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The Baptist Reformation: The Conservative Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention Hardcover – January 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Broadman & Holman Publishers (January 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805440917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805421989
  • ASIN: 080542198X
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,165,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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See all 13 customer reviews
He would recommend this to anyone interested in learning about the SBC.
M. Armstrong
Until this book, "the controversy," as Southern Baptists called it, had been interpreted by self-described "moderates" with predictably skewed perspectives.
John B. Carpenter
The book begins by showing the problems that worried conservatives in the SBC.
Trevin Wax

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 41 people found the following review helpful By John B. Carpenter on July 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Jerry Sutton chronicles one of the most remarkable church movements in the late twentieth century: the reformation of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). This was remarkable because it was so exceptional, against the trends of nearly every other "mainline" denomination and Western culture as a whole. Sutton, who earned a Ph.D. in church history and is a Southern Baptist pastor, offers us here the first major, formal account of the "conservative resurgence" that I know of from the conservative (or evangelical) side. Until this book, "the controversy," as Southern Baptists called it, had been interpreted by self-described "moderates" with predictably skewed perspectives. One such "moderate" account, Bill Leonard's God's Last and Only Hope makes a suitable contrast to Sutton's evangelical view.
Sutton's account, as a "participant observer," is divided into four sections. The first describes the shabby theological and institutional condition into which he believes the SBC had fallen under "moderate" leadership. Proving that some of the professors in the seminaries and agencies in the bureaucracy had strayed far from the will of the SBC, as expressed in resolutions at their annual convention and their Baptist Faith and Message (their de facto creed) is essential to his case that conservatives were not just out for power but driven by a passion to restore the evangelical faith. I believe Sutton proved his point. The second part chronicles the way the SBC began to change. He describes the elections of successive conservative presidents to the SBC since 1979 and the opposition they met from incensed "moderates." Here we get a glimpse of the fervent politicking that swept the SBC.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Trevin Wax on February 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
If you're looking for a topical, detailed resource that lays out the Conservative Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention, you ought to pick up Jerry Sutton's book on the controversy. Sutton documents in painstaking detail the debate between conservatives and moderates in the SBC in the 1980's and 1990's.

The Baptist Reformation: The Conservative Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention (Broadman & Holman, 2000) is clearly written from the conservative point of view, but Sutton seeks to fairly represent the moderate position. By using terminology preferred by both sides of the controversy, he ensures that the tone is polite instead of inflammatory.

The book begins by showing the problems that worried conservatives in the SBC. Sutton points to perceived theological error being taught in the seminaries, a deficient view of Scripture, and an institutional bureaucracy that stifled the voices and desires of ordinary Southern Baptists.

Next, Sutton explains how the Convention changed. The bulk of the book leads the reader chronologically through the Southern Baptist Convention from 1979-2000. Each chapter is devoted to the successive conservative presidents whose leadership brought lasting change. SBC presidents are empowered to make appointments to the committee that nominates people to other committees. By changing the leadership at the helm, the Southern Baptist ship slowly turned around.

The last part of the book is topical. Sutton shows readers how particular institutions changed. He analyzes the missions agencies, the Sunday School board, the seminaries, and the executive committee.

For most of the book, Sutton describes the Conservative Resurgence from the air.
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By M. Armstrong on January 31, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this as a gift for my brother who had joined a Southern Baptist Church in Florida. He wanted to learn more about the background of the convention and had heard about this book. I have not read it, but he was very impressed. He would recommend this to anyone interested in learning about the SBC.
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By Ryan Carter on June 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was raised with a Independent Baptist background. Church leadership all watched as liberalism swept through the Southern Baptist seminaries. The result was our church leadership spoke negatively of the liberal Southern Baptists. This book puts into perspective why the Independents were so negative of the Southern Baptist denomination, but also tells the rest of the story and of the difficult path Southern Baptists have traveled to return to Biblical authority and conservatism. (This part of the story was never talked about or discussed.) I recommend this book to all my Independent Baptist friends who now consider me a liberal Southern Baptist Pastor. Let the full story and facts be known!
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13 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan D. Kittrell on April 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
As a young minister, I did not even know there was a controversy until it was nearly ten years old. I realize that this book was written by someone who would be considered a conservative, but his treatment of the information was factual and kind. He did not set out on a campaign to ruin anybody. The first couple of chapters are very in depth and one could get lost in them, but after that, the material is easier to comprehend and better reading.
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10 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Brian Prucey on June 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Synopsis

The Baptist Reformation is a meticulous account of the why's and how's of the Southern Baptist Convention's conservative resurgence. Sutton chronicled in mind-numbingly tedious detail the events and persons that shaped the twenty-year struggle to restore the institutions of the Southern Baptist Convention back to their historically conservative moorings. He wrote from the perspective of a self-proclaimed participant-observer to help other conservatives understand the need for the conservative resurgence, to overview the strategies employed, and to assess the resurgence's effects on the agencies of the convention. Additionally, Sutton sought to respond to the liberal-moderate critics who, in his opinion, unfairly slandered the conservative resurgence and its leaders.

Analysis

If it is true that the winners in any struggle get to write the history, then with regard to the Southern Baptist conservative resurgence, The Baptist Reformation is that history. One could probably describe Sutton's account of the events as polemical history. Sutton did not approach the task as an unbiased historian. His objective was not to present a fair and balanced profile of the conservative resurgence, but to justify it and praise it. Beginning with the 1961 "Elliot Controversy," Sutton detailed the examples of theological liberalism conservatives felt had displaced centuries of historic Baptist orthodoxy within the convention's boards, agencies, and institutions--especially the six seminaries. Foundational to all these left-leaning theologies was the Bultmannian neo-orthodox view of the Scriptures espoused by a few within the liberal-moderate faction.
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