Dr. Albert Mohler offers this gracious article remembering the life of Dr. Cecil Sherman, a leading voice in the Southern Baptist Convention for decades and a dominant voice in the liberal (moderate) movement among the denomination. Having been a Southern Baptist for over 35 years, I can relate to Dr. Mohler’s comments.
“Dr. Cecil Sherman was a man of many parts and a serious man of ideas. We must respect his bravery and courage in confronting the reality of racism. No one who knows his life story can respond with anything less than total admiration for the love and devotion with which he cared for his beloved wife Dot when Alzheimer’s disease struck. When Cecil Sherman gave his word, he kept it. When he pledged his faithful love in sickness and in health, he meant it.
Cecil Sherman’s death brings to a close a remarkable chapter in Southern Baptist history — and one with lessons too important to forget. I will never forget seeing him stand in that chapel service, nor feeling the jab of his finger in my chest many years later. In his own way, he played a very important part in clarifying for me the most basic issues at stake in the SBC conflict. We ended up at opposite ends of the SBC spectrum. The fact that our boyhoods and youth experiences in the SBC were so similar serves to underline the vast change brought about by the conservative recovery of the denomination. A Baptist who feels no grief in that fact has no heart. This grief serves to underline the cost of theological recovery and doctrinal accountability. We must be ever willing to pay that cost, but we must never forget the cost that is paid.
We are not likely ever to see the like of Cecil Sherman again. No one will be able to understand the history of the Southern Baptist Convention in the twentieth century without reference to him. No one who had a meaningful encounter with him will ever forget him. Cecil Sherman may have led the moderate movement in the SBC, but this much is clear — Cecil Sherman was no moderate.”