Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
SBJT 11:1 (Spring 2007) p. 92
One Sacred Effort: The Cooperative Program of Southern Baptists. By Chad Owen Brand and David E. Hankins. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2005, 240 pp., $14.99 paper.
Chad Brand and David Hankins have performed a great service for Southern Baptists with the production of this volume. These authors provide a very readable account of the story of the Cooperative Program, its functions, its accomplishments, and its future (3). As Morris Chapman notes in the Foreword, more than twenty years have passed since a similar work has been written. Anyone with mere acquaintance with the denomination is aware that much water has passed under the Southern Baptist bridge in the previous two decades, justifying the need for such a work as this. Moreover, a new generation of Baptists needs to know the Cooperative Program story from its inception to the present.
Together the authors are eminently qualified to write such a book. Brand serves as professor of Christian theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and associate dean for biblical and theological studies at Boyce College; Hankins previously served as vice-president for the Cooperative Program with the SBC Executive Committee and now serves as executive director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.
While the focus of this book is the Cooperative Program, the information contained therein far exceeds this narrow parameter. In chapter one Brand delineates the features that characterize the Baptist vision, some of which Baptists share with other groups and some of which are unique to Baptists. Baptists accept the Bible as the standard for belief and conduct, are congregational in their polity, and perceive the Great Commission as their task. Brand’s discussion of the priesthood of all believers, soul competency, and religious liberty is a biblically sound and a historically accurate portrayal of the traditional Baptist understanding of these concepts. As such, Brand’s discussion is a welcomed correction to many modern interpretations of these doctrines, interpretations that owe much more to rugged, American individualism than to the Bible.
In chapter two Brand examines the New Testament teachings concerning the church, to show that God has called the church to the task of world evangelization and has equipped the church to carry out its divine mandate. Among other things, Brand offers solid biblical grounds for congregational polity as the model of church government advocated by the New Testament.
In chapter three Brand offers a biblical/theological foundation for cooperation among local churches. While strongly maintaining the autonomy of the local church, Brand marshals considerable New Testament evidence for the churches cooperating in missiona...
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