A New Kind Of Baptist Church
In his latest book, Brian Winslade (National Director of Crossover) brings into question the ‘Baptist way of doing things’ particularly when it comes to how we organise ourselves and make decisions. Baptists are known for many things; among them their belief in the authority of the Bible, the priesthood of all believers, and their particular form of congregational government. The latter is often euphemistically referred to as the “Baptist way.”
Yet at the dawn of the twenty-first century new generations of Baptist church leaders from Nigeria to New Zealand, Bulgaria to Brazil, and America to Azerbaijan, are critiquing the ecclesiology they have inherited. Is the “Baptist way” immutable and transferrable across cultures? Does it measure up against Scriptural principles of leadership and gift diversity? Is congregational government more prone to conflict than other forms of polity?
A New Kind of Baptist Church explores the foundations of the Baptist movement and offers a critique via the lens of the Scriptures. It also looks at sociological factors that gave it shape, and asks whether contemporary sociology might equally influence the way Baptist churches are structured. A New Kind of Baptist Church also examines the issue of church size. Baptist churches, by and large, have been relatively small. Is this a part of its genius, or might classical understanding of congregational government tend toward a “glass ceiling” on growth and effective mission in the twenty-first century? The author is unashamed of his Baptist heritage and the denomination that has shaped his Christian experience. He is even more unashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the call on each local church to engage in effective mission. Indeed, the central thesis of this book is a conviction that the “Baptist way” is more properly about fruit-bearing engagement in mission than descriptive of an egalitarian ecclesiastical social system.
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