The focus is on baptism – in particular, focusing on the very rich theological language used about baptism in the New Testament (rather than simply arguing over who got baptised [or didn’t] in the early church), linking it with some interesting themes in current NT scholarship (especially N.T.Wright’s work on covenant and the People of God) and trying to think usefully about how clergy working in their local parish contexts can preach more confidently and work more effectively to give this incredibly powerful sacrament space to breathe.
My “incoming stance” (declaring my baggage) is as a convinced “paedobaptist”. That’s the term most often used for those of us whose theology of baptism means that there are circumstances in which we believe it appropriate to baptise babies… It has to be said that one of my dreams is to come up with a rather better term, since the point about this approach to baptism is specifically NOT simply trying to “prove” that the early church baptised whole households (though I believe they did), but to see how the language of baptism in the NT, set in the context of the early church and their roots in the Hebrew scriptures, shapes our theology and practice.
I’m hoping that…
- It’ll give me a sense of achieving something (don’t hold your breath for that blockbuster paperback!) – so even if no-one reads this, it’ll make me feel better!!
- It’ll perhaps give a few useful resources for others who are interested: my aim is to make everything I end up with – notes, quotations, thoughts – available freely here at some point.
If you’re somebody interested in the subject, do get in touch – I’d love to chat!