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Democratic Religion
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Democratic Religion: Freedom, Authority, and Church Discipline in the Baptist South, 1785-1900

Gregory A. Wills


No American denomination identified itself more closely with the nation's democratic ideal than the Baptists. Most antebellum southern Baptist churches allowed women and slaves to vote on membership matters and preferred populists preachers who addressed their appeals to the common person. Paradoxically no denomination could wield religious authority as zealously as the Baptists. Between 1785 and 1860 they ritually excommunicated forty to fifty thousand church members in Georgia alone. This book demonstrates how a denomination of freedom-loving individualists came to embrace an exclusivist spi ... More

Keywords: Baptists, religious authority, spirituality, Southern Baptist churches, moderates, conservatives, tolerance, democracy

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2003 Print ISBN-13: 9780195160994
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195160994.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Gregory A. Wills, author
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary