By admin | June 8, 2009
My students recently completed the course CH604 Baptist History. As part of their assignments, they wrote papers on topics of interest. One, on Edgar Young Mullins, who was perhaps the most pivotal figure in 20th century Southern Baptist life, deserves notice here. It was written by a young lady from the Sacramento area, Jennifer Petrik. She is pursuing a Master of Arts degree. She attends our church (Escondido Reformed Baptist Church) during the school year. Her paper may be accessed here. But first, the opening paragraphs:
In the early 20th century, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) was forced to deal with the rising tide of modernism in the Church. As president of the SBC’s flagship seminary during that time, Edgar Young Mullins was in a unique position to shape the discussions. Mullins tried to walk a tight line as a moderate between the fundamentalist and liberal positions, and in so doing took a pragmatic, moderate approach to the discussions. This set a foundation for the SBC that would last through the end of the 20th century.
What is striking about Mullins is how thoroughly modern his assumptions were. In Christianity at the Crossroads, he separated Christian facts from Christian doctrines and sought to speak about Christianity as though the whole of church history had never happened. In Baptist Beliefs, he insisted that the voluntary principle is a core tenet of Christianity. These are nothing less than modern assumptions because they assert the autonomy of the individual.
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