Review by: C. Weaver, Associate Professor of Religion, Baylor University - August 2, 2011
Anthony Chute has provided Baptists (and others interested in 19th century religion) a very readable account of Jesse Mercer’s life – an account long overdue given Mercer’s religious influence among Baptists in the antebellum South. Chute writes about the proponent of the “doctrines of grace” most gracefully, even humorously at times. Grounding his work in fine scholarship, Chute makes Mercer a conversation partner for contemporary issues. For example, Chute’s story of Mercer’s conflict with Primitive Baptists over the doctrines of Calvinism reveals how to make scholarship accessible to all readers. The decision to include the texts of numerous writings from the pen of Mercer enhances the book.
Review by: David S. Dockery, President, Union University - July 29, 2011
Tony Chute has provided us with a marvelously-written story regarding the life, ministry, and writings of Jesse Mercer. The engaging account of "Father Mercer" offers a wonderful window for better understanding one of the most influential leaders in 19th Century Baptist life. Similarly, this readable volume gives us greater appreciation for the shape, ethos, and challenges of Baptist life during this time. It is a privilege to recommend this insightful work, which grants us not only a glimpse into both the accomplishments and disappointments in Mercer's life and ministry, but simultaneously presents readers with opportunities for thoughtful reflection on a variety of significant themes, including Christian unity, the importance of leadership, and the place of theological education.
Review by: Douglas A. Sweeney, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School - July 29, 2011
This is a wonderful introduction to the life of Jesse Mercer, one of the most important leaders to prepare the way for the founding of the Southern Baptist Convention. A faithful pastor, Christian writer, and promoter of foreign missions, Mercer also helped to found the university that bears his name. Readers who want to know more about this Georgia Baptist statesman can do no better than to begin with Tony Chute's insightful work.
Review by: Nathan A. Finn, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Historical Theology and Baptist Studies, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary - July 29, 2011
Among antebellum Baptists in the South, few figures surpassed the influence of Jesse Mercer. He wore many hats, including pastor, theologian, editor, and educator. He was also a tireless missions advocate and a key apologist for Baptist denominationalism. In recent years, Tony Chute has written several helpful articles and a fine scholarly monograph about Mercer's life and influence. I'm delighted Chute has now given us this helpful popular introduction to the famous Baptist patriarch. The combination of narrative chapters and primary source material makes Father Mercer an ideal resource for introducing students and scholars to a variety of important topics related to 19th century Baptists in the Deep South.