L.R. Scarborough Being Dead Still Speaks to the SBC about a Dangerous Heresy

At the 1920 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting, L.R. Scarborough, second President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, delivered an update from the committee for the Seventy-five Million Campaign (raise 75 million dollars for Baptist causes from 1919-1924). Scarborough was the general director of the campaign and George W. Truett, legendary pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, was the chairman. 

During Scarborough’s report he offered the following admonition to Southern Baptists that we would do well to heed in 2021:

The victories in the Campaign make tremendous demand on us for the future. We should be as never before an up-standing and forward-looking people….We have not won all the victories of the Campaign. We have but made a good start. We have formed a financial program for strengthening our stakes and lengthening our cords….The Campaign is a promise and prophecy of what we can do when thoroughly aroused, completely organized and gloriously enlisted.

We need to commit ourselves unreservedly and afresh to the carrying out of the world-program of Jesus Christ laid down in the New Testament and guaranteed by His enduring Spirit. We believe that a straight path stretches out through the indefinite future to Southern Baptists. That path is plainly set out in the New Testament. 

In our unswerving stand for the truth as we see it, we must maintain the spirit of brotherhood and Christ-likeness everywhere. We cannot maintain New Testament orthodoxy in a spirit foreign nor at cross-currents to the spirit of our Master. A sound theology manifested in an unchristian spirit is the most dangerous heresy.

At all costs, Southern Baptists should preserve the spirituality, the evangelistic spirit and the missionary zeal of our churches and keep the tides of power running high and deep….Our hope is an aggressive conservatism, conservative enough to stay on the track of the truth and aggressive enough to keep up with the Son of God and His advancing kingdom. [SBC Annual, 1920, 57).

By |July 12th, 2021|Categories: Blog, Featured|

About the Author:

David E. Prince is pastor of preaching and vision at Ashland Avenue Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky and assistant professor of Christian preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of In the Arena and Church with Jesus as the Hero. He blogs at Prince on Preaching and frequently writes for The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, For the Church, the BGEA and Preaching Today