Published on March 25, 2016 by Joshua Centanni

B&H, 2015 | 256 pages

Bobby Jamieson has given us two new books on baptism. One brief, one book-length; both popular level. Understanding Baptism, as the title says, introduces the doctrine and practice of baptism in brief overview. Going Public covers some of the same ground (more extensively) but has a narrower goal – to demonstrate that baptism is prerequisite to church membership and ought to be so in practice.


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


Understanding Baptism

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. What Is Baptism?
Chapter 2. Who Should Be Baptized?
Chapter 3. What about Infant Baptism?
Chapter 4. Why Is Baptism Required for Church Membership?
Chapter 5. When Is “Baptism” Not Baptism?
Chapter 6. How Should Churches Practice Baptism?


Check out our previous blog about this book.


Going Public: Why Baptism is Required for Church Membership

Table of Contents

Part 1. Getting Our Bearings
1. Setting the Stage
2. Clearing Ground

Part 2. Building a Case
3. Where Faith Goes Public: (Most of) a Theology of Baptism
4. The Initiating Oath-Sign of the New Covenant
5. The Passport of the Kingdom
6. One Bread, One Body: The Lord’s Supper and the Local Church
7. Badges of Belonging: Church Membership and Its Effective Signs

Part 3. The Case Stated, Defended, Applied
8. Why Baptism Is Required for Church Membership: A Summary
9. Answering Objections
10. Turning the Tables
11. Practicing Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and Church Membership
Appendix: Explaining Why Baptism Is Required for Membership in Three Minutes



“Ever wondered how baptism ‘works’? The book you hold in your hand answers that question. Both a humble charity toward those holding other positions and yet a crystal clarity mark this book. The book is full of cogent exegesis, simple summaries, and excellent illustrations. Clear, concise, more constructive than argumentative, Bobby Jamieson’s prose is smooth, his reasoning is simple, his reading of the contemporary scene is careful. Invest in reading this book so that you (and others you help) can better follow Christ.”
Mark Dever
Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, DC
President, 9Marks


“For most of Baptist history, the idea that baptism is required for church membership and for participation in the Lord’s Supper has been the majority view, enshrined in a number of Baptist confessions and statements of faith. But in the past generation, many have dropped the requirement of baptism for participation in the Lord’s Supper (moving to open Communion) and fewer, but some, have taken the next step and dropped the requirement of baptism for church membership (a move to open membership). I think the impetus for these changes has been largely cultural, with little consideration for the theological and ecclesiological reasons that led earlier Baptists to their views. That is why I am glad to commend Bobby Jamieson’s work, Going Public: Why Baptism Is Required for Church Membership. I know of no other work that so thoroughly considers the ecclesiological, theological, and biblical issues that connect baptism to church membership and participation in the Lord’s Supper and does so in a clear, readable, and irenic manner. It is not that I agree with all the answers he gives; we differ on a number of points. But he is raising the right questions, and they are questions few others are raising. I hope it receives a wide readership and sparks a lot of constructive discussions.”
John Hammett
Professor of systematic theology and associate dean of theological studies, SEBTS


“Since the era of the Reformation, baptism has been an issue of contention among believers, and not only between credobaptists and paedobaptists. Among baptistic believers, especially in the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, there has been significant disagreement about the relationship between baptism and the Lord’s Supper and between baptism and membership in the local church. It is not surprising that over the past century Baptists have often skirted these issues so as to avoid controversy. But refusing to touch the issue for fear of being controversial or even too narrow is not helpful, as this new essay rightly points out. Jamieson helpfully navigates us through the issues related to this controversy, and while not all will agree with his conclusions, he cannot be faulted for lacking thorough biblical and historical reflection.”

Michael A. G. Haykin
Professor of church history and biblical spirituality, SBTS


“Many books skim the surface of ecclesiology without diving into the depths of the doctrine of the church. With the skills of a master diver, Bobby Jamieson brings a unique perceptiveness combined with grace and courtesy while exploring practical matters every faithful pastor will face. This book will challenge and sharpen your understanding of baptism. If you take baptism and its relationship to church membership and the Lord’s Supper seriously, you must read this book.”

Thomas White
President and professor of systematic theology, Cedarville University

Buy the books

Going Public: Why Baptism is Required for Church Membership

B&H, 2015 | 256 pages

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