Baptism in the New Testament
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In this thorough and well-documented study of the sacrament of Holy Baptism, G.R. Beasley-Murray presents a critical defense of the doctrine of believers’ baptism on the basis of the New Testament evidences. The author—one of the leading New Testament scholars in England—is himself a Baptist; but his discussion transcends denominational lines. Beasley-Murray begins by discussing various rites that precede Christian baptism historically, and analyzes the relationship between these earlier rites and baptism. From these antecedents—Old Testament ritual washings, Jewish proselyte baptism, the lustrations practiced at Qumran, and the baptism of John the Baptist—the author proceeds to the foundations of Christian baptism in the career of Jesus, its emergence as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, and its development in the New Testament epistolary literature. In his consideration of the doctrine of Christian baptism as articulated in the New Testament, Beasley-Murray focuses his attention on the necessity of baptism and its relationship to grace, faith, the Spirit, the church, ethics, and hope. A careful examination of the rise and significance of infant baptism follows, and the study concludes with a selected bibliography and several indices.