Baptist Theology at the Crossroads: The Legacy of E. Y. Mullins -- By: R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 03:4 (Winter 1999)
Article: Baptist Theology at the Crossroads: The Legacy of E. Y. Mullins
Author: R. Albert Mohler, Jr.


Baptist Theology at the Crossroads:
The Legacy of E. Y. Mullins

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr. is President and Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles and has edited and contributed to important volumes on theology and culture. Dr. Mohler’s writing is regularly featured in World magazine and Religion News Service.

Introduction

One of the towering figures of Southern Baptist history, Edgar Young Mullins led Southern Baptists through some of the most tumultuous decades of American religious history. As a Baptist statesman, theologian, educator, and denominationalist, E. Y. Mullins shaped the denominational consensus that, in turn, shaped Southern Baptist life and thought well into the twentieth century.

Born January 5, 1860 to Seth and Corrine Mullins of Franklin County, Mississippi, Mullins’s most formative years were lived during the Civil War and Reconstruction. A Baptist minister with a Master of Arts degree from Mississippi College, Seth Mullins spent most of his ministry as both preacher and school teacher. When Mississippi experienced a breakdown of order during Reconstruction, Seth Mullins moved his young family to Corsicana, Texas.

Taught largely by his father, E. Y. Mullins demonstrated an early love for learning and reading. His first part-time job came at the age of eleven, and his teenage vocational experiences included stints as typesetter for the local newspaper and telegraph operator. Demonstrating administrative as well as telegraphic gifts, Mullins took full charge of the Corsicana telegraph office at age fifteen.1

At age sixteen Mullins entered the first cadet class at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas. In reality, the young school was neither agricultural nor mechanical in focus. In general terms it was a liberal arts college with a military cadet corps. As William E. Ellis comments, “A. and M. displayed two dominant characteristics during these early years of existence: a pervading southern ‘Lost Cause’ atmosphere and a lack of clear direction for its chartered purpose, the training of young men in the agricultural and mechanical arts.”2 As a young cadet, Mullins received lessons in both discipline and leadership, and served as a cadet officer. His military bearing and tall stature became life-long marks of distinction.

The “A. and M.” experience was charged with both military discipline and Confederate memory. Jefferson Davis was invited to be the first president of the school and, though Davis declined the offer, ...

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