1916: J.M. Gambrell Rebuked by Army General

A controversy between “the southern wing of the Baptists” and the U. S. Army erupted in November, 1916. Texas Baptist leader J. M. Gambrell (at the time he was executive secretary of the Consolidated Board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas) requested permission of the Army to preach to American soldiers. The regional Army general consented, but with restrictions: Baptist preachers were not “to tell the soldiers that they were lost and in need of being saved” and were not to stir “the emotions of soldiers.”

In response, Gambrell declared that if such restrictions were upheld, he would see to it that no Baptists preached at all in the army, while another Baptist leader threatened to call upon his church members who were in the service to withdraw from the military.

Read the New York Times story

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