The “Bible Evangelism” Of William Wistar Hamilton -- By: Bo Rice

Journal: Journal for Baptist Theology & Ministry
Volume: JBTM 14:2 (Fall 2017)
Article: The “Bible Evangelism” Of William Wistar Hamilton
Author: Bo Rice

The “Bible Evangelism” Of William Wistar Hamilton

Bo Rice

Bo Rice is assistant professor of evangelism and preaching and associate dean of Supervised Ministry and Mentoring Programs at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is comprised of churches which focus on the Great Commission. Throughout its history, the convention has given priority to evangelism. Due to declines in baptisms, the SBC is giving renewed emphasis to the work. Differing opinions abound but one thing remains, a commitment to the Great Commission.

The current scene is similar to the time of the early 1900s. After the Civil War, Southern Baptists placed great emphasis on church planting in order to accomplish the work of evangelism. As the SBC gradually recovered, a new emphasis on the convention’s approach to evangelism came to the forefront.1

In 1904, the SBC began to discuss its approach to evangelism when Pastor Len G. Broughton of Georgia proposed the following resolution:

RESOLVED, That the Convention appoint a committee of twelve pastors, not members of any Convention Board, to be known as the Committee on Evangelism for the Needy Sections of our Convention Territory;

That this Committee, in cooperation with the Secretaries of our Boards, shall employ a general evangelist, who shall also be Secretary of the Committee;

That said evangelist shall, in addition to his evangelistic work, gather statistics, disseminate information and call to his aid such help and helpers as the Committee may approve;

That the cooperation of the State Boards be secured as far as possible, where work is to be done in needy and destitute fields;

That the salary of the general evangelist be paid by the three Boards of the Convention, and other expenses, including the salaries of special evangelists, be arranged for by the field or cooperating board;

That collections be taken at every meeting held by the evangelists for the work of the Evangelistic Committee;

That annual reports be made to the State Boards in all the States where work has been done;

That the Committee also report annually to the Convention.2

Charles S. (“Chuck”) Kelley writes, “The resolution marked a significant milestone in Southern Baptist life. The action proposed by Broughton was an attempt to have the denomination accept specific responsibility for the task of calling lost people to Chri...

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