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.
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.
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