The eighteenth century was a crucial time in Baptist History.
The Baptist denomination had is roots in seventeenth-century English Puritanism and Separatism and the persecution of the Stuart kings, with only a limited measure of freedom after 1689.
Worse, however, was to follow for with toleration came doctrinal conflict, a move away from central Christian understandings and a loss of evangelistic urgency. Both spiritual and numerical decline ensued, to the extent that the denomination was virtually reborn as rather belatedly it came to benefit from the Evangelical Revival which brought new life to both Arminian and Calvinistic Baptists.
It has, however, been strongly argued that those who were associated with Bristol College had a continuous tradition of Evangelical Calvinism and the General Baptists of the South Midlands and the Home Counties, owing as much to the legacy of the Lollards as to Dutch Anabaptism, did not succumb to heterodoxy.
The papers in this volume therefore study a denomination in transition, and relate to theology, their views of the church and its mission, Baptist spirituality, and engagement with radical politics.