Search for books called Why I Am a Baptist and you will find titles going back for more than a century. One of the more recent books to claim this title explores the reasons for Baptist identity by drawing from the personal experiences of a variety of Baptist leaders.
Russell Moore and Tom Nettles (both of Southern Seminary) have done conservative Baptists a service by editing a book that describes Baptist doctrinal distinctives in the context of personal testimony. This readable collection of essays will be an encouragement to Baptists who may not know why they are Baptist, aside from their upbringing.
Why I Am a Baptist contains essays from Baptist forefathers (Isaac Backus, Ann Judson, F.H. Kerfoot), from current Baptist leaders (such as Jimmy Draper, Paige Patterson, and Al Mohler), European Baptists (Erroll Hulse, etc.), pastors (Mark Dever, Al Meredith, etc.), pastors' wives, professors, and other Baptist evangelical leaders (Carl Henry, Wayne Grudem, etc.).
Baptist distinctives are clearly articulated in this book, especially the doctrine of believer's baptism as the key to Baptist identity. The contributors emphasize the trustworthiness of Scripture and the autonomy of the local church.
The only complaint I have with this collection is that the majority of the writers lean to the Reformed side of Baptist life. This fact is most clearly seen in many of the authors' journeys between Presbyterian and Baptist churches. Several of the essays could have just as well been titled "Why I Am No Longer a Presbyterian." While I enjoyed these essays, I would have rather heard from a broader spectrum of Baptist theology.
Still, Why I Am a Baptist is a worthy addition to the library of anyone interested in Baptist belief and practice. The distinctiveness of Baptist belief is presented in the form of testimony, leading to a deep appreciation for the Holy Spirit's guidance of Baptists throughout the centuries.