By Wayne Flynt
Alabama Baptists are a posh humans. even supposing considered as conservativein either politics and theology, many Baptists grew to become leaders of the 1890sagrarian insurrection, dedicated partisans of the social gospel early within the 20thcentury, and ardent advocates of the hot Deal. Complexity has additionally characterizedthe denomination's race kin. for almost 5 many years part its memberswere slaves, whereas many different individuals owned slaves. hence, interplay ofblack and white Baptists created a different non secular surroundings within which peoplewho have been participants of an identical church buildings interpreted the gospel of liberationin dramatically other ways. After the Civil warfare, Baptist church buildings inthe South divided into white and black congregations. merely white congregationsremained a part of the Southern Baptist conference, whose individuals are knownas Southern Baptists. Black congregations grew to become a part of the nationwide BaptistConvention, and their heritage is a separate tale deserving destiny research. regardless of social and cultural clash Alabama Baptists helped tame achaotic frontier, sustained a feeling of neighborhood, created opportunitiesnot on hand in secular society, formed Alabama politics, and obtainedreligious dominance seldom matched in U.S. heritage. Wayne Flynt's balanced, exhaustively researched publication is the 1st aboutAlabama Baptists to be written by means of a qualified historian. Publicationin 1998 marks the a hundred and seventy fifth anniversary of the Alabama kingdom Baptist conference.
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Extra info for Alabama Baptists: Southern Baptists in the heart of Dixie
Still the denomination grew. In the 1960s Alabama Baptists lost racial and political moderates to more liberal denominations and fundamentalists to independent Baptist congregations. Still the denomination grew. Throughout all these crises, the denomination continued to grow by preempting the conservative, middle-class, white center of Alabama soci- Page xv ety. By its own measurements of victorychurch growth, numbers of baptisms, influence on its culturethe denomination was hugely successful. My first research on this book began in 1966 as a newly arrived faculty member at my alma mater, Howard College.
Perhaps the state's most erudite Baptist minister, sometimes encountered problems with such informality. Arriving in Huntsville to preach at Enon in 1846, he discovered that the church had no pulpit Bible. He could not remember all his text, so he had to change it. The brick floor was covered with several inches of straw, and the few benches were askew. The scene reminded Manly more of a barn than a sanctuary. One woman carried a hymnbook in her pocket, allowing the service to commence. But when Manly stood in the pulpit, the book board was low and only three inches wide, not even large enough for his notes (perhaps reflecting a widespread Baptist belief that preachers should not use them).
But this book is about people who lived in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, not in the twenty-first. Even if denominations are becoming anachronistica highly dubious assumptionBaptists continue to dominate Alabama as few religious groups do in any state. One in four Alabamians and nearly two of three church members belong to churches of the Alabama Baptist State Convention (ABSC), the highest percentage of Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) dominance of any state. Every aspect of the state's lifeits politics, commerce, and educationis interwoven with the ABSC.