The influential Southern Baptist press lined up behind a denominational decision to revise a controversial new book, but questioned the spirit in which the move was made. A survey of seventeen state papers showed wide support of the action taken by messengers to the 1970 sessions of the Southern Baptist Convention in Denver. There seemed to be more concern, however, about the way the messengers went about it.

One editor denounced the “vitriolic, hostile, accusative, unforgiving, prideful, arrogant and often downright abusive attitudes and words of many of the preachers who spoke [at Denver] in defense of the Bible.” Another lamented the fact that “unknown men who have never proven themselves grab the microphone and sway the messengers while proven leadership is ignored.” But most seemed to agree the messengers were right in ordering the Baptist Sunday School Board to recall and rewrite the first volume of the Broadman Bible Commentary. The most outspoken dissent was expressed by the Capital Baptist of Washington, D. C., which called the convention action a “big mistake.”

Other reaction came from New York, where officers of the Religious Publishers Group of the American Book Publishers Council issued a protest against withdrawal of the volume. They said that “to suppress or bowdlerize a book on the ground that it questions traditional thought is to deny the value of thought itself.” (See the editorial on page 21.)

The 472-page book in question is the initial volume in a set of twelve scheduled to be released by 1972. It contains several introductory articles on the whole Bible as well as a commentary on Genesis and Exodus. Dr. Clifton J. Allen, former editorial secretary of the ...

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