Baptist Bible Union
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Founder
William Bell Riley, J. Frank Norris, William Pettingill
Time Period
1923
Description
During the 1920s, fundamentalists in the Northern Baptist Convention (NBC) worried that the denominational leadership had been take over by theological modernists who denied the inerrancy of the Bible and questioned other cardinal doctrines. In response, pastor William Bell Riley attempted to pass a resolution at the 1922 annual convention requiring all NBC ministers to sign their agreement to the 1833 New Hampshire Confession of Faith. The modernist faction averted the tactic, and the fundamentalists lost the subsequent vote, 1,264 to 637.

In response, Riley, along with J. Frank Norris, and William Pettingill, founded the Baptist Bible Union, making the New Hampshire Confession the basis of their statement of faith. The Union only lasted a few years due turmoil at the Union-controlled Des Moines University, but later resurfaced in 1932, becoming the General Association of Regular Baptists (GARB). Today, the GARB claims 132,700 members.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Baptist Religious Events and People in American History
Narrative
During the 1920s, fundamentalists in the Northern Baptist Convention (NBC) worried that the denominational leadership had been take over by theological modernists who denied the inerrancy of the Bible and questioned other cardinal doctrines. In response, pastor William Bell Riley attempted to pass a resolution at the 1922 annual convention requiring all NBC ministers to sign their agreement to the 1833 New Hampshire Confession of Faith. The modernist faction out-maneuvered the fundamentalists by proposing a counter-resolution stating that "the New Testament is an all-sufficient ground for Baptist faith and practice, and they need no other doctrinal statement." The fundamentalists lost the subsequent vote, 1,264 to 637.

In response, Riley, along with J. Frank Norris, and William Pettingill, founded the Baptist Bible Union, making the New Hampshire Confession the basis of their statement of faith. The Union only lasted a few years after a scandal at the Union-controlled Des Moines University. President T.T. Shields, a Canadian minister, tried to force the faculty to sign the statement of faith; after several refused, he fired the entire faculty in 1929. An enraged student mob in support of the faculty stormed the administration building to confront the board, which huddled in a locked boardroom until the police arrived to disperse the riot. Shortly afterward, the school went bankrupt and closed down.

In 1932, the organization started afresh, changing its name to the General Association of Regular Baptists (GARB). They kept the New Hampshire Confession as their statement of faith, but they ejected some of the more Calvinistic sections and added a reference to premillennialism. Today, the GARB claims 132,700 members, the majority of which are in Michigan and other old Northwestern states. The replacement college it opened in 1932, Bible Baptist College and Seminary, continues to train its ministers, but the denomination's longstanding affiliation with Cedarville University ended in 2005 over the school's ties to the Southern Baptist Convention.
Religious Groups
Baptist Family: Other Timeline Event Entries
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Baptist Family: Other ARDA Links

Independent Fundamentalist Family: Other Timeline Entries

Independent Fundamentalist Family: Other ARDA Links

Biographies
Riley, William Bell
Norris, John Frank
Movements
Christian Fundamentalism
Photographs

New Hampshire Confession of Faith- Hathi Trust

William Bell Riley portrait- Hennepin County Library Special Collections

J Frank Norris portrait- Christian Hall of Fame, Canton Baptist Temple
Web Source(s)
http://baptistbulletin.org/the-baptist-bulletin-magazine/the-history-of-the-garbc-articles-of-faith/
Web Page Contributor
Paul Matzko
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in History

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