“Distinctives of a Baptist Church”
“By and large, contemporary Baptists have not been taught or do not understand the concept of a New Testament Church.” (64)
I have already introduced my independent fundamental Baptist background elsewhere, so I will not belabor the point. But I should repeat the fact that I have recognized recently my need for a strengthened foundation with regards to why I am Baptist. John Hammet’s Biblical Foundations for Baptist Churches was a very helpful read and a bit more in-depth than Norman’s The Baptist Way, but Normans was a much easier and both have helped me grasp once again just why Baptist theology is the most biblically faithful.
As the quote above implies, Norman does not write from the perspective that all Baptists are superior and everyone else inferior. In fact, it seems that Norman is totally aware that Baptists and their churches have generally been failing in recent years with regards to their faithfulness to Scripture, so if anyone is inferior, it would be us Baptists who have abandoned our posts. He thus writes his book not for those on the outside looking in on Baptists, but rather for Baptists who rarely ever look in on themselves.
While both Hammett and Norman lament the utter lack of quality Baptist theology texts on the market today, I think both have succeeded in providing their readership with solid texts themselves. Norman writes The Baptist Way well and succinctly and he is certainly not oblivious to the reality that true believers are everywhere and in many denominations. I would recommend this book perhaps as an appetizer to Hammett’s, and really mostly to Baptists who need to re-learn or learn for the very first time why they are Baptists and how returning to their Baptist roots could revitalize their ministries, not kill them as some would suppose.