Baptist Leader Duke McCall dies

Duke McCall being honored at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary last year.

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (ABP)—Duke McCall, a denominational leader known by Baptists worldwide for a ministry that spanned four decades, died April 2 at age 98.

McCall was chief executive officer of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee 1946-1951 and president of two seminaries. Early in his ministry he led the Baptist Bible Institute of New Orleans, now known as New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. From 1951 until 1980 he was president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

After his retirement he served a five-year term as president of the Baptist World Alliance.

McCall led Southern Seminary through a 1958 controversy that led to the dismissal of 13 theological professors, one of whom was later reinstated. Late in his career McCall was active in the so-called “moderate” response to the “conservative resurgence” that gained control of the nation’s second-largest faith group in the 1980s. He ran for SBC president in 1982 and lost narrowly.

McCall conceived of an idea for alternative to allow disenfranchised moderates to protest their exclusion from leadership by funding some but not all SBC causes. The Baptist Cooperative Missions Program was incorporated in 1990, a year before the formation of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

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