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The Baptist Heritage: Four Centuries of…
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The Baptist Heritage: Four Centuries of Baptist Witness (edition 1987)

by H. Leon McBeth (Author)

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The Baptist Heritage: Four Century of Baptist Witness H. Leon McBeth's 'The Baptist heritage' is a definitive, fresh interpretation of Baptist history. Based on primary source research, the book combines the best features of chronological and topical history to bring alive the story of Baptists around the world.… (more)
Member:KurtzLibrary
Title:The Baptist Heritage: Four Centuries of Baptist Witness
Authors:H. Leon McBeth (Author)
Info:Broadman Press (1987), Edition: 12/16/89, 848 pages
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The Baptist Heritage: Four Centuries of Baptist Witness by H. Leon McBeth

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As someone who grew up Catholic and is today a member of a union congregation (PCUSA and United Church of Christ), I found this book of great interest in a subject that I know next to nothing about: the differences between General Baptists and Particular Baptists in their 17th-century English origins, the relationship of Baptists in America to the Great Awakening, the importance of Baptist leadership in adopting the First Amendment's church-state separation (though here I do at least know Roger Williams). Some of the 20th century material (especially on the Southern Baptists) does get tediously long, but even here there's interesting material on the smaller contemporary Baptist groups.

McBeth's book was written for Baptist seminaries, so it tends to defend mainstream Baptist denominations — and refers to that dour Scotsman John Knox with disapproval, so Presbyterians beware! (Also, McBeth does have a bit of a bee in his bonnet as to the subject of Pentecostalism and glossolalia, almost as much as some Presbyterians of my acquaintance have a bee in their bonnets about Baptists!)

One concern and serious criticism that I have, though, is that McBeth doesn't seem to give as much attention (according to the page numbering in my Kindle edition, only about sixteen pages) to African-American Baptists as the subject deserves.

Anyway, the book's given me a better appreciation of issues dividing Baptist from Reformed churches — in particular as to the issue of Eucharistic open table, which came up recently at a meeting of my own Presbytery. It's also interesting to learn the distinction (though I'm still not quite sure I understand the significance) between Baptists originating in the English tradition and Anabaptists of the continental persuasion such as Mennonites (although it seems like Mennonites may use sprinkling rather than full immersion?).

This is a book that I wouldn't have bought in treeware, but somehow I stumbled across it on Kindle and it was a very worthwhile buy. One note, however, and that is that the book was published in the mid-1980s and therefore places the "current" state of eastern European Baptists in the late years of the Soviet empire without updating for the post-Cold War era. ( )
  CurrerBell | Jul 10, 2014 |
Very thorough look at the history of the Baptist belief. There is no sense to believe something without knowing where it came from. McBeth does an excellent job tracing the exact origin of Baptists which is found in the very Word of God, the Bible. ( )
  mgeorge2755 | Mar 8, 2014 |
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The Baptist Heritage: Four Century of Baptist Witness H. Leon McBeth's 'The Baptist heritage' is a definitive, fresh interpretation of Baptist history. Based on primary source research, the book combines the best features of chronological and topical history to bring alive the story of Baptists around the world.

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