BAPTISM – MEANING, MODE AND SUBJECTS by Michael Kimmit
Published by, and available from, K&M Books, Plas Gwyn, Trelawnyd, Rhyl, LL18 6DT.
Booklet, 48 pages, £2.00, icluding p. & p.
Also available from the Free Presbyterian Bookroom, 133 Woodlands Road, Glasgow, G3 6LE.
THIS booklet has arisen out of the author’s concern about the fact that Baptists insist that the word baptism always means immersion, that Baptism is not to be administered to infants, not even the infants of believers, and that Baptists regard those who were baptised in infancy as not truly baptised. The author, former editor of Peace and Truth, sets out the Reformed position on this sacrament by discussing “The Meaning of Baptism” (three pages), “The Mode of Baptism” (24 pages), and “The Subjects of Baptism”, which includes “Objections to Paedobaptism” (ten pages). As can be seen from the space given to each section, the mode of Baptism is the main topic of the booklet.
In dealing with the mode of Baptism he concentrates on the five forms of the word baptize used in the New Testament. His conclusion is that no passage, not even the one about the baptism of the Ethiopian Eunuch, proves that baptism was by immersion, and that in other cases the evidence points to “pouring or sprinkling being the only probable, or in some cases possible, mode”. He asks, “Had Scripture wished us to know that immersion and only immersion constituted Christian Baptism, why in no single case is immersion certain, and why in so many cases does a plain reading lead to the probable conclusion that immersion was not involved?” He also discusses additional points which confirm the Reformed position on the mode, such as the connection and congruity (1) between Baptism and the ritual purifications of the Old Testament which were by washing, sprinkling, and pouring, and (2) between Baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit which is by His coming down or being poured out. To these he adds some practical points which highlight the harmony between the Reformed view of the mode of Baptism and the simplicity of New Testament worship prescribed by Scripture.
In answer to the question, “Should the children of one or both professing parents be baptized?” he presents the fact that the covenant relationship between God and Abraham included the seed of Abraham, and that therefore Isaac received circumcision as the seal of the covenant. So, in the New Testament church, the seed of the godly are to be accounted as belonging to the church and have a right to the sacrament of Baptism.
His conclusion is that if a person is baptised in the name of the Trinity, the sacrament should not be given again to that person. “The only exception to this rule,” he believes, “concerns the cults . . . where in all cases the Triune God is denied. In these cases Christian Baptism should be sought.”
We feel that this booklet is a useful contribution to the discussion about Baptism, and will be helpful to those who seek to understand what the Scriptures teach about it.
UNANSWERED PRAYER by G. D. Buss
Published by Gospel Standard Publications. Paperback, 60 pages, £2.50.
Available from the Free Presbyterian Bookroom, 133 Woodlands Road, Glasgow, G3 6LE.
THE author, a Strict Baptist pastor and the editor of The Friendly Companion, sends out this little book “in the prayerful hope,” he says, ” that it may be of a little help to some of the Lord’s people, who for one reason or another, have to say with Jeremiah, Also when I cry and shout, He shutteth out my prayer’, (Lamentations 3:8). We believe that it will prove beneficial, under the blessing of the Most High, to those who in their discouragement say with the Psalmist:
from my entreating voice” (Psl. 55:1 metrical).
The book deals mainly with the question, “Why are some prayers not answered?” and gives twelve answers. Among these are: “We do not need an answer, because it is already revealed to us in God’s Word”; “We do not ask according to the will of God”; “God’s time has not yet come”; and, “God has some better things for us”. Each of the answers is solidly based on Scripture. There is also a number of illustrative anecdotes, quotations from divines of the past, and verses from the hymns of Newton, Cowper, and others. It would have been good to see some quotations from the metrical Psalms, for, being Scripture itself, they are second to none for conveying the truth in poetical form.
In his conclusion the author points out how great and deep are “the mystery of prayer, its answers and its apparent disappointments,” and then encourages his readers to persevere in making their requests known unto God.
The 16-page appendix to the book is an article, Thoughts on Prayer, by F. Windridge. Drawing from Scripture, he succinctly and instructively deals with such matters as the circumstances of prayer, some wonderful answers to prayer, replies to objections of tempted seekers, and the foundation of prayer.
This book, which will make a very suitable gift, will be especially appreciated by those who are spiritually minded, but it will also be helpful, we believe, for young (and not so young) seekers. It is lucidly written, and has very clear print and an attractive cover.