Questions about when people get "saved"


I don’t think anyone’s debating that - especially Catholics. Recall the “Catholic” answer to the question “Have you been saved?”
“I was saved. I am being saved. Also, I hope to be saved.” So we don’t spiritually “rest” on our baptism.

But more over-arching, your objection doesn’t offset the reality that God demanded these things as requisite. Admittedly, while circumcision didn’t make you a member of the old covenant on its own merit, there were no males that were observably part of the old covenant that were not circumcised. It was required.

In the same way, there are no people who are observably part of the new covenant who have not been baptized.

By this, I guess you mean “church”? Or do you mean “saved”?
Respectfully, I don’t get what you’re trying to say here.

No, the New Testament is not clear because there is no explicit mention of this “covenant community”.

That’s because it is an obvious retcon and forced vagary that evangelical theology requires in order to make it’s own existence possible.

So while I don’t read much about this deliberately hazy “covenant community” in the NT, I do read quite a bit about the Church. And you join that by baptism.

1 Cor 12:13 (DRB): “For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free; and in one Spirit we have all been made to drink.”

No sir. There is a sequence there that you’ve read-in.

This might be the problem!

Catholics believe baptism removes the stain of original sin, imbues us with sanctifying grace and enters us into the Church. The protestant concept of regeneration doesn’t have a super clear analogue within Catholicism since Catholicism never held the same views on total depravity that were also held by the protestant scholars that developed their understanding of regeneration.

There isn’t a clear 1-to-1, apples-to-apples comparison here.

Now, I understand your Pentecostal doctrine doesn’t hold to total depravity either, but nonetheless your theology is ultimately derived from those who did. The residue of history, as it were.


This is what happens in baptism. It is the circumcision made without hands - effected by the Holy Spirit.

And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.I Cor 6;11
Yes! Baptism.

The Apostles taught this happens in baptism.

11In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the fleshb was put off when you were circumcised byc Christ, 12having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. Col 2

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.Rom.6

This is one of the results of the “bible based” faith. Some of the teachings that came down from the Aposltes are lost.

"…strengthened in the faith as you were taught…Col 2;7

“So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” 2 Thess.2;15

One unfortunate fallout of the doctrine of Sola Scriptura invented at the time of the Reformation is that the Apostolic teachings that were handed down/taught, were lost.

Yes, this is the normative process for adults. But for others we follow the TEaching of the Aposltes that is reflected in the Didache.

It is significant that the writings of the early fathers are not about whether infants should be baptized, but how soon it should happen!


Your reponse is one of the most straight forward and understandable answers. Thank you for the clarification.

I will no longer feel a need to respond to posters who claim otherwise.


Not really. I have done no injustice to the Rom. 3 passage. I stand on my points.


Let those children be judged according to their knowledge and deeds. They will be innocent. But faith alone is simply another way to say, “believe” only for eternal life. Again, the pattern is all over the gospel of John.


Cornelius the Centurion and the gentiles who heard Peter preached received the gift of the Holy Spirit without baptism in Acts 10. Peter himself says, "Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” They were baptized because they had received the Holy Spirit.

You keep saying that by not believing in baptismal regeneration I am limiting God’s ability to save children. It seems to me belief in baptismal regeneration is far more limiting.

I do not believe in baptismal regeneration, but I do believe baptism is a means of grace if the person who is baptized has faith.

If I believed that baptizing infants would result in automatic regeneration I would agree with you. Let me ask you a question. When a child is unbaptized and dies, what happens to his soul? And to extend it, what happens to the souls of babies who die in the womb?


Nope. Evangelicals affirm the existence of original sin and that infants are born with it. Evangelicals would make a few points:

  1. Infants participate in the redemption of mankind, Romans 5, 1 Timothy 4:10.
  2. Romans 1:19-20 states that people who receive general revelation are without excuse because there is sufficient revelation of God’s existence in the natural order to hold all who witness it accountable. Infants and the severely mentally disabled are without this general revelation as they are unable to derive conclusions about God’s grace, glory or justice from nature, so this would be an excuse that God would take into account and a reason that he would not condemn them.
  3. In Scripture people are always judged on the basis of sins committed consciously in the body (see 2 Cor. 5:10; 1 Cor. 6:9–10; Rev. 20:11–12). Our eternal judgment will be based on our rejection of divine revelation (whether that be general revelation or the revelation of Christ) and willful disobedience. Infants are not capable of such rejection and willful disobedience.
  4. The story of David and the death of his son in 2 Samuel 12:15-23 supports the idea that at least some infants who die are saved. David is hopeful after the death of his son, saying “Since he has died, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”
  5. There is Scriptural evidence that some infants are regenerate in the womb, such as Jeremiah 1:5 and Luke 1:15. While these passages do not mean that all infants who die are saved, they do provide support for the idea.

It’s quite simple to me. People who die in infancy are covered by the blood of Jesus. They have not awakened to conscience and fallen into actual sin. Their only offense is that they have inherited original sin. Yet, they too partake in the redemption of mankind, Romans 5, 1 Timothy 4:10.

Those infants who grow up to commit actual sins will need to repent and believe on Christ.


Why don’t we see the church mention baptism replacing circumcision in Acts 15? If it were true, surely the Council of Jerusalem would have discussed this correlation.

Obviously a tradition developed in the church to baptize infants. I’m not disputing that. The question is how early. As early as the first generation? After the death of the Apostles? A hundred years later?


I explicitly wrote:

Not sure why this is confusing for you.

Yes. Since we’re comparing circumcision to baptism, both are matters of the heart by the Spirit. It is essential that we are baptized into Christ, but that may not in all cases be accompanied by a baptism into water.

We hold to total depravity, though in the framework of an Arminian, rather than a Calvinist (TULIP), theology. Mankind is totally depraved but God provides prevenient grace necessary to freely choose and exercise faith in God. Therefore, mankind still has freewill.


The council was addressing specific issues that arose over mixed Jewish and Gentile communities. Baptism and circumcisiom were not at issue, but whether one needed to follow the Law of Moses Baptized converts were considered to be circumcised in heart. When the council wrote the letter of instruction, it addressed issues that were causing problems in the community. circumcision/baptism was not one of those.

Projecting what we want and need back into the historical record by saying “if it were true, then…it would have been written…” is not an appropriate standard to demand of the writings produced by the early Church. They were never intended to be a full compendium of the faith.



Acts 15:1

But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”


Hazy vagaries like “covenant community” will generate confusion when used as loaded stand-ins for more accepted theological terminology like “the Church”.

I recommend you avoid using them in an environment where everyone can’t be assumed to also be a dispensationalist or convenant theologian. Like here. Obviously.

A Catholic would agree since Catholicism recognizes baptism via blood and desire. But there’s still a baptism that replaces one by water only due to extraordinary circumstance. Barring such circumstances, a water baptism must occur.

But as an aside: “Matters of the heart by the spirit” - what exactly does that mean? :grinning:

Respectfully, the Total Depravity of Calvin must not be confused nor conflated with the more partial depravity of Arminius. This is sloppy and confusion generating.

Now, I suppose there probably are Pentecostals who do believe in Calvinistic Total Depravity (One can find “Pentecostals” that believe in anything, as they’re free to do), but most are Remonstrants - as I think you agree. And I know from first hand observation that any student who attempts to equate the Remonstrant view of depravity with Calvin’s on a theology exam gets a big red “X” courtesy of Dr. Draper.


Do Catholics not have an understanding of the church as a covenant people?

Let’s ask Paul in Romans 2:

25 For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. 26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

Arminians and Calvinists do agree on total depravity. That is not the source of disagreement even if Arminians have always been accused of not beleiving in total depravity. Article 3 of the Articles of Remonstrance is on the total depravity of humanity:

That man has not saving grace of himself, nor of the energy of his free-will, inasmuch as he, in the state of apostasy and sin, can of and by himself neither think, will, nor do anything that is truly good (such as having faith eminently is); but that it is needful that he be born again of God in Christ, through his Holy Spirit, and renewed in understanding, inclination, or will, and all his powers, in order that he may rightly understand, think, will, and effect what is truly good, according to the word of Christ, John xv. 5: “Without me ye can do nothing.”

Roger Olson, author of Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities, pp.55-6 , writes:

Aminians together with Calvinists affirm total depravity because of the fall of humanity in Adam and its inherited consequence of a corrupted nature in bondage to sin. A common myth about Arminianism is that it promotes an optimistic anthropology.


Irrelevant. You’ve been around here long enough to know that this isn’t the way they frame their theology.

Well, we saw Paul use similar language.

Sooo… I’ll repeat myself since you still haven’t answered the question. “Matters of the heart by the spirit” - what exactly does that mean? :grinning:

Incorrect. Objectively So.

John MacArthur on the Topic:

John Calvin rightly interpreted the Bible to teach that man is totally depraved. What that means, is that, not every human being is as sinful as he could be or she could be, but that every human being is sinful to the point that they’re incapable of altering their condition. That is to say, total depravity means you can’t do anything to save yourself. You can’t even make a right choice. You can’t awaken your spiritual deadness. You can’t give life where there is death. You can’t come to a right conclusion on your own. Total depravity means that everyone, is by virtue of their own will and their own power and their own choices, incapable of redemption. That’s total depravity.

Arminius would say–Arminian theology, Palagian theology, as it’s also called–would say “man is capable.” That while man is, in the general sense, a sinner, he has capacities within himself to choose to be saved. That is the debate. I don’t think that’s biblical. I think we are dead in trespasses and sin, and dead people don’t make choices. Dead people can’t make themselves alive. So, I think there is a clear distinction there.

Now you’re obviously free to continue insisting that they’re the same and that John MacArthur and any other scholar I have readily lined up to rebut you is wrong. I’m not going to burden myself with educating you on this except for this: The way it was best demonstrated to be in school was that Calvin advocated a man who was “An Enemy of God”. Arminius advocated a “Wounded Man”.

These just aren’t the same - even if you really really want them to be.


LOL. That is rich. Made my night. You cite John MacArthur who says Arminian theology is the same thing as Pelagianism. Why don’t you cite someone who really says what they think–that Arminians are sub-Christian, just like Catholics.

Well, if that’s the kind of scholarship you refer to, how can I possibly argue against that. LOL.


Given your dramatic up-tick in the use of “LOL”, it’s very obvious that I’ve hit you in a sensitive place.

I apologize for that. I like to keep emotions out of these discussions and I’ve obviously invoked some of yours. Again, sorry.

But they’re not the same, Itwin. They never have been. Arminianism is not “Four Point Calvinism”.



I’m laughing out loud because you are using as evidence a pastor who believes Arminians are Pelagians–a heresy that denies original sin and believes humans can choose good without God’s grace. I have no desire to be a Calvinist. Yet, your insistence that Arminians reject total depravity because the Calvinists say we must be Pelagians or at best semi-Pelagians is juvenile.


It’s not.

Unfortunately for your argument, if God doesn’t do 100% of the salvific work - as the Calvinist requires - then that means man does some of it, even if that portion is merely assent.

For Calvinistic depravity, man simply does not have that capacity.

For Arminius, he does.

Name-call all you want in defense…


God does do 100% of the salvific work, and the way he does this is through prevenient grace–with the help of the Holy Spirit, man chooses God but only because God gives him the ability. It’s obvious you were educated in a Reformed environment and have a distorted view of Arminian theology, but it would be irresponsible of me to not inform you that you are misinformed.


If this choice is resistible then behold your contradiction.

As such, these two understandings of human depravity cannot be the same.


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