This memoir is written by the Canadian theologian D. A. Carson about his father Tom Carson, who was a Baptist pastor who ministered in Quebec in the 2This memoir is written by the Canadian theologian D. A. Carson about his father Tom Carson, who was a Baptist pastor who ministered in Quebec in the 20th century. It's written well and I heartily recommend it for a number of reason. It gives a warm and yet realistic picture of the subject's family life and ministerial life. Beyond that, it gives a nice window into his times. It shows what what it was like for Protestants in general, and Baptists in particular, to work in Quebec during that era. It provides insight in relation to the events and tensions surrounding the prominent Baptist leader, T. T. Shields. It also is a great portrait of the joys and struggles that "ordinary pastors" go through as they work very hard often with very little fanfare or support. I think Don has struck the right balance of making the memoir intimate and yet establishing some appropriate distance. ...more
Though tedious at some points, I found this work pretty helpful in understanding Northern Baptist responses to immigration in the late 19th/early 20thThough tedious at some points, I found this work pretty helpful in understanding Northern Baptist responses to immigration in the late 19th/early 20th century. You get a good feel for how Baptists dealt with the issue. This book reinforces in my mind that "nativist" and anti-immigrant fears are very irrational. In almost every generation there is a new "menace" that alarmists and nativists tell us we should be afraid of.
I found it especially interesting to see Davis prove that, contrary to what some may think, theological liberalism and the "social gospel" did not necessarily bring about pro-immigrant sentiments. In fact, some of the worst nativistic and anti-immigrant sentiment was actually found in the thinking of theologically liberal "social gospel" Baptists. Often, theological conservatives actually treated immigrants better. Davis argues that the "intense moralism" of the theological liberals actually prevented them from accepting the immigrants as they were.
I recommend reading this book if you want to seriously study Protestant thinking on immigration in the 19th or 20th century....more
This short book is similar in style and emphasis to the Haykin and Clary’s previous book “Rivers Of Living Water”: Celebrating 125 Years of Hughson StThis short book is similar in style and emphasis to the Haykin and Clary’s previous book “Rivers Of Living Water”: Celebrating 125 Years of Hughson Street Baptist Church, which I previously reviewed. That said, I will do my best to review the book before me with a “fresh slate”.
The book introduces a historic church in the Toronto, Ontario area, a church which I haven’t attended or ever even heard of before. And yet, as a reader I felt drawn in. It gives an engaging portrait of the personalities, broader movements, and historical events which have shaped the church and brought it to where it is today.
As with their previous book, Haykin and Clary do a fantastic job of putting a human face on the ups and downs of church life. They cover particular events well, making heavy use of the church’s “Minute Book. And yet, they succeed in seeing the broader “forest” as well as the “trees”. You get a good sense of, and perhaps even a bit of an education in, the history of Ontario Baptists, and perhaps even some tidbits about the broader societal and economic trends which occurred in the 1920′s and beyond.
My only negative reaction, and it probably is due to a dearth of historical records rather than any lack in the authorial effort. There are a few missing details which leave jarring holes in the early portions of the story. For instance, I was left wondering why the first two leaders, Peter Sinclair Campbell and A.P. Wilson, resigned relatively soon after they had begun their work? I’m also quite curious about the situation surrounding Thomas Urquhart (who was a Mayor of Toronto and shares a name with a 17th century Scottish author). What was the cause of his rift with Alex Thomson? What happened to Thomas Urquhart? Before I move on, it should be noted that these omissions are not entirely critical to the broader outline of the history of the church, and in any case the book is intended to be brief an not to answer every major question about the church’s history.
Of course, the fact that I’m even caring to ask such questions attests to how deeply the book drew me into the story of the church–sufficiently proving what a good little book of church history it is! I heartily recommend this book to anyone who is interested in this church’s history in particular, or 20th century Ontario Baptist history in general. It seems fitting to conclude this review with something I said in my review of Rivers Of Living Water, “[this] is a fantastic model of what authors of church histories can attain to. What a blessing it would be to see many similar histories written in the next few years!”...more
A fascinating, well-researched look at three English Baptists that are particularly important in history of the "Reformed" or "Calvinistic" Baptist moA fascinating, well-researched look at three English Baptists that are particularly important in history of the "Reformed" or "Calvinistic" Baptist movement. It also has very helpful look at the 1st & 2nd London Baptist Confessions....more
I came to Christ in a denomination with roots in the Anabaptist movement. Their song book was mainly composed of old Lutheran hymns.
After leaving, II came to Christ in a denomination with roots in the Anabaptist movement. Their song book was mainly composed of old Lutheran hymns.
After leaving, I retained an appreciation for the piety expressed in their hymnody. Since then, I’ve written some of my own poetry, leading me to further appreciate the literary value which hymns can have. While researching the life and ideas of the English dissenters, to my delight I found their treasury of hymns and poems. One such English hymn writing giant is the 18th century Baptist Anne Steele, who wrote under the pen name Theodosia. Recently, I was delighted to receive this new book about her as a Christmas present from my dear wife.
Picking up this little book, I was immediately struck by its beauty. The cover is delightfully designed and appealing. The photo captures Steele’s hometown in Broughton, England. This positive first impression persisted and I was almost over halfway done the day I started.
There aren’t many books about Anne Steele, and Mrs. Wong’s is a valuable contribution to the history of English hymnody. Her approach is informative and scholarly, but also intensely practical. Her writing style is warm and intimate, exuding devotional fervour.
At its core, the book is an exposition of a handful of key themes in Steele’s hymns: The Glory of God In Creation, Faith in the Face Of Suffering, and Hope in the Promised Glory. Mrs. Wong starts off each theme by using John Gill’s thoughts to lay the groundwork. Then she methodically analyzes small portions of the hymns, showing the meaning, literary devices used, and, above all, highlighting the faith and piety they expose. The result is really quite exquisite. I must point out that I found her comparison of Steele and Isaac Watts in the conclusion to be especially helpful and worth noting.
I do have a layout-based quibble. The footnotes are both my favourite and least favourite parts of the book. They’re full of gems, and naturally one wants to review them, but due to their weight, the reading can get choppy at times. Often, the footnotes cover a large portion of the page, sometimes even quoting large sections of hymns. I think a typical reader would find them a bit intimidating and off-putting. Perhaps a few of them could have been integrated to the body or moved off into an appendix.
Be that as it may, this beautiful little book is well worth buying and reading, perhaps twice. Anne Steele is long gone, but her verses still speak and Mrs. Wong has represented her well.
It’s been inspiring to read a book like this we move on into 2013. May our conduct in 2013 reflect Steele’s words: “His smile is my life, his favour is my end”. I pray that this book will revive Anne Steele’s devotion and piety, and perhaps the emulation of her literary skills as well!...more