Thy Will Be Done: A Biography of George W. Truett

By Shepherd, Samuel C. | The Journal of Southern History, May 2011 | Go to article overview

Thy Will Be Done: A Biography of George W. Truett


Shepherd, Samuel C., The Journal of Southern History


Thy Will Be Done: A Biography of George W. Truett. By Keith E. Durso. (Macon and Atlanta: Mercer University Press and the Baptist History and Heritage Society, 2009. Pp. [xxxiv], 377. $35.00, ISBN 978-0-88146-157-2.)

Keith E. Durso has supplied a useful, modern biography of George W. Truett, a nearly legendary Baptist preacher and denominational leader of the early twentieth century. During his forty-seven years as pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, Truett achieved national and, indeed, international standing. Drawing on a range of primary documents including diaries, letters, and sermons, Thy Will Be Done: A Biography of George W. Truett provides a vivid account of Truett's life and supersedes the earlier, undocumented George W. Truett: A Biography by Powhatan W. James (New York, 1939).

Durso describes Truett's rural upbringing in a humble but pious western North Carolina family. His youthful fondness for reading, his gift for public speaking, and his accommodating attitude to other denominations persisted throughout his life. Although Truett intended to become a lawyer, a surprising sequence of events landed him in Texas, where, in 1890, a congregation insisted that he be ordained. Soon thereafter, he so impressed Texas Baptist leaders that they chose him to lead a crucial financial campaign to save struggling Baylor University. During that successful two-year endeavor, Truett displayed the religious conviction, the interpersonal skills, and the powerful preaching style that became his hallmarks.

After graduating from Baylor in 1897, Truett accepted a call to First Baptist Church in Dallas, where his dynamic leadership spurred growth in membership as well as substantial contributions to missions and benevolences. Always focused on evangelism, Truett's ministry extended beyond his own church and included social concerns. He traveled across the country leading revivals, participating in religious organizations, and raising funds for churches. …

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