Schreiner, in one of the book’s essays, argues from the New Testament epistles that baptism is an initiatory rite into the church for believers only, while an essay by Wright critiques the arguments of Reformed Christians who hold to infant baptism. The book includes other essayists with Southern Baptist ties:

  • Andreas J. Köstenberger, professor of New Testament at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., who looks at baptism in the New Testament Gospels.
  • Steven A. McKinion, associate professor of historical theology and patristic studies at Southeastern, who examines baptism in the writings of the church fathers.
  • Robert H. Stein, senior professor of New Testament at Southern Seminary, who examines baptism in Luke and Acts.
  • Stephen J. Wellum, professor of theology at Southern, who analyzes the relationship between the old and new covenants and responds to key biblical arguments for infant baptism.
  • Duane A.Garrett, professor of Old Testament interpretation at Southern, who interacts with Reformed scholar Meredith Kline and his view of New Testament baptism.
  • Mark E. Dever, senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., and Southern Seminary trustee, who underscores practical issues related to baptism in the local church. Dever tackles such questions as the method and timing of baptism.

In the foreward, George, who serves as dean of Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Ala., encourages Baptists to recover a robust understanding of what is being pictured when a new believer enters the baptismal waters.

“By becoming safely routinized as part of the ecclesiastical landscape, baptism is apt to lose its basic [New Testament] meaning as the decisive transition from an old way of life to a new way of life, as an act of radical obedience in which a specific renunciation is made and a specific promise is given,” he writes.

“The recovery of a robust doctrine of believer’s baptism can serve as an antidote to the theological minimalism and atomistic individualism that prevail in many Baptist churches in our culture. Baptism is not only the solemn profession of a redeemed sinner, our ‘appeal to God for a clear conscience,’ as the [New Testament] puts it; it is also a sacred and serious act of incorporation into the visible community of faith.”

 

© 2007 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.