Mp3 – Martin Luther King Jr. At Southern Seminary in 1961

This podcast contains a recording of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on April 19, 1961. The speech is more remarkable considering the context. Southern Baptists were not unified in their posture toward the Civil Rights movement and in 1961 the outcome was far from certain.

In this speech, you will hear Dr. King cast his vision for the church’s role in racial reconciliation. While it has become fashionable to find fault with his personal life and theological positions, there is much to appreciate in King’s prophetic voice.

Calling For Posts: Religion, Racism and the Church

We are collecting links for a special roundup of articles discussing religion, racism and the church. Please email me a link if you have written on this topic,

The deadline for submissions will be Friday, January 18, 2008 – the Racism roundup will be posted on Monday 1/21/08.

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22 Responses to Mp3 – Martin Luther King Jr. At Southern Seminary in 1961

  1. Ray Anderson says:


    Thanks for the audio of Dr. King you posted on Said at Southern. I was particularly struck by this quote. He said:

    “It seems to be a fact of life that human beings cannot continue to do wrong without eventually reaching out for some thin rationalization to cloak an obvious wrong in the beautiful garments of righteousness.”

    The opportunities for application simply boggle the mind.


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  5. Adam Winters says:

    Thanks for posting this. I’m guessing you got this from the Boyce library. How were you able to convert the file to mp3 format?

  6. Tony, I did two posts on racism in 2006. You might want to creat a link to if you think they are helpful. They are under “October 2006.” The following are there titles:

    Exhibit A: Moses Marries a Black Woman

    Exhibit B: Jesus Rebukes Racism

    Hope that’s helpuful.

  7. RonK says:


    Thanks for the Podcast.

    I also want to echo Adam’s question. I am interested in a relatively inexpensive way to convert hard audio into digital. I can give you my email if that woudl be a better forum.

    Thanks again.

  8. johnMark says:


    I certainly appreciate the work MLK has done in the civil rights movement. It is to be commended and celebrated.

    My questions are how should we Christians present him inside the church? And also how should the church present him to the world in light of Christianity?



  9. Tony Kummer says:

    Cassette tape player to 1/8 headphone jack, then into my laptops 1/8 microphone input, then into Audacity (free software), then export to MP3.

    This was my first Cassette to Mp3 conversion, I have a few more in mind if I can clear copyrights.

  10. Rhology says:

    JM’s question is quite germane, especially given MLK’s heretical views on a variety of topics.
    Reading that link makes me sad; I like a real-life hero as much as the next guy, and his work in civil rights certainly qualifies him! But his heresy and philandering make me feel icky.

    So JM, I guess we’d say that he was a false teacher whom God used in spite of himself to accomplish some great things in the USA. Thanks be to God for His originality and generosity!

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  12. Tony Kummer says:

    To quote myself:

    While it has become fashionable to find fault with his personal life and theological positions, there is much to appreciate in King’s prophetic voice.

    MLK is not running for president and Baptists have never believed in saints.

  13. Rhology says:

    Very true.
    Especially not Dr. King as saint… But one could argue that he has been canonised by the American public. Anyway…

  14. G F McDowell says:

    His voice sounded huskier than I had ever imagined at the beginning. I almost didn’t believe it was him. He became recognizable as he warmed up; all the same, he sounded like a tired man.

    So, the question everybody is afraid to ask (I’m good at asking those) Was Dr. King only invited to Southern because it was in the control of the liberals? Would he have been invited by the inerrantists of that day? Or were there still too many white sheets hanging in the closets of the deacon boards of SBC churches in 1961?

  15. johnMark says:

    After re-thinking my question I wanted to share where I come from on this issue. So no one gets the wrong idea I was not advocating a sermon with the goal of focusing on and discrediting MLK’s theology. See, I had no idea about his theology. I just thought that he was a great man of God since that’s what I was told. So about two years ago I decided I wanted to read a bit about MLK’s positions to get some background and understanding. Imagine my surprise when I learned that he denied the virgin birth, resurrection and deity of Christ. I was pretty let down! These are hardly simple theological disagreements, but denials of the faith. Maybe in part my question comes up since today questions arise about the Christianity, or at the very least, the methods employed by Emergents to Rick Warren all the way to cartoons!

    I,however, do understand that King’s theology is hardly ever what is in view when discussing him and his work. This is similar to the answer I got when I emailed Lifeway a few years ago about TD Jakes. I was curious what they’d say given his Modalism. I was basically told that Jakes’ books were teaching theology so it wasn’t really a big deal. That said, I do understand these are different men, different issues and different times.

    I’ve lived in the South 95% of my life and there are certainly sensitive cultural issues to be aware of. I’ve experienced racism on the job and in the masonic lodge when I was a mason. I do appreciate the input and thoughtfulness on this touchy subject. Maybe I should have asked how should the church present MLK when speaking of Civil Rights or whatever topic may be applicable. Or maybe I shouldn’t have asked anything.

    I do have more to ask though. Does anyones church have plans to celebrate, observe, honor, etc. MLK and/or his holiday? If so, how?


  16. Rhology says:

    Sadly, a coworker of mine I overheard talking on the cell to someone, said “Monday we get a day off! I don’t know what it’s for, but oh well!”


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  19. Dr BLT says:

    Thanks. Great blog post!
    Here’s a little something to get you celebrating about MLK and his legacy. It’s a song that pays tribute to Martin Luther King, from my forthcoming CD, Dr BLTributes:

    It Only Hurts When I Cry
    Dr BLT
    words and music by Dr BLT copyright 2008

    Stay Tuned at:

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