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Originally published in 1962, A Baptist Manual of Polity and Practice was written to bring together traditional Baptist positions and practices and the modifications adopted over the years. This classic was first revised in 1991 and then again in 2012 for its 50th anniversary. In addition to freshening the book's general style and tone, the current edition reflects:
• Profound shifts in Baptist polity since 1991• New challenges, especially that of an increasingly fragmentary and secularistic culture• A looser and more locally focused form of ministry
Although the focus of the book (especially in the latter chapters) is on the American Baptist Churches USA, most of the manual is written with an eye to basic principles shared widely and historically across the Baptist family of associations and denominations. Contents include:
• The New Testament concept of the church• The local church and its officers• The meaning of church membership• The Baptist ministry including Baptism and the Lord's Supper• The Associational Principle of Baptists• Autonomy and interdependence• Ecumenical relationships
And, the appendix offers:
• Significant dates in Baptist history• Church covenants• Suggested constitution and bylaws
"Originally published in 1962 and revised in 1991, Gregg has taken this classic work and updated it so that it is once again a valuable resource to Baptist laity and clergy alike. This book will be a helpful guide as a new generation of Baptists learn about and live out the tradition." Glenn Jonas, Charles B. Howard, Professor of Religion and Chair of the Department of Religion, Campbell University Divinity School, Buies Creek, NC
"The times change, and faith must change with it. A Baptist Manual of Polity and Practice is a revised and updated edition of the advancement of American's Baptists over the past fifty years, the original volume of the writing published in 1962. Discussing the shifts in Baptist polity since 1991, new challenges facing Baptist culture from the world around it, and updating the language, A Baptist Manual of Polity and Practice is well worth considering for ministers and other church leaders, highly recommended." Midwest Book Review
Norman H. Maring was professor emeritus of church history at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary (now Palmer Seminary). A well-known writer and Baptist historian, Maring's books included Baptists in New Jersey: A Study in Transition, and American Baptists: Whence and Wither. Maring was a past president of the American Baptist Historical Society and served on many American Baptist boards and commissions.
David Gregg, MDiv, MA, served for nearly a decade as the minister of congregational life at Lake Street Church of Evanston, Illinois before returning to the University of Chicago's Divinity School for doctoral studies. He remains closely connected to and concerned with local church ministry, and serves as a frequent guest preacher and consultant. A member of Grace Baptist Church, Chicago, Gregg serves on the executive cabinet of the American Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago.
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