Background Struggles Of The Conservative Baptist Movement -- By: Robert Delnay

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 07:2 (Summer 1964)
Article: Background Struggles Of The Conservative Baptist Movement
Author: Robert Delnay


Background Struggles Of The Conservative Baptist Movement

Robert Delnay, Th.D.

There is scarcely a characteristic or a single problem connected with the present situation in the Conservative Baptist movement which does not date back many years. In fact, we can not approach an understanding of where we are now without knowing about the struggle against modernism. We may say that the first phase of the battle took place in the years 1907–1922. Later articles, Lord willing, will deal with the years 1927–1942 and 1943–1947.

The Southern Baptist Convention was organized in 1845, but there was no convention in the north. In the north we had what, were known as the Anniversaries, and in the spring of the year about the time of Pentecost, usually in the month of May, there would be a set of annual meetings which took place for about a week. Those annual meetings were known as the Anniversaries. There were two foreign mission societies: the- American Baptist Missionary Union and the Women’s American Baptist Missionary Union. In addition, there were three home mission societies, the American Baptist Publication Society, and the American Baptist Educational Society, which was in effect the device by which the Rockefellers funneled their giving into the schools. These societies were autonomous, independent Baptist agencies and held their annual meetings at the same time.

When the messengers gathered for the Anniversaries, not all of them necessarily accredited to all the societies, the meetings might open with a session for the foreign society. After conducting some business, or hearing a speaker, the society would recess, and perhaps the publication society would take the platform. Throughout the week each society held its sessions, much as the Conservative Baptist organizations in our annual meetings.

There were only two serious problems. One of these was financial. The societies kept going into debt, The head of the foreign society in those days was H. C. Mabie, a man of faith, who did not operate the mission society as a denominational mission; that is, he did not fit the program to the amount of money he had in sight. He trusted God for great mission exploits and vigorously pushed for the evangelization of the world. The only trouble was that at the end of any given year he might have had up to $100,000 deficit. Although John D. Rockefeller, Sr., took a generous part

in liquidating those deficits, he and other Baptist donors became restless about it. So there was a financial problem before 1907.

The second problem was the real reason for the founding of the Northern Baptist Convention, namely the program of modernism. Modernism began to appear...

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