The Southern Baptist Convention in 1960

In 1960, Time Magazine ran a fascinating profile of the Southern Baptist Convention, which is available online. A number of prominent Convention personalities of the era were profiled as the popular periodical tried to interpert Southern Baptists for a general readership. The article is an interesting glance into our past.

I’ve written quite a bit about the mid-twentieth-century SBC over the past three or four years. Though our churches were of course diverse, in terms of our corporate denominational identity we were at the height of our influence in and capitivity to southern culture (including Jim Crow). We were characterized more by programmatic initiatives than theological conviction, save a commitment to evangelism and missions and a couple of Baptist distinctives (understood in various ways by various Southern Baptists). We were led by an odd combination of atheological pragmatists, doctrinal progressives, and revivalistic pulpiteers. And we were on the verge of a non-stop barrage of theological controversies from 1961 (the Elliott Controversy) through the remainder of the century (BF&M 2000). In many ways, we are the Convention we are today because of who we were fifty years ago and how we responded to that identity in the generation or two since then.

If you are even remotely interested in the SBC, take the time to read the article.

(HT: Bruce Gourley via

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  1. David R. Brumbelow   •  

    Interesting article you refer to. Brought back some old memories.
    David R. Brumbelow

  2. Bob Cleveland   •  

    You said it well. Fascinating.

    I read it. Next, I’ll have to go back and digest it.

  3. Debbie Kaufman   •  

    I think what struck me most was the sides on integration some pro, some against that seemed to take center stage. It also struck me how most of the forenamed ministers who were high profile at that time were against integration. I hope those memories are behind us.

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