Review of Thornwell’s The Validity of the Baptism of the Church of Rome

Thornwell the Southerner’s personal pique against Hodge the Northerner, caused him calumniously to castigate Princeton for becoming what he falsely called "an apologist of Rome" (pg. vii).   Inconsistently, Thornwell did not so accuse the Reformers themselves — all of whom without exception asserted the validity of baptisms performed within the Church of Rome!   Thus Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Cranmer, Knox, and all of the various Reformed Confessions of Faith.    So too John Philpot, John Clement, George Gillespie, Samuel Rutherford, John Owen, David Dickson, Jonathan Edwards, Francis Turretine and Matthew Henry.

Every first-rate Protestant sacramentologist without exception has asserted the validity of triune baptism — whether  performed by the trinitarian Pope of Rome, or even by unitarianising or tritheising Anabaptists not yet themselves unitarian or tritheistic (and whom John Knox rightly regarded as far worse than Romanists).   Thus consult also the anti-catabaptists Riissen, De Moor, Samuel Miller, Charles Hodge, A.A. Hodge, Shedd, William Cunningham, ‘Rabbi’ Duncan, the original Free Presbyterians, Heppe, Gravemeijer, Kuyper, Warfield, Bavinck, Berkhof, Berkouwer, Buswell, Hoeksema, Potgieter, Heyns, Boice, Ward, Thompson, Tallach and Van Til.

Gratitude should be expressed to my dear friend Jim North of Focus Publications for making (an abridgement of) Thornwell’s famous polemic again available to the public — and in a most attractive and inexpensive format.   Jim is just about to publish also my own (antipapal) Antichrist in Scripture.   I shall be absolutely ecstatic if it look as fine as his edition of Thornwell.   May Protestants and Romanists alike buy and study it, and be led to evaluate both Thornwell and triune baptism — in the light of Holy Scripture as our only infallible guide!

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