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.”

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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.’”

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Heartbroken Boyce College students mourn the abrupt death of Nick Challies November 4, 2020

(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.

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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.

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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.

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Andy Vincent marks 25 years of faithful service at SBTS September 24, 2020

When Andy Vincent and his wife, Valerie, moved to Louisville in 1990, they intended to be here long enough for both to complete master of divinity degrees. Then, like many seminary graduates, Andy would serve as a pastor or music minister in a local church somewhere else.

But God had other plans.

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$220,000 raised at Heritage Golf Classic for SBTS and Boyce College students August 28, 2020

The 17th annual Heritage Golf Classic held August 24 at Big Spring Country Club raised more than $220,000 to help pay tuition for students at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Boyce College. 

Generous donors sponsored 108 golfers who played to raise money that is deposited directly into the Southern Fund and are deployed to underwrite the tuition costs of the students of Southern Seminary and Boyce College.

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The 2020 fall semester is a precious gift from God, Mohler says in 2020 convocation address August 27, 2020

Why should seminary education remain a priority during a pandemic? Because difficult times don’t change the mission of institutions like Southern Seminary, but make it all the more urgent, President R. Albert Mohler Jr. said Tuesday morning, August 25, in fall 2020 convocation address for The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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Campus bookstore reopening Thursday with new online conveniences August 5, 2020

The Bookstore at Southern Seminary reopens for business this week and incoming students will be able to order textbooks through a new online partnership.

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Southern Seminary adds Justin A. Irving and Stephen O. Presley to faculty July 30, 2020

Two scholars are joining the faculty of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for the new academic year beginning in August. President R. Albert Mohler Jr. announced that Justin A. Irving and Stephen O. Presley will serve on the faculty in the areas of leadership and church history. Irving, who will serve as Professor of Leadership, has served for nearly twenty years in several academic and administrative capacities at Bethel Seminary, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Presley, who joins the faculty as Associate Professor of Church History, brings nearly a decade of academic experience and twenty years of pastoral experience to his new position at Southern Seminary.

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