Johannes Warns (translated from the German by G.H. Lang)

Recommendation:   4/5

Description of author:   Johannes Warns (1874-1937) was born into the Lutheran church in Germany.  After studying at Greifswald, Halle, Berlin, and Bonn, he came to a saving faith in Christ and joined the Baptists.  He founded the Wiedenest Baptist Bible School.

Comments:   The title of this book is not nearly as impressive as its content.  One might expect a dry as dust cure for insomnia, yet nothing could be farther from the truth.  I had a difficult time putting this book down (maybe I’m just strange).   This is a thorough treatment of the Biblical doctrine of baptism, both theological and historical.  The subtitle is a little more suggestive:  ‘Studies in the Original Christian Baptism, its History and Conflicts, its Relation to a State or National Church, and its Significance for the Present Time.’ He answers definitively the question of infant baptism, both from a Scriptural and an historical perspective.  He also gives us much historical information regarding the rise of the Baptists including their sufferings at the hands of both Catholics and Reformers.  There are five appendices including a very helpful ‘Chronological Tables and Survey of Baptism in the First Five Centuries.’  The only characteristic of this book that might be a little confusing for the American reader is the constant reference to Lutheranism and the state church.  Having come out of the German Lutheran church, this is Warns’s main perspective.  For someone not growing up in the German Lutheran church in particular or in a state church in general, much of the argumentation may be a little superfluous.  The positive side of this is one learns a great deal about Martin Luther and his teaching.