1859 The seminary opens at Greenville, South Carolina, with 26 students and four professors.
1862 The Seminary suspends classes due to the civil war.
1862 The seminary reopens with only seven students.
1869 Crawford H. Toy becomes the seminary’s fifth faculty member.
1870 John A. Broadus publishes The Preparation and Deliery of Sermons
1877 The seminary opens in Louisville, Kentucky
Since the 1830s Southern Baptists had recognized the critical need for a theological seminary for sound and effective teaching of the Bible in the churches, but they were unable to overcome competing denominational demands. In 1856 James P. Boyce presented a bold, innovative vision for theological education to the annual meeting of South Carolina Baptists. Published at the request of the convention, Boyce’s Three Changes in Theological Institutions proposed first that Baptist seminaries should no longer require students to have an education in Greek and Latin language and literature before matriculating. Boyce’s innovation would mix students with basic education in English language with students who had a full classical education — all would study the Bible and theology in English. He proposed second that the seminary should develop a first-rate research library and oer courses in areas of advanced scholarship, in order to provide a cadre of sound biblical scholars to advance truth and refute error effectively among Baptist churches. Boyce proposed third that the seminary should establish a sound confession of faith in order to protect the institution from the various errors that threatened Baptist churches in the modern era. Since 1859 all professors must pledge their agreement with the seminary’s Abstract of Principles by signing the confession. Boyce’s vision for the seminary struck the South Carolina Baptists as so wise and sure that when he proposed they assume the largest burden in establishing a seminary, he overcame all opposition. Moved by Boyce’s vision and by South Carolina’s sacrificial commitment, all Southern Baptists agreed to join the effort. Boyce had accomplished what no one else could.
“Suppose we quietly agree that the seminary may die, but we’ll die first.”
John A. Broadus