Baptists are a major group of Christians with a worldwide presence. Originating in the English Puritan-Separatist tradition of the 17th century, Baptists proliferated in North America, and through missionary work from England, Europe, and North America, they have established churches, associations, unions, missions, and alliances in virtually every country. They are among the most highly motivated evangelists of the Christian gospel, employing at present in excess of 7,000 domestic and overseas missionaries. Important characteristics of the Baptists across their history are: the authority of the Scriptures, individual accountability before God, the priority of religious experience, religious liberty, separation of church and state, congregational independence, and a concern for the social implications of the gospel. Baptists recognize a twofold ministry (deacons and pastors) or a threefold order (deacons, elders, pastors).
Historical Dictionary of the Baptists, Third Edition expands upon the second edition with an updated chronology, an introductory essay, a bibliography, and hundreds of cross-referenced dictionary entries on important events, doctrines, and the church founders, leaders, and other prominent figures who have made notable contributions.
William H. Brackney is the author of numerous articles and books; he has held key positions in several institutions, including Baylor University, Colgate Rochester Divinity School, and Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Currently he teaches in the area of historical theology and Ethics at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada.