Mohler offers ‘Christmas mandate’ to fall 2014 graduates at Southern Seminary

Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. delivers his fall 2014 commencement address, “To Give Knowledge of Salvation to His People: A Christmas Mandate for Christian Ministry.”
Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. delivers his fall 2014 commencement address, “To Give Knowledge of Salvation to His People: A Christmas Mandate for Christian Ministry.”

The mission of seminary graduates is to announce the birth of Christ and the clear truth of salvation, president R. Albert Mohler Jr. told the fall 2014 graduates of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Southern Seminary conferred degrees upon 207 master’s and doctoral students during the 214th commencement exercises in Alumni Memorial Chapel, Dec. 12.

In an address from Luke 1:67-80 titled “To Give Knowledge of Salvation to His People: A Christmas Mandate for Christian Ministry,” Mohler stressed the significance of the approaching Christmas holiday as an opportunity for graduates to refute a “terminal theological confusion” in churches today.

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Russell Moore: Extending John Leland’s religious liberty legacy for Southern Baptists — and everyone else

Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following profile first appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of Southern Seminary Magazine, "Religious Liberty Imperiled." Included in the issue are essays by R. Albert Mohler Jr., "Erotic liberty v. religious liberty: How the sexual revolution is eclipsing the First Freedom"; Gregory A. Wills, "The colonial 'spirit of Massachusetts' stirring anew in America"; David Platt, "Religious liberty and persecution: A global perspective"; J. Scott Bridger, "Islam and religious liberty"; and Greg Cochran, "From bombings to bobblehead income: The diversity of persecution in New Testament perspective."

WASHINGTON — Separated by more than 200 years of history but in lockstep with the same convictions and commitments, Russell Moore is extending the legacy of American colonial Baptist preacher John Leland as he vigorously defends and seeks to advance religious freedom.

“Without religious liberty there is no other freedom,” said Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. “That’s because religious liberty is not simply a political issue or simply a cultural issue. But at its foundation, it is a gospel issue.

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Boyce College dean publishes ‘worldview adventure’ for children, ‘The Owlings’

bookcoverA worldview is a person’s beliefs infiltrating every area and decision of life. But how does one teach a biblical worldview to children in a way they understand?

Dan DeWitt, dean of Boyce College, the undergraduate school at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, recently published a children’s novella, The Owlings, to help educate young and old alike about the Christian worldview. The Owlings introduces readers to an owl named Gilbert who helps a young boy answer his questions about the world.

The Owlings is a worldview adventure for readers young and old alike about a young boy named Josiah who discovered an important lesson from some unlikely visitors,” DeWitt writes. “This short novel (or novella) mixes humor and intrigue to introduce the most basic principle of reality — the existence of God.” Readers meet Gilbert, a talking owl, and three of his friends who together explore the wonder of creation.

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Southern Seminary graduate compiles Bible reading plan paired with Hamilton text

ggstjAs the new year approaches, many Christians are thinking about their next attempt at reading through the Bible. The Bible reading plans to choose from are numerous, but some people find certain plans difficult to continue once they reach the dense texts of Leviticus and Numbers.

Chris Dendy, a December D.Min. graduate in Applied Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has a suggestion to help believers stick with their Bible reading commitments.

As part of the ministry project required for his degree, Dendy designed a reading plan to go alongside James M. Hamilton Jr.’s book, God’s Glory in Salvation Through Judgment. Hamilton, professor of biblical theology, also serves as Dendy’s adviser.

“The goal of the plan is to graciously push believers to grow in their understanding of the Scriptures and to give them a plan that will stretch them,” Dendy said.

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Burk: Experience of same-sex attraction ‘occasion for repentance’

Denny Burk, professor of biblical studies at Boyce College
Denny Burk, professor of biblical studies at Boyce College

Christians experiencing same-sex attraction should repent of those desires, but God can transform a person’s sexual identity, said panelists at the Evangelical Theological Society annual meeting, Nov. 19.

“This is what I would say to guys in my church, is 'If you are in the moment feeling an attraction for a person of the same sex, that's an occasion for repentance,'” said Denny Burk, professor of biblical studies at Boyce College, the undergraduate school of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. “'Well, I didn't choose that.' That's still an occasion for repentance.”

Burk presented a paper titled “Is Same-Sex Orientation Sinful?” and participated in a panel discussion on the issue with fellow lecturers Preston M. Sprinkle, vice president of Boise extension at Eternity Bible College, and Wesley Hill, assistant professor of New Testament at Trinity School for Ministry and self-described celibate gay Christian.

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Southern Seminary’s ‘growing influence’ in ETS seen at recent meeting

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Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, presents the presidential address at the 2014 annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in San Diego, California, Nov. 20.

New Testament scholar Thomas R. Schreiner's presidency of the Evangelical Theological Society is the latest example of the “growing influence” of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in the scholarly organization, seminary leaders say.

During the 2014 ETS annual meeting held Nov. 19-21 in San Diego, California, Schreiner completed a one-year term as president, but will continue to serve on the organization’s executive committee along with Southern Seminary theologian Gregg R. Allison, who is currently serving a seven-year term as secretary/treasurer of the group. In 2009, Bruce A. Ware served as president, marking the first time a Southern Seminary faculty member led the organization.

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Theology of worship exhorted at Doxology and Theology conference

Songwriter Keith Getty discusses the importance of theology in worship music at the Doxology and Theology conference, Nov. 13-15.
Songwriter Keith Getty discusses the importance of theology in worship music at the Doxology and Theology conference, Nov. 13-15.

Music ministers are responsible to teach their congregations theology through song, according to songwriter Keith Getty at the Doxology and Theology conference, Nov. 13-15, hosted on campus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Songs portraying the incredible beauty about God are what the church needs, Getty said. The conference featured well-known musicians and music ministers, including Getty, Matt Papa, Bob Kauflin, Matt Carter, Harold Best, Matt Boswell, and many others. Various bands led worship throughout the event, including the seminary’s Norton Hall Band, to Indelible Grace and others.

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Grow in gospel freedom, says D.A. Carson in Southern Seminary chapel

D.A. Carson, research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, preaches on Galatians 5:16-26 at Alumni Memorial Chapel, Nov. 13.
D.A. Carson, research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, preaches on Galatians 5:16-26 at Alumni Memorial Chapel, Nov. 13.

Only gospel freedom can produce inward change, said D.A. Carson during a chapel service at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Nov. 13. Preaching from Galatians 5:16-26, Carson emphasized how the fruit of the Spirit represents the outworking of regeneration, which not only restrains sinfulness but changes the heart.

“Gospel freedom does not merely keep us from sin, it generates goodness,” he said. “It transforms us in such a way that the law cannot condemn us.”

Carson, a noted biblical scholar and research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, opened his message by highlighting two equally legitimate aspects of biblical faith: it cannot be earned by works, and yet it cannot be proven without them. He suggested that Galatians 5 provides a way to integrate these two streams.

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Southern Seminary professors receive endowed chairs

Michael S. Wilder is congratulated by President R. Albert Mohler Jr. during his installation as the J.M. Frost Associate Professor of Leadership and Discipleship at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Nov. 11.
Michael S. Wilder is congratulated by President R. Albert Mohler Jr. during his installation as the J.M. Frost Associate Professor of Leadership and Discipleship at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Nov. 11.

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary installed seven faculty members to endowed chairs during the fall 2014 semester. Each of the chairs “has a story,” said President R. Albert Mohler Jr., “one that is integral to the history of the seminary and to Southern Baptists and to the larger evangelical world.”

At the final installation ceremony Nov. 11, Mohler emphasized the “significant honor” of the event because professors are elected to an endowed chair by vote of the board of trustees. “Endowed chairs are the means whereby people who are committed to the institution make that commitment clear by providing not just current funding, but the permanent funding of an instructional position,” he said.

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In McCall Lecture, Hewitt examines leadership examples from political leaders

20141106_5764Successful leaders need a strong will and disciplined life, said broadcaster Hugh Hewitt in the fourth annual Duke K. McCall Leadership Lecture at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Nov. 6. The lecture, Hewitt said, is important because of the mission of the seminary to send out leaders into the world with the Great Commission.

“I know what the mission of this institution is: it’s a volcano of leadership and it throws out leaders across the world,” he said. “Long it’s done that and long may it do so.”

McCall, the leader whom the lecture honors, was Southern Seminary’s seventh and longest serving president (1950-1982). Hewitt, a broadcast journalist and lawyer, hosts the Hugh Hewitt Show with more than two million listeners each week, lectured to the seminary community about the need for strong leaders in today’s society. He examined three leaders he esteems as important, and considered character qualities that he believes make each of the men good leaders. Hewitt knew some may not agree with him, so he asked the audience to suspend their judgments on the individuals he lectured about.

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