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Author Wm. Loyd Allen

Wm. Loyd Allen holds the Sylvan Hills Chair of Baptist Heritage and is Professor of Church History and Spiritual Formation at James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology.

Although Pilgrims and Native Americans shared that first Thanksgiving meal, these Puritans would slaughter many Native Americans years later. Instead, we should be thankful for Baptists, who helped restrain such religious bigotry. […] Read More

Adoniram Judson lay starving in a filthy Burmese prison cell in 1824. Every night, his guards passed a long bamboo pole between his shackled legs and those of his fellow prisoners and lifted the pole up until only their shoulders and upper torsos touched the vermin-infested floor. For more than a year, Adoniram’s wife, Ann, […] Read More

On Oct. 31, 1517, German monk Martin Luther sparked the Protestant Reformation, which changed everything in the West:  church, state and society. The Middle Ages swung into the Modern Age on the hinge of the Reformation.  Five hundred years later, many say the Christian church is poised for another reform of equal magnitude. Phyllis Tickle, […] Read More


Sermon delivered by Loyd Allen, professor of church history and spiritual formation at McAfee school of Theology in Atlanta, Ga., on March 3, 2009, Psalm 19 To the leader. A Psalm of David. The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night […] Read More

Editor’s note: This article was revised on Nov. 22, 2019, to remove a reference to a 1623 Thanksgiving sermon discovered to be inaccurate by the author upon further research. I once heard a non-Baptist governor’s wife at a Baptist college Thanksgiving service say we should be grateful to God that our Pilgrim forefathers brought religious […] Read More

Some contemporary Baptists apparently cannot comprehend how born-again Christian Baptists in early 19th-century Delaware, Connecticut, Maryland and Virginia could willingly praise Jefferson because he vouched for the freedom of all consciences, believer and non-believer alike. Worth an estimated $700,000, it is one of a number of thank-you notes Jefferson wrote to Baptist entities that had […] Read More

How are Christians to understand the words of Muhammad as preserved in the holy writings of Islam? What will Muslims find in the Bible? The method of interpretation matters. Most people know by now that Jerry Vines, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, recently preached, “Islam was founded by Mohammed, a demon-possessed pedophile who […] Read More

In March 1925, Tennessee outlawed the theory of evolution in its public schools. Officials in tiny Dayton tested the new law by arresting, with his consent, biology teacher John T. Scopes. Former Democratic presidential candidate and secretary of state William Jennings Bryan headed south to prosecute Scopes. Attracted by Bryan’s notoriety, Chicago’s famed trial lawyer […] Read More

The Southern Baptist Convention’s use of its faith statement, the Baptist Faith and Message, to ensure doctrinal integrity has raised anew the cry, “Creedalism!” Below is some basic guidance for setting Baptist creedal controversies in context. Confession or creed? The extent to which a faith statement is used as leverage to squelch diversity of expression […] Read More

I intended to write about Baptist response to Israel’s May 1948 declaration of independence. But I found nothing in the Baptist news journals I perused. This put me to thinking about Baptists’ seeming reluctance to speak out on larger issues of the world’s economic, social and political scene. I contend that Baptists’ reluctance—particularly Baptists in […] Read More