Mohler presents two major awards at annual reunion of alumni and friends at the Southern Baptist Convention
Rick Lance receives E.Y. Mullins Award; Jason K. Allen named alumnus of the year
As several hundred alumni and friends gathered in Phoenix June June 13-14 for the Southern Baptist Convention, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president R. Albert Mohler Jr. presented two major awards and a report on the seminary at the school’s annual reunion luncheon, June 14.
Rick Lance presented E.Y. Mullins Award for Distinguished Denominational Leadership
Mohler presented the E.Y. Mullins Award for Distinguished Denominational Leadership to Lance, who is executive director of the State Board of Missions and treasurer of the Alabama Baptist Convention.
This represents the first time the seminary has issued the E.Y. Mullins Award, the highest honor bestowed by the seminary, since LifeWay president Thom Rainer received it in 2014. Previously, the seminary honored denominational giants Paige Patterson (2001) and James T. Draper (1998). Mullins, the fourth president of the Southern Seminary, exerted massive influence within the SBC, including serving as president of the Convention, president of Baptist World Alliance, and chairman of the committee that introduced the denomination's confession of faith, the Baptist Faith and Message. Mullins, who Mohler called “the most well-respected Baptist theologian of his generation,” also helped shape what became the Cooperative Program.
When he presented the award to Lance, who pastored multiple churches in Alabama before assuming leadership of the state’s Baptist convention, Mohler described why Lance's career is significant. The award notes Lance’s “example of commitment” to the Southern Baptist Convention and its work, and his long commitment to pastoral ministry and theological conviction.
Mohler highlighted the seminary’s gratitude for the generosity of Alabama Baptists through the Cooperative Program. Alabama Baptists, Mohler explained, own a long history of supporting Southern Seminary. In fact, the largest single donor to the seminary in its history is the Alabama Baptist Convention, according to Mohler. He also expressed his personal gratitude for Alabama Baptists and the role they played in his own attending of Birmingham’s Samford University.
Jason K. Allen named Alumnus of the Year
In addition to the Mullins Award, Mohler presented Allen, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, with Southern Seminary’s Alumnus of the Year Award. Allen is a two-time graduate of Southern (master of divinity, 2004; doctor of philosophy, 2011), and, according to Mohler, he “stood out from the very beginning.”
“We knew the Lord had some very big plans for Jason Allen,” Mohler said. “He came on staff in my office, and then vice president for institutional advancement. And just think about the last five years, when he became president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary — nothing less than what we might call a renaissance has taken place at Midwestern.”
Under Allen’s leadership, Midwestern Seminary has grown to record enrollment.
“It makes us proud that [Allen] is filling this role and fulfilling this responsibility so well” Mohler continued. “He has emerged as a statesman in Southern Baptist life. He is now one of my cherished colleagues as a seminary president in the Southern Baptist Convention, and it’s just right to recognize Dr. Allen as Alumnus of the Year of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in the year 2017.”
In addition to the two awards, Mohler reported to alumni and guests that Southern Seminary’s enrollment now exceeds 5300 students on campus and online, including 2000 men in the master of divinity degree program — the largest collection of M.Div. students in the history of higher education. He told those gathered that the seminary this spring celebrated awarding its 2000th doctor of philosophy degree.
Mohler also recognized some distinguished guests at the luncheon, including pastors James Merritt, Al Jackson, and Matt Chandler, along with alumnus and current president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission Russell Moore.
Published the same year as the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, a new book from SBTS Press focuses on one of its most enduring legacies: the faithful proclamation of the Word of God. Essential Reading on Preaching, released today, encourages and equips pastors toward more fruitful preaching ministries.
Drawn from Southern Equip, a service from Southern Seminary that extends faculty training beyond the classroom, the book is a collection of articles about preaching written by SBTS faculty and instructors. In its first chapter, President R. Albert Mohler Jr. describes the urgent problem facing modern Christianity: that secular pluralism has driven the church to the margins of cultural discourse. Its only way to survive, according to Mohler, is the unapologetic exposition of Scripture.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — A renowned church historian with expertise in foundational American ideas and a medieval theology scholar will be joining the faculty at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. John David Wilsey and Tyler R. Wittman will begin their professorships in the fall semester.
“John Wilsey is a wonderful scholar of American Christianity,” said SBTS President R. Albert Mohler Jr. “John Wilsey’s expertise, especially in issues of church and state and religious liberty in the United States, and his concern for accuracy and appreciation in terms of history, all of these are great gifts that he brings to this new position at Southern Seminary.”
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — President R. Albert Mohler Jr. announced the appointment of two senior vice presidents at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, installing Craig Parker as senior vice president of institutional administration and Matthew J. Hall in a newly created role as senior vice president for academic strategy. Parker, currently vice president of institutional advancement, and Hall, dean of Boyce College, will both continue to serve in their current roles in addition to their new responsibilities.
Parker has previously served as vice president for business services and vice president for institutional advancement at Southern Seminary. He grew to know and love Southern Baptists through his service in administrative roles in Tennessee, including 15 years as senior administrator at Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova — the church once pastored by Adrian Rogers and a significant church in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — Ministers of the gospel are not partakers in a career, but recipients of a divine calling, said President R. Albert Mohler Jr. in his May 19 commencement address to the 2017 graduates of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
During 219th commencement exercises on the seminary lawn, 318 master’s and doctoral students received degrees. A week earlier, 149 Boyce College students graduated, and the combined 467 degrees conferred to Southern and Boyce students represents the largest commencement in Southern Seminary’s history.
“At every Southern Seminary graduation we remind one another of the great and essential fact that the Christian ministry is not a mere profession — it is a divine calling,” said Mohler. “The ministry is one of Christ’s gifts to his church. It is among the most serious — and indeed the most serious — and joyous of all callings.”
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — College graduates must reject a life of ease, comfort, and material possessions, and embrace the cross-bearing challenges of the Christian life, said John Piper at the May 12 commencement of Boyce College, the undergraduate school of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Piper, whose daughter Talitha was among the 147 graduates, is the first person from outside the Southern Seminary community to give the commencement address at a Boyce College graduation.
In Piper’s address, the well-known preacher and founder of Desiring God Ministries said Christians face a lifelong battle between two competing foundational philosophies, or two opposings selves. This “sacred schizophrenia,” according to Piper, forces believers to fight their “false self” that grapples for personal fame, glory, possessions, power, and comfort. The true self, however, exhibits self-denial and a Godward focus.
“The denying self loves real life that lasts forever, loves Jesus as all-satisfying, loves meaning more than money, loves the praise of holy heaven more than the praise of sinful earth,” Piper said, drawing on Jesus’ lessons about true discipleship in Mark 8:34-38. “The denying self is the true you.”
Alumni and students gathered to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Seminary Wives Institute at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with a May 4 gala. The event featured testimonies from graduates from 1999 to 2017, representing ministries from all over the world. Each testimony revealed the eternal impact of SWI from Louisville to Zimbabwe.
The history of SWI dates back to Feb. 5, 1997, when Mary Mohler hosted some of the faculty wives to discuss interest in creating a new program to train seminary wives. On May 8, 1997, 85 women attended an informational meeting for prospective students. The result of that meeting launched the SWI program in fall 1997 with 125 students and the vision of Mohler and three co-founders: Sharon Beougher, who still serves as an SWI faculty member; Virginia Walker; and Menda Sue Hatfield.
“People showed up; classes started,” Mohler said at the gala. “And we were on a roll and things were going well, but we needed help … and the Lord so kindly grew this faculty as he grew Southern Seminary’s faculty. And so as my husband’s hiring these wonderful new faculty members, wives were coming along with them, and the amazing fact is God in all this was bringing faculty wives who had an interest in helping us, and each had an interest that was not already being covered.”
Notable SWI faculty who helped set the foundation for the program include Tanya York, who came in 1997; Jodi Ware, 1998; Katherine Magnuson, 1999; Jaylynn Cook, 2000; Nora Allison, 2003; and Caffy Whitney, 2005.
Social media testimonials and a community service project comprised the first-ever Giving Days event to raise over $300,000 for The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, April 20-23. The weekend gave students, alumni, donors, and faculty the opportunity to tell their stories, support the institution financially, and serve the community of Louisville.
Students, faculty, and alumni shared their stories through social media for Tell Day on April 20. Several notable figures in the Southern Baptist Convention recorded testimonies during Tell Day, including Mark Dever, Kevin Ezell, Greg Gilbert, Eric Geiger, and Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — The comfort of Scripture and promises of God are necessary to sustain pastors through the trials of ministry, said Larry Sykes Jr., Clyde T. Francisco Preaching Award recipient, during an April 27 chapel service at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
“The difficulties you may face in ministry may be so daunting they may make you question God’s choice to even call you and send you at all,” said Sykes, pastor of Greater Good Hope Baptist Church in Louisville’s Parkland neighborhood. “You are going to go out of here and minister to a culture that is dilapidated and decaying. ... You can take comfort in Scripture.”
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin announced May 3 the appointment of Daniel S. Dumas, senior vice president for institutional administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, to lead a transformation of the state’s adoption and foster care system, effective June 19.
“There is no reason a child in Kentucky, who is ready to be adopted, should be without a family. We have to rethink the way we do foster care in this state, and Dan Dumas is just the visionary to help lead that charge. Dan is a servant leader, and his proven track record of excellence in innovation will help us cut through the red tape currently keeping 8,000 of Kentucky’s foster children from their forever families,” Bevin said.
In his role at Southern Seminary since 2008, Dumas has led the institution’s strategic initiatives, building projects and renovations, and budget expansion. He has also taught Christian leadership courses and written or edited several books, including Live Smart and Guide to Biblical Manhood.
“Dan Dumas has made an invaluable contribution to Southern Seminary as senior vice president for Institutional Administration. I am thankful for his decade of service and for his commitment to our mission,” said Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr.
“Dan is a great leader, and he has a tremendous heart for service and ministry. He will be greatly missed in this key leadership capacity at Southern Seminary. I congratulate both Governor Bevin and Dan Dumas on this announcement,” Mohler said.