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Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1859-2009$
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Gregory Wills

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195377149

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195377149.001.0001

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WILLIAM H. WHITSITT, ACADEMIC FREEDOM, AND DENOMINATIONAL CONTROL

WILLIAM H. WHITSITT, ACADEMIC FREEDOM, AND DENOMINATIONAL CONTROL

Chapter:
(p.189) 5 WILLIAM H. WHITSITT, ACADEMIC FREEDOM, AND DENOMINATIONAL CONTROL
Source:
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1859-2009
Author(s):

Gregory A. Wills

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195377149.003.0005

This chapter focuses on William Heth Whitsitt, who succeeded John Broadus as president of Southern Seminary in May 1895. Whitsitt's tenure was short and tumultuous, and the controversy he precipitated cost him his position. The presenting issue in the controversy was his claim that in 1641 Baptists invented immersion as the mode of baptism. Most Southern Baptists found the claim troubling, and many thought it contrary to scripture. But Whitsitt's ultimate offense was betrayal of denominational trust—common Baptists could not get past the sneering tone with which he corrected his own denomination. He was president of a seminary established as a guardian of Baptist orthodoxy, but he had disparaged Baptist views in a way that broadly discredited the denomination.

Keywords:   William Heth Whitsitt, Southern Baptists, Baptist seminary, John Broadus, Southern Seminary, immersion

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