Vibrant Future, Timeless Heritage

Notice: The 2020 Annual Meeting of the BH&HS Has Been Cancelled

Since 1938, the Baptist History and Heritage Society has been a leading scholarly organization for Baptist historians in America. The Society seeks to integrate scholarship into top-notch congregational resources in the form of publications, printed and digital resources, conferences, seminars, dialogues, and special events. The Society represents Baptists around the world and is funded by membership dues, the generosity of donors, and grants. Join or renew your membership today.

Dr. John M. Finley serves as the executive director of the Society. Previously, Finley was pastor of the historic First Baptist Church of Savannah, Georgia., where he served for nearly twenty-five years. A native of St. Louis, Missouri., Finley is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he received his Ph.D. in Baptist History with a dissertation examining the life and ministry of Edwin Charles Dargan.

Finley served as a Teaching Fellow under renowned Baptist historian Walter B. Shurden and also studied under historian Samuel S. Hill at the University of Florida. He did post-doctoral study at the International Baptist Theological Seminary in Prague, Czech Republic (1998, 2009); the Evangelische Akademie in Berlin, Germany (1998); the University of Durham in England (2004); and The Ecumenical Institute of the World Council of Churches in Chateau de Bossey, Switzerland (2009).

Over the past four decades, Finley has held numerous civic, denominational and interfaith leadership roles with organizations such as Savannah United Ministries, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Georgia, Georgia Baptist Historical Society, William H. Baptist Heritage Society (President, 2005-2006), and is a current member of the Commission on Baptist Heritage and Identity of the Baptist World Alliance.

A champion of ecumenical and interfaith dialogue and relationships, Finley has represented the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship since 2015 in the role of Observer at proceedings of the National Council of Churches (NCC). He has also represented CBF as an Observer to Christian Churches Together in the USA (2007-2014) and the Faith and Order Commission of NCC (2004-2007). He is the founder of the Savannah-based Congregations in Service, an interfaith volunteer service program.

Finley is the author of numerous columns and articles on Baptist history and since 2001 has been a contributor to He is married to Norma Kaye Vaughan and they have three adult children.

Dr. Finley may be contacted by email –


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