Bavinck on Presumptive Regeneration (and Other Things)

In Saved By Grace just out from RHB. With the Bavinck conference and blog and new volumes coming out, there’s a veritable Bavinck Blizzard! This volume, like anything from Bavinck, is worth having and reading. I read part of it in a pre-publication form and I expect to give it a closer read and review in the future, but it was helpful, thoughtful, clarifying, and illuminating. More later.

    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
    Author Image

    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

    More by R. Scott Clark ›

Subscribe to the Heidelblog today!


  1. Dr. Clark,

    I was just wondering what the URC’s stance on Presumptive Regeneration was?

    Thanks for your time

  2. I read both your “Brief History of Covenant Theology,” and “Theses on Covenant Theology,” and was tremendously helped by both. I am not challenging any part of it, but am genuinely seeking help. Can you please explain to me how two sentences (one from each paper) fit together. I have been looking for an answer on this issue all over but in all my reading on it have found none. The two sentences are:

    From “A Brief History…” “Therefore we baptize on the basis of the divine command and promise, and we regard covenant children (before profession of faith) and all who make a credible profession of faith as Christians until they prove otherwise.”

    From “Theses…” 8.24 “We do not baptize covenant children on the presumption of their regeneration, but on the basis of the divine command and promises attached to baptism.”

    [The reason this is important to me is that when I tell my testimony I find myself inclined to say, “I have always been a Christian…” (because I was raised as a child of the covenant and all my memories from the earliest age seem to be of embracing Jesus as my Lord and Savior). But I came to the conclusion that I cannot say that because I don’t believe in presumptive regeneration. Any help would be a tremendous blessing. Thanks!]

    • John,

      I think I was saying the same thing in both instances.

      We expect our covenant children to come to faith and are not surprised if they have already come to faith. At the same time we are not presumptuous. We don’t baptize because they regenerate but because God has commanded us initiate our children and promised to be a God to us and to our children.

      If you were raised in the covenant community, in a covenant family, then it may be as it often is, that you’ve always believed. If so, praise God! We believe in conversion but we’re not “conversionists,” i.e., we’re not looking for some outstanding experiential episode.

      The little booklet on baptism, election, and the covenant of grace might be helpful in this regard.

  3. Thank you so much! That was tremendously helpful, and I did just order that booklet as well as the larger book you edited on Covenant and Justification interacting with the NPP among other things.

    I know you make for good reading since I already loved your “Recovering the Reformed Confession” (even if it’s a just young college student struggling to keep up!).

    Thanks again for taking the time to answer and for such a speedy reply!

    May God bless you.

Comments are closed.