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It Takes A Church To Baptize: What the Bible Says about Infant Baptism Paperback – Aug. 21 2018
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Popular New Testament scholar Scot McKnight makes a biblical case for infant baptism, exploring its history, meaning, and practice and showing that infant baptism is the most historic Christian way of forming children into the faith. He explains that the church's practice of infant baptism developed straight from the Bible and argues that it must begin with the family and then extend to the church. Baptism is not just an individual profession of faith: it takes a family and a church community to nurture a child into faith over time. McKnight explains infant baptism for readers coming from a tradition that baptizes adults only, and he counters criticisms that fail to consider the role of families in the formation of faith. The book includes a foreword by Todd Hunter and an afterword by Gerald McDermott.]]>
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From the Back Cover
"As someone who grew up Baptist and has wrestled deeply with questions about infant baptism, I wish I could have read this book years ago. McKnight has given the church an enduring gift--a book that is theologically rich, serious, and steeped in tradition yet accessible and readable. As a mother of young children and as a priest, I will put this book in the hands of many a friend and parishioner. If you are a parent deciding whether to baptize infant children, this book is essential reading."
--Tish Harrison Warren, priest in the ACNA, co-associate rector (Church of the Ascension Pittsburgh), and author of Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life
"A cogent apology for the sacrament of infant baptism. McKnight, a New Testament scholar, writes in a comfortable and non-academic style that his readers will surely appreciate."
--Kathryn Greene-McCreight, Episcopal priest and author of Darkness Is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Illness
"McKnight provides a controversial though ultimately compelling case for infant baptism. It is not just the who and how of baptism that he tackles; the genius of this book is that McKnight elegantly explains what baptism is even about, what it means, what it does for the recipient, and why it really does take a church to baptize a child. This book could change your whole view of conversion, faith, family, children's ministry, and the church!"
--Michael F. Bird, Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia
"The most compelling case for infant baptism available today. Not content to sprinkle with prooftexts, McKnight immerses his reader in the biblical, historical, and sacramental theology of this ancient Christian practice, and seals it with a testimony of how his mind was changed."
--Joel Scandrett, Robert E. Webber Center, Trinity School for Ministry
About the Author
- Publisher : Brazos Press; 1st edition (Aug. 21 2018)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 144 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1587434164
- ISBN-13 : 978-1587434167
- Item weight : 175 g
- Dimensions : 13.97 x 0.91 x 21.59 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #440,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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However, very near the beginning he quotes Bonhoeffer who really confirms the inadequacy of infant baptism because unless in the authors words the whole community of the church supports the child in their growing it has no value. For the vast majority of infant baptisms, where the family so not even bring the child to church at any other time, this by the author's own argument makes it ineffective.
In a sense this will probably just confirm your existing view (whichever way you lean), but it may dissuade a few people who have been thinking about a more meaningful baptism of their own choice (as an increasing number of Anglicans seem to be doing) - in that sense it could be a very dangerous book. Sorry Scot - I can't recommend this one!
Thanks to Twitter and the wonderful site Anglican Pastor I was discovered Scot's book. From the very beginning something that caught my attention was that Scot came from a very strong credobaptist position to the position he now take of paedobaptism not only being the tradition view, but also the biblical view. Scot even uses the liturgy for the baptism service to teach about the theology of the event, makes the statement Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi (the law of prayer is the law of believing) truly a motto.
I felt Scot did a wonderful job answering the questions asked of those subscribing to infant baptism. Scot argues his case mainly by saying while paedobaptists do believe that something happens during infant baptism, the church and family of the child are meant to be drawn into raising this child with Christ. From this point, Scot points to covenant theology to explain infant baptism as biblical. He makes a great point that religion for most of human history has not been an individual mindset, but a family/nation mindset. While we believe that faith is personal, we are as Christians are also commanded to "train up a child in the way he should go" (Proverbs 22:6).
Scot does a good job of explaining a sacrament as something that is material ("ordinary" is the word Scot uses) that God uses to show us and bestow his spiritual grace. If we view baptism not as something we do, but something God does it changes not only how we view infant baptism but also how we who have been baptized as Adults view our baptism.