Ultimately, Jimmy proved to be too good for either the White House or his beloved Southern Baptist Convention. But he was never too good; just a little better than the rest of us. He was of our tribe.
By Alan Bean
I remember back in 1978 when Harold Lindsell published Battle for the Bible. I was in my final year at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. None of my professors thought much of Lindsell’s diatribe. In fact, he was written off as a silly man with antiquated ideas.
Forty-five years later, Lindsell’s Simple Simon theology is the controlling ideology at my alma mater and throughout the evangelical world. To argue otherwise is to surrender your orthodoxy card.
The change didn’t come gradually. In fact, it all happened while I was working on my doctorate at Southern. When I arrived in 1989, the school was much as it had been in 1978, moderate, cautious, and, within strict limits, tolerant of theological diversity. There was no room for genuine liberals, of course (this is the Southern Baptist Convention we’re talking about); but God-said-it-I-believe-it-that-settles-it conservatives were also not welcome.
By the time I walked across the stage to receive my diploma from newly installed president Albert Mohler the school had changed beyond recognition. (more…)