A shepherd in cowboy country: Southern Seminary alumnus offers perspective on rural ministry

Southern Seminary alumnus John Powell (right), pastor of First Baptist Church, Hamlin, Texas, often spends time with church members on their farms and businesses.
Southern Seminary alumnus John Powell (right), pastor of First Baptist Church, Hamlin, Texas, often spends time with church members on their farms and businesses.

HAMLIN, Texas (SBTS) — Cowboys roam in middle-of-nowhere West Texas. Not the city-slicking “rhinestone” kind in Dallas, but cowboys riding on horseback and corralling cattle into a pen. In these small towns, community life is a picture of a bygone era in American culture, where pastors are well-respected and everyone’s life is on public display.

When he left Southern Seminary in 2012 to become the pastor of First Baptist Church, Hamlin, Texas, John Powell tried to corral his congregation like a cowboy into a pen of spiritual and theological maturity. But a period of despair fell upon Powell when he realized the loneliness of the pastoral calling and the reality that, in the breakneck pace of church ministry, “God didn’t call us cowboys; he called us shepherds.”

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Southern Seminary trustees mark record student enrollment

Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. addresses the Board of Trustees in the Oct. 13 plenary session.
Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. addresses the Board of Trustees in the Oct. 13 plenary session.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — Trustees of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary received a report of record student enrollment for the recently concluded 2014-2015 academic year and record fall enrollment for the current academic year during their Oct. 12-13 fall meeting.

In other business, the Board of Trustees responded to a referral from the Southern Baptist Convention, designated a new professor to an academic chair, and approved faculty sabbaticals.

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary, summarized for trustees enrollment data for the past academic year and the fall 2015 semester, which are new records for the seminary.

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Counseling homosexuals involves ‘speaking truth in love,’ leaders say

Heath Lambert, executive director of ACBC and associate professor of biblical counseling, speaks at homosexuality conference, sponsored by ACBC.
Heath Lambert, executive director of ACBC and associate professor of biblical counseling, delivers an Oct. 5 plenary address on homosexuality.

Christian counselors should be able to speak lovingly and winsomely to people struggling with homosexual attraction, said evangelical leaders at the Oct. 5-7 homosexuality conference at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The conference, titled “Homosexuality: Compassion, Care, and Counseling for Struggling People,” was sponsored by the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).

“The integrity of our message is at stake in this, brothers and sisters. If we believe that the Bible teaches homosexuality to be a sin, and if we believe that Jesus Christ changes people, but we don’t know how to help them, then ... we will make a mockery of the Word of God,” said Heath Lambert, executive director of ACBC and associate professor of biblical counseling at Southern Seminary and Boyce College. “If we don’t know how to lay hold of the grace of Jesus, we will slander the Word of God and the grace of Jesus.”

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Butterfield, former lesbian and LGBT activist, gives her testimony at ACBC conference

While many speakers during the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) conference were evangelical counselors or longtime pastors, Rosaria Butterfield offered a unique perspective on homosexuality. The conference, titled “Homosexuality: Compassion, Care, and Counseling for Struggling People” and held at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, featured the popular author and speaker’s testimony during one of its plenary sessions, Oct. 6.

Butterfield — once a liberal, feminist, lesbian college professor at Syracuse University and now a pastor’s wife — offered the perspective of someone formerly a member of the gay lifestyle, but radically and supernaturally saved out of it through the ministry of a local pastor.

Rosaria Butterfield, former lesbian and LGBT activist, talks at ACBC conference.
Rosaria Butterfield, former lesbian and LGBT activist, gives her testimony during an Oct. 6 plenary session at the ACBC conference.

In 1997, after Butterfield wrote a scathing article about a nearby Promise Keepers conference, a Presbyterian pastor in town sent her a letter challenging her presuppositions and inviting her to dinner at his home. After initially throwing it away, she dug it back out and agreed to visit him. Their interaction eventually grew into a friendly, and eventually redemptive, relationship.

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The Bible and the blogosphere: Denny Burk contends for biblical sexuality with online Christian witness

 

Denny Burk, professor of biblical studies at Boyce College, lectures to a class in Southern Seminary's Norton Hall.
Denny Burk, professor of biblical studies at Boyce College, lectures to a class in Southern Seminary's Norton Hall.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — When the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage on June 26, evangelical leaders moved swiftly to respond. Before the day was out, Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. released a special edition of “The Briefing” podcast and Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore recorded a YouTube video urging believers not to panic and to prepare to “receive the refugees from the sexual revolution.” The evangelical world at large was not taken off-guard by the Obergefell v. Hodges decision and went online to make its voice heard.

Denny Burk, professor of biblical studies at Boyce College, is no stranger to the Internet world. He has curated a popular blog, dennyburk.com, for 10 years, offering an evangelical perspective on cultural issues. It was recently featured at No. 18 in Newsmax’s September list of the top 75 religion bloggers. In recent years, Burk’s blogging attention has often settled on gender and sexuality topics, as those issues have moved to the forefront of American culture. In the 48 hours after the SCOTUS ruling, Burk wrote eight posts on the decision, offering his prophetic clarion call for Christians to ready themselves for a new normal in cultural discourse.

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First evangelical conference on transgenderism responds to unprecedented challenge

The transgender movement presents an unprecedented theological and cultural crisis for the church, said Southern Baptist scholars at the Oct. 5 ACBC preconference, “Transgender: Transgender confusion and transformational Christianity” at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The preconference preceded the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) annual conference, which is being held at the seminary Oct. 5-7. The preconference, co-sponsored by ACBC and the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW), is the first time evangelicals have held such an event to discuss the transgender movement.

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Southern Seminary leaders underscore rejection of ‘superficial’ reparative therapy in response to LGBT protesters at ACBC conference

Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. addresses the media in an Oct. 5 news conference to refute the claims of local LGBT activists.
Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. addresses the media in an Oct. 5 news conference to refute the claims of local LGBT activists.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — Reparative therapy is a “superficial” response to homosexual and transgender change and Christian ministers must instead call all people to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, said leaders of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors in an Oct. 5 news conference.

“We don’t think the main thing that is needed is merely repair but rather redemption,” said Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. “When it comes to sexuality, we do believe that wholeness and holiness can come, and will come, to the one who faithfully follows Christ.”

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Southern Seminary, ACBC to refute protesters’ claims in morning news conference

Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — Leaders of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors will hold a news conference Monday at 10:30 a.m. on the seminary’s campus to refute the claims of an announced protest of ACBC’s conference at the seminary.

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary, and Heath Lambert, executive director of ACBC, will hold the news conference to respond to the Fairness Campaign’s false claim that the ACBC conference promotes reparative therapy when the group announced its plans Friday, Oct. 2, to protest near the seminary. Lambert said in a Sept. 14 news release he rejects reparative therapy and that the conference will explore an evangelical perspective of homosexual change.

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Mohler says new book responds to ‘moral emergency’ of sexual revolution

Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. (left) talks about his new book on the sexual revolution.
Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. (right) talks about his new book on the sexual revolution.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — In the span of three months in the summer of 2015, three headlines marked historic events that generations of Americans past could never have imagined. First it was former “world’s greatest athlete” Bruce Jenner debuting his gender transition on the cover of Vanity Fair. Next the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Within a few weeks Americans witnessed the horrors of abortion in a series of undercover videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood profiting from the illegal sale of aborted baby parts and organs.

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, issues a call for faithful, biblical witness in his latest book, We Cannot Be Silent, that he says is ever more urgent in the wake of these landmark events. Written in late 2014, the book — to be published by Thomas Nelson Oct. 27 — examines the rise of the homosexual movement, the path to same-sex marriage, the emergence of transgenderism, and the sexual revolution’s imperilment to religious liberty.

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Report ranks Southern Seminary’s doctoral program in top 5

CO-511-2015 Doctorate Earned Chart (1)LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — A recent report from the Association of Theological Schools ranks The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary fourth among peer institutions for producing faculty doctorates in the accreditation agency’s member schools. Trailing only Princeton Theological Seminary, Harvard, and University of Toronto, Southern improved 12 spots on the list since the previous report in 2001.

“Southern Seminary established one of the first research doctorates in higher education in America and has been a pioneer since the beginning, preparing scholars for the church through the highest level of academic preparation,” said Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. “This report is a significant affirmation of Southern's leadership in preparing scholars for the church past, present, and future.”

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