Baptist Noel (1798-1873) has been described by the American Evangelical Anglican historian Grayson Carter as a towering figure in nineteenth-century Evangelicalism, but he has been written out of its story because he was a saintly rebel who counted a good conscience more valuable than a good standing. This ultimately led him to abandon his glittering Anglican career and aristocratic family to become a Baptist minister.
A Rebel Saint is a comprehensive study of Noel’s life, work and thought, correcting the neglect of his remarkable Anglican and Baptist ministries and his many years of prominence in Evangelical life. Philip Hill ably illustrates his influence on issues including the Irvingite controversy, the opposition to the Tractarian movement, and Evangelical ecumenism, and explains his centrality in the establishment of the Evangelical Alliance and the London City Mission. Scholars of Evangelical history will greatly value this account of a pivotal figure, while all will be inspired by his story of sacrifice of fame and fortune for the sake of obeying religious conscience.
2. ‘Everyone had a Noel cousin’: Noel’s upbringing and marital home
3. ‘The Most Popular of Episcopalian Ministers’: Noel’s ministry in the Anglican Church
4. ‘Immersed in the dark pool of the Baptist chapel’: Noel’s secession and ministry within the Baptist denomination
5. ‘That Revered Man of God’: Noel’s wider ministry and final years
6. ‘A Knowledge That Leads to Genuine Piety’: Noel’s Theological, Social and Political Convictions
Endorsements and Reviews
Baptist Noel was an outstanding nineteenth-century preacher and evangelical leader. His convictions led him to move from Anglican to Baptist ministry, but in many areas – spiritual, socio-political and educational – he transcended denominational boundaries. Philip Hill compellingly describes Noel’s striking personality and evaluates his remarkable work.
Ian Randall, Research Associate, Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide
Philip Hill has produced the first comprehensive study of the Hon. Baptist Noel – the influential London preacher, chaplain to the Queen, political and social activist, prolific author, and one of the acknowledged leaders of Victorian Evangelicalism. Extensively researched, clearly written, and balanced, this volume makes an important contribution to our understanding of nineteenth century religious history.
Grayson Carter, Fuller Theological Seminary
One of the most popular of Evangelical authors and a very able preacher, whose secession from the Established Church at the height of his career was something of a cause célèbre, Baptist Noel was immersed in the very different world of Victorian Christianity. However, Hill demonstrates that Noel’s balance of doctrine, piety, and a well-developed social conscience have much to teach us in our distinctly secular age.
Michael A.G. Haykin, Chair and Professor of Church History, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
The book is meticulously researched … mainly about church politics and doctrinal disputes, so it largely caters to people interested in the genealogy of their churches.
Dr Roland Clark, in Premier Christianity, 30 August 2022