Baptists Today, an autonomous national journal published monthly in Macon, provides news and information to Baptist church members and Baptist institutions. Originally named SBC Today, the news journal was born amid the struggle between moderates and conservatives for control of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), the country's largest non-Catholic Christian denomination.
In April 1983 a group of Baptists who felt the conservative leaders of the SBC were restricting access to information about the struggle founded the publication, which initially operated in office space donated by Oakhurst Baptist Church in Decatur. The publishers' intention was to provide news and information about Southern Baptist life independent of the official denominational news services. As conservatives solidified control of the SBC, the moderate faction began new semi-denominational organizations, such as the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the Alliance of Baptists. In 1991, in response to the rise of these new organizations, the board of directors of SBC Today changed the name of the journal to Baptists Today.
The list of editors of Baptists Today includes journalists who formerly held positions in Southern Baptist life. Walker Knight (founding editor, 1983-88; publisher, 1989-93; interim editor, 1997-98) served as a longtime journalist for the SBC Home Mission Board. Jack Harwell (editor, 1988-97) formerly edited The Christian Index, the Georgia Baptist Convention's newspaper. Robert C. Ballance (editor, 1998-99) held pastorates in several SBC churches. John Pierce (editor since 2000) previously served as the managing editor of The Christian Index.
Nancy T. Ammerman, Baptist Battles: Social Change and Religious Conflict in the Southern Baptist Convention (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1990).
Nancy T. Ammerman, ed., Southern Baptists Observed: Multiple Perspectives on a Changing Denomination (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1993).
Arthur Emery Farnsley, Southern Baptist Politics: Authority and Power in the Restructuring of an American Denomination (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994).
Walker L. Knight, "The History of Baptists Today," in The Struggle for the Soul of the SBC: Moderate Responses to the Fundamentalist Movement, ed. Walter B. Shurden (Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 1993).
Walter B. Shurden and Randy Shepley, eds., Going for the Jugular: A Documentary History of the SBC Holy War (Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 1996).
Chase L. Peeples, Emory University
A project of the Georgia Humanities Council, in partnership with the University of Georgia Press, the University System of Georgia/GALILEO, and the Office of the Governor.