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Inventory of the Alan P. Neely Papers, 1980-2003

Finding Aid & Inventory

Alan Preston Neely (1928-2003) was a minister, missionary to Colombia, and scholar of missions, ecumenics, and theology. He served on the faculties of Southeastern Baptist Seminary, Princeton Theology Seminary, and Duke University Divinity School from 1976 to 2000 and was instrumental in founding the Alliance of Baptists, an organization of progressive Baptists, in 1987.

The Neely Papers consist primarily of course materials and publications, especially lecture notes, writings, syllabi, bibliographies, assignments, exams, and handouts. The bulk of these materials date from 1954 to 1998. They document Neely's academic career, especially his interest in missiology. They also include materials on Christian relations with other cultures and religions, ecumenics, Latin America, Liberation Theology, Southern Baptists, and church growth.

Biographical and Historical Note

Alan Preston Neely was born November 3, 1928 in Little Rock, Arkansas. He grew up in Fort Worth, Texas. After graduating from Baylor University with a degree in English, he earned a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Religion from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas and a Ph.D. in Latin American studies from American University in Washington, D.C. Neely pastored Baptist churches in Texas, Virginia, and Colorado. In 1963, the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention appointed Alan and his wife Virginia as missionary teachers. They taught at the International Baptist Theological Seminary in Cali, Colombia, where they served from 1963 to 1976. When they returned to the United States, Neely was appointed Professor of Missions at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) in Wake Forest, N.C. In 1987 he founded the Alliance of Baptists, a national organization of progressive Baptists who were disenchanted with the fundamentalist leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). In 1988 he was named to the faculty of the Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) where he taught Ecumenics and Missiology until his retirement in 1996. After retiring, he and Virginia returned to Raleigh, N.C. and joined Pullen Memorial Baptist Church. Neely continued to teach in retirement, serving as an adjunct professor at the Duke University Divinity School. He was also active in the Interfaith Alliance of Wake County and the Board of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Resource Center in Raleigh until his death on May 14, 2003.

Collection Overview

The Alan P. Neely Papers document the academic career and ministry of this missionary and scholar, with the bulk of materials dating from his graduate education in 1954 through his retirement from teaching in 1998. The Neely papers primarily contain materials for the various classes he taught at three different theological schools from 1976 to 1998. Most of Neely's classes dealt with aspects of missions, especially history, theology, and missions in other cultures. Neely's areas of interest included urban America, Latin and Central America, and world religions and theologies. The Neely Papers also contain course materials for classes in Church Growth, Ecumenics, and Baptist or Southern Baptist polity. The bulk of these materials are lecture notes and writings; the collection contains multiple drafts of many lectures and essays. Also included are syllabi, bibliographies, assignments, exams, handouts, workbooks, publications, and devotional or sermon material. These are organized by course and followed by non-course (miscellaneous) material.

The Alan P. Neely Papers are organized into 21 courses, followed by miscellaneous material, based on Neely's original filing system. While Neely taught similar or even identical subjects at the three different theological schools he served, these courses often had differing titles and course numbers. Therefore, this collection is arranged both by course topics or generalized names, and by specific course titles. Specific course titles for generalized course names are provided in the series note, along with course numbers and dates taught, as indicated by syllabi. For example, "Introduction to Missions" "Christian World Missions" and "Christian Missiology in Today's World" are all filed under "Missiology." Due to the overlap in topics of some of the courses, the order of courses generally follows Neely's orginal system, with related courses found in the same box or filed near one another.

For each course, Syllabi and Lecture Notes and Writings are filed first, followed by other forms of materials arranged alphabetically. Due to the difficulty in distinguishing oral presentations from writings for publication, all materials of this sort are usually filed together under "Lecture Notes and Writings" by topic or title. Also, folders labeled "Syllabi" may also include class schedules, bibliographies, or required reading lists - anything likely to have been handed out at the first class meeting.

Collection Inventory

  • Missiology (Missology, frequently referred to as Intro to Missions by Neely, includes all survey courses in the study of missions, including those titled  Christian World Mission and  Christian Mission in Today's World. These have course numbers EC10, EC210 (PTS), and WC124 (Duke) and were taught from 1990-1993, and 1996-1998.)
    • Syllabi Box 1
    • Lecture Notes and Writings
      • Becoming and Being a Missionary
      • Current Issues in Missions
      • David Bosch's Transforming Missions
      • Evangelism and Church Growth
      • "Is it Imperative That They Hear?"
      • Kenosis
      • "Mission, Missions, and Missionaries" -Definitions
      • Mission and Other Cultures or Faiths
      • Mission as Worship
      • Mission Support and Opportunities
      • Missionary Education
      • Models for Mission
      • Philosophies of Mission
      • Sacraments Box 2
      • Teaching Mission
      • Misc.
    • Assignments and Exams
    • Bibliographies
    • Devotionals
    • "Missions by Objectives and Results" Workbook
    • Prayers and Creeds
  • Theology of Mission (Theology of Mission includes courses titled "Theology of the Christian World Mission"  "Theology of Christian Mission" and  "Missions and Theology. " These courses were numbered H320, H415, and H416 at SEBTS and EC10 at PTS. Syllabi for the courses indicate these were taught from 1976-1981 at SEBTS and in 1994 at PTS.)
    • Syllabi and Bibliographies
    • Lecture Notes and Writings
      • Biblical Models
      • "Biblical Theology of the Christian Mission"
      • Definition of Terms
      • Misc.
  • History of Missions (History of Missions includes courses titled "A History of Christian Missions" ,  "Seminar on Christian Missions," and  "Seminar on Mission History." These correspond to course numbers H112, H2201, H2379, and H2380 at PTS from 1978 to 1981, and EC301 at PTS in 1994.)
    • Syllabi Box 3
    • Lecture Notes and Writings
      • Baptists and Presbyterians in Missions
      • Hagiography
      • History, 24-1000 AD
      • History, 1000-1800 AD
      • History, 1800-2000 AD
      • Missionary Biographies
      • "Others Have Labored" /Introduction
  • Principles and Practices of International Missions (This course, numbered H2225, was offered Spring semester, 1980 at SEBTS. It appears that Neely used materials from this course in subsequent courses, and thus only a syllabi and writing are filed under this course title.)
    • Syllabi and Lecture Notes
  • Temple and Mosque Down the Street: A Christian Response (This course, numbered S325 and offered in the summer of 1996, overlaps significantly with writings on Christians and Other Faiths found elsewhere in this collection.)
    • Syllabi and Handouts
    • Lecture Notes and Writings
      • Weeks 1-3
      • Christianity and Other Faiths
      • The Holocaust
  • Urban Missions (Urban Missions includes courses titled "Practicum in Urban Missions" and  "Strategies for Urban Ministry Today," numbered H2326(SEBTS) and S361(PTS) and taught in 1978 and 1993, respectively.)
    • Syllabi Box 4
    • Lecture Notes and Writings, Misc.
    • Case Studies
    • Handouts
  • Christian Mission in a Pluralistic Culture (Taught at Duke in 1997, material from this course primarily contists of writings on religious pluralism, due to significant overlap with other courses taught by Neely.)
    • Syllabi and Handouts
    • Lecture Notes and Writings
      • Religious Pluralism
      • Inclusivism vs. Exclusivism
  • Women in Mission (Women in Mission contains material from courses entitled "Women in Mission" and  "The Role of Women in Christian Mission," EC325, taught at PTS in 1993 and 1995.)
    • Syllabi and Assignments
    • Lecture Notes and Writings
      • Introduction and History
      • Misc.
    • Bibliographies
    • Bibliographic Information - Primary Sources
  • Mission and Missionaries in Contemporary Literature and Cinema (This course, EC 460, was taught by Neely at PTS in 1993, and resulted in publication of "Images: Mission and Missionaries in Contemporary Fiction and Cinema." )
    • Syllabi and Handouts
    • Lecture Notes and Writings
      • Cinema
      • Literature
      • Images
      • Misc.
  • Theology in the Third World (Theology in the Third World includes courses titled "Ecumenics and Theology in the Two-Thirds World" and  "Christian Ministry in the Third World," course numbers DS39, T3035 and PT943, offered in 1989 and 1992 at PTS. These materials overlap with courses in Liberation Theolgy, International Missions, Ecumenical Movement and Mission in a Pluralistic Culture.)
    • Syllabi and Bibliographies Box 5
    • Lecture Notes and Assignments
  • Theology of Liberation (Usually referred to as "Liberation Theology" by Neely, this course (T209, T3036) was offered in 1978, 1980, 1984 and 1987 at SEBTS and included sections on liberation theology of various ethnicities and cultures, in addition to its relationship to Marxism and feminism. See also Latin American Liberation Theology)
    • Syllabi
    • Lecture Notes and Writings
      • Biblical Perspectives
      • Chicano, Korean, and Feminist Liberation Theology
      • Definitions
      • Past and Future of Liberation Theology
      • Misc.
    • Exams
    • Handouts
  • Latin American Liberation Theology (This course (TH56) was co-instructed by Daniel Migliore in 1989, and also offered as a special topic in research seminar H2377, Missions and Theology. It includes drafts and copies of Neely's 1978 article "Liberation Theology in Latin America: Antecedents and Autochthony." )
    • Syllabi Box 6
    • Lecture Notes, Misc.
    • Writings, Misc.
  • Latin American Mission (Under this heading are filed courses related to the history of Latin American Mission, "Mission Area Studies" on the region, and courses more narroely focused on mission in Central America. Because the content of these courses overlap so signficantly, only the syllabi or course-specific material are filed seperately, while the lecture notes are combined and arranged alphbetically by either geographical region or historical topic.Syllabi filed as History of Latin America include "History of the Church in Latin America," taught at Duke in 1997 (WC133), in addition to PTS courses  "Latin America: History of Christianity and Mission," (EC400),  "A History of Mission in Latin America, " (EC930), and  "Latin America: History of Mission, " (EC20), taught in 1991 and 1995. Syllabi filed as Mission Area Studies, numbered H315 and H2262, represent courses offered at SEBTS from 1976 to 1987, while DS33 on 20th Century Missions in Central America was taught in 1991.)
    • Syllabi and Assignments - History of Mission in Latin America
    • Syllabi and Assignments - Mission Area Study: Latin America
    • Syllabi and Bibliography - 20th Century Missions in Central America
    • Lecture Notes and Writings - Geographical
      • Brazil, Chile
      • Colombia, Cuba
      • Nicaragua, Panama
      • Central America
      • West Indies/Caribbean
    • Lecture Notes and Writings - Topical/Historical
      • Conquest and Evangelization
      • History of Protestantism
      • Preferential Option for the Poor
      • Roman Catholic Evangelization, 1992
      • Roman Catholic Theology
      • Misc.
    • Southern Baptist Church Development Study
  • World Human Need and the Christian Response (This course, was offered at SEBTS in 1984 and 1988 as H2255, and at PTS in 1992 and 1994 as EC21 and EC315.)
    • Syllabi Box 7
    • Lecture Notes and Writings
      • Biblical Perspectives
      • Hunger
      • Peace, Human Rights
      • Poverty
      • Misc.
    • Assignments and Handouts
  • Baptist Church Polity (This course, numbered EM07 and GM205, was taught at PTS in 1991, 1993, and 1994. Related material may be found under Southern Baptist Convention in Crisis and the Ecumenical Movement.)
    • Syllabi
    • Lecture Notes and Writings
      • History
      • Missions
      • Misc.
    • Assignments and Exams
  • Southern Baptist Convention in Crisis (This course, H2230, was taught by Neely during the spring of 1988. Filed with the course materials are correspondence, literature reviews, and writings related to the SBC controversy.)
    • Syllabi
    • Lecture Notes and Writings
      • The Controversy
      • Inerrancy
      • Literature Reviews
      • Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Crisis
      • Misc.
    • Assignments and Exams
  • Ecumenical Movement in the Twentieth Century (This course, (EC55/ET55, EC355) often referred to by Neely simply as "Ecumenics," was taught in 1989 and 1994 at PTS. Because the theme of unity among all Christian sects was common in his classes, related material may be found under other course titles. Also filed in this series is material related to Neely's participation in a Southern Baptist Convention-Roman Catholic scholars dialogue, dating from 1982 to 1994.)
    • Syllabi and Bibliographies Box 8
    • Lecture Notes and Writings
      • "Does Ecumenism Have a Future?"
      • Issues that Divide
      • Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches
      • World Council of Churches
      • World's Parliament of Religions
      • Misc.
    • Exams and Handouts
    • Southern Baptist Convention-Roman Catholic Dialogue
      • Common Witness
      • Missions
      • Misc.
  • Church Growth as a Strategy for Mission (Although syllabi indicate that this course, EC60/EC360, was only offered at PTS in 1993, the quantity of writings and other material on the subject prove that it was a long time interest of Neely, likely taught at conferences and in workshop format outside the classroom.)
    • Syllabi Box 9
    • Lecture Notes and Writings
      • Biblical Models of Growth
      • Evaluating Your Church and/or Community
      • Measuring Growth
      • Planning and Preparing for Growth
      • Theology of Growth
      • What's Happening to U.S. Churches
      • "Where Did the Idea Originate?"
      • Why Churches Grow
      • Why People Join/Leave the Church; Why People Receive/Resist the Gospel
      • Misc.
    • Handouts
    • Workbooks, 1984, n.d.
  • Colloquium in Ministry (The SEBTS D.Min. colloqium, BHTM 0410, was taught by Neely in the summers of 1981, 1986, and 1987.)
    • Syllabi and Lecture Notes
  • Miscellaneous (The Miscellaneous Series contains Neely's writings, sermons, devotionals, research, and speech notes he choose not to file into a course subject, including essays prepared as a part of his PhD education in Philosophy of Religion. The series also contains the lecture notes of J.B. Gambrell on Ecclesiology, dating from 1918 to 1921.)
    • Research - Seminary Curriculum Box 10
    • Sermons, Devotionals, and Seminar Notes
    • Writings, Misc.
      • "Administration of Foreign Missionaries...," 1986
      • "Blaise Pascal: Hybrid Authority," 1954
      • "A Christian Alternative to Secularism," 1984
      • "Flexible Ministries in a Revolutionary World," 1966, 1971
      • "John Calvin: Scion of the Renaissance; "  "John Dewey: Naturalistic Humanism," 1954
      • "Leadership Amidst Diversity and Pluralism: The Life of Arthur B. Rutledge, " 1985
      • Literature Reviews
      • "...Missions and the Communist State, " 1983
      • Religion in World Politics
      • "Suffering Servant and the Broken Christ," 1991
      • Misc., 1961-1969
      • Misc., 1983-1988
      • Misc., n.d.
    • Lecture Notes by J.B. Gambrell, 1918-1921

Summary Information

Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives
Neely, Alan Preston, 1928-
Alan P. Neely Papers
Date [inclusive]
1918 - 2003
6.0 linear feet  5 Letter Boxes, 5 Legal Boxes
General Physical Description note

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. 
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], Alan P. Neely Papers, Z. Smith Reynolds Library, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, USA. 

Alliance of Baptists Records, Z. Smith Reynolds Library, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, USA

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