Archives For Baptism


Borders of Baptism - Michael BuddeWhat is your Primary Identity?

The Borders of Baptism:

Identities, Allegiances, and the Church

Michael L. Budde
Paperback: Cascade Books, 2011.
Buy Now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Review by Chase Roden

What is your primary identity? Are you an American — or Canadian, Nicaraguan, or Texan first and foremost? Are you a mother, father, or daughter first? A Republican, Democrat, or Libertarian? Or does your faith inform your identity more than any of these allegiances? In The Borders of Baptism, professor of political science and Catholic studies at DePaul University Michael L. Budde explores this question from a wide variety of angles. What if, he asks, the identity-forming power we give to the state were reserved for the Body of Christ?

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An excerpt from Scot McKnight’s excellent new book:

One.Life: Jesus Calls, We Follow.
Scot McKnight.
Paperback: Zondervan, 2011.
Buy now:  [

Watch for our interview with Scot about this book,
which will appear in our next print issue, to be released in February.


“Re-examining the Language
and Concepts of Conversion

A Review of
Transforming Conversion:
Rethinking the Language and
Contours of Christian Initiation

By Gordon T. Smith

Reviewed by Chase Roden.

Transforming Conversion: Rethinking the Language and
Contours of Christian Initiation

Gordon T. Smith

Paperback: Baker Academic 2010.
Buy now: [ ]

Conversion is a concept familiar to every Christian, and one to which evangelicals in particular have historically paid a great deal of attention. Many Christians see their conversion as the apogee of their spiritual lives — not just a change of faith, but the moment in which God intervenes personally into their existence to turn their paths from condemnation to glory. For these Christians, every worshipful moment looks back to that conversion.

Despite its centrality in Christian life, conversion is a concept whose theological and historical underpinnings are often unexamined. Is the idea of a single moment of conversion biblical, or does that notion come from later interpreters? What happens in one’s conversion, and is it also to be considered the moment of salvation? What actions should follow conversion — how does the act of conversion itself influence the life of a believer?

In Transforming Conversion, Dr. Gordon Smith (former dean of Regent College, Vancouver) sets out to re-examine the language and concepts of conversion, with an emphasis on reclaiming the idea from the dominant interpretations inherited from the revivalists of the 19th century.

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A Review of

Worshiping With the Church Fathers.
Christopher Hall.
Paperback: IVP Academic, 2010.
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[ Read an excerpt of this book here… ]

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

Christopher Hall - Worshipping with the Church FathersWorshiping with the Church Fathers is the third volume of Christopher Hall’s four volume work on the Church in its earliest centuries.  This new volume, looks specifically at the sacraments of baptism and Eucharist, the practice of prayer and the spirituality of the desert fathers.  His objective is:

To present as clearly as possible the fathers’ understanding of what worship is and what it isn’t.  I have tried to allow them to speak for themselves, to present their case and then to encourage readers to make their own decisions as to the validity of the particular patristic viewpoints.

Hall does a fine job both of achieving his stated goal of letting the Church Fathers speak for themselves and of providing enough context through which the reader can understand the writings of the Fathers.  The book’s first two chapters explore the roles of baptism and the Eucharist respectively, with a particular emphasis on the sacramental (and material) nature of both practices.  Hall explains that the material nature of the sacraments is rooted in the incarnation of Christ:

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An excerpt from the recent masterpiece:

Baptism in the Early Church:
History, Theology, and Liturgy in the first Five Centuries
Everett Ferguson.

Paperback: Eerdmans,  2009.
Buy now: [ ]

[ Read our review of this book here ]


A Brief Review of

Baptism: Three Views.
David F. Wright, editor.

with contributions by Sinclair Ferguson,
Anthony Lane and Bruce Ware.

Paperback: IVP Academic, 2009.
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Reviewed by Nick Gill.

Baptism is a volatile subject among Christians. Lest we forget, men and women have lost their lives in centuries past in the struggle to honor their understanding of Christian baptism. Not only that, many parents have wrestled with the fact that the New Testament gives no direct guidance for how to handle the initiation of their believing children into the covenant community. I hoped for three things from this text: arguments that honored Christ, that respected the authority of Scripture, and that interacted with each others’ arguments. While I do not fully agree with any of the arguments set forth, I can vouch without qualification that these three men exceeded my hopes and expectations in these areas.


The Richness of the Christian Baptism

A Review of
Baptism in the Early Church:
History, Theology, and Liturgy in the first Five Centuries
by Everett Ferguson.

Reviewed by Marius Nel.

This review originally appeared on
Scot McKnight’s blog, Jesus Creed
It is reprinted here with the permission of both Scot and Marius

Baptism in the Early Church:
History, Theology, and Liturgy in the first Five Centuries
Everett Ferguson.

Paperback: Eerdmans,  2009.
Buy now: [ ]

Baptism in the Early Church - Everett FergusonEverett Ferguson’s magnus opus is a comprehensive historical study of the doctrine and practice of baptism in the first five centuries of Christianity. Ferguson’s focus is primarily on early Christian literary sources, though he also gives attention to the depictions of baptism (mostly of Jesus) in various art forms, as well as the architecture of a number of surviving baptismal fonts and baptisteries. He attempts to be as complete as possible for the first three centuries and “representatively comprehensive” for the fourth and fifth centuries (xix). The primary strength of Ferguson’s excellent study is its comprehensive focus on all the available primary literature, while also surveying (chapter 1) and engaging (in numerous footnotes) the relevant secondary literature.

Part One covers the antecedents to Christian baptism. Ferguson begins with a discussion of Greco-Roman pagan washings for purification and the role of water in the Mystery Religions (chapter 2). He concludes that while the use of water as a means of purification was common in the religious activities of Greeks and Romans it did not fulfill the same religious role as in Christianity (25). Washings for example, were a preliminary preparation for the initiation into the Mystery religions, while it was the center of initiation into the church (29).

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OK… so once again, we’re a day behind on getting this podcast out…

This time we’re going to try splitting the podcast into two segments.  The first segment will be a news alamanac and the second will feature an excerpt from the audio archives of Doulos Christou Books.

Overview of Segment #1 – News Almanac

  • St. Patrick’s Breastplate
  • Two weeks of the Church’s History
  • New Books to Watch for
  • Upcoming Events (Including a very special announcement!)


Books Featured:

Other books mentioned: