Baptists in Australia: A church with a heritage and a future

The 2011 Census showed that, at a time when many of the denominations were experiencing decline in numbers, the Baptists have continued to grow in numbers. Furthermore, the 2011 National Church Life Survey shows that Baptist churches are generally growing and showing signs of vitality. It will be interesting to see whether there will be continued growth in a culture which enjoys its informality, but at the same time has a strong sense of community developed through high levels of involvement. In their new e-book  Darren Cronshaw and Philip Hughes examine the state of the Baptist church in Australia and indications for its future.

Here’s what Baptist leaders around the country are saying about Baptists in Australia:

Philip Hughes and Darren Cronshaw have thoroughly researched and summarised both the history of Australian Baptists and where they are in the present. Their book presents a good platform with which churches can engage in order to launch into a more missional future. (Pastor Philip Bryant, Baptist Churches Western Australia)

 A one-stop-shop book that seeks to cover facets of our European Baptist beginnings, how Baptists settled in Australia, the Australian Baptist story to date (including the influence of USA Baptists), Baptist beliefs, ecclesiology, and what the census, the National Church Life Survey and other statistics tell us about Baptists. …We are indebted to Hughes and Cronshaw for this timely book. I pray all pastors and Baptists read it. They will be greatly blessed and challenged. (Rev Dr Ross Clifford AM, Morling College, NSW)

 Philip Hughes and Darren Cronshaw show just what a diverse community Australian Baptists are, and what a rich variety of experiences and lives of faith have brought them to where they are. This book will help Baptists, and all who are interested in them, to understand both where they have come from and where they might be going. (Rev Tim Costello, World Vision)

 The subtitle “A church with a heritage and a future” hints at a major challenge facing Baptists in Australia today: being a denomination in an increasingly post-institutional world. The influence of post-modernity on Australian culture means that many are reluctant to be aligned with Christian denominations. However, this concise and readable volume sets out the history and current state of Australian Baptists in such a way as to invite readers, of various worldviews, to understand and join the global movement of people who proudly wear the label “Baptist”. (Rev Dr Ian Hussey, Malyon College, Queensland)

 “This important book not only surveys significant aspects of Australian Baptist heritage and beliefs but also analyses contemporary Baptists’ identity and role in society. The history includes brief biographies of leading Baptist figures and an outline of distinctive beliefs and practices places them clearly in their ecclesial, global and national context. The second part carefully analyses census data and church surveys to offer a comprehensive picture of the social and religious life of contemporary Baptists. This most recent data is carefully interpreted and makes significant insights available to church leaders and students of religion in Australian society.” (Rev Dr Ken Manley, Distinguished Professor Whitley College, Victoria)

 Baptists in Australia by Hughes and Cronshaw is simply valuable research that will help us to understand ourselves in a world that demands we position ourselves better for mission.

(Rev John Smith, Baptist Churches of Tasmania)

 “Whether to you Australian Baptists are a mysterious mob or familiar as family, this book is an excellent snapshot of the present, portrait of the past and glimpse of the future. Hughes and Cronshaw have dug deep with both historical and statistical research to expose the “whys” as well as the “what” of the Baptist movement in Australia. Their findings are both fascinating and challenging for leaders and the movement as a whole.” (Rev Andrew Turner, Baptist Churches of South Australia)