Follower of The Way


Interview & New Book

Posted in Christian Theology by sosipater on January 15, 2007

Justin Taylor has an interview with Tom Schreiner on what looks to be a great new book on Baptism.  The title is “Believer’s Baptism:  Sign of the New Covenant in Christ”.  You can check out the interview here, and check out the book or purchase here.

Here is a great q&a from the interview on a subject that I was just discussing with a friend.  Timely and good stuff.

It seems to me that in the NT, baptism followed almost immediately after a profession of faith–with little time for instruction, confirmation that their faith was genuine, etc. Yet it also seems to me that those churches that practice instant baptisms upon initial professions of faith also seem to produce a lot of nominal Christians. What are you thoughts?

That’s a great question and it doesn’t have an easy answer. I think we have to consider the difference between the NT era and our culture in the United States. In the NT the Christian faith was clearly distinct from the culture, and hence baptism was a dramatic indication that one had given his life to the one true God and to Jesus Christ. Baptism was not culturally acceptable but distinguished someone remarkably from their culture. When we think of our culture today, we know that it is more and more post-Christian. Still, baptism is part of the cultural landscape. Many people in our culture mistakenly identify being an American with being a Christian. Therefore, I think it is wise to instruct converts in our context before immediately baptizing them. In that way we can discern better whether someone’s profession of faith is genuine. I would advise, therefore, that a new convert be introduced in new member’s classes (our church has five) to the essential doctrines of the church and the Christian faith. In addition, we have two elders interview each candidate for membership to ensure they understand the gospel before they are baptized and join the church.

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6 Responses to 'Interview & New Book'

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  1. bj77 said,

    I found this the most interesting part of the question,

    “Therefore, I think it is wise to instruct converts in our context before immediately baptizing them.”

    Yeah! Just like all the Biblical examples we have of this taking place.

    “In that way we can discern better whether someone’s profession of faith is genuine.”

    How? Because they have memorized the LBC1689?

    “I would advise, therefore, that a new convert be introduced in new member’s classes (our church has five) to the essential doctrines of the church and the Christian faith.”

    Now that sounds like a good idea! That way we can be just like the NT church in the Bible.

    “In addition, we have two elders interview each candidate for membership to ensure they understand the gospel before they are baptized and join the church.”

    Russ, is this book going to include any Scriptural mandidates on Baptism, or just assert that the 1st century unbelievers were not really as unbelieving as 21st century unbelievers, and that’s why it is require of potential converts to jump through hoops instead of taking their profession at face value.

    This is the frustration of Baptisitic Theology! It wants so bad for the the New Covenant to find its fullfillment “now” when they forget the “not yet” aspect of Jer.31. Why dont Baptist treat baptism and its recepiants just as Peter treated Simon the Sorcerer? That is, Profess—>be Baptized, and if they “fall away” treat them as 1Jn 2:19 says…they were never of us? The reason is because Baptist think they have a lock on Jer.31 in a literal fashion. They fail to see the already/not yet tension that is in the passage.

  2. sosipater said,

    BJ,

    Ok, I’m kind of over all the point couterpoint blog discussions, but I’ll indulge your commments.

    “Therefore, I think it is wise to instruct converts in our context before immediately baptizing them.”

    Yeah! Just like all the Biblical examples we have of this taking place.

    We don’t have to have biblical examples for everything we do. We need a biblical reason, but not biblical examples.

    “In that way we can discern better whether someone’s profession of faith is genuine.”

    How? Because they have memorized the LBC1689?

    No, to discern whether they understand sin, forgiveness, repentance, and the work of Christ.

    “I would advise, therefore, that a new convert be introduced in new member’s classes (our church has five) to the essential doctrines of the church and the Christian faith.”

    Now that sounds like a good idea! That way we can be just like the NT church in the Bible.

    Shreiner dealt with this in his interview, as did I above. To take your logic to its conclusion, we’ll have to move to Jerusalem and start meeting in Synagogues and *Jewish* homes to be like the early church.

    Russ, is this book going to include any Scriptural mandidates on Baptism, or just assert that the 1st century unbelievers were not really as unbelieving as 21st century unbelievers, and that’s why it is require of potential converts to jump through hoops instead of taking their profession at face value.

    But BJ, what does taking their profession “at face value” mean? As Schreiner talked about, we have to apply the Bible’s teaching to our culture. Perhaps if you want to be consistent, you should find out how paedobaptistic church’s administer baptism to adults. Is it any different than what Shreiner is saying?

    This is the frustration of Baptisitic Theology! It wants so bad for the the New Covenant to find its fullfillment “now” when they forget the “not yet” aspect of Jer.31. Why dont Baptist treat baptism and its recepiants just as Peter treated Simon the Sorcerer? That is, Profess—>be Baptized, and if they “fall away” treat them as 1Jn 2:19 says…they were never of us?

    “Baptistic theolgy” does allow for this. It is not monolithic, just as peadobaptistic theology isn’t either.

    The reason is because Baptist think they have a lock on Jer.31 in a literal fashion. They fail to see the already/not yet tension that is in the passage.

    Ok, that is an assertion with no agument, so I’ll respond in likewise manner. The paedobaptist sees too much already/not yet tension in the passage. See how easy it is? Wait, on second thought, the paedobaptist sees no tension. It is all “not yet”.

  3. bj77 said,

    Typical Tardheel response!

  4. sosipater said,

    Bleeding Carolina Blue!

  5. daxw said,

    B.J.,
    I couldn’t help but notice you were referring to Baptist’s in the 3rd person. Was this for debate or do you not consider yourself in line with Baptist theology now? Just curious.
    Dax

  6. bj77 said,

    I was playing the Bluedevils advocate.


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