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W. H. Whitsitt: The Man and the Controversy

By author: James H. Slatton
Product Code: H774
ISBN: 9780881461336
Product Format: Hardback
Publisher: Mercer University Press
Availability: In stock
Price: $40.00

Nurtured in a Tennessee Baptist home, the grandson of a pioneer Baptist preacher and church starter, William Whitsitt grew up knowing and admiring the principle leaders of Landmarkism (Graves, Pendleton, and Dayton). His Civil War experiences and studies at the University of Virginia, Southern Seminary, Berlin, and Leipzig brought him to broader views and the historical-critical approach to historical and biblical studies, placing him at odds with narrow denominationalism and the popular myth of an unbroken succession of Baptist churches all the way back to the New Testament. The sixth professor elected to the Southern Seminary faculty, he succeeded Broadus to become the school’s third president. In his private diary, he recorded his candid opinions of his colleagues, revealing a perspective not previously published on men of iconic proportions in Southern Baptists life—Boyce, Broadus, Manly, Robertson, Sampey, and Carver. Brilliant scholar and loyal Baptist, Whitsitt was a key leader in the original effort to mobilize the white Baptist churches of the South into an effective and centralized denominational organization to support missions and Christian education. His scholarly discoveries in original English Baptist documents offended Baptist sensibilities and the resulting national controversy led to his being hounded from office. At stake in the controversy was academic freedom and the fundamental issue of the struggle of Southern Baptists with the legacy of the enlightenment and modernity—the confrontation between the “new learning” and the “old faith.”
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