WHAT ABOUT BAPTISM?, by Dr. F. N. Lee; Scottish Reformed Fellowship, Surrey, England; 17 pp., 20 pence (paper). [Reviewed by H. Hanko]
The so-called Reformed Baptist movement is a growing movement in our day, especially in England. Those who profess to be Reformed Baptists hold to the doctrines of grace especially as they are outlined in the five points of Calvinism. But they hold also to adult baptism. This little pamphlet is directed especially towards them.
It is written by a well-known and scholarly pastor of the Presbyterian Church in America in a question and answer form so that the arguments for infant baptism are presented in a fictitious discussion between a Presbyterian and a Baptist. The pamphlet discusses the question of immersion vs. sprinkling, the Biblical grounds for the baptism of infants, and answers various objections to infant baptism which are repeatedly brought up by those who hold to adult baptism.
I found the booklet very interesting and helpful, full of arguments which are not usually mentioned in our circles, and firmly based on Scripture. The Scriptural references, are contained in footnotes, and there is an abundance of such references. It is easy to read and easy to understand. Its one weakness is that it does not put the whole argument for infant baptism within the framework of God’s everlasting covenant of grace as we would be inclined to do. But this is characteristic of Presbyterianism. The booklet will be of considerable help in understanding the paedo-baptist position, and to refute the arguments of the Baptists. The book can be ordered from the Scottish Reformed Fellowship, J. Keddie, 5 Frogmore Close, North Cheam. Surrey, England. It is well worth the cost.
THE FEDERALIST PAPERS, A contemporary selection, abridged and edited by Lester DeKoster; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan; 143 pp., $2.95 (paper). [Reviewed by H. Hanko]
The Federalist Papers, originally written by John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison, were composed to support the adoption of the Constitution of the United States as prepared by the Constitutional Convention. They were written by the leading political philosophers of our country in the early years of her history and were intended to answer objections to the Constitution, explain the intent of the Constitution, and aid in the adoption of the Constitution by the various States.
The book has been published as a Bicentennial project and has as its purpose to make available those political documents which best explain what it means to be an American. The book also includes the Constitution itself.
It has often been argued that the political philosophy of this country which underlines her political documents is basically Christian, and, more particularly, Calvinistic. So, Dr. McIntyre argues in his paper, Christian Beacon, that the Declaration of Independence is fundamentally a Christian document, and Lester DeKoster has argued in The Banner that Calvinism deeply influenced the Constitution of the United States. When others argued that the political philosophy of this country was not Christian at all, but Deistic and patterned after the political philosophy of John Locke, Lester DeKoster answered that he had evidence that John Locke himself was influenced in his philosophy by Calvinism. How DeKoster, an astute student of history, could ever make such an obvious and historically inaccurate statement is a mystery. If there was one thing John Locke was not, it was a Calvinist. The argument simply will not hold water, and there is, to my knowledge, no one who has ever claimed this. Any history of philosophy will insist that John Locke belonged to the modern empirical and rationalistic school of philosophy and that he actively opposed Christianity and Calvinism.
However all this may be, a reading of the Federalist Papers will surely convince the reader that the political philosophy which underlies the political documents of, this country are not in any sense Christian. They are deistic—nothing more. For this reason it is good to read these papers.