The State of State Baptist Histories: Within the Past Five Years, Scholars Have Published Several Histories of Baptists within a Particular State. Each of These Histories Has Been Written by a Baptist "Insider," and Most Have Been Published under the Auspices of the Statewide Convention or Association (1)

By Stowell, Daniel W. | Baptist History and Heritage, Winter 2002 | Go to article overview

The State of State Baptist Histories: Within the Past Five Years, Scholars Have Published Several Histories of Baptists within a Particular State. Each of These Histories Has Been Written by a Baptist "Insider," and Most Have Been Published under the Auspices of the Statewide Convention or Association (1)


Stowell, Daniel W., Baptist History and Heritage


This review examines four such histories, published within the last four years, and offers some observations and hopefully constructive criticisms about the "state" of state Baptist histories.

Texas

Leon McBeth's Texas Baptists: A Sesquicentennial History is a book for Southern Baptists about Southern Baptists. McBeth traces the dramatic story of Southern Baptists in Texas from a handful of pioneer families and preachers in the 1830s to well over 2.5 million members, more than any other state, by the late 1990s. McBeth chronicles the major institutional advances of Baptists in Texas, and also provides a few brief anecdotes, such as the conversion and baptism of Sam Houston in 1854, at age sixty-three. Woven throughout the history of Texas Baptists is the story of "our beloved Institution," Baylor University, founded in 1845, and the stories of many other Texas Baptist institutions. Here, readers can learn about such famous Texas Baptists as Zacharias N. Morrell, R. E. B. Baylor, R. C. Buckner, Samuel A. Hayden, B. H. Carroll, George W. Truett, J. Frank Norris, and J. Howard Williams. Furthermore, McBeth presents an impressive array of Texas Baptist "firsts," such as the Baptist Student Union in 1920, the Texas Baptist Foundation in 1933, and the Christian Life Commission in 1950.

This history of Texas Baptists is an example of the genre of denominational history familiar to Baptists and other denominations for many years. McBeth states that "I have sought to reconstruct the history of Texas Baptists from primary sources" (p. v), but his notes reflect heavy use of particular types of primary sources--printed denominational minutes and the denominational newspaper in Texas. In his extensive survey of secondary material, McBeth does not integrate some recent scholarship. By most contemporary accounts, for example, J. Frank Norris exerted a dominant influence on Texas Baptist life in the 1920s and 1930s, and McBeth admits that. Yet, his treatment of the "Norris Controversy" (pp. 165-68) does not take into account Barry Hankins's recent biography of Norris, God's Rascal: J. Frank Norris and the Beginnings of Southern Fundamentalism, though McBeth mentions the work in his bibliographic essay. By relating the story of Texas Baptists largely through brief biographies of denominational leaders in the nineteenth century and through the lens of denominational structures for most of the twentieth century, McBeth has produced an institutional history of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and its numerous ancestors. Against this backdrop, Norris becomes a brief (although influential) aberration in the overall march of progress Texas Baptists have enjoyed for a century and a half, instead of the far more interesting, influential, and complex figure that Hankins presents.

One of the weaknesses of standard denominational history often is its lack of attention to the historical context of the denomination. While this volume is not nor should it be a textbook in Texas or American history, Texas Baptists lived in those contexts. In McBeth's treatment of the 1840s, for example, there is little mention of the Mexican War (especially for a history of Texas Baptists) and to the national division between northern and southern Baptists. Even the Civil War, the nation's most jarring crisis, receives only passing attention.

McBeth also devotes little attention to other Baptist groups in the state. It is perhaps ironic then, that McBeth quotes Charles T. Alexander, whom the state convention appointed in 1936 to coordinate ministries with African-American Baptists in Texas: "The two races, and our two Baptist groups, do not know each other today as they should" (p. 204). The situation remains the same today in Texas and elsewhere, yet African-American Baptists are largely absent from McBeth's story of Texas Baptists.

McBeth devotes more than half of the hook to the post-World War II era in Texas Baptist history because previous histories of Texas Baptists have not included this important period of Texas Baptists. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The State of State Baptist Histories: Within the Past Five Years, Scholars Have Published Several Histories of Baptists within a Particular State. Each of These Histories Has Been Written by a Baptist "Insider," and Most Have Been Published under the Auspices of the Statewide Convention or Association (1)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.