Children And The Covenant Of Grace -- By: John R. de Witt

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 37:2 (Winter 1975)
Article: Children And The Covenant Of Grace
Author: John R. de Witt


Children And The Covenant Of Grace

John R. de Witt

A Review Article

David Kingdon: Children of Abraham: A Reformed Baptist View of Baptism, the Covenant, and Children. Haywards Heath and Worthing, Sussex, England: Carey Publications Ltd. and Henry E. Walter Ltd., 1973, 105. £0.60.

This is a most interesting book. In some respects it is also an important one. Written by a baptist who is at the same time an avowed Calvinist, it seeks to take seriously the relationship of the Reformed faith and particularly of the covenant of grace to the sacrament of baptism. As such it is something of a curiosity among recent books on the subject. By some Reformed baptists it has been heralded as a significant contribution to the debate on the Christian rite of initiation, indeed as the most significant book on baptism to have been written in this century from the Calvinistic baptist point of view. That is as may be. For my part I do not find the work so consequential as some of my baptist brethren do. But I believe at the same time that it is a book of which we must take notice and with which we must deal because of its employment of covenant categories and because of its character as an attempt to give a baptist construction of certain key aspects of the Reformed faith.

The author, the Rev. David Kingdon, principal of the Irish Baptist College, seeks to show that one may be baptistic and Reformed, in fact that to be thoroughly and consistently Reformed one must be a baptist. An extraordinary point of view, to say the least! Yet one must not be ungrateful even in disappointment and disapprobation. The position advocated by Mr. Kingdon represents an immense advance upon the views which have come to prevail among baptists in this century-and, for that matter, among many paedobaptists, too. He is not a liberal. He is no Arminian. He is not a dispensationalist. He is no mere evangelical, in the general sense of the word. Rather, he is determined to take with the utmost seriousness the great central

doctrine of the covenant of grace as it is to be found throughout the Scriptures. And here and there one warms to his appreciation of the force and scripturalness of the paedobaptist polemic—an appreciation which does not of course involve concurrence on Mr. Kingdon’s part.

Kingdon obviously intends his book for a wide readership. He writes plainly and lucidly. He begins with a summary of the contents of the discussion to follow chapter by chapter and subsection by subsection. And he gives also a definition of some of the terms he needs to employ which, unexplained, might occasion non-theologians among his readers some difficult...

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