I was raised in a large Southern Baptist church in Houston, Texas. I was educated in Southern Baptist institutions. I was ordained in a Southern Baptist church. Coming of age in the 1980's I remember well overhearing the discussions at home and church about the conservative resurgence within the SBC. It may surprise some of you to know how liberal the Southern Baptist seminaries had become and, as a consequence, its clergy and churches. But, by God's grace, the Southern Baptists did not go the way of the PCUSA, Disciples of Christ, or United Methodists.
One of the key moments in this mega-shift away from liberalism was the reformation of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Southern is the oldest and largest of the SBC seminaries. It was also the great bastion of theological liberalism within the denomination. But in 1993, after a change in the balance of power among the trustees, Southern Seminary hired a young theologian and journalist named Albert Mohler as the new President of the seminary. At that point that point the battle was joined. Ultimately, Southern Seminary returned wholeheartedly to its founding confession and vision. But the fight was brutal and is, in my mind, one the great stories of the church in the 20th century.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Dr. Mohler's presidency of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. So I offer enthusiastic gratitude to the Lord for Albert Mohler and his unswerving loyalty to God's Word, his tenacity in leadership, his willingness to be ridiculed for what is right, and his enthusiasm for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I encourage you to read this account of the turnaround of Southern Seminary. It is truly a harrowing story.