J. Scott Bridger, an evangelical scholar of Islam, will serve as the director of the Jenkins Center for the Christian Understanding of Islam and the Bill and Connie Jenkins assistant professor of Islamic studies at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, school officials announced this spring.
“I think Scott Bridger is the singular individual God has prepared to take on the leadership of the Jenkins Center at this time,” seminary president R. Albert Mohler Jr. said. “His academic preparation, his knowledge of Arabic language and Arabic culture, his deep knowledge of Islam, not only as a structure of thought but as a way of life, his experience in the Middle East, all of these serve him singularly well as the one to take on this responsibility.”
BALTIMORE — “Vast shifts” in American culture present an “unmistakably huge” task to future generations of pastors, missionaries and evangelists, said R. Albert Mohler Jr. in his annual report to the Southern Baptist Convention on the state of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
“We can no longer live with the illusion of what sociologists used to call ‘American exceptionalism,’” said Mohler, who this summer begins his 22nd year as president of the Southern Seminary. “America, as it turns out, was not the exception to the trend of secularization; we were just behind Europe. And we are fast catching up.”
He described the “vast shift from the experience of American society over the last 200 years,” citing recent polls that indicate one-third of Americans younger than 30 claim no religious affiliation. And, claiming that no one alive today experienced “a time such as this,” Mohler said that Christians now live “in a time morally when the world is turning on its axis.”
BALTIMORE — Devoted to infusing a comprehensive theology into the life of his congregation and revitalizing churches in the nation’s capital, Mark Dever has earned special recognition from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary, presented Dever with the distinguished alumnus of the year award at the seminary’s alumni luncheon during the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), June 11, 2014.
In 1994, Dever arrived on Capitol Hill to pastor an elderly congregation that was weary after nearly a half century of decline and weighed down with pouring its limited funds into the maintenance of a city block of real estate.
Faithful ambassadors: Southern Seminary students share gospel in inner city Baltimore during SBC Crossover
BALTIMORE — Delivering faithfully the message of Christ as ambassadors of the gospel anchored the evangelistic efforts of students from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Baltimore, June 5-7.
Southern Seminary students joined other seminaries as part of nearly 2,000 volunteers from 18 states and Canada to serve the Baltimore community and share Christ with its residents during Crossover. The North American Mission Board event takes place each year prior to the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in the host city. SBTS students earned modular course credit for Theology and Practice of Evangelism.
In a new development for Crossover, students from all six Southern Baptist seminaries gathered for morning devotionals led by Jim Stitzinger, director of the Bevin Center for Missions Mobilization at Southern Seminary, and other seminary professors. Church planters across the Baltimore area also spoke to the students during those gatherings.
Boyce College, the undergraduate school of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, launched a new logo and website to highlight its convictional leadership and distinctive spiritual atmosphere, June 9.
Founded in 1974 as Boyce Bible School, the program began offering bachelor’s degrees as James P. Boyce College of the Bible in 1998 under the leadership of R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary. Later, the name of the school was changed to Boyce College. Boyce was the founder and first president of Southern Seminary.
Emphasizing the proximity and shared resources with Southern Seminary, the new logo includes the phrase “The College at Southern.” The rebranding comes just as the school prepares to move into the heart of Southern Seminary’s campus in August, when at least 240 new students are expected to arrive for the fall semester.
In the midst of a three-week hospital stay for his son’s life-threatening viral encephalitis, Jamin Bailey received his master of divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary over the phone. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary, conferred the degree to the Corydon, Indiana, native, and offered him encouragement and prayer through the difficult trial.
Christianity offers hope and adds intrinsic value to life, while atheism offers despair, according to Dan DeWitt in his new book, Jesus or Nothing. So Christians have a choice: either Jesus, or the belief that nothing matters. DeWitt explores these two premises in the book.
Popular hip-hop artist Flame created a new album, which released with the book earlier this year.
DeWitt, dean of Boyce College, the undergraduate school of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote Jesus or Nothing as an explanation of the rationality of the theistic worldview. DeWitt discusses two premises in his book: “The first proposition is if atheism is true, there’s a loss of objective meaning and intrinsic worth,” he said in a recent interview.
A theistic worldview only makes sense in light of the gospel, he said.
“Theism only takes us so far, and theism can’t make sense out of the fact that we live in a world where children are discarded and where women are raped. And not just moral evil, which is certainly horrific, but natural evil: there are tsunamis in which thousands of people die. Theism has a hard time making sense of that apart from the gospel. So theism best describes reality, the gospel best describes theism.”
DeWitt says he hopes the book helps Christians to love those who reject Jesus.
“The way I would hope Christians use the book would be to grow in their compassion for people who don’t believe,” he said. “I hope that a Christian parent, for example, who maybe has a college student who has walked away from the faith, can empathize a bit more and understand perhaps what had led to their journey. Of course, every story is completely different, but I really do hope that’s accomplished: that believers will read it and be more empathetic and they’ll be quick to listen and slow to speak.”
In conjunction with the book, Grammy-nominated hip-hop artist Flame — Marcus Tyrone Gray, a 2010 Boyce College graduate — and Clear Sight Music productions released a 15-song album that correlates with DeWitt’s book. Each track explores questions about the meaning of life and the gospel. The album features Flame and several other hip-hop artists.
DeWitt and Flame will tour to speak and perform at various camps and conferences through the fall. Featured events include a camp at Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri, two weeks of Southern Seminary’s D3 camp, June 23-26 and June 30-July 2; several weeks with LIFT Ministries at various camps, including one in the United Kingdom, August 4-8; and an event in the Dominican Republic, Sept. 25-29 at Iglesia Bautista Internacional.
Southern Seminary recently hosted an Alumni Academy focused around Jesus or Nothing, May 22-23. Along with lectures from DeWitt, the conference featured a panel discussion with Greg Gibson, elder at Foothills Church in Maryville, Tennessee and assistant editor of the men’s channel on the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood website; Boyce College professor Bryan Baise; Timothy Paul Jones, Southern Seminary’s C. Edwin Gheens Professor of Christian Family Ministry; and Ted Cabal, professor of Christian philosophy and applied apologetics.
DeWitt used the “tale of two stories” to introduce how the gospel offers explanation for our existence, clarity for our confusion, grace for our guilt, meaning for our mortality and answers for our adversaries.
More information about Alumni Academy is available at sbts.edu/events. More information about Jesus or Nothing, both the book and album, is available at jesusornothing.com.
A cross-cultural business researcher and professor will lead the new business management program at Boyce College, the undergraduate school of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Wisconsin native Scott Moodie will assume duties as the assistant professor of business management at Boyce in July 2014. Moodie is currently completing his PhD in management science at Spain’s ESADE School of Business, consistently listed as one of the best business schools in the world.
Moodie will be responsible for Boyce’s new degree offering in business administration, which is currently pending approval from The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The degree is designed to integrate business and missions, and will prepare students for three avenues: intercultural business, non-profit organization efforts and local church administration.
“I am incredibly excited about this new business degree,” said Randy Stinson, senior vice president for academic administration and provost of Southern Seminary. “It will create many ministry opportunities for the gospel both here and around the world. Students will not only be more strategically deployed as missionaries but will also be more effective ministers of the gospel as they develop a biblical understanding of faith, work and economics.”
Before studying at ESADE, Moodie earned his undergraduate in marketing at Cedarville University and his MBA in international business at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. He currently resides in Italy, serving as the senior editorial assistant for Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal.
“Scott is an exciting addition to Boyce College,” said global studies coordinator John Klaassen. “He has been a part of international churches everywhere he has lived and will bring not only expertise on the business front but a thorough understanding of what it means to live globally, be a churchman internationally and work with businesses cross-culturally. His perspective will be unique among business leaders and his gifting will serve the church in ways that we have never experienced before.”
Leaders at Southern Seminary and Boyce College, including Boyce dean Dan DeWitt, lauded the new program on social media for its ability to equip students to serve on the mission field.
"Boyce has established itself as a stalwart for biblical and theological education, but now we are enabling gospel ministers to advance the kingdom in difficult places in the world with skills for the marketplace and beyond,” said DeWitt.
“This degree is setting a precedent for training gospel entrepreneurs to be on mission around the globe.”
In a video announcing the business administration degree, Klassen said, ”We need to train our cross-cultural workers to access those nations [that are closed to missionaries].”
“Here at Boyce College you’re going to get the global studies, you’re going to understand missions and how to do missions. But now with this new degree program you’ll also understand business; you’ll understand what it takes to start a business; you’ll understand how local economies work.”
The four-year degree consists of 36 hours in biblical and theological studies, 33 hours of business studies, 15 hours of global studies and 12 hours of ministry studies.
“I want to encourage you to come to Boyce...Get the solid biblical and theological understanding that you need and get the solid business understanding that you need, and learn how to combine those two things together so you can be an effective minister of the gospel,” Klaassen said.
“Owen Strachan is one of the finest young scholars and leaders serving the church today,” Mohler said. “He is also a veteran observer of the culture and a faithful theologian of the church. That is a powerful combination, and that explains why Owen Strachan is now the right leader for the Henry Institute. I look forward to seeing what Owen will do with this strategic platform and research center. Carl Henry would be very proud of this appointment.”
The Henry Institute, established in 1998, takes its name in honor of the life and work of Carl F. H. Henry, who is widely regarded as the most important 20th century evangelical theologian.
God calls Christian ministers to open their mouths so that others can “hear his voice, believe and be saved,” president R. Albert Mohler Jr. told the 2014 graduates of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Two hundred fifty-five students received degrees — masters’ and doctorates — during commencement exercises on the seminary lawn, May 16, 2014. A week earlier, May 9, 107 students received degrees — certificates and bachelors’ — from Boyce College, the undergraduate school of Southern Seminary.
In an address from the Acts 10 titled, “‘So Peter Opened His Mouth’ — The Preacher’s Calling Reduced to Five Powerful Words,” Mohler explained that the “Bible presents an astonishingly simple method of preaching.”
Mohler drew from verse 34, where the text records that the apostle Peter “opened his mouth,” suggesting that these words encapsulate “the essential act of preaching reduced to five earth-shaking words. So Peter opened his mouth.” And, Mohler said, the “most clarifying way to understand the preacher’s task is to consider its most quintessential act — the opening of the mouth.”
“So Peter opened his mouth. He obeyed the call. He fulfilled his calling. He did not remain silent or hide, he opened his mouth and declared all that God had commanded him to say,” Mohler said.