E.Y. Mullins, George W. Truett, and a Baptist theology of nature and grace

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Theology


Department of Religious Studies


Advisor: William L. Portier


This dissertation examines the prevalent ideas of Baptist theological discourse, finding that they have limited utility for offering a coherent account of particular Baptist practices. It argues that Baptists would greatly benefit from deeper engagement with Catholic thought, especially the theology of nature and grace as articulated by Henri de Lubac, S.J. After detailing the obstacles to and potential for such a theological endeavor, de Lubac's work serves as a lens for viewing and evaluating particular moments in Baptist history. This project contends that the work of E.Y. Mullins and George W. Truett, Baptist luminaries who have exerted considerable influence on the ways that Baptists view the world around them, significantly contributes to the notable incoherence of Baptist discourse. Through de Lubac's understanding of the relationship of nature and grace, though, Baptists can critically evaluate Mullins and Truett in order to locate and overcome specific problematic aspects of their thought (both in their own contexts and in the contemporary setting). Moreover, Baptists can also recover marginalized or forgotten voices within their tradition (e.g., certain seventeenth-century English Baptists and African-American Baptists) as invaluable resources for renewal of Baptist theological discourse. Finally, such work underscores the importance of situating Baptist life and thought within the conversations of the broader Christian tradition.


Lubac, Henri de, 1896-1991, Truett, George W. (George Washington), 1867-1944, Mullins, Edgar Young, 1860-1928, Baptists Theology

Rights Statement

Copyright 2011, author