Mohler: Southern Baptists churches must be ‘first refuge’ for abuse victims

Southern Baptists should not “circle the wagons” amid recent controversies, but instead must become “the first refuge for anyone who is seeking help,” argued R. Albert Mohler Jr. during a recent discussion about the future of the Southern Baptist Convention. He referenced a months-long slew of firings and resignations within Southern Baptist entities, most for reasons of moral or ethical failure.

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Pastor-scholar Hershael York appointed dean of Southern Seminary’s School of Theology

Hershael York

The preaching professor replaces historian Gregory A. Wills, who completed five-year term.

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (SBTS) — Long-time pastor and New Testament scholar Hershael York will become the new dean of the School of Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary effective August 1, seminary president R. Albert Mohler Jr. announced last week at the annual alumni and friends luncheon during the Southern Baptist Convention in Dallas, Texas. York will replace Gregory A. Wills, who completed a five-year term as dean.

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Mohler names pastor Juan R. Sanchez as Southern Seminary Alumnus of the Year, receives resolution of appreciation from SBC Executive Committee

Reid Karr announced as Missionary Alumnus of the Year

DALLAS, Texas. (SBTS) — The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. presented pastor Juan R. Sanchez with the school’s 2018 Alumnus of the Year award during the seminary’s June 13 annual Alumni and Friends Luncheon. The seminary luncheon was part of the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Dallas, Texas. The president also received a “resolution of appreciation” from the SBC Executive Committee. Additionally, Mohler named a Missionary Alumnus of the Year at the event.

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Southern Seminary students challenged to share their faith at Crossover 2018

FT. WORTH, Texas (SBTS) — 175 students from five different Southern Baptist seminaries gathered under the scorching Texas sun for one purpose: to testify to Christian faith in the neighborhoods of Ft. Worth, Texas, June 4-10. Among them, eight students from a personal evangelism class led by Timothy K. Beougher, who is the Billy Graham Professor of Evangelism and Church Growth at Southern Seminary, knocked on doors and ignored their comfort zones as they articulated the Christian faith to others.

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Mohler at SBC annual meeting: Southern Seminary committed to ‘gold standard’ of theological education

During his report on behalf of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, President R. Albert Mohler Jr. surveyed the seminary’s growth during his 25 years as president. He began by alluding to the doctrinal controversy at the seminary — and the entire convention — in the late 20th century, which surrounded the authority of the Bible and place of the school’s confession, the Abstract of Principles, in its operations.

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New book from Mary Mohler calls for a deeper understanding of gratitude

Gratitude is a deeply theological issue, argues Mary Mohler in her new book, Growing in Gratitude: Rediscovering the Joy of a Thankful Heart. The book was released this week.

In her book, Mohler traces the roots of gratitude in the Bible and provides application for readers to live a more gratitude-filled life. The book is available now for purchase from The Good Book Company or Amazon for $12.99, and Amazon Kindle for $5.99.

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Giving Days raises $300K for Southern Seminary

The second annual Giving Days initiative at Southern Seminary raised more than $300,000 to support the mission of the seminary. This year’s initiative generated, so far, more the 240 gifts.

“We are thrilled by all that was accomplished during Giving Days,” said Craig Parker, who is a senior vice president at the seminary and who heads up fundraising efforts for the seminary. “God’s kindness to Southern Seminary and Boyce College was on display each of the four days of Giving Days. The outpouring of support that came from alumni, students, trustees, and friends of Southern and Boyce served as a reminder of the profound impact this institution has had on scores of lives.”

The multi-day event, which happened  April 19-22, comprised four parts: “Tell Day,” social media testimonials; “Serve Day,” a community-wide service project around the city of Louisville, Kentucky; “Giving Day,” a funding drive for the seminary’s annual fund, which helps offset tuition costs; and "Preach the Word," when the seminary honors the students and alumni who serve in preaching ministries around the world.

Tell Day

Students, faculty, and alumni shared their stories through social media for Tell Day on April 19. Several notable figures in the Southern Baptist Convention recorded testimonies during Tell Day, including James Merritt, Dan Darling, and Lauren Green McAfee and Michael McAfee, who is director of communications for the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C.

Give Day

On Friday, April 20, the school encouraged alumni and friends to make financial investments supporting the mission and students of Southern Seminary and Boyce College. A group of donors pledged $75,000 in matching gifts before the event. The effort ultimately resulted in the 240 financial gifts.

Serve Day

On April 21, students and staff from Southern Seminary deployed around the city of Louisville to paint, clean, build, rake and dozens of other tasks in service of the Louisville community. The city-wide project was led by the seminary's dean of student life, Jeremy Pierre. His teams of staff and volunteers organize the massive project in conjunction with officials from the City of Louisville.

Those efforts take a lot of work, but according to Jim Stitzinger, who is an associate vice president at Southern Seminary and who overseas aspects of Giving Days, the message the 1937 Project sends to the community is well worth it.

“The 1937 project mobilizes Southern Seminary and Boyce College to serve our community," he said. "It’s a powerful way we can go to the neglected areas of town and serve in a way that shows Christ’s love.”

Stitzinger said staff from the campus’s student life office puts a lot of time into coordinating with officials from Louisville to identify areas of need, as well as “considerable” effort in mobilizing the SBTS community.

“Deploying over 400 students is worth all the effort when we see the impact their hearts and hands have on our city,” he said.

“Southern’s campus is a wonderful place to learn, but Louisville is our city to serve. As students and staff deploy across town, we often discover areas to continue serving long after the 1937 Project concludes for the day. The Southern Seminary classroom is the finest place to learn, and the heart of students to serve shows that their studies are compelling them to action.”

Preach the Word

The Sunday following the 1937 Project was “Preach the Word,” a day that highlights the global pulpit ministries of Southern Seminary’s alumni. Currently, Southern has graduates serving in churches in at least 63 different countries around the world.

Parker said that while the Giving Days effort was in support of the seminary, the result is a display of how Southern Seminary has shaped the lives of students and alumni around the country.

“The gifts, the personal testimonies, the sacrifices of time and effort all told of the deep affection so many have for Southern Seminary and Boyce College,” Parker said. “It is tremendously encouraging to see how our mission has influenced so many lives, and that the work accomplished here has motivated so many to love our Lord Jesus more and to serve His church better.”

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Mohler to SBTS graduates: Depend on Christ’s strength in your ministry

Graduates of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary can draw strength for ministry from the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and their obedience to his calling on their lives, said President R. Albert Mohler Jr. in his May 18 commencement address to the 2018 graduates of Southern Seminary.

During the 220th commencement exercises on the seminary lawn, 284 master’s and doctoral students were present to receive degrees as part of a graduating class of 320. The 320-person class is the largest during Mohler’s 25-year tenure as president of the institution.

“As much as we glorify God in this [commencement], we glorify God for redeeming a church by the blood of his Son and gifting that church with ministers who have served since the time of the apostles until now,” said Mohler during his commencement address.

Preaching from Romans 16:25-27, Mohler explained that the Apostle Paul concludes his watershed epistle with a fanfare to God’s glory in Christ. The book of Romans is the titanic center of the New Testament, he said, describing in comprehensive terms the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The conclusion to the letter praises the God “who is able to strengthen,” assuming that all Christians — including ministers of the gospel — need strengthening. Seminary graduation, though a significant accomplishment, should be a testament to every student’s absolute dependence on God in both life and ministry.

“I want to tell you graduates, as I look at you, you look very strong. You look good. You look healthy. You look ready. But you are not strong, and you are not ready,” Mohler said. “You are not up to the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ — not one of the ministers of the gospel of Christ is sufficient. Every single one of us at every single moment is dependent on another’s strength. We are never weaker than when we think we are stronger, and we are perhaps never stronger than when we sense that we are weaker.”

As the graduates enter their various ministries, they need to remember Christ’s individual, solitary ability to rule over the universe and control all things. That power is utilized on behalf of believers, and that power is the only thing that can strengthen Christian ministry, Mohler said.

This strengthening occurs in three ways, according to Mohler: the preaching of the gospel, the Word of God, and the command of God on the lives of believers. In the preaching of the gospel, Paul makes it clear that all ministers preach the same gospel that transformed Paul’s life. This transformation is the only thing that equips faithful Christian ministry, Mohler said, and inspires believers to teach and proclaim the saving message to the ends of the earth. Only the Word of God can provide the content of that faithful preaching, Mohler said, noting that the seminary curriculum was designed to cultivate a biblical reflex in all its graduates.

“What has been inculcated in you through hours and months and years of study of Scripture is the instinct to turn to Scripture,” Mohler said. “When we are ready to preach, when we are about to teach, when we need our own souls fed and as we prepare to feed the souls of others, our right instinct is to turn to the Word of God.”

Finally, ministers are strengthened by the call of God they obeyed when they attended seminary. The call to repent and believe in the gospel is a command that must be obeyed, Mohler said, and so is the call to ministry.

“What you see here, brothers and sisters, in these graduates is the answer to a command,” he said. “We refer to it as a call, and it is not a call that was offered to these graduates for their consideration. It’s a call that came as a command, and the only rightful response is obedience. That is what we are celebrating here today: obedience.”

Michael A.G. Haykin accepts the Findley B. and Louvenia Edge Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence.

During graduation, Mohler presented the annual Findley B. and Louvenia Edge Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence to Michael A.G. Haykin, professor of church history and biblical spirituality at Southern Seminary. Haykin has taught at Southern since 2008 and is the director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies. Haykin is the author of the 2011 book Rediscovering the Church Fathers: Who They Were and How They Shaped the Church, among many others. Haykin and his wife, Alison, have two grown children: Victoria and Nigel.

The recipient of the 2018 Josephine S. and James L. Baggott Outstanding Graduate Award was Jason E. Milton, a Master of Divinity graduate from Berea, Ohio.

Mohler’s entire address will be available in audio and video format at equip.sbts.edu.

 

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Southern Seminary launches the ‘Evening M.Div.,’ an innovative residential seminary experience

R. Albert Mohler Jr. today announced a new course scheduling initiative that will allow students to complete a Master of Divinity degree while working full time. The “Evening M.Div.” from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary will allow students to complete a Master of Divinity program in four years exclusively through courses offered in evenings.

“This is another bold statement of our basic commitments as The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary,” Mohler said. “We are committed to the training of pastors, which means we are committed to the master of divinity program. We are committed to offer the finest, most accessible master of divinity program available anywhere.”

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Pursue faithfulness, not worldly success, says Mohler at Boyce graduation

The good life is the faithful life, R. Albert Mohler Jr. told 150 college graduates at the May 11 commencement ceremony of Boyce College, the undergraduate school of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The graduates who received diplomas were part of a 170-person graduating class, which is the largest in the history of the school.

Each May across the United States, graduating college students listen to inspiring messages about how successful they can be. They are told they can achieve anything they put their minds to and are encouraged to do something significant. Mohler suggested the Christian gospel — and by extension a student’s education at Boyce — inspires a more mundane kind of achievement: faithfulness.

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