Christ, Baptism and the Lord's Supper
Baptism. The Lord's Supper. We recognize these church practices. But do we really grasp their meaning and place in Christian worship? Is our neglect of them hindering our communion with Christ? Are we missing the real drama of our salvation?
Often the object of debate, the sacraments are likewise neglected and superficially understood. Leonard Vander Zee makes a compelling case that these problems can be overcome when we see the connection between Baptism and the Lord's Supper and the continuing ministry of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word of God.
Founding his discussion in biblical teaching reaching back to the creation narrative and forward to the teaching of Jesus and the apostle Paul, Vander Zee sees the Christ-centered celebration of these sacraments as essential to the renewal of the church. A reappropriation of Baptism and the Eucharist, especially in the evangelical church, holds great promise for healing the rift between the natural and the spiritual, the personal and social, the head and the heart, and between the body of believers and our Lord Jesus Christ who died for us and now lives to make intercessions for us.
In Christ, Baptism and the Lord's Supper,Vander Zee not only opens up a Christ-centered approach to the sacraments but also provides guidance on the practical matters that face pastors and parishioners in the pursuit of a renewed and authentic Christian worship.
"Pastor Vander Zee invites evangelicals into a sacramental experience of the Savior they love. This engaging book unfolds biblical and theological teaching in ways that are both challenging and compelling."
"In Christ, Baptism and the Lord's Supper Leonard Vander Zee offers a gift to the whole church. His marvelous clarity, theological acuity and personal warmth make this book a joy to read. Most of all, he helps us reclaim the worship practices of an embodied faith, the bath and the feast that demonstrate Christ's real presence in a world grown weary of mere words."
"This insightful analysis from a pastor who practices what he preaches promises to deepen our view not only of baptism and the Lord's Supper but also of our Lord. Just as the eyes of Elisha's servant were opened to see the chariots of fire that encircled Elisha (2 Kings 6), so too the themes of this book can help us perceive the vibrant, nourishing ways that God works through worship. In an age tempted to treat worship merely as a means to other ends, this vision is one that will comfort, challenge and transform us."
"Here, at last, is a major primer on the sacraments for evangelicals. Drawing on the wisdom of the Reformation traditions, as well as the wider Christian heritage, Pastor Vander Zee shows us how our worship can be enriched, and God more greatly glorified, through a new focus on baptism and the Lord?s Supper. A wonderful guide to a deeper understanding of 'the visible words of God.'"
"From the ranks of deeply educated clergy Leonard Vander Zee steps forward to testify on the sacraments. He does so with power and beauty that stick in the mind. Absorbing!"
"The new attitude given to baptism and the Lord's Supper among evangelicals is a positive sign of the deepening of evangelical faith and worship. Christ, Baptism and the Lord's Supper is an important contribution to the current trend toward sacramental thinking because it is rooted in tradition and applied to the health of the present church. More than a study, it is a guide for thoughtful action."
Given the rise of contemporary worship services not only in evangelical churches, but also in main line denominations, Vander Lee?s book is a must read. Being evangelical and liturgical--in both worship practice and sacramental theology--need not be exclusive of one another, and that contemporary worship need not be completely stripped of all historical and liturgical content in order to be relevant to contemporary society.
1. The Restoration of a Sacramental Universe in the Sacrament of Christ
2. What Are Sacraments?
3. Sacraments in the Bible
4. Christ Is the Quintessential Sacrament
5. How Do Sacraments Work?
6. Baptism: Introduction and Biblical Background
7. A Theology and Practice of Baptism for Today
8. Infant Baptism
9. The Lord's Supper: Introduction and Biblical Background
10. A Brief History of the Theology of the Lord's Supper
11. A Theology of the Lord's Supper for Today
12. What Happens at the Table? A Wider-Angle View