A Primer on the Southern Baptist Convention, Part 2

From the Archive In light of the upcoming annual meeting of the largest (for now) Protestant denominations taking place in Baltimore, MD next week, it seemed appropriate to re-run my two-part series from last summer, “A Primer on the Southern Baptist Convention.”  This is the second part.  The first part ran Wednesday, June 4th.  Relevant updates and emendations [Read More...]

A Primer on the Southern Baptist Convention, Part 1

From the Archive In light of the upcoming annual meeting of the largest (for now) Protestant denominations taking place in Baltimore, MD next week, it seemed appropriate to re-run my two-part series from last summer, “A Primer on the Southern Baptist Convention.”  The first part will run today, the second will run on Saturday, June 7th.  Relevant updates [Read More...]

What Can Stop Southern Baptist Decline?

In anticipation of the 2014 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, the SBC’s LifeWay Christian Resources issued its annual report on church statistics, and for the seventh straight year, the SBC’s overall membership declined. (Here’s my coverage of the 2013 report and annual meeting for WORLD Magazine.) The University of North Carolina’s Molly Worthen, [Read More...]

Five from One: Happy Anniversary Patheos

As Tommy Kidd noted yesterday, we are in the middle of Patheos’ five-year-anniversary celebration.  Congratulations to Patheos for successfully “hosting the conversation on faith” for the past half-decade.  In my estimation, they have done a great job! For my part, this month marks a full year that I have had the privilege of writing for [Read More...]

Why I Am Still a Baptist

A reader recently asked me why, given my knowledge of and interest in church history, I remain a Baptist. There are powerful arguments for apostolic succession, infant baptism, and other non-Baptist principles that other low-church evangelicals have found compelling. Why do I stick around? It may help to know that I did not grow up [Read More...]

Religious Liberty and Evangelical Identity Politics

russel-moore

Last Thursday Baptist ethicist Russell Moore made a case for religious liberty in a way that perhaps startled critics who see conservative evangelicals as theocrats. He advocated on behalf of non-Christians. At a Washington, D.C., symposium entitled “Faith, Culture & Religious Freedom in the 21st Century,” Moore said that evangelicals have done a poor job [Read More...]

The Strange Career of the Antimission Baptists

I recently wrote about “Calvinism and the Roots of the Missionary Movement,” in which I discussed the powerful (and to some, counter-intuitive) influence of Calvinism on early Baptist missionaries. There’s a flip-side to that story, which is the largely Calvinist antimission movement of the 1820s and 1830s. Baptists and other evangelicals founded a number of [Read More...]

Calvinism and the Roots of the Missionary Movement

Over at Kevin DeYoung’s blog, Jason Helopoulos asks “Does Calvinism Kill Missions?” and answers with a resounding historical ‘no.’  I agree, and want to put a little finer point on it: from the perspective of Baptist history, Calvinists birthed the missions movement. (For background on Calvinism/Arminianism in the Baptist context, see links below.) I’ve recently been reading Jason Duesing’s [Read More...]

A Primer on the Southern Baptist Convention, Part 2

Both a zealous commitment to congregational autonomy and a strong impulse towards cooperative ministry underlie the organizational history of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).  Throughout the history of the denomination, Southern Baptist leaders have carefully navigated the principle of congregational autonomy as they have sought to develop cooperative ministries. In the SBC, congregations own their [Read More...]

A Primer on the Southern Baptist Convention, Part 1

Next week, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) will hold its annual meeting in Houston, TX.  Over the last several decades, the SBC’s public profile has increased significantly due to the actions of its leaders and as a result of the media scrutiny that has come from solidly positioning itself on the conservative wing of American [Read More...]


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