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Trustees elect Mohler to storied chair of theology
May 02, 2005
By Jeff Robinson

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary's board of trustees elected seminary president R. Albert Mohler Jr. to the Joseph Emerson Brown Chair of Christian Theology, during the spring trustee meeting April 19.

The chair has been held by other giants on the landscape of Southern Seminary's history such as founding president James Pettigru Boyce and E.Y. Mullins, who served as seminary president from 1899 to 1928.

"It is an historic chair in systematic theology and we believe an historic president like Dr. Mohler deserves to be teaching from this chair," said Russell D. Moore, dean of the School of Theology and senior vice president for academic administration. "This will be a great and momentous act in Southern Seminary history."

The chair is named in honor of Joseph Emerson Brown, who served two terms as governor of Georgia during the Civil War, and played a critical role in keeping Southern Seminary from closing on two separate occasions.

The first came during Reconstruction in the 1870s. The seminary then located in Greenville, S.C. emerged from the Civil War financially destitute and faced closure.

Brown, a seminary trustee, donated $50,000 that kept seminary doors open and left the institution in sound fiscal health for many years.

Brown's donation also kept the seminary afloat a second time during the Great Depression.

"This means more than I can say," Mohler said of the honor. "Especially with Dr. Boyce and Dr. Mullins holding that chair during their presidencies, it is an historical connection that speaks to my heart and to the sense of calling."

In other business, trustees:

Extended tenure to four faculty members. Moore was elected associate professor of Christian theology. Robert Plummer was elected assistant professor of New Testament interpretation. Larry Purcell was elected associate professor of leadership and church ministry. M. David Sills was elected associate professor of Christian missions and cultural anthropology.

Promoted Chad O. Brand to professor of Christian theology, Greg Brewton to associate professor of church music, and Steve Drake to associate professor of missions, evangelism and church growth.

Elected two faculty members to endowed professorships. Purcell was elected J.M. Frost Associate Professor of Leadership and Christian Ministry, and Duane A. Garrett was elected John R. Sampey Professor of Old Testament Interpretation.

Gave seminary leadership the go-ahead to plan a celebration for the school's 150th anniversary in 2009. Church history professor Gregory A. Wills will be commissioned to write the authorized history of Southern Seminary.

Approved a $28.89 million budget for 2005-06, representing a 2.9 percent increase.

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