Cooperative giving advances the gospel, Richards says at SBTS chapel

Annie Corser — March 21, 2017
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Jim Richards, executive-director of the Southern Baptist of Texas Convention, preaches on Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 in a March 21 chapel service at Southern Seminary.

Southern Baptists need to unite in order “to advance the kingdom of God together for God’s glory,” said Texas Baptist leader Jim Richards during The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s March 21 chapel service.

“What we have [as churches in the Southern Baptist Convention] is definitely much more in common than we have apart. And our heart and our soul is that we are to be together,” said Richards, executive-director of the Southern Baptist of Texas Convention.

Preaching from Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, Richards’ sermon focused on how Southern Baptists can work together. Church cooperation through associations and conventions created efforts to train ministers and support feeble churches, he said. The Southern Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program supports worldwide missionary efforts and promotes doctrinal accountability.

“Together, through the Cooperative Program giving, your ministries are multiplied, but only God gets the credit,” Richards said. “It’s not about Southern Baptists, it’s not about an organization. It’s about advancing the kingdom of God and it’s a tool that God has given us. And ministry is not just about going; it’s about giving.”

Richards presented four values of cooperation found in Ecclesiastes 4: rewards, rescue, relationship, and resistance. Rewards from cooperation come through the Cooperative Program and the results of “God’s work [being] exponentially increased when we do it together.” Rescue represents the relief efforts Baptists are able to accomplish together including in disaster worldwide and in crisis within one’s own city. Relationship refers to the trust churches need to have with each other in order to establish the foundation of faith. The Baptist Faith and Message provides the parameters and theological foundation so that churches can work together with a shared belief.

“So there’s plenty of room for all of us in the BFM, but it does provide parameters, it tells us what we as a group of churches agree to believe about the nature of God, the person of Jesus Christ, the way of salvation, the nature of man, the church, the ordinances, and on and on, explicitly laid out for us,” he said.

Richards concluded by describing how cooperation provides resistance in spiritual warfare. This resistance should be directed toward the battle with the devil, and not at the association of churches. Instead, he said, strength for the resistance of evil is found as churches unite together and stand to fight for one another.

“We as individuals are in a spiritual warfare, but we as the churches of the Lord Jesus Christ are in a spiritual warfare, and we must provide resistance to that force of evil that is against us,” Richards said. “We fight against the world, the flesh, and the devil. We do not need to be fighting against one another.”

Audio and video of Richards’ message are available at equip.sbts.edu/chapel.

 



Jenkins Center takes gospel to Muslims in Dearborn

Andrew J.W. Smith — March 16, 2017

Southern Seminary students visited Dearborn, Michigan, home of the largest concentration of Arab-Americans in the United States, to pray for and evangelize local Muslims, Feb. 24-26. Led by Ayman S. Ibrahim — Bill and Connie Jenkins Professor of Islamic Studies and director of the Jenkins Center for the Christian Understanding of Islam — the team interacted with a few of the more than 100,000 Arab Americans who comprise at least 45 percent of Dearborn’s population.

Josh Hildebrand, center, reads from the Gospel of John with two Arab-American men, right, at a local bakery in Dearborn, Michigan.
M.Div. student Josh Hildebrand, center, reads from the Gospel of John with two Arab-American men, right, at a local bakery in Dearborn, Michigan.

The 13 students from Southern and Boyce College visited local Arab bakeries and restaurants, starting conversations with Muslims and discussing the Christian faith. The team also visited the Islamic Center of America, which was one of the largest mosques in the United States when it was built in 2005. Several students received the contact information for Dearborn residents they met during the trip with the intention to have follow-up conversations about the gospel.

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Pray with purpose, Jordan says at SBTS chapel

Annie Corser — March 15, 2017
Anthony Jordan, executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, preaches on Ephesians 3:14-21 in a March 14 chapel service at Southern Seminary.
Anthony Jordan, executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, preaches on Ephesians 3:14-21 in a March 14 chapel service at Southern Seminary.

Christians should model the Apostle Paul in praying with purpose because God is personal, powerful, gracious, loving, and generous, said Oklahoma Baptist leader Anthony L. Jordan at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s March 14 chapel service.

“The fact of the matter is that if you ever want to wonder about how generous your Father is, just look to the cross,” said Jordan, executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.

In his personal study, Jordan has been walking through the prayers of the Apostle Paul and describes reading them as entering into the prayer closet with Paul. Preaching from Ephesians 3:14-21, Jordan said Paul approaches the throne of God on his knees, not in a casual way, but with intensity.

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‘The Shack’ film a ‘theological disaster,’ Mohler says

SBTS Communications — March 10, 2017

Dr. Mohler Headshot-4 lowerThe theatrical release and controversy of faith-based film The Shack represents a “theological disaster,” said R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in a March 8 episode of “The Briefing.”

“The real danger, the seductive danger of The Shack, is that it’s presented as a retelling of the Christian story,” Mohler said on his daily podcast. “Christians armed by Scripture and committed to the Christian worldview should highly value fiction and thus evaluate it by Christian norms. But we can never value a vehicle for importing heresy into the church or misrepresenting Christianity to the watching world.” Read More >



Reject uncritical approach to technology, Mitchell says at Southern Seminary’s Norton Lectures

S. Craig Sanders and Zachary Ball — March 7, 2017

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — Theological reflection on technological advancements in communication and science must counteract an uncritical approach to technology that threatens human existence, said bioethicist C. Ben Mitchell during the Norton Lectures at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, March 1-2.

Bioethicist C. Ben Mitchell delivers the Norton Lectures at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, March 1-2.
Bioethicist C. Ben Mitchell delivers the Norton Lectures at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, March 1-2.

“We have to reject uncritical consumeristic adoption of digital technologies,” said Mitchell, provost, vice president for academic affairs, and Graves Professor of Moral Philosophy at Union University. “Remember our humanity and resist excarnation. ... Resist the notion that efficiency is the summum bonum, the chief end, and seek to have our desires formed by the good news of the incarnate Christ.” Read More >



‘Go find someone hurting,’ Tada says at Southern Seminary

Charissa Crotts — February 24, 2017
Joni Eareckson Tada speaks at the Feb. 10 Southern Seminary Student Life Conference on disability ministry.
Joni Eareckson Tada speaks at the Feb. 10 Southern Seminary Student Life Conference on disability ministry.

Life is about more than a healthy body, said Joni Eareckson Tada along with her husband, Ken, during two events at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Feb. 10-11. Tada, a quadriplegic, is a speaker and author who uses her testimony as a platform to highlight disability ministry.

“Go find someone hurting worse than you and help them,” said Tada in a talk given to 350 Southern Seminary students and their families for the Feb. 10 Student Life Conference. Tada told her personal story and focused on practical ministry to the disabled in local churches. Tada is the founder of Joni and Friends, a ministry seeking to show Jesus’ love to people with disabilities. Read More >



Churches should build ‘communities of resistance,’ says Rod Dreher at SBTS Gheens Lectures

Andrew J.W. Smith — February 17, 2017

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS)—With secular culture increasingly marginalizing the Christian faith, believers should leave behind political battles and embrace the communal life exemplified by St. Benedict of Nursia, said columnist Rod Dreher at the Gheens Lectures, Feb. 7-8, 2017 at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Rod Dreher, senior editor of 'The American Conservative' and author of 'The Benedict Option,' lectures during the SBTS Gheens Lectures, Feb. 7-8.
Rod Dreher, senior editor of 'The American Conservative' and author of 'The Benedict Option,' lectures during the SBTS Gheens Lectures, Feb. 7-8.

Although Christianity continues to spread to Asia and the Global South, in the West it is rapidly losing its influence in the public square, said Dreher, senior editor of the American Conservative and author of the forthcoming book The Benedict Option. His lectures were based on a book to be released March 14 by the Penguin Group. The political influence of orthodox Christianity has waned, he said, and believers should refocus their efforts on maintaining a quiet, faithful presence away from the world’s influence.

“Could it be that the best way to fight the flood is to stop fighting the flood?” Dreher said, comparing the rapid decline of Christianity’s influence to a massive flood threatening to wipe the church off the map. “That is, to quit piling up sandbags in a doomed effort to hold back the rising waters, and instead to build an ark in which to shelter until the water recedes and we can put our feet on dry land again? Rather than wasting energy and resources fighting unwinnable political battles, we should instead work on building communities, institutions, and networks of resistance that can outwit, outlast, and eventually overcome the cultural forces sweeping Christianity away in the West.

“If we are going to be for the world as Christ meant for us to be, we are going to have to spend more time away from the world, in deep prayer and substantial spiritual training — just as Jesus retreated to the desert to pray before ministering to the people.”

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Southern Seminary to launch Giving Days in April

Andrew J.W. Smith — February 13, 2017

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary will launch a four-day initiative in spring 2017 aimed at supporting the mission of the institution, announced R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary. From April 20-23, the seminary will hold its first Giving Days, providing students, alumni, donors, and faculty the opportunity to tell their stories, support the institution financially, and serve the community of Louisville.

Christine Gabriel, wife of M.Div. student Kevin Gabriel, serves at the Muhammed Ali Childhood Home Museum during the 1937 Project, April 23, 2016.
Christine Gabriel, wife of M.Div. student Kevin Gabriel, serves at the Muhammed Ali Childhood Home Museum during the 1937 Project, April 23, 2016.

“I’m inviting you to be a part of Giving Days — not only to make a difference in the lives of Southern Seminary students, but to be a force for the future of the church and for the advance of the gospel around the globe,” said Mohler in a Feb. 13 video announcement.

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God’s Word essential 500 years after Reformation, Mohler says at SBTS spring convocation

S. Craig Sanders — February 8, 2017

 

Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. delivers the spring convocation message Feb. 7 in Alumni Memorial Chapel.
Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. delivers the spring convocation message Feb. 7 in Alumni Memorial Chapel.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — The 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation must remind Christians that proclamation of God’s Word remains necessary for advancing the gospel and nourishing the church, said R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, at the institution’s Feb. 7 convocation.

In an address titled “God Did It By His Word...Revisited: What the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation Means for Southern Seminary” on Hebrews 4:12-13, Mohler said the seminary’s own theological reformation in the 24 years of his presidency occurred solely because of fidelity and faithfulness to the living Word of God. Read More >



Modular Th.M. to provide opportunity for advanced distance learning

Andrew J.W. Smith — February 3, 2017

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — Four professors at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary are leading a new degree program that will allow students to continue to study beyond the M.Div. level in a modular format. The modular Master of Theology in Theological Studies will permit distance students to complete all the requirements for a Th.M. in 30 months with only five week-long visits to campus.

Four distinguished Southern Seminary professors will guide the new modular Th.M. program.
Four distinguished Southern Seminary professors will guide the new modular Th.M. program.

The program’s faculty will provide an interdisciplinary curriculum, with each professor teaching core seminars in their areas of expertise: Jonathan T. Pennington in New Testament, Peter J. Gentry in Old Testament, Michael A.G. Haykin in church history, and Gregg R. Allison in systematic theology. The modular student will also complete a thesis in their chosen area of study during the course of their degree program. Read More >