Transactions of the Baptist Historical Society (1908–1921): Now Available Online

News has come through from the indefatigable Rob Bradshaw with information that the Transactions of the Baptist Historical Society volumes from 1908–1921 are now available online at Rob's site Click here to be taken through to the links to individual articles, but note also that at the top of the page Rob has put all of the material into a .zip file containing all of the .pdfs and an index. You can download the large (65MB) file by clicking here. Perfect content for your new IPad2

The material gathered in these volumes is invaluable to Baptist historians and theologians. Rob is to be congratulated on completing the first stage in a project which will also see the digitization of subsequent volumes of what, after 1921, became the Baptist Quarterly. The Transactions series contain numerous important articles, including editions of early 17th and 18th century course material. This is all now easily to hand for researchers. Thank you Rob.

Recent Publications from The Centre for Baptist History and Heritage

In the light of the demise of the earlier monograph series, Studies in Baptist History and Thought that Paternoster used to publish, it is a delight to see that the Centre for Baptist History and Heritage has taken up the mantle of providing excellent scholarly resources exploring key issues in Baptist history and theology. I have reviewed the inaugural volume in the series here, and made mention of the volume of essays for Brian Haymes here.

Further volumes are appearing, and I have just finished Peter J. Morden's book on Spurgeon, 'Communion with Christ and His People': The Spirituality of C. H. Spurgeon. I confess that much of my teenage years were spent reading Spurgeon, whose life story, theological conviction and preaching  I found attractive and persuasive in ways that I cannot now possibly imagine. Behind the largely apologetic and hagiographic accounts of his life that I read, one always had the sense of a more complex figure. Morden's book brings out that complexity, and as a result, makes a significant and fully scholarly contribution to our understanding of the Prince of Victorian preachers. Tracing key aspects of Spurgeon's theology in turn (puritanism; conversion; baptism; Bible; prayer; Lord's Supper; acitivism; holiness and suffering), Morden successfully integrates the theology with Spurgeon's life experience, and succeeds in drawing out the influence of puritanism, evangelicalism but also enlightenment rationalism and romanticism on those beliefs as they come to epxression in Spurgeon's voluminous writings. Morden is rightly questioning of certain aspects of Spurgeon's self-presentation (the material on the dubious account of his conversion that he perpetuated in later years is especially instructive). The book makes full use of the largely untapped archival material at Spurgeon's College in London. I enjoyed re-acquainting myself with an old friend, and those who admire or still read Spurgeon, as well as students of nineteenth century history and dissenting/Baptist theology will want to use this book's rich engagement with the primary sources as a model and resource for their own studies.  Highly recommended.

In addition, I have been sent copies of recent occasional papers published by the centre. 1b33a9d76c0f4334b5c5e336193439ec

E. Anne Clements, Wrestling with the Word: A Woman Reads Scripture is the 2011 Whitley Lecture and offers Clements' reflections on how Christian believers can read the Bible as authoritative even as they become aware of the fundamentally patriarchal dimensions of the text. She draws on her own work on the gospel of Matthew to illustrate a 'hermeneutics of hospitable awareness'.

Anthony R. Cross continues to explore the notion of Baptist Sacramentalism not least in relation to issues of baptism in Should we Take Peter at his Word (Acts 2.38)? Recovering a Baptist Baptismal Sacramentalism. Those who know Anthony's work will not be surprised by the reading of the tradition and Scripture offered here. It would be a good place to start for anyone wanting to understand how Baptists might hold a sacramental view of baptism.

Ian M. Randall has written a short study entitled 'Conscientious Conviction': Joseph Angus (1816-1902) and Ninteenth-Century Baptist Life.  This is a typically clear and 9c7ca3f204a74baa8760fd63e776f8f5well researched account of Angus contribution to Baptist life in the 19th century, with a particular focus on his work as Principal of Regent's Park College.

My thanks to the Centre for Baptist History and Heritage for sending these volumes through to me. I wish them well in their ongoing endeavours. Look out for more volumes as they arrive.  If you wish to purchase any of them then the links about will take you to the online ordering site.

In at Number 23: the Top 50 Baptist Bloggers

My presence on this list is flattering. However the compilers seem to assume that the presence of 'Baptist' in the blog title means that the blog contents will revolve around 'Baptism'. In fact the list is highly selective, missing out on such important sites as Euangelion (Mike Bird is a Baptist), Andy Goodliff, Jim Gordon, Steve Holmes, MIchael Westmoreland White and of course Jim West.

But there I am, in the same list as Al Mohler. The only question that remains revolves around the following illogical syllogism:

A: Al Mohler believes X

B: Al Mohler calls himself a Baptist

C: Sean Winter disagrees about pretty much every aspect of X

D: Therefore…

I leave it to others to work out.

Baptist Sacramentalism: Volume 2

Andy has details of this new volume which is about to appear from Paternoster in the Studies in Baptist History and Thought Series.  I have an essay in it and it feels good to be in such distinguished company.  The contributions are as follows:

Foreword – Francis Schussler Fiorenza

Introduction: Practicing Sacramentality in Baptist Modality – Philip Thompson

Embodied Grace: Exploring the Sacraments and Sacramentality – Christopher J. Ellis

‘We have an altar’: a Baptist View of  Sacrament and Sacrifice in Hebrews – J. Ramsey Michaels

The Sacrament of Fearful Intimacy – Jim Purves

The Church as Sacrament: A Mediating Presence – John E. Colwell

Re-thinking a Sacramental View of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper for the Post-Christendom Baptist Church – Michael F. Bird

Ambiguous Genitives, Pauline Baptism and Roman Insulae: Resoources from Romans to Support Pushing at the Boundaries of Unity – Sean F. Winter

A Feast for All? Reflecting Open Communion for the Contemporary Church – Anthony Clarke

Penance – Paul Sheppy

Can Baptists Believe in Sacred Space? Some Theological Reflections – Graham J.Watts

Baptismal Regeneration: Rehabilitating a Lost Dimension of New Testament Baptism – Anthony R. Cross

The Lord’s Supper and the Spirituality of C. H. Spurgeon – Peter K. Morden

Southern Baptists, Sacramentalism, and Soul Competency – Sean A. White

Ex Opere Operato: Re-thinking a historic baptist Rejection – Paul S. Fiddes

The Sacramentality of the Word in Gregory of Nyssa’s Catechetical Oraiton: Implications for a Baptist Sacramental Theology – Steven R. Harmon

Baptists and Churches of Christ in Search of a Common Theology of Baptism – Stanley K. Fowler

English Baptists of the 17th Century: Conference Downloads

Michael Haykin's research assistant has posted details of the availability of MP3 downloads of the papers given at a recent Conference on 17th Century English Baptists. I am posting the details and links here.  It looks like there are a number of good things here.

Conference Description

The theme of the 2008 conference was, “The English Baptists of the
17th Century.” Featured speakers included: R. Albert Mohler, Jr., Barry
Howson, Larry Kreitzer, Tom Nettles, Jim Renihan, Austin Walker, and
Malcolm Yarnell. Other up and coming Baptist History scholars presented
papers as well.

Conference Schedule and Audio

The topics of this conference are available below. It is hoped that
many of these papers will be published in book form in the near future.
In the meantime, the audio is available below in MP3 format. To
download the audio, right click on the title of the lecture which you
would like to download, then select “Save As…” (alternately, it could
be called, “Save Target As..,.” or “Save Link As…”). Most computers
will also allow you to stream the audio by simply clicking on the “MP3”

Monday, August 25

9:00 AM An Opening Word (MP3)
Dr. Michael Haykin (Director of The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies)

9:10 AM Plenary Session 1: “The English Calvinistic Baptists of the 17th Century—An Overview” (MP3)
Dr. Malcolm Yarnell (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary)

10:25 AM Plenary Session 2: “John Spilsbury and the Beginning of the Baptists” (MP3)
Dr. Tom Nettles (The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary)

11:40 AM Plenary Session 3: “Hanserd Knollys (1599-1691) and the Interpretation of Revelation” (MP3)
Dr. Barry Howson (Heritage Theological Seminary)

2:45—3:25 PM Parallel Session 1:

3:35—4:15 PM Parallel Session 2:

8:30 PM Plenary Session 4: “The Importance of Baptist Confessionalism” (MP3)
Dr. Albert Mohler (President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary)

Tuesday, August 26

8:45 AM Plenary Session 5: “The Strange Case of Thomas Collier” (MP3)
Dr. James Renihan (Dean, The Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies)

11:30 AM Plenary Session 6: “Benjamin Keach and the Protestant Cause Under Persecution” (MP3)
Austin Walker (Pastor, Maidenbower Baptist Church, Crawley, UK)

2:20 – 3:00 PM – Parallel Session 3:

3:10 – 3:50 PM – Parallel Session 4:

4:00 PM Plenary Session 7: “William Kiffin (1616-1701)—His Life and Thought” (MP3)
Dr Larry Kreitzer (Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford)

5:00—5:10 PM A Closing Word (MP3)
Dr. Michael Haykin (Director, The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies)

Under the Rule of Christ: Dimensions of Baptist Spirituality

draws attention to the fact that (after a very, very long wait to do with problems with the choice of artwork for the book cover: tip – never choose a Chagall painting for your book cover) the latest volume of the Regent's Park Study Guides will be published next month.  Details from the Smyth and Helwys website:

Under the Rule of Christ
Dimensions of Baptist Spirituality

by Paul S. Fiddes (Editor)

this book the Principals of the six Baptist colleges in Great Britain
take up a request to write about Baptist spirituality. They propose
that the spirituality of Baptists, in all its diversity, is
characterized by living ‘under the rule of Christ’. While all Christian
spiritual traditions affirm this truth, they suggest that there is a
particular sense of being under Christ’s rule which has been shaped by
the story of Baptists and by their way of being church through the
centuries. Elaborating the main theme, chapters explore various
dimensions of spirituality: giving attention to God and to others,
developing spirituality through suffering, having spiritual liberty
within a community, living under the rule of the Word in Christ and
scripture, integrating the Lord’s Supper with the whole of life, and
engaging in the mission of God from an experience of grace. Together,
the writers present an understanding of prayer and life in which Christ
is both the final authority and the measure of all things.

Baptist Historical Society Centenary Conference: Thursday

I can do no more than offer a quick overview of the contributions that I heard today.

Tony Peck: ‘Religious Freedom for Central and Eastern European Baptists in the 20th Century’: this was the morning plenary session, and Tony offered a fascinating overview of the experience of Baptist communities before, during and after the period of communism.  Of course only representative examples could be given, but these served to illustrate a broad thesis – namely that the present challenges facing Baptists in Eastern and Central Europe are similar to those faced in the pre-WWII period.  There were some fascinating facts given along the way: for example, at one point in the Communist era, 50% of all Czech Baptist pastors were in prison.

Richard Pierard: ‘The Contribution of British Baptists to the Beginnings of the Baptist World Alliance’: a short paper that, while of interest, told me little that I wasn’t generally aware of already: namely that the BWA was largely the product of the hard work of John Clifford, J. H. Shakespeare and J. H. Rushbrooke.  The only new piece of thr jigsaw was the identification of Newton Herbert Marshall as a major player in the early years.  Dick seemed to suggest  that he was the most gifted of them all intellectually (he studied with Harnack and did a PhD at Halle, published as Theology and Truth.

Matthew Tennant: ‘John Clifford’s Theological Socialism’: again the title is relatively self-explanatory, and the paper was a little unsatisfactory in that we didn’t really get to grips, in my view, with the core theological dimensions of Clifford’s political commitments.

Jonathan Arnold: ‘Benjamin Keach on Evangelism’:  another paper by a DPhil student at Regent’s Park College.  He argued that Keach, though a Particular Baptist, did possess both evangelistic fervour and endorse the offer of the gospel to unbelievers i.e. he should, on this matter at least, not be too closely identified with other Hyper-Calvinists.  This paper set the scene for my own really well, which immediately followed and seemed to be well-received.

Keith Jones: ‘The Ecclesiology of the European Baptist Association’: Baptist ecclesiology has always wrestled with the question of the ecclesiological identity of churches and or unions of churches gathering at trans-local levels.  Keith argued that the notion of a trans-local fellowship like the EBF had notions of ecclesial identity written in from the beginning, in contrast (and thus sometimes in conflict) with the self-understanding of the Baptist World Alliance.

So overall a good day with lots to think about.  Paternoster Press will be publishing the Conference proceedings in due course and I hope that my own contribution will be included there.