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Baptist Ministry in Question: Reflections from 1971

Clint Bass on the (General) Baptist theology of Thomas Grantham

4e454ab2a5e349f49e02c5e22a5e2e7eThe latest book in the Centre for Baptist History and Heritage Studies is Clint BassThomas Grantham (1633-1692) and General Baptist Theology, which is a published version of his DPhil completed at Oxford under John Briggs. It can ordered via the Regent's Park College website).

The book tells the life of Thomas Grantham in its first chapter, followed by an account of Grantham’s ecclesiology in its second chapter. Chapter three deals with Thomas Grantham’s view of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Chapter four explains the controversy over the laying of the hands, a divisive practice among Baptists of the period. Chapter five covers Grantham’s understanding of salvation. Lastly, chapter six focuses on Grantham’s role in opposition to the Christological deficiency adopted by a small party of his churchmen. In writing the book Dr. Bass addresses some of the misconceptions about the General Baptists, namely when and to what extent they became heterodox in their Christology. He also critiques what some recent authors have said about early Baptist views of the ordinances. “There is a trend to attribute to Grantham a higher sacramentalism than what he actually held in baptism and the Lord’s Supper,” Bass said. The book focuses on Thomas Grantham’s life and thought; however, by interacting with the wider context, Bass also explains how the General Baptists are to be understood in relation to the religious milieu of Restoration England.

This is a welcome contribution to Baptist theology and history. A number of monographs have appeared and appearing on key Baptist theologians from the 17th-19th centuries - Dan Taylor, Charles Spurgeon, John Rippon, Marianne Farningham, Anne Steele, Andrew Fuller, Benjamin Keach, Hanserd Knollys (thanks to Paternoster Studies in Baptist History and Thought series and Regent's Park College Centre for Baptist History and Heritage Studies). Jonathan Arnold's doctoral study on Benjamin Keach (completed at Oxford also under John Briggs) will also being published soon.


Mark Medley


John Inscore Essick's (my colleague at Baptist Seminary of Kentucky) book on Thomas Grantham ("Thomas Grantham: God's Messenger from Lincolnshire) will be published fall 2013 from Mercer University Press.

Mark Medley

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