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Mullins' Doctrine of Sin - Research Paper Example

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This paper will analyze how well Mullins substantiated his doctrine of original sin. This paper will provide a summary of Mullin’s overall argument. The summary will be followed by a critique of the premises upon which the overall argument is built…
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Mullins Doctrine of Sin
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Download file to see previous pages This research will begin with the statement that Edgar Young Mullins (1860-1928) has been described as one of the most important theologians and "statesmen" in Southern Baptist life., Although important Baptist leaders such as B. H. Carroll, Lee Scarborough, and George W. Truett were contemporaries of Mullins, R. Albert Mohler claimed that Mullins’s influence as a denominational leader and theologian was more widespread. He served as president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in addition to his teaching systematic theology for almost thirty years. Fisher Humphreys identified three theological issues that Mullins faced during his career: the tradition of staunch Calvinism held by Mullins's predecessors at Southern Seminary, the Landmark Baptist interpretation of Baptist history, and the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy. Mullins wrote numerous articles and books on a variety of subjects. In his first work, The Axioms of Religion, Mullins alluded to the doctrine of original sin in his discussion concerning the inappropriateness of infant baptism. However, his argument against infant baptism did not consist of a denial of original sin or even an interpretation of it. He insisted that baptism required conscious obedience to Christ and denied the principle of vicarious faith. The only works in which Mullins stated his position on original sin were Baptist Beliefs and The Christian Religion in Its Doctrinal Expression. Because of the brevity of Baptist Beliefs, Mullins's description of the "fall of man" was only an outline of his position, In The Christian Religion in Its Doctrinal Expression, Mullins did not provide a systematic presentation of the doctrine of original sin. However, he discussed the important details of the doctrine of original sin in his discussion of providence, in the chapter on the doctrine of sin, and more thoroughly in his description of Paul's doctrine of sin, Components of Mullins's doctrine of original sin are distributed throughout this work. This paper will analyze how well Mullins substantiated his doctrine of original sin.
Analysis of Mullins's Doctrine of Original Sin
In order to analyze Mullins’s doctrine of original sin, this paper will provide a summary of Mullin’s overall argument. The summary will be followed by a critique of the premises upon which the overall argument is built.
Summary of Mullins’s Argument
Although Mullins did not explicitly define his doctrine of original sin, the components of the doctrine are found within his systematic theology in various places. However, the central claim of his argument is apparent. He contended that although persons inherit a tendency to sin from Adam, condemnation is incurred only through personal acts of rebellion against God. The overall flow of his argument is as follows: All persons are biologically connected to Adam. Thus, a tendency toward sinful behavior is transmitted through the hereditary connection. However, persons are not condemned because of their tendency toward sinful behavior because the death of Christ removed the condemnation accompanying the tendency to sin. Therefore, persons are condemned only on the basis of their personal rebellion against God.
Three claims are central to Mullins's overall argument, his assertion that the tendency to sin is transmitted from Adam to his progeny, that persons can be condemned for their tendency to sin, and that Christ's death removed the condemnation resulting from this tendency. This paper will analyze how effectively Mullins substantiated these claims.
The Source of the Tendency toward Sinful Behavior
Mullins described Adam before the fall as free, moral, and inclined toward righteousness. However, after the fall, humanity is described as depraved, sinful, and inclined toward sin. The fact that Mullins asserted that a hereditary connection exists between Adam and his progeny and that this connection results in a transmission of sinful tendencies, necessitates an explanation of how ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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