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Baptist Ways: A History [Paperback]

By Bill J. Leonard (Author) & Edwin S. Gaustad (Foreword by)
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Item description for Baptist Ways: A History by Bill J. Leonard & Edwin S. Gaustad...

Historical and theological scholars, as well as numerous Baptist pastors and laypersons, have long awaited this landmark resource. Bill J. Leonard, who ranks among the most highly esteemed contemporary Baptist historians, covers such topics as theories of Baptist origins, Baptist controversies, the formation of Baptist denominations, African American Baptists, Baptists' concern for the poor, and Baptist disciplines, worship, hymnody, and more. While thoroughly covering Baptists in the United States, Leonard also explores the history and development of Baptist faith and practice elsewhere in North America and in Central America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Baptist Ways promises to be the definitive resource on Baptist history for many years to come.

Publishers Description
This extensive resource traces significant aspects of Baptist history from the seventeenth through the twentieth centuries. It surveys basic beliefs, events, and experiences evident in Baptist communities. Leonard explores the effect of the Baptist identity on not just America, but on the world, and includes the emergence of English, British, Irish, and Caribbean Baptists, to name a few. Also skillfully covered is the influence of the Baptist faith in the United States, including the development of African American Baptists and the numerous denominations that emerged in the twentieth century.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Baptist Ways: A History by Bill J. Leonard & Edwin S. Gaustad has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Choice - 02/01/2004 page 1094

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Judson Press
Pages   456
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.12" Width: 6.04" Height: 1.23"
Weight:   1.75 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 17, 2004
Publisher   Judson Press
Edition  New  
ISBN  0817012311  
ISBN13  9780817012311  

Availability  2 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 25, 2016 03:10.
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More About Bill J. Leonard & Edwin S. Gaustad

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Bill J. Leonard is dean and professor of church history at Wake Forest University Divinity School. He is the author or editor of fourteen books, including God's Last and Only Hope: The Fragmentation of the Southern Baptist Convention, Christianity in Appalachia: Profiles in Regional Pluralism, and Baptist Ways: A History. His work is often cited in the media, and he appears frequently on NPR and other radio and television stations. He lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Bill J. Leonard currently resides in the state of North Carolina.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > Protestant
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Protestantism > Baptist
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Protestant Denominations

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Reviews - What do customers think about Baptist Ways: A History?

Baptist Ways: my opinion  Jan 28, 2008
Baptist Ways: a History. Bill J. Leonard, Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press, 2003. Paper, 480 pages. ISBN 0-8170-1231-1
Bill J. Leonard is dean and professor of church history at Wake Forest University Divinity School, Winston-Salem, NC. He is the editor or author of fifteen books.

In his introduction, Mr. Leonard discusses the problem of defining a people as diverse as the Baptists. His approach views Baptist history through "eight dialectics", seeing "classic distinctives as dynamics moving in tandem across a wide spectrum of belief and practice." (p. 16) He briefly recites various views of Baptist origins. Since Leonard believes the Baptist denomination is an outgrowth of English Puritanism, he begins in the 17th century and brings Baptists forward chronologically to the present. The book consists of 16 chapters, for the most part moving back and forth between British and American Baptists, introducing other areas at appropriate times.

Leonard's book currently is the most up-to-date single volume Baptist history available. It provides recent information not available in older works. It widens the scope far beyond British and American Baptists to take a closer look at other Baptists around the globe. While Leonard is an American Baptist most familiar with the American Baptist experience, he warms to the task of presenting the international scene. The colossal task of a single volume Baptist history requires a well-written story that engages the reader. Despite the problems inherent in telling a story over several centuries and across several continents, I found the story of Baptist Ways to be skillfully interwoven. Nevertheless, the end of the book has a little feel that perhaps Leonard has run out of time and space, and just had to quit.

Baptist Ways emphasizes Baptist women, their work, societies and other auxiliaries. This information is often not available to any extent in such a work. In addition to providing historical information and recognizing the work of Baptist women, it also provides a background for current controversies over the ordination of women. I would have enjoyed reading a little less of this and a little more of some things and groups not mentioned at all by Leonard. On the other hand, despite laying the groundwork for telling the modern women's ordination controversy, Leonard fails to follow up on that sufficiently.

A book of this size runs the risk of some lack of clarity, which happens at times. For examples: After noting the formation of the Six-Principle Calvinistic Baptist Association in New England in the 1750s, Leonard reports that the Warren Association (founded in 1767) was the first Baptist association in New England (p. 123). Noting "Primitive Baptists also have a presence in Canada" (p. 244), Leonard does not clarify for the uninitiated whether these are the Arminian Primitive Baptists or the Predestinarian Primitive Baptists. The number of Baptist sub-denominations is overwhelming, and it is not surprising that Mr. Leonard would fail to clarify them all and/or make a few hard to explain statements.

It is surprising that such an important work by major denominational publishing house has quite a few typographical/printing errors. My copy (ordered in 2007) has several. Most are of the non-invasive type. The really ugly ones are three paragraphs on page 244 and two on pages 251-2 that were damaged by a "computer glitch". These sections are not unreadable, but nearly so. My edition contained a small errata sheet stuck into the pages. Hopefully these errors, as well as issues of lack of clarity, will be addressed in future editions.

One could question the advisability of attempting a single volume history of Baptists. It seems to be one of those things we can't live with or without. With a few reservations, I recommend this book to the lover of Baptist history. In the end we may all learn with Edwin Gaustad that "It is true that Baptists embrace religious liberty -- in their best days for all of humankind. It is also true that Baptists embody religious liberty -- in their worst days in the unending multiplicity of denominational tags and labels and nicknames." (p. XII)
beautifully done  Sep 29, 2003
A fine book, intelligent, informed and creatively executed.

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