The Feb. 16, 2011, Religious News Service (RNS) Daily Report - an email subscription service - features R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary, for its Quote of the Day. The quote comes from Mohler's Jan. 30 address at the 25th Annual Pastors' Conference at First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. Mohler states the following:
If we were to absolutely be honest with ourselves, how much time do we actually spend - even in the lives and programming of many of our churches - in teaching anyone ... anything substantial about and from the Word of God?
Readers can find more information about Mohler's address at the pastors' conference in a Feb. 16 news update, "Mohler tells pastors to save people from ignorance, ABP notes."
As he confessed in his blog post, "Grammy Malaise," Denny Burk, dean of Boyce College and associate professor of New Testament, watched the Grammys. In the article, Burk offers reflection about the award show as a whole as well as pop-music culture in general. He focuses specifically upon Lady Gaga and her new song, "Born This Way," which she performed at the Grammys.
The song, Burk notes, makes a "theological point," namely that sexual orientation is innate in human beings from birth and therefore should be embraced. He writes:
The message of the song drinks deeply of the “is-ought” fallacy—the idea that we can determine what ought to be by observing what is. The song’s message also flies in the face of the Bible’s depiction of a fallen creation. It is true that God created human beings in His own image and that as a result every single human has intrinsic value and worth (Genesis 1:26-27). It is not true, however, that God endorses every thought and intention of the human heart. We live in a Genesis 3 world in which humanity and the cosmos are fallen and compromised by sin.
Readers can find the entire post at Burk's blog, www.dennyburk.com
Missions and scholarship - Southern Seminary is a firm believer in both as evidenced by the institution's announced presence at the 2011 Southeast Regional Evangelical Missiological Society (EMS) meeting. Carrying the theme, "Urbanization: Mission in the Context of the City," the event will feature paper presentations from the following SBTS faculty and students:
- Troy Bush, "Urbanizing Panta ta Ethne";
- Jeff Walters, "The Urban Legacy of Twentieth Century Missiology";
- J.D. Payne, "From 35,000 Feet to 15,000 Feet: Examining Evangelical Concentrations in the U.S. and Canadian Metropolitan Areas While Calling for More and Better Urban Research";
- Anthony Casey, "Identifying and Reaching Ethnic Groups in the City";
- Matthew Pierce, "Three Urban Church Plants in Thailand: Compared and Contrasted"; and
- William Brooks, "Reaching Shanghai: The Challenges and Opportunities of Doing Ministry in China's Largest City"
An upcoming edition of "Towers" will feature a brief excerpt by each of the presenters about his respective paper.
The Southeast Regional EMS meeting takes place March 25-26 in Conyers, Ga., near Atlanta. The EMS Web site provides more information about registration, speakers and lodging for the event.
Russell D. Moore has hit Wall Street. In his op-ed piece for The Wall Street Journal, the SBTS dean asks the question, "Where Have All the Presbyterians Gone?" In the article, Moore observes that recent trends show that fewer American Christians identify themselves with particular denominations (e.g., Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Pentecostal). As a result, nondenominational churches are on the rise. He writes the following:
This trend is a natural extension of the American evangelical experiment. After all, evangelicalism is about the fundamental message of Christianity - the evangel, the gospel, literally the "good news" of God's kingdom arriving in Jesus Christ - not about denomination building.
Moore is dean of the School of Theology, senior vice president for academic administration, and professor of Christian theology and ethics.
SBTS' Kevin Smith provided a guest blog post at Ed Stetzer's "The Lifeway Research Blog," Feb. 3. Smith is assistant professor of church history at Southern Seminary.
Writing about the need for "realness" in the church, Smith rejects the idea that pastors are "spiritual cheerleaders" and embraces that life can be both painful and difficult. But he highlights the joy and peace found with God's people submitting to God's Word.
Read Smith's post here.
Southern alumnus and current employee Scott Lamb released a new biography about MLB player Albert Pujols, Feb. 1. Lamb is director of research for Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. While certainly taking time to divulge in the larger-than-life success of the perennial all-star, Lamb and co-author Tim Ellsworth look deeper in to Pujols' life, attempting to draw out the motivation underlying the baseball star's success.
More about Pujols: More Than a Game coming soon.
Jan. 24 Towers: Payne goes urban; SBTS profs discuss Lord’s Supper; and Carson answers “Three Questions”
The Jan. 24 "Towers" is now available. Carrying the theme "urbanamerica," the issue provides reflection, counsel and documention pertinent to conducting Gospel ministry in an increasingly urbanized world. With the majority of the global population now living in cities, those who are serious about taking the Gospel to all nations must seriously consider the implications of urbanization for missions.
The SBTS Resources page provides the PDF for the Jan. 24 "Towers." Pieces in this issue include:
- J.D. Payne, associate professor of church planting and evangelism and director of the Center for North American Missions and Church Planting at Southern Seminary, addresses some of the components to urban missions and ministry in his article, "G.O.I.N.G. U.R.B.A.N." (pages 3 and 6);
- Aaron interacts with the contributors of the new volume, The Lord's Supper: Remembering and Proclaiming Christ Until He Comes (B&H, 2010). Edited by Thomas R. Schreiner and Matthew Crawford, the book presents baptistic perspectives about the ordinance of Communion. In addition to Schreiner and others, the piece presents thoughts about the book's subject matter and relevance from SBTS professors Jonathan Pennington, Gregg Allison, Brian Vickers, Shawn Wright, Greg Wills, Jim Hamilton and Bruce Ware (pages 8 and 9). Aaron also offers a brief review of The Lord's Supper (page 10);
- SBTS sponsors its first team of students to New York City for urban ministry and missions exposure throughout the city's neighborhoods and boroughs (page 4);
- The Southern Story recounts the call to vocational ministry and the overseas evangelism of Ed Stucky, doctor of ministry student and admissions counselor at Southern Seminary. Stucky serves as senior pastor of New Salem Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky. (page 13); and
- The back page has "Three Questions" with D.A. Carson, research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (page 16).
The Winter 2011 Southern Seminary Magazine continues to receive attention. In recent days, Baptist Press has noted the ongoing dialogue between proponents of theistic evolution, such as The BioLogos Foundation, and R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. At Baptist Press, a Jan. 26 article, "Mohler at center of debate over evolution & the Bible," mentions that Mohler considers evolutionary theory "one of the greatest challenges to Christian faith and faithfulness in our times."
The article highlights one of Mohler's two feature articles in the Winter 2011 magazine, "The New Atheism and the Dogma of Darwinism." For those who are not familiar with the movement, the New Atheism includes such outspoken atheistic figures as Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens.
In the article, Mohler seeks to demonstrate the necessity of Darwinian evolutionary theory for the atheist worldview to account for the origins of life and the existence of the cosmos. As the world-famous evolutionary scientist Richard Dawkins puts it, "Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist."
Concerning the essentiality of Darwinian evolution to the atheist worldview, Mohler writes the following in his Southern Seminary Magazine article:
The dogma of Darwinism is among the first principles of the worldview offered by the New Atheists. Darwin replaces the Bible as the great explainer of the existence of life in all of its forms. The New Atheists are not merely dependent upon science for their worldview; their worldview amounts to scientism - the belief that modern naturalistic science is the great unifying answer to the most basic questions of human life.
Readers can access both of Mohler's articles, "The New Atheism and the Dogma of Darwinism" as well as "The New Shape of the Debate," in the PDF for the latest magazine provided by the SBTS Resource page.
Baptist Press offers more coverage of the discussion about the disputed compatibility between Christianity and evolutionary theory with the article, "Theistic evolutionists, too, face 'suspicion, condescension,' Mohler observes."
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.
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.