Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sunday School Reading - June 7, 2009

Here is the recommended reading from this week's Sunday School. This week we covered the mode, subjects, and efficacy of baptism. As I promised last week, here are all the recommendations on baptism.

First, here is where baptism is addressed in the Reformed and Presbyterian confesssions:

Second, here are some recommended books that deal with Christian baptism:
  • Christian Baptism by John Murray - I firmly believe that this remains the best book out there on baptism and our discussion closely followed Murray's. This book will be most rewarding if you read it with his article, The Covenant of Grace, which is also available on the Shady Grove book table for $2 and free online. The book on baptism also only $6 from WTS Books!
  • The Biblical Doctrine of Infant Baptism by Pierre Marcel - Marcel was a French pastor who only has a few of his works translated into English. This is a helpful book and is available in the church library.
  • By Oath Consigned by Meredith Kline - You may be able to find this book electronically but I do not think that it is in print any longer. It is helpful because Kline focuses on the covenantal meaning of baptism. While I sometimes think that Kline stretches in drawing his conclusions (in his broader writings though not so much in this book) his exegesis is very helpful. The book is available in the church library.
  • The Case for Covenantal Infant Baptism ed. by Gregg Strawbridge - While I do not think that this book is as helpful as some of the others because it has so many essays it covers more aspects of baptism from different angles and so helps to answer a lot of different questions and objections.
  • Christic Baptism and Patristic Baptism: An Inquiry into the Meaning of the Word by James Dale - While I think that the books by Murray and edited by Strawbridge in particular will be sufficient to tear down the argument that baptism must be by immersion if there are still questions then this is the definitive study on the meaning of the word in Greek.

Third, here are the sections of Presbyterian and Reformed systematic theologies that interact with baptism:
  • Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin - Calvin addresses baptism in chapters 15-16 of Book 4.
  • Reformed Dogmatics by Herman Bavinck - Bavinck writes on baptism in chapter 10 of volume 4, Holy Spirit, Church, and New Creation.
  • Systematic Theology by Charles Hodge - Hodge covers baptism in sections 7-14 of Chapter 20 in Volume 3 (available as a .pdf at the link provided)
  • Outlines of Theology by A.A. Hodge - Baptism is covered in chapter 39 (available free at the link provided)
  • Systematic Theology by R.L. Dabney - Dabney's treatment of baptism is in Chapter 40 (available free at the link provided)
  • Systematic Theology by Louis Berkhof - Berkhof interacts with Christian baptism in Chapter 4 under his section on the means of grace. This is available in the church library.

Finally, here are some free essays and articles that you can read online about baptism:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The sticky question of baptismal validity always comes up concerning those who are baptized as infants in, uh, let's say other denominations, but then the person comes to faith and inquires about "believer's baptism." Leave it to Luther to help clear the matter up for us:

The papists themselves admit that baptism, administered as a joke or playfully, is a true baptism, as is written in the Ecclesiastical History of St. Athanasius. According to this account he was playing with his companions and children on the seashore and baptized them, as he had seen it done in the church by the bishop. Bishop Alexander regarded it as a true baptism, and did not baptize the same children again. One can read about similar matters in the legends according to which several real buffoons wanted to please the heathen in a play and mock the Christians’ baptism, as if it were a foolish, ludicrous belief to want to become holy through water, etc. However, in the middle of the play there appeared to one of them a writing which consisted of these words of St. Paul to the Ephesians, chapter 4 [:5 ff.]: “One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all,” etc. On the basis of these words he became a believer and accepted the mock baptism as a true baptism, took it seriously, and freely confessed Christ. However, when the heathen seized them all, supposing that these buffoons had produced the play in honor of the Christians and to spite the heathen, the rest reviled this one companion of theirs and said he had gone mad. However, he adhered to his baptism and faith, letting himself be martyred for it. Thus he went to heaven after the play was over.

Luther, M. (1999, c1971). Vol. 38: Luther's works, vol. 38 : Word and Sacrament IV (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.). Luther's Works (38:203). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.