To Follow the Lambe Wheresoever He Goeth: The Ecclesial Polity of the English Calvinistic Baptists 1640-1660

By Ian Birch

A study of the development of the Calvinistic Baptist movement during the English Commonwealth, and the Christological ecclesiology that it espoused.

ISBN: 9780227176726


To Follow The Lambe Wheresoever He Goeth explores church doctrine among English Calvinistic Baptists between 1640 and 1660. It examines the emergence of Calvinistic Baptists against the background of the demise of the Episcopal Church of England, the establishment by Act of Parliament of the Westminster Assembly of Divines, and the attempted foundation of a Presbyterian Church of England. Ecclesiology was one of the most important doctrines under consideration in this phase of English history and this book is a contribution to understanding alternative forms of ecclesiology outside the mainstream National Church settlement. It argues that the development of Calvinistic Baptist ecclesiology was a natural development of one stream of Puritan theology, the tradition associated with Robert Brown, and the English separatist movement.

This tradition was refined and made experimental in the work of Henry Jacob, who founded a congregation in London in 1616 from which Calvinistic Baptists emerged. Central to Jacob’s ideology was the belief that a rightly ordered church acknowledged Christ as King over his people. The Christological priority of early Calvinistic Baptist ecclesiology will constitute the primary contribution of this study to the investigation of dissenting theology in the period.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 248

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Ian Birch is Principal of the Scottish Baptist College where he lectures in Theology and Baptist Studies. He contributed to The Plainly Revealed Word of God? Baptist Hermeneutics in Theory and Practice (2011) and Mirrors and Microscopes (2015). He was winner of the Payne Memorial Essay Prize for “The Counsel and Help of One Another”: Origins and Concerns of Early Particular Baptist Churches in Association in 2012.


Foreword by Stephen Holmes
List of Abbreviations


1. “Casting Balls of Wildfire into the bosom of the Church”: The Emergence of English Particular Baptist Churches to 1660
2. “A True Visible Church of Christ”: The Contours of Calvinistic Baptist Ecclesiology
3. “To follow the Lambe wheresoever he goeth”: The Church of King Jesus
4. “A Holy and Orderly Communion”: Theology and Practice of Discipline among Early Particular Baptists
5. “An Intolerable Usurpation”: Theology and Practice of Ministry among Early Particular Baptists
6. “The Counsel and Help of One Another”: Independency and Interdependency: Particular Baptists in Association




Endorsements and Reviews

To Follow The Lambe Wheresoever He Goeth illustrates, with a pleasing amount of detail combined with readability, that early modern Baptists were interested in more than baptism and ecclesiology.
Mark W. Ellio, University of St Andrews

On the basis of his mastery of a wide range of sources, Ian Birch has shown how the idea of Lordship of Christ functioned in the context of both individual faith and the corporate life of the community. This is a fine contribution to Puritan and Baptist studies.
D. Densil Morgan, University of Wales Trinity Saint David