Academic journal article Baptist History and Heritage

The Challenge of Being Baptist: Owning a Scandalous Past and an Uncertain Future

Academic journal article Baptist History and Heritage

The Challenge of Being Baptist: Owning a Scandalous Past and an Uncertain Future

Article excerpt

The Challenge of Being Baptist: Owning a Scandalous Past and an Uncertain Future. By Bill Leonard. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2010. 162 pp.

The Baptist tradition celebrated its 400th birthday in 2009. How can Baptists maintain their vitality in an era when denominational loyalty is no longer an important factor for church affiliation? In this book Baptist historian Bill Leonard, founding dean of the divinity school at Wake Forest University, explores the rich diversity in Baptist history and in so doing suggests ways for Baptists to remain relevant in the twenty-first-century world of post-modernity.

Comprised of seven chapters based largely on research Leonard has presented through various lectures and addresses, the brevity of the book actually strengthens it by making it manageable for a broad audience.

Provocative chapter titles such as "Being Baptist: Scandalous Past, Uncertain Future," "Historical Consciousness among Baptists: Owning and Disowning a Tradition," or "Once Saved, Almost Saved: Revisiting Baptists and Conversion" draw the reader's interest into these insightful discussions. Leonard's third chapter, "Baptist Polity: A People's Church," might be the most helpful presentation in the book. …

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