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date: 10 December 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This is the first of two parts on twentieth-century and contemporary Protestant sacramental theology. The chapter begins with a brief overview of general trends in Protestant sacramental theology during the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. This includes attention to ecumenical convergence, growing Protestant appreciation for sacramental practice, exploration of the definition of a “sacrament,” consideration of the relationship of Christ, the church, and sacraments, interpretation of sacraments as “signs,” and recent emphasis on the ethical implications of sacraments. The chapter then turns to the topic of baptism in particular, one of the two sacramental practices most generally accepted among Protestant churches. In this section, the chapter explores the recovery of focus on baptism as entrance into the church, baptism as both event and process, and the contested twentieth-century discussions of infant and believer baptism, baptism of water in relation to baptism of the Spirit, and the question of language for God used at baptism.

Keywords: sign, symbol, ordinance, mysterion, primal sacrament, infant baptism, Spirit baptism, baptismal ecclesiology, initiation

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