This is a response to what I think Paul D is implying by his post John MacArthur was for Baptismal Regeneration before he was against it.
I have to disagree with you here. Baptists ironically are against baptism. But scripture is clear that baptism is the point of salvation. I don’t even have to list them, you know the ones, Acts 2:38, Galatians 3:26-27, 1 Peter 3:21. Galatians 3:26-27 is from Paul to boot.
Its Calvinism’s insistence that baptism is not essential to salvation that makes them so arbitrary. People can all get saved in different ways according to them, for which purpose you have to give a “testimony” of how you got saved. And some people’s testimony is “cooler” than others, while some is more “boring.” And they use this to shame people who grew up living clean lives before they “got saved.” But with baptism as the normative point of salvation, there is no need for such testimony. I know when you got saved: when you believed and were baptized.
Baby baptism, of course, doesn’t count, and the phrase “Baptismal regeneration” as a pejorative, should be saved for the baby baptizers. Only baby baptizers believe that baptism BY ITSELF regenerates. (That is, in other words, baby baptizers believe that the water itself regenerates apart from faith.) Credo-baptists who nonetheless teach that baptism is essential, simply see it as what Jesus meant when he said: “You must be born of water and of the Spirit.”
Compare John 3:5 to Acts 2:38.
“You must be born of water and of the Spirit.”
“Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins and you will receive the Holy Spirit as a gift.”
So when you go into the water as a believer, you receive the Holy Spirit = born of water and of the Spirit.
Now, it was Jesus who said “YOU MUST” do this. Paul doesn’t get to rescind that. Nor do I think he intended to. When he says justification is by faith and not by works, he is not excluding baptism. That is the one so-called “work” that he cannot be excluding, or he is a pure heretic who contradicts Jesus directly.
Also everyone who banishes baptism from conversion, ends up replacing it with a work they made up on their own, the sinner’s prayer. This is fact is behind the Calvinist attacks on the sinner’s prayer of recent. Baptists tossed baptism and replaced it with the sinner’s prayer to satisfy the Calvinist hatred of baptism, long ago. But now the Calvinists are coming back to take that away too.
Regardless of what all of those verses seem to say, It is clear that we receive the Spirit by believing and not works of the law (Gal 3:2).
That is certainly true. But where does “the Law” command baptism? Jesus commanded it, not “the Law.” This is a classic Calvinist mistake, to confuse what is Jesus and what is the Law.
Now, look at Acts 2:41 “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized.” Not one person who accepted Peter’s message refused to be baptized. For had they done so, they would have shown they did not believe the message of the gospel at all, since the message of the gospel contains the command to be baptized. If you don’t believe that, you don’t believe the gospel.
I know this is the case also from the very verse you are using against it. Galatians 3:2 NRSV “The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard?” What did I hear? Believe in Jesus, repent of your sins, and “be baptized for the remission of sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Do I believe what I heard? If so, I will be baptized.
And Paul says plainly in the same book, Galatians 3:26-27 KJV “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
I became a child of God by faith in Christ, but when? John 1:12 says as many as believed received the RIGHT to become sons of God. Yes, at belief you receive the RIGHT. When do you use that right? In baptism.
Paul says I am a child of God by faith in Christ, FOR I was baptized into Christ and put on Christ. It follows then that if I was not baptized into Christ I did not become a son of God.
Calvinists teach the false gospel that you become a child of God prior to baptism, then discourage baptism, and they’ve brainwashed Arminian Baptists to teach the same false gospel, in the hope of damning many people to hell by tricking them into never getting baptized. And when they can’t accomplish that, they implement infant baptism to trick people into thinking they were already baptized when they weren’t because you must be a believer when you are baptized or it is invalid.