Molly Worthen on SBC Takeover, Francis Schaeffer, etc

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Molly Worthen on SBC Takeover, Francis Schaeffer, etc

Postby Stephen Fox » Wed Nov 06, 2013 3:43 pm

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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby Sandy » Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:06 pm

Yet another boring, slanted rehash....

Molly Worthen wrote:Southern Baptist conservatives considered themselves the “silent majority” in their denomination. They were confident in a groundswell of support if they could mobilize laypeople for the cause.


That's probably the most accurate statement in the whole piece. As it turned out, they were exactly right, though I think the size of the majority surprised even some of the conservative leadership. And this particular statement is a very strong piece of evidence which underlines the fact that this was not a "takeover," since the people involved were already in the SBC, and were entitled, like anyone else, to send messengers to the convention, vote, and elect whatever leadership they chose. You can't "take over" something which is already yours, in which you have a vested interest, and for which you help pay the bills. The moderate Baptist leadership was not any more "entitled" to their positions than conservatives were.

Molly Worthen wrote:They borrowed tactics from secular political parties, occupying skyboxes at the 1979 convention in Houston’s Astrodome where their leaders could coordinate backroom dealings and voting procedures.


If you are going to write a book, and you want credibility, get your facts straight. It was one skybox, and it was in the Summit, not the Astrodome. That's just one of several inaccuracies in the piece. Is that nitpicking? Sorry, this is supposed to be credible and at least somewhat intellectual in its content. Get it right, and come back and wake me up.
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby David Flick » Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:39 pm


Fox, I almost never read any link you post. Primarily because they are mostly so far out in left field that they aren't worth reading. However, this one is a pretty good one.
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby William Thornton » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:18 am

I will be glad to read the book, Stephen, if it makes it to my liberry. I'm not seeing much of anything new from the exerpt.

Conservative Southern Baptists organized and promoted their candidates, and won every election for decades. Old news.
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby Ed Pettibone » Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:43 am

William Thornton wrote:I will be glad to read the book, Stephen, if it makes it to my liberry. I'm not seeing much of anything new from the exerpt.

Conservative Southern Baptists organized and promoted their candidates, and won every election for decades. Old news.


Ed: But William did you at least read the out take? The lady Mentions your Seminary. I agree with Flick it is pretty good.
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby William Thornton » Thu Nov 07, 2013 12:00 pm

Yeah, I read the exerpt and the mention of the early iteration of MABTS.
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby Sandy » Thu Nov 07, 2013 12:26 pm

The excerpt focuses on the SBC, but considering the background, and agenda, of the writer of the book, I am guessing that's one of several examples used to make a point. She managed, in her thesis statement, to equate separatist Baptists and Al Qaeda in one sentence. Since she's writing from the intellectual ivory tower position, rather than as a moderate Southern Baptist, she does make a few statements that are a tad bit more objective than most of the moderate Baptist writers I've read on this subject. Not having been part of the moderate Baptist core, she isn't quite as careful about attempting to re-interpret events from their perspective. First of all, she doesn't interpret these events as a "takeover." The word, nor descriptive language of such, does not appear anywhere. She speaks of a "groundswell of support" for conservatives in identifying the means to controlling the denomination by electing a succession of presidents, which has continued on for the 22 years since conservative control was solidified.

Molly Worthen wrote:Moreover, moderates did not move to protect their control of the convention’s agencies and boards because they were loath to admit that their denomination concentrated power in the hands of hierarchical leaders or bureaucrats.


I hear an echo on the board....I've said this, in so many words, many times. I've never heard a single moderate Baptist ever admit to this.

Molly Worthen wrote:Conservatives also argued—correctly—that in the nineteenth century the dominant theology of many Baptists was far more Reformed than it later became. Therefore, they reasoned, it was the conservatives who were “traditionalist,” who defended “original” Baptist identity.


Another point that I've made before, and with it, the doctrine of inerrancy, which Worthen attributes to the influence of Reformed theology among Southern Baptists. Inerrancy was a commonly held belief among Baptists long before the first half of the twentieth century.

This certainly might be a book that I would pick up, just to see where the author is headed with her thesis. It appears to be more of a defense of "ivory tower intellectualism" than any kind of expose on the SBC. Her slip up in noting that the 1979 SBC took place in the Astrodome, rather than in the Summit, is a small annoyance, along with an interchangeable use of "denomination" and "church" in reference to the SBC. Among Baptists, the terms are not synonymous, and while I don't expect a non-Baptists to have a complete understanding of that, I would expect an "ivory tower religious intellectual" to have done enough research to know the difference.

Ah, but how long would yet another book, from a different perspective, about the SBC controversy, what caused it, and why religious conservatives are first cousins to Al Qaeda and the Nazi Party, be able to hold my attention?
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby Haruo » Thu Nov 07, 2013 12:53 pm

Sandy wrote:Since she's writing from the intellectual ivory tower position, rather than as a moderate Southern Baptist, she does make a few statements …
Molly Worthen wrote:Moreover, moderates did not move to protect their control of the convention’s agencies and boards because they were loath to admit that their denomination concentrated power in the hands of hierarchical leaders or bureaucrats.
Molly Worthen wrote:Conservatives also argued—correctly—that in the nineteenth century the dominant theology of many Baptists was far more Reformed than it later became. Therefore, they reasoned, it was the conservatives who were “traditionalist,” who defended “original” Baptist identity.
Another point that I've made before, and with it, the doctrine of inerrancy, which Worthen attributes to the influence of Reformed theology among Southern Baptists. Inerrancy was a commonly held belief among Baptists long before the first half of the twentieth century.

This … book … appears to be more of a defense of "ivory tower intellectualism" than any kind of expose on the SBC. Her slip up in noting that the 1979 SBC took place in the Astrodome, rather than in the Summit, is a small annoyance, along with an interchangeable use of "denomination" and "church" in reference to the SBC. Among Baptists, the terms are not synonymous, and while I don't expect a non-Baptists to have a complete understanding of that, I would expect an "ivory tower religious intellectual" to have done enough research to know the difference.
Two questions: 1) is "ivory tower intellectual[ism]" her own self-description, or your term? Twice you put it in quotation marks, but I don't know if that meant you were quoting her. Usually "ivory tower intellectuals" are as loath to admit to being such as any moderate Baptist leaders ever were to admitting they constituted a power bloc. 2) Usually "Reformed" means "Calvinistic"; from the quotation it's not clear to me whether she is using it in this sense or in some more amorphous sense. Inerrancy (however worded or conceptualized, and whether distinguished from "infallibility" or not) is not particularly a "Reformed" item. There's a big difference between "Inerrancy" and "Sola Scriptura", the latter being more of a "Reformed" (re)formulation.
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby Sandy » Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:17 pm

She doesn't particularly self-identify as an "ivory tower intellectual." However, she does use the term in describing how the conservatives perceived and described the educational elite in the SBC, and in her writing, perhaps subconsciously, or perhaps as a subtle suggestion, she doesn't take very long to establish her affinity and identity with that perspective. I believe she is identified, perhaps from her own self-description, as a religion expert and writer, and whenever "Christianity" is generically moved into the category of "religion," it is usually in an academic setting. She has a degree from Yale, which, IMHO, is an academic ivory tower if there ever was one.

She used the term "Calvinist" and "Reformed" interchangeably, it appears. I don't disagree with her point that, among Baptists, the influence of Calvinism in the nineteenth century, combined with earlier Anabaptist influences, produced preaching and teaching which rested on belief that the scriptures were inerrant and infallible, and were intended to be interpreted literally according to their historical context unless there was a context clue to indicate otherwise. And my perspective on that was heavily influenced by Dr. William Estep at Southwestern Seminary, a professor hired before the conservatives controlled the trustee board there. He actually connected Baptist acceptance of inerrancy to the influences of Menno Simons on John Smyth and Thomas Helwys.
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Sandy obfuscates with some aplomb

Postby Stephen Fox » Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:54 pm

And swallows a camel with his own faux intellectual rhetoric.

Look from the folksy Will Campbell to Chandler Davidson at Rice, the goose has been cooked. A Bircher Presller and a demagogue WA Criswell pulled one over on the people in the pew and then Karl Rove came along with Richard Land to polish it up.

Take a look at FBC Spartanburg, if you want to see a takeover Jewel; and it is nothing to be proud of.
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And Sandy and William not paying attention

Postby Stephen Fox » Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:00 pm

or have a short memory as Mark Noll's review a couple years ago of Dochuk and Williams came to similar conclusion of Worthen, for all their convictions, the fundamentalism than Falwell took to the Birch Society with the Complicity of Billy Graham lacked "discernment." That is a mild conclusion for the Know Nothing party that swept up and eviscerated the SBC.

Noll's review is easily googled in the New Republic.
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby William Thornton » Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:26 pm

Try to be coherent, Stephen.
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby Sandy » Fri Nov 08, 2013 9:50 am

I'm just waiting for him to offer a direct response, instead of returning to his recurring name drops and themes. He generated an interesting discussion with an excerpt from a slightly different perspective than we've seen in other re-hashes of the SBC controversy, and I've offered a couple of observations. Then there's a critical response from Stephen, but not even a hint of a reference to anything I said, just a replay of an old tape dropping old names, and another irrelevant and unconnected slam at Billy Graham and FBC Spartanburg. Look who he got in this scatter shot--Mark Noll, Richard Land, W.A. Criswell, the John Birch society and Paul Pressler, Will Campbell, Chandler Davidson, Billy Graham and of course FBC Spartanburg.

Have you called their receptionist again this week, Stephen?
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FBC Sburg Debbie and Keith

Postby Stephen Fox » Fri Nov 08, 2013 4:24 pm

Talked to receptionist Debbie this morn and Keith, an associate pastor earlier in the week. Debbie laughed when I quoted WA Criswell's "Chiggero" remark to the 56 joint session of the S.C. legislature. See History site on this board as I examine further the legacies of Billy Graham and WA Criswell.

Sandy and Wiliam would do much better with my posts if they would the requisite reading!
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Mandela; SBC and Pressler's Jesse Helms

Postby Stephen Fox » Fri Dec 06, 2013 5:35 pm

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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby Dave Roberts » Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:29 pm

For those of us who lived through the whole thing, another book isn't going to change much about my perceptions. After all, I was there.
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby Timothy Bonney » Sat Dec 07, 2013 2:23 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:For those of us who lived through the whole thing, another book isn't going to change much about my perceptions. After all, I was there.


Yep. Dave that pretty much sums it up.
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby David Flick » Sat Dec 07, 2013 5:33 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:For those of us who lived through the whole thing, another book isn't going to change much about my perceptions. After all, I was there.

Amen to that! I lived through it as well...
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby Ed Pettibone » Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:40 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:
Dave Roberts wrote:For those of us who lived through the whole thing, another book isn't going to change much about my perceptions. After all, I was there.


Yep. Dave that pretty much sums it up.


Ed: I still think Leonard's ,God's Last and Only Hope: The Fragmentation of the Southern Baptist Convention
Is one of the best books on the subject as applies to the SBC and I have at least 10 others. Yet I have yet to see one that get's down to the nitty gritty, Convention wide. But I really believe the title of this thread is overly restrictive. The writer who's work Fox has linked points out the Fundamentalist, Progressive struggle is much larger than the SBC or even ALL Baptist.

So I would ask Dave, David and Tim, when you say "I was there" when and where? When for you did the take over start?

There was a strong rural, urban conflict that could be read Ultra Conservative and Progressive in East Tn. when I married into a rural SBC family in 1956. My father in law who was a Tri-vocatioal, Pastor, Tobacco farmer, & carpenter, high school grad who devoured Training Union books and took and an occasional extension course from Carson Newman frequently found himself at odds with many of his ministerial colleagues who maintained "A God called Preacher don't need no book learning other than the BIBLE, KJV at that"
And then there where a few who thought if you had to have book learning the only place to go was Tennessee Temple. Founded in 1946 under the "leadership and vision of Dr. Lee Roberson". As the pastor of a prominent Southern Baptist church, Highland Park Baptist in Chattanooga. (Wikipedia)

Roberson is probably best known as the long time publisher of "The Sword of the Lord" news journal. Note David Flicks corrective on this down the line.

Jerry Falwell was a young fan of Dr. Roberson. He was impressed with Roberson's frequent attacks on "liberalism" in the SBC, plowing fertile ground for those such as Pressler and Patterson with an assist from Criswell from within and Jerry from without, to formally launch the so called reformation of the SBC. Better known to some of us as the Fundamentalist Takeover at the SBC annual Meeting in 1979.
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby David Flick » Sat Dec 07, 2013 9:35 pm

Ed Pettibone wrote:
Timothy Bonney wrote:
Dave Roberts wrote:For those of us who lived through the whole thing, another book isn't going to change much about my perceptions. After all, I was there.


Yep. Dave that pretty much sums it up.


Ed: I still think Leonard's ,God's Last and Only Hope: The Fragmentation of the Southern Baptist Convention
Is one of the best books on the subject as applies to the SBC and I have at least 10 others. Yet I have yet to see one that get's down to the nitty gritty, Convention wide. But I really believe the title of this thread is overly restrictive. The writer who's work fox has linked points out the Fundamentalist, Progressive struggle is much larger than the SBC or even ALL Baptist.

So I would ask Dave, David and Tim, when you say "I was there" when and where? When for you did the take over start?
    David: I entered ministry in1964, 15 years prior to the official start of the takeover. While I was aware of fundamentalist rumblings as early as '71 or '72, the takeover began officially for me at the '79 convention in Houston. I watched the whole thing unfold. Paul Pressler, Paige Patterson, Adrian Rogers, and fiends were calling the shots from skyboxes. At one point during a business session, Dr. Wayne Dehoey pointed to the skyboxes and called their hand in a stern manner. In essence, he gave them a large piece of his mind for attempting to control what was going on down on the floor. That was, in my mind, the first shot of the failed resistance to the the takeover gang. True, the fundys were making lots of noise prior to that convention, but the war was on from that point.
There was a strong rural, urban conflict that could be read Ultra Conservative and Progressive in East Tn. when I married into a rural SBC family in 1956. My father in law who was a Tri-vocatioal, Pastor, Tobacco farmer, & carpenter, high school grad who devoured Training Union books and took and an occasional extension course from Carson Newman frequently found himself at odds with many of his ministerial colleagues who maintained "A God called Preacher don't need no book learning other than the BIBLE, KJV at that"
And then there where a few who thought if you had to have book learning the only place to go was Tennessee Temple. Founded in 1946 under the "leadership and vision of Dr. Lee Roberson". As the pastor of a prominent Southern Baptist church, Highland Park Baptist in Chattanooga. (Wikipedia)

Roberson is probably best known as the long time publisher of "The Sword of the Lord" news journal.
Jerry Falwell was a young fan of Dr. Roberson. He was impressed with Roberson's frequent attacks on "liberalism" in the SBC, plowing fertile ground for those such as Pressler and Patterson with an assist from Criswell from within and Jerry from without, to formally launch the so called reformation of the SBC. Better known to some of us as the Fundamentalist Takeover at the SBC annual Meeting in 1979.
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby Ed Pettibone » Sun Dec 08, 2013 12:19 am

Ed: I still think Leonard's ,God's Last and Only Hope: The Fragmentation of the Southern Baptist Convention
Is one of the best books on the subject as applies to the SBC and I have at least 10 others. Yet I have yet to see one that get's down to the nitty gritty, Convention wide. But I really believe the title of this thread is overly restrictive. The writer who's work fox has linked points out the Fundamentalist, Progressive struggle is much larger than the SBC or even ALL Baptist.

So I would ask Dave, David and Tim, when you say "I was there" when and where? When for you did the take over start?

*
    David: I entered ministry in1964, 15 years prior to the official start of the takeover. While I was aware of fundamentalist rumblings as early as '71 or '72, the takeover began officially for me at the '79 convention in Houston. I watched the whole thing unfold. Paul Pressler, Paige Patterson, Adrian Rogers, and fiends were calling the shots from skyboxes. At one point during a business session, Dr. Wayne Dehoey pointed to the skyboxes and called their hand in a stern manner. In essence, he gave them a large piece of his mind for attempting to control what was going on down on the floor. That was, in my mind, the first shot of the failed resistance to the the takeover gang. True, the fundys were making lots of noise prior to that convention, but the war was on from that point.
^

There was a strong rural, urban conflict that could be read Ultra Conservative and Progressive in East Tn. when I married into a rural SBC family in 1956. My father in law who was a Tri-vocatioal, Pastor, Tobacco farmer, & carpenter, high school grad who devoured Training Union books and took and an occasional extension course from Carson Newman frequently found himself at odds with many of his ministerial colleagues who maintained "A God called Preacher don't need no book learning other than the BIBLE, KJV at that"
And then there where a few who thought if you had to have book learning the only place to go was Tennessee Temple. Founded in 1946 under the "leadership and vision of Dr. Lee Roberson". As the pastor of a prominent Southern Baptist church, Highland Park Baptist in Chattanooga. (Wikipedia)

Roberson is probably best known as the long time publisher of "The Sword of the Lord" news journal.

Jerry Falwell was a young fan of Dr. Roberson. He was impressed with Roberson's frequent attacks on "liberalism" in the SBC, plowing fertile ground for those such as Pressler and Patterson with an assist from Criswell from within and Jerry from without, to formally launch the so called reformation of the SBC. Better known to some of us as the Fundamentalist Takeover at the SBC annual Meeting in 1979.[/quote]

Ed: David thank you for the corrective on Lee Roberson and the the Sword of the Lord publication, I should have known better. :oops: I was thinking of a line from his obituary saying "Dr. Roberson became well known nationally and internationally as a vibrant and articulate conference speaker. He was one of the founding members of the Southwide Baptist Fellowship and was a regular speaker for many of the National Sword of the Lord Conferences. In his later years, as an evangelist, he preached in thousands of churches across America. "

Perhaps Fallwell's admiration came from those conferences rather than the publication.
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby Timothy Bonney » Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:31 pm

Sorry to be slow Ed getting back to your question about the SBC Takeover. I had a full schedule this weekend.

I was in High School in 1979 and a member of Kirkwood Baptist Church in the St. Louis area. For me the Takeover was part of the continued saga of being a progressive SBC congregation. Kirkwood had already been under criticism in the St. Louis Association for ordaining women deacons. And I began to hear information about the takeover from our pastor Dr. John H. Hewett.

I attended Missouri Baptist College (now University) from 1982-1986 and there was already pressure on the faculty from the Takeover crowd. I had a professor's contract not renewed because "he was perceived as not being conservative enough." Yep, "perceived."

I started at SBTS in 1986 and was in the last year or so of Roy Honeycutts time there. I saw the pressure and tactics being used by the Takeover crowd while there. I transferred to MBTS in 1987 to marry a young lady from Kansas City. I was at MBTS when I attended the SBC meeting in Las Vegas and I saw the microphones cut off on moderate speakers, I saw fundy messengers vote their children's ballots, and I saw the antics of Adrian Rogers who acted more like a king than a pastor during those sessions.

I was at MBTS when Paige Patterson came to preach at our chapel after he had been encouraging students to record and report on professor's theologies. I attended one of the early organizing meetings of the CBF in Indianapolis when a fundy reporting was reading our name tags and writing down our names so he could "report" us for our rebellious behavior. I double checked to make sure he could spell "Bonney" correctly. :wink:

I left the SBC in 1991 overcome with the politics, hypocrisy, and lack of Christian behavior I'd seen out of Baptist fundamentalist leaders in the last decade deciding I wanted nothing further to do with such a religous system.

I had my ordination recognized by the ABC/USA and found the denomination to be much more what I expected out of a Christian organization than what I'd experienced as a young person in the SBC.

I think that is a good place to stop as it summarizes my SBC journey. Why I'm no longer a Baptist is a whole other story. :wink:
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Tim, Flick et al little shortsighted on book

Postby Stephen Fox » Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:00 pm

This is one of the most valuable books it appears recently to take fresh eyes, to take a ten year distance on the takeover. Apparently it emphasizes the Takeover as foundational for Karl Rove's agenda that has given a spark to the Tea PArty.

All the anecdotes, the personal testimonies are getting a little dated, but there are new insights, new ways to put the takeover in a bigger light and I think Worthen's book is gonna be quite valuable for that reason and worth consideration in full on its own merits.

I am now reading a book on cotton plantations and slavery in the 1840s in the Mississippi River Valley. Not the first book to be written on slavery and the antebellum cotton economy. But it is one of the most fascinating books I have read in the last 20 years. Maybe on the heels Of the movie 12 yrs a slave I have ears to hear, or new ears.

I just wish Flick and Thornton and Pettibone were open to some enlightenment on occasion. Too often they come across as not having any more to be gained just like the tobacco farmer in East N.C. who carried his Sunday School quarterly in his back left cheek overall pocket all week folded up!
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Re: Latest on SBC Takeover, excerpt from upcoming 2014 book

Postby Sandy » Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:20 pm

Did you take a close look at the excerpt you posted, Stephen? There are some things in there that go against the grain of what you have contended about what you refer to as the SBC "Takeover."

1. She points out that moderates were "loathe" to admit that, prior to 1979, the denomination concentrated power in the hands of a few leaders that did indeed take a "hierarchical" approach to denominational leadership, or at least, attempted to.
2. She makes a strong case for belief in "inerrancy" being more than just a recent phenomenon in Baptist life by linking it to the influence of reformed theology which was pervasive among Baptists prior to the 20th century. That flies in the face of the assertions of some that it's a relatively new teaching among Baptists.
3. She never uses the term "takeover," and in fact, provides a narrative of what occurred as a "groundswell of support" among laypeople, once they mobilized people for the cause. If you have two competing groups within the same organization, and one of them gets their people to the place where their votes create a change of leadership, it is not a takeover. Period.
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Re: Tim, Flick et al little shortsighted on book

Postby David Flick » Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:22 pm

Stephen Fox wrote:I just wish Flick and Thornton and Pettibone were open to some enlightenment on occasion. Too often they come across as not having any more to be gained just like the tobacco farmer in East N.C. who carried his Sunday School quarterly in his back left cheek overall pocket all week folded up!

I have come to the firm conclusion that if Fox recommends a book to William, EdP, or myself, it's a lead pipe cinch that said book is plain ole garden variety propaganda... :-x
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