Book Review CHHI Smith.docx - 1 The Making of the 1963...

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1 The Making of the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message. By A. J. Smith. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2008, 201pp. + xi, $31.00. In writing the book, The Making of the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message, Smith was documenting efforts of Herschel H. Hobbs, the then-current president, to avoid a denominational split while staying true to the beliefs and teachings of the Southern Baptist Convention. (p. 2) That stated, Smith delves into the facts surrounding the creation of the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message (BFM), including why it was necessary and how it was accomplished. This critique will evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the book to see if Smith has adequately supported his thesis. Beginning with the introduction, Smith lays out the purpose of his book, the methodology he used, and gives a brief synopsis of the chapters to follow. According to Smith, “This project focuses on three major factors: (1) the influences upon the Committee that prompted it to make the changes it did; (2) the relation of confessions to Baptist life; and (3) the theological significance of key changes made in the 1963 document.” (p. 7) There was much going on during this time that prompted the writing of the new BFM. Claims of apostasy on the part of Dale Moody at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (p. 20) and the Genesis Controversy at the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (25). These were only a part of a wave of progressivism and liberalism that had infiltrated the Southern Baptist Convention at the seminary level. Rank-and-file members of the Convention began to question what was being taught in

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