CNN’s Belief Blog considers Burk’s thoughts on ‘Real Marriage’

Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll's book, Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together, is no stranger to controversy despite its recent release. CNN's Belief Blog provides thoughts from several Christian bloggers and thinkers, including Denny Burk, associate professor of biblical studies at Boyce College, the undergraduate school of Southern Seminary.

Discussing a chapter of the book in which Driscoll presents his interpretation of 1 Corinthians 6:12, Burk, writes that the chapter has "the potential to wreak havoc in such marriages where one spouse will feel a whole range of taboos to be 'permissible' if he can convince his spouse to participate."

Burk presents his thoughts about Real Marriage in more detail in his review at his blog,, which he updates regularly.

The article, "Pastor's detailed box on sex divides reviewers, sparks controversy," is available at CNN's Belief Blog.


SBTS trustee named Mississippi Speaker of the House

Philip Gunn, Southern Seminary's second vice chairman of the Board of Trustees, was elected speaker of the House of Representatives in Mississippi, Jan. 3, 2012.

Gunn, who has served on Southern's board since 2008, became the first Republican to sit as speaker of the house in Mississippi since Reconstruction.

In a letter to the trustee board, seminary president R. Albert Mohler Jr. writes: "This is a tribute to the leadership of Speaker Gunn, and his election brings honor to the people of Mississippi and to the board of trustees of Southern Seminary."

Gunn, a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives since 2004, was unopposed in his bid for speaker. And, according to Jackson, Miss.'s Clarion-Ledger, members of the House met Gunn's election with cheers and a standing ovation.

Russell D. Moore, senior vice president for academic administration and dean of the School of Theology at Southern Seminary, had a similar reaction, saying: "As a Mississippian, I am proud of Philip Gunn. He's a humble, decisive servant-leader who knows his roots and his vision. I love working with him at Southern Seminary and pray for him as he leads the greatest of the fifty great states."

And Greg Belser, senior pastor of Morrison Heights Baptist Church in Clinton, Miss. where Gunn is a member, echoed Moore's enthusiasm: "The Mississippi House of Representatives has elected a true Christian statesman to its highest position," he said. "I know of no finer man in politics anywhere. Philip Gunn is a man of unquestioned character and a deep love for Christ and the church while balancing the enormous demands of family and community service. He is the real deal."

An article in the Clarion-Ledger providing details about Gunn's election is available here.


Christianity Today honors Moore for Tempted and Tried

Southern Seminary's Russell D. Moore received the award of merit for his book, Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ (Crossway), from Christianity Today in the magazine's 2012 book awards. Tempted and Tried was nominated in the Christian living category.

Moore's book deals with the nature and place of temptation, seeking to help followers of Christ fight against it by looking to the one who was, as Moore writes, "tried in every way we are but who was never anything but triumphant."

Moore, SBTS dean of the School of Theology, senior vice president for academic administration and professor of Christian theology and ethics, discussed Tempted and Tried, among other things, in an interview published in the April 11, 2011, "Towers" issue (pages 8-9). The issue provides a brief review of the book as well (page 10). The April 11, 2011, "Towers" is available at

Christianity Today's Web site offers a list of the winners in all categories at


Mohler gives his take on Kim Jong Il at CNN’s Belief Blog

In light of the recent death of longtime North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, R. Albert Mohler Jr., Southern Seminary president, offered some thoughts about the deification of political regimes.

"The death of North Korea's ‘Dear Leader' Kim Jong Il underlies a basic fact of earthly politics: when a political regime denies any transcendent supernatural reality, it deifies itself," Mohler writes in his "My Take" column at's Belief Blog.

According to Mohler, the reigns of Kim Jong Il and his father, Kim Il Sung, North Korea's founding dictator, demonstrate that when a regime eliminates public religious expression, this does not rid a nation of all forms of worship. Like Kim Il Sung whom North Korean society came to perceive as a god, being addressed as the "Fatherly Leader," Kim Jong Il too embraced a deified identity as the "Dear Leader."

Mohler writes:

If the worship of God is forbidden, the state may well turn its own dictator into a deity. This transforms the leader and the regime into objects of devotion and worship. The state is then beyond all rational critique and consideration.

In other words, citizenship is transformed into idolatry. History records the tragic legacy of idolatrous states, led by despots who range from ancient kings to warlike emperors and delusional Fuhrers.

Mohler's article, "My Take: Kim Jong Il and the danger of deifying leaders," is available at


SBTS offers new degree emphasis in biblical spirituality

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary now offers a degree emphasis in biblical spirituality. With the new program, Southern gives students the opportunity to pursue the study of biblical spirituality for credit in the master of divinity, master of theology, doctor of ministry and doctor of philosophy degree programs.

"Our students need to study spirituality because at the heart of their task as ministers is the cultivation of spirituality in the lives of the individuals under their ministry, as well as spirituality in the life of their congregation as a whole," said Don Whitney, associate professor of biblical spirituality. "And as ministers, they are also required by Scripture to ‘be an example of those who believe' [1 Tim 4:12], and this points directly to the development of their own spirituality. Our biblical spirituality curriculum is designed to prepare our students for all those responsibilities."

Russell D. Moore, dean of the School of Theology and senior vice president for academic administration, spoke of the need for churches to learn about authentic Christian spirituality: "Our churches are facing a crisis when it comes to spirituality. Some congregations are captive to faddish and wisdom-deadening forms of pseudo-spirituality while others are in bondage to an arid rationalism. Churches and church leaders are longing for a healthy holistic Christian spirituality. Southern Seminary is ready, with such outstanding scholars as Don Whitney and Michael A.G. Haykin, to address this need."

According to Whitney, who is also senior associate dean of the School of Theology, the addition of the program sets Southern apart in the world of theological education as the only North American institution that offers a degree emphasis in biblical spirituality in each of the four degree levels.

Whitney, who brings 24 years of pastoral experience to the classroom, and Haykin, professor of church history and biblical spirituality, will teach the majority of the biblical spirituality courses, with theology and biblical studies professors contributing other courses and doctoral colloquia. The biblical spirituality curriculum involves a cross-disciplinary approach by involving professors from the areas of systematic theology, biblical studies, historical theology and church history.

"It is such an honor for me to teach in our biblical spirituality program with Michael Haykin," said Whitney. "He is both a treasured colleague and a dear friend. He is a world-class scholar, a committed churchman, a devoted husband and father and most importantly, he is a man of God who faithfully practices biblical spirituality."

Furthermore, spirituality, Whitney explained, is an area often overlooked for academic study among evangelicals. For this reason, Whitney argues it is important that evangelicals promote a view of spirituality rooted in a proper understanding of biblical authority and soteriology.

"Biblical spirituality is one of the fastest growing areas in theological education, but until our program at Southern there wasn't a terminal [Ph.D.] degree program in an evangelical seminary to prepare scholars specifically for teaching spirituality. Now we are adding to that the option of emphasizing the study of biblical spirituality at four different degree levels," Whitney said.

Whitney pointed out the opportunity for influence Southern now has as one of a very small number of seminaries nation-wide to offer a master of theology in biblical spirituality, and the only evangelical seminary known to offer a doctor of philosophy in spirituality.Like other Th.M. programs at Southern, the biblical spirituality degree allows students to participate in doctoral-level coursework as well as take master of divinity courses with additional requirements for course credit.

Biblical spirituality courses include historical studies about Patristic, Reformation, Puritan and Baptist spirituality, as well as biographical studies of various Christian figures. Along with the program's core course of Personal Spiritual Disciplines - which is required for M.Div. students - with its emphasis on the daily, practical aspects of private devotion to Christ, there are also courses emphasizing congregational spiritual disciplines.

"No one should have to come to seminary in order to learn how to pray and meditate on Scripture, but realistically we know that is ideal and not always the case. But even if every student came from a ‘perfect' church and all were sufficiently instructed in personal spirituality, they would still benefit from our biblical spirituality curriculum by learning how to teach others about these things. So, they need to learn not only the practical spiritual aspects of being disciples of Jesus, they also need to know how to disciple others. They need to be able to teach others how to pray and meditate on Scripture," Whitney explained.

More information about the biblical spirituality programs is available at


Former dean, professor McEwen dies at 84

Former dean and professor at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Jack H. McEwen, died Dec. 5, 2011.

McEwen, 84, served the seminary as a professor and academic dean of the School of Christian Education from 1980 to 1983. McEwen, born in Charleston, S.C., pastored churches in the Chattanooga, Tenn. area for nearly two decades. After leaving Southern, he was an academic dean at Chattanooga State Community College from 1983 to 1998.

McEwen is survived by his wife of 62 years, June Holland McEwen, two children and four grandchildren.

First Baptist Church of Chattanooga, where McEwen pastored in the 1970s and 1980s and received the title of Pastor Emeritus, will celebrate McEwen's life Saturday, Dec. 10, at 3 p.m. A reception hosted by the family will follow in the FBC of Chattanooga fellowship hall.

Memorials may be made to the following in memory of Dr. Jack H. McEwen: First Baptist Church, 401 Gateway Ave., Chattanooga, TN 37405; United Way of Greater Chattanooga, 630 Market St., Chattanooga, TN 37405; the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, 615 McCallie Ave., Dept. 6806, Chattanooga, TN 37403; or Chattanooga State Community College, Jack H. McEwen Scholarship, 4501 Amnicola Highway, Chattanooga, TN 37406.

Information from Associated Baptist Press and Chattanooga, Tenn.'s Times Free Press contributed to this article.


Southern Seminary publishes Winter 2012 magazine

The Winter 2012 Southern Seminary Magazine is now available online.

Titled "Our Best to the Ends of the Earth," the issue considers the church's mandate to take the gospel to the farthest reaches of the globe, noting Southern Seminary's high calling to equip the church's best and brightest for worldwide evangelization. The magazine draws special attention to the rapid population growth among urban environments as well as to the multi-ethnic, multi-national population trends taking place on North American soil. The Winter 2012 Southern Seminary Magazine tells how the Southern Story extends across continents.

Feature articles from SBTS faculty members include:

The magazine also contains the latest in news, events, reviews, thoughts and profiles. Subscription information for Southern Seminary Magazine is available here.


December-January “Towers” re-mythologizes Santa Claus, looks forward to New Year

The December-January 2012 "Towers" is available on stands and online.

Maybe one year Little Nell will finally get a doll, one that can open and shut her eyes. Oddly enough, this expectation might not be too far-fetched. The historical Santa Claus apparently did care about giving to and providing for children. But, according to Jim Parker, the real Santa's love for children wasn't his most admirable characteristic. In this two-month issue of "Towers," Parker, SBTS professor of worldview and culture, gives his reflection on St. Nicholas.

After Christmas passes, plans for 2012 will fill our minds. In this issue, several people in Southern's community offer their resolutions for the New Year.

The December-January 2012 "Towers" also features interviews with authors Roger E. Olson and Michael Horton about Zondervan's newly released books, Against Calvinism and For Calvinism, Olson the author of the former and Horton the latter. In addition, news manager Josh Hayes offers a brief review of each title.

And for those feeling fatigue set in during their trek through the daunting 88-hour master of divinity degree program, Southern professors Russell D. Moore and Hershael York offer motivation for finishing strong and moving past the mid-degree crisis.


Southern Seminary Resources publishes “Towers,” Southern Seminary Magazine and other seminary publications digitally as well as physically. Check out the Resources page for an improved online reading experience.


KBC announced Greenway as new president

The Kentucky Baptist Convention (KBC) announced the election of Adam Greenway as its new president, obtaining 73.1 percent of the vote, at the KBC annual meeting, Nov. 15, 2011.

An assistant professor of evangelism and applied apologetics, Greenway is also senior associate dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

"Adam Greenway is a gifted leader and a friend to all Kentucky Baptists," said R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary. "I congratulate him on his election and am proud of his leadership in our state convention. Under the leadership of Adam Greenway and Paul Chitwood, I expect Kentucky to move into the future with conviction, passion, Great Commission fervor and vision."

Russell D. Moore, dean of the School of Theology and senior vice president for academic administration at Southern, said of Greenway's election: "Adam Greenway is a thoughtful, convictional leader. He will serve all Kentucky Baptists well, and I am glad he is part of our Southern Seminary faculty training the next generation of pastors and missionaries."

At 33 years old, Greenway is the youngest KBC president in history. Furthermore, Greenway will be the first full-term president to serve alongside Paul Chitwood, the recently elected KBC executive director-treasurer who served at Southern Seminary as associate professor of evangelism and church growth from 2007 until 2011.

Greenway served as the KBC's first vice president in 2009-10, as a member of the Mission Board and, in 2009, as the chair of Mission Board Size Study Committee. Currently, he is the convention's parliamentarian.

Greenway has held pastorates along with assistant and interim positions at churches in Florida, Texas, Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. He is a member of First Baptist Church in Mount Washington, Ky. He holds an undergraduate degree from Samford University, a master of divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a doctor of philosophy from Southern Seminary.

Additionally, Greenway co-edited the books Evangelicals Engaging Emergent and The Great Commission Resurgence (both B&H Academic).


Nettles honored with book, Ministry by His Grace and for His Glory

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary hosted the presentation of a book published in honor of Thomas J. Nettles, Nov. 10, for his influential 35-year teaching career. Nettles, whose writings helped change the history of the Southern Baptist Convention during the 1980s, has been professor of historical theology at the seminary since 1997.

"Teaching is such a high calling and Tom Nettles embodies that calling," SBTS President R. Albert Mohler Jr. said. "It was personally gratifying to see Professor Nettles honored in this way. It was a day he, and we, will not forget."

In the foreword of the book, Ministry by His Grace and for His Glory, Mohler writes:

"Tom Nettles was born to be a teacher, called to be a preacher, and trained to be a scholar. He has produced a library of scholarship and has shaped a generation of Baptist ministers and leaders. He has also done what few scholars ever have the opportunity or courage to do - he has reset the terms of debate for an entire denomination of churches."

Tom Ascol, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Fla., presented Nettles with the book, Ministry by His Grace and for His Glory, in front of Southern's student body, several of the book's contributors and Nettles' wife, son and daughter-in-law and granddaughter. Ascol, along with Southeastern Seminary professor Nathan A. Finn, edited the book project.

"The apostle Paul instructs us to give honor to those to whom honor is due," Ascol said. "And it's my distinct privilege today to obey that apostolic injunction by making a presentation to a man to whom honor is due.

"He is due honor because of his faithfulness and usefulness in Christ's kingdom during the last several decades," Ascol said of Nettles. "This marks the 35th anniversary of Dr. Nettles' teaching career. In honor and celebration of that, 22 of his friends, colleagues, associates and former students have joined together to compile a book of essays in his honor."

Russell D. Moore, senior vice president for academic administration and dean of SBTS' School of Theology, said of Nettles:

"Tom Nettles is one of the most Christ-like men I have ever known. He first influenced me in print when, as a young man in ministry, I was told that biblical inerrancy was foreign to the Baptist heritage. Reading Baptists and the Bible reassured me that my home church taught me what was not only Baptist, but apostolic about the authority of Scripture.

"Since then, God has given me the joy to work with Tom Nettles on a daily basis. He is the kind of man who not only writes books and preaches powerful messages, but spontaneously breaks out into hymns, so great is his joy in Christ. As I think about my own debt to Tom Nettles, I am reminded that almost every confessional conservative Baptist in our denomination is within six steps of his direct influence in writing, teaching and mentoring."

Ministry by His Grace and for His Glory's 20 chapters present three sections expounding on historical, theological and practical ministry issues. Its contributors include two seminary presidents and seven members of Southern Seminary's current faculty.

"Those of us who contributed to the book realize that we are but a small fraction representing the thousands of men and women to who have been blessed by Dr. Nettles' ministry," Ascol said.

Ministry by His Grace and for His Glory is set for release, Dec. 16, 2011.