Haykin speaks about Gospel friendship at SWBTS

Michael A.G. Haykin, professor of church history and biblical spirituality at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, recently spoke at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, on Radical Reformation Day.

Radical Reformation Day is an annual event that remembers the baptism of George Blaurock and those whom he subsequently baptized on Jan. 21, 1525. In his address, Haykin drew attention to the friendship shared by 18th- and 19th-century English Baptists William Carey, Samuel Pearce, Andrew Fuller, John Sutcliff and John Ryland.

Southwestern's Media Resources page provides the video for the address.


Schreiner and Seifrid summarize the Bible

What's the message of the Bible in one sentence? That's the question Dane Ortlund asks at his blog, Strawberry-Rhubarb Theology, to many of today's most respected pastors, biblical scholars and theologians in the evangelical world. Included are responses from Southern Seminary faculty members Thomas R. Schreiner and Mark A. Seifrid.

Schreiner, who serves as James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and associate dean of Scripture and interpretation, writes the following in response to the question:

God reigns over all things for his glory, but we will only enjoy his saving reign in the new heavens and the new earth if we repent and believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the crucified and risen Lord and who gave himself on the cross for our salvation.

Seifrid, who serves as Mildred and Ernest Hogan Professor of New Testament Interpretation, gives his summary in Latin:

Verbum caro factum est. [translation: "The Word was made flesh."]

Ortlund includes other one-sentence summaries from notable evangelical figures such as Mark Dever, Andreas Kostenberger, John Frame, Greg Beale, David Helm and more.


Mohler takes on theistic evolution in latest Southern Seminary Magazine

Near the close of the year, Gospel Coalition blogger Collin Hansen published his article, "My Top Ten Theology and Church Stories from 2010." At nine, he places the BioLogos controversy concerning the evangelical debate about evolutionary theory. Hansen notes that the controversy ensued last spring when a notable evangelical Old Testament scholar stated that Christianity bore the risk of "becoming a cult" if the church continued to reject the theory when faced with data significantly favoring evolution.

If nothing else, the debate has served the church by helping to highlight the theological implications for those wishing to embrace some form of theistic evolution. The Winter 2011 Southern Seminary Magazine seeks to help readers think through these implications in effort to assist believers in remaining faithful to Scripture.

In the issue, R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern, argues that those who wish to make some kind of an attempt at a mediating position between Christianity and evolution do so at the expense of relinquishing precious biblical truths, often denying historic Christian doctrines such as biblical inerrancy, an historic Adam, an historic Fall and a universal Flood. In the article, "The New Shape of the Debate," Mohler writes the following:

Given the stakes in this public controversy, the attractiveness of theistic evolution becomes clear. The creation of a middle ground between Christianity and evolution would resolve a great cultural and intellectual conflict. Yet, in the process of attempting to negotiate this new middle ground, it is the Bible and the entirety of Christian theology that gives way, not evolutionary theory. Theistic evolution is a biblical and theological disaster.

Later in the article, he observes some of the consequences of this "biblical and theological disaster":

If evolution is true, then the entire narrative of the Bible has to be revised and reinterpreted. The evolutionary account is not only incompatible with any historical affirmation of Genesis 1-2, but it is also incompatible with the claim that all humanity is descended from Adam and the claim that in Adam all humanity fell into sin and guilt. The Bible's account of the Fall, and its consequences, is utterly incompatible with evolutionary theory. The third chapter of Genesis is as problematic for evolutionary theory as the first two.

The Southern Resources page provides the PDF for the magazine. Mohler's "The New Shape of the Debate" begins on page 24. Readers can find subscription information about Southern Seminary Magazine on the contents page (page 3).


Southern Seminary releases Winter 2011 Magazine

The Winter 2011 Southern Seminary Magazine is now available. With content taking on the doctrine of creation, the publication carries the theme of ex nihilo (Latin, "out of nothing") to draw attention to one of the most fundamental and distinctive tenets of the Christian worldview - that God the sovereign Creator brought the universe into existence out of nothing. The SBTS Resources page provides the PDF.

In addition to the latest about news, events, reviews and thoughts from Southern Seminary included in its In-Short section, the magazine features articles articulating and explaining the Christian doctrine of creation, its historical importance and contemporary relevance. Feature articles from Southern faculty members include:

  • R. Albert Mohler Jr., "The New Shape of the Debate" (page 24)
  • R. Albert Mohler Jr., "The New Atheism and the Dogma of Darwinism" (page 28)
  • Russell D. Moore, "All Things Dark and Terrible: Our Fearful Fascination With Wild Things and Other Monsters of God" (page 33)
  • Mark T. Coppenger, "Evolution and Creation in Higher Education" (page 36)
  • Greg A. Wills, "Creation and American Christianity" (page 40)

Readers can find subscription information on the magazine's contents page (page 3).


Jan. 3 Towers: John Frame talks about new book; York highlights common mistakes pastors make; and TPJ releases eschatology DVD series

Why can't we all just get along? These words come to mind when considering the theme for the Jan. 3 "Towers." Titled "Divisive Doctrine," the issue provides readers with content concerning how to wisely navigate the potentially treacherous areas of Scripture's more controversial teachings. The SBTS Resources page provides the PDF.

Pieces in the latest "Towers" include:

  • My interview with author and professor John Frame in which he discusses his new book, The Doctrine of the Word of God (P&R, 2010), and other matters of the Bible, theology and apologetics (pages 8 and 9). In the issue, I also offer a brief review of Frame's book (page 10);
  • Aaron revisits SBTS President R. Albert Mohler Jr.'s theological triage (page 3);
  • Hershael W. York, Victor and Louise Lester Professor of Christian Preaching at SBTS, weighs in on mistakes pastors should avoid in communicating truth to their congregations (page 5);
  • Aaron looks at the DVD teaching series, "Four Views of the End Times," which features the lectures of Southern Seminary's Timothy Paul Jones, associate professor of leadership and church ministry and editor of The Journal of Family Ministry (page 4);
  • Russell D. Moore, professor of Christian theology and ethics at Southern, spoke to University of Louisville students about an evangelical Christian perspective on the environment, responding to the question, "Is God green?" (page 7) Moore also serves as the dean of the School of Theology and senior vice president for academic administration at Southern Seminary;
  • "Towers" contributor Courtney Reissig offers a "Southern Story" about Mary Kassian, distinguished professor of women's studies at SBTS (page 13); and
  • The back page has "Three Questions" with Mike Cosper, worship and arts pastor for Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, Ky. (page 16)

Frame discusses academic writing

In our forthcoming, Jan. 3 issue of "Towers," Josh talks with author and professor John Frame about his newest book, The Doctrine of the Word of God. In their discussion, Josh asks Frame about his self-referential writing style (i.e., using the first person); here is part of Frame's reply:

... For a long time I've been opposed to the academic model of theology that says theology is just another academic discipline and that when people write theology they should have all the footnotes and bibliography and other impersonal elements. I think those are valuable tools and skills for theologians to have, but essentially, theology is the didache of the New Testament, which is supposed to be the presentation of sound doctrine, and it's supposed to be doctrine that builds people up in the faith.

I don't think that reading academic papers is usually a very good way of building people up in the faith. I'm not saying that's something bad, but I think that theology again is much more than that. I always try to take the role of somebody who is concerned about the hearts and souls of the people who are reading the paper and who himself has a personal relationship with Christ and with the doctrines that I am teaching. ...

Check out their full conversation in "Towers," the first week of January.


Taylor blog mentions Whitney’s tips for Gospel conversation at Christmas

In a Dec. 15, 2010, post at "Between Two Worlds," Gospel Coalition blogger Justin Taylor notes Southern Seminary's Donald S. Whitney. Taylor provides the link to Whitney's article that presents 10 questions to ask at Christmas gatherings in order to move toward deeper, Gospel-oriented conversation.

Whitney serves as associate professor of biblical spirituality at SBTS and as senior associate dean of the School of Theology. Whitney's Web site, The Center for Biblical Spirituality, provides the article.


New FLAME album releases Dec. 28

Boyce graduate and Southern Seminary student FLAME will release a new album Dec. 28. FLAME is a Grammy-nominated hip-hop artist who seeks to bring biblically faithful, theologically rich content to those in the "hip-hop culture." This new album, Captured, explores two themes: Christians captured by sin and still under its grip, and Christians captured by God and under His rule, according to Clear Sight Music's Web site.

Captured will be the first album under FLAME's new record label, Clear Sight Music. Fans can pre-order Captured at Amazon.


Plummer comments on HCSB Study Bible’s free online availability

Robert L. Plummer, associate professor of New Testament interpretation at Southern Seminary, published some comments on his blog about the free online availability of the Holman Christian Study Bible. Plummer says this is a good idea for the following four reasons:

  • Christian ministry (including academic publishing) is about honoring Christ and serving the church, not about making money (1 Tim 6:5).
  • Christians in developing countries can benefit from this fine resource, which would otherwise be too expensive for them.
  • Even secular authors have found that giving away books online can result in more print copies being sold. If readers have extended time online to peruse a high-quality resource, they often want it in print format also.
  • John Piper gives away his books for free online. Must be a good idea.

Readers can access Plummer's blog at www.robplummer.com


Southern Story: James Parker III

Growing up in a supportive Christian home in Abilene, Texas, James Parker III, professor of worldview and culture and associate dean of worldview and culture at Southern Seminary, enrolled in Baylor University. What he encountered at Baylor caught him by surprise. For the first time, other than minimal exposure in high school, Parker encountered people who not only did not agree with his conservative Christian faith, but challenged it as well.

Parker specifically remembers a friend who, though she was raised a Methodist, simply claimed she did not believe anything. In such a conservative area of the United States, Parker had not previously experienced people who plainly reject faith of any kind.

At this point in his life, Parker found that if he was going to discuss his faith at all, he would have to defend it. This reality began an interest in dialoging with people about the validity of Christianity. In addition, Parker also made a friend who introduced him to evangelical literature. These two occurrences would shape the rest of his personal and professional life.

The evangelical literature Parker first experienced has remained formative throughout his life. The writings of Carl F. H. Henry, Francis Schaeffer and C.S. Lewis, most notably influenced Parker, and each author continues to affect him today. In those college years of his life, Henry especially became a hero to Parker.

"He was my hero and still is my hero," Parker said of Henry's writings.

These authors showed Parker how he could interact well with non-Christians. This faithful interaction is something that, according to Parker, is unavoidable by any Christian.

"The thing is, everyone engages in apologetics as a Christian," Parker said. "It's not question of whether they're going to [engage], it's a question of whether they're going to do it competently."