In the last post I referred to the book on baptism called ‘Word, Water and Spirit’ by J Fesko. One of the interesting discussions was around the meaning of grace. Reading Fesko’s analysis about a word that I have often treasured, I found myself almost feeling shaky about the word. Grace – God’s riches at Christ’s expense – has often been a way of capturing it (though this is not to imply any notion of ‘the loving Son buying off the angry Father through his sacrifice’ – see Cole, God the Peacemaker, p 142). Fesko’s argument is to show how grace was a key issue which tied in with the notion of covenant. He argues that it is this idea of covenant which really cements the notion of baptism from a Reformed perspective. One way of putting it is this:
‘I am baptised because God saves me’ – is covenantal. ‘I am baptised because I believe’ is the Baptist notion.
No doubt that is a somewhat over-simplified as a summary, but it is the tendency of the Baptist understanding to move from God to man which is one reason for why I lean to the covenantal approach of the Reformed tradition.