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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Speak for the Unborn leader pleads for life as babies are on the brink of death

Speak for the Unborn director Andrew King, a Southern Seminary Ph.D. student, speaks to a woman entering the clinic.
Speak for the Unborn director Andrew King, a Southern Seminary Ph.D. student, speaks to a woman entering the clinic.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — On this July Saturday, an unusual number of people gather outside 138 West Market Street in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. The reason for the large turnout is unclear — it could be coincidence, it could be the especially warm morning, or it could be the effect of a series of undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress that has drawn national attention. The videos purport to show Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit women’s healthcare provider, profiting from selling aborted baby parts and organs, though the organization has steadfastly denied such conclusions.

Most of the crowd are pro-life protesters, and they congregate more than an hour before the EMW Women’s Surgical Center (which is unaffiliated with Planned Parenthood) opens. Some are pro-life Catholics, some are from various pro-life Protestant groups, and some — a very small group huddling for prayer, dressed in yellow parking vests — are with Speak for the Unborn, an evangelical ministry that bills itself as a ministry of the local church. It intends to “make abortion impossible, both through godly and legal means,” according to its website.

In the center, quietly uttering a prayer asking for the women who visit that morning to “find their hope in the gospel,” is Andrew King, a Ph.D. student at Southern Seminary and director of Speak for the Unborn. For the better part of a decade, King and other volunteers have stood outside EMW, pleading with women to reconsider their decision. “We are quite literally the last line of defense,” King says.

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Reformation distinctives remain important, say evangelical scholars at SBTS Theology Conference

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — While Pope Francis visited the United States for the first time, leading evangelical scholars defended the “Five Solas,” central themes of the Reformation, at the 2015 Theology Conference at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Sept. 24-25.

With the approaching 500th anniversary in 2017 of Martin Luther’s nailing of the 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg, the signature moment of the Protestant Reformation, speakers at the conference emphasized the distinctiveness of the Reformed tradition from the Roman Catholic tradition.

“[A] Reformation understanding of grace sees God’s presence to people as mediated through the Word of God — especially the Word of God preached,” said Carl Trueman, professor of historical theology and church history at Westminster Theological Seminary in Glenside, Pennsylvania. “It’s the Word of God — not the sacraments, as in Medieval Catholicism — which was the primary means of God dealing graciously with his people.”

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Papal address to Congress a ‘dangerous precedent,’ Mohler tells CNN

Southern Seminary R. Albert Mohler Jr. speaks with "CNN Newsroom" anchor Carol Costello about Pope Francis' visit to the United States.
Southern Seminary R. Albert Mohler Jr. speaks with "CNN Newsroom" anchor Carol Costello about Pope Francis' visit to the United States.

Pope Francis’ extraordinary address before a joint session of Congress sets a “very, very, dangerous precedent,” said Southern Baptist leader R. Albert Mohler Jr. in a live Sept. 21 interview on CNN.

“No pope of the Roman Catholic Church has ever addressed a joint session of the Congress before, and for good reason,” Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, told “Newsroom” anchor Carol Costello.

In addition to the live interview, CNN also noted Mohler’s concerns from a previously recorded interview with Costello in reports that aired on “Newsroom” on Sept. 22 and “AC360” on Sept. 23. The pope addressed Congress on Sept. 24.

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IMB VP offers guide to career planning at Boyce College event

Sebastian Traeger, executive vice president of the International Mission Board (Courtesy: The Gospel at Work)
Sebastian Traeger, executive vice president of the International Mission Board (Courtesy: The Gospel at Work)

Christians planning a career must consider whether a job glorifies God, permits a godly life, and allows them to bless others, said Sebastian Traeger at a Sept. 17 event at Boyce College.

“It is always important, when we talk about choosing a job or career planning, to recognize that this is a pretty modern Western idea,” said Traeger, executive vice president of the International Mission Board. “So it is good for us to recognize that we are in a unique period of time when God has given us this incredible freedom and stewardship to be thinking about how we should be going about choosing a career planning guide.”  

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New HD video live-stream for SBTS events offers mobile access, DVR capability

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary recently upgraded its live-stream to high-definition video quality on YouTube. The stream features improved scalable delivery, including mobile and Apple TV accessibility.

Southern Seminary recently updated all its live-stream technology, including cameras and monitors.
Southern Seminary recently updated all its video technology, including cameras and monitors.

All video equipment has been upgraded to accommodate high-definition viewing. The streaming service — which is now used for all broadcasted Southern Seminary events, including chapel — is appropriate for any mobile device, including phones and tablets, according to Stuart Hunt, director of Southern Productions. Viewers using Apple TV experience an excellent connection, also.

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Scholars reflect on history of Christian persecution at Andrew Fuller Conference

Bryan Litfin, professor of theology at Moody Bible Institute, delivers a Sept. 15 plenary address on persecution in Ancient Rome at the 9th annual conference for Southern Seminary's Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies.
Bryan Litfin, professor of theology at Moody Bible Institute, delivers a Sept. 15 plenary address on persecution in Ancient Rome at the 9th annual conference for Southern Seminary's Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies.

Scholars from around the world gathered at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Sept. 15-16 to discuss the history of Christian persecution at the ninth annual conference for the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies.

“As the church of Jesus Christ in the 21st century, we do not operate from a position of strength, but that’s a good thing,” said Andrew Fuller Center research associate Jeff Robinson in a concert of prayer for the persecuted church that culminated the two-day conference. “We want to remember that we’re the persecuted church of Christ, and when we’re persecuted, we grow. When we’re at ease in Zion, we tend to decline.”

Prior to leading conference attendees in a time of prayer for both persecuted Christians and their oppressors, Robinson recounted the story of Romanian Baptist pastor Josef Tson. When communist authorities threatened Tson in 1977 for preaching the gospel, the pastor famously quipped, “Don't you understand that when you kill me you send me to glory? You cannot threaten me with glory.”

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Mohler to appear on CNN to discuss Pope Francis

R. Albert Mohler Jr. photo May 2015 lowerR. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is scheduled to appear live on “CNN Newsroom” Monday, Sept. 21, at 10:30 a.m. ET to discuss Pope Francis’ visit to the United States. Carol Costello, anchor of “Newsroom,” will interview Mohler.

In addition to CNN’s cable television channel, “Newsroom” can be viewed online at CNN.com.

Mohler will be interviewed from Nashville, Tennessee.

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Southern Fall Festival breaks record attendance

150911_8271-2 lowerA record estimated 7,000 people braved the rain to experience The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s 11th annual Fall Festival Sept. 11. Attendees entered the Imagination Station and traveled through the Telehopper into the land of Odyssey on the Seminary Lawn. The theme was based on “Adventures in Odyssey,” the Christian radio drama series created and produced by Focus on the Family.

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Godly elders protect the church against false teachers, says Union dean at Southern Seminary

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — Church leaders must be diligent to protect God’s people from the threat of false teachers, said Nathan Finn, dean of the School of Theology and Missions at Union University, during a Sept. 15 chapel at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

“Friends, we need to remember that there is absolutely nothing that is cute or innocent or amusing or whimsical about false doctrine,” Finn said. “Eternity is hanging in the balance.”

Preaching from Titus 1:10-16, Finn argued false teachers are a significant enemy of God’s people. The letter of Titus presents a full picture of the Christian gospel, Finn said, and when any teacher contradicts that message, he or she is teaching false doctrine.

Nathan Finn, dean of the School of Theology and Missions at Union University, preaches in chapel at Southern Seminary, Sept. 15.
Nathan Finn, dean of the School of Theology and Missions at Union University, preaches in chapel at Southern Seminary, Sept. 15.

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is teaching anything different than this gospel, then he or she is proclaiming a false gospel, a dangerous doctrine.

In the time of Paul, false teachers who emphasized ritual purity were themselves deeply impure. They are actually unbelievers, Finn said — wolves wearing the sheep’s clothing who peddle their ministry for material gain.

“History has been filled with a long line of false teachers who have often accumulated great wealth and material possessions by selling bad doctrine to deceived people,” said Finn, who is also professor of Christian thought and tradition at Union, a position he has held since July.

Elders are the antidote to false teaching, Finn said. Their role is to understand biblical doctrine and protect God’s people by effectively teaching it to them. While most of the qualifications for eldership in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 are true for all Christians, Finn said the one distinctive ability every elder must have is to teach the Bible faithfully. Speaking to future pastors, missionaries, and ministers, Finn encouraged them to cultivate competency in the Scripture by taking their spiritual growth seriously.

“Let me urge you to be men of prayer and the Word,” he said. “You need to spend a considerable amount of your time studying the Bible and learning sound doctrine so you can teach it to the people whom God has already entrusted to you or will one day entrust to you. And providentially, right now you’re in one of the best places in the world to spend focused time studying the Scriptures and learning sound doctrine.”

Finn contended that Scripture requires elders to confront false teachers, sometimes even calling them out by name. This requires wisdom, he said, since not all false doctrine is heresy, and not every Christian leader who is wrong is a heretic. But Christian ministers bear the responsibility of protecting their people from the wolves’ destructive teaching.

“[False teachers] are everywhere around us, and sometimes that even means in our very local churches. Be diligent men and women of the word who are striving to protect God’s sheep from all the different wolves that are out there, [who] try to infiltrate the body of Christ and lead God’s people astray.”

Prior to his position at Union, Finn was associate professor of historical theology and spiritual formation at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Finn is also an adjunct professor at Southern Seminary, where he is also a research fellow with the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies.

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

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