Southern Seminary releases video commemorating Mohler’s 25 years
A short film commemorates R. Albert Mohler Jr.’s 25 years as president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The video by Southern Productions runs 15 minutes in length, tells the story of Mohler’s presidency, and points to the future of the institution under Mohler’s leadership. The video debuted Oct. 11 at the beginning of a chapel service that included a sermon by Jimmy Scroggins, the senior pastor of Family Church in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Titled XXV: The Enduring Vision of Albert Mohler at Southern Seminary, the video’s release culminates a week of celebration of Mohler’s presidency, including a resolution of appreciation from the Board of Trustees and a James Merritt sermon honoring Mohler on Tuesday.
“When I came here in 1993 as president, I had a really clear idea that I wasn’t coming to wrap things up; I came in order to get things ready for what was yet to come,” Mohler says as part of an interview in XXV. “And 25 years later, there is a generation yet coming, there are yet people who have not heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are churches that must be planted who must be reached, sermons that much be preached. This is what the future looks like. By God’s grace, if the Lord allows us, we’re going to perpetuate this into the generations to come.”
The video recounts the story of the earliest days of Mohler’s presidency. When he was inaugurated as the seminary’s president on Oct. 15, 1993, it was with the expectation that he would return the seminary to its founding vision laid out by James P. Boyce in the 1859 Abstract of Principles, the school’s confession of faith.
In 1993, Southern Seminary was in the midst of a long slide into theological liberalism. In the century after the drafting of the Abstract, the seminary drifted away from its confessional moorings and its loyalty to the Southern Baptist Convention. Mohler’s mission to restore the seminary’s identity was met with intense opposition and protest, culminating in a 1995 vote of no confidence from the faculty. The board, however, stood by its president, and despite a temporary dip in enrollment at the time, the seminary has been in an upward trajectory ever since — from 1,583 students at its lowest point in the mid-90s to an enrollment of 4,018 in 2018.
In addition to an interview with Mohler, the video features comments from his wife, Mary Mohler, reflecting on her husband’s surprise election in 1993 and the difficult years of his early presidency. The video also includes original footage from the early 90s of Mohler’s interview process with the presidential search committee and his election announcement. It also features local NBC affiliate news coverage of the tumultuous 1993-1995 period.
Personal friends and colleagues of Mohler’s appear throughout the video, including John MacArthur, Matt Chandler, and James Merritt, along with his wife, Mary, and daughter, Katie.
Scroggins, who first visited Southern Seminary as a prospective student in 1993 and developed a close relationship with Mohler, spoke after the video was shown. Preaching on the story of the woman caught in adultery in John 8, Scroggins said that ministers of the gospel are responsible to love people and give them a home. There are needy people in the world, broken by sin and circumstance, and they need the good news of grace through Jesus.
“That’s why Southern Seminary exists, that’s why God brought Dr. Mohler here, and that’s why God brought you here — for these people, who need a home for their heart,” Scroggins said. “Jesus is inviting them through you … That’s what Southern Seminary is about, that’s what Dr. Mohler is about, that’s what the fight is about, that’s what the study is about.”
Audio and video of chapel will soon be available on equip.sbts.edu. Find the video at Mohler’s 25th-anniversary website.