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The history of black people in the United States is a history of challenge and resilience, of suffering and solidarity, of injustice and prophetic resistance. It is a history steeped in the hope and strength that African Americans have derived from their faith in God and from the church that provided safety, community, consolation, and empowerment. In this new volume from pastor and scholar Rev. Dr. Wayne Croft, the history of the black Baptist church unfoldsfrom its theological roots in the Radical Reformation of Europe and North America, to the hush arbors and praise houses of slaverys invisible institution, to the evolution of distinctively black denominations. In a wonderfully readable narrative style, the author relates the development of diverse black Baptist associations and conventions, from the eighteenth century through the twentieth centurys civil rights movement. Ideal for clergy and laity alike, the book highlights key leaders, theological concepts, historic events, and social concerns that influenced the growth of what we know today as the diverse black Baptist family of churches.
In A History of the Black Baptist Church: I Don't Feel No Ways Tired, Dr. Wayne Croft presents a detailed and accessible historical overview of the Black Baptist church, an institution that has long provided Black Americans with solace, safety, and spiritual fortitude. As one of the nation's premier Gospel preachers, Croft illuminates the trajectory, including the challenges, shortcomings, and gains, of the Black Baptist church and its many members. I commend this book to students, educators, historians, ministry practitioners, and Black people of faith who seek to find strength for the present and hope for the future, by learning from the trials and triumphs of the past. Rev. Neichelle R. Guidry, PhD, Dean of Sisters Chapter and Director of the WISDOM Center, Spelman College; Creator and Lead Curator, shepreaches, and Creator, modern faith podcast
Pastor, scholar, homiletician, and now historian, Rev. Dr. Wayne E. Croft Sr has eloquently provided a comprehensive socio-historical overview of the Black Baptist church. Crofts fascinating study of the history of Black Baptists highlights the resilience, challenges, and solidarity of a unique tradition. Although not the first book on Black Baptists, Croft has brilliantly excavated the churchs profound impact on Black America, revived its rich history, and awakened us to its future challenges. This book is an invaluable contribution to religious history and should rest in the hands of historians, scholars, clergy, seminarians, laypeople and leaders. It will be the main resource for the study of Black Baptists for generations to come. Rev. Dr. Frank A. Thomas, The Nettie Sweeney and Hugh Th. Miller Professor of Homiletics; Director of the Academy of Preaching and Celebration, Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, IN
Dr. Wayne Croft adds to the pantheon of meticulous and passionate black scholarship rendered by the likes of W. E. B Dubois, C. Eric Lincoln, and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham. This book covers old and new ground to give the academy the best examination of the neglected story of Black Baptist history. Croft writes with a scholars precision, a griots voice, and a preachers ear, giving this book vast readability without sacrificing academic rigor. A beautiful book written for the church and the academy; it should rest on the bookshelf of the preacher and the professor. Exquisitely crafted and executed. Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, Senior Pastor, Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago, IL
Pastor and professor Wayne E. Croft Sr. has given us a scholarly and accessible resource, chronicling the denominational faith story and legacy of the Black Baptist church. This extensive account of its evolution, complexity, diversity, and resilience is informative and impressive. Scholars, clergy, and laity will benefit from this comprehensive historical exploration. Rev. Dr. Gina M. Stewart, Senior Pastor, Christ Missionary Baptist Church, Memphis, TN; 1st Vice-President, Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Society
Dr. Wayne Croft places the Black Baptist churchs history within the context of the Radical Reformation in England and the overall history of the Black church in America. Croft further expands on the history of Black Baptist associations and conventions, exploring their internal strains and expansion. There are other books on the subject, but Dr. Crofts writing is the most expansive source to date giving a full account of the Black Baptist church. Every person who appreciates church history and wants to know more about the Black Baptist church must read this book. Rev. Dr. Quintin L. Robertson, Director of Black Church Studies, United Lutheran Seminary
Wayne Crofts A History of the Black Baptist Church offers a wealth of knowledge and insight into the rich legacy of the Black Baptist church. It fills a lot of information gaps about the traditions history, especially as it relates to Black Baptists role in challenging racial and economic discrimination in this country and to the outstanding women who challenged their church on issues of womens ordination and gender equality. Croft evokes, with simplicity and passion, how the Baptist church was born out of the fight for freedom, justice, and equality and how it has survived in the hearts and minds of Black people of faith despite long decades of schism and division. Renita J. Weems, PhD, Professor of Biblical Studies and Co-Pastor, Ray of Hope Community Church, Nashville, TN
One might say that publishing Dr. Crofts work at this time is fortuitous. I prefer to say it is providential given the current demands for justice on every societal level. Dr. Crofts proud Baptist identity and passion for this topic are clearly expressed in his writing and worth experiencing in the reading. He includes vital data denied, intentionally ignored, or hidden about the history of the Black Baptist church. To know our history is to understand how our present Baptist traditions are embedded in the African soul, which prepares us to craft an enduring theology and spiritually sound future in Christ. Rev. Julia Bruton-Sheppard, Area Minister, Philadelphia Baptist Association
As a lifelong Baptist (Baptist born, Baptist bred), I read Wayne E. Crofts marvelous narrative of the history of the African American Baptist church with a great deal of interest and excitement. I was prepared to reminisce about this glorious institution that has often been referred to as a frustrated fellowship. What I discovered on almost every page and in every chapter was a reservoir of new information and clariﬁcation about much of the history of Black Baptists that I had long held as gospel. Without giving anything away, a story that I had heard and read repeatedly as a child and into adulthood was corrected in the section on how the Progressive National Baptist Convention came into existence. Dr. Croft writes with a scholars attention to historical detail and accuracy and with a pastors practical perspective. A new generation of church historians, seasoned pastors, seminarians and laypersons will be refreshed, informed, and inspired by this narrative account of where we have come from, where we are now, and where we are headed as the African American Baptist Church. Thank you, Dr. Croft, for an engaging and insightful read for Black Baptists and anyone interested in our story. Carolyn Ann Knight, Professor of Homiletics and Lifelong Baptist
In an age of growing religious disaffection, this book invites readers into the inner landscape of Black Baptist life in America--a sacred heritage that homiletics scholar Wayne Croft Sr. refuses to romanticize in this work. Bringing to bear four decades of preaching and pastoral experience, Croft deftly distills the identity-shaping doctrines, congregational distinctives, intragroup squabblings, and social justice commitments that have defined and distinguished Black Baptists in a world communion of roughly 50 million adherents. A History of Black Baptists is not simply a well-researched historical overview of the denominations European origins, pioneering figures, and ethnocentric expressions in North America. It lays bare historical inconsistencies in Baptist family folklore and dispels false notions that suggest that African Americans have contributed little theologically toward the shaping, vitality, and development of the Baptist tradition. This book arrives as a gift to theological educators, working clergy, and lay readers alike, and I am certain it will enjoy a long shelf life. Kenyatta R. Gilbert, PhD, Professor of Homiletics, Howard University School of Divinity
Wayne E. Croft Sr. is known as an erudite and scholarly preacher. Through the writing of A History of the Black Church: I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired, he demonstrates that he is also a good researcher who has become a knowledgeable historian, eloquent in his writing and passionate on behalf of the people for whom he is writing. In contrast with larger, broader volumes, Croft carves a niche that is extremely rich and more meticulous than any other book I have seen recently. With these pages he has indebted us all to his scholarship. I plan to add this book to the required textbooks for my class on Baptist History and Polity. George Hancock-Stefan, PhD, Associate Professor of Church History, Palmer Theological Seminary, the Seminary of Eastern University
Dr. Wayne Croft sees and articulates my church history! Being a Black Baptist Christian matters, and Dr. Croft artfully narrates the journey from our ancestral beginnings and to the current moment. An appreciative practitioner, Croft is also a critical historian who carefully observes Black Baptist faith. He shatters myths, clears up misrepresentations, and enlightens the world as to who as to who Black Baptists are. For young adults in Sunday school, seminarians equipping themselves for ministry, and seasoned church leaders, I highly commend A History of the Black Baptist Church: I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired. Rev. Dr. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins III, Executive Director Emeritus, American Baptist Home Mission Societies
For such a time as this, Wayne Croft has offered a hope-filled recounting of the history of Black Baptist churches, associations, and denominations. One can see the evidence that both his head and heart are in his words. He has written an accessible weaving of the complicated stories (and personalities!) that contribute to the Black Baptist story while honoring some of the forgotten and ignored women and men that have given life to the Baptist witness. This volume will help frame historical events and allow readers to understand the relevance of continued organized and institutional commitments to the liberation of Black peoples. Gary V. Simpson, Leading Pastor, The Concord Baptist Church of Christ, Brooklyn, NY; Associate Professor of Homiletics, Drew University Theological School
With care and conviction, Dr. Wayne Croft has penned this important history of the evolution of Black Baptist churches. It is time for our nation to rediscover the names of the Black heroes and sheroes of faith who added to the doctrines and enlivened the justice fights on the American religious landscape. This is a book Baptist church members can read in small groups to obtain an understanding of their history, to learn on whose shoulders we stand. Non-Baptists should read this text because there are too few books that enumerate the development of sectors of the African American faith community.Dr. Martha Simmons
In this fascinating volume, Rev. Dr. Wayne E. Croft, the respected pastor, distinguished professor, and prolific author, has written a meticulously researched and compelling history of the Black Baptist church. Croft begins this sweeping history in the days when the enslaved sought religious autonomy through Bible freedom to interpret the gospel from their own perspectives and soul freedom to approach God without control of slaveholders or white preachers. While told with great affection for the churchs resilience and strength, Croft frankly discusses the divisions and controversies within its history, including the struggles of women for ordination and equality. Croft has written an inspiring and captivating volume for all readers as well as a critically important resource for scholars of church history. Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard University
A History of the Black Baptist Church: I Dont Feel No Ways Tired by Wayne E. Croft Sr. is truly an eye-opening and inspiring work. Dr. Croft provides not only an insightful overview of African American Baptist history, but a good description of Baptists in America as well. Beginning with the Invisible Church all the way to the Black Baptist groups of today, Dr. Croft introduces each reader to foundation that was laid by countless brothers and sisters, and leads directly to the importance of the Black church in todays day and age. Anyone who reads this volume will want to know and understand more; this work is a great resource to help the laity as well as ministers to delve into the historically deep well of wisdom, knowledge, and spirituality that makes up todays African American Baptist churches! Rev. Angel Pagán Jr., Senior Pastor, Lower Merion Baptist Church, Bryn Mawr, PA
Wayne E. Croft, Sr. is pastor of St. Pauls Baptist Church in West Chester, Pennsylvania. He also serves as the Jeremiah A. Wright, Sr. Associate Professor of Homiletics and Liturgics at United Lutheran Seminary. He has published several books including The Motif of Hope in African American Preaching during Slavery and the Post-Civil War Era: There's a Bright Side Somewhere (2017).
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