Cover image for Alabama Baptists : Southern Baptists in the heart of Dixie
Alabama Baptists : Southern Baptists in the heart of Dixie
Flynt, Wayne, 1940-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Tuscaloosa : University of Alabama Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
xxi, 731 pages : illustrations, map ; 25 cm.
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BX6462.4.A2 F57 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
BX6462.4.A2 F57 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Alabama Baptists are a complex people. Although regarded as conservative
in both politics and theology, many Baptists became leaders of the 1890s
agrarian revolt, devoted partisans of the social gospel early in the 20th
century, and ardent advocates of the New Deal. Complexity has also characterized
the denomination's race relations. For nearly five decades half its members
were slaves, while many other members owned slaves. Thus, interaction of
black and white Baptists created a unique religious setting in which people
who were members of the same churches interpreted the gospel of liberation
in dramatically different ways. After the Civil War, Baptist churches in
the South divided into white and black congregations. Only white congregations
remained part of the Southern Baptist Convention, whose members are known
as Southern Baptists. Black congregations became part of the National Baptist
Convention, and their history is a separate story deserving future study.

Despite social and cultural conflict Alabama Baptists helped tame a
chaotic frontier, sustained a sense of community, created opportunities
not available in secular society, shaped Alabama politics, and obtained
religious dominance seldom matched in U.S. history.

Wayne Flynt's balanced, exhaustively researched book is the first about
Alabama Baptists to be written by a professional historian. Publication
in 1998 marks the 175th anniversary of the Alabama State Baptist Convention.

Author Notes

Wayne Flynt is Distinguished University Professor at Auburn University
and author or coauthor of eleven books, including Poor but Proud, Alabama in the Twentieth Century, and Taking
Christianity to China: Alabama Missionaries in the Middle Kingdom, 1850-1950. Flynt has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including the Lillian Smith Award for nonfiction, the Clarence Cason Nonfiction Award, the James F. Sulzby Jr. Book Award (twice), and the Alabama Library Association Award for nonfiction (twice).

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The current era appears to be postdenominational, but here readers will find the story of a people who have been marked by their continued adherence to a particular denominational tradition. According to Flynt (history, Auburn Univ.), nearly two of three church members in Alabama today belong to churches of the Alabama Baptist State Convention. This story is thus much more than a description of a narrow slice of one US state's denominational pie. It speaks broadly to the history of Alabama and the nature and identity of the Southern Baptist denomination. Flynt organizes the book chronologically, beginning with early 19th-century frontier-taming efforts and closing with the fundamentalist controversy that today continues to rock the denomination. Throughout, Flynt seeks to examine Alabama Baptists from the varied perspectives of individual, congregational, and denominational experience. The result is a rich, detailed depiction that reveals the years of careful research that undoubtedly went into its writing. Although this book, by virtue of its title, may reach a limited audience, those who open it will find that denominational history is not what it used to be. Upper-division undergraduates and above, including professionals and practitioners. L. H. Hoyle; Georgetown College