Thursday, October 2, 2014

No Turning Back

No Turning Back is a most welcome addition to the existing histories of our South African Baptist missionary endeavour over the past one hundred and eighty years. It is an account of ordinary people who have been used by God to achieve extraordinary things for Him. What a privilege to be part of this army of faithful soldiers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The authors have done a good job arranging the story into coherent sections. The chapter on the involvement of local churches in mission is particularly enlightening and challenging. Even before the founding of the SABMS in 1892 the Boksburg Baptist Church, under the leadership of E R Davies, began a church planting work among the indigenous people of the Transvaal. By 1914, when the work was handed over to the SABMS, forty-seven new churches had been planted. This kind of local church involvement is reminiscent of the work of Pietersburg Baptist Church and Samaria Mission today. Nor was Boksburg the only local church to become involved in hands-on missions work. Those were the days before most of the local cross-cultural outreaches were delegated to the SABMS.

It is most refreshing to have the authors reflecting honestly on the good and bad fruits of the missiological approaches used by the SABMS. With hindsight some of the methods used and the decisions taken, in particular those which led to the cultural polarisation of the work, may not have been the best. Yet, as the story unfolds, we see the wonderful way in which God’s people have worked through these difficulties towards reconciliation. The chapter on Convention/Union relations tells the moving story of the “parting of ways and the healing of hurts.” It is most significant that this new book will be released in the inaugural year of the South African Baptist Alliance, a body that will bring the previously splintered Baptist groupings together into strategic co-operation. Missions is one of the main areas identified for co-operation.

The events recorded in No Turning Back are a vivid fulfilment of our Lord’s promise “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” There really is no turning back for South African Baptists.

Eric Robbins
Baptists Union Mission Developer
February 2001






Chapter 1: Missionary Beginnings

Chapter 2: The Involvement of Individual Churches in Missionary Outreach

Chapter 3: Ties that Bind

Chapter 4: Training for African Pastors

Chapter 5: Further Growth and Development of the SABMS and the Black Churches

Chapter 6: The Regions Beyond

Chapter 7: Specialized Ministries

Chapter 8: Baptist Leaders who played a Formative Role in the South Africa Baptist Missionary Society - A Representative Selection

Chapter 9: The Convention and the Union: The Parting of Ways, the Healing Hurts

Chapter 10: New Directions for Baptist Missions


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