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Mobile Ed: BI172 Problems in Bible Interpretation: Why Do Christians Disagree about Baptism? (3 hour course)

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In Problems in Bible Interpretation: Why Do Christians Disagree on Baptism? (BI172), Dr. Michael Heiser highlights the fundamental areas of debate concerning an important rite of the church. Then he identifies a common cause for these disagreements—namely, unclear language regarding the relationship between baptism and salvation. He examines three of the most prominent historic confessions of the Reformed tradition in order to understand where the confusion originates from. To help us sort through these issues, Dr. Heiser offers a key hermeneutical principle, which can enable us to better articulate a clear and biblical defense of baptism (infant or adult) as well as justify a particular mode of baptism—whether sprinkling, pouring, or immersion—without violating the purity of the gospel of Jesus.

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Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion you should be able to:

  • Identify the main issues in the debate concerning the recipients and mode of baptism
  • Articulate the rationale of some in the Reformed tradition for baptizing infants and highlight the problems this can cause
  • Summarize what the Belgic Confession, Heidelberg Catechism, and Westminster Confession teach regarding the efficacy of baptism and explain the questions this raises
  • Describe the hermeneutical key for understanding baptism in light of Colossians 2:11–12
  • Discuss the uses of the Greek word baptizō and the implications this has for the baptism discussion
  • State the importance of distinguishing the rite of baptism from the gospel of salvation
  • Explain how a biblical view of baptism can accommodate both infant and adult baptism, as well as any mode of baptism

Course Outline


  • Introducing the Speaker and the Course

Unit 1: Issues Related to the Recipients

  • Reasons for Disagreements
  • Infant Baptism in the Reformed Tradition
  • Problems with the Reformed View of Baptism
  • The Belgic Confession: Part One
  • The Belgic Confession: Part Two
  • The Belgic Confession: Part Three
  • The Heidelberg Catechism: Part One
  • The Heidelberg Catechism: Part Two
  • The Heidelberg Catechism: Part Three
  • The Westminster Confession

Unit 2: Solutions to the Problem of Recipient and Rationale

  • Framing the Discussion in Light of Colossians 2:8–12
  • The Fundamental Question
  • What Circumcision Did Not Accomplish
  • What Circumcision Did Accomplish
  • Membership in the Covenant Community
  • Implications for the Church

Unit 3: Issues Related to the Mode of Baptism

  • Overview of the Argument
  • Other Meanings for Baptizō
  • What’s More Important—Motion or Result?

Unit 4: Application to Controversial Passages

  • The Hermeneutical Key
  • Acts 2:38 and Acts 22:16


  • Course Summary

Product Details

  • Title: BI172 Problems in Bible Interpretation: Why Do Christians Disagree about Baptism?
  • Instructor: Michael S. Heiser
  • Publisher: Lexham Press
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Product Type: Logos Mobile Education
  • Resource Type: Courseware, including transcripts, audio, and video resources
  • Courses: 1
  • Video Hours: 3
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About the Instructor

Dr. Michael S. Heiser is a former Scholar-in-Residence for Faithlife Corporation, the makers of Logos Bible Software. He currently serves as Executive Director of the Awakening School of Theology and Ministry at Celebration Church in Jacksonville, Florida. His varied academic background enables him to operate in the realm of critical scholarship and the wider Christian community. His experience in teaching at the undergraduate level and writing for the layperson have both directly contributed to Logos’ goal of adapting scholarly tools for nonspecialists.

Dr. Heiser earned his PhD in Hebrew Bible and Semitic languages and holds and MA in ancient history and Hebrew studies. He is the coeditor of Old Testament Greek Pseudepigrapha with Morphology and Semitic Inscriptions: Analyzed Texts and English Translations, and can do translation work in roughly a dozen ancient languages, including Biblical Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, Egyptian hieroglyphs, and Ugaritic cuneiform. He also specializes in Israelite religion (especially Israel’s divine council), contextualizing biblical theology with Israelite and ancient Near Eastern religion, Jewish binitarianism, biblical languages, ancient Semitic languages, textual criticism, comparative philology, and Second Temple period Jewish literature. In addition, he was named the 2007 Pacific Northwest Regional Scholar by the Society of Biblical Literature.

Getting the most out of Mobile Ed

Logos Mobile Education is a highly effective cross-platform learning environment that integrates world class teaching with the powerful study tools and theological libraries available in Logos Bible Software. Every course provides links to additional resources and suggested readings that supplement the lecture material at the end of every transcript segment.

This course comes with an Activities resource that functions as a type of “workbook” for the course. This resource includes learning activities such as: places for you to respond to reflection questions, exercises that will challenge and show you how deepen your understanding of this course by using specific Logos tools and resources, tutorial videos on different features of Logos Bible Software, and links to relevant Logos guides and tools. A link to open the Activities resource is conveniently placed at the end of every segment.



2 ratings

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  1. Ryan Stolba

    Ryan Stolba


    I don't feel like the beloved Heiser has ever spent enough time justifying his supposition that circumcision is a perfect analogy to baptism. Let's permit that idea for the sake of discussion. Circumcision was inclusion into the covenant of Moses. If someone was not circumcised they were cut off from God's covenant with Israel. Baptism would then become an identification in Christ and rejection a separation from Christ's covenantal community. Why are these analogies exempted?
  2. Joseph E

    Joseph E


  3. Kevin Bratcher
  4. Jess Hall, Jr.
    I have not read the book and am not likely to purchase it. I did notice that there was no part of it set forth to demonstrate his thinking. Based on what was shown concerning Acts 2:38 and Acts 22:16, it appears that he has stepped aside from the Scripture. It reminds me of a radio preacher I heard who said, "If you read Acts 2:38 you would conclude that baptism was essential to salvation, but now let me tell you what it really means." He disclosed his belief == baptism was not essential to salvation. I have always wondered why God thought the inspiration of the Holy Spirit did not have it written like the preacher wanted. I don't think the preacher had a son who went to the cross and dies for my sins, but God did. It was only his son sacrifice was made to be a sinner for me, and who then told me in His Word, "Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. " I prefer to follow my Savior and not this writer. Should this writer which to debate the issue in public, I am sure that I can arrange it. Jess Hall, Jr.
  5. Rev. Delwyn X. Campbell Sr
    Why is the Lutheran position excluded?


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