Is baptism by immersion (upon profession of faith in Christ) necessary for church membership? Does excluding someone from church membership amount to a de facto excommunication in terms of how the person is treated? A revision in Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology has generated some serious discussion between John Piper and Grudem. Justin Taylor drew attention to this matter at at his blog. Piper’s thoughts are here and Grudem’s response is here.
Concerning this issue, Southern Seminary has some relevant audio:
- Mark Dever’s February 26, 2002, Gheens Lecture entitled “The Spiritual Church, John Bunyan and Baptism” (this was a controversy in Bunyan’s day; Piper’s view shares much with Bunyan)
- A Baptism Forum with Dr. Russell Moore, Dr. Tom Nettles, Dr. Stephen Wellum, Dr. Greg Wills and Rob Arnold, moderator (April 18, 2007)
- Greg Wills’ lecture “Should the Water Divide Us? Baptism, Church Membership, and the Glory of Christ” (April 25, 2007)
Also, I was listening to Dever today on John L. Dagg (from a conference in which he also spoke on Bunyan), and he referenced Dagg’s Manual of Church Order as a good resource for dealing with this issue.
UPDATE: This really generated a good bit of discussion! I’m glad Justin Taylor kept track of it. You can follow the discussion here, and you might also be interested in this recent book on believer’s baptism, edited by Tom Schreiner and Shawn Wright.