An Annotated Bibliography
of Important Reading and Study Materials
Concerning Particular Baptists
Many have asked for pointers to works that display two things: (1) the Reformed and Puritan roots of the 17th Century English Particular Baptists and (2) the theology and practice of the same. Here is a list of works with annotations to that end.
James M. Renihan
Belcher, Richard and Anthony Mattia, A Discussion of the Seventeenth Century Particular Baptist Confessions of Faith. Southbridge, Mass.:Crown Publications, 1990.
This book was written to demonstrate that there is no evidence to support the theory that the two 17th century London Confessions have differing positions on the Law of God. It is very well done, and is highly accurate. More could be said on this issue to support the conclusion, but this is the best available material on this subject.
Brown, Raymond. The English Baptists of the 18th Century. London: The Baptist Historical Society, 1986.
This is the best introduction to this subject that I have found.
Copson, Stephen, ed. Association Life of the Particular Baptists of Northern England 1699-1732. English Baptist Records, Vol. 3, London: The Baptist Historical Society, 1991.
This transcript of the records of the Northern Association is carefully presented. It illustrates many of the ecclesiological perspectives of the Northern Particular Baptists. There is an excellent and lengthy introduction which describes many facets of their belief and practice. Highly Recommended.
Estep, William R. The Anabaptist Story. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1975 revised edition.
For those seeking a readable introduction to the Continental Anabaptists, this is the place to start. I disagree with Dr. Estep's perspectives on the relations between the Continental Anabaptists and the English Baptists, as well as his assertions about the theological dependence of the Particular Baptists on the General Baptists. Nevertheless, this is a fine treatment of the subject.
Hayden, Roger, ed. The Records of a Church of Christ in Bristol, 1640-1687. Bristol: The Bristol Record Society, 1974.
This work was also reprinted twice in the 19th Century. If you can find it, buy it. It is living church history. One of the elders of the Broadmead, Bristol, Church, Edward Terrill, set down a first hand account of the life of his church during this era. Especially interesting is his 12 step description of the process by which reformation came to Bristol. Starting with the events related to Luther and Calvin, he proceeds through a series of stages until he arrives at his own church. He believed that his own assembly was the logical and theological fruit of the reformation. Are Baptists Reformed? This 17th century Baptist knew that he was. The Broadmead church was represented at the 1689 General Assembly by its pastor Thomas Vaux.
Keach, Benjamin. Exposition of the Parables. Series One and Series Two. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1991 reprint.
________. Preaching from the Types and Metaphors of the Bible. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1992 reprint.
Few works of the 17th Century Particular Baptists have been reprinted, and this makes these three volumes all the more important. Keach (died 1704) was one of the most important, and controversial, pastors among the London churches. These works give us much insight into the theological mindset of our predecessors. These books should be on the shelf, and in the hands, of every Reformed Baptist pastor. You might not always agree with everything Keach says, (there are over 1900 pages here), but you will learn a great deal about the truly Puritan perspectives of the Particular Baptists.
Lumpkin, W.L. Baptist Confessions of Faith. Valley Forge, Penn.: Judson Press, 1969 revised edition.
I have a touch of hesitation in recommending this book. The documents contained in it are excellent, and are worth the price of the volume. Lumpkin's comments, however, are not always accurate, and mar the usefulness of the book. I have found that he just does not understand the 17th century, and as a result makes some serious errors in his statements. His section introducing the Second London Confession (1689) contains many mistakes, and has been used by some as scholarly support for the notion that the 1689 Confession's theology was more a matter of political expediency than theological conviction. I cannot say strongly enough that this is not in any way true. There is substantial agreement between the two London Confessions. Two pastors, William Kiffin and Hanserd Knollys, signed both. So far as I can tell, they were, in 1689, the only surviving subscribers to the First London Confession. More interestingly, of the seven churches that originally subscribed in 1644, five had representatives sign the 1689. What about the other two? In the decades between, these churches had either died out or been assimilated into other churches. Every surviving individual and church subscribed the 1689 at the General Assembly. In order to support the antinomian theory, one must demonstrate that all of these significantly changed their views over those decades. There is no evidence to sustain such a notion. So, buy the book for the value of its documents, but take Lumpkin's comments with a grain of salt.
McGoldrick, James Edward. Baptist Successionism: A Crucial Question in Baptist History. Metuchen, N.J.: The American Theological Library Association, 1994.
This is another must buy book. There is a popular notion that true Baptist churches have existed in succession from the New Testament era until today. This view is often associated with Landmark Baptists, but it also occurs in others as well. Dr. McGoldrick, a Baptist professor at Cedarville College, and one who once held this view, demonstrates that it is utterly untenable. Most of the groups commonly called into the Baptist family bear little or no resemblance to what we believe Baptists to be. Some were outright heretics, while others were Godly persecuted Christians, but hardly Baptists. Dr. McGoldrick does not argue against the perpetuity of the church, he simply shows that the notion of Baptist Successionism has no historical support. I wish that every Reformed Baptist pastor would get this book and read it carefully. I have met several people in different churches who have been exposed to the successionist doctrine in one of its forms, and have wondered about its validity. This book will help to prepare you to give a wise and reasoned pastoral answer to a subject that is very delicate with some.
Nuttall, Geoffrey F. Visible Saints: The Congregational Way 1640-1660. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1957.
Dr. Nuttall's book is an excellent treatment of the principles of Congregationalism, or Independency, during this era. It is well worth careful study.
Tibbutt, H.G. ed. Some Early Nonconformist Church Books. Bedford: The Bedfordshire Historical Record Society, 1972.
H.G. Tibbutt has transcribed sections of eight 17th Century church books, including two important Particular Baptist churches, Kensworth and Stevington. This is fascinating reading.
Tolmie, Murray. The Triumph of the Saints: The Separate Churches of London 1616-1649. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977.
Tolmie provides an excellent background study of the circle of churches out of which the Particular Baptists developed.
Waldron, Samuel E. Baptist Roots in America. Boonton, N.J.: Simpson Pub. Co., 1991.
A good introduction to the subject.
Watts, Michael. The Dissenters From the Reformation to the French Revolution. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978.
This is the best, and most comprehensive, treatment of this era. It is not faultless, so be careful, but it is very good, especially in its portrayal of historical circumstances.
White, B.R. ed. Association Records of the Particular Baptists of England, Wales and Ireland to 1660. 3 Vols. London: The Baptist Historical Society, 1971,73,74.
Very valuable. These records describe the process by which theological and practical issues were hammered out among the Particular Baptists. Dr. White's skilled editorial notes make the volumes even more valuable. There is also a separate index to these volumes, compiled by K.W.H. Howard, published by the B.H.S. in 1977. It is of real help in using the material.
________. The English Baptists of the 17th Century. London: The Baptist Historical Society, 1983.
Though brief, this is very helpful. Dr. White is probably the world's foremost authority on the English Baptists of the 17th century. Sadly, he has suffered a stroke-like injury, and can no longer put out the material he once did. His articles on related topics, published in many journals and periodicals, are excellent.
Wilcox, Thomas. Honey Out of the Rock. Pensacola, Fla.: Chapel Library, n.d.
This sermon by Wilcox, who died in 1687, is one of the few Particular Baptist works that are easily obtainable.