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Believer's Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ (New American Commentary Studies in Bible & Theology)

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  218 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
Is believer’s baptism the clear teaching of the New Testament Scriptures? What are the historical and theological challenges to believer’s baptism? What are the practical applications for believer’s baptism today? Volume two in the New American Commentary Studies in Bible & Theology (NACSBT) series for pastors, advanced Bible students, and other deeply committed layper ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published January 1st 2007 by B&H Academic
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vittore paleni
Aug 17, 2012 vittore paleni rated it really liked it
I must say I am rating the WHOLE book a bit prematurely. I mean here to express the gratitude I have for the writings Stephen J. Wellum. I read his essay within this volume and I must say it brought a new level of clarity in understanding the organic and progressive nature of the covenants and Christ's role in fulfilling them and bringing them about. Well worth the read.

PS and if you enjoyed this essay I would recommend Wellum/Gentry's new book "Kingdom Through Covenant" for a closer exposition
Jul 01, 2013 John rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
Baptism is perhaps the most divisive issue of faith and practice in the Christian church, so a book, such as Believer’s Baptism is sure to be received as decisive blow against paedobaptism by the Baptists, but as a non sequitur by the paedobaptists. While a convinced Baptist myself, I attend a paedobaptist church, so I’m in the unenviable position of being caught in the middle. It is true, and undeniable that the paedobaptist tradition—specifically the Presbyterians, have a near monopoly on the ...more
Brent McCulley
Jun 30, 2015 Brent McCulley rated it it was ok
Shelves: theology
The first few essays don't present anything earth shattering in their NT exegesis and the last few essays are equally as dry and unconvincing (I am not at all interested in Campbellism..). Ultimately the issue is not going to be settled by exegesis but by the hardworking systematic theologians.

The best essays were Dr. McKinion's work on baptism in the Patristic Writings, which was much more convincing, gracious in tone, historically cogent and challenging to my own position, and Wellum's essay o
David Rollins
Apr 08, 2015 David Rollins rated it it was amazing
This is a very important book for anyone who wants to understand the arguments for infant baptism and the arguments against infant baptism and for Credobaptism. I think the authors have been thorough and fair in describing the foundations of the Reformed approach to infant baptism (explaining the difference with the Roman Catholic view). Actually, the authors spend more of their effort in explaining the conceptions of infant baptism than they do for their own view. Everyone who is concerned abou ...more
Jan 21, 2013 William rated it did not like it
Shelves: theology, sacraments
I'm not sure why I expected more from a book defending an indefensible sectarian position on Baptism...but for some reason I was. By the time I finished Wellum's essay on the covenants it took all my will power to finish the book, because I'd lost all hope at that point. I've picked up a number of books defending "Believer's Baptism" over the years, but they've all espoused such pathetic arguments, poor exegesis, textual selectivity, and historical ignorance that I've continued to wonder how Bap ...more
Jonathan Esterman
May 03, 2015 Jonathan Esterman rated it liked it
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 ...more
Ryan Thomas
Great resource on the topic of baptism. Positives included the scope and depth covered on the significance and relevance of baptism, whether historical, scriptural, theological or practical. The interaction with opposing view points was another plus. I am too new to many of the topics considered in this book to assert that this was done fairly, but that certainly seemed to be the intent, and the tone was decidedly irenic while unapologetically frank.

Perhaps one downside is that I frequently fel
Lindsay Kennedy
Read the full review here:

I know that my own study of this issue isn't over, but Believer's Baptism has played an important role in confirming my belief in credobaptism. The scholarship is solid and thoughtful, particularly so in Stein and Wellum's contributions. I'm very grateful that the conclusion of the book was not merely something like, "baptism is good but not necessary and the paedobaptists are wrong". Instead, the importance of baptism was shown
Ryan Linkous
May 11, 2014 Ryan Linkous rated it really liked it
This book contains several great scholarly defenses for Believer's Baptism including NT studies, historical analysis, biblical theological, systematic theological, and ecclesiological arguments for believer's baptism. The whole book is worth Stephen Wellum's chapter, "Baptism and the Relationship Between the Covenants," in which he demonstrates how paedobaptists (and those who admit unregenerate children as members) fail to understand key distinctions between the old and new covenant based on pr ...more
Dec 30, 2012 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the book that convinced me to become a paedobaptist. The arguments are well thought out and exceptionally researched, which allowed me to really confront the issues I was struggling with at the time - especially the chapters by Wellum, Rainbow, and Garrett. This is probably the best book on credo-baptism out there. They really show the inconsistencies with the typical, presbyterian view of paedobaptism, and had I not already been studying other paedobaptist traditions, it well may have ...more
JR Snow
Jun 13, 2015 JR Snow rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
Overall, very good. Academic and thorough. Merits a further reading. Especially good chapter "relationship between the covenants". Two picayunes: firstly, most of the contributors teach at the same school (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it does raise a red flag. Secondly, two chapters (the first about Kline and his flawed interpretation of the meaning of circumcision and the second about the Stone-Campbell restoration movement and Campbell's theol ...more
Jacob McGill
I'm currently struggling to hold onto this baptist belief. I was an obnoxious, staunch baptist when I read this book, and loved it. 3 years later, I am wanting to join the anglican/episcopal tradition, and seeing how little they interacted with the Lutheran, Anglican, and Catholic positions of baptism. This book is blinded by their authors who are more friendly toward PCA churches, and not so much with others; they only see Presbyterian views on baptism as important to critique.
Sep 20, 2014 Jay rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology, pastoral
A helpful overview. Chapters on the new covenant, baptism in the patristics, "Confessor Baptism," the baptismal theology of Meredith Kline, and the practice of baptism in the local church were particularly helpful.

The content seemed particularly focused on Reformed Presbyterians and defended against their arguments for infant baptism. I would have appreciated a more thorough response to Lutheran, RC, and Orthodox justifications for infant baptism as well.
Mark A Powell
Oct 09, 2012 Mark A Powell rated it really liked it
Whom should be baptized? The authors of this book craft a solid, well-defended argument in favor of confessor’s baptism—the idea that only those who capably profess faith in Christ are candidates for baptismal waters—over and against infant baptism. The essays range in their helpfulness (with Wellum’s standing as the strongest) yet the entire book is helpful in laying out the biblical foundation for credobaptism. The exegetical and logical conclusions drawn here warrant attentive reflection.
Todd Miles
Jan 14, 2013 Todd Miles rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ecclesiology
This is the single-most valuable resource on baptism that I have ever read. It provides a criticism of paedo-baptism at the exegetical and biblical theological levels. Wellum's article is outstanding. There is even a helpful contribution by Ardell Candeday on the Stone-Campbell movement with some clarification on the baptismal regeneration position commonly attributed to Campbell.
Brian Watson
Apr 08, 2013 Brian Watson rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent multi-author book on baptism. It covers pretty much all of the bases, from careful exegesis of the New Testament to an examination of the covenants to historical theology. I wish it had a more careful answer to paedobaptists' use of Acts 2:39 and how new covenant membership is constituted. Still, it's probably the best book out there on baptism from a Baptist perspective.
Jan 09, 2016 Jacob rated it liked it
This book was hit and miss. Some of the articles were really good. Some not so much. The article by Wellum is perhaps the best part of this book (and I found it online for free), as he really seems to understand the nature of the engagement between paedo- and credo-baptists the best. Most of the rest of it has been said before and is just a rehashing of the baptism argument.
Alasdair Peterson
Outstanding book on Believer's baptism, with several excellent and nuanced chapters. Stephen Wellum's is perhaps worth the price of the book alone. Puts forth both a positive case for the restriction of baptism to those who have made a profession of faith and also a critique of the most commonly used arguments in favour of paedobaptism from a broadly reformed perspective.
Jul 20, 2011 Marcus rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sacraments
Read Wellum’s article (chap 4). He gives a good summary of the classic reformed (my) position before his critique. I would say his article was one of the better works I read from a credo standpoint when working through the issue myself. Rest of the book was so so…
Job Dalomba
Dec 11, 2014 Job Dalomba rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
There are a couple of chapters in this book that are 5 star chapters. There are a couple that are 1-2 stars that bring the value of the book down.
Ryan Wood
Feb 05, 2012 Ryan Wood rated it really liked it
Helpful, thorough, and biblical book on baptism. If you're looking to do some in-depth study on the subject, this is an excellent resource to use.
Carter Johnson
The contributors try to be biblical, they explain their position fairly well, and they don't caricature the paedobaptists—but it only gets three stars because I believe they are still wrong.
Sep 18, 2013 Phil rated it liked it
Overall good. Comprehensive. It is hard to refute the position of a believers baptism after reading this book.
Matt Tyler
May 08, 2015 Matt Tyler rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, 2015
To be clear, not all of these chapters are 5 star chapters. But some chapters are just so good that it feels wrong to give less than 5 stars. Stephen Wellum's chapter is a *must* read.
Joseph Grigoletti
Feb 02, 2015 Joseph Grigoletti rated it liked it
Paul Jewett's book is better if you go for that Credobaptism thing, but this is a fine supplement.
Victor Chininin
Victor Chininin rated it really liked it
Jan 10, 2016
Kevin Sanders
Kevin Sanders rated it really liked it
Jun 14, 2016
Michael Siebel
Michael Siebel rated it really liked it
Nov 28, 2015
J.S. Farland
J.S. Farland rated it liked it
Jun 20, 2016
Daniel rated it really liked it
Oct 24, 2013
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Thomas R. Schreiner (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including New Testament Theology; Magnifying God in Christ; Apostle of God's Glory in Christ; and Romans in the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament.
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“The references to baptism in Mark's Gospel present themselves therefore as follows: (1)  1:4–9: John the Baptist's baptism of repentance and his baptism of Jesus (2)  6:14,24–25: Rumor that Jesus is the Baptist raised from the dead; John's beheading (3)  7:13: Elijah has come in the person of John the Baptist (4)  8:28: Some say Jesus is John the Baptist (see 6:14) (5)  10:38–39: Jesus' reference to a future “baptism” he must undergo (his crucifixion) (6)  11:30: Jesus' challenge to the Jews to identify the source of John's baptism” 0 likes
“This is further underscored by Jesus' disciples' comment in Matt 16:14 that some think Jesus is John the Baptist (presumably raised from the dead; see Matt 14:1; see Mark 6:14) and is made even more clear by Jesus' clarification that “Elijah has already come, and they didn't recognize him. On the contrary, they did whatever they pleased to him. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” (Matt 17:12). The teachers of the Law insisted that Elijah had to come first (presumably on the basis of passages such as Mal 3:1–2), so that the time had not yet come” 0 likes
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