Infant Baptism and the Covenant of Grace: A Review Article -- By: James R. Payton, Jr.

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 42:2 (Spring 1980)
Article: Infant Baptism and the Covenant of Grace: A Review Article
Author: James R. Payton, Jr.

Infant Baptism and the Covenant of Grace:
A Review Article*

James R. Payton, Jr.

Paul K. Jewett, Professor of Systematic Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary, has presented a work of major importance to the theological world in his Infant Baptism and the Covenant of Grace.

Professor Jewett has carefully constructed this significant volume. The four-page table of contents enables the reader to foresee the direction of the author’s argument, which Jewett elaborates in the three main sections of the book. The first section (pp. 13-71) is an interesting, if unusual, treatment of what the author calls “The Historical Question.” “The Theological Question,” as the second main part, comprises the bulk of the volume (pp. 75-215). The final section is an all-too-brief (pp. 219-243) exposition and defense of the author’s own view that covenant ought to demand the baptism of believers only. The organization and careful development of each of the sections, together with the extensive bibliography of “Books and Articles Contributing to the Discussion,” argue a thorough familiarity with the treatments of this much debated question.

That is why it is so disconcerting to note some serious oversights in the bibliography. For an author who wants to be “principally concerned…with the argument for baptism in the Reformed and Calvinistic tradition,”1 Professor Jewett has incomprehensibly overlooked the whole corpus of Dutch literature on the topic (several of the bibliographical entries are foreign language titles). In a treatment of “Reformed and Calvinistic” teaching and writing on infant baptism, one would certainly expect some indication of familiarity with Abraham Kuyper’s Dictaten Dogmatiek or Herman Bavinck’s Gereformeerde Dogmatiek. If, however, it were to be argued that these obvious sources are too broad in scope to warrant specific

* Paul K. Jewett: Infant Baptism and the Covenant of Grace. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans. Publishing Company, 1978. x, 254. $5.95. Paperback.

inclusion as books which contribute to the discussion, how can the omission of G. C. Berkouwer’s The Sacraments (English translation, 1969, nine years before the publication of Jewett’s book) be excused? The omission of this whole powerful stream of influence on Reformed teaching is inexplicable, given the author’s otherwise obvious thoroughness, especially since Berkouwer’s volume is probably the most helpful discussion of the sacraments from a Reformed perspective currently available. That Jewett’s criticisms of many other Reformed presentations on baptism in general and ...

You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
Click here to subscribe
visitor : : uid: ()