Monday, June 6, 2016

"James Petigru Boyce: Selected Writings" by Timothy George: A Review

For those who like to study great men of God who were great preachers and leaders,  highly recommend James Petigru Boyce: Selected Writings, by Timothy George.

First, George offers some biographical information about Boyce. Boyce is most known for being the founder and first president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. George's biography on this great man is an excellent synopsis and summary of his life. In it, George covers many of the important events and people in Boyce's life.


The second part of the book is Boyce's faculty address he gave in 1856 called "Three Changes in Theological Institutions." This is a great read, and sums up Boyce's vision for Southern Seminary. It was these 3 premises that Southern was founded on.

One of changes he suggests in this address is the need for a confession of faith. When Boyce began SBTS, he wrote out such a document called "The Abstract of Principles." It is essentially an orthodox confession with additional statements that reflections his Calvinism.

This document is still in use today at Southern. Every professor that teaches at Southern, Boyce argued, was to sign and agree to the things written in the Abstract of Principles. Why? For fear that liberalism and heresy would be taught to those preparing to become minsters of the gospel.

This confession of faith is important. I believe that it is one of the reasons that Southern was able to become conservative again. Dr. Albert Mohler, the current President at Southern, led the charge on making Southern a conservative institution, the way Boyce would want it. One of the things Dr. Mohler had to do was simply hire professors that agreed to this profession of faith. Those who disagreed with it, were not to be hired.

The last part of the book is a selection of sermons he preached. My favorite would probably be the Christmas children's sermon. Though short, I loved how he handled and applied the text, and how he encouraged the children and the congregation with clear Biblical truth.

The way Boyce preached was quit different than the way it is done now. It is obvious that times have changed. But in every sermon, even those who are living 150 years after the fact, can still understand and apply what Boyce had to say. It is a great reminder that though cultures and times may change, Scripture and it's many truths do not!

Here is a sample from one of his sermons entitled, "Christ Receiving and Eating With Sinners":
Do you believe in Jesus, my hearers? Has He spoken here the truth concerning Himself? Is it, can it be, true that Jesus thus yearns over each one here? That He thus earnestly desires the salvation of each soul?

Too long have you lingered in the ways of sin and folly. Too long have you stood and trembled and doubted what might be His feelings toward you.

Hearken today to the message of His yearning love by which he would win you.

It tells you of sinners waited for, longed for with deep desire.

It tells you of the yearnings of your Jehovah Savior who cannot afford to lose you. It tells you of His earnest seeking, by which He would take you wounded and sore and unable to return and bear you back upon His shoulders to the fold.

Can you resist these pleadings? Can you reject such love? Can you disappoint such earnest longings and desires?

Will you to welcome to your heart your blessed Lord, your glorious Savior, who thus seeks you that he may regain His wandering sheep, His lost treasure, His prodigal child, that He may once more number you among His own.

Suffer this day the word of exhortation. Would that I could utter such words as would make you hesitate no longer.

Where shall I find them? Isaiah 55:1, "Ho, every one that thristeth, come ye to the waters, and he that hat no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price."
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