Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Of Water and the Spirit : Mission and the Baptismal Liturgy by Phillip Tovey

★★★★ ☐ The publisher has provided a copy for review.
The book provides a look at the historical significance and evolution of water baptism in the Christian church. Tovey begins with a comprehensive look at New Testament practices and expectations. This examination of baptism (the application of water, in the name) is interwoven with its historical significance in relationship to the training of converts (the catechisms of historical Christianity) and their assimilation into the Church. Baptism, which began as the sign of faith in the New Testament, has evolved to its current role in Anglicanism as an initiation into the faith or – depending on the local churches – as one stage of outreach and welcome.

The influence of culture and tradition in local churches and in new fields surely has had a great effect. I appreciated the thorough research on baptismal practice from the Early Church onward. The various aspects of current-day baptism are studied in depth in relation to Anglican traditions, changes in the prayer books, reforms, and conferences.

I was surprised by some of the observations, reading them outside of the context of my own denomination. I recommend this book as a valuable addition for scholars of historical theology.

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