27 July 2001

baptism resources

Since the question of baptism in the Reformed or Presbyterian tradition has come up and some questions have been raised about the biblical foundations of certain formulations, allow me to recommend a very good resource that investigates the biblical material rather thoroughly.

In 1953 the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland appointed a Special Commission on Baptism in order "to carry out a fresh examination of the doctrine of Baptism" which was begun by a study of the teaching of Scripture. An Interim Report was produced in 1955 and sent to the Presbyteries for study and comment.

A final study document was issued in 1958 under the title, The Biblical Doctrine of Baptism (St. Andrews Press). While it does contain occasional biblical-critical infelicities, it nonetheless succeeds in its "desire to let the Bible speak for itself" and on its own authority, building on a conviction that the Scriptures form a fundamental unity and that New Testament doctrine must be seen as rooted in the Old.

In producing The Biblical Doctrine of Baptism the Church of Scotland has, I think, given all of Presbyterianism an important biblical resource for our continued apprehension of Christ in the sacrament of baptism as that is understood in the Reformed tradition.