My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This topic is widely addressed, being critical in the Christian faith. However, this book carries an upper hand in the deck, resourcing a handful of leading theologians in today’s Christian society to provide a consistent overview of the doctrine from a traditional perspective. It carries great weight not only with the impressive list of theologians that contributed to it, but the book is considered part of the New American Commentary as well, despite not being a commentary, per se. This book is singular in its stance in that it intends to clarify, not comment, on the concept and provide a guiding light for the churches of today and tomorrow.
In this respect, church leaders will find use for its content. Best suited for pastors and scholars, the content is conveyed in a manner that is engaging for both groups, yet quickly applicable for the former. This book relates to many different doctrinal components, including sin and Christian lifestyle, and is practical to implement from the world of knowledge to the world of people. While scholars could find material to expound upon or debate, in all, this really is designed for church leaders, as a clarion call for reformation and a return to the early roots of baptism in Christian theology.
The authors, Schreiner and Wright, achieved their overall goal of proving that baptism is a right of initiation into the Christian faith. Having provided sufficient content to evaluate and consider, the authors give a fair argument for traditional Baptist-theology baptism. Given their denominational leaning, this made perfect sense. Personally, being a Messianic Jew by faith, I take a different approach to baptism altogether. The authors did a good job providing evaluation of their stance regarding the doctrine of baptism, and make a successful argument against sprinkling and infant baptism.
However, my leaning toward Jewish thinking is in conflict with the information they provided from Köstenberger in the early portions of the book. The book makes me think about my stance and defend my viewpoint, which if I had not already been faced with this challenge before, I would have been easily swayed. The book reminds me of the importance of baptism / mikveh, regardless of the difference the authors argue between the two. In the strictest sense, according to their scathing review of the modern church, I would be one of the individuals improperly using baptism, and I am quite alright with that. The authors provide solid information, but lack the conviction at the end to make their viewpoint more than an extremist alarmist episode.
Disclosure: I have received a reviewer copy and/or payment in exchange for an honest review of the product mentioned in this post.