Into the Pulpit: Southern Baptist Women and Power Since World War II, by Elizabeth Flowers

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Into the Pulpit: Southern Baptist Women and Power Since World War II, by Elizabeth Flowers, as the title suggest, is a historical account of women and their treatment in the Southern Baptist Convention from the mid 1940’s to present. Flower’s work revolves much around the well accounted for story of the SBC conflicts of the late 20th century, however, providing the often untold story of women in ministry and particularly their mistreatment. The book is broken up chronologically, chapter one and two begin with years leading to the struggle, 1945-1978. Chapter three revolves around the years entering the struggle for women in ministry, 1979 to 1984. Chapter four and five deal with the years of turmoil and destruction within the SBC, and…show more content…
In thirty years, from 1941 to 1971, the budget increased from, 7.8 million to 160 million. A similar increase was also seen in membership, in 1946 the SBC had 26,000 churches, by 1972 it had over 12 million churches. As expected, with the increase in membership, there was also an increase in diversity and thought. In 1958, a number of professors were dismissed from SBC seminaries, including Ralph Elliot, for teaching and writing “theological liberalism”. Ralph Elliot’s The Message of Genesis, questioned the possibility of reading Genesis 1-11 symbolically, which he would be fired for, served as one of the first events in the conservative resurgence. This was also the beginning of the inerrancy controversy, the hottest topic for debate in the SBC. Flower’s notes in chapter one, that the most immediate culture debate was the 1960’s civil rights movement. Before the SBC could debate inerrancy, and feminism, and had to address the civil rights and anti-segregation movements. As with any debate and controversy, their were multiple sides; many well known Southern Baptist, such as W.A. Criswell, stood strictly opposed to segregation, especially within the church. On the opposing side, scholars such as Foy Valentine, argued for ending segregation, especially within the SBC. Eventually, the SBC, as we know, became integrated alongside the rest of the country. The SBC now turned to feminism as the new battlefield. The
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