Baptists in America (1742–1833): An historical and theological assessment of baptism with a corresponding proposal for Baptist theology of baptism in the twenty -first century
This dissertation argues that Baptist baptismal theology in America between 1742 and 1833 was between 'mere' symbolism and sacramentalism.
Chapter 1 introduces the thesis and scope, offering both a defense of the Baptist sources used to observe the developing patterns of baptismal theology and a case for the dates that structure the paper. It provides an historical background of Baptist baptismal theology in America during the seventeenth century.
Chapter 2 examines the historical contours of Baptist baptismal theology between 1742 and 1777. It analyzes the debates, confessions, and published works that emerged in dialogue with Congregational covenantal baptismal theology during the First Great Awakening and the American Revolution.
Chapter 3 investigates the Baptist baptismal dialogue between 1777 and 1810, the period associated with the rise of the American Nation and the numerical growth of Baptists. It observes how the emergence of the Methodists, common sense rationalism, the Second Great Awakening, and the missions movement shaped Baptist baptismal theology. Chapter 4 explores the theology of baptism associated with the development of Baptists as a denomination from 1810 to 1833. It surveys the theology in the context of the Restoration movement.
Chapter 5 provides an historical and theological summary and analysis of Baptist baptismal theology in America from 1742 to 1833. The contours of the theological discussion reveal that Baptist baptismal theology was positioned between sacramentalism and mere symbol. The chapter proposes that Baptists of the twenty-first century explore baptism by immersion of the believer as a symbolic relational act. Baptism is an integrating expression of the church's theology and, as such, it is an integrating focal point for the doctrines of soteriology, ecclesiology, Christian life, and eschatology.
0323: American studies