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Clifton Judson Allen papers offer inside look at SBC

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives has opened the Clifton J. Allen Papers to researchers. These materials give a firsthand look at the Baptist Sunday School Board and the Southern Baptist Convention during some of their most crucial years.

From 1945 to his retirement in 1968, Allen served as the editorial secretary of the Baptist Sunday School Board (now LifeWay Christian Resources). After retiring, he remained active in the work of the board as general editor of the Broadman Bible Commentary. He also played a vital role in the Southern Baptist Convention, serving as recording secretary from 1965-76. He died in Winston-Salem, N.C., in 1986.

“The Allen Papers document the life and work of Southern Baptists in the 20th century better than any other manuscript collection in the archives,” said Bill Sumners, director and archivist for the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives. “His files touch every major issue that faced Southern Baptists for over 40 years of the 20th century — including race relations, peace and war, temperance, social unrest, biblical authority, and work and ministry of the Sunday School Board [now LifeWay Christian Resources].”

The papers are a combination of personal items from his pastoral duties and materials related to his role with the Sunday School Board.

The collection contains information on board publications such as the “Message of Genesis” by Ralph Elliott and the Broadman Bible Commentary controversy. His papers not only document the work of the board, but record the organizational structure of the SBC through the 1950s and 1960s.

Allen was highly regarded by international Baptists and his correspondence with theologians and Baptist World Alliance leaders reflect that admiration. Allen was actively involved in the work of the BWA, the Baptist Ideals Committee, the Crusade for Christian Morality, Interagency Council (SBC), the International Council of Religious Education, the committee on Uniform Lesson Series, and the committee on the Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

Allen was a graduate of Furman University and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He served as pastor of churches in Kentucky and North Carolina before coming to the Sunday School Board in 1937 as associate editorial secretary.

The Clifton J. Allen Papers are open and available to all researchers at the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives, located in the Southern Baptist Convention Building, Nashville, Tenn. The Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives is a research center open to anyone for the study of Baptist history and life.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: CLIFTON J. ALLEN.

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  • Leonard Hill