I do not take any exceptions to the Westminster Confession of Faith. Wilson conveniently forgot to mention WCF 28.5, when he argues that I need to take an exception to the Standards:
Although it be a great sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance, yet grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it, as that no person can be regenerated or saved without it; or, that all that are baptized are undoubtedly regenerated. (emphasis added)
This clearly states that regeneration is not dependent on baptism. If regeneration can happen without baptism ever happening (such as the thief on the cross), then regeneration is simply not dependent on baptism. One does not have to have baptism in order for regeneration to happen. And, as the Confession equally clearly states, just because one has baptism does not mean that one is regenerated, either. So, I am in perfect conformity with the Confession in saying that regeneration is not dependent on baptism. Lack of baptism does not mean lack of regeneration, and baptism does not automatically confer regeneration. If regeneration happens at the time-point of baptism, I am willing to say that the Holy Spirit uses baptism as a means through which a sinner is regenerated, although the baptism without the Word can do nothing. And before the TR’s jump all over me for being FV, hear the rest of this out carefully. It is crystal clear it is really the Word that the Holy Spirit uses to regenerate someone. Even in baptism, I would argue that it is the Word which regenerates if regeneration happens at that time. (See chapter 10 of the WCF, which lays out the Confession’s doctrine of regeneration, or effectual calling, a synonymous term (notice that baptism is not mentioned at all, or even hinted at in that chapter)) But that will only be because the thing signified is also given, not because of the sign only being given. FV guys are fond of pointing out that the norm appears to be that the sign and thing signified are normally annexed one to the other. But the grace promised in 28.6 is the efficacy of baptism as a sign and seal. This must be distinguished (however closely one wants to tie the sacramental union) from the thing signified.
That being said, Wilson seems not to want to answer my query about Warfield. I would still appreciate it if Wilson would engage the Warfield quotations from the Shorter Writings, those books out of which Wilson forgot to read when formulating what Warfield supposedly believed about the Sacraments. In other words, I refuse to allow any kind of derailing of the discussion from Warfield’s beliefs to my beliefs. We are really talking about Warfield’s beliefs, not whether I should take an exception to the Confession. My own beliefs are tangential to this discussion.