Book Review: Infant Baptism by Pierre Marcel

The Biblical Doctrine of Infant Baptism: Sacrament of the Covenant of GraceThe Biblical Doctrine of Infant Baptism: Sacrament of the Covenant of Grace by Pierre-Charles Marcel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I give this book five stars for several reasons. First, it is a very thorough treatment of the covenant, sacraments, and infant baptism. In fact, my copy has 256 pages and the author did not get to infant baptism proper until p. 187. Before that he spent significant time on what the sacraments are, how the OT sacraments worked, and what the covenant is.

Second, he makes you think. I did not always agree with Marcel and there were places he was not as clear as I could wish. But he forces the reader to think carefully about the relationship between the covenant, salvation, our children, the church, faith, and the preaching of the Word.

Third, he is solidly reformed. He carefully explains why we baptize our children, what that means for them, what that does not mean, and how baptism can be a means of grace in the life of our children and the life of the church.

Finally, as the book progresses he emphasizes the corporate nature of baptism both when the child is baptized and throughout the life of the child and other members of the church.

This is not an easy read and while I did not agree with all, it is worth your time. It will help you think more carefully about infant baptism. It made me more confident of my paedo position and that the reason we baptize is because children of at least one believing parent are born in the covenant.

My Rating System
1 Star-Terrible book and dangerous. Burn it in the streets.

2 Stars-Really bad book, would not recommend, probably has some dangerous ideas in it or could just be so poorly written/researched that it is not worth reading. Few books I read are 1 or 2 stars because I am careful about what I read.

3 Stars-Either I disagree with it at too many points to recommend it or it is just not a good book on the subject or for the genre. Would not read it again, reference it, or recommend it. But it is not necessarily dangerous except as a time waster.

4 Stars-Solid book on the subject or for the genre. This does not mean I agree with everything in it. I would recommend this book to others and would probably read it again or reference it. Most books fall in this category because I try not to read books I don’t think will be good. There is a quite a variety here. 3.6 is pretty far from 4.5.

5 Stars-Excellent book. Classic in the genre or top of the line for the subject. I might also put a book in here that impacted me personally at the time I read it. I would highly recommend this book, even if I do not agree with all that it says. Few books fall in this category. Over time I have put less in this category.

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