Retrieving, Repeating, and Redeeming the principles of the Conservative Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention.

ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda secundum verbi Dei

— Jodocus van Lodenstein

In 2006, R. Albert Mohler, Jr. wrote, “America’s largest evangelical denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention was reshaped, reformed, and restructured over the last three decades, and at an incredibly high cost.” Mohler refers to the so-called “Conservative Resurgence” (hereafter CR) of the Southern Baptist Convention (hereafter SBC). The CR (referred to as the “fundamentalist takeover” by its detractors) was a successful, largely grassroots effort on the part of theological conservatives to move the SBC away from theological liberalism and secure its institutions for the cause of biblical inerrancy and the fundamentals of the faith it entails. However, it would be a mistake to think that the beliefs, concerns, and efforts of the CR must come to an end. As Jodocus van Lodenstein wrote in 1674, “The church is reformed and always being reformed according to the Word of God.”

We believe the theological principles of the Conservative Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention are worth retrieving, repeating, and redeeming. Retrieval theology makes possible the application of past theological arguments and practices to present-day concerns. Repetition of these unchanging doctrinal standards ensures they are not merely assumed and later forgotten. The need to redeem the theological principles of the CR movement assumes these principles were promoted by sinful human beings who thus left open the possibility of their being improved upon.

The principles of the CR, then, do not merely belong to an event completed in history, but to a theological movement to be continued until the coming of Christ.


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