Monday, June 18, 2007


Dear friends,

Watch this space: this blog is part of a series attempting to answer the most important 300 questions I've been asked in 70 years of a fulfilling life, including nearly 50 years as a pastor. Here we'll try to understand one major Christian denomination - the Baptists. They come in many varieties!

This Blog when complete might be a useful resource for Baptist 'Church Members' / Pastors' classes.

Other Blogs in this series:

1 Month of Books you should Read

1 Month to Learn About the Internet

1 Month to Understand your Local Church

1 Month of Answers to Tough Questions

1 Month of Devotions

1 Month to Change Your Life

1 Month to Meet Some Interesting People

1 Month to Become a Christian

1 Month To Meet Jesus

Basic idea: you read one of the 30 posts each day and complete a 'mini-course' in a month. (I might even organize a certificate for those who complete the 300 units!)

Some of the material will be adapted from the John Mark Ministries website.

I look forward to journeying with you!


Rowland Croucher

Wednesday, May 9, 2007



Ken Manley (two volumes), From Woolloomooloo to 'Eternity': A History of Australian Baptists.

The Baptist Heritage, H. Leon McBeth (Broadman, 1987): a comprehensive 850-page overview of Baptist history and emphases, mainly from a North American perspective.

Challenge to Change: A Radical Agenda for Baptists, Nigel Wright (Kingsway 1991) 'calls for consensus over constitution, power over programme evangelism, and makes a case for Baptist bishops'.

A Community of Believers by Charles W. Deweese (Judson, 1978), a good general handbook, with a useful discussion on 'church covenants'

Growing on Together (Baptist Union of NSW), a simple, readable paper-back written by Australian Baptists.

Studies in Baptism by Basil S. Brown (Clifford Press, Melbourne), a 32-page summary of the meaning of Baptism by a former Australian theological college professor.

The Church, a Baptist View (Gordon W. Martin), Authority, a Baptist View (B.R. White), Freedom, a Baptist View (J.H. Briggs), Baptism, a Baptist View (John W. Matthews), Children in the Church, a Baptist View (D.F. Tennant), Ministry, a Baptist View (John F. Nicholson), booklets produced by the Baptist Union of Great Britain and Ireland. (Australian agents - Clifford Press, Melbourne)

The Baptist Church Member (Baptist Church Life and Ministry, Victoria), 9 studies for prospective members. Available through Baptist Book Stores.

The Water that Divides by Donald Bridge and David Phypers (IVP, 1977), a good discussion of the pros and cons of baptism and the open/closed membership question.

A History of the Baptists by R.G. Torbet (judson, 3rd Edition), a good general history.

Baptist Confessions of Faith by W.L. Lumpkin (Judson 1959), a more comprehensive volume.

A Baptist Manual of Polity and Practice: Revised Edition by Norman H. Maring and Winthrop S. Hudson (Judson Press, 1991).

(Also check out the web site http// for the ABC/USA.)


Watch this space

28. BAPTISTS AND ?????

Watch this space

Monday, May 7, 2007


In this article we'll ask why Baptist churches/preachers/people exist across a wide theological/ecclesiological spectrum - from snake-handling ultra-fundamentalists in the American South, to a church from the American Baptist Churches group (a more inclusive denomination) whose pastor believes in reincarnastion to Baptists in the Church of North India who can live with infant baptism as an option.

Meanwhile, what do you make of these common jokes about Baptists?

Q: Why don't Southern Baptist teenagers have sex standing up?
A: Because it might lead to dancing!

Q: Why should you always take two Southern Baptist ministers when you go fishing?
A: Because if you only take one he'll drink all your beer!



Have you ever told a white lie? You are going to love this, especially all of the ladies who bake for church events: Alice Grayson was to bake a cake for the Baptist Church Ladies' Group in Tuscaloosa, but forgot to do it until the last minute. She remembered it the morning of the bake sale and after rummaging through cabinets, found an angel food cake mix & quickly made it while drying her hair, dressing, and helping her son pack up for Scout camp.

When she took the cake from the oven, the centre had dropped flat and the cake was horribly disfigured and she exclaimed, "Oh dear, there is not time to bake another cake!" This cake was important to Alice because she did so want to fit in at her new church, and in her new community of friends. So, being inventive, she looked around the house for something to build up the centre of The cake. She found it in the bathroom - a roll of toilet paper. She plunked it in and then covered it with icing. Not only did the finished product look beautiful, it looked perfect. And, before she left the house to drop the cake by the church and head for work, Alice woke her daughter and gave her some money and specific instructions to be at the bake sale the moment it opened at 9:30 and to buy the cake and bring it home. When the daughter arrived at the sale, she found the attractive, perfect cake had already been sold. Amanda grabbed her cell phone & called her mom. Alice was horrified-she was beside herself! Everyone would know! What would they think? She would be ostracized, talked about, ridiculed! All night, Alice lay awake in bed thinking about people pointing fingers at her and talking about her behind her back.

The next day, Alice promised herself she would try not to think about the cake and would attend the fancy luncheon/bridal shower at the home of a fellow church member and try to have a good time. She did not really want to attend because the hostess was a snob who more than once had looked down her nose at the fact that Alice was a single parent and not from the founding families of Tuscaloosa, but having already RSVP'd , she couldn't think of a believable excuse to stay home. The meal was elegant, the company was definitely upper crust old south and to Alice 's horror, the cake in question was presented for dessert!

Alice felt the blood drain from her body when she saw the cake! She started out of her chair to tell the hostess all about it, but before she could get to her feet, the Mayor's wife said, "what a beautiful cake!" Alice, still stunned, sat back in her chair when she heard the hostess (who was a prominent church member) say, "Thank you, I baked it myself."

Alice smiled and thought to herself, "God is good."

More Humor/Humour


Mission involves three components, according to the Bible (Micah 6:8, Matthew 23:23 etc.) - Social Justice, Mercy/Compassion, and an invitation to Faith (ie. evangelism).


'Spiritual formation is the process whereby the Word of God is applied by the Spirit of God to the heart and mind of the child of God, so that she or he becomes more like the Son of God.'