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Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1859-2009$
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Gregory Wills

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195377149

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195377149.001.0001

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Mullins and Denominational Leadership

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1859-2009

Gregory A. Wills

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on Edgar Y. Mullins's continued leadership. In the second half of his tenure as president, Mullins rose to leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention. Effective leadership in the populist denomination demanded sensitivity to the majority. Although he agreed with the conservative majority on many points, he also sought to express the majority views in ways that did the least harm to progressive aspirations. He sought to provide space for progressive theology in the seminary and did not want to drive progressives from the denomination. But he also needed to keep the denomination's trust in the seminary's orthodoxy and denominational loyalty. It was a difficult balancing act that drew the criticisms of progressives and conservatives alike. In the end Mullins accomplished as much to reassert orthodoxy as to promote progressive theology.

Keywords:   Edgar Y. Mullins, Southern Baptists, Baptist seminary, denominal change, fundamentalism, liberalism, traditional orthodoxy, progressive theology

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