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Humphreys: The Way We Were

As a point of entry into Fisher Humphreys’s 1994 book The Way We Were: How Southern Baptist Theology has Changed and What it Means to Us All it is important to note two things:

  1. He’s in the group that lost out during the Conservative Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention in the Eighties; there are several of these groups, and they overlap, but based on my reading I think it might be fairest to refer to him as a “progressive,” meaning that he favors the ordination of women, critical biblical studies, academic freedom in seminaries, and ecumenicism.
  2. He considers the early English Baptists, the original dissenters from the Anglican Church with their believers baptism and their local government of churches, to be normative and later Baptists, including but not limited to Landmarkists and Fundamentalists, to be deviant.

It might fairly and humbly be asked why Humphreys would stake out this particular territory to defend, especially the second point, and at least one other blogger (Greg Gibert at 9Marks [link]) has asked pretty much this question. In his case he asks why it would matter that John Smyth and Thomas Helwys were anti-Calvinist (his term).

I guess I’d have to put these two points together the way I have here and ask why someone who believes seminaries should be havens of academic freedom and Baptist churches not places where the opinions of the English Baptists could be disregarded. Of course, I haven’t read them, so I can’t say what their opinions would be regarding the ordination of women and inerrancy.

 

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