Saturday, November 29, 2014

Titus 3:5 - “washing of regeneration”


Historically, the Church has used the word “regeneration” in two different ways: (1) as referring to baptism and the incorporation into the Church, and (2) as conversion. The former use is the dominant one in the early church, and the latter one the dominant use in evangelicalism today and since the Reformation. The problem is that Scripture teaches both ideas, using language that includes both (“regeneration” and “born again”), so what terms do we use? The 1928 Book of Common Prayer speaks of regeneration in baptism, but also uses potential language in that baptismal office, indicating that there is something more that may follow. The New Testament speaks of “regeneration” in baptism (Titus 3:5) and also of being “born again” in John’s writings as conversion. How do we present these things without confusing people? This paper is not an exhaustive study of these ideas, but primarily a study of “regeneration” in Titus 3:5 (with some other passages) and of “being born again” in John. The point is to demonstrate that both ideas of regeneration are in the New Testament, and that we in the Reformed Episcopal Church can hold to the Declaration of Principles and believe in “regeneration” in baptism without denying the other aspect of “new birth/conversion.” Read the full paper (PDF)

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