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Baptist historian, scholar McBeth dies at 81 comment (0)

May 16, 2013


FORT WORTH, Texas — H. Leon McBeth, a Baptist historian and scholar who wrote nine books, died April 29 at age 81.

McBeth, retired chair of the history department at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, received numerous awards for his contributions to Baptist history, including a Festschrift, “Turning Points in Baptist History,” in which colleagues paid tribute to his life’s work.

His books included “The Baptist Heritage: Four Centuries of Baptist Witness,” published in 1987. In 1990, the Baptist Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention — since renamed LifeWay Christian Resources — contracted with him to write an interpretive history for the publishing house’s 100th anniversary.

McBeth grew up in Plainview, Texas, and graduated from Wayland Baptist University, where he later served as trustee. He earned his master of divinity and doctor of theology degrees from Southwestern Seminary. He was a member of the Baptist History & Heritage Society and the 1989 recipient of the society’s W.O. Carver Distinguished Service Award. “His life and work profoundly inspired and impacted many of us,” said Bruce Gourley, the society’s executive director.

Gourley called it fitting that the Spring 2013 Baptist History & Journal edition mailed to society members in early May is a tribute to McBeth. Gourley said the society will also pay tribute to him at the group’s annual conference, May 20–22 in Richmond, Va.

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