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Evangelical Christian Baptists of Georgia
The History and Transformation of a Free Church Tradition

By Malkhaz Songulashvili

Evangelical Christian Baptists of Georgia
Hardback, 521 pages $79.95
Published: 1st September 2015
ISBN: 9781481301107
Format: 9in x 6in

Subjects: All History, Church History, Mission/Evangelism, World Religions

Malkhaz Songulashvili, former Archbishop of the Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia (EBCG), provides a pioneering, exacting, and sweeping history of Georgian Baptists. Utilizing archival sources in Georgian, Russian, German, and English—translating many of these crucial documents for the first time into English—he recounts the history of the EBCG from its formation in 1867 to the present.

While the particular story of Georgian Baptists merits telling in its own right, and not simply as a feature of Russian religious life, Songulashvili employs Georgian Baptists as a sustained case study on the convergence of religion and culture. The interaction of Eastern Orthodox, Western Protestant, and Russian dissenting religious traditions—mixed into the political cauldron of Russian occupation of a formerly distinct eastern European culture—led to a remarkable experiment in Christian free-church identity. Evangelical Christian Baptists of Georgia allows readers to peer through the lens of intercultural studies to see the powerful relationships among politics, religion, and culture in the formation of Georgian Baptists, and their blending of Orthodox tradition into Baptist life to craft a unique ecclesiology, liturgy, and aesthetics.

“This story keeps surprising. In a rather open and humble style, Songulashvili describes how he and fellow leaders discovered to what contextualizing the gospel calls serious Christians, and what it can cost. Above all, this book presents a probing evangelical Protestant missiology that demands serious reading by western Catholic, Orthodox, and Evangelical missiologists…Songulashvili’s book needs to be on a list of absolutely necessary reading in preparation for the dialogues that must come.”

—Walter Sawatsky, Occasional Papers on Religion in Eastern Europe

Songulashvili’s book — with copious notes and appendices of documents — will be of interest to those studying Baptist history, the history of Georgia, religious communities in the region and the troubled independence period.”

—Felix Corley, Slavonic and East European Review

"This remarkable history of Baptist witness in the Republic of Georgia is a superb work of scholarship that utilises key primary sources in Georgian, Russian, German and English in telling the story of the Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia from the beginning of its witness in 1867 to the present day.”

—Brian Talbot, Baptist Union of Scotland

“Unique indeed is this account of the way in which the Baptist community in Georgia has responded in its life, liturgy, and mission to the peculiar context of the Georgian nation, which has been powerfully shaped by the Georgian Orthodox Church. In a work of rich significance for theologians, church historians, and missiologists, Bishop Malkhaz Songulashvili draws attention to the indigenous roots of the Baptist movement in Georgia, its development under both Tsarist and Soviet rule, and its courageous attempts to engage in culturally relevant mission today.”

—John Briggs, Professor Emeritus, the University of Birmingham and former Director, Baptist History and Heritage Centre, Regent's Park College, University of Oxford

Evangelical Christian Baptists of Georgia is a truly remarkable and original book. Songulashvili’s skills as a historian and theologian have produced essential reading not just for those interested in the life of Baptists, but for all who are concerned with the Christian church during and after the Soviet era in Eastern Europe.”

—Paul S. Fiddes, Professor of Systematic Theology, University of Oxford and Principal Emeritus, Regent’s Park College, Oxford

"This is by far the finest book on the evangelical movement in the former Soviet Unionthat I have ever read... In this formidable work, Songulashvili offers the most comprehensive study of the evangelical movement in Georgia yet to have appeared in the English language."

—Joshua T. Searle, Studies in World Christianity

"An impressive source not only for understanding Baptist history, but for any reader who might be interested in ongoing ecclesiological issues regarding the indigenization of faith."

—Paul Doerksen, American Baptist Quarterly

“This book is essential reading for Western Christians."

—Stephen Platten, Church Times

"A significant addition to the field of Eastern European evangelical research”

—Toivo Pilli, Baptistic Theologies

“More than an ethnographic or even a historical report, Songulashvili's vivid historical narrative highlights the centrality of God's mission in an indigenous culture, demonstrating how the triangle of church, mission, and culture have interacted to energize non-Western missionaries to ‘go and make disciples of all nations.’”

—Ashti Mamash, Fides et Historia

"Malkhaz Songulashvili’s study of Georgian Evangelical Christian Baptists history and analysis of their attempts to change their mission paradigm, accommodating it more deeply to local Georgian culture, is a timely and helpful addition to the field. This pioneering analysis will no doubt be referred to for many years to come whether future authors agree or disagree with Songulashvili."

—Toivo Pilli, Journal of Ecclesiastical History

“Drawing on a wealth of hitherto unused primary material, Malkhaz Songulashvili recounts the history of the Baptists in Georgia and discusses their sufferings, their dilemmas under Soviet persecution, and their subsequent embracing of Orthodox spirituality and ecclesiology. As a former archbishop of the Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia, Songulashvili writes with unique authority about this astonishing synthesis of Evangelical activism with Eastern Christianity.”

—David Bebbington, Professor of History, University of Stirling

Malkhaz Songulashvili is Associate Professor of Comparative Theology at Ilia State University and Metropolitan Bishop of Tbilisi for the Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia. Dr. Songulashvili received the 2015 Shahbaz Bhatti Freedom Award, given to a person for his or her outstanding work in promoting religious and minority rights around the globe. He resides in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.

Publication Details:

 Hardback , 521 pages
 9in x 6in

  HIS003000, REL045000, REL049000, REL073000, REL108020
 Baylor University Press

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