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This text focuses on the role of the Baptists in relation to democracy in America. Most antebellum southern Baptist churches allowed women and slaves to vote on membership matters and preferred populists preachers who addressed their appeals to the common person. Paradoxically no denomination could wield religious authority as zealously as the Baptists. Between 1785 and 1860 they ritually excommunicated 40 to 50,000 church members in Georgia alone. Wills demonstrates how a denomination of freedom-loving individualists came to embrace an exclusivist spirituality - a spirituality that continues to shape Southern Baptist churches in contemporary conflicts between moderates who urge tolerance and conservatives who require belief in scriptural inerrancy. Wills's analysis may advance the reader's understanding of the interaction between democracy and religious authority, and appeal to scholars of American religion, culture, and history, students of American religious history, as well as to Baptist observers.
Buy Democratic Religion: Freedom, Authority, and Church Discipline in the Baptist South, 1785-1900 (Religion in America) by Gregory A. Wills from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780195104127 & 0195104129
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