Providence, January 26, 1857My dear Professor Boyce,--I have read with great interest your Inaugural Address. It is the first common sense discourse on theological education I have yet seen. I like it for several reasons. In the first place, it does not take it for granted that the Theological Seminary is a stereotyped institution from which nothing is to be taken and to which nothing is to be added in all coming time; in the next place, it takes it for granted that a seminary is made for the church and not that the church was created by Christ for the seminary and especially for professors; and then it recognizes the fact that there is a Baptist church now existing, as a matter distinct from other churches, which has been in fact almost ignored, that Baptists are capable of understanding what they want and of devising the means for supplying it; and again, that educating the Baptist ministry does not mean educating a little band who shall form a clique separate from their brethren, of whom they may speak in public as almost interlopers; and finally, that that is not the best education for us which by its own necessity reduces the number of those who receive advantages to the lowest possible number.
Whether seminaries and theological schools are the proper places to educate the ministry, I know not. It is a matter of experiment in our day, and time alone can decide it. Their tendency is to raise intellectual above spiritual qualifications, and such it has thus far proven. Of old, they have I think proved to be, after a generation or two, schools of heresy. In this country, from the errors I have intimated, they have not had a fair chance. Your plan is the only plan I have seen which gives them a fair opportunity of doing well. You embrace the whole ministry, you mingle them all together and treat them all as brethren equally honored and honorable if God has called them to the ministry, and you give them an opportunity to learn something of pastoral duties before they enter upon them.
I wish you every success. I hope you will be well sustained, and that Baptists, as they have done before, may show other Christians how the church of Christ is to be built up by following more closely the steps of the Master. I am yours truly,
 To Train the Minister Whom God Has Called: James Petigru Boyce and Southern Baptist Theological Education by R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
 Printed in the Religious Herald (VA), 11 January 1872