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Letter to the Editor: Response to the Last Editorial

Letter to the Editor Response to Last Edition’s Editorial Dear Editor, Thank you very much for your Christian charity and spirited editorial, Friday 8th October 2021, ( E.C. No.8090).  Also thanks are due to you for reprinting so much excellent reformed evangelical...

Letter to the Editor: The Murder of Sir David Amess

Murder of Sir David Amess Dear Editor, I grieve at the loss of a friend and former Party colleague Sir David Amess, MP who was murdered in an increasingly dangerous world. In the 70s I worked with David in the Young Conservatives before he became an MP and he was...

Reformation Sunday Advert

LETTER TO THE EDITOR:                        15 October 2021. My ‘Advert’ titled “Reformation Sunday 31 October” said, “The Church of England should still celebrate this 500th year since Martin Luther declared at the ‘Diet of Worms’ in 1521, “Here I stand. God help...

Leicester Diocese Illogical

Letter to the Editor Leicester Diocese Illogical   Sir, Leicester Diocese’s decision on 9 October to replace its traditional Parishes with ‘Minsters' is both spiritually and financially illogical.  The Church of England’s own growth report ‘From Anecdote to...

Barnabas Fund Reports: Turkey Escalates Airstrikes Against Christians in Syria & Iraq

Barnabas Fund Reports Turkey Escalating Airstrikes Against Christians and other Minorities in Syria and Iraq Turkey has escalated a supposedly anti-terrorist military campaign in Syria and Iraq which appears to be targeting Christians and other minorities. A spate of...

Should I Stay or Should I Go? Gospel-Driven Anglicanism Part 4

Should I Stay or Should I Go? By the Revd Dr Mark Pickles Part 4 Gedaliah is appointed governor and we read that Jeremiah purposely chooses to live amongst “those of the poorest of the land who had not been taken into exile in Babylon” (40:7). Things have taken a turn...

466th Anniversary of the Martyrdoms of Latimer & Ridley

466th Anniversary of the Martyrdoms of Latimer & Ridley Saturday, 16 October marked the 466th anniversary of the martyrdoms of Bishops Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley.   They were burned at the stake after being found guilty of heresy due to their refusal to...

Clive West Memorial Trust Lecture: John Yates III to Speak

Clive West Memorial Trust Lecture  Revd Dr John Yates III to Speak The annual Clive West Memorial Lecture will be held on Thursday, 11 November at 19:30 at St Nicholas’ Church, Lisburn Road in Belfast.  This year’s speaker is the Revd Dr John Yates III, Rector of Holy...

Book Review: Bleeding for Jesus

Bleeding for Jesus John Smyth and the cult of the Iwerne Camps Andrew Graystone Darton, Longman and Todd, 2021 (ISBN: 9781913657123, 250pp, £12.99) This book is the latest instalment of a long-running tragedy. It comes six years after the author was first made aware...

School Pupils Across the Country Memorise Passages from BCP for £1,000 Prize

School Pupils Across the Country  Memorise Book of Common Prayer Passages  £1,000 Prize for Winner By Tim Stanley Hundreds of school pupils across the country are busy this term studying prayers and readings from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer in a bid to win a prize...

Book Review: Historical Dictionary of the Baptists

Historical Dictionary of the Baptists

(3rd Edition)

William Brackney

Rowman and Littlefield, 2021 (ISBN: 978-1538122518, 691pp, £130)

The series of Historical Dictionaries from this publisher is extensive and growing, ranging from Italian cinema to Arab and Islamic organisations to jazz. A number of items in the series focus on denominations of Christians, with this volume on Baptists being a very welcome addition. 

In the age of Wikipedia, print dictionaries cannot attempt to compete on grounds of comprehensiveness, but must rather rely on the advantage of authority. Thus the standing of the editor or author matters all the more. William Brackney is a long-established scholar of Baptist history and theology whose qualifications in this respect are robust. Although only ever employed by North American institutions, Brackney has the strong attachment to British matters and archives which is the particular mark of a Transatlantic Anglophile properly cognisant of the roots of their own religious environment. His own published work forms a substantial ingredient of this important new edition of his dictionary.

Particular strengths of this edition include historical theology in the Baptist tradition and accounts of Baptist life by political jurisdictions (including unexpected corners such as St Lucia and Kazakhstan!). Brackney’s interest in the origins of distinctions between general and particular Baptists, strict and open communionists, and so on, affords him the depth of understanding to summarise with clarity and concision great swathes of religious experience in mere paragraphs. Though the dictionary includes numerous biographical entries for individuals, this side of the work is more patchy, with figures such as Baptist Noel, Lewis Craig of the Travelling Church, and even Spurgeon, the very ‘Prince of Preachers’, omitted. More surprisingly, a decision seems to have been taken against profiling various categories of subsidiary institution, such as Baptist seminaries.

Though most of our readers may consider the Baptist principle misguided, this dictionary is an excellent resource for appreciating and understanding the denomination to which many millions of undoubted fellow-believers subscribe and the ‘baptistiana’ cultural accoutrements which have inevitably developed around it. Much edification and enlightenment may be gained from following the useful trails of cross-references strewn about the seminal piece. 

Edward Keene, Little Shelford

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