A few years ago I got a call from a stranger to discuss a struggle. John Crawford was the son of a prominent Baptist pastor struggling with the doctrine of the covenant. Could he really embrace covenantal infant baptism as a Baptist pastor’s son? He struggled with the same thing I did: the nature and recipients of the new covenant. After a few years and a couple wonderful visits to Lancaster Co., John came to a firm conclusion. Not only did he resolve it in his own mind with his lovely family, he wrote it all up in, Baptism is Not Enough: How Understanding God’s Covenant Explains Everything, with a foreword by Douglas Wilson. This very useful book of less than 150 pages, published by American Vision, also includes a 30 minute video of a discussion with John. The video brings you into a very personal engagement with John. You get a sense of his personality and passion.
Baptism is Not Enough is a very readable introduction, not simply to the issues relating to baptism, but especially in understanding the biblical concept of covenant. In fact, that’s the main argument of the book: until you understand the biblical concept of the covenant, then don’t even try to understand baptism. I agree. Here is the chapter sequence:
- Covenant at Creation
- Three Covenant Institutions
- Covenant Structure and Children in the Old Testament
- Covenant Structure and Children in the New Testament
- New Covenant Texts Revisited
- Covenant Structure and the Whole Gospel
If you are looking for a good study of the covenant and a great introduction to the Reformed, covenantal understanding of baptism, this is it.