Book Reviews

John A. Broadus

A Legacy

David S. Dockery, Roger D. Duke, editors Nashville 2008-08-01

This collection of essays honors the life and accomplishments of John Albert Broadus (1827–1895), a founder and professor of the Southern Baptist Seminary (then in Greenville, South Carolina, and now in Louisville, Kentucky). Broadus was a graduate of the University of Virginia and a pastor in Charlottesville, Virginia, before a long and distinguished career as a teacher (1859–1895). In his last decade of service to the school he was president. Broadus was a passionate academician, though he was exceeded in scholarly accomplishments by his son-in-law and former student A. T. Robertson. As a zealous proclaimer of the gospel, he marked the tenor of Southern Baptist life and emphases today. He had a great influence in the emergence of graduate ministerial training, and he labored as a pastor before the Civil War and as a chaplain during the war. He was recognized by leaders in many denominations as a scholar. His most remarkable contribution was in the field of homiletics, which he taught for many years. Broadus produced a classic text on the subject, On the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons, which is largely the emphasis of this collection of essays. The essays reveal that Broadus was a truly remarkable servant of the Lord. He cared deeply for his denomination and for the school where he served, and he had a compelling interest in his students.

One shortcoming of this volume is that the essays seem disjointed and needlessly repetitious. Other issues are less serious. The several brief allusions to Crawford H. Toy do not alert the reader to his serious defections from Southern Seminary and the orthodox Christian faith. Also Broadus’s Calvinism is important in understanding nineteenth-century Southern Baptist theology and heritage, but this book does not develop the extent to which it shaped his life, his classroom instruction, or his denomination.

This volume is extremely helpful in understanding the contribution of Southern Baptist life in America and of John A. Broadus in particular.

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John D. Hannah
Dr. John D. Hannah is a frequent and popular speaker at home and abroad. His teaching interests include the general history of the Christian church, with particular interest in the works of  Jonathan Edwards and John Owen. Among his published works are a history of DTS and a general history of the Christian church.
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