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James Petigru Boyce, 1827-1888

James P. Boyce - The Reformed Reader James P. Boyce was born January 11, 1827, in Charleston, S.C., of Mr. and Mrs. Ker Boyce, considered the wealthiest man in South Carolina. He was of Scot-Irish and Presbyterian descent on his father’s side, his mother’s family being the Johnston family which produced many lawyers, judges and statesmen in the Carolinas. Charleston was the most cultured American city of that day, and young Boyce entered the best homes and had the best education available at Charleston College, Brown University (R.I.) and Princeton Seminary (N.J.)

As a child, the good natured and rotund Boyce was always inclined toward books rather than athletics. He was raised hearing some of the greatest preachers in America: Basil Manly, Sr. (under whom Boyce’s mother was converted and became a Baptist in 1830), Richard Fuller (whose preaching influenced Boyce’s conversion while home from Brown) and James Henley Thornwell, that great Presbyterian preacher and theologian. While a young man, Boyce once attended a Presbyterian church because he was enamored with a young girl. However, Boyce recalls that Thornwell preached so powerfully that he was held spellbound for one hour, forgetting about the girl. Boyce and Thornwell evidently became friends later during Boyce’s first pastorate in Columbia, S.C. Boyce was greatly affected by Thornwell’s Discourses on Truth published in 1854.

(from Abstract of Systematic Theology, James P. Boyce)

How came it (the Bible) to be written?
God inspired holy men to write it.

Did they write It exactly as God wished?
Yes; as much as if he had written every word himself.

Oughtn't it, therefore, to be believed and obeyed?
Yes; as much as though God had spoken directly to us.

James P. Boyce
First President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
President, 1872-79, 1888
From A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine

Peculiar obligations rest upon those to whom are entrusted the education of the rising Ministry. God in His mercy preserve the instructors from the crime of teaching a single error, however unimportant, and grant unto all our Boards the grace necessary for faithfulness to the trusts devolved upon them, that false doctrine, however trifling, may receive no countenance.

You will infringe the right of no man, and you will secure the rights of those who have established here an instrumentality for the production of a sound ministry. It is no hardship to those who teach here, to be called upon to sign the declaration of their principles, for there are fields of usefulness open elsewhere to every man, and none need accept your call who can not conscientiously sign your formulary.

Playing upon the prejudices of the weak and ignorant among our people, decrying creeds and an infringement upon the rights of conscience, making a deep impression by his extensive learning and great abilities, Alexander Campbell threatened at one time the total destruction of our faith.

―Inaugural Address, Furman University (1856)


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Abstract of Systematic Theology

Abstract of Systematic Theology, James P. Boyce - The Reformed ReaderIt was at Princeton that Boyce came under the teaching of great men like Archibald Alexander and probably the most influential man on Boyce's theology, Charles Hodge. Through his years at Southern Seminary, Dr. Boyce used many books by Charles Hodge as his basic classroom texts in systematic theology. This book of classroom notes was finally published in 1882, the final revision being published in 1887. 556 pages from P & R Press.
 

A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine

The author of this brief Doctrinal Catechism knows of no work of the kind in circulation among Baptists. Keach's Catechism, generally called the "Baptist Catechism", is scarcely used at all. No reason can be assigned for this, except that it is too difficult for children. In the present work, an attempt has been made to simplify, as far as possible, without sacrificing important truth.
 

To Train the Minister Whom God Has Called

James Petigru Boyce is rightly seen, not only as the founder of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and its first president, but also as the leading founder of the vision for organized theological education within the Southern Baptist Convention. This is an audacious but sustainable claim made from the vantage point of well over a century after Boyce's famous manifesto, "Three Changes in Theological Institutions," which articulated with consummate clarity his vision for theological education. This vision was founded within the Baptist tradition and upon the impregnable rock of Christian truth.
 

Abstract of Principles

When the original charter of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was adopted in 1858 it contained the following statement which constitutes as a part of the "fundamental laws." "Every professor of the institution shall be a member of a regular Baptist Church; and all persons accepting professorships in this Seminary shall be considered, by such acceptance, as engaging to teach in accordance with, and not contrary to, the Abstract of Principles hereinafter laid down, a departure from which principles on his part shall be grounds for his resignation or removal by the Trustees."

How came it (the Bible) to be written? God inspired holy men to write it. Did they write it exactly as God wished? Yes; as much as if He had written every word himself. Ought it, therefore, to be believed and obeyed? Yes; as much as though God had spoken directly to us.

―A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine

 


James P. Boyce Centennial Library

 

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