The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Regeneration

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REGENERATION, the act or the state of being born again in a spiritual sense. The word is a literal version of the term palingenesia, peculiar to the New Testament, in which it occurs twice only, namely, Mat. xix, 28, where it signifies the renovation of all things at the second coming of Messiah; and Titus iii, 5, “washing of regeneration,” where it signifies a new life, a new spirit in the individual redeemed soul. In many other passages of the New Testament, and especially in John iii, 1-10, the new birth is spoken of without the use of the word regeneration, but in such terms as plainly to indicate that the soul which is received into the kingdom of Christ is born into a new life. Regarding the relation of the sacrament of baptism to the new birth there are chiefly two divergent views entertained by divines. One view, which till the Reformation was well nigh universal, and which is still held by the Catholic Church as an article of faith, regards baptism as the agency whereby the Holy Spirit bestows the new life. According to the other view the washing of water in baptism is but a sensible representation of the spiritual new birth, and regeneration is effected independently of baptism by the direct action of the Holy Spirit. The first view is called that of “baptismal regeneration.” Article XXVII of the Articles of Religion of the Church of England teaches that baptism is “a sign of regeneration whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive baptism are grafted into the Church”; but in 1849, by a judgment of the Privy Council, it was decided that in the Established Church of England Baptismal Regeneration is not a doctrine taught in her articles and formularies as legally construed. See Man, Christian Anthropology.