Cecil Sherman was consistent
April 19 2010 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

Cecil Sherman never changed.

A Bible scholar and pastor, he wrote Sunday School lessons for the Baptist Sunday School Board (now LifeWay) for years used by thousands of laymen to understand the Bible better.

Although his scholarship and biblical insights and expertise did not change, the world around him did and he ended up doing his same fine work for a new publishing house.

A highly regarded North Carolina pastor for 20 years in Asheville and president of the Baptist State Convention 1980-82, he did not like the direction of the Southern Baptist Convention in the 1980s and spoke against it. Suddenly he was like egg shells in your omelet.

When he was called as pastor of Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, where many Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary faculty and students attended, a strong element in the church feared he was too conservative and would be divisive.

Instead, he loved the people and led them to significant growth. He never changed.

When the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship formed in May 1991 he agreed to be its first coordinator and North Carolina Baptists had the organization in their budget until this year. 

Circumstances around him changed which made people who shifted with the circumstances see him in a different light, but he didn’t change.

He died April 17 at age 82 leaving behind a list of contributions few can match, including the example of consistency.
4/19/2010 9:28:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 3 comments

Gene Scarborough
How I wish the comments on Cecil Sherman in the BR were more plentious. I suspect our editor would receive terrible criticism as if he covered the "evil" CBF's first Executive Director when it should be totally ignored.

In the spirit of former NCBSC cooperation I offer these observations:

I am saddened with our loss of a man with the heart of a lion who saw changes for the worse among Baptists and had the courage to speak out clearly, irregardless of any political or pastoral ramifications.

It is the rare pastor of a large church who does not check the "direction of the wind and flow of the stream" before he takes a stand on anything.

Cecil had a sense of humor which would not quit, a brilliant mind which saw to the heart of most issues, and an ability to communicate clearly with anyone who would read or listen to what he had to say.

Combine this with his brilliant mind and you have a leader worthy of following into a new thing called Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

Cecil, being a word smith, must have guided several founders in choosing the name carefully. Those two new words replacing "Southern" and "Convention" have meaning. Instead of "southern pride" there is "cooperation." Instead of "convention" there is "fellowship."

My most delightful "Cecil Story" is of his somewhat flamboyant sport coat which he brought from Texas to Asheville. It was tolerated until he wore it for a funeral of one of the more prominent members of the church and community. Quickly the staff who knew "proper preacher attire," encouraged him to get his dark suit, white shirt, and conservative preacher tie. He quickly went back in his office to change.

With great drama he jumped through his door to the main office saying, "TA DA--how do you like this Mrs. Widow!"---Only to find the widow standing there with the rest of the mortified Staff. In classic Sherman humility, he apologized from the depths of his heart and was forgiven.

We loved him most because he always made you laugh in hard times!
4/23/2010 12:48:10 AM
I knew Cecil very well. I still remember laughing every time some SBC fundamentalist would thunder that "Cecil Sherman is a liberal who doesn't believe the Bible!" They obviously didn't know him, nor did they care to know him.
4/20/2010 3:26:20 PM
Gene Scarborough
What a simple and totally truthful analysis!

Whether one agreed or disagreed with Cecil Sherman, he was always clear and down to earth.

The sad thing is that Baptists these days seem never to "agree to disagree." You are either "in" or "out." In the days where we took Autonomy seriously, this was not a problem and we cooperated together to share the Gospel--be it Conservative / Liberal / Inerrant / Relative.

Too bad so many people hide behind pretense and what is Politically Correct(?)!
4/20/2010 5:36:37 AM
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