• What is conveyed to an infant at baptism? Question and Answer

    What is conveyed to an infant at baptism is a sign of God’s promise to give that child the benefits of the person and work of Christ when he comes to faith. Baptism is the sign of the covenant, which is that God promises salvation to all who believe. It does not convey faith, nor does it convey the benefits. However, the sign does convey, symbolically, the promise of God to all who believe. This transcript is from an Ask R.C. Live event with R.C. Sproul and has been lightly edited … View Resource

  • Is Roman Catholic baptism valid? Question and Answer

    The question concerning the validity of Roman Catholic baptism is difficult, and Reformed people are divided upon it. The basic question is this: Was the baptism done in the name of the Trinity, with water, and with the intent to mark the person with the promises of God for His covenant? If you’ve concluded that was the original intent of the Roman baptism, then I think it is not a requirement for that person to be re-baptized. The other position that people in the Reformed church take is this: since the Roman Catholic Church, in the sixteenth century, condemned and … View Resource

  • Whom has Christ authorized to baptize? Can parents baptize a child at home? Question and Answer

    PARSONS: Christ has authorized His elders of His church, His undershepherds, to baptize. Yet, we also have run across many circumstances where people have been baptized by someone other than an elder of Christ’s church, and that’s where we have to use a great deal of wisdom and discernment. We have to consider the circumstances and how the baptism was performed. It takes the wisdom of the plurality of elders in a local body to discern if that baptism was a legitimate baptism. We have to deal with this quite frequently as a church. People come from lots of different … View Resource

  • I was baptized before conversion. Should I be baptized again after coming to faith? Question and Answer

    No one is ever required to be baptized again. That’s a point Calvin makes very strongly throughout his writings. Baptism, by its very nature, can only happen once. Now, of course, the people who want to baptize you after you come to faith don’t believe you’ve really been baptized before. They would say that they are not promoting being baptized again; they are promoting being baptized, properly, once. There are some groups who actually do talk about being baptized again, but that is to misunderstand the fundamental nature of baptism. Baptism is a sacrament that speaks of the reality that … View Resource

  • What does it mean that baptism is for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38)? Question and Answer

    Acts 2:38

    SPROUL: Baptism is a sign, and it signifies the forgiveness of sins. I don’t think that it automatically carries forgiveness of sins with it, but it’s a central sign of what our salvation is. We’re being washed with water, and the significance of that sign is cleansing, specifically cleansing from sin. There is a dispute about the efficacy of the sacrament; namely whether it happens ex opere operato, which is simply by the exercise of the sacrament, or whether it needs to be accompanied by faith for its efficacy. I would take the latter position. THOMAS: It’s important to emphasize … View Resource

  • What would you say in response to the doctrine of baptismal regeneration? Question and Answer

    Romans 2:28-29

    I would say, first of all, that I’m not at all an advocate of baptismal regeneration. I don’t think that baptism conveys regeneration either for infants or for adults. Regeneration is a sovereign work of God the Holy Spirit. Now, baptism is a sign of regeneration, but that doesn’t mean the sign is conveyed automatically by the sacrament itself. As a Protestant, I believe that the sacraments are effective by and through faith. In the operation of baptism, God makes a promise to His people and to their seed. If they come to faith (and that would presume they were … View Resource

  • What is the significance of baptism? Question and Answer

    Just as an aside, the word significance has as its root the word sign. A sign is something that points to something beyond itself. We all recognize that whatever baptism signifies, Jesus obviously thought it was very important because he gives a command to baptize all nations in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Whatever else it is, baptism is the sign of the new covenant that God makes with his people. We do have the clear mandate in the New Testament that Christians are to be baptized. I personally do not believe that baptism … View Resource