This article appears in the Volume 27 - Number 2 - Winter 2020 - Healing for the Hurting Church edition of the Calvin Seminary Forum
Font of Pardon and New Life: John Calvin and the Efficacy of Baptism
by Lyle Bierma
Oxford University Press, 2021
What did John Calvin teach about baptism? Did he believe baptism itself brought with it forgiveness and new life, as was the common belief of his time? Did he see differences in the significance of baptism for adult converts and infants? What impact did his views on baptism have on Reformed theology as a whole?
Lyle Bierma explores these questions in Font of Pardon and New Life: John Calvin and the Efficacy of Baptism. The book is being published by Oxford University Press as part of its Oxford Studies in Historical Theology series. Traces Calvin’s teachings on baptism chronologically through his life, examining his books, commentaries, sermons, and other writings. Bierma, Professor of Church History at Calvin Seminary, challenges the view that Calvin’s teachings on baptism changed drastically over time, finding instead that the core of his teachings as stated in his Institutes of the Christian Religion remained relatively consistent throughout his life. Bierma concludes by looking at the legacy of Calvin’s teachings on baptism in Reformed confessional thought.