Former SBTS professor passes away

Rev. Dr. W. Morgan Patterson, a native of New Orleans, La., born Oct. 1, 1925, to E. Palmer Patterson and Jess Margaret Patterson, died at his home in Novato, Calif., on Friday, Nov. 19, 2010. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Ernestine N. Patterson of Longwood, Fla., two sons, W. Morgan Patterson II and Jay N. Patterson, and four grandchildren, Nolan, Jessica, Grace and Abigail.

After high school, he served as a flight officer in the U.S. Army Air Corp. Upon discharge after WWII, he entered the Christian ministry. He completed his undergraduate work at Stetson University, Deland, Fla. He continued his education at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and post-graduate study at Oxford University, England. From 1959 to 1976, Dr. Patterson taught church history at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky.  Over the course of his professional career he also taught church history and related subjects at three additional theological seminaries in Louisiana, Missouri and most recently at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, Mill Valley, Calif. He ended his career as the 22nd president of Georgetown College in Kentucky (1984 - 1991). After retirement, he continued teaching at the seminaries and at four colleges and universities: Louisiana Baptist College, Baptist College of Florida, Oklahoma Baptist University and Campbellsville University in Kentucky. As an assistant to the president, Dr. Patterson represented the College of the Ozarks for the western United States.

Representatives of schools where he served will join family and friends at the Memorial Service to be held at Tiburon Baptist Church, 445 Greenwood Beach Road, Tiburon, CA, on Nov. 28, 2010, at 2 p.m.

Dr. Patterson has donated his extensive library collection of church history and related material to the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, 201 Seminary Drive, Mill Valley, CA 94941. Donations may be made to GGBTS / W. Morgan Patterson Collection in lieu of flowers.

The family wishes to extend their gratitude to all those who were supportive during his recent illness.


Taylor blog highlights Schreiner’s ETS paper

At his Gospel Coalition blog, "Between Two Worlds," Justin Taylor provides a brief summary of Tom Schreiner's paper “Justification: The Saving Righteousness of God in Christ." Schreiner presented the paper, which responds to theologian and scholar N.T. Wright's view of justification, during a plenary session at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS).

Schreiner serves as James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and associate dean of Scripture and interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.


Courier-Journal features SBTS profs York and Smith

The Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010, edition of The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Ky.) features Hershael W. York, Victor and Louise Lester Professor of Christian Preaching and associate dean of ministry and proclamation at Southern Seminary, in a front-page story of the Metro section.

The article reports that Kentucky Baptists voted Tuesday at the annual state convention in favor of increasing funds toward international missions, noting York's role as chair of the Great Commission Task Force for the Kentucky Baptist Convention. York serves as senior pastor of Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort, Ky.

The Courier-Journal provides the article online.

Mentioned in the article as well is Southern Seminary's Kevin L. Smith, who serves as assistant professor of church history. In addition, he is pastor of Watson Memorial Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky., and a member of the Kentucky Baptist Convention's Great Commission Task Force.


Southern plans Alaskan getaway

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary, along with his wife Mary, will join friends of Southern Seminary on an Alaskan cruise from July 30 - August 6, 2011.

Through a partnership with Inspiration Cruises and Tours, a Christian travel agency based in California, the cruise has been organized by Southern Seminary to be a vacation, a journey of learning, an adventure in the northwest and an opportunity for authentic Christian fellowship. The seven-day cruise will depart and conclude in Seattle, Wash., and includes stops in Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan, Alaska, as well as at Hubbard Glacier and Victoria, B.C., Canada.

"I have always wanted to visit Alaska. Mary and I are looking forward to a very special event in the summer of 2011 when we, along with friends of Southern Seminary, will cruise the glacier ridden waters of Alaska and see one of the most amazing and pristine regions of earth," Mohler wrote.

Trip participants will be sailing with the Holland America cruise line on the MS Westerdam. The floating resort offers trip participants five-star cuisine and service while sailing past the glacial ice, Alaskan wilderness and snow-covered mountains. Each day trip participants will gather to hear messages delivered by President R. Albert Mohler, Daniel S. Dumas and Jason K. Allen.   

Those interested in the further details and pricing can contact Inspiration Cruises and Tours at 1-800-247-1899 and on the Web at


Winter courses offer concentrated exposure to subject matter

For December 2010 and January 2011, students at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary will have the opportunity to gain course credit between the fall and spring semesters.

This winter more than 20 one-week course options, commonly referred to as J-terms, will be available. The one-week courses give students the chance to concentrate on one subject area rather than divide their attention across several areas of study like during the full-length semesters.

"Some courses - such as the languages - are simply too demanding to be compressed into a one-week format. Other courses need time to percolate in the student's mind and heart, and so are best taken in a full term. But some courses are ideal for studying in an all-day, concentrated form that allows the student to focus on one subject for an entire week," Donald Whitney, associate professor of biblical spirituality and senior associate dean of the School of Theology at Southern, said.

One course that might stand out to students this winter term is a Christian philosophy elective taught by Paul Helm, teaching fellow at Regent College in Vancouver and visiting professor at Southern Seminary. The course, titled "Head & Heart," will deal with the relationship between faith and reason by looking at the thought of monumental figures in church history such as Augustine of Hippo, Anselm of Canterbury, John Calvin and Jonathan Edwards.

"Professor Helm is a retired professor of philosophy at King's College in the University of London where he held one of the most prestigious chairs in the United Kingdom. It is an extraordinary privilege to have someone of that international and philosophical stature who is also a committed evangelical Baptist teaching at our institution," James Parker III, professor of worldview and culture and associate dean of worldview and culture, said.

Courses will take place Dec. 13-18 as well as after the new year, beginning the week of Jan. 3-7 and ending Jan. 18-21. Course options include one-week classes in Old and New Testament, hermeneutics, church history, systematic theology, biblical counseling, missiology and family ministry.

The SBTS Web site provides a list of the winter courses at


Southern literature: Jim Hamilton’s new book

God's Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology (Crossway, $40), James M. Hamilton Jr.

Understanding the Bible is paramount for Christians to understand the way God works in His world, and to understand the purpose for which God created earth. But often, the interpreting and understanding the Bible can be an intimidating venture. Does the Bible contain a single story, as Sir Doyle's short stories? Is the Bible somewhat of a story with loosely tied endings, like Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland? Listening to some Bible teachers, the Scriptures seem like a collection of bullet-points teaching methods for living both healthy and content. Who knows the correct way to read the Bible?

According to James M. Hamilton Jr., professor of biblical theology at Southern Seminary, the Bible itself make clear how people should read it. In his new book, God's Glory in Salvation through Judgment, Hamilton asserts that the earlier biblical authors demonstrate how to read Scripture and then later authors exercise the model placed before them. And reading the Bible exercising its own prescription reveals to the reader a central theme running through the whole Scripture.

"Seeking to exposit the center of biblical theology is necessary because many today question whether the Bible tells a coherent story. There are many who do not embrace the idea of a center for biblical theology and yet maintain that the Bible is coherent, but if the Bible tells a coherent story, it is valid to explore what that story's main point is. That leads us to ask whether the Bible shows us what God's ultimate purpose is. Understanding God's ultimate purpose, even with our limited human capacities, gives us insight into the meaning of all things," Hamilton says, offering a reason for his book.

As his book title not-so-subtly suggests, Hamilton develops his book around the thesis that God's reveals or displays His glory through acts of judgment. The seminal example being Christ on the cross, where God both pours out His wrath and purchases salvation for His people in the same event.

In order to show its thesis, God's Glory in Salvation through Judgment organizes its argument using the five major divisions in Scripture: law, prophets and writings in the Old Testament, and gospels and Acts, epistles and John's Revelation in the New Testament. Hamilton works through each section book-by-book. For example, in studying the Pentateuch, Hamilton first examines the Book of Genesis, then looks for the literary structure and central meaning of Exodus, then Leviticus, follows with the Book of Numbers and then of course Deuteronomy. Hamilton follows this pattern throughout his book.

In a rare combination of both a thematic (God's glory in salvation through judgment) and a book-by-book approach to interpreting the Bible, Hamilton makes a convincing case that reading the Bible in its natural progression causes this theme to surface organically from the text. The glory of God in salvation through the judgment of sin shines at the forefront of both the biblical books and the Bible as a whole, according to Hamilton's book.

"The New Testament authors present their accounts as the completion of the story begun in the Old Testament, and the Old Testament itself creates the expectations realized in the New Testament. The two are to be read together, and [God's Glory in Salvation through Judgment] will follow, in its general outline, the structure of the Old and New Testaments that has been briefly discussed above. As the story unfolds, the central theme of the theology contained in the Bible itself will flame out like shining from shook foil, and the dearest freshness deep down in these rich soils will be the glory of God in salvation through judgment," Hamilton writes.

Establishing his central theme of the Bible's theology, Hamilton concludes his book offering several practical implications of his thesis. The conclusion explores such topics as evangelism and church discipline, and prayer and "personal" Bible reading.


Nov. 8 Towers: SBTS profs talk favorite authors and books; Schreiner discusses new book on biblical law; and fall preview breaks record

The Nov. 8 "Towers" covers authors and books. More importantly, the issue covers Southern Seminary faculty members discussing their favorite and most influential authors and books. Professors from the School of Theology, the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism, the School of Church Ministries and Boyce College offer comments and recommendations about the literature that has most considerably shaped, changed, edified and entertained them (pages 3-6). The PDF for "Towers," titled "Page Turners," can be found here.

Also in Towers:

  • Aaron interviews Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Southern Seminary, about his new book, 40 Questions about Christians and Biblical Law (pages 8 and 9). Aaron also offers his thoughts on Schreiner's new book in a brief review (page 10);
  • A record number of prospective students attend the SBTS fall preview conference (page 13); and
  • The Southern Story features James Parker III, professor of worldview and culture and associate dean of worldview and culture at Southern (page 12).

The SBTS Resources page provides the PDF for the Nov. 8 "Towers," as well as all past issues.


Southern Story: Pat Melancon

The Great Commission and the Great Commandment are perhaps the two foremost responsibilities of the Christian life. But how does one bring balanced obedience to both? For SBTS visiting professor Patrick J. Melancon, a life filled with philanthropy and Bible study has brought significant insight as to how Christians should love their neighbors and make disciples of all nations.

"The balance to those things is the opportunity God gives you. If He puts you into a position where all people need is to hear the Gospel, then I say, ‘Tell them about Jesus, tell them what the Gospel is, encourage them to repent and believe.' But if He puts you in that same position and there is very evident need, then let's share the Gospel, but let's also try to meet that need," Melancon, visiting professor of missions at Southern Seminary, said.

According to Melancon, the church should seek to expand the kingdom of God through both word and deed. 


The Resurgence features Allison’s theology of the body

The Resurgence recently featured Gregg R. Allison's series "The Theology of the Body." Allison serves as professor of Christian theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Here are some excerpts from the series:

Many Christians, due to either poor or non-existent teaching on human embodiment, consider their body to be, at best, a hindrance to spiritual maturity and, at worst, inherently evil or the ultimate source of sin.


... [H]uman beings are created holistically, so that in this earthly existence, soul and body are an inseparable unity. Indeed, being made in the image of God entails the embodiment of the image bearers. Human embodiment, then, is according to divine design.


As sanctification is pursued, Christians should not ignore the important biblical teaching that their body is part and parcel of this process of becoming more like Jesus Christ.

The series is adapted from his article, "Toward a Theology of Human Embodiment," published in The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology. The entire series is featured on The Resurgence Web site.


Oct. 25 Towers: Moore looks at evangelism and social justice; Grudem discusses Politics book; and SOCM re-launches journal

With the Oct. 25 "Towers," we break the rules - we talk about politics and religion. This issue considers the Christian's place in politics and how the church plays a key role in influencing the government for the common good. The PDF can be downloaded here.

  • Offering an editorial on the relationship between evangelism and social justice is Russell D. Moore, dean of the School of Theology and senior vice president for academic administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Moore seeks to answer the question, "Can the church be both evangelistic and concerned about social justice?" He argues the church should seek a holistic mission and ministry in the same way that Jesus did. "Of course, Jesus' ministry would be about such things. After all, the Bible shows us, from the beginning, that the scope of the curse is holistic in its destruction - personal, cosmic, social, vocational (Gen 3-11) and that the Gospel is holistic in its restoration - personal, cosmic, social, vocational (Rev 21-22)," Moore writes, who also serves as professor of Christian theology and ethics at Southern Seminary (page 3).
  • Keeping with the politics theme, Aaron interviews author and theologian Wayne Grudem about his new book, Politics - According to the Bible. Grudem is research professor of theology and biblical studies at Phoenix Seminary in Phoenix, Ariz. (pages 6 and 7).
  • In addition, the issue features Aaron's review of the Grudem book along with reviews of other literature concerning the relationship between theology and politics, church and state (pages 10 and 11).
  • The School of Church Ministries released a new print journal, The Journal of Family Ministry. The re-launch of this publication presents readers with the opportunity to hear from the very best in Christian scholarship taking on issues related to family ministry (page 13).

Other content in "Towers" includes:

  • R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary, addressing SBTS trustees about the intellectual pressure facing the younger generation of evangelicals (page 5);
  • Heather Payne, musical guest for the upcoming W conference at Southern Seminary, discussing her most recent album, Sweet Exchange (page 8);
  • a Southern Story highlighting the life and ministry of Pat Melancon, visiting professor of missions for The Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism (page 9); and
  • the seminary saving more than a quarter-million dollars on energy costs (page 13).