Steve Gaines talks about pastoral ministry and preaching, the Southern Baptist Convention, and what it was like to follow Adrian Rogers.
Conservative Resurgence Voices has posted its 200th article and turned one year old. We’d like to thank our contributors as well as our readership for a fantastic year! We look forward to many more, Lord willing.
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On this maiden voyage of the new CR:V Podcast site founder Chris Bolt sets down with Jeff Wright to talk about the doctrinal state of the Southern Baptist Convention, whether or not she needs another Conservative Resurgence, and what this new podcast is all about, anyway.
Find it on Apple Podcasts or by clicking here.
Our new podcast is now available on Apple Podcasts by clicking here.
This article is about a church seeking, “affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention, based on the denomination’s trend toward fundamentalism.”
This article speaks of the incoming president of the Southern Baptist Convention, who, “represents a conservative-fundamentalist element within the denomination.”
IN THE INERRANCY CONTROVERSY that shook the SBC beginning in 1979, Southern Baptists divided over what it meant to be a Baptist. When Southern Baptists leaders polarized amid the conservative effort to make belief in inerrancy a condition of denominational service, their posture toward the inerrancy initiative derived in large measure from their understanding of Baptist identity. Conservatives believed that moderates had departed from the Baptist tradition and moderates felt the same way about conservatives. Each party in the conflict claimed to be true Baptists and claimed the imprimatur of Baptist tradition.
Given what I have said about my background, perhaps you will not be surprised that when I moved from Boston to Louisville in that historic year, 1979, I found myself a bit dazed and bewildered at the goings on in Southern Baptist life. I did not like the raucous tone and polarizing rhetoric generated on both sides of the Controversy in about equal measure, it seemed to me. But I was close enough to the center of gravity to know that there were legitimate concerns raised by conservative critics who, early on in the Controversy, were asking only for parity. I thought then, and I still think now, that had our denominational leaders at the time responded to this challenge with more discernment, constructively and proactively, the rupture in our Baptist fellowship which has strained our relationship to the point of breaking could have been avoided. Instead, a strategy of denial, and stonewalling, and then counter-insurgency was adopted. Perhaps I am wrong about that, but eventually when a more realistic direction was taken by the SBC seminary presidents in the Glorietta Statement of 1987, it was too little, too late. I have written perhaps more than I should have about the Controversy, and I do not retract anything I have said or written in this regard. I am glad this denomination no longer welcomes leaders who deny the miracles of the Bible including the virgin birth of Jesus, or who argue for abortion on demand as a tenet of religious liberty, or who tout a host of other issues that are tearing apart every mainline Protestant denomination in America today. But I have also come today to say something else. We will not meet tomorrow’s challenge by forgetting yesterday’s dilemma, but neither will we win tomorrow’s struggles by fighting yesterday’s battles.
– From Timothy George, Southern Baptist Identity: Is Jesus A Baptist?, 91-92
The public controversy of 1979 did not emerge out of a vacuum; there was a history behind it. By the 1960’s, the Enlightenment had come to Dixie. A region that had long believed itself immune to history suddenly found itself grappling with the very questions that Northern evangelicals had confronted decades earlier and that European Christians had faced in the previous century. Now, Kant, Hume, Locke, and Hobbes arrived at the very threshold of the SBC.
The conservative resurgence (CR) of the Southern Baptist Convention was a movement to reclaim institutions for a conservative theology and mission. Preeminent among those institutions marked for reclamation were our six seminaries, which had, to varying degrees, come under the influence of a left-leaning theology in the decades preceding the CR, which began in 1979. As a result of the CR, the seminaries have now been under the leadership of conservatives for a few decades, but state Baptist colleges and universities continue to represent a much wider theological spectrum that includes left, right, and middle. The reason for this discrepancy between seminaries and colleges is, of course, because the CR operated at the level of the national convention, to which only the seminaries are directly accountable. The CR was not an organized movement at the level of state conventions, to which state Baptist colleges and universities are directly accountable.