Entire MDiv Core Open to Students for Three Summer Terms April 9, 2021
If you are an MDiv student who needs to fill in some gaps toward your degree, SBTS will have three summer terms with all core classes available that will allow you to do just that.
SBTS will be expanding its summer offers to include the entire core of the MDiv along with many electives. These courses will be offered online over three eight-week terms beginning May 10, May 31, and June 7. The on-campus requirement for students who live within a 50-mile radius of SBTS will be waived for these summer terms only.
“We live in one of the most exciting times in human history for Christian ministry. There are challenges all around us, to be sure. But the opportunities for Christian witness in a world marked by lostness are endless,” SBTS Provost Matt Hall said.
“That's why I am so grateful for our strategic expansion of online academic programming during this summer term. Students all around the world have more access than ever to the highest caliber of theological education at Southern Seminary.”
There will be some new courses offered as well.
Two new exegesis courses will be offered for the first time, designed specifically for the online format. Rob Plummer will teach Greek Exegesis of Revelation and Duane Garrett will offer Hebrew Exegesis of Ezekiel. Additionally, Garrett has developed Theology of the Old Testament in conjunction with his latest book, The Problem of the Old Testament: Hermeneutical, Schematic, and Theological Approaches, which was released in December 2020.
Justin Irving, co-author of Leadership in a Christian Perspective: Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Practices for Servant Leaders, will be teaching Christian Leadership. This recently developed course focuses on the biblical principles of Christian leadership.
“In a day when student schedules are busier than ever, SBTS online courses provide flexibility for students that are serving in various roles and balancing several responsibilities, such as family, ministry, work, and more,” said Brian Renshaw, associate vice president for global campus.
“Our courses are asynchronous, which means that the lectures and content delivered can be watched at any time during the week they are assigned. Professors will also hold live sessions providing students with the opportunity to ask questions, interact with other students, and engage in live dialogue about the course content.”
Registration for online courses is open to all students. Applications are now being accepted for students starting in the summer. A complete list of summer term MDiv courses and registration information is available here.
Ministry students wanting to study theology and business now have an excellent opportunity through a brand-new credit transfer program between The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Union University.
Southern Seminary’s master of divinity program will accept up to 12 hours from Union’s master of business administration program. In turn, Union’s master of business program will accept up to six hours from Southern’s MDiv program. Tuition rates will be according to each institution’s published rates, and students must still meet all graduation policies and hour requirements at each institution.
Union President Samuel W. “Dub” Oliver and SBTS President R. Albert Mohler Jr. officially signed the agreement on the Union campus March 16.
“I believe in this partnership with Union and the McAfee School,” Mohler said. “I also believe a number of ministers and missionaries in the church are going to need more business knowledge. So, I look forward to this partnership.”
SBTS Provost Matt Hall said the partnership is a natural fit.
“This new agreement between Southern Seminary and Union University is the right pairing at the right time, affording students at both institutions with an extraordinary opportunity to deepen their preparation for service wherever God calls. I look forward to seeing how a growing number of men and women will find opportunities to leverage these degree programs for the sake of Christ’s kingdom.”
Union University’s McAfee School of Business is a top-tier business school, as shown by its being one of a handful of schools in the United States to achieve accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), so this partnership provides a unique opportunity for students at both Southern Seminary and Union University.
The 18 total transfer hours apply to MDiv tracks in the flex track programs in both Southern’s School of Theology and its Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism, and Ministry.
“The partnership between Southern Seminary and the oldest Southern Baptist-affiliated university is a commitment on the part of both institutions to sharing the gospel,” said Jason Garrett, dean of Union’s McAfee School of Business.
“Leaders from Tim Keller, Rick Warren, Henry Blackaby and the late Billy Graham have all stated that the next big wave of missions will come through business. This partnership gives a clear way for students to be prepared to catch this wave.”
SBTS Graduates 236 in Fall Commencement December 18, 2020
The new graduates of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary have the same task as that of the shepherds who appear in the story of Jesus’s birth: to proclaim that the Savior of the world has come, seminary president Albert Mohler told fall 2020 graduates.
In Southern’s 226th commencement, 236 students received degrees from the seminary—even more than the 208 who graduated in the fall of 2019. The degrees awarded ranged from an array of masters degrees to doctoral degrees including the Doctor of Philosophy.
In words addressed personally to the graduates, Mohler pointed them to Luke 2:15-20, which is he described as the first preaching of the gospel -- a fact that’s often overlooked, but one that well illustrates the God-called steward’s most fundamental mission. In a video message to graduates, Mohler charged them to endure in that mission faithfully, sacrificially, and joyfully.
“They made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child, the saying that the angels had given them,” Mohler said.
“We need to do exactly what those shepherds did. That’s really the task of Christian ministry, that’s really the task of Christian proclamation—to make known the saying we have received. It’s not just one saying, it’s not just the angelic declaration of the identity of the baby in the manger, it is beyond that; it is the entirety of all that is revealed in God’s Word.
“You’re going to preach and teach the Word of God. You’re going to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. You’re going to be heralds of the gospel. You’re going to be stewards of the mysteries of Christ. Whatever your ministry, wherever the Lord may take you, you’re basically going to be imitators of these shepherds.
“May you do so with boldness. May you do so with joy. May you do so with a sense of the security and the calling of a sovereign God. May you do so to the glory of Christ. May you do so sacrificially, generously, and happily. May you do so with the joy of the faculty of this institution. May you do so with a great cloud of witnesses who’ve gone before you, observing, celebrating, encouraging, emboldening.”
Mohler said graduation is always bittersweet because in sending out those who’ve completed their degrees, faculty and friends are saying goodbye to cherished personal relationships that have formed while in seminary. Even that is part of preparation for ministry, he said.
“We’re not here to keep graduates,” he said. “We’re here to send them out. There is pain in that, but it is the joyful pain that only a teacher of long experience can understand. Ministry is exactly the same. We receive people, but we don’t get to keep them. We may be in ministry with them and among them for decades, but the reality is we just don’t get to keep one another.
“But the promise is [that] we will be together and in between now and that great day when we are with Christ together, we’ve got a job to do—every single one of us. And that is the meaning of commencement; it’s about getting on with the job, with the ministry, with the calling to which you have been called.”
Two Southern Exchange Volunteers Working to Put Good (Free) Books in Student Hands December 10, 2020
If there’s one attribute that seems to be universal among SBTS students it is a love for reading and a passion for good books.
For those in ministry, it’s doubly important to be given to reading, for God has revealed himself in a book and studying it is fundamental to the minister’s calling.
Two longtime volunteers have been working tirelessly behind the scenes these past few months to put more good books into the hands of seminary students free of charge through The Southern Exchange. The Southern Exchange serves students and student families through the distribution of free used clothing, shoes, household goods, furniture, and good books.
Glen Hedgspeth and Marvin St. John have spent countless hours this year organizing the book room at the Exchange, giving students access to hundreds of titles on myriad topics.
“Our book room was a big mess,” said Mary Mohler, who oversees the Exchange. “We desperately needed help weeding out old and unhelpful books so that newly donated ones could be sorted through and added to the shelves.
“Nancy St. John and Becky Hedgspeth work together at the Southern Exchange on Tuesdays so they mentioned the need to their husbands who contacted me to see how they could help. They jumped in and worked for many hours over many weeks while no one else was there. They updated the list of topics and went through every book on all the shelves and then added newly donated books that had been piling up for months.
“It is now a joy for our students to shop there (for free) and find helpful resources. During the pandemic, students must shop by appointment only. I have seen a few guys come and spend their entire appointment time in the book room. They are grateful!”
Hedgspeth, a Louisville native, is retired from the insurance business, after more than 35 years in the profession. In 1988, he became part owner of the insurance firm Hayes, Utley, and Hedgspeth and sold that business six years ago. Hedgspeth has walked with the Lord for many years and has been a member of Southeast Christian Church since its inception, serving in numerous roles including elder, deacon, choir member, Sunday school teacher and several others.
Glen’s wife, Becky, has worked for several years in The Exchange. They’ve been married for 44 years, have two children and five grandchildren.
Glen began volunteering at SBTS 16 years ago after meeting President Albert Mohler at an event at Southeast Christian. He was immediately drawn to the seminary after learning of its commitment to sound doctrine and the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture. He has also been a member of the Southern Seminary Foundation for 15 years and currently serves as vice chairman of the board of directors.
“First of all, we love the school because of its commitment to biblical inerrancy,” Hedgspeth said. “Secondly, the mission to educate/train and send vocational ministers to preach the gospel, and thirdly, we love Dr. and Mrs. Mohler. The faculty and staff there are some of the best people I know and am proud to be a part of this ministry.
“We’ve also had the privilege of meeting numerous students and their families. We really enjoy having them come to our home for a meal and some fellowship. I just can’t think of a better ministry to give of my time, talents and treasure.”
Marvin St. John
St. John has been involved with SBTS for the past decade. A native of Kankakee, Illinois, he moved to Louisville in 1980 and is retired after working many years as a physical therapist. St. John and his wife, Nancy, have been part of Southeast Christian Church for 30 years and have been married for 55. They have one son.
St. John has been auditing classes at SBTS for the past eight years and has completed 15 in numerous areas of biblical and theological studies.
“In our current society it’s almost impossible to find truth,” he said. “Our mass media slants all news to their point of view, not truth. SBTS is the only place I know where truth is practiced and Christ is exalted.”
St. John and his wife have served many students over the years, providing financial help with tuition, books, clothing, and more. St. John is also a major contributor to the seminary’s annual golf tournament, the Heritage Golf Classic.
Labor of Love
Turning the book stall into a highly useful resource has been a labor of love for them both.
“There are secrets on our campus but maybe none as secret as the books at Southern Exchange,” St. John said.
“There are hundreds of great books free for the taking on numerous topics. Mrs. Mohler informed Glen and I how the books over the years had gotten disorganized. Glen and I knew this project was going to be a challenge to literally look at every book and place it in its proper place. It turned out to be an endurance run. Due to health reasons, we had to cease for a while but there is still a little more to finish completely. Hopefully we’ll begin the finishing touches in January.”
The books available represent a wide variety of genres ranging from Bibles to novels, science fiction works, home school curriculum, theology, devotionals, Bible studies, counseling, missions, children’s books, language books, and much more.
Mary Mohler says these and other volunteers provide immeasurable service to the Southern Seminary community—service that is largely unseen and unsung.
“These retired gentlemen lead active lives and could invest their time doing many other things,” she said. “Yet they choose to serve the students of Southern Seminary and Boyce College in this behind the scenes way while seeking no recognition.
“We are blessed to have a team of weekly volunteers, like Marvin and Glen’s wives, who make this ministry possible. Their work is such an encouragement to us as they roll up their sleeves and happily serve our students and their families. We are truly blessed by their sacrificial efforts.”
To volunteer for The Southern Exchange, fill out a volunteer interest form.
Seminary Adds Three Professors to Faculty November 30, 2020
President R. Albert Mohler Jr. has appointed three new professors to the faculty of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Scott Connell was appointed as professor of church music and worship. He also serves as pastor of worship and communications at historic First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida. Connell is a face familiar to the SBTS family, having obtained a PhD in Christian worship here and serving as associate professor of music and worship leadership for eight years at Southern.
Scott and his wife, Mary, have seven children.
“I am really glad that Scott Connell is rejoining the Southern Seminary music and biblical worship faculty. He is a fine professor, an excellent musician, and a skilled minister and worship leader. His experience in the local church is invaluable, and his heart for ministry and music is infectious,” said Mohler.
“Dr. Scott Connell is no stranger to the Southern Seminary community, or to Southern Baptists,” SBTS Provost Matthew J. Hall said. “I am delighted that he is assuming this post on the faculty, while remaining in his leadership role at one of our most historic churches. Dr. Connell is a trusted scholar, teacher, and mentor. His contribution to our biblical worship programs at every level will be a tremendous benefit to students.”
Said Connell, “One of the greatest vocational and ministry privileges of my life has been serving at SBTS. While a full time faculty member there I regularly reveled in the gift that it was to teach such remarkable students among such an extraordinary faculty. To continue that investment as an adjunct faculty member is no less a delight.
“The type of student that chooses to study worship at Southern Seminary is a rare individual who wants to consider the weightiest matters related to worship and be trained to lead corporate worship at the highest level possible. Eternity will no doubt demonstrate that countless lives were changed through those receiving instruction at SBTS. I am thrilled to be a part of that remarkable process at this legendary institution.”
Bradley Green was appointed to serve as professor of philosophy and theology. Green holds an MDiv from Southern Seminary and a PhD from Baylor University and is the author of several books, including Augustine of Hippo: His Life and Impact (Christian Focus, 2020), Covenant and Commandment: Works, Obedience, and Faithfulness in the Christian Life (IVP Academic, 2014).
Green will also continue as professor of theological studies at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, where he’s served since 1998. Green and his wife, Dianne, helped found Augustine School, a Christian liberal arts school in Jackson. The Greens have three children.
Mohler commented: “Brad Green combines a first-rate Christian mind with years of proven experience in the classroom. He is a true Christian scholar and professor who sees his teaching role as ministry. His scholarship is a great gift to the church.”
“For over two decades, Brad Green has proven to be one of Southern Baptists’ most gifted theologians and teachers, shaping a whole generation of students through his work at Union University,” Hall said. “His ability now to expand that influence, especially through our doctoral programs, is providentially timed. His appointment to the faculty only deepens the strength of Southern Seminary's established reputation of excellence in theological studies at the highest level.”
Said Green, “It is an honor and a privilege to have joined the distinguished faculty at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Southern has a long and proud history, and as an alumnus, I am thrilled to be able to return to Southern to link arms with others in the training of persons for ministry.”
John Henderson (PhD, University of North Texas) was appointed as associate professor of biblical counseling. He also currently serves as an associate pastor at University Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas, primarily overseeing the counseling, equipping, and family ministries.
Previously, John served as associate pastor at Del Ray Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia as well as a counseling pastor at Denton Bible Church in Denton, Texas. He is a board member of the Biblical Counseling Association and also serves on the board of the Association of Biblical Counselors. He is author of Catching Foxes: A Gospel-Guided Journey to Marriage (P&R, 2018), a book for marriage preparation. John and his wife, Ruth, have five children.
“Biblical counseling is one of the most needed ministries in the local church today, and I am very thankful that John Henderson is adding further strength to our program,” said Mohler. “He is a skilled counsellor who brings a wealth of conviction and a deep commitment to counseling that is genuinely biblical and based in the gospel of Christ.”
“For several years now, John Henderson's name kept coming up in conversations around the country about who represent the most thoughtful and biblical approach to training and resourcing Christians for biblical counseling and pastoral care,” Hall said. “His addition to the Southern Seminary biblical counseling faculty is a significant step forward. Bringing together his years of experience in pastoral ministry, his demonstrated scholarship, and an unusual ability to mentor others, Dr. Henderson will make an immediate impact on this faculty.”
Mohler Elected President of ETS November 20, 2020
Southern Seminary President Albert Mohler was elected president of the Evangelical Theological Society Thursday during the organization’s 72nd annual meeting. Due to the pandemic, the meeting of evangelical scholars met virtually this week. The meeting was originally scheduled to meet in Providence, Rhode Island.
Previously, Mohler had served as vice president of ETS, having been elected to that office during the 2018 annual meeting in Denver, Colorado.
“I am deeply honored to serve as president of the Evangelical Theological Society," Mohler said. “As a young evangelical, I came to respect and admire this society for its identity as a society of evangelical theologians that would demonstrate the highest quality of theological and biblical scholarship."
“Formed by men of the stature of Carl F. H. Henry and others, this has been the central point of scholarly conversation for evangelicals in the United States for well over half a century. I’ve been pleased to serve as an officer of the society and I’m now very honored to be its president.”
Mohler is the third member of the Southern Seminary faculty to serve as ETS president in the past 11 years. Bruce Ware—T. Rupert and Lucille Coleman Professor of Christian Theology— served in that role in 2009 and Tom Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament, was elected in 2014. Gregg Allison, professor of Christian Theology, is the current secretary of ETS.
“Southern Seminary has had a deep and abiding commitment to ETS and leadership roles in the society as seen by the fact that several of our faculty members have also served as president and each annual meeting sees dozens of our faculty and students presenting important papers defining and defending conservative evangelical scholarship,” Mohler said.
Serving in ETS leadership is an important stewardship, Mohler said, because of the way the society helps frame the conversation among conservative evangelicals. It is vital that ETS continue to promote scholarship built upon the inerrancy of Scripture and a commitment to biblical orthodoxy, he said.
“It’s important to realize the Evangelical Theological Society is first and foremost a society of evangelical theologians, not merely a society devoted to interest in American evangelicalism. It is a confessional society in which every member must annually affirm a commitment to the inerrancy of Scripture.”
Southern Seminary has seen its role in ETS grow virtually every year over the past decade. This year, many SBTS professors and students presented academic papers on a wide range of topics and Ayman Ibrahim, Bill and Connie Jenkins Associate Professor of Islamic Studies, delivered one of the society’s keynote addresses. The 2020 theme was Christianity and Islam.
“In recent decades the ETS has been a forum for the discussing and debating some of the biggest controversies in contemporary evangelical theology from the openness of God to questions of the nature of the Trinity and the shape of biblical ethics.
“This kind of conversation is sure to continue and it will be vitally important that the society maintain its evangelical convictions and not allow itself to become an amorphous collection of scholars who merely claim some kind of evangelical identity. At the same time the strength of the ETS and the size of its membership and exploding participation in its annual meetings points to the vigor and theological vitality found among American evangelicals and for that we must be most grateful.”
Boyce College community remembers Nick Challies as a young man “living and breathing for God” November 6, 2020
LOUISVILLE, KY—Friends, family, and faculty members gathered Friday morning on the lawn at Southern Seminary to remember the life of 20-year-old Nick Challies, son of noted evangelical blogger and author, Tim Challies, who died suddenly Tuesday.
Challies, a Boyce College junior and Toronto, Canada native, collapsed suddenly while playing a game with his sister, fiancée, and other students at a park near Southern Seminary’s campus. Efforts by emergency personnel to revive him were unsuccessful.
Testimony after testimony described Nick Challies as a young man who worked tirelessly to build strong relationships, prioritized others, and lived every moment, all out, for the glory of his Savior. Nick grew up in church and was saved at age 13. He came to Boyce College and Southern Seminary in 2018 after sensing a divine call to pastoral ministry.
“He came home after his first semester here and he was a different person,” said Michaela Challies, Nick’s sister. “He was a person who was living and breathing for God. . . . I know that I’ll think about the things he never got to do, but then I’ll think about what he’s doing right now, what he’s wanted to do since he was 13 years old—he’s living with the Lord.”
While at the seminary, he met his fiancée, Ryn Conley, and Nick’s sister, Abigail joined him this year as a freshman student at Boyce. He had made numerous friends and had become a leader among students. All the pieces were falling into place that would position Nick for many years of faithful ministry, Mohler said.
“Every single student is a gift,” Mohler said. “Every single student is a stewardship. Every single student is a test: are we really who we say we are? Do we really teach what we say we teach? Do we really serve whom we say we serve? Every student becomes proof of what an institution really is and what it really believes, who it really serves. In the brief time in which he was with us, Nick Challies affirmed that we are who we say we are and we’re the kind of school that would draw the kind of student that Nick Challies was.
“Everything appeared to be coming full circle. In the death of Nick Challies, the world would say that circle was broken. But we’re (here) today to say precisely the opposite; the circle is complete—in the sense that Nick ran his race completely and faithfully. And even as our hearts are broken, and even as we measure loss, for Nick it is entirely gain.”
Nick met Ryn Conley at Boyce College and was engaged to marry her next spring. Conley read portions of two letters from Nick, including the final one he wrote to her just before his death.
“He was a living example of giving grace freely,” she said. “When I would fail and ask him for forgiveness, his answer always was, ‘Well, God has grace for you, so I will, too.’. . . He was a faithful man.
“One of the last conversations I had with him before he left us was about a guy he was worried about. He was constantly doing everything he could to notice every person in the room and make them known and cared for. . . . Nick would want all of us to trust God. If we want to honor Nick’s memory, let us live by God’s grace.”
Nick’s mother, Aileen Challies, said conversations the past few days with his college friends and fellow students told her much about Nick’s reputation at Boyce. Aileen laughingly recalled her son’s personality being such that he sometimes seemed like he was much older than the date on his birth certificate. She held up the Toronto Blue Jays cap that sat atop his head much of the time he was on campus.
“We are undone,” she said. “His time on this earth was far, far too short. And as we have spent the last few days trying to make sense of what happened, a few common themes about who my son was have emerged. My son was a kind man. . . . He was a man of integrity. Nick always worked hard to do the right thing, even when the right thing was hard. He had a dry sense of humor, an incredibly sharp wit, and was delightfully quirky.
“We always said he was a young man in an old man’s body. I was counting on Ryn to smooth out some of those edges. . . . All this was only a small portion of who he was. Nick loved God, and he was determined to live out his life in God’s service. And he did it; it ended far sooner than any of us would’ve imagined, but he did it.”
Nick’s father, Tim, learned from a visit to his son’s dorm that Nick was often introduced in relation to his father, a well-known writer. An arrow by Nick’s name on the door outside his room had an arrow drawn in that led to a handwritten phrase, “This is Tim Challies’ son.”
“As far as I’m concerned that arrow should run the other way,” Tim Challies said. “What it should say is, ‘Tim Challies. He’s Nick’s dad.’ That’s something to be proud of.
“Each one of us is given a race to run and what matters is not how long the race is, but how we run it. It’s much better to run a short race well than to run a long race poorly. He got only 20 years, but he ran them well . . . That was my boy. . . He sprinted strong to the end. There’s a lot about Nick that made me proud, but nothing more than this: he finished well.”
Paul Martin, senior pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Toronto and Nick’s pastor since he was a child, preached from Job, which chronicles the personal cataclysm which Job suffered. Job lost all his children to death in a single day. Tragedies such as the abrupt, inexplicable death of a young person like Nick, or Job’s children, challenge our faith and lead us to cling to Christ, Martin said.
In the face of his gut-wrenching loss, Job still trusted God, concluding “The Lord gives and the Lord gives away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Job learns that, “God is too wise to be mistaken,” Martin said. “He’s too good to be unkind. And Job falls on his face in dust and ashes, and he is comforted. God was enough. God is enough. And Job blesses God. Can you say, ‘Blessed is the name of the Lord?’ Or will you listen to the whispers of our mutual enemy: ‘Curse God and die?’
“We know the right answer to that question. But this is a hard, hard providence. How can we answer it right? Job suffered. Job was comforted. Then Job made intercession for his friends. And God blessed Job. . . . And in the life of Job, you will hear the echoes of another man, one who suffered for us, one who was comforted by his Father, one who has been blessed by his Father forever and lives forever more. . . . Those who have truly repented of their sins and have put all their confidence in the greater Job—Jesus Christ—even in the worst of trials can say, ‘God is enough.’”
(Editors' note: Updated since initial publication)
Boyce College students and faculty gathered this morning on the lawn at Southern Seminary to mourn the death of 20-year-old Nick Challies, son of popular evangelical blogger and author, Tim Challies.
SBTS trustees retain building names, address history, establish $5 million scholarship for African American students October 12, 2020
In their annual fall meeting, trustees of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary unanimously voted not to remove the names of the school’s founders from several campus buildings, but embraced steps to lament the institution’s racial history and provide up to $5 million in scholarships for African American students over the next few years.
The Briefing celebrates 10th anniversary September 29, 2020
This month, The Briefing, Albert Mohler’s daily podcast, celebrated 10 years of analyzing daily events in the news from a Christian perspective.
The Briefing turned 10 on September 7 after more than 2,000 daily episodes. Ten years ago, Albert Mohler’s popular daily radio show, The Albert Mohler Program, ceased and the podcast began.