Date: November 15, 2005
Creator: Early, Joseph E. Jr.
Description: The Hayden Controversy was one of the most bitter feuds in Baptist history. In the nineteenth century, Protestant denominations in Texas endured difficult transitions from a loosely organized frontier people to a more cooperative and organized body capable of meeting the needs of growing denominations. The Methodists, Churches of Christ, and Baptists all endured major splits before their survival was certain. Of all the Protestant bodies, however, the Hayden Controversy was the fiercest and most widespread, with repercussions that continue to affect current Baptist life. Joseph E. Early, Jr., tells the story of how one man, Samuel Augustus Hayden, almost destroyed the newly organized Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) before it could take root. In the final decades of the nineteenth century, Hayden caused such unrest among Texas Baptists that after a failed attempt to take over the BGCT, he was expelled from the state body. In turn, he created a rival organization, the Baptist Missionary Association (BMA), which continued to fight perceived oppression by the BGCT. While trying to take over the BGCT, Hayden, through his newspaper, accused his enemies of embezzlement, heresy, arson, and strong-arm tactics. Haydens high-profile opponents included some of the most powerful and well-known ...
Contributing Partner: UNT Press