Mohler notes impact of Southern Seminary alumni on SBC during annual luncheon
R. Albert Mohler Jr. noted the significant impact alumni of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary are having as leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention during the annual alumni and friends luncheon, June 11.
“Here’s the great joy: we get to reflect on how Southern Seminary, by God’s grace and to God’s glory, has made a contribution to all these many lives, to so many churches, reaching so many distant points on the globe in terms of the mission field,” said Mohler, who just completed his 21st academic year as president.
Illustrating his point, Mohler listed notable alumni leading SBC institutions and entities: Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission; Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources; Tom Elliff, president of the International Mission Board; Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board; and Jason Allen, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also noted alumnus Jerry Johnson, who recently became president of National Religious Broadcasters.
Another notable alumnus at the luncheon, Capitol Hill Baptist Church pastor Mark Dever, was announced as the 2014 Alumnus of the Year. Mohler presented Dever with a certificate honoring the distinction, and an early printing of the works of English Puritan pastor Richard Sibbes, on whom Dever wrote his doctoral dissertation at Cambridge University.
“Mark Dever is one of the greatest gifts of God to me, and to the church of the Lord Jesus Christ,” Mohler said. “When we talk about [church] revitalization, there’s a portrait of exactly what we hope and pray for at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. He models what it is to be a pastor-theologian; he models what it is to demonstrate the influence of a pastor on other pastors.”
During his presentation to the alumni, Mohler provided an update on the renovation to the Mullins Complex, which will provide student housing and faculty offices for Boyce College. He reflected on the retirement of historical theology professor Tom Nettles and the death of campus physician William Cutrer. Demonstrating a commitment to facing the challenge of Islam, Mohler also announced the hire of J. Scott Bridger as director of the Jenkins Center for the Christian Understanding of Islam.
The luncheon also featured testimonies from Boyce College graduates Blake and Abigail Rogers, who are now staff members at Southern Seminary. Blake serves as the associate director of recruiting at Boyce and the head basketball coach for the men’s basketball team. His wife is now a manager at Legacy Hotel and Conferences on the campus of Southern Seminary. The couple attested to the influence of Southern Seminary and Boyce faculty. Blake is also a student minister at First Baptist Church Fisherville, Kentucky, where Boyce College theology professor Brian K. Payne is senior pastor.
Remarking on the Boyce College redesign of its website, logo and team mascot, Mohler noted the new Bulldog is “just as biblical, but he looks slightly more menacing,” crediting Blake Rogers’ success as men’s basketball coach for validating the new look.
As he thanked alumni for attending the luncheon, Mohler reminded the pastors and leaders of the purpose of theological education: “Let us keep ever in mind that what we’re about is not merely an institution, nor even an earthly understanding of our impact through this school, but rather the eternal consequences of the message that is our stewardship to teach and preach.”
Voices joined in unison to sing the seminary’s hymn, “Soldiers of Christ, in Truth Arrayed,” to close out the annual gathering.