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The 39 Articles of Religion. Part sixteen: Baptism. Article XXVII. Of Baptism.

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the 39 articles of religion

The 39 Articles of Religion

Part sixteen: Baptism

article xxvii of baptism
Article XXVII. Of Baptism.

Baptism is not only a sign of profession, and mark of difference, whereby Christian men are discerned from others that be not christened, but it is also a sign of Regeneration or New-Birth, whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive Baptism rightly are grafted into the Church; the promises of the forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed, Faith is confirmed, and Grace increased by virtue of prayer unto God. The Baptism of young Children is in any wise to be retained in the Church, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ.

credo baptism and the covenant of faith
Credo-baptism and the covenant of faith
  • Baptist theology emphasizes the NT distinction between Abraham’s physical and spiritual descendents, reserving the sign of the covenant for the latter.
    • But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” Romans 9:6-7

Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, Abraham and the three angels, 1656

baptized into christ
‘Baptized’ into… Christ
  • Baptism is a sign of profession; it is also the “mark of difference, whereby Christian men are discerned from others that be not christened.”
  • Baptism is a transformative rite of initiation, objective in its operation.

FransFracken II, Israelites crossing the Red Sea,

circa 1620s

god s prevenient grace
God’s prevenient grace
  • The preposition used with the verb “baptize” in biblical Greek is best translated “with a view to,” and the human part always constructed in passive voice.
  • This creates a sense of human recipients of God’s active, prevenient grace

Lambert Sustris, Baptism of the Ethiopian Eunuch, circa 1645

baptismal regeneration
Baptismal regeneration?
  • “Christian Baptism is an ordinance of the New Covenant. It is an ordinance of entrance into Covenant. It initiates the receiver of it into the new, better and everlasting Covenant. It does this after the manner of a rite. It does it formally—ceremonially. It gives new birth, new life, forgiveness, the Spirit, grace and glory. But it gives as a deed gives—not as an electric wire gives. It gives a title…”
  • Handley C. G. Moule, Bishop of Durham [1841-1920]

Rembrandt, Jacob blesses Joseph’s sons, 1656

salvation ships and stormy seas
Salvation, ships, and stormy seas

… God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ… 1 Peter 3:18-22

Hans Jordaens, Noah’s Ark, circa 1610s

the assurance of grace to helpless souls
The assurance of grace to helpless souls

“Baptism is not given us to celebrate our faith, but God’s grace. The faith may come afterwards; the grace long antedates it.” Michael Green, Baptism: Its Purpose, Practice, and power, p. 121

Michael Ancher, Infant Baptism in Skagen Church, circa 1885