To Follow the Lambe Wheresoever He Goeth: The Ecclesial Polity of the English Calvinistic Baptists 1640-1660
This book explores the doctrine of the church among English Calvinistic Baptists between 1640 and 1660. It examines the emergence of Calvinistic Baptists against the background of the demise of the Episcopal Church of England, the establishment by Act of...
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This book explores the doctrine of the church among English Calvinistic Baptists between 1640 and 1660. It examines the emergence of Calvinistic Baptists against the background of the demise of the Episcopal Church of England, the establishment by Act of Parliament of the Westminster Assembly of Divines, and the attempted foundation of a Presbyterian Church of England. Ecclesiology was one of the most important doctrines under consideration in this phase of English history, and this book is a contribution to understanding alternative forms of ecclesiology outside of the mainstream National Church settlement. It argues that the development of Calvinistic Baptist ecclesiology was a natural development of one stream of Puritan theology, the tradition associated with Robert Brown, and the English separatist movement. This tradition was refined and made experimental in the work of Henry Jacob, who founded a congregation in London in 1616 from which Calvinistic Baptists emerged. Central to Jacob's ideology was the belief that a rightly ordered church acknowledged Christ as King over his people. The christological priority of early Calvinistic Baptist ecclesiology will constitute the primary contribution of this study to the investigation of dissenting theology in the period. ""This book illustrates with a pleasing amount of detail, combined with readability, that early modern Baptists were interested in more than baptism and ecclesiology."" --Mark W. Elliott, University of St. Andrews ""On the basis of his mastery of a wide range of original sources, [Ian Birch] has shown how the idea of Lordship of Christ functioned in the context of both individual faith and the corporate life of the community. This is a fine contribution to Puritan and Baptist studies."" --D. Densil Morgan, University of Wales Trinity Saint David ""Early Baptists took the Reformed principle of the kingship of Christ further than their contemporaries. Birch shows how it molded their understanding of the gathered church exercising discipline, maintaining its ministry and associating with other congregations. This book is a clear and orderly exposition of how the Particular Baptists worked out the implications of what one of their most eminent figures, William Kiffin, called 'this great truth, Christ the king of his church.'"" --David Bebbington, University of Stirling ""In this well-researched monograph, Birch shows how the Baptists derived and diverged from the Reformed and Puritan traditions. With careful attention to theological arguments and concepts, he offers the fullest treatment of their ecclesiology to date. This is a welcome contribution to scholarship on radical Puritanism as well as Baptist history."" --John Coffey, University of Leicester Ian Birch is Principal of the Scottish Baptist College where he lectures in Theology and Baptist Studies. He contributed to The Plainly Revealed Word of God? Baptist Hermeneutics in Theory and Practice (2011) and Mirrors and Microscopes (2015). He was winner of the Payne Memorial Essay Prize for ""'The Counsel and Help of One Another': Origins and Concerns of Early Particular Baptist Churches in Association"" in 2012.