Truth We Can Touch: How Baptism and Communion Shape Our Lives

Tim Chester, Truth We Can Touch: How Baptism and Communion Shape Our Lives (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2020), 174 pp.

Two lessons I learned early in my Christian life concern the ordinances of baptism and communion. Over the years, my understanding of these “gospel portraits” has grown and expanded. Tim Chester’s latest work, Truth We Can Touch is the most recent tool that the Lord has used to add deep insight into baptism and communion.

Chester makes his aim clear at the outset: “Above all, I want us to learn to appreciate baptism and communion.” In less than 200 pages, Chester succeeds at every level. The author unveils baptism and communion through the authoritative lens of Scripture. He also alerts readers to the controversies that have arisen in church history.

One highlight that summarizes this excellent book is the distinction between the two ordinances:

  • Baptism is the embodiment of our union with Christ.
  • The Lord’s Supper is the embodiment of our communion with Christ.

Chester adds, “Along with the preaching of the word, it is the chief means God has given us to enable us to understand who we are in Christ.”

But the most helpful aspect of Truth We Can Touch is the way that Chester navigates between the various views of Luther, Zwingli, and Aquinas. Since we live hundreds of years later, worldviews have morphed, leading to a wide range of emphasis in local churches. The closed universe model has affected believers in our generation, even solid believers. Chester includes this insight that beautifully summarizes the arguments in the book:

But what we as Christians need to emphasize is that we still live in a world in which God actively and routinely intervenes. He intervenes through natural causes (and occasionally apart from natural causes through miracles). We need to see natural causes as the instruments of God. We need to see the world as a providential cosmos. That allows us to re-enchant the world.

I encourage readers to explore Chester’s arguments in Truths We Can Touch. But greater still, I encourage readers to revisit the great gifts of baptism and communion and allow them to shape their lives. May we daily delight in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

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