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Baptist-Jewish relations. (Editorial).

The twentieth century, with the tragedy of the Holocaust, requires all Christians to examine their relationship with the Jewish people.

Despite the fact that both Christians and Jews share in the heritage of the faith of Abraham, the Jewish community has faced discrimination and persecution while living in the midst of so-called Christian societies. The story may seem one of ceaseless conflict. The Baptist role might suggest nothing more than conflict, as well. In the 1980s, a prominent Southern Baptist leader proclaimed that God does not hear the prayers of Jews.

Many voices in Christianity, though, call for dialogue and understanding rather than diatribes. Baptists have been a party to these more positive approaches. George Shriver discusses the positive relations between the Jewish community of Savannah, Georgia, and the members and ministers of that city's First Baptist Church. Erich Geldbach, a German Baptist theologian and historian, writes about German Baptist responses to the Holocaust and reminds us of the need for Baptist-Jewish dialogue. Finally, Toby Ziglar writes about historic Baptist approaches to New Testament passages associated with anti-Semitism. This issue by no means exhausts the conversation about Baptist-Jewish relations. Hopefully, this issue will make the conversation broader and more reflective of the richness of the Baptist tradition.

Four articles step outside the theme of this issue. H. B. Cavalcanti provides a study of Southern Baptist missionary work in nineteenth-century Brazil. Terry Goddard examines "Southern Social Justice: Brooks Hays and the Little Rock School Crisis." David Music explores the first Baptist hymnal, and Galen Johnson looks at the "Conflicted Puritan Inheritance of John Bunyan's Political Writings." All of these handle their subjects well.

This issue marks a turning point in the story of Baptist History and Heritage. Since 1999, the Center for Baptist Studies at Carson-Newman College has copublished the journal with the Baptist History and Heritage Society (then known as the Southern Baptist Historical Society). Things seemed so uncertain for the society and the journal in 1998. The Historical Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, long the publisher of the journal, was being phased out. The SBHS, under the leadership of Slayden Yarbrough, was hoping to keep alive the work of the commission, and he did a masterful job, working part-time as executive director of the society and full-time as chair of the Department of Religion at Oklahoma Baptist University. Many people wondered if the society would be able to "make it." If the worst happened, we all hoped that at least the journal could survive. Carson-Newman stepped in to provide some support to the journal during these transitional years, allowing me to serve as editor.

The transition turned into a renaissance, rather than a demise. The society was able to hire a full-time director, Charles Deweese. This veteran of the Historical Commission built on the good work of Slayden Yarbrough and expanded the work of the society, assuring its permanent presence. And now, six years after working with the journal, I am hopeful that Charles and his new associate, Pam Durso, will continue to strengthen and expand the work of the society. The new strengths of the Baptist History and Heritage Society will enable the organization to assume sole responsibility in publishing the journal. I will be stepping aside as editor of the journal after this issue. I have confidence that Pam and Charles will provide strong leadership to this journal's future.


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Author:Hawkins, Merrill M., Jr.
Publication:Baptist History and Heritage
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2003
Previous Article:Lynn E. May Jr., Study Grant Endowment Fund. (News Notes).
Next Article:Publishing and editorial changes. (An Executive Note).

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