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Politics and Piety

Baptist Social Reform in America, 1770–1860

Monographs in Baptist History

by Aaron Menikoff

Foreword by Keith Harper (SM139)

Imprint: Pickwick Publications

244 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.49 in

  • Paperback
  • 9781625641892
  • Published: May 2014

$29.00 / £22.00 / AU$40.00

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  • eBook
  • 9781630872823
  • Published: May 2014

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  • Hardcover
  • 9781498227254
  • Published: May 2014

$47.00 / £36.00 / AU$64.00

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Historians have painted a picture of nineteenth-century Baptists huddled in clapboard meetinghouses preaching sermons and singing hymns, seemingly unaware of the wider world. According to this view, Baptists were "so heavenly-minded, they were of no earthly good." Overlooked are the illustrative stories of Baptists fighting poverty, promoting abolition, petitioning Congress, and debating tax policy. Politics and Piety is a careful look at antebellum Baptist life. It is seen in figures such as John Broadus, whose first sermon promoted temperance, David Barrow, who formed an anti-slavery association in Kentucky, and in a Savannah church that started a ministry to the homeless. Not only did Baptists promote piety for the good of their churches, but they did so for the betterment of society at large. Though they aimed to change America one soul at a time, that is only part of the story. They also engaged the political arena, forcefully and directly. Simply put, Baptists were social reformers. Relying on the ideas of rank-and-file Baptists found in the minutes of local churches and associations, as well as the popular, parochial newspapers of the day, Politics and Piety uncovers a theologically minded and controversial movement to improve the nation. Understanding where these Baptists united and divided is a key to unlocking the differences in evangelical political engagement today.
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