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Understanding Four Views on Baptism (Counterpoints)

Armstrong, John; Engle, Paul E.; John D. Castelein, Robert A. Kolb, Thomas J. Nettles, and Richard L. Pratt, Jr.

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Product Description

Publisher Description:

Christians have long differed with one another on both the meaning and the practice of water baptism. Using the classic Counterpoints forum of presentation-critique-response, this insightful book explores four prominent views of baptism held by different branches of Protestantism: Baptist, Christian Church/Church of Christ, Lutheran, and Reformed.

Staff Review: There have been many good books published from all points of view on Christian baptism, but this may be the best "one stop" resource yet for those who want to become familiar with the central issues. The participants seem well-chosen and generally present their positions well. Richard Pratt is particularly stand-out in his presentation of Reformed infant baptism and his counterpoints to the other views. As the token Reformed credobaptist on the Westminster Bookstore staff, however, I was left less-than-satisfied by Thomas Nettles' case for believer's baptism. He restricts his arguments to a case for immersion as the meaning of baptizo (interesting, but hardly essential) and faith as primarily the act of the believer (scripturally weak, in my opinion). As a proponent of believer's baptism from a Reformed perspective, I would want to build a case more on issues of the amount of continuity and discontinuity between the old and new covenants, as Paul King Jewett does in his Infant Baptism & the Covenant of Grace, probably the best Reformed baptist book currently in print.

That criticism aside, there is much to be learned in this volume. Of particular education value for many will be the fact that there are at least four distinct view of baptism among Protestants, not just the two (infant vs. believer's) that most easily come to mind. As with the entire Counterpoints series, some of the most valuable material appears in the brief responses each of the other contributors get to make after each other's presentations. In this volume, I would also say that John Armstrong's powerful introductory essay on how we can hold differing views on baptism and yet esteem one another as fellow Christians is worth the price of this book alone. - Mark Traphagen, Westminster Bookstore Staff, February 2007
  • Editor and Introduction: John Armstrong
  • Baptist View: Thomas J. Nettles
  • Reformed View: Richard L. Pratt, Jr.
  • Lutheran View: Robert Kolb
  • Christian Church/Churches of Christ View: John D. Castelein
221 pages
Includes appendices, list of resources for further study, discussion and reflection questions, Scripture and subject indexes

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