Elmer Towns on the Conservative Resurgence

Elmer Towns serves as the Co-founder and Dean of the School of Religion at Liberty University. In the recent issue of Theology for Ministry (Vol. 3 No. 1), the theological journal of Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, he has an article entitled, “What Should Southern Baptists Do with Calvinists?” (EDIT: thanks to Kenneth Fryer for the link) It appears just before my article entitled, “The Way We Were and Are Becoming Again: The Revival of the Doctrines of Grace in Southern Baptist Life.” This issue of the journal is dedicated to “Contemporary Movements in American Christianity” and Dr. Daryl Cornett, the editor, wanted to include contrasting views of Calvinism in the SBC. It is safe to say that he accomplished his goal.

I plan engage some of Dr. Towns’ thoughts in future posts as I have time. But as I read his article last week, I was struck by the following paragraph that gives his view from Liberty Mountain on what happened in the Conservative Resurgence of the Southern Baptist Convention that publicly began in 1979. He quite obviously views it as a fundamentalist victory.

In the last twenty-five years Southern Baptists have fought the battle of perceived liberalism within its ranks and bureaucracy, and most would agree that the fundamentalists have won that battle. Beginning with the election of Adrian Rogers in 1979, one self-identified fundamentalist after another has become president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and in turn they have controlled the nomination and election process of the various boards and seminaries. In due time, boards mandated that liberal-leaning individuals were not nominated to positions, and fundamentalists turned the various boards and committees toward fundamentalism.

Tom Ascol has served as a Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL since 1986. Prior to moving to Florida he served as pastor and associate pastor of churches in Texas. He has a BS degree in sociology from Texas A&M University (1979) and has also earned the MDiv and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary, the Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, African Christian University, Copperbelt Ministerial College, and Reformed Baptist Seminary. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Tom serves as the President of Founders Ministries and The Institute of Public Theology. He has edited the Founders Journal, a quarterly theological publication of Founders Ministries, and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. He has been a regular contributor to TableTalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries. He has also edited and contributed to several books, including Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, The Truth and Grace Memory Books for children and  Recovering the Gospel and Reformation of Churches. He is also the author of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist ConventionTraditional Theology and the SBC and Strong and Courageous. Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition he regularly contributes articles to the Founders website and hosts a weekly podcast called The Sword & The Trowel. He and his wife Donna have six children along with four sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. They have sixteen grandchildren.
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