Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Frontmatter

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Table of Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. vii

read more

Preface: What’s in a Name?

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-xii

It was the order of the day (though I am sorry to say it) that we were constantly followed by a certain set of proselyting Baptist preachers. These new and wicked settlements were seldom visited by these Baptist preachers until the Methodist preacher entered them; then, when a revival was gotten up, or the work of God revived, these Baptist preachers came rushing in, and they generally sung their sermons; and when they struck the long roll, or their sing-song mode of preaching, in substance it was “water!” “water!” “you must follow your blessed Lord down to the water!”. . .

read more

1 Being Baptist

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-14

On the eve of the American Revolution, Anglican parson Charles Woodmason described the carryings on among the people called Baptists in the “Carolina backcountry.” He wrote,..

read more

2 Historical Consciousness among Baptists

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 15-38

For some Baptists, past and present, that bit of nineteenth-century doggerel illustrates one popular response to a sense of historical consciousness. It reflects a powerful and enduring theory of Baptist origins, the Old Landmark belief that Baptists antedate all other churches through a historical lineage stretching directly to Jesus' immersion by John in the river Jordan. As one frontier preacher ...

read more

3 Baptist Polity

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 39-52

In a confession of faith written in 1611 and titled A Declaration of Faith of English People Remaining at Amsterdam in Holland, the earliest Baptists described the congregational polity of their new communion. The article declared,...

read more

4 Biblicist but Not Bible?

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 53-74

In 1608 Baptist founder John Smyth wrote to distinguish his constantly changing theology from that of the “brethren of the separation,” those Puritans with whom he had departed from the Church of England, a church he called “anti-Christ.” While his views on church government and Scripture differed significantly from the Presbyterian-Separatists with whom he was previously aligned, Smyth nonetheless agreed with them as to the foundation of the “true church” as distinguished from the “falsehood” of the Anglicans.

read more

5 Once Saved, Almost Saved

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 75-94

In 1609 John Smyth and Thomas Helwys led a small group of English expatriates in forming the first Baptist church in the world, constituted around faith and baptism by triune affusion (pouring water on the head three times). In 1610 the group took another action that was to become classically Baptist: they split, with Smyth and others seeking membership with the Waterlander Mennonites and Helwys retaining leadership of the Baptist remnant.

read more

6 A Congregational Sacramentalism

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 95-106

Previous chapters have already confirmed that early Baptist identity was characterized by emphasis on biblical authority, regenerate church membership, believers’ baptism by immersion, congregational church polity, religious liberty, and the priesthood of all who claim faith in Christ. Amid those initially separatist, ultimately sectarian characteristics is an enduring legacy centered in (to repeat) the importance of uncoerced faith grounded in the power of conscience and the inevitability of dissent.

read more

7 Toward a Baptist Future

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 107-128

If Baptists are a case study in denominational transition in twentyfirst- century America, then great challenges lie ahead for all Protestant traditions as churches, boards, agencies, schools, and other institutions confront the period of permanent transition that has descended on religious bodies across the nation and around the world. Contemporary congregations, whether thriving or declining in membership, focused or distracted in their identity, face great challenges related to the nature of the church, the purpose of its ministry, worship, and sacraments, and its sense of mission.

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 129-138

Bibliography

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 139-146

Indices

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 147-154