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~
In October of 1740, George Whitefield at the request of Jonathan Edwards arrived in Northampton Massachusetts. Through personal correspondence Edwards had discovered how God was using Whitefield and was longing for another revival to catch fire as it had in the mid 1730’s. There was abundant talk in town regarding the preacher from across the Atlantic and people were anxious to hear his powerful message as it echoed from a man who could be clearly heard by thousands in an outdoor setting. Whitefield was so intent on revival and preaching that he would stand in a field outdoors and preach even if he was not welcomed into the Church building.
As Whitefield preached, he later wrote in his diary that pastor Edwards sat close to the front weeping as he heard the extemporaneous gospel message. On that fall October day, when Whitefield arrived, God once again stirred the hearts of the Congregational Church in Northampton. Edwards knew God had moved at various times during his grandfather Stoddard’s fifty-year ministry in the same Church. His hopes were strengthened even after Whitfield's departure when God continued to move among the people. These and other similar events signaled the beginning of the Great Awakening and history tells us much more regarding the expansion of the Christian gospel throughout the American Colonies. In future Blogs I will discuss many of the “Great Christian Lives” that God used in the eighteenth century revival.~TKE~
I wanted this first Blog post to cover the brief description located under my name on the right column of the desktop page and on the bottom of the mobile version. The focus as you have observed says, "Blogs on great Christian lives throughout church history." We can sit and discuss “great Christian lives” all day but we must also arrive at the conclusion that extraordinary Christian living can only result by growing through God’s inspired Word.
On the About Me page on this website, there is information about the manuscripts and homiletics of Jonathan Edwards and his contribution to his own generation and how his legacy continues three centuries later. Numerous scholars have described Edwards as “America’s greatest theologian and philosopher.” This statement carries much truth but as one digs deeper into the mind of Edwards, his daily love and life-long passion for the Word of God is pronounced.
At the age of nineteen, Edwards wrote out his personal “Resolutions” as personal guidelines for his life and ministry. One of his first notes to himself said, “Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.” Later he would write, “Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly, and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.” Edwards, first and foremost, knew the importance of loving God. He realized that if people came to a true saving faith, they would not need to be coerced into loving and living for God. Consequently, for fifty-four years Jonathan Edwards produced voluminous works without anyone having to look over his shoulder and remind him of his job description. Although strong opposition and trials often came his way, he persisted in keeping his focus upon God’s call and will for his life through the Word and his personal “Resolutions.”
Why do you think men such as Edwards were able to accomplish so much in such a brief life?~TKE~