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SBC DIGEST: Article examines racial attitudes of Truett, Criswell; Allen releases ‘Succeeding at Seminary’ book

Article examines ‘lost legacies’ of Truett, Criswell on race, racism

By Alex Sibley/SWBTS

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) – The “lost legacies” of George W. Truett and W.A. Criswell regarding matters of race and racism in the Southern Baptist Convention are examined in an article of the spring issue of the Southwestern Journal of Theology, the academic journal of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Written by O.S. Hawkins, president of GuideStone Financial Resources, the article is among eight essays exploring the journal’s theme of “The Doctrine of Humankind.” 

Truett and Criswell each pastored the First Baptist Church of Dallas in the 20th century, and Hawkins is among their successors. Both men are highly regarded figures within the Southern Baptist Convention, each having significant and fruitful ministries, and both are honored by Southwestern Seminary.

While Criswell is honored with a lobby named for him in MacGorman Chapel, Truett’s 36-year affiliation with the seminary as a founding trustee and president of the board for 13 years is recognized in several ways – the Truett Auditorium, the Truett Conference Room in the B.H. Carroll Memorial Building and the George W. Truett Chair of Ministry, an endowed professorship currently held by David L. Allen, distinguished professor of preaching.

Nevertheless, Hawkins’ article reveals that Criswell strongly advocated segregation in his early career, a position of which he later repented, and Truett failed to speak out against the racism present in his congregation. Truett served First Baptist Dallas as pastor from 1897 until his death in 1944, while Criswell served the church from 1944 until his death in 2002, as pastor, senior pastor and pastor emeritus. Both men also served as SBC president – Truett, 1927-1929; Criswell, 1968-1970.

“O.S. Hawkins deserves our gratitude and praise for his research on this important matter concerning Southern Baptist history, which is interwoven with our beloved seminary’s history,” SWBTS President Adam W. Greenway said. 

“Like some of our most cherished heroes of the Bible, who at times committed scandalous acts because of their sinful natures, we must be honest enough to acknowledge that some of our Baptist heroes were guilty of sins of omission and commission that are grievous. Unlike today’s cancel culture that seeks to erase historical figures who failed in some aspect of their lives, we can all be grateful God did not cancel sin-scarred saints like Abraham, Moses, David and others who trusted in God’s grace – and that He also does not cancel present-day believers who fall short of God’s glory even as they sincerely seek to walk with Jesus.”

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Allen releases ‘Succeeding at Seminary’ book

By Michael S. Brooks/MBTS

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Midwestern Seminary announced this week the release of President Jason K. Allen’s latest book project: “Succeeding at Seminary: 12 Keys to Getting the Most Out of Your Theological Education.” The volume is published by Moody Publishers.

The 114-page work features a collection of practical wisdom for those considering beginning in seminary or those who are just starting out.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to publish a book I wish I had access to many years ago when I began in seminary,” Allen said. “It has been a privilege to partner with the team at Moody Publishers, and I am doubly grateful for the group of pastors, seminary presidents, and ministry leaders who provided kind words of endorsement for the project.”

The new volume includes chapters on confirming one’s call to ministry, committing to a season of training and preparation, choosing the right seminary, and practical tips for succeeding while in school such as managing one’s time, the balance between work and home and cultivating a strong supporting cast for the road ahead.

Allen said that the primary audience for the book includes those considering seminary training and those just beginning in their seminary journey, but he encourages anyone with a mind and heart for the next generation of church leaders to pick the volume up.

“I wrote the book as a practical help for those who sense a call to ministry and who are exploring their next steps,” Allen said. “20 years ago, my wife and I packed our belongings into a U-Haul and moved onto a seminary campus several states away. Though I enjoyed a fruitful seminary experience, I did not know back then what I know now. I wish I had access to a guide then, helping me know what questions to ask and where to find the answers. I am thrilled for the opportunity to step into this space and offer help to those in a similar position as I was.”

Read the full story here.

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