‘Don’t Mess with Texas’: Baptist Identity in the Midst of Controversy

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Lon Graham


In the 1980s, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) found itself embroiled in a controversy between moderates and inerrantists. It was a struggle for control of the convention, all its infrastructure, and the right to set the course for Southern Baptists, and those affiliated with them, around the world. While the inerrantists eventually won the war on the national stage, things went differently in the Texas Baptist state convention, known as the Baptist General Convention of Texas. This article examines what happened in the Texas Baptist controversy of the 1980s and 1990s and shows how a unique Texas Baptist identity enabled the moderates to do in Texas what could not be done in the national convention: hold their ground and prevent the inerrantists from achieving victory.

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Author Biography

Lon Graham, The Woods Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas

Lon Graham (PhD, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) is the pastor of The Woods Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas.