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The Alliance of Baptists, an organization of progressive Baptists, was founded in 1987. Known as the Southern Baptist Alliance until 1992, the group was dedicated to preserving Baptist freedoms, traditions, principles, mission, and ministry, especially those they felt were threatened by actions of the Southern Baptist Convention.In reaction to the fundamentalist movement in the SBC, the Alliance of Baptists promoted open inquiry, ecumenism, theological education, and social and economic justice. In contrast to most of the Southern Baptist Convention and much of the wider Baptist movement, the Alliance has emphasized women's ministry and encouraged women to seek ordination and senior pastorates.

The Alliance of Baptists Records consists primarily of correspondence and writings. These materials document both the activities of committees and officers of the Alliance, and reactions of concerned parties to Alliance stances. Printed and financial materials also record some administrative aspects of the organization, including personnel and membership recruitment, while audiocassettes and videotapes document the Alliance's annual convocations and related conventions.

Biographical and Historical Note

The Southern Baptist Alliance was organized in December, 1986, by a group of ordained and lay individuals frustrated with the fundamentalist leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Founding members of the Alliance originally intended for the organization to be a fellowship of moderate and liberal baptists within the SBC. Its goal was to support churches and individuals hurt or threatened by decisions of SBC leadership, while offering support to ideas and projects that would otherwise receive none. Alliance members differed with SBC leadership at the time in espousing local church autonomy, the ordaining of both male and female ministers, and cooperation with other Christian organizations and denominations, while denouncing "landmarkism," inerrancy, and discrimination, especially bias based on sexual orientation. In 1991, the Southern Baptist Alliance formally distanced itself from the SBC, and in 1992, changed its name to the Alliance of Baptists.

The Southern Baptist Alliance (SBA) publically announced its formation on February 12, 1987, and three months later William Henry Crouch was elected president, with Frank Gilreath also performing a variety of administrative duties. Alan Neely served as provisional executive director until Stan Hastey assumed the role permanently in 1989, joined by assitant Jeannette Holt. Later presidents of the Alliance include John Thomason (1988), Anne Thomas Neil (1988-1990), Richard Groves (1990-1992), Ann Quattlebaum (1992-1994), Nancy Hastings Sehested (1996-1998), C. Welton Gaddy (1998-2000), and Paula Clayton Dempsey (2000-2002).

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Collection Overview

The Alliance of Baptists Records document some of the organization's activities from its inception in 1987 through its 2001 Convocation. The majority of the collection relates to the work of committees, documented through correspondence, meeting agendas, financial information, and proposal drafts. These committees addressed issues ranging from Alliance personnel, finances, Covenant, and missions appropriations to homosexuality, supporting ordained women, gender-inclusive hymn language, universal healthcare, new Sunday school curricula, and ecumenical affiliations. The records also contain writings and correspondence related to these issues sent to the Alliance, and are organized either by correspondent or subject.

The Alliance of Baptists Records also contains audiotapes recorded at Alliance Convocations of 1987, 1990, 1994-1996, 1998, and 2001. Convocations generally included a  "State of the Alliance" address, Annual Business Meeting, and presentations on relevant topics, in addition to worship services and devotionals. Also included are recordings made at a conference entitled  "Baptist Journey" and at the Tenth Anniversary of the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond in 1999; the collection also contains 3 videotapes of conferences mentioned above.

The Alliance of Baptists Records are divided into two series: textual materials and audiovisual recordings. The textual records of the Alliance of Baptists are arranged alphabetically by committee, subject, or format. Audio and videocassettes and are arranged chronologically by conference, and then follow the original numbering system. Identification of the audio and video cassettes as listed below is based solely on information and labeling provided by the donor.

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Collection Inventory

  • Textual Records
    • Church-Ministry Relations (Placement) Commitee, 1989-1994
    • Constitution (including Covenant) and By-laws, 1987-1993
    • Convocation, 1987, 1995
    • Correspondence
      • Crouch, William Henry, 1987-1988
      • Contributions, Misc., 1989-1991
      • Misc., 1987-1990, 1996-1997
    • Denominational Relations (local church committees on), 1991
    • Executive Committee, 1987, 1989
    • Finance Committee, 1987-1991
    • Finance - Audits and Budgets, 1989-1994
    • Israel Tour (June-July 2000), 1998-2000
    • Homosexuality Committee, 1999
    • Human Sexuality, Task Force on, 1993-1995
    • Membership Recruitment - Rosters and Correspondence, 1989-1992
    • Membership Recruitment - SBA Promotional Materials, n.d.
    • Missions Committee, 1989-1991, 1994-1997
    • Nominating Committee, 1991, 1996
    • Personnel Committee, 1990-1991, 1995
    • Personnel - Finances and Accounting, 1990-1991
    • Public Affairs Committee
      • American Baptist Churches Office of Goverment Relations RRN, 1992
      • Healthcare, 1990-1992
      • Interfaith IMPACT for Justice and Peace, 1991-1993
      • Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 1991, 1993
      • Misc., 1991-1995
    • Public Relations Committee, 1992-1994
    • Publications and Curriculum Committee(s), 1988-1992
    • Task Force on Cuba, 1995-1996
    • Visioning Committee - Revisions to Covenant/Purpose Statement, 1996-1997
    • Women in the Church Committee, 1987-1994, n.d.
    • Women in the Church - Correspondence, 1987
    • Women in the Church - Correspondence regarding women in seminary, 1992
    • Worship Committee (including Hymnal Supplement Committee), 1991-1994
    • Writings
      • Atwood, Dennis, 1994 ( "Boomers, Busters, and Baptists" )
      • Boyd, Stephen, 1991-1994 (multiple essays)
      • Groves, Richard, 1988 ( "What Have We Done?: Mission Funding" )
      • Neely, Alan, n.d. ( "History of the Alliance of Baptists" )
      • Sullivan, Clayton, n.d. ( "Does Biblical Inerrancy Make Sense?" )
  • Audiovisual Materials
    • 1987 Convocation (Meredith College, Raleigh, NC, May 14-15)
      • "Call to Repententance and Evangelization," Anne Neil
      • "A Drama on our Baptist Heritage," C. Michael Hawn, dir.
      • "Freedom of the Individual," Cecil Sherman
      • "Freedom of the Local Church," Richard Groves
      • Overview of the SBA Covenant
      • "Principle of a Free Church in a Free State," Norman Cavender
      • "Servant Role of Leadership," Bill Turner
      • "Theological Education," Walter Shurden
      • Worship, Susan Lockwood Wright and Paul Duke
      • Worship and Communion, Bill Leonard and Nancy Hastings Sehested
    • 1990 Convocation (Third Baptist Church, St. Louis, MO, March 9-11)
      • Friday evening service (address by John Sundquist, Chair of ABC Task Force)
      • Friday evening service (sermon by John Hewett, Pastor of FBC Asheville, NC)
      • Annual Business Meeting
      • Saturday evening sessions
      • Sunday morning service
    • 1994 Convocation (First Baptist Church, Greenville, SC, March 3-5)
      • Covenant address, Ralph Elliot
      • Presidential Report, Ann Quattlebaum
      • "State of the Alliance" address, Stan Hastey
      • Sermon, Linda Weaver-Williams
      • Sermon, Cindy Weber
    • 1995 Convocation (Vienna Baptist Church, Vienna, VA, March 3-5)
      • Annual Business Meeting
      • Addresses, Stan Hastey and John Roberts
      • Worship service - festival of hymnody
      • Worship service - Paul Duke and the VBC choir
      • Worship service - Northminster Baptist Church
    • Baptist Journey: Division, Diversity, and Dialogue (Providence, RI, Oct. 27-29, 1995)
      • Tape 1: J. Stanley Lemons/Thomas R. McKibbens
      • Tape 2: Edwin S. Gaustad
      • Tape 3: William H. Brackney
      • Tape 4: Kate Penfield
      • Tape 5: Bill J. Leonard
      • Tape 6: Jeannette Holt and Stan Hastey
      • Tape 7: Worship service, Wallace Charles and Elaine Smith
    • 1996 Convocation (Meyers Park Baptist Church, Charlotte, NC, March 14-16)
      • Thursday evening worship service
      • Forums: Glenn Hinson, Thompson, Mary Causby, Jim Wallace
      • Annual Business Meeting
      • Friday evening worship service
      • Saturday morning worship service
    • 1998 Convocation (Calvary Baptist Church, Washington DC, March 13-14)
      • Tape 1: Thursday evening worship service, sermon by Yvonne Delk
      • Tape 2: Thursday evening worship service
      • Tapes 3-4: Friday evening - Covenant Address, Ken Sehested
      • Tape 5: Friday evening service, Nancy Ammerman
      • Tape 6: Friday evening service/ "State of the Alliance" address, Stan Hastey/ Welton Gaddy address
      • Tape 7: "State of the Alliance" address, Stan Hastey
      • Tape 8: Annual Business Meeting
      • Tape 9: Closing service, James and Liz Lamkin
    • Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, Tenth Anniversary Celebration (March 13-14, 1999)
      • Thomas Graves, Stan Hastey, and Mary M. Strauss
      • "Take Back the Bible," Phyllis Tribble
    • 2001 Convocation (April 20-22)
      • Tape 1: Session 1
      • Tape 2: Session 2 - "State of the Alliance " address
      • Tapes 3-4: Session 3
      • Tape 5: Evening worship service
      • Tape 6: Bible study
      • Tape 7: Morning worship service and communion
    • Videotapes, Misc.
      • Being Baptist Means Freedom (Alliance promotional video)
      • 2 Beta tapes (unidentified convocation, Saturday evening session)

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Summary Information

Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives
Alliance of Baptists
Alliance of Baptists Records,
Date [inclusive]
1987 - 2001
5.0 linear feet 2 Letter Boxes, One Banker's Box, 1 over sized box sitting in floor.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information
Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives
Access Restrictions
Collection is open. 
Copyright Notice
Copyright for materials resides with the creators of the items in question or their descendants, unless otherwise designated. Users of this collection are responsible for using the materials in conformance with U.S. copyright law. 
Acquisitions Information
Gift of the Alliance of Baptists and Alan Neely, 2003. 
Processing Information
Processed by Cat S. McDowell, Jan. 2005. Encoded by Cat S. McDowell, Jan. 2005. 
Preferred Citation
Alliance of Baptist Records, Z. Smith Reynolds Library, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, USA. 

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See also Alan Neely, "The History of the Alliance of Baptists" in  The Struggle for the Soul of the SBC: Moderate Responses to the Fundalmentalism Movement, ed. Walter B. Shurden. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1993.

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Alan P. Neely Papers, Z. Smith Reynolds Library, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.

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