I am concerned for the future of Baptist historical scholarship sometimes. I have spoke with Baptist friends with a great love of the Baptist faith (most specifically the Particular Baptist stream) who feel that they need to do work in the area of other individuals outside the Baptist stream to prove themselves in scholarship to those outside of the Baptist stream. If we do work in Puritans, Presbyterians, Independents, etc., then we can prove ourselves to the scholarly world. They know that those kinds of dissertations and such will also prove themselves to Baptist scholarship, so they say it is okay. I am not thinking of anyone in particular here as I have heard this kind of thinking from a number of individuals.
In my opinion then the Baptist cause suffers. I spoke with someone from a Baptist publishing company just last week about the possibility of reprinting some early Baptist works, but there is just not the money nor seemingly, the interest out there. But no offense to my good friends at the Banner, but they do not seem to have to worry about reprinting all of their good Presbyterian friends! What about the Baptists? Why do they have to take second chair to everyone else?
Where are all the Baptist scholars out there? Where are the Michael Haykin’s? Where are the Tom Nettles? I know I am no Baptist history expert. But I do have a love for Baptist history and want to see the stream of our Baptist forefathers explored further and taught and loved and written about. I want to see more people writing about Baptist history and our Baptist forefathers.
My call to you is, if you are considering historical research and study and are a Baptist, do not just decide to study Edwards or Owen or anyone else like that. Study Gill, Keach, Fuller, Spurgeon, etc. We have a great history in our Baptist circles. Let’s see the future of Baptist historical scholarship grow and develop! Let’s see old books republished and new books written! Let’s study these men and women’s lives. Let’s love where we have come from!