1 Case - Baptist Foundations

1 Case - Baptist Foundations

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Jonathan Leeman talks about his book Baptist Foundations Mark Dever talks about his book Baptist Foundations Edited by Mark Dever and Jonathan Leeman

The contributors to this volume make an exegetical and theological case for a Baptist polity. Right polity, they argue, is congregationalism, elder leadership, diaconal service, regenerate church membership, church discipline, and a Baptist approach to the ordinances.

Each section explores the pastoral applications of these arguments. How do congregationalism and elder leadership work together? When should a church practice church discipline? How can one church work with another in matters of membership and discipline?  

To be read sequentially or used as a reference guide,Baptist Foundationsprovides a contemporary treatment of Baptist church government and structures, the first of its kind in decades.



“Baptist Foundations is a book whose time has come. In fact it has been needed for quite a while! Written by both scholars and practitioners, this book is biblical, theological, and practical. And, it is throuough. Do not be intimidated by its length. Read it at your leisure and be sure to consult it again and again when you have important ecclesiological questions. The odds are it has a helpful word.”

Daniel L. Akin, president, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

“When it comes to biblical ecclesiology, Mark Dever, Jonathan Leeman, and (Marks offer this generation's gold standard. Baptist Foundations is perhaps the most biblically robust and historically informed book on church government on the market today. I would encourage everyone who serves or loves the local church to read this book and implement its message.”

Jason K. Allen, president, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and College

“When I teach students the doctrine of the church, and when I talk with pastors about the challenges that they face in their ministry, several issues always come to the forefront: how the leaders of the church--pastors, elders, deacons--and its members exercise authority in their respective spheres; the what/when/who/where/why/how of baptism and the Lord’s Supper; and how to start or restore church discipline. The book you now have in your hands deals specifically with those issues! It is an accessible, easy-to-follow book that provides a solid foundation for Baptist pastors and laypeople who love the church of Jesus Christ.”

Gregg R. Allison, professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Mark Dever and Jonathan Leeman are to be commended and congratulated for putting together this extremely significant book, one that deserves a wide readership among Baptists and all interested in these vital matters of ecclesiology. The book as a whole makes a most significant contribution to the understanding of church polity and congregationalism, church membership, and church government, as well as the meaning of the ordinances and the nature of the church. The depth and serious reflection represented in the various chapters will pave the way for ongoing engagement, research, and conversation that will be immensely helpful for theologians, ministers, and church leaders, while strengthening churches across denominational lines. I am quite pleased to recommend this impressive and important volume.”

David S. Dockery, president, Trinity International University

“Here is a superb collection of essays on Baptist congregationalism showing that ‘church polity’ is about more than organization, structure, and ‘how to’ matters of group dynamics. I commend this book to every Baptist pastor and church leader concerned with following Jesus Christ in a covenanted community of faithful disciples.”

Timothy George, dean, Beeson Divinity School

“InBaptist Foundations, Mark Dever and Jonathan Leeman offer a treasure trove of wisdom and practical advice regarding a highly neglected subject: ecclesiology and church governance.”

Thomas Kidd, professor of History, Baylor University

“This invaluable new work on Baptist polity is urgently needed, faithful in content, and comprehensive in scope.Baptist Foundationsis the right book for the right time, written and edited by just the right team. I celebrate its arrival.”

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Historically informed, exegetically careful, and theologically substantial,Baptist Foundationstackles perennial issues in ecclesiology with verve and conviction. The church’s nature, polity, ordinances, leadership, and attributes are ably treated and pastorally applied. Baptist pastors, ministry students, reflective church leaders, and professors will benefit from this significant volume.”

Christopher W. Morgan, dean and professor of Theology, School of Christian Ministries, California Baptist University

“This edited volume by Mark Dever and Jonathan leeman is much needed and fills a growing hole in the thinking and experience of present-day Baptists. This book will  be valuable for every minister, and especially for seminarians, as they reflect upon and put into practice what it means to be a part of the church of the living Christ. Addressing issues of ordinances, organizational structures, and polity, the authors provide a powerful resource for those who want to live faithfully under the authority of the local church as the people of God.”

Robert B. Sloan Jr., president, Houston Baptist University

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Some Historical Roots of Congregationalism by Michael A. G. Haykin
Chapter 2: The Biblical and Theological Case for Congregationalism by Stephen J. Wellum and Kirk Wellum


Chapter 3: Five Preliminary Issues for Understanding the Ordinances by Shawn D. Wright
Chapter 4: Baptism in the Bible by Thomas R. Schreiner
Chapter 5: Baptism in History, Theology, and the Church by Shawn D. Wright
Chapter 6: The Lord’s Supper in the Bible by Thomas R. Schreiner
Chapter 7: The Lord’s Supper in History, Theology, and the Church by Shawn D. Wright


Chapter 8: The Why and Who of Church Membership by John Hammett
Chapter 9: The What and How of Church Membership by John Hammett
Chapter 10: The Why, How, and When of Church Discipline by Thomas White


Chapter 11: Elders and Deacons in History by Mark Dever
Chapter 12: The Scriptural Basis for Elders by Benjamin L. Merkle
Chapter 13: The Biblical Qualifications for Elders by Benjamin L. Merkle
Chapter 14: The Biblical Role of Elders by Benjamin L. Merkle
Chapter 15: Practical issues in Elder Ministry by Andrew Davis
Chapter 16: The Office of Deacon by Benjamin L. Merkle
Chapter 17: Practical Issues in Deacon Ministry by Andrew Davis


Chapter 18: A Congregational Approach to Unity, Holiness, and Apostolicity: Faith and Order by Jonathan Leeman
Chapter 19: A Congregational Approach to Catholicity: Independence and Interdependence by Jonathan Leeman

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