First review of my “The Sign of the Gospel”

Long-time and well-known biblio- and theo-blogger, Jim West, who currently writes over at Zwinglius Redivivus, recently posted a link to a review of my book that he has written. As far as I know, this is my book’s first review ever!

(In case any of you, gentle readers, have a terrible memory or some kind of amnesia, my book is entitled The Sign of the Gospel: Toward an Evangelical Doctrine of Infant Baptism after Karl Barth, Fortress: 2013.)

As I read it, Jim’s review is very positive. And that means quite a bit to me because he represents part of the demographic to which I addressed the volume. I am particularly gratified by his following comment:
M., unlike other Barth commentators, actually correctly perceives Barth’s purpose and he understands Barth well enough to ‘get him right’. M., in brief, doesn’t do Barth the disservice of putting words into his mouth. Barth speaks with his own voice and M. interacts with the Basel theologian at every turn: not in an attempt to correct Barth, but to extend his views.

However, I must take one small issue with the review. Jim concludes by considering whether my book would likely convince Barth to change his mind on the question of infant baptism and renders this imaginative judgment: “Would Karl Barth, sitting in his rocker with his secretary at his side at their Alpine retreat, smoking his pipe and listening to Mozart on the grammaphone, change his mind about infant baptism if he read this book? Nein! But he would very much enjoy M.’s attempt to get him to.”

Now, to be clear, I’ll grant Jim that my book would not be likely to change Barth’s mind. But I think it is worth pointing out the following: that Barth would be unlikely to grant the success of my argument depends at least as much upon his own intractable (if, nonetheless, good-natured) personality as it would upon the strength of my argument, and perhaps even more so.

In any event, my thanks to Jim for providing his review, and I encourage you once again to surf on over and order a copy of the book!



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