Born of Water and the Spirit presents essays on the sacraments by the three major representatives of “Mercersburg Theology,” John Nevin, Philip Schaff, and Emanuel Gerhart. It focuses on Mercersburg's doctrine of baptism and Christian nurture, attempts to correct putative deficiencies of the major Reformed trajectories (e.g., New England and Princeton), and vigorously critiques the anti-sacramental animus of revivalistic evangelicalism. Mercersburg understood baptism as initiating a person (adult or infant) into the sacramental life of the church. Baptism and Eucharist were objective, spiritually real actions that made (what Nevin called) the “mystical presence” of Jesus Christ present to Christians, bringing transformative power into their lives. The present critical edition carefully preserves the original texts, while providing extensive introductions, annotations, and bibliography to orient the modern reader and facilitate further scholarship.
The Mercersburg Theology Study Series is an attempt to make available for the first time, in attractive, readable, and scholarly modern editions, the key writings of the nineteenth-century movement known as the Mercersburg Theology. An ambitious multiyear project, it aims to make an important contribution to the scholarly community and to the broader reading public, who can at last be properly introduced to this unique blend of American and European, Reformed and Catholic theology.