Baptism is taught in the Bible and has been practiced for centuries, but understanding of its meaning and respect for its importance are at a low ebb today. Confusion reigns over questions about its mode and its place in the life of the Christian, and as a result, even many evangelical congregations are downplaying its significance.
This is not the way it should be. Dr. R.C. Sproul declares in this Crucial Questions booklet. Baptism, he affirms, is one of the two sacraments of the Christian church, a sign and seal of the covenant of grace. Therefore, it is a necessary and meaningful practice that is packed with rich symbolism. In this booklet, Dr. Sproul provides help in understanding and appreciating this practice of the church.
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Customer Reviews for What is Baptism?
Review 1 for What is Baptism?
Date:July 12, 2014
I grew up in a Christian Reformed Church. My husband grew up in a Reformed Church. Throughout our dating relationship and now as a married couple, we have attended a Baptist Church. Knowing that Sproul’s background is firmly rooted in the Reformed Theology, I knew many controversial aspects of baptism would be addressed in this book.
Throughout the book, Sproul noticeably, but delicately, argues for the covenant infant baptism. Although this provided a fantastic contextual foundation for infant baptism, I was slightly disappointed that he hauled it through every chapter.
Right from the start, he addresses the salvation and baptism relationship. Through brief touches on the Roman Catholic position versus the Protestant position, it’s concluded that baptism is not a requirement for salvation.
My favorite section of the book included the distinction between John’s Baptism and Christian Baptism. He explains that John’s baptism was merely a preparation for the approaching Kingdom of God while Christian baptism is the culmination of entry into God’s Kingdom. This was the first I had heard such an explanation and felt it was extremely enlightening.
Sproul continues by defining baptism. He connects the concept of baptism to the sign and seal of the Old Covenant through circumcision. His argument is that baptism represents that which it signifies. Since we are living in the New Covenant, baptism is more than a mere symbol. Rather it’s an action that affirms God’s covenant promise to and through us. It may be a one-time event, but we live it out through the rest of our lives.
I did appreciate his approach to addressing the Baptist view of full immersion baptism. He contends that immersion is not the only binding method of baptism. Through New Testament references and early church history, he effectively argues that the precise mode of baptism is inferior to the theology behind what baptism represents.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher as part of their review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”