Christians divide on how one enters the church body. Matters are quickly complicated once other factors are considered, such as faith, instruction, baptism, first Communion, and formal membership. Who should be baptized? What role does instruction play? And what is the best sequence for these things?
Jonathan D. Watson’s In the Name of Our Lord provides an explanatory typology and incisive analysis for thinking through these interrelated questions. Watson’s four-model framework accounts for the major historical varieties of relationship between baptism and catechesis as rites of initiation into the church. With this framework in place, Watson then considers each model in relation to the others.
With a guide to navigating the terrain, readers can comprehend, compare, and contrast the different theological formulations of these practices. Readers will have a sophisticated but clear system for thinking through foundational matters that are important to every pastor and congregant.
The location and interrelationship of various biblical doctrines is a needful aspect of study in the realm of theological reflection. Watson has produced a study brimming with such considerations, dealing specifically with catechesis, baptism, and entrance into the covenant community of the local church. Sweeping in scope, the author engages readers with a working taxonomy of various positions on the interrelationship of these three ecclesiological categories. This work will offer clarity on the kinds of positions that are taken within various church traditions, showcasing the theological underpinnings of such practical matters. Such reflection will be of great benefit to the church at large, as the author compels us to think theologically about these practices.
—Jeremy M. Kimble, associate professor of theology, Cedarville University
With careful historical and theological precision, Jonathan Watson examines not only the presence of catechesis, baptism, and Communion in the life of the churches but also the relationship between them. Watson’s model for navigating this matrix of meaning and practice has considerable explanatory power for the study of historical theology and theological reflection on contemporary practice. For scholars and pastors, this volume would be an excellent initiation into this strategic area of ecclesiology. Warmly recommended!
—Ched Spellman, associate professor of biblical and theological studies, Cedarville University; author of Toward a Canon‐Conscious Reading of the Bible
In this well-researched and thought-provoking academic study, Jonathan Watson employs ‘liturgical logic’ to provide an insightful and scholarly analysis of how different church traditions relate baptism, catechism, and Communion to each other.
—Joel R. Beeke, president, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary
Jonathan Watson has provided a useful introduction and classification of different approaches within Christianity for bringing together catechesis, baptism, and communion. Church leaders who are working through questions of how to structure basic doctrinal and ethical instruction in relationship to church ordinances will find Watson’s taxonomies informative, helpful, and insightful.
—D. Jeffrey Bingham, dean, school of theology, Southwestern Seminary
Studies in Historical and Systematic Theology is a peer-reviewed series of contemporary monographs exploring key figures, themes, and issues in historical and systematic theology from an evangelical perspective.
Learn more about the other titles in this series.
Jonathan D. Watson (PhD, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) is associate professor and chair of Christian studies at Charleston Southern University.