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While the Southern Baptist Convention has so often been a step behind on the issue of race since its formation, there was still light shining in the darkness: a group of biblically faithful men and women who both recognized and fought for their racially marginalized brothers and sisters. Chief among these men and women was Thomas Buford Maston. T. B. Maston faithfully engaged the topic as the SBC’s preeminent ethicist from 1922-1963 as a professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. This stand ultimately cost him his job. Even still, some sixty years later, his theology and ethics model the full unity in Christ. This book examines the writings of T. B. Maston in his efforts to reform the racially misguided interpretations of Scripture in the church and their subsequent prejudices. Maston is not merely a visionary who foreshadowed the eventual position of the SBC, and more widely, the evangelical church, but is one who directly caused legitimate change. Maston’s profound yet humble work gives a blueprint for future racial reconciliation through integration in the church.
Praise for Integration:
“Southern Baptist history is as rich as it is complicated. Only by reckoning with our history can we fulfill the promises of a brighter future for the denomination. The work and witness of T. B. Maston is part of this history that needs to be recovered and remembered. Southern Baptists and the church as a whole have much to learn from Maston’s pioneering efforts in Christian ethics and racial reconciliation. His legacy is ours.”
—Karen Swallow Prior, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
“In this masterfully written analysis of Maston’s theological project, Morrison provides much-needed insight into the theology and historical context of one of the most unsung heroes in Baptist life. Morrison . . . highlights how this towering figure shaped Southern Baptist views on race for generations to come. Morrison’s work here is a gift for the church, and one that should not be ignored in the present context.”
—Rhyne Putman, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
“Through a critical analysis of Maston’s work, Morrison provides for us today a blueprint for tackling the issues that undergird racism, prejudice, and discrimination in Christian institutions. Those who have the courage, confidence, and commitment to aggressively and proactively confront the racial problems inherent in denominational, ecclesiastical, and personal spaces will benefit and be blessed by reading and implementing the strategies put forward in this book.”
—William Dwight Mckissic, author of Beyond Roots: In Search of Blacks in the Bible
“Those unfamiliar with T. B. Maston now have Paul Morrison to give us an insightful encounter with the theology and ethics of a brave leader who provides both an example and catalyst for our ongoing engagement on questions of race. This volume invites us to understand and utilize an approach to Christian ethics that is properly holistic and helps us think about what it means to beChristian. . . . This is a book for all Christians, not just Baptists.”
—Vincent Bacote, Wheaton College
“Paul Morrison joins T. B. Maston’s hope to go beyond desegregation to full integration—all races not only eating in the same restaurant but at the same table and in each other’s homes. Morrison argues for racial reconciliation within the framework of inerrancy. His excitement and expertise lend to a thoroughly readable commentary on Gen 1, Acts 17, and Maston’s ethics.”
—Katie Frugé, director, Center for Cultural Engagement and the Christian Life Commission