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Southern Baptist Identity [Paperback]

By David S. Dockery (Editor)
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Item Number 446668  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   304
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.9" Width: 5.9" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   0.95 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 30, 2009
Publisher   Crossway Books/Good News
ISBN  1433506793  
EAN  9781433506796  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Sixteen Southern Baptist leaders address key issues of theology, polity, and practice to ascertain the future of the Southern Baptist Convention in particular and evangelicalism in general. --from publisher descriptioni

Publishers Description

What was once a small, southern, predominantly white denomination has become America's largest evangelical denomination. Yet with the Southern Baptist Convention's growth have come the challenges of increasing fragmentation, theological controversy, and sweeping cultural change. These challenges have caused leaders and members to ask: What does it mean to be a Southern Baptist in the twenty-first century? How can a fresh consensus be established from within? What are the core biblical convictions that must be upheld, the key practices that must be sustained, to reach the lost in this age of cultural accommodation?

These essays by editor David Dockery, Al Mohler, Timothy George, Russell Moore, Paige Patterson, and eleven other SBC leaders address these important issues and themes from several perspectives. Their observations will illuminate the way not only for fellow Southern Baptists but for all evangelicals facing similar challenges in the twenty-first century and beyond.

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More About David S. Dockery

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David S. Dockery is president of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, recognized as a top tier institution by U.S. News and World Report and the Time/Princeton Review.

Roger D. Duke is assistant professor of religion and communication at Baptist College of Health Services in Memphis, Tennessee, and adjunct assistant professor of Christian studies at Union University.

David S. Dockery currently resides in Jackson, in the state of Tennessee.

David S. Dockery has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Studies in Baptist Life and Thought

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Protestantism > Baptist   [0  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Core Values of the Great Commission Resurgence  Oct 1, 2009
This collection of essays from many of the best known conservative leaders within the Southern Baptist Convention traces the history of the convention and charts a course for its future. The future, in the view of these pastors, scholars and leaders, is to go back to the core biblical values that marked the SBC in the past while seeking to understand how to engage the culture with the gospel.

Recurring themes in the book include the need to avoid the programmatic and pragmatic approaches of the past without neglecting entirely what organized efforts like the Cooperative Program can accomplish. The necessity of regenerate church membership is also often mentioned as a key factor churches must face in the years to come. The plateau/decline in baptisms is pointed out as a factor indicating a lack of evangelism among Southern Baptists. It seems that the conservative resurgence of the early 80's has yet to bear fruit in many respects. These essays say that the SBC must address the stagnated state of some 90% of their churches by recovering the biblical gospel and the, in their view, distinctively biblical heritage of Southern Baptists.

I was challenged and encouraged most by the essays from Ed Stetzer and Danny Akin, but there is much to commend in each essay. Highly recommended for anyone interested in Southern Baptist life and the future of the Convention.
The Future of Southern Baptists  Sep 3, 2009
Book titles are important. Smart titles tell you about the book's contents in a memorable way. Brilliant titles make a statement in and of themselves.

Crossway has recently published a collection of essays from a variety of Southern Baptist leaders. David Dockery is the editor of the new book, whose title says more in nine words than some books say in hundreds of pages. Southern Baptist Identity: An Evangelical Denomination Faces the Future (Crossway, 2009) implicitly makes the case that Southern Baptists are indeed evangelicals.

Thirty years ago, Southern Baptists were debating amongst themselves as to their identity. Moderates rejected the evangelical label because they wanted to see us belonging to the tradition of the mainline Protestant denominations. More recently, some conservatives have been reticent to adopt the evangelical label because of the fear we might water down our Baptist distinctives.

The title of Dockery's book demonstrates a willingness to be both evangelical (hence the "evangelical denomination" in the subtitle) and distinctively Baptist (hence the "Baptist Identity" in the title). Ecumenical evangelicalism and distinctive Baptist identity come together wonderfully in this collection of essays.

Before getting into the specifics of this book, let me first point out the curious fact that this very Baptist book has been published by an evangelical, non-denominational publisher - Crossway. One might have expected Broadman and Holman (the Southern Baptist publisher) to put out this book. The very fact that Crossway saw a need for these essays to be published is an indication that other evangelical groups are looking to the Southern Baptist Convention as an example. The future of the American evangelical movement may be tied somehow to the future of Southern Baptists.

The essays in Southern Baptist Identity come primarily from lectures delivered at Union University's recent "Baptist Identity" conferences. Since this book is a collection of essays from a variety of Southern Baptist leaders, the reader can discern some areas of disagreement between the contributors.

For example, Greg Wills comes down very strongly against the idea of open communion, arguing for the practice of close communion (which has been the most widely held historic Baptist position on the Lord's Supper). Yet Nathan Finn (though he agrees with Wills on close communion) believes that the Baptist Faith and Message should leave that question open-ended enough for churches to disagree on the matter.

The book is divided into two main sections. First come the essays that contain theological and historical perspectives on the Southern Baptist Convention. Then, there are essays that focus on specific ministries and convention matters.

David Dockery begins the book by describing the current state of Southern Baptists in the 21st century. He expounds on some of the points in his book Southern Baptist Consensus and Renewal.

Dr. Albert Mohler writes about the future of Southern Baptist identity.

Greg Wills, a historian and professor at Southern Seminary, writes about the distinctive identity of Southern Baptists in the past.

Timothy George has a chapter in which he gives his personal testimony and also asks the thought provoking question, `Is Jesus a Baptist?'. He writes:

"We will not meet tomorrow's challenge by forgetting yesterday's dilemma, but neither will we win tomorrow's struggles by fighting yesterday's battles." (92)

He also points out the inherent narcissism of focusing so intently on the identy of Baptists (101), which provides a helpful corrective to some insular tendencies within the SBC.

Russ Moore gives a fascinating glimpse into 19th century Baptist life, particularly the influence of Baptist printed materials in the Whitsett controversy and the pastoral role of T. T. Eaton. (He also has some good words on blogging.)

I particularly enjoyed Paige Patterson's chapter on the Anabaptists. Patterson demonstrates a willingness to learn from these uncles of ours, and he even recommends we look to our independent Baptist brothers and sisters.

"Independent Baptists of a former generation may have been guilty of emphasizing `separation' to the point of legalism, but the trajectory of the contemporary church seems destined to miss the goal of holiness of life and thought." (133)

In the second section of the book, the contributors focus on specific Convention matters that involve our cooperation in common mission.

I thoroughly enjoyed Morris Chapman's chapter on cooperation. Chapman wisely lists ways in which cooperation is undermined, and yet offers helpful suggestions for fostering an attitude of cooperation. Suprisingly, Chapman appears to favor a restructuring of the SBC:

"The SBC needs fine-tuning. In fact, the Convention may require an overhaul, not in its polity, but in its programming and the processes by which it functions daily. A major overhaul by the national Convention and the state conventions appears to be an absolute necessity, letting the facts speak for themselves lest the conventions discover too late they were blind and deaf to a delivery system that better serves the churches." (171)

Such a bold statement makes me wonder why Chapman opposed the Great Commission Task Force, which hopes to analyze the structure of the SBC and recommend improvements. I wonder if Chapman is not so much opposed to the idea of restructuring, but instead is uncomfortable with the people leading the Task Force.

Ed Stetzer has a good chapter on Missional Churches. He writes:

"Our churches need to be biblically faithful, culturally relevant, counter-cultural communities." (193)

Jim Shaddix writes about the future of the traditional church. He makes the case that relevance is not just about form. It's about substance.

The last two chapters in the book are by Danny Akin and Nathan Finn. They set forth a vision for the future for the SBC. These are thought provoking essays that will foster good conversation.

Southern Baptist Identity is brimming with insights that shine light on possible directions for the future of the SBC. The book's recommendations deserve to be read, discussed, debated upon, and in most cases, put into action.

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