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Word, Water, and Spirit: A Reformed Perspective on Baptism
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Word, Water, and Spirit: A Reformed Perspective on Baptism


Reformation Heritage 2010

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Gathering Interest


J.V. Fesko offers an insightful assessment of Christian baptism as a sign of safe passage through troubled waters. Discover a comprehensive introduction to the Reformed doctrine of baptism—offering a defense of infant baptism within the framework of covenant theology, and much more. In three parts, Fesko’s text presents a history, a biblical-theological survey, and a systematic theological construction of this doctrine. Ideal for those who are curious about infant baptism or who are looking to expand their understanding of baptism in the Reformed tradition, this accessible volume is an invaluable resource.

In the Logos edition, Word, Water, and Spirit is enhanced by amazing functionality. Scripture citations link directly to English translations, and important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Key Features

  • Provides insight into the Reformed doctrine of baptism
  • Defends infant baptism using the framework of covenant theology
  • Presents a history of baptism in the Reformed tradition


  • Part I: The History of the Doctrine
    • Baptism in the Patristic Age, Middle Ages, and Counter Reformation
    • Baptism in Luther and Lutheranism
    • Baptism in Zwingli and the Anabaptists
    • Baptism in the Reformed Tradition
    • Baptism in Early Orthodox Reformed Theology
    • Baptism in High Orthodox Reformed Theology
    • Baptism in Modern Theology
  • Part II: Biblical-Theological Survey of the Doctrine
    • Baptism as New Creation
    • Baptism as Covenant Judgment
    • Baptism as Eschatological Judgment
  • Part III: Systematic-Theological Construction of the Doctrine
    • Baptism as a Means of Grace
    • Baptism as a Sacrament
    • Baptism Proper
    • Baptism and Its Recipients
    • Baptism and Ecclesiology

Praise for the Print Edition

This book represents a substantial accomplishment, one that provides a useful resource for those wanting to deepen their understanding of the sacraments, particularly baptism.

Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., professor of biblical and systematic theology, emeritus, Westminster Theological Seminary

On a wide-ranging canvas and with bold strokes, J.V. Fesko gives us a study of baptism which joins a treasury of theological citations with strong theological insights. After a survey of the history of the doctrine, Fesko focuses on the Reformed tradition and its important figures and confessions. He indicates the biblical dimensions of the meanings of baptism and provides a positive and constructive statement of its theological truth. This is a valuable work for its mastery of primary sources as well as its clear articulation of the covenantal dimensions which give a Reformed theology of baptism such power and purpose for Christian believers.

Donald McKim, executive editor for theology and reference, Westminster John Knox Press

J. V. Fesko’s Word, Water, and Spirit is a major work that both models how to do theology by moving from historical theology to biblical and systematic theology and, most importantly, presents fresh insights for a Reformed understanding of baptism. Fesko’s fair-minded, page-turning history of the doctrine of baptism is itself worth the price of the book. Most enlightening, however, is his biblical-theological survey of baptism as new creation, covenant judgment, and eschatological judgment. The book’s emphasis on God’s judgment in baptism is particularly innovative and helpful. These insights pave the way for treating baptism systematically as a means of grace and as a sacrament in relation to its recipients and ecclesiology. Highly recommended for all who wish to grapple seriously with the doctrine of baptism and its implications.

Joel R. Beeke, president and professor of systematic theology and homiletics, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary

Wonderfully Reformed . . . John Fesko shows the fruitfulness of reflecting on baptism as a marvelously robust doctrinal statement. He is to be commended for his first rate, deep theological thought on the core sacrament of our faith.

William H. Willimon, presiding bishop, The United Methodist Church, Birmingham Area North Alabama Conference

Product Details

About J.V. Fesko

J.V. Fesko is a minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and is also academic dean and associate professor of systematic theology at Westminster Seminary California. He became a church planter in 1998 and was installed as a pastor in 2003, thus serving in pastoral ministry for over 10 years. He has also taught systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary for over eight years as a part-time professor. His present research interests include the integration of biblical and systematic theology, soteriology, ecclesiology, and sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Reformed theology.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition