The pastoral intent of the writings of Henry Holcombe Tucker

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The pastoral intent of the writings of Henry Holcombe Tucker

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Title: The pastoral intent of the writings of Henry Holcombe Tucker
Author: Robinson, Charles Jeffrey
Advisor: Nettles, Thomas J.
Abstract: This dissertation examines the journalistic writings of nineteenth-century Southern Baptist theologian Henry Holcombe Tucker. The work argues that Tucker, during his four tenures as editor of the Christian Index of Georgia, used his writings as a means of pastoral encouragement for his vast readership in areas of theology and Christian living. Chapter 1 provides a brief sketch of Tucker's life, work and death, with special attention given to his four tenures as editor of the Index .

Chapter 2 details Tucker's commitment to and defense of the core doctrines of historic, evangelical Christianity. Tucker was a Baptist, but he was first and foremost a Christian. He upheld such critical doctrines as the person and work of Christ and justification by faith in a manner that placed him in the mainstream of historic Christian orthodoxy.

Chapter 3 addresses the issue of authority and seeks to show that Tucker, like all Baptists of his day, held to the Reformation principle of sola scriptura , that is, Scripture served as the basis for epistemology, a regulative principle, for Tucker. Chapter 3 serves as the basis for the two chapters that follow.

Chapter 4 analyzes Tucker's theological commitments with greater specificity. Tucker was committed to the evangelical Calvinism that typified the Southern Baptists of his age. Tucker viewed doctrines such as total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement and perseverance of the saints as the forming the marrow that strengthened the bones of evangelical Christianity.

Chapter 5 focuses on the distinctive Baptist doctrines such as regenerate church membership and believer's baptism that Tucker cherished and defended. Tucker was no atomistic theologian who reduced the Baptist genius to religious experience and soul competency, but held to a robust view of the Baptist genius. Tucker not only served as an apologete for core evangelical doctrines and the doctrines of grace, but also served his readers, most of whom were Baptists, by defending the unique doctrines of Baptists. All three components coexisted as vital parts of Tucker's pastoral approach to the editor's chair.

Chapter 6 ties the work together by showing Tucker's pastoral understanding of practical divinity. This chapter serves to demonstrate to an even greater degree Tucker's pastoral heart in areas of practical divinity such as sanctification and prayer.

Chapter 7 concludes the work by showing Tucker's self-understanding to be precisely commensurate with that of his readership. This was shown through a sampling of the outpouring of letters and resolutions that were penned following Tucker's abrupt death. The response of readers demonstrates that readers perceived Tucker as much more than merely a Baptist newspaper editor; they viewed him as a shepherd whose writings, in the manner of a sermon, offered them astute biblical wisdom.

Description: This item is only available to students and faculty of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. If you are not associated with SBTS, this dissertation may be purchased from or downloaded through ProQuest's Dissertation and Theses database if your institution subscribes to that service.
Date: 2008-03-27

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