Book Review of “Understanding Four Views on Baptism”

Posted: July 21, 2009 by Rick Hogaboam in Baptism, Book Reviews

Understanding Four Views on Baptism (Counterpoints: Church Life) First off, I want to say that I am fairly convinced of ‘believer’s baptism’, having taken a sabbatical leave in my past to study the issue, after having even studied it pretty intensely prior to that. I only say that as a disclaimer so you knwo where i am coming from.

I read this couterpoint book not neccesarily as ongoing investigation so much as to keep up with the line of reasoning that is represented by those who continune to articulate their position.

This book is too brief for my likes and doesn’t allow the sort of exhaustive dialogue I would prefer on this issue. Dr. Nettles presents a familiar case for ‘beleiver’s baptism’ and Dr. Pratt (who I like a lot…Third Millenium Ministries) presents a familiar case for Baptism as a Sacrament of the Covenant and thus given rightly to infants of beleivers.

The other views represented were: Lutheran (God’s Baptismal act as regerative) and Church of Christ (Beleivers’ Baptism as the Biblical occasion of salvation). I didn’t spend too much time investigating the merits of these views in my previous study because it didn’t have sufficient weight to even be tried in the court of my opinion. The one thing that I do agree with in both of the views represented by the Lutherans and Church of Christ folks is that they ‘something’ happening in baptism. It is not just symbolic, but also an act in which God conveys something. As you can tell, I am a bit sacramental. I beleive in both symbol and the conveying of God’s grace.

Alright, this isn’t much of a review, but suffice it to say that if you aren’t familiar with the Lutheran and Church of Christ views on baptism, this is worth your money. If you are looking for substantial debate from the traditional Baptist and Reformed camp, I would reccomend you reading two books:

This is the strongest book I have ever read in favor of ‘pedo-baptism’ within a Covenantal structure. It actually refined my theology of Covenant and it did influence my theology of children a great deal. I essentially understand the child’s relation to covenant in a very similar (almost identical) strain with my Presbyterian and Reformed friends, but I still think that Baptism is a Sacrament that confirms a person’s full immersion into the body of Christ, evidencing their consent to the terms of the Covenant of Grace, namely repentance and faith. I could go on and on but I will do so another time in a future post…maybe. Suffice it to say, I would whole-heartedly reccomend this book to all who are looking into this issue…it will refine you one way or another.

Believer's Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ    - Edited By: Thomas R. Schriener, Shawn D. Wright By: Edited by Thomas R. Schreiner & Shawn D. Wright

This book is a substantial offering in favor of Believer’s Baptism rooted historically, Biblicaly, and Theologically. it also dialogues with more recent scholarship favoring the ‘pedo-baptist’position.


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