FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Malcolm Yarnell, professor of systematic theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, surprised seminary president Paige Patterson, Oct. 17, with the announcement of a festschrift to be published by B&H Academic in honor of Patterson. Yarnell, who edited the volume, said the book will consist of essays on the evangelical Anabaptists of the 16th century.
“One of Dr. Patterson’s great passions over the past, and I hope for many years in the future, has been seeing the restoration of New Testament Christianity within the churches of Jesus Christ today,” Yarnell said. “And part of that passion has displayed itself in historical research with regard to the Anabaptists.”
The book, titled “The Anabaptists and Contemporary Baptists, Restoring New Testament Christianity: Essays in Honor of Paige Patterson,” is scheduled to be released in October 2013. The volume is largely composed of essays presented at Southwestern’s conference on Anabaptists in January 2012, which Yarnell said was “dedicated to re-examining the Anabaptists as a vital resource for contemporary Baptist Theology.”
R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., contributed a preface for the book, and Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, wrote the introduction.
“(The essays were) published here in order to honor Paige Patterson for his lifelong scholarly advocacy of evangelical Anabaptists of the 16th century,” Yarnell said. “Indeed, many of the contributors either wrote their research doctoral dissertations under his supervision or were otherwise encouraged by him to pursue Anabaptist studies.”
Some of the more noted contributors include Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren, Anabaptist scholar Abraham Friesen, Truett-McConnell College president Emir Caner, Southwestern Seminary vice presidents Thomas White and Jason Duesing, and Yarnell. Additionally, an essay by Patterson himself was included.
The book is broken into three sections: theology, Balthasar Hubmaier, and history. The first section includes sections on Anabaptist theology, including their theological method and views on religious liberty. The second section highlights Hubmaier, an Anabaptist theologian whose views are similar to those of contemporary Baptists, particularly those related to political theology. The final section emphasizes important individuals and movements among the Anabaptists.
Patterson, who was unaware of the project, expressed gratitude for such a high honor.
“For those of you who don’t know the word ‘festschrift,’ it’s a development of the history of German scholarship where the students of a professor get together once the professor has reached a certain antiquity, and they write a series of essays in honor of said professor,” Patterson said. “It is about the highest honor that can come to someone in the academic world, and so, Dr. Yarnell, I accept it as such and am overwhelmed that you do it on the Anabaptists because I do believe that it is our very rich heritage, and I do believe that it’s largely been lost among our own people.
“For this to be a festschrift volume in my honor, and much more than that focusing on what it is that God has blessed across the years in the Great Commission of our Lord, means everything in the world (to me).”
Southwestern’s latest issue of its magazine Southwestern News also features the Anabaptists. The magazine can be viewed and downloaded at www.swbts.edu/southwesternnews.