BAPTIST MADNESS – First Round, Part 3

Alright, here are the next set of match ups in Baptist Madness 2016…


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W.A. Criswell

Wally Amos Criswell, (born Dec. 19, 1909, Eldorado, Okla.—died Jan. 9, 2002, Dallas, Texas), American clergyman who , was pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas from 1944 to 1991; under his leadership the church grew to become the largest Southern Baptist congregation in the U.S., with some 26,000 members. Criswell served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1968 to 1970 and helped transform that organization into a more religiously and socially conservative body. He also mentored a number of prominent evangelists, including Billy Graham. Criswell was named pastor emeritus at the First Baptist Church of Dallas in 1994.

Dr. O. S. Hawkins in an interview regarding Dr. Criswell said: “Sitting here, looking at this portrait of Spurgeon reminds me that he really had no real peer in his heyday. People today need to know that neither did Dr. Criswell—I am talking about in the prime of the ministry he received from the Lord. He was an unusual man. He was brilliant. He earned a Ph.D. from Southern when few people were doing that. I always thought if he had gone into politics, he would have definitely been a senator, probably president. If he had gone into law, he would have been a Supreme Court justice. If he had gone into business, he would have built a Fortune 500 company.

Fortunately, for us in the evangelical world, God called him into ministry. He was a preacher par excellence. He was a student of both of the languages. He could speak to you and talk to you on any subject, whether it be Greek mythology, history, anything. He had a brilliant mind, and yet, he preached a gospel that could be understood by everyone. Fortunately, he has left us a lot of books to remember this brilliance.

It seemed like every time, in Southern Baptist life at least, that there came a crisis moment, there would come a book from Dr. Criswell. I remember when the evolution issue became a big thing among some seminary professors in Southern Baptist life. Dr. Criswell wrote, Did Man Just Happen? When the Charismatic Movement began to take hold in Southern Baptist life, it was really charismania, and there came the book, The Holy Spirit in Today’s World. Even foreseeing the battle for the Bible that the Southern Baptists went through in the late 70s and 80s, Dr. Criswell gave us, Why I Preach the Bible as Literally True.
[Opening biographical paragraph from the online Encyclopedia Britannica,; Remainder of article from “A Conversation with O. S. Hawkins about W. A. Criswell,” by Dr. Jason K. Allen, ]

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M. L. King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr., original name Michael King, Jr. (born January 15, 1929, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.—died April 4, 1968, Memphis, Tennessee), Baptist minister and social activist who led the civil rights movement in the United States from the mid-1950s until his death by assassination in 1968. His leadership was fundamental to that movement’s success in ending the legal segregation of African Americans in the South and other parts of the United States. King rose to national prominence as head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which promoted nonviolent tactics, such as the massive March on Washington (1963), to achieve civil rights. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

In his role as SCLC president, Martin Luther King Jr. traveled across the country and around the world, giving lectures on nonviolent protest and civil rights as well as meeting with religious figures, activists and political leaders. (During a month-long trip to India in 1959, he had the opportunity to meet family members and followers of Gandhi, the man he described in his autobiography as “the guiding light of our technique of nonviolent social change.”) King also authored several books and articles during this time.

In 1960 King and his family moved to Atlanta, his native city, where he joined his father as co-pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church. This new position did not stop King and his SCLC colleagues from becoming key players in many of the most significant civil rights battles of the 1960s. Their philosophy of nonviolence was put to a particularly severe test during the Birmingham campaign of 1963, in which activists used a boycott, sit-ins and marches to protest segregation, unfair hiring practices and other injustices in one of America’s most racially divided cities. Arrested for his involvement on April 12, King penned the civil rights manifesto known as the “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” an eloquent defense of civil disobedience addressed to a group of white clergymen who had criticized his tactics.

Later that year, Martin Luther King Jr. worked with a number of civil rights and religious groups to organize the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, a peaceful political rally designed to shed light on the injustices African Americans continued to face across the country. Held on August 28 and attended by some 200,000 to 300,000 participants, the event is widely regarded as a watershed moment in the history of the American civil rights movement and a factor in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
[Opening biographical paragraph from the online Encyclopedia Britannica,; Remainder of article from “Martin Luther King Jr,” by Staff Writer for, ]


J. P. Boyce

James Petigru Boyce (1827–1888) served as a Southern Baptist pastor, theologian, author, seminary professor, and founder and first president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

In November of 1847, the First Baptist Church of Charleston licensed James P. Boyce to preach. The following year, he married Lizzie Llewellyn Ficklen, the daughter of a Washington, Georgia doctor. From November 1848 to May 1849, he edited The Southern Baptist, a Baptist newspaper published in Charleston. The following September, he entered the Presbyterian Theological Seminary at Princeton, where he studied with both Archibald Alexander and Charles Hodge. In May 1851, Boyce left Princeton without graduating and soon after began ministerial work. He became the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Columbia, South Carolina the following October and remained there until October of 1855, when he left his pastorate to become an instructor in the theological department of Furman University at Greenville, South Carolina. Boyce’s inaugural address at Furman, “Three Changes in Theological Institutions,” laid the ideological foundation for the institution that would become his life’s work, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

James P. Boyce was not only instrumental in formulating an ideological foundation for the first common Seminary for Southern Baptists, he also worked on the committee that brought the school into being and helped raise funds for its establishment. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary opened its doors in 1859 in Greenville, South Carolina. Its original faculty consisted of four members: Boyce, John A. Broadus, William Williams, and Basil Manly, Jr. Boyce served as Chairman of the Faculty and Professor of Systematic and of Polemic Theology. During the Civil War, Boyce served in a variety of capacities unconnected to the seminary. He was a chaplain for a Confederate regiment of volunteers from Greenville, a Representative to the South Carolina Legislature, and aide-de-amp to the governor of South Carolina. Following the war, Boyce was a member of the Constitutional Convention of the State of South Carolina and proposed the article that officially illegalized slavery in South Carolina.

In October of 1865, operations at the Seminary resumed and Boyce began teaching again. Support for the seminary was meager during Reconstruction, and Boyce spent much of his time trying to garner financial support for the fledgling institution. Beginning in 1870, the seminary and its trustees began serious discussions about removing the seminary to a more financially stable area of the country, and Louisville, Kentucky became the favored location. Boyce sacrificially gave up his teaching position for five years, 1872-1877, and moved to Louisville to raise funds for the Seminary. In 1877, the seminary moved to Louisville, and he resumed teaching. Boyce’s only major publication, Abstract of Systematic Theology, appeared in 1887 and continued in use at the seminary until 1917. In 1888, the faculty of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary changed Boyce’s title from Chairman of the Faculty to President of the seminary. Not only did Boyce serve the denomination as a seminary professor and president, but he was also president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1872 to 1879 and again in 1888.
[Opening biographical paragraph from Wikipedia; Remainder of article from “Boyce, James Petigru (1827-1888) | Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Archives,” by Staff Writers for, ]

Lottie Moon

Charlotte Digges “Lottie” Moon (December 12, 1840 – December 24, 1912) was a Southern Baptist missionary to China with the Foreign Mission Board who spent nearly 40 years (1873–1912) living and working in China. As a teacher and evangelist she laid a foundation for traditionally solid support for missions among Baptists in America.

Lottie had rebelled against Christianity until she was in college. In December 1858, she dedicated her life to Christ and was baptized at First Baptist Church of Charlottesville, Virginia. Lottie attended Albemarle Female Institute, female counterpart to the University of Virginia. In 1861, she was one of the first women in the South to receive a master’s degree.

Lottie stayed close to home during the Civil War but eventually taught school in Kentucky, Georgia and Virginia. Edmonia Moon, Lottie’s sister, was appointed as a missionary to Tengchow, China, in 1872. The following year, Lottie was appointed and joined her sister there.

When she set sail for China, Lottie was thirty-two years old. She had turned down a marriage proposal and left her job, home and family to follow God’s lead. Her path wasn’t typical for an educated woman from a wealthy Southern family. But Lottie did not serve a typical God. He had gripped her with the Chinese peoples’ need for a Savior.

For thirty-nine years Lottie labored, chiefly in Tengchow and P’ingtu. People feared and rejected her, but she refused to leave. The aroma of fresh-baked cookies drew people to her house. She adopted traditional Chinese dress, and she learned China’s language and customs. Lottie didn’t just serve the people of China; she identified with them. Many eventually accepted her. And some accepted her Savior.

Lottie’s vision wasn’t just for the people of China. It reached to her fellow Southern Baptists in the United States. Like today’s missionaries, she wrote letters home, detailing China’s hunger for truth and the struggle of so few missionaries sharing the Gospel with so many people — 472 million Chinese in her day. She shared another timely message, too: the urgent need for more workers and for Southern Baptists passionately supporting them through prayer and giving. By 1888, Southern Baptist women had organized and helped collect $3,315 to send workers needed in China.

“How many million more souls are to pass into eternity without having heard the name of Jesus?”

That question, ubiquitous in the letters of Lottie Moon, seared her heart as she planted her life in China a century ago. As a young Southern Baptist missionary, it compelled her to flee the safety of the Baptist missionary compound in order to live among those to whom she felt called.

In middle age, it gave her the strength to place her four-foot-three-inch body in the path of an anti-Christian mob intent on harming believers and saying, “You will have to kill me first.” As an older woman, it compelled her to give away her food so others might live and have one more opportunity to find Jesus.
[Opening biographical paragraph from Wikipedia,; Remainder of article from “Lottie Moon: Every Sould Needs to Hear the Name of Jesus,” by Staff Writer for, ]

Voting for these two match ups will remain open until Feb. 29.

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