Heresy is Not Heroic

Al Mohler asks today in his Conventional Thinking blog, “Is Crawford Howell Toy a Baptist Hero?” You may remember that Toy embraced modernist theology, resigned from Southern Seminary, and then became a Unitarian. You can guess Mohler’s answer to the question. Toy is not a hero, despite the ongoing accolades he has received from the Baptist Left over the years.

I think it is interesting that Mohler has written on this timely subject around the same time that the new 9 Marks ejournal is raising concerns about liberal currents among self-confessed evangelicals. Here’s to hoping that the Lord will preserve Southern Baptists (and evangelicals in general) from succumbing to all the various types of neo-liberalism that would threaten to undo our gospel purity and our commitment to the Great Commission.

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

The 21st Century SBC: Conclusion

(By: Danny Akin & Bruce Ashford)

The great crisis of the SBC in the late 20th century was that biblical revelation itself was being attacked. The churches of the SBC met that challenge and will continue to do so. The challenge of the 21st century is not only to hold the ground won in the Conservative Resurgence, but to foster a Great Commission Resurgence. Evangelical Baptist theology goes hand-in-hand with mission. There is an inherent connection between them. Without this connection, we lose God’s blessing and its attendant spiritual power.

What is a Southern Baptist? Surely we are more than merely an indiscriminate collection of communities practicing immersion. Indeed, we are believers who by conviction stand in the Baptist tradition of historic Christianity, who believe that regenerate church membership and local church autonomy are not only biblical marks of a healthy church, but also the natural extension of the gospel. Why cooperate? We cooperate because we believe that our combined efforts are better than our efforts alone. This union is premised upon a certain doctrinal consensus, centered on the biblical gospel and underlain by Baptist ecclesiological distinctives. Toward what end? We partner together for the sake of mission, to reach the nations, including this nation. If the Conservative Resurgence does not lead to a Great Commission Resurgence, it remains incomplete.