E. C. Dargan

E. C. DarganEdwin Charles Dargan, professor of homiletics and ecclesiological history 1892-1907, was born on November 17, 1852 in Springville, South Carolina. Converted to Christ at age sixteen following the sudden death of his brother, Dargan entered Furman University in 1869. After earning a B.A. and a M.A. at Furman, Dargan entered Southern. Possessing an uncommon memory, Dargan devoted himself to his studies. Once, when ill to the point of hallucination, he sporadically shouted out entire chapters of the Bible in Hebrew. The illness faded, but Dargan retained his memory and became valedictorian of his class.

Following graduation, Dargan pastored several churches and married Miss Lucy Graves of Greenville in June 1878. Dargan then took successive pastorates in Roanoke and Petersburg, Virginia and Dixon, California. When in 1892 Southern requested that Dargan join the faculty as a professor of homiletics and pastoral theology, he readily accepted. Dargan’s fifteen years of homiletics instruction led to The History of Preaching, a two-volume historical study of the craft. Dargan also edited Broadus’s classic Preparation and Delivery of Sermons and taught a sociology course at the seminary. He taught Sunday School at Broadway Baptist Church, where he was a member.

Matters grew difficult for Dargan and his family in 1901 when his teenage daughter Ethel suddenly passed away. A rift developed between Dargan and his wife that neared estrangement. When the First Baptist Church of Macon, Georgia called Dargan as pastor in 1907, Dargan accepted and continued as a pastor until retirement. In 1911, Southern Baptists elected Dargan president of the Southern Baptist Convention, a position he held until 1913. Dargan died alone in Chicago on October 26, 1930.

Sources: John Finley, “Edwin Charles Dargan: Baptist Denominationalist in a Changing South.” Ph.D. diss., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1984.

John D. Freeman, “Edwin Charles Dargan,” in Encyclopedia of Southern Baptists. 2 Vols. Nashville, TN: Broadman, 1958.

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