Review: Believer’s Baptism

274555The multifaceted debate concerning baptism (specifically paedobaptism vs. credobaptism) is well-known and fervently defended. There has been much ink spilled on this topic and many friends have been lost in the process. Believer’s Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ edited by Tom Schreiner and Shawn Wright aims to bring clarity to this debate with a thoroughly grounded demonstration of the credobaptist position.

Believer’s Baptism is a multi-authored work with essays from some of today’s most well-known scholars and churchmen, including Andreas Köstenberger, Robert Stein, Duane Garrett, Stephen J. Wellum, Mark Dever, and more.  Organizationally, the volume guides the reader through the New Testament, into the early Church and Reformation Church history, and concludes within the context of the local Church. The essays are well presented and informative, especially the essays on the New Testament baptismal texts and the patristic writings. Moreover, the tone of the volume is well-postponed to instruct both sides of the debate, as the authors are collectively concerned with what the Bible says rather than what tradition requires.

Despite the noble attempt of the authors and editors, Believer’s Baptism is going to be approached with much criticism and disagreement. This is simply the nature of the conversation. That said I appreciated the tone of argument and the biblical-historical emphasis of the volume. Those coming from a tradition where paedobaptism is both adhered and administered will beg to differ on points of exegesis, but it would be hard not to applaud the effort presented here. I would have appreciated more discussion concerning the rise of the practice of “believer’s baptism” within Second Temple Judaism, as the New Testament texts are handled in depth presupposing such background. Nevertheless, Believer’s Baptism is a thorough and judicious effort on all fronts of the conversation.

Believer’s Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ edited by Tom Schreiner and Shawn Wright is the best defense of credobaptism on the market today. The scope of the essays included is comprehensive and the contributing roster is paired well with the topics covered. Readers will appreciate the tone and approach of the volume, and much will be learned in the process. If you are looking to discover the rich heritage of believer’s baptism, then look no further, as Believer’s Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ is still the best point of reference. It comes highly recommended!

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