Trustees delete 'political' verse of seminary hymn
April 13 2001 by Jimmy Allen , BR Assistant Editor

Trustees delete 'political' verse from seminary hymn | Friday, April 13, 2001

Friday, April 13, 2001

Trustees delete 'political' verse from seminary hymn

By Jimmy Allen BR Assistant Editor A verse that celebrates freedom was removed April 10 from the official hymn of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Trustees at the school voted unanimously to delete the verse that was written and approved in 1987, the same year conservatives gained a majority on the board of trustees.

Edward A. McDowell, a New Testament professor at Southeastern in its early days, wrote the original six verses.

Russ Bush, academic vice president and dean of the faculty, told trustees the verse was used as a battle cry by moderates during the seminary's conservative surge.

"It was simply put in as a political statement," Bush said.

One of the authors of the verse, Bob Mullinax, a 1957 graduate of the seminary, said later he disagrees with Bush's assessment.

"It was an expression of our Christian and Baptist beliefs which we felt were consistent with Dr. McDowell's work in the other stanzas of the hymn," Mullinax said. "Of course, I'm disappointed to hear about this action, and, of course, I'm not surprised."

Joining Mullinax in writing the verse was Randall Lolley, who at the time was president of Southeastern. He announced his resignation in 1987, stating he could not follow the direction of Southeastern's majority of conservative trustees.

Lolley declined to comment on the removal of the verse.

The verse written by Mullinax and Lolley was inserted as the fifth of seven verses. During the seminary's celebration of its 50th anniversary last fall, the hymn was sung in three separate parts of two verses each. The verse written by Mullinax and Lolley wasn't sung.

The hymn was written to the tune of Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life. The fifth verse is as follows: For freedom Christ has set us free, Breaking the chains of captivity. Bound but to God we go forth whole, Free from the shackles of mind and soul.

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4/13/2001 12:00:00 AM by Jimmy Allen , BR Assistant Editor | with 0 comments
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