Helpful Resources on Infant Baptism

There are a number of helpful resources to learn about infant baptism. This is the practice of baptizing the babies of baptized church members, which is the ordinary practice at King’s Cross.

Some at King’s Cross are examining the Christian faith for the first time and find baptism to be one of the many curiosities of Christianity. Baptism represents something curious. Some are familiar with baptism, perhaps even baptized themselves, but still cringe everytime we baptize a baby during a worship service. Infant baptism represents something unusual. And some parents of infants, themselves already baptized believers, are very hesitant to present their child for baptism. Infant baptism represents something suspicious.

King’s Cross practices adult baptism. In fact, baptism is required for church membership. And, whether it is something curious, unusual, or suspicious, King’s Cross also offers to baptize babies. We believe baptism of adults and babies is taught in the Bible and has been practiced in the church since the New Testament. We explain our view during one of the King’s Cross Talks, scheduled a few times per year. But our pastor and elders are always willing to visit with you to explain, as best as we can, why we do what we do. 

Our leadership and staff want to recommend these three resources in particular. We want to make these as easy to obtain as possible, so please let us know if you would like a copy (email welcome@kingscrossva.org).   

 

Below you’ll find a large selection of approachable resources, helpful in a variety of ways. There are several approaches to the topic of infant baptism. These are highlighted for their brevity and readability, so they are arranged by format (booklet, book, essay) and number of pages.

Booklets

R. C. Sproul, What Is Baptism?

  • (2011) 70 pages
  • Very readable, flows naturally, highlights the distinction of John’s baptism, does not try to be biblically exhaustive. 

 

Bryan Chapell, Why Do We Baptize Infants?

  • (2006) 30 pages
  • Somewhat academic language, mostly focused on how covenant signs work and household baptisms. Originally appeared in the Strawbridge book.

 

John P. Sartelle, What Christian Parents Should Know about Infant Baptism

  • (1985) 30 pages
  • Very readable and straightforward. Odd chapter devoted to parental obedience to the Bible. Very practical FAQ at the end.

 

John Murray, Christian Baptism

  • (1992) 41 pages
  • Originally published in an academic journal, the progression is detail-oriented but very well-structured and clear. See here. Compare with the Ferguson essay.

 

Small books

Daniel Hyde, Jesus Loves the Little Children: Why We Baptize Children

  • (2006) 95 pages
  • Fairly academic language, but succinct and very logically organized; each chapter could stand alone. Lots of references to Protestant statements of faith.

 

Geoffrey Bromiley, Children of Promise: The Case for Baptizing Infants

  • (1998) 100 pages
  • Not academic, but arranged with a philosophical approach, and presuming knowledge of biblical concepts. Lots of citations.

 

Guy Richard, Baptism: Answers to Common Questions

  • (2019) 110 pages 
  • Extremely readable with logic that builds at a careful pace. The last half is devoted to interacting with the Baptist position.

 

Jason Helopoulos, Covenantal Baptism

  • (2021) 115 pages
  • A very high-altitude approach covering the core theological issues in one half, followed by a thorough frequently asked questions in the second half.

 

Robert Letham, A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Baptism: The Water that Unites

  • (2012) 120 pages
  • Attempts to address every aspect, somewhat academically, but is still readable. He addresses some lesser-known debates. Compare with the Ferguson essay.

 

James Chaney, William the Baptist: A Classic Story of a Man’s Journey to Understand Baptism

  • (2011) 150 pages
  • Written in the late 1800s, unique because it is written in the form of a dialogue between a Chritian lawyer suspicious of infant baptism, and his wise, kind, Presbyterian pastor.

 

Robert Booth, Children of the Promise: The Biblical Case for Infant Baptism

  • (1995) 170 pages
  • Written in a light style with little stories. Very gentle progression. Interacts with the historical baptist and Presbyterian positions. 

 

Essays or collections of essays

Sinclair Ferguson, in Baptism: Three Views

  • (2009) 25 pages
  • An attempt to hit every detail for an academic audience, but still easy to follow and incredibly insightful. Most academic details are in footnotes. Compare with the Murray booklet and the book by Letham.

 

Richard Pratt, in Understanding Four Views on Baptism 

  • (2007) 30 pages
  • Focus on the unity of the covenant, interacting with historic Protestant confessions. Very short. Emphasis is on responses from different traditions. 

 

Gregg Strawbridge, The Case for Covenantal Infant Baptism

  • (2003) 320 pages
  • This is a collection of 15 essays on a variety of subjects related to infant baptism, each a detailed handling of a few biblical texts, some more helpful than others.
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