If you serve as pastor in a Baptist church, or even if you've only sought membership, you know that awkward moment. Someone expresses excitement about joining the church formally. But she was raised Methodist. Or Episcopalian. Or Presbyterian. Or Roman Catholic. She was born again later in life but never sought baptism by immersion. No one suggested she do so, and she didn't see the point. And she doesn't see it now, either, when you've informed her that she'll need to baptized according to your definition before you'll welcome her into membership.

As Ligon Duncan, a Presbyterian, points out in this video, Baptists can look narrow-minded in a tolerant age. But as Thabiti Anyabwile explains in response, Baptists seek to follow a logical progression revealed in Scripture from preaching the gospel to regeneration by the Holy Spirit to baptism to membership and finally communion. 

As the video continues, you'll see Duncan and Anyabwile discuss the analogy between circumcision and baptism along with the discontinuities between the old and new covenants. And in case you're not familiar, Duncan offers a quick overview of the often-misunderstood Presbyterian position on baptism. He has plenty of practice, considering he grew up in a South Carolina county with 385 Baptist churches and only about 14 Presbyterian congregations. He'll show you Presbyterians don't just baptize babies because they're liberal, haven't thought it through, worship tradition, or still can't escape Roman Catholicism. 

Collin Hansen serves as editorial director for The Gospel Coalition. Formerly an associate editor for Christianity Today magazine, he is the author of Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey With the New Calvinists and co-author with John Woodbridge of A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories That Stretch and Stir. He earned an MDiv at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and an undergraduate degree in journalism and history from Northwestern University. He and his wife belong to Redeemer Community Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and he serves on the advisory board of Beeson Divinity School. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Collin Hansen


Collin Hansen serves as editorial director for The Gospel Coalition. Formerly an associate editor for Christianity Today magazine, he is the author of Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey With the New Calvinists and co-author with John Woodbridge of A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories That Stretch and Stir. He earned an MDiv at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and an undergraduate degree in journalism and history from Northwestern University. He and his wife belong to Redeemer Community Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and he serves on the advisory board of Beeson Divinity School. You can follow him on Twitter.

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