Some qualifications need to be made. Perhaps I have come across as someone who detests the entire project of the Westminster West gang. Most days that’s how I wanna come across; but then on those 65 degree-days in Florida when the sun is shining brighter than usual and the breeze is more gentle than usual–in those days– I feel rather loving. 2KT (Two-Kingdom-Theology) gets a lot of the spiritual stuff right. Unlike the Southern Presby’s, the Lutheranos actually do talk about bread and wine, and baptism is not as scary to them.
In fact, I heard a sermon by a 2KT pastor, who began by stating that Protestants have an “unduly negative view of baptism.” In other words, we are always trying to qualify what baptism is. Protestants spend most of their time debating the mode and who should be baptized, but they spend little time talking about what baptism accomplishes. Now that’s the way to begin a sermon on baptism! This pastor said that most pastors are so afraid that our view on baptism will sound like Rome that they simply avoid passages like “baptism now saves you” or “be baptized for the forgiveness of sins.” Amen and Amen.
Now they are speaking my language! They are stressing what I think needs to be stressed more and more, world without end. But then…
they go right back to their formulations. “But of course,” they say, “baptism is not regeneration.” The sign and seal are so deeply connected that for Peter it appears to be one and the same, but it is not. Oh, logic, where art thou? We do not want to sound like Rome; check. We do not want to sound biblical; check. But why can’t we just use biblical language and let the nachos fall where they may? Let the Southern Presbys live in their inconsistency. They’re used to it! Why do you all have to be so careful in not affirming what should be affirmed? How about trying this sometime: Baptism regenerates, but not all those regenerated truly live the baptized life. Some fall away and apostatize. They abandon the faith. These are brought into the historical, visible covenant, but they are ultimately not part of the eternal, eschatological covenant. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?