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Infant Baptism: Katie Wagenmaker on Ch. 7 of Brown’s Called to Serve

20 May, 2008

I really shouldn’t be doing this right now because I’m smack dab in the middle of preparing for finals. However, Brannan is away at a conference in some dark and dank Medieval Abby in Scotland and you people need your posts. 😉

It has been our pleasure at C or C to review various books that come from the WSC community (profs and alumni) or from people we like from other communities (when Mark Jones writes his book on TG we’ll review it). As you know we’ve been running an on-again-off-again series of articles by layman/congregants (Hagan Kelly and Inwoo Lee) reviewing their pastor Danny Hyde’s helpful book The Good Confession. Well here we go again with a brand new series of reviews from congregants (laymen and WSC scholars) who attend Rev. Mike Brown’s church. They will be reviewing their favorite chapters of his book Called to Serve: Essays for Elders and Deacons. Good friend and classmate Katie Wagenmaker will be smashing the champagne bottle against the hull with a few of her favorites. Here’s the first.

Katie W.

Chap. 7 (What Every Elder Should Know About Infant Baptism by Mike Brown)

I have the privilege of sitting under Mike Brown’s preaching every Sunday at Christ United Reformed Church in Santee, California. Pastor Brown has been blessed with the ability to succinctly summarize Reformed doctrines in ways that everyone can understand, from the newly Reformed Christian, to the theological student, to the seasoned seminary professor. This section of Called to Serve is no different. Brown’s summary of the doctrine of infant baptism is thorough while being easy to understand. He takes us through three points in infant baptism:

  1. The summary of the Covenant of Grace through redemptive history, from the birth of the covenant until its completion in the eschaton,
  2. The Old Covenant’s (Abraham’s Old Testament seed) inclusion of children into the visible church by circumcision, and
  3. The New Covenant’s (a nation-less distinction) continued inclusion of children into the visible church.

Brown then goes on to argue why children continue to be included in the visible church in this New Covenant, and he uses a helpful quote from B.B. Warfield:

God established his church in the days of Abraham and put children into it. They must remain there until he puts them out. He has nowhere put them out. They are still then members of his church and as such entitled to its ordinances.

He also answers potential questions raised by believer’s baptists on this issue.

One of the many things I appreciate about this brief summary on infant baptism is Brown’s own religious background. He came out of a believer’s baptist church, so he is familiar with the arguments made from that side. With that approach in mind, he frames some of his arguments for paedo-baptism in a way that will catch the eye of the believer’s baptist.

As Brown is ready to admit, a theological summary of infant baptism cannot take place in a short chapter of a book, so he includes a helpful Appendix of books for an elder’s library. In that Appendix is a section dealing with the Sacraments and a list of books to continue on with further research about this topic.

For an elder, or any layperson looking to brush up on the doctrine of infant baptism, or even for a beginner’s look at this controversial doctrine in today’s Evangelical church, I would recommend them reading this chapter. Not only is it brief, but it thoroughly outlines the Covenant of Grace from Old Testament to New Testament, and a child’s place in that covenant.

~KW

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2 Comments
  1. thomasgoodwin permalink
    20 May, 2008 6:23 pm

    Mike Brown is da man, and so is Thomas Goodwin, the real Thomas Goodwin … not the wannabe in Canada. Can I review CJPM ??? I’d like to bounce off of Napoleon Dynamite.

  2. 20 May, 2008 7:05 pm

    if you promise not to get me in trouble. hope you’re patient enough to actually read it(unlike your short little pal) before you review it in some reformed journal that doesn’t believe in exercising pastoral wisdom in editing their editorial page.
    i know you well enough, pseudo TG. you’re a very careful scholar…from what i hear…from you 🙂

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