During the 1980’s and 1990’s, a fierce battle raged between conservative and liberal leaders within the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), the world’s largest Protestant denomination. Conservatives insisted that the SBC’s six seminaries had strayed from sound doctrine, and launched a campaign to return the denomination to its historical biblical roots. The liberals were determined to stop them.
As the flagship institution of the SBC, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary became a focal point in this historic controversy. When a special committee investigated Southern for suspected heresy, the Seminary’s liberal leaders manipulated the investigation process and denied the existence of theological problems.
However, one young man on the Seminary’s Board of Trustees named John R. Michael discovered evidence of the liberals’ manipulations, and stood dramatically against them. Enduring a series of incredible twists and turns over the course of several years, this persistent young man and a small group of fellow conservative Trustees engaged the liberals in an intense battle over the future of the Seminary. Given this institution’s stature and global reach, the impact of the conflict would be felt around the world for decades to come.
John R. Michael, MBA, CFP™ is a past Trustee of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where he served on the Executive Committee and as Chairman of the Financial Board. He is husband to author Harriet Michael.