The SBJT Forum: Overlooked Shapers of Evangelicalism -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 03:1 (Spring 1999)
Article: The SBJT Forum: Overlooked Shapers of Evangelicalism
Author: Anonymous

The SBJT Forum:
Overlooked Shapers of Evangelicalism

Editor’s Note: Readers should be aware of the Forum’s format. Timothy George, D. A. Carson, C. Ben Mitchell, Scott Hafemann, Carl F. H. Henry, and Greg Wills have been asked specific questions to which they have provided written responses. These writers are not responding to one another. The journal’s goal for the Forum is to provide significant thinkers’ views on topics of interest without requiring lengthy articles from these heavily-committed individuals. Their answers are presented in an order that hopefully makes the Forum read as much like a unified presentation as possible.

SBJT: Whom would you name as someone whose impact has been underestimated?

Timothy George1 : Basil Manly, Sr. (1798–1868) was one of the most significant shapers of the Southern Baptist tradition, although his legacy has been somewhat eclipsed by his illustrious son, Basil Manly, Jr., one of the four faculty founders of Southern Seminary and sometime president of Georgetown College. For many years in the SBC, figures such as Manly, Sr., if noticed at all, were mere objects of affectionate obscurity. Now that it is once again acceptable to evaluate the theology and historic importance of such figures, Manly, Sr. deserves to be brought down from the shelf of historical curiosity and refurbished as a model of pastoral integrity, theological fidelity, and denominational statesmanship.

Manly was born at Chatham County, North Carolina, on January 29, 1798. His father was a Catholic but, like his mother, Basil became a Baptist. Converted to Christ through the witness of a slave, he was baptized in 1816 in the Haw River. Soon thereafter he was licensed to preach in the Sandy Creek Baptist Association. At age twenty-eight Manly was called as pastor of the oldest and most prestigious Baptist church in the South, the First Baptist Church of Charleston, succeeding the venerable Richard Furman.

Manly had a great influence on an entire generation of younger ministers, including his own son and James Petigru Boyce. Manly was Boyce’s mentor and father in the ministry. A strong advocate of theological education, Manly called for the creation of an Education Convention, which played an important role in the eventual formation of Southern Seminary, over which Manly also presided as chair of the first board of trustees.

Manly is doubly significant in Baptist history in that he served as a bridge between the more settled conditions of Baptist life on the eastern seaboard and the expansion of Baptist life into what was then the western frontier, that is, the Alabama wilderness. Manly served as the second president of the University of Alabama and...

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