Our discussion on Calvinism this past Sunday was really great. Our exploration of Reformed Theology continues, however.
For November, in my church‘s monthly Theology Book Club, we’re going to be looking at that significant distinctive of Reformed thought: Baptism. And to wander into this potential minefield, we’re going to follow an amazing guide, Dr. James Brownson in his incredibly helpful book, The Promise of Baptism.
Seriously, this book is amazing. It covers everything in relation to baptism. It starts with the big picture and starts to zoom in into specific biblical, historical, theological, and practical questions. Every chapter is built around a question. And this book goes through every question you may have had about baptism, and a bunch you may have never had. Some of the chapter topics:
- Should infants be baptized?
- Sprinkling or Immersing?
- Can someone be saved without being baptized? What about baptized without being saved?
- What happens to baptized infants who die before they can give a profession of faith?
- What about baptized people that leave the faith?
- Is “Re-Baptism” allowed?
- Is “dedication” an appropriate substitute for infant baptism?
- Does it need to be the parents who offer an infant to baptism, or can grandparents or close family friends?
There are 30 such chapters, so I’m only barely scratching the surface. Really, this is a great book. And it’s very charitable, meaning it doesn’t demonize any side. It clings to Scripture and recognizes there are different legitimate opinions on many of these issues. It does argue for infant baptism, but it’s topics are much bigger than that, so even if you don’t leave convinced on that point, you will have learned so much more about what the Bible and the Church tradition have to say about the essential sacrament of the Christian Church.
NOTE: Because the last Sunday of the month falls right after Thanksgiving, our discussion will be on the first Sunday of December, the 4th, at 5:30pm.
As usual, even if you don’t live in Philadelphia, feel free to join us in reading the book. I’ll try and blog about it through the month. You can use this blog or the Facebook page to offer your thoughts, questions, critiques, and concerns. Happy reading!