W. A. Criswell envisioned the emergence of a new conservatism that would become the new religious right. In his most famous and revealing sermons, including “Segregation and Society” (1956) and “The Church of the Open Door” (1968), Criswell proclaimed that opposition to evangelical truths sprang from two sources: Darwin’s Origin of Species and the vast inroads of German higher criticism and rationalism that explained away the miracles of the bible and reduced them to humanistic fiction.
Towns’s book examines selected speeches from 1956 to 2002, revisiting events that provoked the rhetorical situations of the era and exploring speaker-leader propositions and perspectives.
Criswell’s leadership in the Southern Baptist Convention was dynamic and unifying, and his paradigm for social responsibility in his preaching, speaking and writing can best be entailed in the following encapsulation: “Be anchored to the book and geared to the times.”
About the Author
JIM TOWNS is Regents Professor of Communication at Stephen F. Austin State University. Among his other books are Validating Singles (2012), Reverse Mentoring (2011), and Challenge and Change in Single Life (1992). He resides in Nacogdoches where he is a Regents Professor at SFASU.