The founders of the Southern Baptist Convention and of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary were zealous defenders of biblical orthodoxy.
They were also heretics.
Their heresy was racism, and this heresy ran deep within them.
James Petigru Boyce and John A. Broadus were founding faculty members of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; they were also slaveowners who served as chaplains in the Confederate army. Basil Manly, Sr., served as the founding chair of the board of trustees at Southern Seminary. This same man owned forty slaves and flogged at least one of them as punishment. Manly declared that, when it came to his right to buy and to sell African Americans, “I had no more doubt or compunction than in pocketing the price of a horse or anything else that belonged to me.” Manly’s son and namesake drafted the Abstract of Principles that every professor still signs when elected to the faculty of the seminary.
The Southern Baptist Convention was founded in 1845
by men who held to an ideology of racial superiority and who bathed that ideology in scandalous theological argument. At times, white superiority was defended by a putrid exegesis of the Bible that claimed a “curse of Ham” as the explanation of dark skin—an argument that reflects such ignorance of Scripture and such shameful exegesis that it could only be believed by those who were looking for an argument to satisfy their prejudices.
Sadly—sickeningly—these prejudices persisted in the pulpits of prominent Southern Baptist churches well into the twentieth century.
So what should we who live as heirs of this heretical heritage do now? That’s the question that this video explores. As you watch, lament the horrors of the past, recognize the pain of the present, and hope for a far more beautiful future.
A New Humanity: Racial Reconciliation and the Southern Baptist Convention