As someone raised in a baptist kind of faith, and constantly inviting people to consider who Jesus is, I was delighted to see that 10Publishing has decided to publish Mez’s little book on Baptism.
Whether you read this book as someone who is leaning towards being baptised, or someone who is caught up in a revival wherein there are hundreds of people thinking about baptism, or you are just (like me!) a normal leader in a local church encouraging new Christians to get baptised, I think that this might be a brilliant little book. Each of the four chapters includes a week’s worth of personal bible study notes – to emphasise and underline what the chapter is teaching.
Mez moves through two big questions – ‘Why Should We Bother Anyway?’, and ‘Am I Really Ready for Baptism?’ in a way that shows us that he’s wrestled with the questions in community. This is not a dry book of theology telling people thinking about Baptism what to think – this is a pastorally-rooted, biblically-based and eminently readable introduction to this vital topic. Some of my friends might struggle with the Baptistic emphasis of Mez’s own theology – but I think this would work reasonably well in an Anglican context for services of confirmation and believers baptism. Certainly, in the kinds of Churches I’ve been involved in, in a rage of places, this book would have been immensely useful to explain why Baptism matters and what is going on.
The book flows, after these first two parts, to two key practical aspects of Baptism – ‘Preparing for your big day’, and ‘Running the Race’. Baptism is a one-off event, an event in the life of the individual, and the invitation of that individual into the life of the Church. Mez has gathered some great practical tips – particularly around sketching out your testimony, but also on who to give your phone to – for the Baptism day. This book is also very real and honest – noting that ‘Running the Race’ is not always easy: the euphoria of declaring your faith and being obedient to Jesus in a public setting so often fades as the warfare reality of following Jesus arrives. The book closes with a helpful appendix on coping with temptation.
Overall, then, this slim, readable and attractively and simply produced book does exactly what it says on the tin. I’d warmly recommend it to leaders in churches thinking about baptism resources – even if you already have something, this neatly packages both preparation and the start of ongoing discipleship into one convenient little package. Thanks to 10ofThose for providing a review copy.