Exactly one hundred and fifty years ago, Basil Manly, Jr (1825-1892), one of the four founding faculty of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, entered upon what he came to consider his life’s great work, namely his teaching and mentoring students at Southern. Manly’s commitment to theological education can be gauged by words he had written in a letter to a leading Baptist layman in South Carolina, John B. O'Neall, in which he stated that the “cause of theological education is one dearer to me than almost any other and I esteem no sacrifice too great for its promotion.” [Basil Manly, Letter to John B. O’Neall, September 13, 1856 (Manly Collection of Manuscripts, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Archives)].
“No sacrifice too great”: O that I might share this conviction—yes, with due regard to other responsibilities in my life—but for those of us whom God has called to do theology and be involved in the mentoring of aspiring pastors—O may I have a due sense of the weightiness of this calling and its joy and its cost.
I dare not say it is the calling of callings—I only know that it is the path God has laid out for me. And may I be diligent this year in the duty of my calling.
PS My thanks to Dr Greg Wills for drawing my attention to this text.