By John Pierce

One of Baptists’ best thinkers, Bill Hull, wrote a final manuscript before his death in December 2013. While struggling with the latter stages of ALS, he had something to say about the current division over liberalism and conservatism.

His insights are available in the newly-published book, Conservatism and Liberalism in the Christian Faith: Toward a Moderate Approach, now available at NurturingFaith.net. For a limited time, a 10 percent discount is offered by entering the code HULL10.

Christian educator Terry Maples, field coordinator for the Tennessee Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, has written a superb study guide to use with the book. It is ideal for church leadership, book clubs and other groups wishing to explore this timely topic — and is available here.

Dr. Hull’s book is a generous gift to Baptists Today/Nurturing Faith from his children, David Hull and Susan Hull Walker, and was published with the tremendous support of the Hull Legacy Committee of Mountain Brook Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala.

This important book can help readers move beyond dismissive labels to more constructive conversations. Its publication comes at a good time for serious consideration by congregations and fellowships of churches that often struggle with affirming and conveying their identities.

In his book Dr. Hull notes: “For 1,900 years, the disciples of Jesus Christ never understood or identified themselves either as conservatives or as liberals, yet, almost overnight, these code words have become the most crucial way to signal one’s religious stance.”

In the Foreword, historian Bill Leonard of Wake Forest University states: “This fine work … represents Bill Hull’s final attempt at reconciliation, or at least recognition that liberal/conservative ideas and ideologies are essential, inescapable, and unending, even in the Church of Jesus Christ.”

Author and poet Wendell Berry, after reading the manuscript, wrote to David Hull that: “In this last testimony, out of his knowledge and his experience, [Bill Hull] accomplished a momentous and greatly needed clarity.”

Nothing is more important for the church and society today than moving from divisive, often shallow, rhetoric to healthy, constructive conversations. This book is an excellent resource for that good purpose.

Order it. Read it. Discuss it. Share it.

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