Saturday, September 29, 2012

Book Review: "William the Baptist" by James M. Chaney

Last week I purchased a copy of William the Baptist by James M. Chaney after having it heartily recommended to me as a must read to better understand the subject of baptism. The book was first published in 1877 and following an update to the language by Ronald Evans was once again published in 2011 by P&R Publishing Company.

The book is about a young man nicknamed "William the Baptist" who is an ardent defender of the Baptist's view of believer's baptism and baptism by immersion. "William the Baptist" marries a girl who is Presbyterian and believes in infant baptism and the mode of baptism of the sprinkling of water. Shortly after getting married "William the Baptist" begins a journey to understand and reconsider the Bible's true position on baptism. There are two main characters in the book: "William the Baptist" and a Presbyterian Pastor named "Pastor Cowan." The writing style of the book is conversational and is laid out as a dialogue between these two characters. In the story "Pastor Cowan" agrees to meet with "William the Baptist" over a series of evenings where he sets out to show that the Bible is clearly in support of infant baptism and the mode of sprinkling. The dialogue is saturated with scripture and the character "Pastor Cowan" presents a very convincing case for why the Presbyterian view is indeed biblical. At the end of the book the character "William the Baptist" ends up subscribing to the Presbyterian view.

I mentioned in a previous post that I am in the middle of rethinking my views on baptism and in many ways I found myself able to relate to the character of "William the Baptist." For those who seek to better understand the biblical meaning of baptism and its significance I strongly recommend reading this book. It is just under 150 pages in length and is an easy read. This was a fantastic book!

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