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Brief History of the SBC Conservative Resurgence
by David R. Brumbelow, 2009
The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever. - Psalm 119:160

1. In the 1970s Southern Baptists were still strong in doctrine and evangelism, but slowly headed toward theological liberalism. This had already occurred in several mainline denominations. Once it happened, it seemed there was no turning back.

2. The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) had historically believed in the inerrancy of the Bible. This view, however, was being seriously challenged in SBC seminaries and literature.

3. The SBC was firmly controlled by moderates and some liberals.

4. Previously conservatives had passed motions against liberalism. These had very limited success. Officials and trustees were often defensive, obstructive, even deceptive in dealing with doctrinal concerns.

5. Real, lasting correction would only occur by changing SBC leadership: the president, committees, trustees, agency leaders.

6. To change these leaders, conservatives would have to attend the SBC in large numbers, vote for solid conservative presidents, who would then make solid conservative appointments. This would eventually filter down to the trustees and the leadership of our agencies. Since trustee terms are staggered, this process was estimated to take at least ten years.

7. Paul Pressler, Paige Patterson, and a multitude of pastors and laymen began to explain these issues to the churches and common people of the SBC. It all centered around the necessity of Baptists attending the convention as duly elected messengers and voting their convictions; especially voting for a conservative president. Some of these meetings were large, most were small. Some meetings involved as few as two or three, but the message was spread.

8. The primary issue was the inerrancy of the Bible. Conservatives believed our mission money should not go to support those who believe the Bible contains errors.

9. The Conservative Resurgence was a spiritual concern. Conservatives prayed and voted, out of a profound concern for the faithful proclamation of God’s Word. They poured out their hearts and souls to ensure future generations would hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed in truth and clarity.

10. In the year of our Lord 1979, conservatives came to the annual Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Houston, Texas. Many attended at great personal sacrifice. The majority were just common Baptists from some of the largest, and smallest, SBC churches.

11. The election was between six nominees. On the first ballot, Adrian Rogers was elected the new president of the SBC. He then appointed and nominated conservatives to SBC committees.

12. Conservatives stayed faithful to the cause. Against great opposition, they would continue to elect conservative presidents, and confirm presidential nominees. Conservative presidents included: Adrian Rogers, Bailey Smith, Jimmy Draper, Charles Stanley, Jerry Vines, Morris Chapman, Ed Young, Jim Henry, Tom Elliff, Paige Patterson.

13. Some conservative changes were made as early as 1979 and 80. Substantial changes began to be made in the late 1980s and 1990s. In the 1990s all the presidents of our seminaries would affirm the inerrancy of the Bible.

14. The Conservative Resurgence firmly established that Southern Baptists believe the Bible is without error. Inerrancy is a crucial, basic doctrine. The Baptist Faith & Message 2000 (doctrinal statement of the SBC) would affirm, “all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy.”

15. Southern Baptists owe undying honor and respect to conservative leaders Paul Pressler, Paige Patterson, Adrian Rogers, Bailey Smith, Jimmy Draper, Charles Stanley, Jerry Vines, Morris Chapman, Ed Young, Jim Henry, Tom Elliff. They saved the SBC from liberalism.

16. Southern Baptists owe great respect to those multitudes of dedicated, common, regular Baptists who faithfully attended the conventions in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s and voted their biblical convictions. Because of their sacrifice and dedication, millions will be blessed.

17. Baptists should never forget that we have historically held to the inerrancy and final authority of God’s Word. We should never forget the battle that was fought over inerrancy. Teach it to the generations to come. Be eternally vigilant in keeping the Southern Baptist Convention lashed to the infallible Word of God. Never forget!

1. Conservative - believes in the inerrancy of the Bible and considers it a non-negotiable. Insists SBC leaders, professors, missionaries, employees believe that God’s Word is totally true and trustworthy. Our mission money should not go to support those who believe the Bible contains errors.
2. Moderate - someone who may or may not believe in the inerrancy of the Bible. What contrasts him from conservatives, is that with him inerrancy is negotiable. A moderate will tolerate, accept, ignore, protect, maybe even welcome SBC leaders, professors, missionaries, employees who do not believe in the inerrancy of the Bible.
3. Liberal - in the context of the SBC, one who believes there are errors, or could be errors in the Bible.
4. Inerrancy - the Bible is inspired by God and is without error. It is totally true and trustworthy. This refers to the original manuscripts of the Bible, not to a particular Bible translation. “Infallible,” “totally true and trustworthy” are used synonymously with “inerrancy.”

Read more about it:
The Truth In Crises by James C. Hefley, Hannibal Books, Garland, TX, (six volumes); 1986-1991.
A Hill On Which To Die by Judge Paul Pressler, Broadman & Holman, Nashville, TN; 1999.
The Baptist Reformation by Jerry Sutton, Broadman & Holman, Nashville, TN; 2000.
Anatomy Of A Reformation: The Southern Baptist Convention, 1978-2004 by Paige Patterson, Office of Public Relations, SWBTS, Fort Worth, TX; 2004.


[By David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, August 3, AD 2009; via R. L. Vaughn Blog, 6/2017. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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