Coinciding with the four-hundredth anniversary of the birth of the Baptist movement, this book explores and assesses the cultural sources of Baptist beliefs and practices. Although the movement has been embraced, enriched, and revised by numerous cultural heritages, the Baptist movement has focused on a small group of Anglo exiles in Amsterdam in constructing its history and identity. Robert E. Johnson seeks to recapture the varied cultural and theological sources of Baptist tradition and to give voice to the diverse global elements of the movement that have previously been excluded or marginalized. With an international communion of over 110 million persons in more than 225,000 congregations, Baptists constitute the world's largest aggregate of evangelical Protestants. This work offers insight into the diversity, breadth, and complexity of the cultural influences that continue to shape Baptist identity today.
'Rarely does a historical study encompass the whole world, but Robert E. Johnson has achieved that goal in his account of the beginning and development of Baptist life in various lands. He sees the movement as culturally diverse, even in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; stresses the female part in the evolution of the denomination; and sets the emergence of the Baptists in their socio-politico-cultural setting. Here is a new perspective on Baptist identity for the twenty-first century.' David Bebbington, University of Stirling, Scotland
'The first detailed study on the diversity of the varied cultural influences that shape Baptist identity and the global elements of the Baptist tradition, this book is also an extremely fair-minded discussion of the interpretations and issues involved. All who read the book will realize that the global role of the Baptist movement in the postmodern world is part of tomorrow's news, not simply yesterday's history. The book is indispensable for its honest labors and the vast stuff of global Baptist history it makes accessible. It should find a global and responsive readership.' Joshua Wai-Tung Cho, Hong Kong Baptist Theological Seminary
'A Global Introduction to Baptist Churches is a mine of useable information for the Baptist theological student, pastor, and church administrator and is a fitting complement to every local and general Baptist history present on the market. At the same time, its ecumenical importance must not be overlooked. This work is an indispensable global introduction to the Baptist churches and also an invaluable insight into Baptist understandings of the catholic faith, as the apostolic faith has been understood, practised, and communicated universally since the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Dr Johnson has left every church historian in his debt.' Revd Horace O. Russell, DPhil, Palmer Theological Seminary
'A Global Introduction to Baptist Churches is a sweeping drama of one of the most important religious movements in the world today. The reader is ripped away from a tired Anglo-centric reading of Baptist history and thrust into a breathtaking vista of polycentric movements around the world. Dr Johnson, having immersed himself into so many Baptist histories, is now the leading authority on worldwide Baptists. His book is required reading, not only for those interested in Baptist history, but for anyone who seeks to capture the broad panorama of the new history of global Christianity.' Timothy Tseng, President and Executive Director, Institute for the Study of Asian American Christianity
'This volume not only is a comprehensive study, historically and theologically, of the Baptist family around the world but also explores such often overlooked issues as identity and relationships. The work places Baptist bodies in their sociopolitical environment and provides valuable material on such matters as the role of women as well as the indigenous character of Baptist bodies outside the matrix of the Anglo-American world.' Albert Wardin, Professor of History Emeritus, Belmont University