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Southern Baptist Identity: An Evangelical Denomination Faces the Future Paperback

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (June 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433506793
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433506796
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #785,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Libraries are replete with books on church history, reflections of renowned theologians and analyses of past culture and society. However, few volumes apply historical developments to an understanding of contemporary challenges and their implications on the future. Southern Baptist Identity is a valuable compilation confronting this formidable task. With contributions from notable denominational leaders, this volume acknowledges the phenomenal growth of Southern Baptists but recognizes the impact a changing world and postmodern society will have on the future of its churches and collectively on the Southern Baptist Convention. While readers will not necessarily agree with the insights and conclusions of each writer, they will find the diverse perspectives valid as they grapple with the contemporary realities of denominational life and trends."
Jerry Rankin, President, International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention

"The Southern Baptist Convention is preparing for a new generation of global witnesses. To understand the purpose and passion of the world's largest cooperative network of evangelical churches, read this book. I am grateful for this scholarly insight and spiritual challenge as we seek to fulfill the Great Commission in the twenty-first century."
Jack Graham, pastor, Prestonwood Baptist Church; former President, Southern Baptist Convention

"All Baptists should draw water from these wells of provocative essays and lectures in order to avoid historical amnesia or political euphoria. We are reminded that we dare not be content with kicking the convention can further down the road; instead, we must be forward-leaning, asking the hard questions about present and future. This work calls us to a rigorous and serious mapping of the contours of our convention road."
Hayes Wicker, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Naples, FL

About the Author

David S. Dockery (PhD, University of Texas) has been president of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, since 1995. He is a much sought-after speaker and lecturer, a consulting editor for Christianity Today, and the author or editor of more than twenty-five books, including Southern Baptist Consensus and Renewal and Theologians of the Baptist Tradition.

R. Albert Mohler Jr. (PhD, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) serves as the ninth president of Southern Seminary and as the Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology. Considered a leader among American evangelicals by Time and Christianity Today magazines, Dr. Mohler hosts a daily radio program for the Salem Radio Network and also writes a popular daily commentary on moral, cultural, and theological issues. Both can be accessed at

GREGORY A. WILLS was appointed to the faculty of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1997 where he serves as Associate Professor of Church History. He holds degrees from Duke University (BS, ThM), Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (MDiv), and Emory University (PhD) and has contributed to several theological journals.

Timothy George is the founding dean of Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School, where he teaches theology and church history. He serves as general editor for Reformation Commentary on Scripture and has written more than twenty books. His textbook Theology of the Reformers is the standard textbook on Reformation theology in many schools and seminaries.

Russell D. Moore is the eighth president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the moral and public policy agency of the nation's largest Protestant denomination. A widely-sought commentator, Dr. Moore has been called "vigorous, cheerful, and fiercely articulate" by the Wall Street Journal. He is the author of several books, including The Kingdom of ChristAdopted for Life, and Tempted and Tried, and he blogs regularly at He and his wife, Maria, have four sons.

Daniel L. Akin is the president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Trevin Wax on September 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
Book titles are important. Smart titles tell you about the book's contents in a memorable way. Brilliant titles make a statement in and of themselves.

Crossway has recently published a collection of essays from a variety of Southern Baptist leaders. David Dockery is the editor of the new book, whose title says more in nine words than some books say in hundreds of pages. Southern Baptist Identity: An Evangelical Denomination Faces the Future (Crossway, 2009) implicitly makes the case that Southern Baptists are indeed evangelicals.

Thirty years ago, Southern Baptists were debating amongst themselves as to their identity. Moderates rejected the evangelical label because they wanted to see us belonging to the tradition of the mainline Protestant denominations. More recently, some conservatives have been reticent to adopt the evangelical label because of the fear we might water down our Baptist distinctives.

The title of Dockery's book demonstrates a willingness to be both evangelical (hence the "evangelical denomination" in the subtitle) and distinctively Baptist (hence the "Baptist Identity" in the title). Ecumenical evangelicalism and distinctive Baptist identity come together wonderfully in this collection of essays.

Before getting into the specifics of this book, let me first point out the curious fact that this very Baptist book has been published by an evangelical, non-denominational publisher - Crossway. One might have expected Broadman and Holman (the Southern Baptist publisher) to put out this book. The very fact that Crossway saw a need for these essays to be published is an indication that other evangelical groups are looking to the Southern Baptist Convention as an example.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Indiana Jeff Reynolds on June 5, 2013
Format: Paperback
Obviously, this book is written about Southern Baptists by Southern Baptists for Southern Baptists, encouraging them to remember the past, consider the present, and look to the future. But do you have to be Southern Baptist to benefit? Absolutely not. There are elements that any minister can apply to either his/her movement or his/her local church.

The first half of the book sets a foundation based on the history and teachings of the Baptist movement. The second half challenges us to be evangelistic and open to change the negotiables of our faith while maintaining the non-negotiables of doctrine or what makes Baptists unique, such as a regenerated membership, foundation solely on Scripture, and an autonomous fellowship.

Every minister should read this book, especially Southern Baptists interested in making their congregations and denomination stronger.
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By Todd on April 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this helpful in looking at the SBC and where they have been and where they are going. I would recommend.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joel S. Frady on October 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
This collection of essays from many of the best known conservative leaders within the Southern Baptist Convention traces the history of the convention and charts a course for its future. The future, in the view of these pastors, scholars and leaders, is to go back to the core biblical values that marked the SBC in the past while seeking to understand how to engage the culture with the gospel.

Recurring themes in the book include the need to avoid the programmatic and pragmatic approaches of the past without neglecting entirely what organized efforts like the Cooperative Program can accomplish. The necessity of regenerate church membership is also often mentioned as a key factor churches must face in the years to come. The plateau/decline in baptisms is pointed out as a factor indicating a lack of evangelism among Southern Baptists. It seems that the conservative resurgence of the early 80's has yet to bear fruit in many respects. These essays say that the SBC must address the stagnated state of some 90% of their churches by recovering the biblical gospel and the, in their view, distinctively biblical heritage of Southern Baptists.

I was challenged and encouraged most by the essays from Ed Stetzer and Danny Akin, but there is much to commend in each essay. Highly recommended for anyone interested in Southern Baptist life and the future of the Convention.
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