The New Directory for Baptist Churches explains how the doctrines of Baptism developed, beginning with the series of propositions which are accept by every church belonging to the denomination.
This historic manual offers a superb overview of the history of ecclesiastical Baptism, and the establishment of the tenets which the Baptist church go by. It is designed as an all-embracing reference manual for the believer, an excellent go-to book for pastors and preachers, and can even serve as a guide for those aspiring to found a new Baptist church in a locality.
We learn of the organizational structures of the church itself; the places which worshiper and pastor occupy is clearly detailed. Baptists pointedly reject a hierarchical church in which layers of management govern each church; archbishops and bishops, priests and cardinals are considered in Baptism to be against the words of the New Testament, and therefore contrary to what pure Christianity truly is.
In contrast the Baptist places emphasis on how each church and community is self-contained. Although the pastors and deacons decide upon the tone of the sermons and preaching, the Baptist movement is very much a localized tradition. However, loose confederations may be formed: the regional Baptist councils, which are modeled after the church councils discussed in the Book of Acts, occupy an important place.
The process by which a new believer is admitted to Baptism is discussed; while those who have not been formally baptized may attend or inquire about the belief; yet they cannot be considered full members of the congregation until baptized. The customary practices of both infant baptism, and adult baptism for converts, are fully detailed.
All Baptists are united in their belief in Jesus Christ and His doctrines. Their especial emphasis however is upon the dipping of Christ into water; a process which acted to wash away all sin and symbolize a rebirth of the soul. Such a process is important; while some believers hold that a mere sprinkling of water constitutes a baptism, the Baptist denomination firmly believes that only a full immersion of the body and head is valid.
In all, Edward A. Hiscox presented a superb manual. Those interested in Baptism's history, or simply Baptists who want a book which explains the entire grounding of the faith, will be well served by this text.