Recent North American Baptist Doctoral Dissertations

Steven Harmon is posting some abstracts of recent doctoral dissertations completed in the US.

So far:

Scott Bullard on eucharist, unity and Baptists

Jeffrey Cary on Jenson, Williams, McClendon and free church ecclesiology

Aaron James on language, eucharist identity and baptist vision


Beyond 400: Exploring Baptist Futures

New book exploring Baptist futures is available from Pickwick books. For more information see here.

1. Baptist Christians: repentant and unrepentant / Nigel G. Wright

2. Humane religion: evangelical faith, Baptist identity, and liberal secularism / Nigel G. Wright

3. The sound of silence? Baptist thought in Obama’s world / Martin Sutherland

4. Meeting for minutes? Baptist congregational life in the age of Twitter / Martin Sutherland

5. Beyond identity crises? The future of Baptist theology / Michael O’Neil

6. Is a denomination a church? / Peter Ralphs

7. Emerging-missional ecclesiology and the future of denominal leadership and affiliation / Graham J.G. Hill

8. The little church that could / Steve McAlpine

9. Cyprian and The Pilgrim’s Progress / Edwina Murphy

10. Leadership style and church culture / Janice Howard Newham

11. Baptists in mission to and with the poor: what do we need to learn? / Scott Higgins

12. Baptist witness to New Testament baptism beyond 400 / Richard K. Moore

13. An immodest proposal for the practice of the Lord’s table / Ian Packer

14. Church as (covenant) community – then and now / Michael Parsons

15. Worship and the unity of Baptists today / Neville Callum

16. The emerging portrait: a response / Brian Harris and Nigel G. Wright

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.

Challenging to Change: Dialogues with a Radical Baptist Theologian: Essays Presented to Dr Nigel G. Wright on his sixtieth birthday, edited by Pieter J. Lalleman (Spurgeon’s, 2009)

Introduction – David Coffey

‘Baptists “Relating and Resourcing” in difficult times: A historical perspective’ – Raymond Brown

‘New birth from Water and Spirit’ – Alastair Campbell

‘The Coherence of freedom: Can Church or State ever be Truly Free?’ – John Colwell

‘Being a minister: spirituality and the pastor’ – Chris Ellis

‘”The leadership of some …”: Baptist ministers as leaders?’ – Rob Ellis

‘Something will come of nothing: on A Theology of the Dark Side’ – Paul S. Fiddes

‘Inclusive representation revisited’ – Paul Goodliff

‘The radical ecclesiology of Nigel Wright’ – Steve Holmes

‘Church planting, peace and the ecclesial minimum’ – Stuart Murray

‘Part of a Movement: Nigel Wright and Baptist Life’ – Ian Randall

‘When Wright was right’ – Tom Smail

‘The Radical Evangelical: A Critical Appreciation’ – Derek Tidball

‘Crown rights of the Redeemer’ – Pat Took

The European Baptist Federation: A Case Study in European Interdependency 1950-2006 by Keith G. Jones (Vol 43, SBHT, Paternoster, 2009)

Foreword – Ian M. Randall

Chapter 1: Baptists and Interdependency

Chapter 2: ‘Beyond the Local’: The Ecclesiological Basis of the European Baptist Federation

Chapter 3: The Ecumenical Dimension

Chapter 4: The International Baptist Theological Seminary

Chapter 5: A Focus of Unity – General Secretaries

Chapter 6: Partnership in Mission: Inter-Continental Mission Work from the USA

Chapter 7: Mission in the World

Chapter 8: The Ecclesial Reality of European Baptists

Appendix: EBF Presidents 1950-2009

Download Doctrine and Worship Committee Reports

On the BUGB website it is now possible to download three of the key reports from the 1990s by the Doctrine and Worship Committee, chaired at the time by Paul Fiddes.

The Nature of Assembly and the Council of the Baptist Union of Great Britain (1994)

Forms of Ministry among Baptists: Towards an Understanding of Spiritual Leadership (1994)

Believing and Being Baptized: Baptism, so-called re-baptism and children in the church (1996)

Edification and Beauty by James M. Renihan (SBHT 17, Paternoster, 2008)

Edification and Beauty: The Practical Ecclesiology of the English Particular Baptists, 1675-1705


Chapter 1: ‘Christ … ever shall have a kingdome in this world’: The Emergence and Development of the Particular Baptist Churches

Chapter 2: ‘Those thus called, he commandeth to walk together in particular societies, or churches’: The Nature of the Church

Chapter 3: ‘To each of these churches … he has given … power and authority’: Church Government

Chapter 4: ‘The officers appointed by Christ … are bishops or elders, and deacons’: Church Officers

Chapter 5: ‘The due performance of that publick worship, which he requireth of them in the world’: The Church at Worship

Chapter 6: ‘So the churches, … ought to hold communion amongst themselves’: Associations of Churches

The Making of a Modern Denomination by Peter Shepherd (SBHT Vol 4, Paternoster, 2001)

The Making of a Modern Denomination: John Howard Shakespeare and the English Baptists 1898-1924

1 Background

2 The Strengthening of the Union

3 The Sustenance of the Ministry

4 The Search for Unity

5 Final Years at the Baptist Union

6 Shakespeare’s Legacy

Baptist Quarterly, January 2009

Catholicity and Confessionalism: Responding to George Beasley-Murray on unity and distinctiveness – John E. Colwell

Celebrating Diversity: Towards an inclusive church – Andy Goodliff

A Missionary Family in China – Michael Ball

A Letter of John Pendarves from 1656 – Larry J. Kreitzer

On Being the Church: Revisioning Baptist Identity by Brian Haymes, Ruth Gouldbourne, Anthony Cross (SBHT 21, Paternoster, 2008)

This book re-examines Baptist theology and practice in the light of contemporary biblical, theological, ecumenical and missiological perspectives. It is not a study in denominationalism, but rather attempts to revision historical insights from the believer’s church tradition, essentially within a trinitarian emphasis. It is a re-expression of that tradition, seeking to re-appropriate forgotten emphases, bringing them together in a revised ecclesiology.

Foreword – Paul S. Fiddes

By Way of Introduction

1. The God of the People

2. The People of God

3. Authority

4. Baptism: Becoming a Christian

5. Discipleship

6. The Lord’s Supper

7. Ministry

8. The One Church, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic

9. Institution and Organization