Pioneer southern ethicist Foy Valentine, who embraced civil rights long before many fellow Southern Baptists did, died January 7 of an apparent heart attack in Dallas at the age of 82.
A native Texan, Valentine was executive director of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Christian Life Commission in Nashville from 1960 to 1987, before the conservative resurgence began to transform the denomination.
“He was legitimately a 20th-century prophet,” said Jimmy Allen, the last moderate president of the SBC and a lifelong friend. “He was a pioneer in Christian ethics, civil rights and religious liberty.”
W. C. Fields, a longtime director of Baptist Press, said that during the “dark days when civil rights was such an explosive issue, Foy always was well informed, sure of the Christian approach, and he had the courage to follow through on his convictions.”