“Word, Water, and Spirit:” “A Reformed Perspective on Baptism”, J. V. Fesko -- By: W. G. Crampton

Journal: Reformed Baptist Theological Review
Volume: RBTR 07:2 (Jul 2010)
Article: “Word, Water, and Spirit:” “A Reformed Perspective on Baptism”, J. V. Fesko
Author: W. G. Crampton

“Word, Water, and Spirit:” “A Reformed Perspective on Baptism”, J. V. Fesko

W. G. Crampton, Th.D.

W. G. Crampton, Th.D., is a pastor at Reformed Baptist Church, Richmond, VA, and author of From Paedobaptism to Credobaptism, available at www.rbap.net. This review is written from the standpoint of a Reformed credobaptist.

Dr. J. V. Fesko is an ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. He is the academic dean and associate professor of systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, California. He has served in the pastoral ministry for over ten years, and has written a number of books. The author of this book is a well trained scholar and very capable of writing a book such as Word, Water, and Spirit.1

After a brief Preface and an Introduction, the book is divided into three Parts with several chapters in each part. Each part ends with a summary of the overall teaching of that part. At the end of the third and final part there is a Conclusion, followed by a Bibliography, a Scripture Index, and a Subject Index.

Introduction (1-11)

On the very first page of the book the author gives us the “goal” of this monograph: “to explain what baptism means, define it, and identify to whom it should be administered.” He goes on to say that “the underlying methodological commitment of this study is that God reveals Himself to His people through Christ and covenant.” From the beginning of the book we are told how important the doctrine of God’s covenant with His people is to an understanding of water baptism, including the subjects of the sacrament. And

although the writer acknowledges that there are Reformed Baptist scholars who contend that a proper view of the covenant is important for us to grasp the biblical view of water baptism,2 the implicit assumption (which is stated more explicitly later in the book) seems to be that Baptists do not understand the doctrine of the covenant as they should. The present reviewer, a Reformed Baptist, agrees with the author that a proper view of the covenant is important in understanding the biblical doctrine of water baptism. In actuality Reformed Baptists are every bit as covenantal in their theology as are Reformed Presbyterians. But the fact is, as we will see below, that a proper view of the covenant necessitates credobaptism.

The Introduction concludes with the statement that “the overall goal of this book is to validate the exegetical and theological conclusion of the Westminster Confession of Faith (28:1)You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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