Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Another Start

Here is part of the text I wrote to Dr. Owen earlier today. I think it might go a long way toward clarifying my views on baptism while eliminating the unnecessary invective:
In fair exchange, I actually view baptism as more significant than most Baptists do, but there is something in me that rejects the notion that baptism itself actually effects anything. I see it more in terms of its association with the application of the full benefits of Christ's death, but outside the purview of time--something more than mere symbolism, but something not quite efficacious. In other words, I see the application of the benefits of Christ's death centered in baptism, but applied at the point of belief in anticipation of that baptism rather than withheld until baptism occurs (hence, Acts 10).
This view comes close to Wallace's view of Acts 2:38 in his Grammar. I'm not sure yet whether I agree that eis should be taken as purposive in that passage (as Wallace suggests), but in theory I should have no objection to it given my view (stated above), so long as it is not taken in such a way as to suggest that baptism actually effects regeneration or justification. This view has the advantage of explaining all the baptismal texts, including the potential purpose clause in Acts 2:38 and the post-regeneration call for baptism in Acts 10. On the other hand, I do not believe any view that sees baptism as efficacious can explain all these differing accounts, at least not in a consistent way.