Publication Date

9-2008

Document Type

Unpublished Manuscript

Disciplines

Religion | Rhetoric

Abstract

By 1960, the 1,100 churches of the Baptist Bible Fellowship (BBF) claimed a cumulative membership of 1,000,000--an impressive number given that the movement had begun with 120 churches in 1950. The Baptist Bible Tribune provides the most extensive documentation of the BBF's early history. The 1959-60 volume of the Tribune contains numerous references to revivals. Analysis of these references via Kenneth Burke's dramatistic pentad demonstrates the centrality of revivalism to the life of the BBF in its early years. Members of the BBF’s first generation viewed revival meetings as (one of) the foremost means of building a fellowship of churches capable of sustaining a worldwide evangelistic effort. Taken as a whole, the evidence validates a statement published shortly after the BBF's founding: “Nearly every one of the preachers of the Baptist Bible Fellowship is a mass revivalist. All of our churches are the products of mass revivals.”