Total Immersion

Baptism: A Guide to Life from Death by Peter J. Leithart

What happens at baptism? Ask any five Christians from different traditions and you're likely to get five different answers. This discouraging fact puts a substantial cloud over one of God's great gifts to the church. St. Paul's confession of "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" seems only a distant dream. This lamentable situation lies at least in part behind Peter Leithart's recent book, Baptism: A Guide to Life from Death. As Leithart puts it, "the church has one baptism . . . yet God's sign of unity is a spring of division." This monograph is Leithart's "small contribution to the effort to reunite a church divided by baptism" (1–2).

As part of Lexham Press's Christian Essentials series, the book utilizes thoughtful styling, attractive art, and a reader-friendly layout to match the rest of the series, and it makes for an engaging read. For those familiar with Reformed and Presbyterian intramural debates involving Leithart, his writing a book encouraging Christian unity around baptism may seem a bit ironic, but perhaps those experiences actually make Leithart the ideal author for such a book.


Joshua Pauling taught high-school history for thirteen years and is now a classical educator. He is head elder at All Saints Lutheran Church (LCMS) in North Carolina, has studied at Messiah College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Winthrop University, and has written for Areo, FORMA, Front Porch Republic, Mere Orthodoxy, Modern Reformation, Public Discourse, Salvo, Quillette, and The Imaginative Conservative.

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