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Baptist Battles: Social Change and Religious Conflict in the Southern Baptist Convention Paperback – July 1, 1990
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She opens with the experience of being at the pivotal convention meeting of June 1985 when Charles Stanley was elected president. From there she gives a brief Baptist history, outlining the theology and organizational philosophy that began the Baptist movement in North America. Then she covers the ways in which different groups began to develop within the same theological and organizational worldview. Put simply, the "Fundamentalists" stressed the historical Baptist emphasis on biblical authority and faithfulness to the Bible as the "inerrant" word of God, while "moderates" emphasized the Baptist traditions of the priesthood of all believers and freedom of conscience. From there, the second half of the book details how each wing within the Southern Baptist Convention began to strategically fight for position in the denominational structures. The "fundamentalist" wing ending up developing a more effective strategy for gaining the right positions of authority to enforce their values while the "moderates" who initially held more of the key positions ended up losing many of them. The result was a political war that polarized the denomination and eventually led to factions and splits.
Ammerman takes a sociological approach to the historical events. She reports on the history but spends a good deal of time on detailed surveys conducted within the denomination at the time and points out where the disagreements existed in perception and reality.Read more ›