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Beleiver's Baptism Book Review

1766 words - 8 pages

            Schreiner and Wright set out to dispel the practice of paedobaptisim in the Reformed tradition. In order to accomplish this, they enlist the help of ten scholars to investigate baptism from a scriptural, historical and theological perspective. What results is a book that fairly documents the biblical background, fairly quotes the Reformation fathers Calvin, Marcel, and Murray and ends with a chapter on practical application of baptism in the modern church.
            Schreiner and Wright open their book by stating, “Baptism … is the initiation rite into the Christian church. Those who label it minor are imposing their own categories onto the Scriptures ...view middle of the document...

Their book is broken into four distinct sections. The first section is a scriptural review of the topic. Chapters one, two and three deal with the reviews, but from different angles. In chapter one, Andreas Kostenberger surveys baptism and the key verses that describe baptism in the gospels. In chapter two, Robert Stein surveys baptism from the perspective of Luke’s writings in Luke and Acts. In chapter three, Thomas Schreiner surveys baptism in the epistles, dealing mainly with the writings of Paul and Peter.
Section two is a theological survey. This section contains two distinct chapters. Chapter four deals with the relationship of baptism and the covenant of grace. Written by Stephen Wellum, this chapter is by far the longest and perhaps the most important in this book. Wellum seeks to accomplish two goals. First is to “unpack briefly the covenantal argument for infant baptism,”[4] and second, “attempt to evaluate their argument … both in terms of critique and positive construction.”[5] Chapter five, written by Steven McKinion, deals with the thinking of the church fathers on the subject of infant baptism. He surveys the writings of Jeremias, Origen, Justin Martyr, Aristides, Tertullian, Cyprian, Hippolytus, the Cappadocian Fathers, Cyril of Jerusalem and Augustine. His surveys are brief and only pertain to the issue of infant baptism.
Section three covers chapters six thru nine which is both a survey and critique of baptismal practices, particularly dealing with the Reform movement, from the Anabaptists through Alexander Cambell. Chapter six, written by Jonathan Rainbow, deals with the views of Martin Luther and the impact they had on Ulrich Zwingli and Balthasar Hubmaier. Chapter seven deals with how the Reformed Paedobaptists formed their theology. Shawn Wright surveys the writings of Calvin, Marcel, and Murray as he examines their positions on sacraments, the definition of baptism, the character of the church, the foundation and the New Testament justification for infant baptism. Chapter eight, written by Duane Garrett, is devoted to understanding the position of Meredith Kline in relation to his view of the Suzerainty Treaty Form. Chapter nine, written by A.B. Caneday is an examination of the position of Alexander Campbell and his impact on churches that follow the Stone-Cambell theology.
Section four is a stand alone chapter written by Mark Dever that deals with modern baptism issues in light of the finding of Believer’s Baptism.
            “As should be apparent from this sketch of the contents of this volume, it provides a substantial contribution to the literature on believer’s baptism.”[6] In order to properly understand the issue Schreiner and Wright are addressing, one must have a basic understanding of several terms. First is baptism. R.E.O. White states that baptism “means to plunge, immerse, sink.”[7] Second is credobaptism (believers’ baptism), which means “baptism is always administered on confession of...

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