To write a true story of a people is no slight task. To interpret the development of a religious group is exceedingly hazardous. For one is constantly tempted to wear colored spectacles. One overdoes or fails to appreciate. Fortunately, the history of German Baptists in North America was penned by one exceptionally well qualified to undertake the task. With religious descent from this church, over against the background of an entire life devoted to the promotion of the best interests of German Baptists, Professor Ramaker possesses that personal acquaintance and sympathy with the total situation without which no historical study can become successful. On the other hand, more than three decades of research, of careful investigation of facts, of cultivation of the discriminating judgment, have equipped him with that capacity for stern criticism without which historical study ceases to be an ethical task.
Regarding biography as an important aspect of history, Professor Ramaker has accurately outlined the careers of those humble disciples of Jesus who in the East and the West and the North laid the foundations of a solid structure of the German Baptist denomination.
Someone has said: "Men will wrangle for religion; write for it; fight for it; die for it; anything but live for it." But to have known the men and women who constituted the rank and file of the religions group described in the volume, to have observed their faith, their devotion, their vicarious life, their high ideals, their general interest in humanity, is to have become convinced of the reality of religion. For to live the superior life has after all been the superlative fundamental of the German Baptists. Their numbers have never been large, their wealth has never been excessive, but their purpose has been to live according to Jesus. For them the Gospel has been a "living person on whom faith can feed continually." They have never lacked saints, and how many "Who from their labors rest" can never be forgotten!