Category Archives: Baptism

“The heartbeat of God’s entire revelation” by Herman Bavinck

“In the doctrine of the Trinity we feel the heartbeat of God’s entire revelation for the redemption of humanity. Though foreshadowed in the Old Testament, it only comes to light fully in Christ.

Religion can be satisfied with nothing less than God himself. Now in Christ God Himself comes out to us, and in the Holy Spirit He communicates Himself to us.

The work of re-creation is trinitarian through and through. From God, through God, and in God are all things.

Re-creation is one divine work from beginning to end, yet it can be described in terms of three agents: it is fully accomplished by the love of the Father, the grace of the Son, and the communion of the Holy Spirit.

A Christian’s faith life, accordingly, points back to three generative principles. ‘We know all these things,’ says article 9 of the Belgic Confession, ‘from the testimonies of holy Scripture, as well as from the operations of the persons, especially from those we feel within ourselves.’

We know ourselves to be children of the Father, redeemed by the Son, and in communion with both through the Holy Spirit. Every blessing, both spiritual and material, comes to us from the triune God.

In that name we are baptized; that name sums up our confession; that name is the source of all the blessings that come down to us; to that name we will forever bring thanksgiving and honor; in that name we find rest for our souls and peace for our conscience.

Christians have a God above them, before them, and within them. Our salvation, both in this life and in the life to come, is bound up with the doctrine of the Trinity.”

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Holy Spirit, Church, and New Creation, Vol. 4, Ed. John Bolt, and Trans. John Vriend, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008), 4: 333–334.

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Filed under Baptism, Christian Theology, Communion with God, Faith, God the Father, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Gospel, Trinity

“Like a birth or a resurrection” by Marilynne Robinson

“You and Tobias are hopping around in the sprinkler. The sprinkler is a magnificent invention because it exposes raindrops to sunshine. That does occur in nature, but it is rare. When I was in seminary I used to go sometimes to watch the Baptists down at the river.

It was something to see the preacher lifting the one who was being baptized up out of the water and the water pouring off the garments and the hair. It did look like a birth or a resurrection.

For us the water just heightens the touch of the pastor’s hand on the sweet bones of the head, sort of like making an electrical connection. I’ve always loved to baptize people, though I have sometimes wished there were more shimmer and splash involved in the way we go about it.

Well, but you two are dancing around in your iridescent little downpour, whooping and stomping as sane people ought to do when they encounter a thing so miraculous as water.”

–Marilynne Robinson, Gilead: A Novel (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004), 27-28.

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“Jesus Christ ushers in the new covenant” by Stephen Wellum

“In the Old Testament none of the covenant mediators– whether Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, or David– fulfilled their role and brought about the promise; they only typified and anticipated the one to come (Rom 5:14). Only our Lord Jesus Christ, the God-man, fulfills the roles of the previous covenantal mediators and brings about the promises stretching back to Gen 3:15.

That is why the New Testament presents Christ as nothing less than the Lord as well as the last Adam, the true seed of Abraham, David’s greater Son, who ushers in a new covenant– a covenant which all the previous covenants anticipated and typified. In Christ, all the promises of God are yes and amen (2 Cor 1:20).

That is why in Jesus and His cross work, the desperate plight begun in Eden now finds its solution as the last Adam, the obedient Son, has accomplished His saving work. The promise that God Himself must be the Savior of His people is fulfilled for He Himself is the Lord. Indeed, the death of Jesus, the crime of all crimes, is nevertheless determined by the divine plan (Acts 2:23).

Why? To bring to fulfillment what God had promised through the prophets, that the Messiah would suffer (Acts 3:18) in order to save His people from their sins (Matt 1:21). In Jesus Christ, the prophetic anticipation of God’s coming to save in and through David’s greater Son is fulfilled.”

–Stephen J. Wellum, “Baptism and the Relationships Between the Covenants,” in Believer’s Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ, Eds. Thomas Schreiner and Shawn Wright (Nashville: B&H, 2006), 131-132.

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