Thursday, July 12, 2007

Battling Historical Ignorance at SBC Witness

The best decision that SEBTS has made in years—hiring Nathan Finn. This article is one good piece of evidence to support my claim. Great article, Nathan. By the way, I know you read here occasionally, so I pose this question to you, Nathan: After having consumed a great deal of The Baptist, can you give us your impression of why it was so tremendously successful as a Baptist periodical? I have some ideas, myself, on that topic. Perhaps we could co-author a blog article on this topic, extrapolating implications for successful blogging?


R. L. Vaughn said...

Thanks for the link. I really miss Nathan's personal blog, and often forget to check for his writings at SBC Witness.

Les Puryear said...


"The Baptist" periodical? This is another resource of which I am unaware.

I must be living in a cave. :)


Bart Barber said...


He is so consistently good, isn't he?

Bart Barber said...


Forgive the shorthand. The publication later came to be known as The Tennessee Baptist, to differentiate it from such daughter publications as The Arkansas Baptist. The Tennessee Baptist was the most powerful Southern Baptist newspaper of the nineteenth century.

Nathan Finn said...


Thanks for the kind words. I have to confess that I have not read very widely in The Baptist--my current project is looking at a sampling of 19th century papers, The Baptist being one of them. I think the years I was looking at were 1885-86. Anyway, the point is I am not familiar enough with The Baptist at this time to be able to speak very well about what made it so successful. I would definitely have to defer to your wisdom on that one.

I do want to take a moment to say this, which would apply to Graves's paper (and 19th century papers in general): oh for a return to the day when Baptist periodicals, whether in print or online, would consistently and unambiguously address issues of theological import. There was some mighty hearty meat in those papers!


Greg Welty said...

From Nathan Finn's article:

"Please note that J. R. Graves was not born until several years after 1707."


Grosey's Messages said...

Its all good... many thanks Nathan for a very helpful article.

R. Grannemann said...

Nathan Finn seems almost to define Landmarkism as a 19th century movement rather than a system of doctrine, perhaps even as the followers of J.R. Graves. If so, then we could certainly find no Landmarkers today.

The discussion of what constitutes a true church and valid baptism goes back at least to early English Baptists (John Smyth 1600's), and Thomas Crosby's The History of the English Baptist (1738) is fully consumed with ideas of church succession. Landmarkism built on previous ideas, putting church succession at the core and building a system that defended passionately most the practices that Finn says do not identify Landmarkism. Landmarkism has become a pejorative term, thus all the quibbling about what constitutes Landmarkism. But it is a debate of the ideas that is important, not whether they constitute Landmarkism and regardless of the degree to which they were held by Baptists in the past.

While the banner of Conservative Resurgence was Inerrancy of Scripture (terminology which by it very use demonstrates ignorance of the development of the OT text), it now seems the idea of a true church will be re-explored (if the new IMB policy on baptism is an attendant of this concern). This discussion might not be bad, but really, the world needs from us so much more. The new Petersburg, Kentucky Creation Museum recently highlighted in Baptist Press comes to mind. When I read a museum exhibit suggested the Grand Canyon was formed by The Flood, I was greatly saddened. The museum is unfortunately another evangelical hoax. Evangelicalism has again demonstrated it slept through the 20th century. The "liberals" the CR threw out might not have had the right answers, but at least they asked the right, and for our generation the relevant, questions.