The author treats the complex subject of baptism within the broad context of the theology of justification and of grace, yet is careful not to lose sight of the Biblical evidence. It is only when he has shown, after a careful study of both Old and New Testaments, the position of a child within the Covenant of Grace that he turns his attention to the specific subject of baptism.
Marcel’s vindication of the doctrine of infant baptism is the more impressive because it does not rely upon archaeological or patristic evidence about the practice of the early Church – convincing as that evidence may be – but on the evidence of Scripture.
First Part: General Study of the Sacraments
I. The Meaning of the Term
II. The Relation Between the Word and the Sacraments
The Constitutive Elements of the Sacraments
A. Priority of the Word
B. Points of Resemblance between the Word and the Sacraments
C. The Efficacy of the Sacraments
D. Points of Dissimilarity between the Word and the Sacraments
Second Part: The Covenant of Grace
I. The Objective Aspects of the Covenant of Grace
A. The Covenant in History
B. The Promises and Characteristics of the Covenant
C. The Sacraments of the Covenant: Comparison of the Sacraments of the Old and New Testaments
D. The Church in the Covenant
II. The Subjective, Individual and Ecclesiastical Aspects of the Covenant of Grace
The Beneficiaries of the Covenant
A. To Whom is the Covenant of Grace Offered?
B. The Covenant of Grace, Place of Vocation and Election
C. The Children of the Covenant
D. Children of the Church
E. The Unconverted in the Covenant and in the Church
Third Part: Baptism: Sacrament of the Covenant of Grace
I. The Baptism of Adults and Proselytes
What is the Meaning and Significance for Adults of the Baptism They Have Received?
A. Baptism as a Sign and Seal
B. Baptism as a Means of Grace
C. The Necessity of Baptism
D. The Subjective Aspects of Baptism
E. On What Conditions can Baptism be Administered to Adults?
II. The Baptism of Children
A. The Silence of the New Testament
B. The Children of Believers are Born within the Covenant of Grace
C. The Covenant is the Sole Basis of Infant Baptism
D. The Objectivity of Infant Baptism
E. Children are Legitimately Baptized, without Faith or Repentance because they belong to the Covenant
F. How do Doctrine and Faith Precede Baptism?
G. Baptism and Regeneration
H. Baptism a Means of Grace for the Child
I. Responsibility of Church, Parents, and Children