U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT in its May 14, 1984 issue reported on a survey of citizens around the country who were asked to rank the most influential persons in America outside of government.

Three ordained ministers were mentioned in the top ten. Jerry Falwell, Jesse Jackson and Billy Graham, who were ranked number 7, 8 and 9 behind such familiar names as Dan Rather and Lee Iacocca and ahead of suet notables as Michael Jackson, David Rockefeller and Henry Kissinger.

The three ministers are all Baptist preachers. What this suggests about the strength and diversity of Baptists we will leave to your reflection. Ponder also as you read this issue the observation of the eminent church history scholar, Kenneth Scott Latourette that: “It has been the special privilege given to Baptists, more than to any other body of Christians of comparable size, to preach the gospel to the poor. For the most part, the poor leave no written traces of their lives. The historian is often baffled when he seeks to reconstruct what they have said and done. For this reason, no history of the Baptists can ever be complete.”

This edition attempts to trace at least the basics that can be established in the early history of the Baptists. While each issue of this publication is designed to stand on its own, you will occasionally see some continuity. The issue on Zwingli was logically followed by one on the Anabaptists and then this one on the Baptists.

Other issues planned for this year will treat Jonathan Edwards and C.S. Lewis. Your letters continue to be a source of great encouragement.

William Kiffin

“… for you baptize children, and that is not agreeable to God’s Word: If you say it is, how do you prove it by scripture?”

Dr. John Clarke

“… that a most flourishing civil state may stand and best be maintained … with a full liberty in religious concernments.”

Johannes Oncken

“Every Baptist a missionary …”