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.
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.
Preface Introduction: Religion in Georgia and Baptists in Europe 1. The Setting for Religious Renewal in Georgia 2. The Early Activity of Georgian Evangelical Christians and Baptists (1919-1941) 3. The Formation of the Georgian ECB's Institutional Identity (1942-1989) 4. Evangelism in Post-Soviet Georgia 5. Reforms in the Life of the ECB Community Conclusion: The Missiological Experience of the ECB