Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
JBTM 10:2 (Fall 2013) p. 89
The Anabaptists and Contemporary Baptists: Restoring New Testament Christianity. Edited by Malcolm B. Yarnell III. Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2013. 306 pages. Hardcover, $49.99.
Malcolm B. Yarnell III is Professor of Systematic Theology at Southwestern Seminary and Director of the Center for Theological Research. His previous publications include The Formation of Christian Doctrine; and three books co-edited with Thomas White and Jason G. Duesing: First Freedom: The Baptist Perspective on Religious Liberty, Upon this Rock: A Baptist Understanding of the Church, and Restoring Integrity in Baptist Churches.
This volume is described further as “Essays in Honor of Paige Patterson,” many of the essays originating as papers presented at a 2012 conference on Anabaptists at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Other contributions were made by Patterson’s students and associates.
The preface is written by a surprising contributor, R. Albert Mohler, who admits the incongruous nature of his participation because of his commitment to Calvinism as opposed to Patterson’s commitment to the Anabaptist tradition. Mohler, however, affirms his admiration for the Radical Reformers because of their many contributions to Baptist thought and for Patterson, whom he describes as a radical, “one who stands without compromise at the source,” and a “gun-toting Anabaptist” (xi-xiii).
The introduction is written by Richard D. Land, who is much more sympathetic to the Anabaptist tradition. Land provides apt summaries of the book’s chapters and its authors’ purpose, which he sees as “exploring the question of how many markers of the spiritual genetic code of the Anabaptists are replicated in the contemporary expressions of Baptist spiritual life. As the reader will see, they find more than enough genetic evidence to declare spiritual paternity” (3–4).
The book is divided into three parts: Theology, Balthasar Hubmaier, and History. The most effective part is the first one, which will be summarized here at length. In the opening essay, Paige Patterson stated clearly the purpose of the book: “What Contemporary Baptists Can Learn from the Anabaptists.” Patterson organized much of his essay by comparing the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 with Anabaptist articles of faith. His conclusion sets forth the underlying viewpoint of this volume: “Given that Baptists do not baptize infants or anyone else without faith, that we treasure the concept of the free church and of religious freedom in general, the future is bright only if Baptists identify with and imitate the Anabaptists. The current trend in Southern Baptist life to identify with the Reformed faith is...
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