Academic journal article Baptist History and Heritage

Why I Am a Baptist: Reflections on Being Baptist in the 21st Century

Academic journal article Baptist History and Heritage

Why I Am a Baptist: Reflections on Being Baptist in the 21st Century

Article excerpt

Edited by Cecil P. Staton Jr., Macon: Smyth and Helwys, 1999. 204 pp.

Borrowing the title of a famous essay by Walter Rauschenbusch, Cecil Staton, senior editor of Smyth and Helwys Publishers, has put together a remarkable collection of the best and brightest of the Baptist world at the conclusion of the 20th century. A total of twenty-seven essays, including one from Staton himself, make up this collection. Each writer was given the assignment and the freedom to address the question, "Why am I a Baptist?" The resulting collection of essays is a representative mosaic of contemporary Baptists.

While all of these essays are informative and well written, several deserve particular mention. Former President Jimmy Carter issues a call for all Baptists to work together in a spirit of reconciliation rather than division. Bill J. Leonard provides a provocative discussion of the Baptist tradition. Rather than the traditional emphasis on Baptist "distinctives," Leonard prefers to describe Baptist "paradoxes" that actually serve to define us better. Molly T. Marshall, whose courage and strength has been a model to many Baptists, describes why she has remained a Baptist in spite of the difficulty she has faced in recent years as a woman following God's call on her life. …

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