Dr. A.C. Miller
Pastor – Denominational Leader
Born on the plains of West Texas, Acker C. Miller would follow God’s call on his life to become a pastor and denominational leader who helped shape the work of Baptists in response to social needs and race relations at both the state and national levels. A product of Simmons College, Miller’s life of ministry and Christian service would make his alma mater exceedingly proud.
Miller was born on a horse ranch near San Angelo, Texas. After graduating from high school in Colorado City, Texas, Miller’s father sold his son’s spirited two-year old horse so that he could enroll in a Texas Normal School Program at the Mayo School in Commerce, Texas. There he earned a teaching certificate. At the age of 18, Miller began teaching at the Old Clipper School six miles south of Jayton, in Kent County. His salary was $50 per month. He taught at Old Clipper for two years and then moved to Girard, near Spur, where he taught for another two years. He helped start a Sunday School there and the church ordained him to preach on August 12, 1912. Thus, the career of a major Baptist leader was launched.
Realizing the need for further education, Miller enrolled at Simmons College in 1913. He was popular on campus, active on the debate team and became editor-in-chief of The Brand. He had a keen interest in major issues of the day. He was vice president of the senior class and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1917.
Miller enrolled in seminary studies at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1921, where his degree was interrupted by service as a United States army chaplain during World War I.
He fell in love with the girl of his dreams while at Simmons. Her name was Margaret Goodnight. He said that when he first saw her near the administration building, he wanted to marry her. When he was the editor-and-chief of The Brand, Margaret was associate editor. Years later, he would write, “I had a lot of trouble getting her to consent, six years of it, but she finally surrendered.” Acker and Margaret would marry at the First Baptist Church of Abilene on June 6, 1922. After the wedding, they made their way to Cleveland, Oklahoma, as Miller was beginning his second year as pastor. During his ministry years, he also served churches in Cisco and Belton and a mission church in Arizona.
Along the way, the Millers had four children: two sons, Allister and Marden; and twin daughters, Elsa and Clara. A host of grandchildren followed. Theirs was a loving family, led by devoted Christian parents. In a tribute to his former colleague, Dr. Foy Valentine wrote, “His family ties and commitments were exemplary…He was a man of impeccable manners and irreproachable morals. His life was characterized by integrity, honesty, character, justice and faithfulness. He knew that it is required of stewards that a man be found faithful.”
In 1941, following the outbreak of World War II, Miller’s ministry unfolded in Baptist denominational life with soldiers and minorities, and with the Christian Life Commissions of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and Southern Baptist Convention.
Dr. Miller was instrumental in the establishment and naming of the BGCT’s Christian Life Commission, later adopted by the SBC. Miller resigned from the SBC’s Christian Life Commission in 1960. Thereafter, he served as a pastor in Arizona and faculty member for Fruitland Bible Institute in North Carolina.
Hardin-Simmons University bestowed its highest recognition, the honorary doctorate, on Miller in 1946. Today, in recognition of his exceptional and meaningful service to the Lord, HSU proudly inducts one of her own and a Baptist statesman, extraordinaire, Dr. A.C. Miller, into the Hardin-Simmons University Hall of Leaders.