Book Review: Baptist History

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Baptist HistoryBaptist History by John Mockett Cramp
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

[O]verall a good history. The last few chapters were a little more encyclopedic, with numerous short biographical sketches. Otherwise, it is an easily readable book. I appreciated the fact that Cramp was open about the scarcity of historical records and he wasn’t quick to just assume what filled the gaps. Many today could learn a valuable lesson from his example here.

This isn’t exactly a history of churches as much as it is a history of preachers and leaders. It was interesting to read about about a number of oddities and variances between churches. Among churches in the past can be found such things as naked baptisms, trine baptisms, temporarily abandoning baptizing at all, the laying on of hands after baptism, and times of women preachers and elders. There were quite a bit of differences between churches, but some things were more consistent.

They were unified around Gospel issues such as rejecting baptismal regeneration and infant baptism. They held the Scripture as the all-sufficient and final rule of authority for all matters of faith and practice. These churches were promoters of Bible translations, so the Bible was in the common language of the people and in their hands. They were proponents of educated and trained preachers for the ministry. They held to liberty of conscience in religion and opposed state churches.

If we’re being honest, history isn’t quite as pretty as we might like it to be, or as many men would lead us to believe it is. I guess when you’re facing constant persecution and harassment, you just don’t have as much time to criticize and harangue your brothers, and split and fracture over little narrow point until you’ll hardly fellowship with yourself. I’m thankful for our goodly heritage and do think we should learn from history.

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