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I. K. Cross
Baptist Minister, Author and Educator
      Irvie Keil Cross, known as I. K. Cross (March 21, 1917 – December 10, 2008), was an American Baptist Association clergyman and denominational author who in the 1950s founded the now defunct Eastern Baptist Seminary in Somerset, Kentucky.

      Cross was born in Huntington in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, to William Earl Cross (1889-1985) and the former Bertha Frances Harris (1893-1984), who were residing in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the times of their deaths.

      During his lengthy career, Cross worked at the ABA headquarters in Texarkana, Texas, where his colleagues included A. T. Powers, the ABA president from 1957 to 1959. This association led to Cross's publication of Austin T. Powers: As I Knew Him. From the middle 1950s to the 1970s, Cross was the founder and president of Eastern Baptist Seminary in Kentucky, established through the auspices of the Langdon Street Baptist Church in Somerset. L. L. Clover, another ABA figure who founded the Louisiana Missionary Baptist Institute and Seminary in Minden, Louisiana, received a Doctor of Divinity degree from Eastern Baptist in the spring of 1957. Cross was included in the publication Who's Who in Kentucky, 1955, as a resident of Bullitt County in suburban Louisville, prior to his move to Somerset in southern Kentucky.

      Cross's theological works include: We Engage: Church Covenant (1955), The Truth About Conventionism (Seminary Press 1955, reprinted 1966), Israel in Prophecy and the related Those Lectures on Israel in Prophecy (both 1974), Baptist Heritage Abandoned: The Protestant Position of the Southern Baptist Convention (1981), Glover's Church Manual (co-authored in 1983 with Conrad N. Glover), and Paul's Lectures to Timothy and Titus: An Exposition of the Epistles of Paul to Timothy and Titus (1986) Cross frequently criticizes both the biblical legitimacy and the policies of the Southern Baptist Convention, which he claims places the denomination in a position over the local church. He also claims that the SBC leadership, prior to the conservative resurgence which began in that denomination in 1979, had been sympathetic to some goals of the National Council of Churches. The SBC never joined the National Council.

      In 1990, Cross published The Battle for Baptist History. Following the official ABA position, Cross rejects the notions that Baptists are Protestants: The issue that has separated Baptists from Protestants through the centuries has been the nature of the church. Baptists have held that the church is always local in nature, and a visible body, while Protestants, not able to completely free themselves from the influence of their Roman mother, hold that the true church is universal in nature, and therefore invisible. They are not able to distinguish between the kingdom of God into which all believers are born, and the church of God which Jesus called out as a distinct body to serve as the executive of the kingdom.

      "The only place to determine the true nature of a New Testament church is the New Testament itself. Just what did Jesus declare He was going to build, and what did His apostles and other New Testament writers understand the nature of the churches to whom they ministered and wrote to be? Did Jesus call it together Himself, or did He leave it to the minds of theologians to determine for themselves in later centuries? Does it have distinct teachings set forth in the New Testament, or are men free to make their own? ..."

      At the time of his death at the age of ninety-one in Texarkana, Texas, Cross had retired from the ministry and was a member of the County Avenue Baptist Church. He had been married since 1939 to the former Johnnie Maxine Sharp (born 1920), who survived him. Cross is interred at East Memorial Gardens in Texarkana, Texas.


[From Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall]

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