“Calvinism” in “Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1859-2009)”- excerpts from the book by Dr. Gregory A. Wills, Part 3a.

3: The “Calvinism” of the SBTS founders

[The teaching of the doctrines of grace- commonly called “Calvinism”- was not an incidental matter to the founders of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. One motivating factor for why the chief seminary founder, James P. Boyce, worked so hard and sacrificed so much to establish the seminary is that he was concerned Arminianism might spread throughout the Southern Baptist Convention. In the following excerpts from Dr. Gregory A. Wills‘ new book Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1859-2009), Dr. Wills gives evidence demonstrating the “Calvinism” of the four founders of SBTS- James P. Boyce, John A. Broadus, William Williams, and Basil Manly Jr. After the following heading, the remainder of this post is a quote from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1859-2009).]

a. The “Calvinism” of James P. Boyce (93-94):

The seminary faculty taught Calvinism because the Bible taught it. It was the doctrine of Jesus and Paul. The system of doctrine “commonly called Calvinism,” Broadus wrote, “is believed by many of us to be really the teaching of the apostle Paul.”

Boyce taught a traditional five-point Calvinism. It was the doctrine of the Philadelphia and Charleston Baptist associations, and of such preaches as Richard Furman and Jesse Mercer, who initiated the great missionary and educational organizations of Baptists in the South. These facts made the doctrine more dear to Boyce, but they did not make it true. Above all, he held the doctrine because he found it in the Bible.

Boyce assigned Calvinist textbooks for his systematic theology classes, though none had the combination of readability, comprehensiveness, and compactness that he wanted. In his English-language course he assigned successively John L. Dagg’s Manual of Theology, John Dick’s Lectures on Theology, Charles Hodge’s Systematic Theology, J. J. Van Oosterzee’s Christian Dogmatics, Alvah Hovey’s Manual of Systematic Theology, A. A. Hodge’s Outlines of Theology, and finally his own condensed Abstract of Systematic Theology. In his Latin theology course he assigned Francis Turretin’s classic statement of Calvinist doctrine, Institutio Theologiae Elencticae. Boyce added his own lectures on various topics and gave his own ideas throughout the course.

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