Southern Seminary’s Andrew Fuller Conference spotlights Baxter, Owen, and Kiffen

Herman J. Selderhuis, professor of church history at the Theological University Apeldoorn in the Netherlands, speaks in Southern Seminary's Broadus Chapel during the 10th annual Andrew Fuller Conference.
Herman J. Selderhuis, professor of church history at the Theological University Apeldoorn in the Netherlands, speaks in Southern Seminary's Broadus Chapel during the 10th annual Andrew Fuller Conference.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — Four centuries after their births, Puritan theologians Richard Baxter, John Owen, and William Kiffen provide insight on how experiences shape a diversity of convictions on matters of faith and practice, said church historians during the 10th annual Andrew Fuller Conference at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Sept. 19-21.

The conference, which was themed “The Diversity of Dissent,” brought together historians from four different continents, including: Herman J. Selderhuis, professor of church history at the Theological University Apeldoorn in the Netherlands; Crawford Gribben, professor of early modern British history at Queen’s University in Northern Ireland; Tim Cooper, associate professor of church history at the University of Otago in New Zealand; and David Sytsma, assistant professor at Tokyo Christian University in Japan.

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‘No election can undermine the kingdom of Christ,’ Boyce College dean says in SBTS chapel

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Matthew J. Hall, dean of Boyce College

Christians should not seek hope or protection in kingdoms of this world, said Boyce College Dean Matthew J. Hall in a Sept. 27 chapel message at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. While many evangelicals feel weighed down by their responsibility to vote in the upcoming presidential election, Hall said Christians should place their confidence elsewhere.

“O, how we need pastors and leaders who do not capitulate to the fear, the rage, and the hand-wringing that marks our day,” said Hall, who was appointed dean of Boyce, the seminary’s undergraduate school, in June. “We need bold public witness for truth, but we don’t need to panic. May we be good and faithful citizens involved in public life, motivated by love for God and love for neighbor, absolutely — but always mindful that Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world and it is not contingent on any election or any president or any kingdom of this world.”

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500 year-old Torah scroll donated to Southern Seminary during chapel

SBTS President R. Albert Mohler Jr. (center) with Ken and Barbara Larson, who donated a 500-year-old Torah scroll.
SBTS President R. Albert Mohler Jr. (center) with Ken and Barbara Larson, who donated a 500-year-old Torah scroll.

A complete scroll of the Torah dating to the 16th or 17th century was given to The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in a presentation at Alumni Memorial Chapel, Sept. 1. President R. Albert Mohler Jr. accepted the scroll from Ken and Barbara Larson, thanking them for their contribution to the seminary’s understanding of the Bible.

“We promise to be good stewards of this gift,” Mohler said of the scroll, which was laid out for public viewing on a table in the front of the chapel. “We’re thankful to the Lord for putting this on your heart, and even in the moments before chapel this morning, it was very clear there is an immediate magnetic draw of Christians in seeing the Word of God in this way.”

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God provides ‘spiritual DNA for godliness and power,’ Frank Page says at Southern Seminary

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Frank Page preaching on 2 Peter 1:3-10 during the Aug. 30 chapel service at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Participation in the divine nature of God leads to a life of spiritual effectiveness and productivity, said Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee President Frank Page during the Aug. 30 chapel message at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

“This divine provision says we are born complete with that which we need for life and godliness,” said Page, a former SBC president who has served as president and CEO of the executive committee since 2010. “This means that the DNA necessary for spiritual greatness is already present at the moment of your rebirth. … It shows that God never has to do a recall on any Christian and say, ‘I need to add back something that I failed to put in in the first place.’ It shows this deep, beautiful divine nature that he’s given us is already present in our lives.”

Preaching on 2 Peter 1:3-10, Page said the passage affirms the gospel, arguing that it is by God’s grace, glory, and goodness there is salvation. The seven characteristics of godliness listed in 2 Peter 1 build upon each other and continue to reveal the fruit of salvation.

“We have been given the spiritual DNA for godliness and power — by his glory and by his grace — and for that should we praise his name,” Page said. “I believe what this is saying is simple: That when the divine nature that God has given you at your birth grows up in you to a certain kind of knowledge of him and godliness in him, that it becomes very clear that you are a child of God. That you belong. It’s evident not only to you, but it’s evident to those around you.”

Page challenged students to think through what they pray for and to long for a deeper love for God, partaking in the divine nature and growing the seven characteristics to avoid being short-sighted or forgetful, as the passage warns.

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David Parsons founded Truth Remains, which exists to teach Christian history through its collection of first-edition English Bibles from the Reformation period.

After Page’s sermon, SBTS President R. Albert Mohler Jr. introduced Bible collector David Parsons, founder of Truth Remains in Seattle, who presented a first-edition 1534 English translation of the New Testament by William Tyndale. A central figure in the Protestant Reformation, Tyndale was the first person to translate the Bible into English from the original languages and laid the groundwork for the King James Version almost a century later. According to its website, Truth Remains exists to teach Christian history through its collection of first-edition English Bibles from the Reformation period.

“I want you to know what I hold in front of you this morning is one of the few surviving complete copies [of Tyndale’s translation] of the gospel of Jesus Christ in English, the New Testament, that exists,” Parsons said.

Saying that it is one of two remaining Tyndale New Testament Bibles in existence, Mohler emphasized that those in attendance would most likely never see one again.

“There are no more of these,” he said, “And the important thing to recognize is this: William Tyndale so believed in the translation of Scripture into the vernacular, into English, that he became a martyr.”

Bible collector David Parsons holding a first-edition 1534 English translation of the New Testament by William Tyndale.
Bible collector David Parsons holding a first-edition 1534 English translation of the New Testament by William Tyndale.

While Christians should not venerate a book as a relic, Mohler said, they should honor the Scriptures, recognizing that Tyndale’s translation played a vital role in one of the most significant periods in church history.

“There would be no Reformation without the translation of Scripture. And in our tradition — the English-speaking tradition — there would be no Reformation, there would be no Baptists, without the translation of the Scriptures into English,” he said. “Tyndale was at work on his translation before Luther nailed his Theses to the door.”

The chapel service also featured a live discussion between Mohler and NASA astronaut Jeff Williams, who appeared onscreen through a downlink interview from the International Space Station.

Audio and video of the Page’s chapel message are available at sbts.edu/resources.

 

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Astronaut Jeff Williams speaks to SBTS chapel live from International Space Station

Speeding around Earth at 17,500 miles per hour, American astronaut Jeff Williams spoke with President R. Albert Mohler Jr. and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary community during chapel, Aug. 30, through a NASA downlink interview from the International Space Station.

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R. Albert Mohler Jr. speaks with astronaut Jeff Williams in chapel, Aug. 30.

Williams, commander for Expedition 48 of the International Space Station, has spoken on the SBTS campus and regularly listens to Mohler's podcast “The Briefing” in orbit. He set the record for the most time spent in space by an American Aug. 24, passing the mark of 520 days set by Scott Kelly. When he returns from orbit after his 172-day mission on Sept. 6, he will set a new standard for days by an American in space at 534 days, according to NASA’s website.

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MEDIA ADVISORY: Astronaut Jeff Williams to speak live from International Space Station in Aug. 30 SBTS chapel service

Jeff Williams NASALOUISVILLE, KY (SBTS) — NASA astronaut Jeff Williams is scheduled to participate in a live interview with R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, on Aug. 30 at 10 a.m. during the seminary’s chapel service in Alumni Memorial Chapel. The event is open to the seminary community and will be livestreamed at sbts.edu/live.

A friend of SBTS who has previously spoken on campus about his explorations, Williams and his Soyuz crewmates were launched on a 172-day mission to the International Space Station on March 18 of this year. On Aug. 24, Williams surpassed Scott Kelly’s previous record of 520 days to become the American with the most cumulative days in space. The current mission is Williams’ fourth spaceflight and third long-duration stay on the space station.

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SBTS convocation: Mohler urges confessional resolution in the face of change

Although contemporary culture embraces continual change and the revision of core beliefs in the name of progress, the Christian church should be marked by faithfulness to the settled Word of the Lord, said R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, at the Aug. 23 fall convocation.

R. Albert Mohler Jr. speaks at SBTS convocation, Aug. 23.
R. Albert Mohler Jr. speaks at SBTS convocation, Aug. 23.

“While everything may be appearing to change around us — and far more so apparently in 2016 than in 1979 or in 1859, the reality is ‘the grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of the Lord endures forever,’” Mohler said.

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Boyce College associate dean Kevin Jones models service and sacrifice

Kevin Jones, associate dean of academic innovation at Boyce College
Kevin Jones, associate dean of academic innovation at Boyce College

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — The newly-appointed associate dean of academic innovation at Boyce College is “a master teacher, a gifted administrator, a proven churchman, and a devoted husband and father,” said Matthew J. Hall, dean of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s undergraduate school. Louisville native Kevin Jones, assistant professor of teacher education since 2014, has more than a decade of experience teaching in public schools and colleges, in addition to his service in church ministry roles and community organizations.

"As one of Christian higher education's fastest-growing institutions, these are extraordinary times of opportunity for Boyce College,” Hall said. “Dr. Kevin Jones is the right man at the right time to help our efforts to lead the college into this exciting future. Dr. Jones will play a vital role in leading our efforts to develop new degree programs as well as continuing to ensure excellence in teaching as one of Boyce College's distinctives."

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Islam requires strategic engagement, SBTS professors say at Alumni Academy

With fresh news reports about Islam appearing daily, and the need for global gospel proclamation as critical as ever, Christians need to learn how to engage with Islam theologically and strategically, said two professors at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary during the Aug. 8-9 Alumni Academy.

Ayman Ibrahim, Bill and Connie Jenkins Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at Southern Seminary and Senior Fellow for the Jenkins Center for the Christian Understanding of Islam, lectures during Alumni Academy, Aug. 8-9.
Ayman Ibrahim, Bill and Connie Jenkins Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at Southern Seminary and Senior Fellow for the Jenkins Center for the Christian Understanding of Islam, lectures during Alumni Academy, Aug. 8-9.

Ayman Ibrahim, Bill and Connie Jenkins Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at Southern Seminary and senior fellow for the Jenkins Center for the Christian Understanding of Islam, and John Klaassen, associate professor of global studies at Boyce College, led the seven sessions of the Alumni Academy, which culminated with a Q&A with both Ibrahim and Klaassen.

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Russell Moore awarded alumnus of the year at annual SBTS luncheon

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R. Albert Mohler Jr. presents the 2016 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year award to Russell D. Moore.

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (SBTS) — R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary presented the 2016 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year award to Russell D. Moore at the seminary’s June 15 alumni luncheon during the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting.

“Russ Moore has already made history and there is much history still to be written. He has madeSouthern Seminary proud in so many different ways,” said Mohler, who also presented Moore a commemorative plaque. “It is high time that we make this presentation and celebrate Russ Moore as Alumnus of the Year of the institution very proud to claim him as our own.”

Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC and SBTS Ph.D. graduate (2002), also formerly served as professor of Christian theology, dean of the School of Theology, and senior vice president for academic administration at Southern Seminary.

“This school didn’t just educate me,” Moore said. “I look around this room, the best friends in the world that we have, I look at students that I love. I look at a place where, when we arrived home with our first two children, there was a parking lot full of people waiting for us ... I can’t thank Southern Seminary enough for being our family.”

In his annual presentation to alumni and friends, Mohler called for increased boldness for the challenges facing Southern Seminary. Using Acts 4:23 as his text — in which the disciples react to their bold proclamation of the gospel before the Sanhedrin by praying for more boldness — Mohler said more is required of the seminary as it looks to the future. 

"I think there’s the temptation for us to simply be thankful for how bold the Lord has allowed us this school to be,” Mohler said. “But what we really pray for is that the Lord would make us even more bold, because what will be required of us in the future is even far greater than what has been required in the past ... Everything we’ve done thus far — sweet and precious and instructive as it is — is just, by God’s grace, a foretaste of what’s to come.”

Mohler referenced a resolution that had passed the previous afternoon at the SBC annual meeting, which renounced the display of the Confederate battle flag. He said it was a necessary but preliminary step in addressing the sins of previous generations of Southern Baptists, and that the seminary will require greater boldness to address continued issues of racial tension within the church.

“The burdens of history and the mandate invested in us has to be always on our mind,” Mohler said. “The great failure of the Southern Baptist Convention and the great failure of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is exemplified and realized in nothing more powerful than our failure to our African-American brothers and sisters through more than a century-and-a-half. I’m humbled by the fact that I think this is a permanent stain that the Southern Baptist Convention will have to bear as a mark, just to prevent us from the temptation of denominational hubris.”

Mohler also discussed the seminary’s recently launched Hispanic Initiatives, which seeks to reach the Spanish-speaking world with theological education. The program, which is part of a movement to cultivate diversity in the seminary community, includes the hiring of two Latino professors and the availability of Spanish online courses at a reduced cost.

“With every passing day and every passing year, the Southern Baptist Convention has to look more like the nation, more like the world, more like the marriage supper of the Lamb — or we’re going to look less like Jesus.”

Mohler also recognized the June 10 announcement that Matthew Hall would be the next dean of Boyce College, the undergraduate school of Southern Seminary, which has grown an enrollment of 1,200 students.

The more than 450 attendees of the luncheon also received a copy of the "President's Report," a publication providing a summary of the 2015-16 academic year.

 

 

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