A Capsule History of Baptists (Bruce T. Gourley)

A Capsule History of Baptists

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A Capsule History of Baptists by Bruce T. Gourley is a freedom-centric narrative of the 400 year-old Baptist story. Suitable for small groups and supplementary classroom reading, this 128-page volume grabs the reader from the first sentence.

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“This is the best brief, up-to-date introduction to Baptist history available. It deserves wide usage in local Baptist churches.”

Walter B. Shurden, Historian & Minister at Larger, Mercer Univiversity

“Bruce Gourley provides us with a “capsule history” covering four centuries of Baptist witness crafted from a “freedom-centric” perspective. His riveting account is refreshingly accessible. Readers will find especially illuminating Gourley’s interpretation of developments in the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century. This book is sure to provoke vigorous debate.” Neville Callam, General Secretary, Baptist World Alliance

“Bruce Gourley has penned a masterful, reader-friendly history of Baptists’ first four centuries. Without overlooking perennial tensions in Baptist life — Calvinism v. Arminianism, formal v. spontaneous worship, primitivism v. missionary mindedness, local church autonomy v. connectionalism — Gourley chronicles the pervasive theme  held dear by Baptists: voluntary religion and church-state separation. The book’s first sentence whets the appetite of even a casual reader. Unpacking the provocative opening salvo makes for a valuable contribution to the Baptist story and, to the degree Baptists read it, helps to ensure a continuation of the Baptist heritage of freedom for another 400 years.” J. Brent Walker, Executive Director, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty

“Bruce Gourley has the antidote for being a Baptist without knowing what it means to be a Baptist. His small yet amazingly thorough book, A Capsule History of Baptists, is light enough for a casual reading and deep enough to produce a solid understanding of the four-century-old Christian movement that keeps freedom and responsibility at the forefront of faith. All Baptists would do well to read this volume — and do better to read it once every year.” John Pierce, Executive Editor, Baptists Today

“A Capsule History of Baptists by Bruce T. Gourley is a seamless narrative of the Baptist story. Gourley’s research is excellent and his factual presentation of Baptist history is on target, but what sets his new book apart from most other histories are his colorful and creative writing style, his honest and sometimes painful analysis, his provision of a panoramic snapshot of the global Baptist movement, his fresh take on twenty-first-century Baptists and technology, and his intentional attempt to tell the Baptist story from the bottom up as well as from the top down. Gourley includes the stories of Baptist laypeople, introduces his readers to lesser-known Baptists, moves the Baptist story outside its usual American, southern, white, male confines, and deals head on with racism, sexism, fundamentalism, and consumerism. And the true beauty of A Capsule History of Baptists is that it packs all these features into 128 pages, making this a quick read. But don’t rush through the book. Take your time and enjoy!” Pam Durso, Historian and Executive Director, Baptist Women in Ministry