In new center dedication, Mohler describes urgency for a Christian understanding of Islam

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, speaks at a Feb. 13 dedication ceremony launching the Jenkins Center for the Christian Understanding of Islam at the school in Louisville, Ky. Connie and Bill Jenkins, benefactors for the new center from Paoli, Ind., join Mary Mohler, with of Southern's president, for a ribbon-cutting of the new space in Norton Hall.
R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, speaks at a Feb. 13 dedication ceremony launching the Jenkins Center for the Christian Understanding of Islam at the school in Louisville, Ky. Connie and Bill Jenkins (center), benefactors for the new center from Paoli, Ind., join Mary Mohler, wife of Southern's president, for a ribbon-cutting of the center's office in Norton Hall.

Islam is the “great rival system of belief” to Christianity, according to R. Albert Mohler Jr. And with 1.6 billion adherents, Muslims make up nearly a quarter of the world’s population. In response, the leadership of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary opened and dedicated a new academic center for the study of Islam, Feb. 13.

“I am very, very excited about the Jenkins Center for the Christian Understanding of Islam,” said Mohler, who is president of Southern Seminary, during a chapel service immediately preceding the dedication. He said that faithfulness to the Great Commission requires ministers to study this rival religion, and  “not merely to understand Islam as others might seek to understand it, but to achieve a Christian understanding of Islam.”

The dedication of the new center coincided with the seminary’s annual Great Commission Week. The four-day event included panel discussions with veteran missionaries and church planters, outreach “excursions” in the Louisville community and evangelistic training sessions.

According to Mohler, the Jenkins Center for the Christian Understanding of Islam, named for donors Connie and Bill Jenkins, will lead Southern Seminary — and the broader evangelical academy — in studying and engaging Islam through the lens of the Christian gospel. And while he affirmed the value and even necessity of studying Islam through secular and Islamic scholarship, the primary concern of the center is engagement, including evangelism and apologetics.

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Mohler responds to Kentucky gay marriage ruling

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., posted an essay to his website, www.AlbertMohler.com, in response to today's ruling by Federal District Judge John G. Heyburn declaring unconstitutional parts of Kentucky's ban on gay marriages. The following is an excerpt:

"Christians who affirm the biblical understanding of marriage as the union of a man and woman must now recognize that we can no longer count upon the government and its laws to reflect that understanding. Even the proponents of same-sex marriage must surely recognize the radical legal and moral shift in Western civilization and human history this change implies. Christians understand that marriage is one of God’s greatest gifts to humanity and that marriage, as defined by the Creator, is fundamental to human flourishing.

"We now know that the government cannot be counted on to affirm this message. As a matter of fact, we have to face the reality that the government — even in the Commonwealth of Kentucky — may teach a radically different message through its laws. But the real question for Christians is not whether the government gets the question of marriage right, but if we do. In the grand scheme of things, that is the Church’s real challenge."

Mohler's entire essay — "The Other Shoe Drops in Kentucky: Federal Court Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage in the Commonwealth" — is available here.

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Work, economics initiative at Southern Seminary receives grant

Kenneth Magnuson
Kenneth Magnuson

A new academic initiative at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary to foster a theology of work and economics among students and faculty received a major grant from the Kern Family Foundation, seminary officials announced recently.

“We are very pleased to enter into this partnership with the Kern Family Foundation,” said R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary. “This grant will make a real difference in the ministries of our students, who will gain invaluable knowledge and insight from the programs that this grant will make possible. We deeply appreciate this investment in our students and their future ministries.”

Randy Stinson, senior vice president for academic administration and provost, said, “In the next decade the topic of faith, work and economics will be more important than ever. With growing economic complexities it will be incumbent upon every pastor to be able to speak intelligently on this topic in order to teach his congregation how the gospel applies to this important intersection of life. The grant that we have received will go a long way in preparing the ministers of the gospel that we are training on this campus.”

Kenneth Magnuson, director of the initiative and professor of Christian ethics at Southern, expressed appreciation to the Kern Family Foundation for its “generous grant.”

“We are grateful for the Kern family’s commitment to equipping future pastors with an understanding of issues at the intersection of faith, work and economics,” Magnuson said.

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In discussion of ‘faith and freedom,’ Mohler declares ‘cultural Christianity is dead’

R. Albert Mohler Jr., (right) president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, discusses religion in public life with "The New York Times" columnist Ross Douthat (left) and radio talk show host Dennis Prager during a Jan. 28 event in Southern Seminary's Alumni Memorial Chapel.
R. Albert Mohler Jr., (right) president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, discusses religion in public life with The New York Times columnist Ross Douthat (left) and radio talk show host Dennis Prager during a Jan. 28 event in Southern Seminary's Alumni Memorial Chapel.

While “cultural Christianity is dead” in an increasingly secular America,  evangelicals have the “theological resources” to keep the faith, R. Albert Mohler Jr. said during a public discussion about faith and politics on the campus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Mohler, the president of the seminary, joined nationally syndicated radio show host and conservative pundit Dennis Prager and The New York Times columnist Ross Douthat for the event, “Faith and Freedom in the Public Square,” Jan. 28. The trio of public intellectuals engaged in a frank, wide-ranging and often entertaining two-hour discussion of secularism and shifting morality in America.

Douthat, a Roman Catholic whose 2013 book about religion in the United States, Bad Religion, received wide acclaim and appeared on the The New York Times bestsellers’ list, opened the evening with a “view from Washington.” He offered a “distillation” of the socio-religious environment — the cultural conversation on issues such as religious liberty and faith and politics — in the nation’s capital.

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Mohler begins new Q&A podcast: ‘Ask Anything: Weekend Edition’

Mohler broadcaster“Ask Anything: Weekend Edition,” a new weekly segment of R. Albert Mohler Jr.’s “The Briefing” podcast, will launch Sat., Feb. 1, bringing back a popular feature of the former “The Albert Mohler Program” radio show that allowed listeners to pose questions to the theologian, author and broadcaster.

“Ever since the end of the Albert Mohler program, I’ve received many requests for a return to something like ‘Ask Anything Wednesday,’” said Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The “Ask Anything Wednesday” feature was held each week during Mohler’s former daily, live radio show, which aired nationally 2004-2010 over the Salem Radio Network. He discontinued the radio show to begin in 2010 “The Briefing” podcast, a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview perspective.

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Scriptural authority, gift of salvation ‘inextricable,’ Mohler says

The authority and inerrancy of Scripture is necessary to understand the gift of salvation, said The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president R. Albert Mohler Jr. during the spring 2014 convocation address, Jan. 28.

In his address, “‘If You Do Not Believe His Writings, How Will You Believe My Words?’ — The Authority of Scripture and the Gift of Salvation,” Mohler said the inerrancy of Scripture is inseparable from the gift of salvation, and to believe otherwise is dangerous because without the first, the second is impossible.

“Scriptural authority and the gift of salvation are inextricable,” Mohler said. “We cannot have one without the other. We cannot be a gospel people without also being a Bible people.”

In John 5:39-47, Jesus confronts the Pharisees who seek to understand the Scriptures, yet do not believe Moses’ words in the Old Testament, so they do not see Christ or truly believe the Word of God, Mohler noted.

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Piper to Southern Seminary students: ‘Don’t waste your theological education’

If seminarians will learn the habit of thinking about God’s truth as a means of enjoying him, then they will not waste their theological education, said John Piper during a special, pre-convocation chapel service, Jan. 23, at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

IMG_2002-lower“God gave you doctrine for delight,” he said in the beginning of his message. “God gave you a mind to be a faithful servant to your heart. Reasoning, thinking, knowing God is the necessary means, and delighting in, being satisfied in, enjoying and treasuring God is the ultimate end of the human soul.”

Piper, popular author, speaker and founder of Desiring God ministries, preached from John 8:28-32, a sermon he called “Don’t Waste Your Theological Education.” In his message to a standing-room-only Alumni Memorial Chapel, Piper applied the theme of his ministry, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him,” to the pursuit of theological education.

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Burk to lead new Center for Gospel and Culture at Boyce College

Denny Burk
Denny Burk

Boyce College Dean Dan DeWitt announced recently the formation of a new academic center for cultural engagement — the Center for Gospel and Culture at Boyce College. He also announced that New Testament scholar and ethicist Denny Burk, a member of the Boyce faculty since 2008, will lead the center.

DeWitt sees the role of Boyce College, the undergraduate school of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, as preparing and equipping the coming generation of church leaders to engage the culture around them with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“This is the Christian’s task,” DeWitt said. “As the famous apologist Francis Schaeffer said, each generation has to articulate the gospel in the language of the culture. At Boyce, we have a great faculty, all of whom view their disciplines through a gospel-lens. They write books and preach and teach the gospel all the time. And our students experience this gospel focus in every class.”

The center represents an effort to bring together that energy and expertise into one focus that will serve the college’s students and the churches they represent.

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In latest Alumni Academy course, Timothy Paul Jones addresses family ministry

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Timothy Paul Jones, professor of leadership and church ministry, teaches on family ministry at Southern Seminary's Alumni Academy, Jan. 9-10.

The call to disciple the next generation belongs to parents, said The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary professor Timothy Paul Jones during the most recent Alumni Academy course, Jan. 9-10.

Jones, who in addition to his role as professor of leadership and church ministry is editor of the Journal of Discipleship and Family Ministry, is the author of Family Ministry Field Guide: How the Church Can Equip Patents to Make Disciples, which provided much of the content and structure for the two-day course.

Recognizing the gap that exists between what Scripture demands of parents and what is actually happening in the homes of Christian families, Jones encouraged those in attendance — which consisted primarily of pastors and youth ministers — to teach the parents in their churches, especially the fathers, how to disciple their children according to the expectations that Scripture places on parents. The way to do this is to create a ministry driven by grace, rather than a ministry driven by prescription.

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Jimmy Scroggins: Recovering God’s design for broken families in South Florida

For many residents, South Florida may very well seem like paradise on earth.

The year-round tropical climate draws both young and old seeking an idyllic lifestyle of warm temperatures, beautiful beaches and carefree living.

But the fallout of the moral revolution is all too obvious in the southeastern corridor of the Sunshine State. Marked by lives broken by the false promises of sexual liberation and family redefinition, many people in West Palm Beach have less than blissful lives.

Jimmy Scroggins, a two-time alumnus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and former dean of Boyce College, Southern’s undergraduate school, saw the devastating consequences of the moral revolution shortly after arriving five years ago as the lead pastor of First Baptist Church in West Palm Beach.

A journey begun

Jimmy Scroggins has served since 2008 as lead pastor of First Baptist Church in West Palm Beach, located on the Intracoastal Waterway in the city’s downtown (SBTS photo by Emil Handke).
Jimmy Scroggins has served since 2008 as lead pastor of First Baptist Church in West Palm Beach, located on the Intracoastal Waterway in the city’s downtown (SBTS photo by Emil Handke).

Scroggins realized he was no longer in the Bible Belt when seven of eight couples who signed-up for a marriage preparation class were already living together — some after multiple marriages, some with children from multiple prior relationships in and out of wedlock and most were not even Christians.

A native of Jacksonville, Fla., about five hours up the east coast of Florida, Scroggins’ more than 15 years of pastoral ministry experiences there and in Louisville, Ky., were meager preparation for what he found in South Florida.

Scroggins offered the marriage class to get to know his new congregation and so that he and his wife, Kristin, could model biblical marriage. The Scroggins have been married since 1994 and are parents to six boys and two girls, ages 17 to 4.

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