Thursday, June 11

1985 Dallas SBC remembered as 'a watershed moment' in the Conservative Resurgence

DALLAS (BP) -- For pastor's wife Ritchie Hale, attending the 1985 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting meant sleeping in a 1960 popup camper with her husband and four children amid 100-degree temperatures and thunderstorms. For Conservative Resurgence leader Morris Chapman, that meeting occasioned one of the clearest personal directives God had ever given him. For moderate leader Cecil Sherman, it was the first time he contemplated losing the battle for the SBC.

All three knew the Dallas annual meeting 30 years ago was of monumental importance in the SBC's Conservative Resurgence. By some estimates, the 45,519 registered messengers may have constituted the largest deliberative body ever assembled.
"The 1985 annual meeting was a watershed moment in the conservative revolution in the convention," said Gregory Wills, professor of church history and dean of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s the school of theology. "Southern Baptist moderates mobilized all their resources to stop the conservative advance at the Dallas meeting. Their bid to regain the presidency failed.

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