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Chronology of the SBC Takeover

Here are some key events in the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention. They have been compiled from a variety of sources and edited by myself. Feel free to let me know of other items that you think should be included.

1967 -- Seminary Doctoral student Paige Patterson and Judge Paul Pressler met at Cafe du Monde in New Orleans and discussed a long term strategy for fundamentalist domination of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).

1974 -- Baptist Faith and Message Fellowship identified inerrancy as the issue to be used in their struggle against moderates in the SBC.

1979 -- Patterson, Pressler and others ran a "get out the vote" campaign in 15 states prior to the Convention, urging a defeat of the moderates in the SBC. Voters were bussed to the convention in mass numbers but left after the vote for president. Fundamentalist pastor Adrian Rogers was elected president.

1980 -- Judge Pressler publicly announced the strategy of the fundamentalist takeover, which was to elect the SBC president a sufficient number of times to gain a fundamentalist majority on the boards and agencies of the Convention. This was to be accomplished through the president's power to make appointments. Fundamentalists successfully elected all presidents of the SBC from 1979 to the present.

1985 -- SBC formed a Peace Committee to investigate the growing conflict and make recommendations for conflict resolution. Dominated by fundamentalists the committee failed to approach reconciliation. Cecil Sherman resigned from the committee in 1985, followed by Winfred Moore in 1986 because he did not feel he could participate in a "police committee."

1986 -- Home Mission Board (HMB) trustees became controlled by fundamentalists. Trustees barred women from receiving pastoral assistance in mission churches supported by HMB.  Seminary presidents attempted peace in the "Glorietta statement" but to no avail.

1987 -- Peace Committee report was adopted, recommending that hiring practices of boards and agencies reflect "the most commonly held beliefs" in the denomination. Moderates charged that creedalism became official SBC policy through this action. Southeastern Board of Trustees became controlled by fundamentalists. They took the faculty out of the process for hiring new instructors, and placed this power solely in the hands of the president, who used the Peace Committee document as a doctrinal guide for hiring.  President of Southeastern Seminary, Randall Lolley, resigned in protest.  HMB voted to forbid missionary appointment to persons who speak in tongues and divorced persons, unless the divorce fell within strict guidelines.

1988 -- HMB used the Peace Committee report to enforce creedalism in hiring practices. SBC meeting in San Antonio passed a resolution elevating strong pastoral authority and denigrating the priesthood of all believers by a vote of 10,950 to 9,050. Richard Land, a fundamentalist leader, became President of the Christian Life Commission. Foreign Mission Board (FMB) fired moderate missionary Michael Willett after a fundamentalist missionary reported on Willett's opinions.

1989 -- Fundamentalist leaders gave the Christian Life Commission greater responsibility for dealing with church and state issues in order to circumvent working with the more moderate Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs.

1990 -- Southern Seminary Board of Trustees became controlled by fundamentalists. Trustees gave students permission to openly tape classes. Trustee Jerry Johnson of Colorado accused Southern Seminary President Roy Honeycutt and many faculty of heresy. Baptist Press editors Al Shackleford and Dan Martin were fired by the SBC Executive Committee due to their reporting on the fundamentalist takeover effort and their refusal to cease writing such stories. Associated Baptist Press was formed in order to maintain a free press for Baptist news. Daniel Vestal called a national level meeting of moderate Baptists in Atlanta. 3,000 people showed up and vowed to meet again the following year. This was the birth of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF).

1991 -- Southeastern Seminary published a new statement of purpose and the doctrine of  inerrancy became official policy. Moderate Sunday School Board President Lloyd Elder was forced to resign due to a hostile board of trustees. Fundamentalist leader Jimmy Draper became President of the Sunday School Board. FMB voted to defund Rushlikon Seminary in Europe because of moderate professors. 6,000 Baptists in Atlanta formally organized the CBF. Moderates no longer offered an alternative candidate for President of the SBC.

1992 -- Paige Patterson became President of Southeastern Seminary. Career missionary and President of the FMB, Keith Parks, resigned in protest against a hostile fundamentalist board of trustees. Parks became missions director for the CBF.

1993 -- President of Southern Seminary, Roy Honeycutt, resigned due to a hostile fundamentalist board of trustees. Al Mohler, a leading fundamentalist, became President of Southern Seminary. SBC voted to cease giving funds to the Baptist Joint Committee for Public Affairs because it would not cooperate with the fundamentalist agenda to restore publicly-led prayer in schools, government vouchers to attend religious schools and other right wing political and religious goals. Fundamentalists attempted to refuse seating for messengers from the church where President Clinton had his church membership. SBC affirmed a report critical of membership in Freemasons. Gary Leazer was fired from the HMB for explaining the meaning of that vote to Masons at a Masonic meeting.

1994 -- SBC Executive Committee leaders commanded SBC Seminaries to cease hosting booths at CBF meetings. Moderate Professor Molly Marshall was forced to resign from Southern Seminary. A hostile board of fundamentalist trustees at Southwestern Seminary fired President Russell Dilday and changed the locks on his office. SBC meeting in Orlando voted to refuse CBF funds designated for missionaries and other SBC agencies. SBC Executive Committee requested that State Conventions cut all ties to CBF.

1995 -- Diana Garland was fired as Dean of Carver School of Social work by seminary president A1 Mohler. FMB President Jerry Rankin sent a letter to 40,000 pastors and Women's Missionary Union (WMU) Directors urging them to pray that the National WMU would cease cooperating with the CBF. John Jackson, chairman of the Board of Trustees for the FMB, compared the WMU's cooperation with the CBF with the acts of an adulterous woman.

1996 -- Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia formed into a rival state convention in protest of the moderate nature of the existing state convention which cooperated with the CBF and other moderate Baptists. Southwestern Seminary president Ken Hemphill canceled an edition of its theological journal and the editor, Jeff B. Poole, was removed from teaching.

1997 -- Carver School of Social Work was cut from the curriculum at Southern Seminary and transferred to another college. Paul Debusman, librarian at Southern for 35 years, was fired over the content of a personal letter to Tom Ellif, the SBC President. New Orleans seminary withdrew invitations to teach from two adjunct instructors due to their ties with the CBF. The 1997 SBC meeting in Dallas called for a boycott of Disney Company and related companies because of immorality in movies and business policies friendly to homosexuals.

1998 -- Jerry Falwell attended SBC as a messenger for the first time and identified SBC seminaries as fundamentalist. Fundamentalist Baptists in Texas formed Southern Baptists of Texas to serve as a rival state convention in protest against the Baptist General Convention of Texas. SBC passed a new article on the family as an amendment to the Baptist Faith and Message statement of 1963. The amendment emphasized female submission to the husband. Paige Patterson, early leader of the fundamentalist takeover, was elected President of the SBC.

1999 -- Southwestern Seminary professors Alan Brehm and Dan Kent resigned after the seminary required faculty to sign off on the SBC amendment of the Baptist Faith and Message which emphasized female submission. SBC Messengers commissioned a panel to reexamine the Baptist Faith and Message Statement with a view toward revising it to reflect unambiguous fundamentalist language.

2000 - SBC approved a new Baptist Faith and Message which elevated the Bible above Christ, failed to safeguard Baptist distinctives of soul liberty and priesthood of the believer, and violated local-church autonomy by stating that the office of pastor must be limited to men. Former President Jimmy Carter left the Southern Baptist Convention. Texas Baptists approved a proposal to reduce SBC funding.

2001 - South Main of Houston severed ties with the SBC. Two professors at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary refused to sign the new Baptist Faith and Message and lost their jobs. Former President Jimmy Carter urged estranged moderates to forget the conservative-led Southern Baptist Convention and form new partnerships to advance traditional Baptist views. Registrations numbered 5,100 at the annual CBF Convention in Atlanta, a new record. Fundamentalists in Texas held their convention at the same time as the BGCT annual convention which was peaceful and without controversy (only about 50 votes in favor of the new Baptist Faith and Message out of the thousands that attended).

2002 - Texas Baptists established a rescue fund for disenfranchised SBC missionaries.