 10; Matt. 10:32, 33);

      (2) Because every true church and denomination is a God-appointed organization for the benefit of the invisible church. Therein members of the invisible church have fellowship and worship together, thus practicing the communion of the saints. Thereby, members of the invisible church are nourished upon the Word, proclaim the gospel both at home and abroad, and care for the lambs of the flock (Eph. 4:11-13);

      (3) Because believers are commanded to partake of the sacraments. As the use of the sacraments is restricted to communicant church members in good standing, it is obviously the will of God for adult converts from the world to become communicant members of the church (I Cor. 11:29).


      B. The Requirements for Church Membership


      1. Non-communicant church membership.

      (a) A credible profession of faith by the parents, parent, or another acting as a parent. Only children of believers are eligible for non-communicant membership. We recognize one as a believer who has made a credible profession of faith.

      (b) A life of obedience on the part of the parents, parent, or another acting as a parent. This means that the parents must be church members in good and regular standing. Church membership is an evidence that one has made a credible profession of faith; good and regular standing in the church is an evidence of obedience in a denomination which is faithful in the exercise of church discipline.

      (c) Communicant church membership on the part of the parents, parent or another acting as a parent in the particular church in which it is desired that the child become a non-communicant member. Unless the parents are subject to its authority the church has no opportunity of fulfilling its obligations to the child, i.e.: to see that he exercises the privileges and duties of non-communicant church membership.

      (d) Infant baptism which is the badge of church membership. (See chapter III C, 1 c.)

      Source: Orthodox Presbyterian Church
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