The Apostle Peter Refutes Mac's Teaching on Spirit Baptism being involved in the New Birth
Notes on Holy Spirit Baptism
The New Birth – HS-29
1) In 1 Peter 1:23 Peter teaches that Christians (cf. 1 Peter 4:16) “have been born again” (Gr. anagegenneemenoi). He uses a perfect passive participle stressing an abiding condition produced from an accomplished or completed act. The verbal aspect of the perfect implies that a completed action (namely, that of being born again) has produced their continuing condition of “having been born again.” The New Birth was not ongoing, but the state produced from it is viewed as ongoing or continuous.
2) This refutes any quibble that Mac may make about the New Birth being an ongoing process to try to avoid the implications of his own doctrine. The perfect tense combines the aspectual force of the imperfective aspect, like that in the present stem, relative to the result or condition, with the perfective, or complete, aspect, as seen in the aorist stem, especially in purely punctiliar uses, relative to the action that produced the abiding result or condition. It is this latter perfective force in the perfect tense that shows that there is a point in time in which one is by definition “born again.” Christians are in the state of “having been born again,” because they were indeed at some point (now completed) “born again,” and are therefore not “being born again,” as Mac’s absurd doctrine of perpetual Spirit baptism implies.
3) Further, the meaning of the Greek participle in 1 Peter 1:23 is more than simply the idea of “begettel” in the sense of conception. It contemplates the process of the New Birth and its completion (cf. BAG, p. 51).
4) Another text that refutes the quibble is James 1:18, which affirms that God “of His own will has begotten us with the word of truth.” The word translated “begotten” is apekueesen, aorist indicative of apokueo.
5) The aorist indicative has the augment e attached to the verb stem and thus indicating action completed in past time. The word apokueo means: “to bring forth from the womb, give birth to…Jas. i.15. to produce, ibid. .18” (Thayer, p. 64; cf. BAG, p. 93). Bagster’s Analytical Greek Lexicon defines it here as, “to generate by spiritual birth” (p. 44).
6) The verb is derived from the combination of apo, “from,” and kueo, “to bear in the womb, to conceive.” Here we see the natural ablative force of apo in combination with the verb root kueo. The preposition stresses separation from the womb so that the semantic idea is “from the womb to bring forth.” Coupled with the augmented aorist indicative it shows that the completion of the New Birth is contemplated by James. It is more than conception. It involves the delivery from the womb. It is one of the “good” and “perfect” gifts that God has made available (Jas. 1:17).
7) This text also creates even more problems for Mac Deaver’s theory on Spirit baptism. It refutes his notion that there is a direct and immediate operation of the Spirit in effecting the regeneration of the baptismal candidate.
8) Now, it will be observed that the delivery from the womb described in the verb was accomplished, according to the testimony of the Holy Spirit Himself, “with the word of truth.” The word logo here is in the dative case. It is a dative of means construction. Thus, it stresses “how” we have been “born again.” It shows that the means used was the Word of God. The dative noun is further modified by the genitive aleetheias, “of truth.” Thus, it is “the word which is truth.”
9) So, the Word is not only involved in the cleansing of the sinner, which Mac has admitted relative to Ephesians 5:26, it is also the means by which God effects the regeneration or New Birth itself by way of “the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). James 1:18 implies that the New Birth does not involve a direct operation of the Spirit but rather an operation of the Spirit through means – the Word of God!