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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Successful 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.
Leading evangelical pastors John MacArthur and H.B. Charles Jr. joined Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. to emphasize the primacy of preaching at the Expositors Summit at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Oct. 28-30. The plenary addresses were expository sermons with focused application for the pastors’ preaching ministry of the gospel.
“For those who are the disciples of Christ, there is one thing we simply can’t do without,” Mohler said. “And that is the teaching of Christ, the teaching of the Word.”
In the opening session of the summit, Mohler preached on “The Binding of Isaac” in Genesis 22, reading the story through the lens of gospel revelation. Mohler highlighted elements of the narrative pointing to Christ in the New Testament — the son Isaac carries the wood up the mountain himself, the sacrifice comes just when it is needed, and God himself provides the offering at the story’s climax.
Cross-cultural value of expository preaching lauded at Southern Seminary’s African-American pastors’ conference
Christ-centered expositional preaching is cross-cultural, according to speakers at Southern Seminary’s African-American pastors’ conference, Oct. 27. The conference, held in conjunction with this year’s Expositors Summit, featured African-American preachers Thabiti Anyabwile, H.B. Charles, Victor Sholar, and Curtis Woods.
“We want to preach in such a way that opens the understanding of our people so that their rejoicing is really in the truth,” said Anyabwile, church planting pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.
Gospel parables are rich expository preaching material, but they cannot replace expository preaching, said pastor and author John MacArthur in the E.Y. Mullins Lectures on Preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Oct. 28.
“Parables are Jesus’ theology of salvation in stories,” said the 75-year-old MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California. “We can see those parables for what they are,” he added, but for unbelievers “they are nothing but riddles, stories without meaning.”
MacArthur, author and editor of more than 150 books, became the first person to deliver the prestigious Mullins Lectures for a third time. He previously participated in 2002 and 2006. The lectureship was endowed by E.Y. Mullins, the fourth president of Southern Seminary, and since 1941 has featured notable preachers such as Donald Macleod, Calvin Miller, R. Kent Hughes, and Bryan Chapell.
A new generation of evangelical Christians is on the verge of racial reconciliation and economic justice in its churches, said John M. Perkins in the Julius Brown Gay Lecture on Christian Ethics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Oct. 27.
“We’re at a pivot place in history,” said Perkins, 84. “This is the first generation of people who are beginning to understand that and values diversity. There’s an underlying movement today that now people are wanting to do mission with people, and they want to learn from people, and they see human beings different as a value in life.”
The Julius Brown Gay Lectures are among Southern Seminary's most prestigious lectureships, dating back to 1895. The lectures have brought some of Christianity's most significant figures to the seminary campus, most notably Martin Luther King Jr. in 1961. Perkins said the opportunity to deliver the lecture at Southern Seminary was “one of the honors of my life” as the culmination of his life’s work.