Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The "must-read biography of the year"

From the Publisher's description of this biography of the third pastor of what is now the First Baptist Church in Columbia, South Carolina:

"James Petigru Boyce (1827-1888) devoted his life and resources to the dream of training Southern men form many economic and educational backgrounds for pastoral ministry. 'Boyce lived and breathed theological education,' Thomas Nettles writes. 'His theological conviction and his zeal for the strength and purity of Baptist churches drove him to an unrelenting advocacy of theological education for Baptist preachers.

Here is a story of faith triumphing amid struggles and controversies within the Southern Baptist Church. At a time when piety and scholarship were often viewed as antithetical, and no formal confessional statements were required of pastors, Boyce envisioned a confessional seminary that reflected the best of pious scholarship and stood as a bulwark against the slide toward theological diversity. These pages show why Boyce's accomplishment was truly one of the wonders of American theological education.

'Boyce gave his life to training Baptist theological students in orthodox, Reformed, experiential theology,' says Joel Beeke. 'Nettles does with Boyce what Iain Murray did with D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Without resorting t hagiography, nettles offers fascinating details of God's great work through Boyce's intriguing relationships with other notables, such as Archibald Alexander, Samuel Miller, Charles Hodge, Basil Manly Jr., Francis Wayland, John A Broadus, William Williams, and C. H. Toy.'"

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