I was flipping through my Logos library the other day and randomly came across Michael Green’s, Baptism: Its Purpose, Practice and Power (Logos | Amazon). I decided to give it a glance, and I’m really glad I did. I’m only two chapters in, but I have to say that I am really enjoying Green’s clear and balanced handling of the subject. In the first chapter Green looked through the lens of various denominations (baptismal traditions) and wonderfully articulated that there is something important to be gained from the three predominate views. He explains:
So, as we turn from the confusion of modern partial answers and search in the New Testament, three strands are evident in Christian beginnings. Baptism is meant to denote all three. There is the human side, repentance and faith. There is the churchly side, baptism into the visible family of Christian people. And there is the divine side, forgiveness of sins and reception of the Holy Spirit. All three belong together. All three are necessary parts of Christian initiation. We have become so impoverished in our understanding, and so distanced from one another through our denominational emphases, that we often fail to perceive the need for all three strands in this rope of Christian beginnings. Baptism brings us into the church. Baptism embodies our response to the grace of God. But if we are baptised in water only, and not in the Holy Spirit, we have missed out on the gift of God and content ourselves with the wrapping paper. All three are necessary. …
The truth of the matter is that the three belong together in God’s plan for our salvation as surely as loving companionship, sexual relationship, and children belong together in God’s plan for our marriage. The ‘one baptism’ has these three strands to it. Don’t be satisfied with less. Don’t write off those who stress a different strand from you.
Michael Green, Baptism: Its Purpose, Practice and Power (Milton Keynes, UK: Paternoster, 1987), 8-9.
In chapter 2 Green goes to explain the continuity of the Old and New Testaments in one of the most approachable manners I’ve read. Using the New Testament texts that link the OT and baptism, Green masterfully explains the Covenant of Grace and God’s one plan of salvation and the implications this has on baptism for believers today.
As I said, I’m only on chapter 2, but I am thoroughly looking forward to making it through the remaining chapters. Based on what I’ve read so far, I’d say Green’s book is totally worth picking up.
Photo Credit: VinothChandar