Born of Water and the Spirit

Born of Water and the Spirit


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Born of Water and the Spirit presents essays on the sacraments by the three major representatives of "Mercersburg Theology," John Nevin, Philip Schaff, and Emanuel Gerhart. It focuses on Mercersburg's doctrine of baptism and Christian nurture, attempts to correct putative deficiencies of the major Reformed trajectories (e.g., New England and Princeton), and vigorously critiques the anti-sacramental animus of revivalistic evangelicalism. Mercersburg understood baptism as initiating a person (adult or infant) into the sacramental life of the church. Baptism and Eucharist were objective, spiritually real actions that made (what Nevin called) the "mystical presence" of Jesus Christ present to Christians, bringing transformative power into their lives. The present critical edition carefully preserves the original texts, while providing extensive introductions, annotations, and bibliography to orient the modern reader and facilitate further scholarship.

The Mercersburg Theology Study Series is an attempt to make available for the first time, in attractive, readable, and scholarly modern editions, the key writings of the nineteenth-century movement known as the Mercersburg Theology. An ambitious multiyear project, it aims to make an important contribution to the scholarly community and to the broader reading public, who can at last be properly introduced to this unique blend of American and European, Reformed and Catholic theology.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781498235488
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 03/29/2016
Series: Mercersburg Theology Study , #6
Pages: 282
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.59(d)

About the Author

John Williamson Nevin (1803-86) and Philip Schaff (1819-93) were professors at Mercersburg Seminary of the German Reformed Church, Nevin being among the leading American Protestant theologians of his day and Schaff quickly rising to become the nineteenth century's premier church historian. Emanuel V. Gerhart (1817-1904) was another leading teacher in the German Reformed church, teaching and writing at several denominational institutions from the 1840s until the close of his career.

David W. Layman earned his PhD in Religion from Temple University in 1994. Since then, he has been a lecturer in religious studies and philosophy at schools in south central Pennsylvania and has researched and written several articles on the Mercersburg movement.

W. Bradford Littlejohn is Director of the Davenant Trust, a nonprofit organization sponsoring historical research at the intersection of the church and academy, and is author of The Mercersburg Theology and the Quest for Reformed Catholicity and Richard Hooker: A Companion to His Life and Work.

Table of Contents

Foreword Peter J. Leithart vii

Editorial Approach and Acknowledgments xi

General Introduction David W. Layman 1

Article 1 Nevin and Bushnell: Christian Nurture and Baptism (1847)

Editor's Introduction

"Educational Religion," John W. Nevin 34

"Educational Religion: Review of Dr. Bushnell's Tract Continued [Part 2]," John W. Nevin

"Educational Religion: Review of Dr. Bushnell's Tract Continued [Part 3]" John W. Nevin

"Educational Religion: Review of Dr. Bushnell's Tract, Concluded [Part 4] " John W. Nevin

"Baptismal Grace": A Conversation between Nevin and "Inquirer" for the Weekly Messenger "Dr. Bushnell and Puritanism," John W. Nevin

Article 2 "Noel on Baptism" (1850) Editor's Introduction Article John W. Nevin 78

Article 3 "The Apostolical Origin of Infant Baptism" (1852) Editor's Introduction Article Philip Schaff 116

Article 4 "Wilberforce on the Eucharist" (1854) Editor's Introduction Article John W. Nevin 129

Article 5 "The Efficacy of Baptism" (1857) Editors Introduction Article Emanuel V. Gerhart 156

Article 6 "The Old Doctrine of Christian Baptism" (1860) Editor's Introduction Article John W. Nevin 192

Article 7 "The Bread of Life: A Communion Sermon" (1879) Editors Introduction Article John W. Nevin Appendix 214

Bibliography 245

Subject and Author Index 259

Scripture Index 264

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"These provocative essays articulate a potent alternative to revivalism's identification of conversion with a disjunctive psychological crisis. David Layman's magisterial introduction clarifies how the Mercersburg theologians sought to recover a vision of salvation as a process of being shaped by the corporate life of the church, and baptism as the initial insertion of the individual into the life of Christ. Our churches desperately need such an antidote to self-generated and self-aggrandizing forms of spirituality."

—Lee Barrett, Stager Professor of Theology, Lancaster Theological Seminary; Author, Eros and Self-Emptying: Intersections of Augustine and Kierkegaard and Kierkegaard: Foundations of Theology

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