Baptism, Superstitions, and the Supernatural: A Caribbean Perspective

Baptism, Superstitions, and the Supernatural by Rev. Dr. Lesley G. Anderson is a book uniquely, and unquestionably, one of the most informative and remarkable of its type. The sacrament of baptism is undoubtedly to this day an exceedingly controversial sacrament of the Christian Church. The continuing differing debates, arguments, and views about adult (believers') versus infant baptism are examined. Superstitions and the supernatural associated with this sacrament are given adequate attention in addition to the many other informative factors relating to this sacrament. Further, this sacrament is examined as a scriptural, psychological, theological, and social reality. The introduction of baptism as a liturgical phenomenon highlights the educational quality of this book as it takes the reader into the interesting and fascinating areas of baptism of blood, baptism by fire, baptism of the dead, baptism of the Holy Spirit, and baptism in the name of Jesus only. In addition, this book brings to the fore an intrinsic excitement and understanding about the symbols and symbolisms, images and mysteries, signs and wonders associated with this sacrament. The role of the Holy Spirit and the centrality of Jesus in the baptismal act are of importance recognized. If symbolically baptism means dying to sin and rising to new life with Christ, does this apply only to adult believers? This book explores the question against the background of research conducted in the Central American country of Belize that unearthed the views and beliefs of laypersons. The reach of the work extends beyond Belize, and Methodist traditions are compared with contrasting beliefs and practices of other denominations. Popular superstitions associated with baptism are also explored as well as the impact of African cultural practices on Christian theology in the lived experience of Caribbean peoples. Although this research was conducted in Belize, it is borderless and boundless. Of vital interest is the exploration of this sacrament in African religious beliefs and cultural practices. According to Professor Neville Duncan, former director of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica, the book is "theologically and sociologically stimulating...while written from the Methodist perspective...the issues raised will resonate with all Christian denominations." All denominations noted in this book are given their due respect regardless of their beliefs and/or baptismal practices.

--Lesley George Anderson

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