Dr. David Peterson Answers Your Questions: Does Titus 3 Speak of Baptismal Regeneration?

Published on October 6, 2016 by Todd Scacewater

IVP, 2001 | 191 pages

Have your own question for Dr. Peterson? Let us know and we’ll pass it on!

Q&A With Dr. Peterson

Dr. David Peterson, author of Possessed by God, offered to answers your questions on the doctrine of sanctification and related issues. This week we’re posting more of his answers to your questions.

Henry writes,

Titus 3:3-8 remains a “hot button” for North American Anglicans, used as a proof text for baptismal regeneration. Would you please comment further on the relationship between regeneration and renewal particularly as to what extent we are to understand the sign of baptism here, if at all?

Dr. Peterson responds,

The cleansing portrayed in baptism is the washing from sin of which Paul speaks in 1 Cor. 6:11; Eph. 5:26 (cf. Heb. 10:22). This cleansing was achieved on the cross and is conveyed to us ‘by the word’ (Eph. 5:26), which we must receive by faith to be sanctified (2 Thess. 2:13-14). So it is going beyond the meaning of Titus 3:5 to suggest that the apostle has in mind baptismal regeneration, though the sign value of baptism may be implied. The Spirit’s work is to enable belief in the promises of the gospel and to enable those who believe to become part of the new creation that God is bringing to birth. From Paul’s use of the language of renewal elsewhere in his writings, it appears that renewal is “a continuous and progressive activity, arising from regeneration” (Possessed by God, p. 127).

Buy the books

Possessed by God

IVP, 2001 | 191 pages