Resurgence of Fundamentalism in the Southern Baptist Convention: A History From 1960 to 1979

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The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) experienced an intense struggle for control of the ideological direction of its denomination in the 1960s and 1970s. This book examines how the Conservative movement within the denomination took aim at reorienting the denomination away from its perceived liberal course and toward a clear and unquestioned affirmation of biblical inerrancy.
This study investigates both the Elliott and Broadman Controversies. Since events do not take place in a vacuum, the conflicts are set in their respective historical contexts, both socio-cultural and religious. This project finds that Southern Baptists had become an increasingly diverse group theologically and socially by the 1960s and early 1970s and that the two controversies brought to the forefront doctrinal, social, and regional differences present among Southern Baptists.


“Based on access to key primary sources, he [Faught] carefully narrates the story, showing the thinking and practices on both sides of these two critical conflicts. This book contributes significantly to understanding the shape of modern American religion.”
-Professor William L. Pitts, Jr.,
Baylor University

“He [Faught] connects the Fundamentalist responses to the Elliott Controversy and the Broadman Commentary Controversy as related events…large numbers of Baptist scholars in diverse fields will be aided by this book.”
-Dr. Merrill H. Hawkins, Jr.
Carson-Newman University

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Historical Context of the Elliott Crisis

National Context
The Fortunate Fifties
Pluralism and the Sectarian SBC
Race Relations
Tumult of the Early Sixties
Denominational Context
Williams, Toy, and Whitsitt Episodes
Fundamentalist Controversy of the 1920s
Growth and Expansion of the SBC
Recent Tensions in Theological Education
3. The Elliott Controversy: Fundamentalist Renewal and The Message of Genesis
Seminary Rumblings
Elliott Versus the Sunday School Board
Content of the Book
Fundamentalist Critics
Evaluation of the Critics
Supporters of the Book
Insufficient Support for Elliott
4. Fundamentalism: Triumphant, Yet Frustrated
Missouri Baptist Convention
Fundamentalists and Midwestern Trustees
Trustee Investigating Committee
Reaction to the Trustee Statement
Oklahoma Caucus
Fundamentalists and the SBC in San Francisco
Pastor’s Conference
Preconvention Rump Session
Fundamentalists Motions at the Convention
Herschel Hobbs’s Presidential Address
Sunday School Board Actions
The Final Compromise
Results of the Controversy
5. The Broadman Controversy: Historical Context
National Scene
Civil Rights Movement
Vietnam War
Radical Religion
Denominational Setting
The Christian Life Commission
Sunday School Board Conflicts
W.A. Criswell and the Bible Professors
Sunday School Board Curriculum
Attempts to Amend the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message
6. The Broadman Controversy: Fundamentalist Expansion
Formation of the Broadman Commentary
Critical Reviews
Evaluation of the Critics
Favorable Reviews
Affirming the Bible Conference
Pastor’s Conference
Denver Convention, 1970
Sunday School Board Action
St. Louis Convention, 1971
Clyde Francisco is New Writer
Philadelphia Convention, 1972
Consequences of the Conflict
7. Conclusion

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