James P. Boyce & Albert Mohler, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Then & Now
In the nineteenth century James P. Boyce believed the Lord was leading him to found a new seminary in Greenville South Carolina. As he followed through with the challenging task he did not foresee the catastrophe of the United States Civil War. The destruction of the war and financial loss led Boyce and others to believe that Louisville, KY would be the best place to relocate the seminary for future generations. Through the process of time and growth, other individuals also emerged from Southern Seminary as “great Christian lives.” Two such individuals that would make their impact on many entering into church ministry and missions were John A. Broadus and A.T. Robertson.
As the Southern Baptist denomination grew, scores of leaders could reflect back on the impact of their seminary professors and the role they played in equipping them for the ministry. However, as time pressed forward beyond the mid-twentieth century, Southern Seminary began to drift away from her orthodox roots and turmoil continued rising within the Southern Baptist Convention. During all of the years of conflict, the Trustees at Southern Seminary eventually had the difficult task of finding the right man of God to lead as President. In early 1993, after screening several individuals, the decision was made to hire Albert Mohler, the youngest of the group and a graduate of the institution. The beginning years of Mohler’s presidency were filled with change and bitter opposition from those who disagreed with his theology and long-range plans for the coming decades. Through all of the early years of trial, Mohler persevered and today the seminary stands not only as a testimony of orthodox theology but also as a beautiful historical campus for the eyes to behold.
Recently at the 2015 EHS conference, I had the opportunity to visit the campus for the first time. The pictures I had previously viewed of Southern Seminary did not do justice to the pristine condition of the facilities and the landscaping. The staffs greeted everyone and were thorough in making sure the conference participants had all of the necessary resources available for the success of the presenters.
I would personally like to thank Al Mohler for taking the time to be our plenary speaker for this year’s EHS Conference. He is truly carrying forward the sound theological heritage that Boyce envisioned. For it was then in the nineteenth century that James P. Boyce sacrificed so much to found the seminary on sound theological principles and now Al Mohler is effectively leading into the future under these same Biblical truths.~TKE~
Dr. Toby Easley
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