Book Review.docx - The Making of the 1963 Baptist Faith and...

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The Making of the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message . By A.J. Smith. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2008, 201pp. + xi, $31.00. In an effort to avoid a split within the Baptist denomination, A.J. Smith speaks on how Herschel H. Hobbs, one of the most prolific writers in Southern Baptist history, initiated a reformation to change the doctrine at the 1963 BFM. Hobbs sought to soothe both liberal and conservative factions within the denomination (Ch. 1), and while the intent was to merely patch spots that needed it, the result was a complete revision of the older document (Ch. 8). Hobbs did a good job of soothing some of the factions by tactfully using broad enough language to allow flexibility in the coming years as culture and the church grew and changed. Smith sets up the book with Hobbs leading the way through the controversial theology professors Dale Moody and Ralph Elliott. Moody had expressed a controversial view of apostasy while preaching at an event in Oklahoma in 1961 (Chapter 2). Shortly after, Elliott published The Message of Genesis , which challenged the accuracy of the book of Genesis by asserting the first eleven chapter may be parabolic or allegorical in nature (Ch. 2). Other theological concerns arose around the political environment at this time in the United States. With the Civil Rights Movement and the election of the first Roman Catholic as President, the culture was shifting, and the church was scrambling to keep up.

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