Baptists are a major group of Christians with a worldwide presence. Originating in the English Puritan-Separatist tradition of the 17th century, Baptists proliferated in North America, and through missionary work from England, Europe, and North America, they have established churches, associations, unions, missions, and alliances in virtually every country. They are among the most highly motivated evangelists of the Christian gospel, employing at present in excess of 7,000 domestic and overseas missionaries. Important characteristics of the Baptists across their history are: the authority of the Scriptures, individual accountability before God, the priority of religious experience, religious liberty, separation of church and state, congregational independence, and a concern for the social implications of the gospel. Baptists recognize a twofold ministry (deacons and pastors) or a threefold order (deacons, elders, pastors).
Historical Dictionary of the Baptists, Third Edition expands upon the second edition with an updated chronology, an introductory essay, a bibliography, and hundreds of cross-referenced dictionary entries on important events, doctrines, and the church founders, leaders, and other prominent figures who have made notable contributions.
William H. Brackney is the author of numerous articles and books; he has held key positions in several institutions, including Baylor University, Colgate Rochester Divinity School, and Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Currently he teaches in the area of historical theology and Ethics at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada.
The Baptist tradition may be the most diverse of all Protestant Christian traditions. It spans the theological spectrum from conservative to liberal and boasts a worldwide constituency, with most of its strength historically in North America. This single-volume Historical Dictionary of the Baptists covers the breadth of the tradition and is an impressive work. Written by prolific Baptist historian William Brackney (historical theology and ethics, Acadia Univ., Canada), the first edition of this work appeared in 1999, and the second edition arrived ten years later. This expanded third edition brings this useful tool up to date. Whereas most dictionaries of this scope are edited works with entries from numerous authors, Brackney is the sole author of this work, and he has done a masterful job of selecting topics from across the worldwide Baptist spectrum. The breadth of the volume is evident in the inclusion of the less-known entities in Baptist history—see, for example, the 17th-century “Leg of Mutton Baptists” (p. 355). Clergy, laity, and scholars will all find the new edition of this dictionary valuable. Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; professionals; general readers.