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Baptism in the New Testament by Oscar…
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Baptism in the New Testament

by Oscar Cullmann

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Originally published in 1950 as the first title in the series Studies in Biblical Theology, Baptism in the New Testament was welcomed as, and has continued ever since to be an invaluable contribution to the debate set afoot by Barth in his booklet, The Teaching of the Church Concerning Baptism. `Here the reader can study the fresh, stimulating and constructive researches of one of the great Biblical scholars of Europe into the burning question of the origins of baptism. Dr Cullmann is an ardent protagonist of infant baptism, which is the subject of intense debate at the moment. He rightly deplores Barth's attempts to discredit the practice. On the basis of the kinship between circumcision and baptism on the one hand, and between the proselyte bath of the Jews and baptism on the other, he makes a forceful plea for the spiritual reality and legitimacy of baptizing infants. This is an essay which is packed with profound scriptural analysis; its relevance to current discussion in the Church of England is obvious' (Church Times). 'Of the merits of this essay there is little need to speak. The author is a well-known expert in matters relating to the origins of Christianity, and he has also a fine apprehension of the theological issues involved. He treats his subject under the four heads : the foundation of baptism in the work of Christ; baptism as acceptance into the body of Christ; baptism and faith; and baptism and circumcision ... Not everyone will agree entirely with the author's account of what takes place in baptism, but there can be no doubt that he is right in his general stress upon the objective character of this sacrament. We are indebted to him also for useful discussions of various texts and passages of the New Testament. It will be a surprise to some that there is even less New Testament evidence for the adult baptism of the children of believing Christians than there is for their baptism as infants. The linking of baptism with circumcision is very ably done, and in an appendix on an early baptismal formula the genuineness of Acts 8.37 is defended and the relevance of Christ's blessing of the children displayed' (The Life of Faith).… (more)

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