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The Reformed Baptism FormThe Reformed Baptism Form
Bastiaan Wielenga

A Commentary

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448 Pages
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Translated into English for the first time is this commentary on the Reformed baptism form by Bastiaan Wielenga, a prominent minister of the Word in the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (GKN) in the early to mid 1900s. This commentary sets forth, defends and applies the creedal Reformed faith concerning the covenant of grace—the foundation of baptism. This commentary will be especially helpful to Reformed churches, ministers and other members in its explanation of the baptism form’s authoritative treatment of covenant and election in relation to the baptism of infants. The faith of every believer concerning the sacrament of baptism will be expanded and enriched by the commentary.

The Reformed Form for the Administration of Baptism is one of the most important of all the secondary confessions of many Reformed churches worldwide. It is certainly the most read in the churches. In its original form dating from the late 1500s, soon after the Protestant Reformation, it received its present form and official standing from the Synod of Dordt (1618-1619). 

In various languages, including the Dutch, the Form functions at the baptism of adult converts and of the infant children of believers in many Reformed churches around the world. By virtue of its use to administer, solemnize and explain the sacrament of baptism, this form is read in the worship services of Reformed churches more often than any other creed or form, with the exception of the Heidelberg Catechism

Lacking has been a thorough, faithful, sound commentary on the Baptism Form in the English language. This need is now met by a translation into English for the first time of the authoritative, if not definitive, commentary on the form by the highly qualified and esteemed Dutch pastor and theologian, Dr. B. Wielenga, Ons Doopsformulier (in the English translation of the commentary, The Reformed Baptism Form: A Commentary). Kok of Kampen published Wielenga’s commentary in 1906. 

The 448-page commentary includes chapters on “The Doctrine of Baptism in General,” “The Doctrine of Infant Baptism in Particular,” “The Prayer before Baptism,” “Admonition to the Parents” and the “Thanksgiving after Baptism.”

The commentary sets forth the Reformed doctrine of baptism as sign and seal, the doctrine of the covenant of God with the children of believers, and other vitally important truths related to the sacrament, including the relation of the covenant and election.

This book is also intensely practical, considering such matters as whether the officiating minister should sprinkle once or three times; whether it is proper to make of the administration of the sacrament an occasion for the gathering of relatives and friends; and, most significantly, whether parents and church are to regard and rear the baptized children of believers as regenerated, saved children of God—according to the judgment of charity in light of the covenant promise to believers and their seed, which is governed by Jehovah's sovereign election (Rom. 9:6-13)—or as unsaved “little vipers”—in which (latter) case, of course, no rearing is possible. 

The author was determined to explain the language itself of the Form, avoiding the temptation to introduce convictions of his own. Written clearly and simply so as to be of benefit to all Reformed believers, the commentary also gives the Reformed pastor deep insight into the sacrament of baptism and its administration. This is a book that will help all Reformed Christians, ministers and churches to be Reformed in thinking and practice with regard to the sacrament of baptism, especially with regard to the baptism of the infant children of believing parents.

From the author’s preface: “The ardent desire of my heart is that by the publication of this writing many people reading this work learn to regard baptism more purely, appreciate it more warmly, and more zealously plead the covenantal promises on behalf of believers and their children, before the throne of him who calls himself I Am That I Am" (p. xvii).

"A WORD ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR. The translator of this work was aptly named. She was Annemie Godbehere. A lovely, godly woman, she was ruled by God. Living with her husband in France, where true, Reformed churches are few and far between, Mrs. Godbehere came into contact with the Protestant Reformed Churches and the Reformed Free Publishing Association (RFPA) through the Reformed conferences in Great Britain of the British Reformed Fellowship. Fluent in Dutch as in French and English, Annemie was engaged by the RFPA to translate certain Dutch works that the RFPA thought profitable for Reformed readers who can read only English. Annemie did not live to see her translation of this work in print. Scarcely had she finished translating this work than she died of cancer. In fact, the cancer made it difficult for her to complete the translation of this work. Heroically, she labored on, in severe pain and despite the hindrance of the medical treatments. If the RFPA dedicated its volumes, this one would surely be dedicated to the memory—the fond memory—of Annemie Godbehere. — David Engelsma, editor" (p. xiii).


Foreword - vii
Biographical Sketch of the Author - xi
A Word about the Translator - xiii
Preface - xv
At the Second Printing - xix
Chapter One: Nature and History of the Reformed Baptism Form - 1
Chapter Two: The Doctrine of Baptism in General - 21
Chapter Three: The Doctrine of Infant Baptism in Particular - 145
Chapter Four: The Prayer before Baptism - 185
Chapter Five: Admonition to the Parents - 263
Chapter Six: Thanksgiving after Baptism - 385