In this latest book in B&H’s Church Basics series (Jonathan Leeman, ed.) Bobby Jamieson presents the biblical teaching about baptism in brief, crisp overview.
What Is Baptism?
Baptism is a church’s act of affirming and portraying a believer’s union with Christ by immersing him or her in water, and a believer’s act of publicly committing him or herself to Christ and his people, thereby uniting a believer to the church and marking off him or her from the world.
Who Should Be Baptized?
- The Baptism Mandate
- Two Benefits of Baptism
- Objections to Getting Baptized
- Why do I need to make such a big, public fuss about being a Christian? Isn’t faith something personal and private? Isn’t it enough that I trust in Jesus?
- I’ve been a believer for decades now. I wasn’t baptized then, so why do I need to be baptized now after all this time? Since it’s so long after my conversion, wouldn’t it be meaningless anyway?
- I don’t know where to go to get baptized.
- I was already baptized as an infant.
- The Bottom Line
What about Infant Baptism?
- The Case for Infant Baptism
- The Case Against Infant Baptism
- Paedobaptism applies the sign of union with Christ to those who are not united to Christ. It divorces the sign from the reality.
- Paedobaptism confuses being born of Christian parents with being born again by the Spirit.
- Paedobaptism mistakenly assumes that God is forming his new covenant people the same way he formed his old covenant people.
- Paedobaptism undermines the church’s saltiness and lightness (Matt. 5:13-16).
- Paedobaptism dissolves two crucial differences between baptism and circumcision.
- Paedobaptism makes God’s new covenant promise less than a promise.
- Responding to Paedobaptist Objections
- The household baptisms in Acts show that in the new covenant God is still dealing with families as families.
- Paul tells children to obey their parents “in the Lord” (Eph. 6:1) and calls the children of a believing parent “holy” (1Cor. 7:14). This assumes that they’re covenant members.
- In Romans 4:11, Paul says that Abraham received the sign of circumcision as a seal of righteousness by faith.
- To reject paedobaptism is to kick children out of the church.
- To reject paedobaptism is to fracture the unity of Scripture and of God’s plan of salvation.
- Just Doesn’t Fit
Why is Baptism Required for Church Membership?
- Seven Reasons Why Baptism is Required for Church Membership
- Baptism is where faith goes public.
- Baptism is the initiating oath sign of the new covenant.
- Baptism is the passport of the kingdom and the kingdom citizen’s swearing in ceremony.
- Baptism is a necessary criterion by which a church recognizes who is a Christian.
- Baptism is an effective sign of church membership.
- The Lord’s Supper is the other effective sign of church membership.
- Without baptism, membership doesn’t exist.
- But Won’t This Exclude True Christians from Membership?
- Drawing Lines
When Is “Baptism” Not Baptism?
- If You Were “Baptized” as an Infant
- If You Were Baptized as a “Believer” but Not a Believer
- If the Church That Baptized You Denies the Gospel
- If the Baptism Has No Connection Whatsoever to a Church
How Should Churches Practice Baptism?
About the Author
Bobby Jamieson is a Ph.D. student in New Testament at the University of Cambridge. He previously served as assistant editor for 9Marks and is the author, most recently, of Going Public: Why Baptism Is Required for Church Membership (B&H, 2015).
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