Thursday, July 19, 2007

"A Piety above the Common Standard"

Jim Hamilton:

The concerns of the day could be summarized as follows: disputes over Calvinism, with anti-Calvinists pursuing a divisively vocal course; earnest desire for “a revival that will last all winter;” intense debates about world missions and new methods being used to reach the lost; conflicting opinions on the question of whether persons baptized by others need to be re-baptized; debates over whether theological education breeds pride and liberalism; and divided opinions on the possibility of cooperation with those who disagree.

As much as this may sound like a description of the contemporary scene, it is a description of the issues of Jesse Mercer’s day. Anthony Chute, who now teaches at California Baptist University, has given us a valuable window into the life and times of Jesse Mercer (1769–1841). This is a book from which every Baptist pastor would benefit and which every seminary student at a Southern Baptist school should be required to read. As will become plain below, this book is a short course on soteriology, missiology, ecclesiology, denominational and associational cooperation, and, of course, history.

Read the whole review.