Who could have predicted that the chaos of attitudes, relationships, worldviews, and events of the 1960s would still be, 30 years later, very much with us? The social, cultural, religious revolution joined in the 1960s continues unabated. The "conservative religious revolution," engendered by or in reaction to the cultural turmoil of the 1960s, was and is nowhere more evident than among Southern Baptists. In The "Genesis Controversy," Ralph Elliott rightly contends that a particular 1960s chain of events not only influenced the present, but was in fact a prelude chapter in the continuing drama.
Revolutions include skirmishes and full-scale battles. There was the "Battle of Lexington Road" at Southern Seminary, the "S.O.B. [surname initials of three principals] Controversy" at Southeastern, and the squabble over the promotion of Why I Preach That the Bible Is Literally True, to mention only three. And there was the "Genesis Controversy" of which the main target was a book and its author. Both The Message and Elliott were simply visible, convenient targets.
Telling the story, it is evident, has been painful, yet Elliott tells it with gracious reserve and with certain insights available to no one else. It is a story "well to know and understand," especially since the end is yet to be determined.
So hear the story. And learn, if not satisfactory answers, at least some of the right questions to ask regarding the continuing chaos that may mark the tragic demise of a great tradition.