In Soul Baptism, retired FBI agent Lucian J. Gandolfo focuses his investigative expertise on the Bible. In this in-depth exploration of the Christian Trinity, Gandolfo examines whether this sacred act of baptism is a “one-time salvation experience of spiritual regeneration, or a subsequent-to-salvation spiritual endowment of empowerment.” Essentially, what does it mean to be “born again”?
Gandolfo argues for the “trichotomous essence of man,” meaning that human beings comprise a body, spirit, and soul. The author contends that this trinitarian approach to understanding humanity mirrors the triune nature of God, who takes three forms: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Namely, human beings enter into not just one baptism but three: water, soul, and spirit.
The baptism of the Spirit, or the born-again experience, is key to the author’s understanding of salvation; it is “the supernatural baptism of man’s spirit, transforming it from its dead state to life,” he writes. From here, the author looks at the steps of salvation, the role of spiritual warfare on an individual’s soul, and the importance of faith, discipline, and obedience in leading a godly life.
Soul Baptism is well-researched, and Gandolfo’s writing is clear and intelligent. Gandolfo approaches each level of his investigation with a Sherlockian acumen, methodically analyzing Scripture and building connections between different theological traditions. His approach is level-headed, and he praises the (triune) insights of differing viewpoints, the “intellectual contributions of the Reformed believers, the faith and soul-winning disciplines of the Baptist believers, and the anointed discernment of the ‘Spirit-filled’ believers.”
While those with only a cursory knowledge of the Bible and such traditions as Reformed Theology might find themselves lost in the depth of Gandolfo’s arguments, Bible study readers and armchair scholars will find much to ponder and probe here.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.