Paul Goodliff, Ministry, Sacrament and Representation

Paul Goodliff, Ministry, Sacrament and Representation: Ministry and Ordination in Contemporary Baptist Theology, and the Rise of Sacramentalism (Oxford: Regent’s Park College, 2010), £20.

This is a revised version of my dad’s doctoral thesis, which was based on survey of Baptist ministers and interviews with recent Baptist College principals. It is volume 2 in the new Centre for Baptist History and Heritage Series. It will be available at the Baptist Assembly this weekend and shortly after here.

Contents:

1. Introduction

2. Methodological Considerations

3. A Narrative Account of the Formal Documents

4. The Documents: A Systematic Analysis

5. Analysis of the Survey Data

6. Analysis of the Interview Data

7. Five Factors Shaping Changing Belief

8. The Sacramental Turn

9. Postscript: Creation, Eschaton, and the Formation and Practice of Ministry

Coming Soon Bebbington’s history of Baptist life and thought

Baptists through the Centuries: A History of a Global People (Baylor, July 2010)

A clearly written introduction to the history and theology of this international people, Baptists through the Centuries provides a chronological survey of the main developments in Baptist life and thought from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. As Baptists spread globally beyond their British and American origins, Bebbington persuasively demonstrates how they constantly adapted to the cultures and societies in which they lived, generating even more diversity within an already multifaceted identity. In the course of telling the story of Baptists, Bebbington also examines the challenging social, political, and intellectual issues in Baptist history—attitudes on race, women’s roles in the church, religious liberty, foreign missions, and denominational identity—and situates each one within a broader context.

  1. Introduction
  2. Roots in the Reformation
  3. Anabaptists and Baptists
  4. Particular and General Baptists in the Seventeenth Century
  5. Baptists and Revival in the Eighteenth Century
  6. Divisions among Baptists in the Nineteenth Century
  7. Theological Polarization among Baptists
  8. Baptists and the Social Gospel
  9. Gospel and Race among Baptists
  10. Women in Baptist Life
  11. Church, Ministry and Sacraments among Baptists
  12. Baptists and Religious Liberty
  13. Baptists and Foreign Mission
  14. The Global Spread of the Baptists
  15. Baptist Identity
  16. Conclusion

“Conversations about Baptist identity too often generate more heat than light. This book is a happy exception, telling the Baptist story with great insight and clarity.”

—Curtis W. Freeman, Research Professor of Theology and Baptist Studies, Duke University Divinity School

Exploring Baptist Origins

Anthony R. Cross and Nicholas J. Wood (eds.), Exploring Baptist Origins (Centre for Baptist History and Heritage Studies, Vol 1; Regent’s Park College, 2010), 163pp (£20 – order a copy here)

This is the first volume of the new series emerging out of the Centre for Baptist History and Heritage based at Regent’s Park College. The collection of papers were first delivered in the autumn of 2009 in celebration of 400 years since the birth of Baptist beginnings. Including some of the UK’s leading Baptist theologians – Paul Fiddes, Stephen Holmes, Brian Haymes – the book seeks to examine historically and theologically the beginnings of Baptist life.

Haymes, not for the first time, engages with Thomas Helwys’ The Mystery of Iniquity, asking whether it has relevance for today and concluding with a challenge for more ‘unashamedly political theologies’.  Fiddes explores the question of whether Baptists are a church or a sect, interacting with the famous studies of Weber and Troeltsch, and highlighting the distinctive covenant theology of early Baptists.  Holmes extends earlier published arguments of the dangers of just reading the Bible through the Salters’ Hall incident of 1719. Keith Jones assesses Baptists and Anabaptists through the life of the Lithuanian Baptist Jonas Inkenas, exploring five themes: ecclesial interdependency; leadership; communities in hostile surroundings; spirituality; and women at the heart of Baptist life. Anthony Cross and Larry Kreitzer provide historical studies of why baptists adopted believers’ baptism and the anabaptist petitions of 1660 and 1661 respectively. The other contributer is Crawford Gribben who looks at the beliefs about millennialism in early Baptist life in relation to their ecclesiology.

This is an interesting and revealing set of essays, engaging with how Baptists began. The best or most interesting are those that ask questions of Baptists today in light of their forebears, showing how they can offer challenge and help as we seek to be Baptist Christians.

Beyond this book, it is exciting to see Regent’s begin a new series of Baptist studies, especially as its other series, Regent’s Study Guides, is coming to an end. If your a British Baptist and engaged in postgraduate study on baptistic themes, here is a potential place for your research to reach a wider audience. Coming soon are volumes on a theology of ministry and ordination from Paul Goodliff and membership and belonging from Darrell Jackson.

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