Remembering Our Baptism by Philip R. Meadows
There are many great books about baptism and the reasons for it, but for me this did something different – it helped me long for more of God
Remembering Our Baptism
By Philip R. Meadows
Reviewer: Matt Wright
This is an important book, accessible to all baptised Christians. It makes no distinction between believer’s baptism or christening, making the scope for the readership wider. Some Baptists may balk at that, and wonder why I, as a Baptist by conviction and a Baptist minister at that, may recommend a book about baptism which doesn’t advocate believer’s baptism specifically. I hope the rest of this review will show the significance this book has.
The subtitle, ‘Discipleship and Mission in the Wesleyan Spirit’, shows where Meadows is coming from – he is cofounder and International Director of the Inspire Movement which is based on Wesleyan principles. Though he never intended to start a denomination, John Wesley is widely regarded as someone who got mission and discipleship right, and this book follows Wesleyan (not Methodist Church) principles for remembering our baptismal promises and living in the light of them.
I imagine that we in our churches are enthusiastic about seeing people saved, baptised and discipled, and rightly so! I also imagine that where we tend to struggle is how to help people remember the promises they made in baptism, and how to live them - in other words, to live as disciples who make disciples, as we are called to by Jesus. Meadows challenges us to ‘live wet’, with both the Great Commandment and Great Commission in our hearts, saying “The aim of any baptising church must be more than making members or even converts, but nurturing whole-life and lifelong followers of Jesus.”
If we are honest, none of our programmes or courses will achieve this aim. There are many great books about baptism and the reasons for it, but for me this did something different – it helped me long for more of God, and to seek a life of deeper intimacy with him and greater fruitfulness for him.
Meadows challenges readers to take responsibility for their own discipleship by remembering their own baptism whilst remembering John Wesley’s words: “There is no such thing as a solitary Christian.” Baptism is one part of the life Jesus called us to as his followers, and it is about both mission and discipleship. For the journey we need help from the Holy Spirit, Christian friends and church family. The importance and role of each is covered here.
There are questions at the end of each chapter which could be used for personal reflection, but they are aimed at group discussion. As such I will be using this book for discussion groups, to enthuse people who have been baptised to remember what they promised and to find fresh inspiration for how to live it.
I’m challenged as to how we in our churches remember our baptisms, and to what it means for us to live as baptised Christians each day. Read, and discuss!
Matt Wright, minister for missional discipleship at South Parade Baptist Church