How Southern Baptist Seminary Stemmed the Evolutionary Tide

Roy Honeycutt the president of Southern Baptist Seminary from 1982-1993 was weak on inerrancy and did not clearly hold to a literal Adam or a young earth. This angered many Southern Baptists in late 80’s, in particular Adrian Rogers, a well known preacher and three time president of the Southern Baptist Convention. However, it still appeared that the evolutionary, non-historical Adam tide, which had overtaken many conservative seminaries in the 80’s and 90’s would also overtake Southern Baptist. However, it did not. Now Southern Baptist is one of the strongest voices for the traditional, conservative interpretation of Genesis 1-3. How did Southern Baptist stem the tide?

The exchanges [between Honeycutt and Rogers] indicated a wider conservative resurgence within the Southern Baptist Convention that was marked by a consistent determination to pursue reformation…Within the Southern Baptist Convention, conservatives increasingly gained majorities, electing individuals to key positions, which began to impact the membership of the Board of Trustees of Southern Seminary. By 1990, the situation had reached a tipping point. A conservative majority was seated on the board and began to implement a requirement of scriptural inerrancy. [Bold is mine.]

One thing led to another and

Having for some years slowed the transition toward a conservative evangelicalism, Honeycutt announced his retirement in 1992, and R. Albert Mohler was elected president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1993. With the support of the seminary’s trustees, Mohler moved to implement a meaningful adherence to the seminary’s historic Abstract of Principles, along with other faculty requirements, leading to major transitions in faculty between 1994 and 1997. These changes brought the seminary to a firmly conservative evangelical position. 

The process is not complicated, but it does require courage. Determine to pursue reformation/resist unbiblical thinking, begin to make the changes necessary to get the right men in right places, put those men in authority, and then let them clean house. Now if we could just get Covenant Seminary to follow suit.

All the quotes are from The Quest for the Historical Adam.