Baptismal Regeneration vs. Baptism of the Holy Spirit?


[edited[/COLOR]]Hi All,
I am currently engaged in a discussion with a friend about Baptismal Regeneration. She, as a fundamentalist, doesn’t hold to it, and says the following to allegedly “disprove” it:

*“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism. One God and Father of us all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Eph. 4: 4-6) Which baptism is the one true baptism? Can we also say that Noah and his family was akin to the Israelites crossing the Red Sea? Why not? But they were all saved passing through the water. The water didn’t touch any of them… Furthermore, John the Baptist’s baptism was for repentance of sins, not salvation. In Matthew 3: 11 John the Baptist says: “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” The one true baptism is by Jesus Christ who baptizes with the Holy Ghost and fire. *

I know the above paragraph is rather sporadic and unintelligible, and much of it I can answer on my own (such as the allusion to Noah and Moses), but how do I combat the parts where she mentions John the Baptist and then tries to say that the “one baptism” is the “baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire”?



What took place at the beginning of the Church at Pentecost?

What did Peter say and do? See the beginning of Acts – Acts (2: 38) – they where to repent and be baptized – and what would happen? -what “for”? – “the forgiveness of sins” and to “receive the Holy Spirit”. And a very very large number were then baptized.

Yes the Baptism of John was one of repentance and not yet Christian Baptism -but then came Christ - then came the death and resurrection -then can the new Baptism - and one became a new creation as one was baptized into Christ as Paul puts it. One yes then received the Holy Spirit.

(PS in the early Church -as in the Eastern Catholic Churches today- one also received the Sacrament of Confirmation when baptized (as adult convert do today) - today in the west that is often at separate times in terms of children -but in any case one already receives the Holy Spirit at Christian Baptism)

(now does that mean there can be no more “sendings” no of course not - the Holy Spirit comes at various other times (but differently) - and note that in the Catholic Church there is the Charismatic Movement - they seek a particular sending - which one can say also and importantly is a stirring up (for lack of a better term) of what was already received in Baptism and Confirmation -along perhaps particular charisms)

The Christian receives the Holy Spirit at baptism - he becomes a temple of the Holy Spirit. He is yes regenerated – as St. Paul puts it “a new creation”.


Thank you very much for your reply! That does clear things up a bit.

Basically, if I may summarize, regeneration occurs at water Baptism, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit occurs at Confirmation, and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit which happened at Pentecost is something which can occur at any time. Is this correct?

It seems though that I am still a little confused about the different roles of the Holy Spirit in Baptism and Confirmation. Maybe you could help?



The indwelling of the Holy Spirit already happens at Baptism. One is a temple of the Holy Spirit.

“Baptism in the Holy Spirit” is a term that gets used by differently by Protestants Penta. and those of the Catholic Charismatic movement.

Confirmation is the Sacrament particularly related to the out pouring of the event oat Pentecost.


1302 It is evident from its celebration that the effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost.

1303 From this fact, Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace:

  • it roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, “Abba! Father!”;117

  • it unites us more firmly to Christ;

  • it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us;

  • it renders our bond with the Church more perfect;118

  • it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross:119

    Recall then that you have received the spiritual seal, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of holy fear in God’s presence. Guard what you have received. God the Father has marked you with his sign; Christ the Lord has confirmed you and has placed his pledge, the Spirit, in your hearts.120

1304 Like Baptism which it completes, Confirmation is given only once, for it too imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual mark, the “character,” which is the sign that Jesus Christ has marked a Christian with the seal of his Spirit by clothing him with power from on high so that he may be his witness.121

1305 This “character” perfects the common priesthood of the faithful, received in Baptism, and "the confirmed person receives the power to profess faith in Christ publicly and as it were officially (quasi Ex officio)."122


1279 The fruit of Baptism, or baptismal grace, is a rich reality that includes forgiveness of original sin and all personal sins, birth into the new life by which man becomes an adoptive son of the Father, a member of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit. By this very fact the person baptized is incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ, and made a sharer in the priesthood of Christ.


Also the Compendium issued by Pope Benedict XVI may be helpful in addition to the Catechism I linked before.

Read the whole of Baptism and Confirmation.


Pope Benedict XVI


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