Published on March 18, 2016 by Joshua Centanni

B&H, 2016 | 80 pages

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.


Chapter 1
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.


Chapter 2
Who Should Be Baptized?

  1. The Baptism Mandate
  2. Two Benefits of Baptism
  3. Objections to Getting Baptized
    1. 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?
    2. 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?
    3. I don’t know where to go to get baptized.
    4. I was already baptized as an infant.
  4. The Bottom Line


Chapter 3
What about Infant Baptism?

  1. The Case for Infant Baptism
  2. The Case Against Infant Baptism
    1. Paedobaptism applies the sign of union with Christ to those who are not united to Christ. It divorces the sign from the reality.
    2. Paedobaptism confuses being born of Christian parents with being born again by the Spirit.
    3. Paedobaptism mistakenly assumes that God is forming his new covenant people the same way he formed his old covenant people.
    4. Paedobaptism undermines the church’s saltiness and lightness (Matt. 5:13-16).
    5. Paedobaptism dissolves two crucial differences between baptism and circumcision.
    6. Paedobaptism makes God’s new covenant promise less than a promise.
  3. Responding to Paedobaptist Objections
    1. The household baptisms in Acts show that in the new covenant God is still dealing with families as families.
    2. 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.
    3. In Romans 4:11, Paul says that Abraham received the sign of circumcision as a seal of righteousness by faith.
    4. To reject paedobaptism is to kick children out of the church.
    5. To reject paedobaptism is to fracture the unity of Scripture and of God’s plan of salvation.
  4. Just Doesn’t Fit


Chapter 4
Why is Baptism Required for Church Membership?

  1. Seven Reasons Why Baptism is Required for Church Membership
    1. Baptism is where faith goes public.
    2. Baptism is the initiating oath sign of the new covenant.
    3. Baptism is the passport of the kingdom and the kingdom citizen’s swearing in ceremony.
    4. Baptism is a necessary criterion by which a church recognizes who is a Christian.
    5. Baptism is an effective sign of church membership.
    6. The Lord’s Supper is the other effective sign of church membership.
    7. Without baptism, membership doesn’t exist.
  2. But Won’t This Exclude True Christians from Membership?
  3. Drawing Lines


Chapter 5
When Is “Baptism” Not Baptism?

  1. If You Were “Baptized” as an Infant
  2. If You Were Baptized as a “Believer” but Not a Believer
  3. If the Church That Baptized You Denies the Gospel
  4. If the Baptism Has No Connection Whatsoever to a Church


Chapter 6
How Should Churches Practice Baptism?

  1. Mode
  2. Administrator
  3. Result
  4. Context
  5. Timing


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).

Buy the books

Understanding Baptism

B&H, 2016 | 80 pages

Share This

Share this with your friends!