Book Review: The Shaping of the Reformed Baptismal Rite

The Shaping of the Reformed Baptismal Rite in the Sixteenth CenturyThe Shaping of the Reformed Baptismal Rite in the Sixteenth Century by Hughes Oliphant Old
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Very, very good. I loved this book, even though I couldn’t translate all the German or Latin. There are two things I love about H. Old’s writing.

First, he always tells you less than he knows. When you read him there are paragraphs which are little glimpses into the history of a subject or a person. You know that there are large amounts of information he left out. You wish you could sit down with him and have him expand on those paragraphs.

Second, he teaches theology through history. You think you are reading history, but when you are done your theology has morphed. He doesn’t do this in an underhanded way. He simply shows how what men do and do not do in history flow from their theology. This book was superb in explaining that the reformers theology of baptism flowed directly from their theology of grace.

Two topics I enjoyed from this book. First, he explained how the Anabaptist opposition helped clarify the reformers’ position. Second, I enjoyed the different types of baptismal prayers he quoted.

My theology and practice of baptism was clarified by this book. I am very grateful for H. Old’s labors and scholarship. He has wielded a tremendous influence on my view of liturgy, sacraments and the Church.

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