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Friday, April 22, 2016

Church Basics: Understanding Baptism (Bobby Jamieson)

TITLE: Understanding Baptism (Church Basics)
AUTHOR: Bobby Jamieson
PUBLISHER: Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing, 2016, (74 pages).

What is the meaning of baptism? Is it necessary? Is it a must for all believers? What is the significance of baptism? Why is it required for Church membership? What are the kinds of baptism in the Christian world today? These questions are covered in this series of "Church Basics" that deal with basic questions asked in churches all over the world. In brief, there are three types of audiences that the author is addressing to. The first group are those who have not been baptized yet, and are exploring what the whole significance of baptism is about. This group also includes those who are just about to take the plunge into the baptismal act. It also includes those who are unsure of whether it is important or necessary in the first place to go through the ritual. The second group are those who have been baptized but needed either a refresher course or a reminder of the meaning of baptism. Over time, people do forget the significance of this event and by being reminded of the importance of baptism, they would have a renewed commitment to live out their baptismal covenant and to encourage others to do the same. The third group are the pastors and leaders of the Church. Having resources to teach and to share with the church congregation is an important one. Very often, members who have questions need to ask someone. The pastor or Church leader is a common resource. This book equips leaders to share about the meaning of baptism and at the same time, use the contents or modify them to be a part of the overall Church Education curriculum. There are many more applications that can be put in.

The key belief in this book is this: "Baptism is a church's act of affirming and portraying a believer's union with Christ by immersing him or her in water, and a believer's act of publicly committing him or herself to Christ and his people, thereby uniting a believer to the church and marking off him or her from the world." It is a statement of affirmation that baptism is not only necessary but is part of the biblical mandate of the Great Commission. It lists the theological arguments for and against infant baptism before the author lays out why he says infant baptism is not the biblical baptism. He gives seven reasons why baptism is required for membership and also how baptism should be done. However, there is not much about the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Briefly, the book comes with answers to six basic questions about baptism.
  1. What is Baptism?
  2. Who Should Be Baptized?
  3. What about Infant Baptism?
  4. Why is Baptism Required for Church Membership?
  5. When is "Baptism" Not Baptism?
  6. How Should Churches Practice Baptism?
The author is a PhD student in New Testament at the University of Cambridge. He has previously written "Going Public: Why Baptism is Required for Church Membership" from which this book has been based on. The booklet form makes this book ideal for giveaways or as a baptismal gift that accompany the traditional Bible. This book is one among the six Church Basics series of books. The others are:

For an introduction to baptism, this booklet helps iron out the basics of the Christian Faith, and this fulfills the purpose of the series of Christian Basics.

Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of B&H Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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