The Sign of the Gospel: Toward an Evangelical Doctrine of Infant Baptism after Karl Barth

The Sign of the Gospel: Toward an Evangelical Doctrine of Infant Baptism after Karl Barth

by W. Travis McMaken

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The theology of the sacraments is one of the most contested parts in Barth’s theology, none more so than the doctrine of baptism. Barth’s proposals on baptism have generated intense conversation and disagreement, not only on its application to Protestant and ecumenical theology but even on its own consistency with Barth’s larger dogmatic project. McMaken takes up this controversial question, sets it in its proper context within the history of doctrine and Barth’s systematic work, and argues for a constructive reclamation of infant baptism that accords with Barth’s overarching theological concerns and insights, notably from Barth’s mature theological commitments. Pivotally, this volume claims that a reorientation of the doctrine of baptism opens up a new perspective on the practice of infant baptism on the basis of Barth’s theology; this new perspective, as well, holds the potential for wide, ecumenical application as a form of the proclamation of the gospel and a vital dimension of the church’s missional vocation. A commanding volume for scholars and students in systematic theology, ecumenical studies, and sacramental theology.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451465372
Publisher: Augsburg Fortress, Publishers
Publication date: 08/01/2013
Series: Emerging Scholars
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
File size: 583 KB

About the Author

W. Travis McMaken is assistant professor of religion at Lindenwood University. He earned a Ph.D. in systematic theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. He is co-editor of the forthcoming volume Karl Barth in Conversation and has contributed essays to International Journal of Systematic Theology, Reformed Journal of Theology, and Ecclesiology. This volume is a revision of a dissertation completed at Princeton Theological Seminary under the direction of George Hunsinger.

Table of Contents

Abbreviations vii

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

1 Baptism and Infant Baptism from the New Testament Through Barth 7

Baptism: A Historical Sketch 8

Protestant Crisis of Infant Baptism 26

Reception of Barth's Doctrine of Baptism 38

Looking Forward 55

2 Election, Soteriology, and Barth's "No" to Sacramental Infant Baptism 59

Sacramental Soteriology 60

Karl Barth's Soteriology 72

Conclusion 86

Excursus: Nonsacramental Baptism in the New Testament 88

3 Election, Circumcision, and Barth's "No" to Covenental Infant Baptism 101

Covenant and Turretin's Appeal to Circumcision 104

Election and Barth's Rejection of Appeal to Circumcision 112

Conclusion 130

Excursus: Reformed Theology, Infant Baptism, and the Scripture Principle 131

4 Barth's Doctrine of Baptism, "The Foundation of the Christian Life" 151

Holy Spirit Baptism as Foundation of the Christian Life 152

Water Baptism as Foundation of the Christian Life 174

Conclusion 207

5 "The Sign of the Gospel"-Toward a Post-Barthian Doctrine of Infant Baptism 209

Barth's Demands and Previous Attempts 210

Reconfiguring Barth's Doctrine of Baptism 212

Infant Baptism 260

Conclusion 273

Conclusion 275

Contribution to Barth Studies 276

Liturgical Suggestions 278

Doxology and Mission 281

Ecumenical Significance 283

Parting Thought: Barth and Calvin 284

Bibliography 287

Index of Names and Subjects 315

Index of Scriptural References 323

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