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Question and Answer

The OPC, original sin and immaculate conception

Question:

Do Presbyterians believe in original sin and immaculate conception? What method(s) of baptism do they employ?

Answer:

Thank you for your questions to us. Let me answer them in the order you bring them.

Yes, we believe that the Bible teaches that all men are born with the guilt and corruption brought about by Adam's sin. As our Westminster Confession of Faith expresses it (in Chapter 6 regarding the Fall into sin):

3. They [our first parents] being the root of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed; and the same death in sin, and corrupted nature, conveyed to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation.

Just as a note: that last phrase about "ordinary generation" specifically refers to the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ, the only one born without this guilt and corruption.

From that previous quotation, you can see that we do not believe in the immaculate conception of Mary, the mother of Jesus. We believe that only Jesus Christ was born without sin.

We believe that the proper method of Baptism would be by sprinkling or pouring, though we accept immersion as a valid means. This is because the Biblical meaning of baptism refers to the washing and marking by the Holy Spirit, who descends from above.

I hope these answers are helpful.


About Q&A

"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. At least one new question is posted each week, so there should always be something new here for you to read. (For those who would like to look at previous questions and answers, they will continue to be available as well.)

The questions come from individuals like yourself. If you have questions about biblical and theological matters, you are invited to send them by e-mail by using the "Pose a Question" link on the OPC home page or by clicking here.

The purpose of the OPC website's "Questions and Answers" is to respond to biblical and theological questions. Matters of church discipline, disputes, or debates go beyond the scope of our work. We recommend that you present your concerns in these areas to the appropriate judicatory. In most cases this will be to a local pastor, elder, or session. We do not want the website to replace personal involvement in, or commitment to, the local, visible church.

While we will respond to every serious questioner, we are not bound to give a substantive answer to every question, should we deem the question to be beyond the scope of our purpose or our own ability to answer.

You will receive an answer by email. Please be patient as many of our respondents are busy pastors. The response to your question may take up to two weeks. Some of the questions submitted will be chosen to be posted here, along with the corresponding answers.

The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

Note that the "Questions and Answers" posted on the site have been edited—all personal references are removed, Scripture references may be added, and sometimes portions are expanded—to make the questions and answers more useful to a larger audience.

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