It’s been a good year for Baptists. In Baptist Foundations: Church Government for an Anti-Institutional Age edited Mark Dever and Jonathan Leeman pastor’s a church leaders have been provided material that will help them think through issues of church structure and practice in a biblical manner.
This book is comprised of five parts covering congregationalism, ordinances, church membership and discipline, officers in the church, and the unity of the local church and cooperation with other local churches. Each of the contributors to the volume have extensive backgrounds in writing on the issues of Baptist polity. While many book on the church published are geared toward a more pragmatic than biblical understanding of the church, each of the authors has sought to conform their understanding of Baptist polity to the Bible. Pastorally I found Shawn Wright’s chapter on Baptism very helpful for me especially as he addresses the issue of baptizing children addressing the possible risks of either baptizing or withholding baptism. Thomas White’s chapter has also helped me to think through in more detail issues surrounding church discipline, which is something sadly lacking in many churches I have known.
The editors and contributors had a challenge in writing this because in reality there isn’t a lot of current consensus among Baptists in how a Baptist church is to be structured. What the authors have done is to first look to the Bible as the authority for how the church is to be structured and run and then demonstrated historically how Baptists have demonstrated these biblical distinctives. There is much to commend this book especially in light of the confusion surrounding basic elements of church structure found in Baptist life today.
If you are a leader in your church read this book, allow these authors to help you think through these issue for the good of your church and for God’s glory.
Disclosure: I received this book free from B&H Academic for providing this review. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.