What is Christian baptism? Is it, as many believe, a mere symbol? When should someone be baptized? In A Christian's Pocket Guide to Baptism, Robert Letham answers such questions from Scripture. He reflects sensitively on historic Christian teaching and avoids the extremes that often mark discussions of this subject, making this a book for everyone. Letham's plain talk will not leave beginners bemused, nor will it frustrate those who want to make real progress in their theological understanding. It is a 'tragedy', says Letham, that Christians should think of baptism as 'the water that divides'.
The sign of our union with Christ should unite Christians, not least because it does not focus on our actions, but on God's mighty deeds. Baptism belongs to him. It must always be administered in connection with faith, yet that does not mean Christians do anything to receive or to earn baptism. They are to be baptized solely because of God's gracious promises.
Table of Contents:
Part One: Foundational Principles
Interpreting the Bible: The Text and Its Implications
Interpreting the Bible: The Old and the New
Promises and Sacraments
The Individual and the Corporate
Part Two: What Baptism Signifies
5. Cleansing from Sin
6. Union with Christ
7. The Teaching of the Protestant Confessions
8. The Individual and the Household
Part Three: Conclusion
9. Children, Covenant, Church and Sacrament
Robert Letham is the senior tutor in Systematic and Historical Theology at the Wales Evangelical School of Theology (formerly ECTW). Previously he was Pastor of Emmanuel Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Wilmington, Delaware. He has taught at London Bible College, is Adjunct Professor of Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia and Visiting Professor at Reformed Theological Seminary.
"Here is a robust, articulate and biblical presentation of covenant baptism that avoids populism and individualism. Dr Letham has placed baptism in its covenantal and canonical context - a work of God rather than an act of obedience - no bare sign but an active means of grace - for believers and their children." - Liam Goligher ~ Senior Minister, Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
"Rightly Letham seeks to understand the issue of baptism within the canonical framework of Scripture. He is hopeful that this is the way forward beyond the impasse that has stymied the church for centuries regarding this precious ordinance ....if you are searching for a well-argued, and irenic, approach to this subject from the vantage-point of infant baptism, this is the book for you." - Michael A. G. Haykin ~ Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky