SBTS Celebrates Annual Heritage Week October 20, 2021
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary celebrated its storied past and looked to the future during the school’s annual Heritage Week celebration October 11-14.
To mark the event, Southern held three chapel services, including two that featured preaching by SBTS President Albert Mohler SBTS also held a luncheon honoring the retirement of a cherished administrator and presented the Bruce W. Benton Distinguished Service Award to Robbie and Sarah Brown, among numerous other events.
In his sermon on October 11, Mohler examined one of the most important texts on the implications of Jesus’s resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. If the resurrection is not true, Christians are to be pitied.
"If we're looking for one chapter in the entire Bible that puts the historical facts of Christianity and the central doctrines of Christianity in their compressed form and then makes it clear that this is how the church is to preach and this is what the church believes, it's this passage," he said.
Mohler chose the text because Paul explicitly confronts the question, “What if it’s not true?”
“When faithful preachers preach on the resurrection,” Mohler said, “We tend to jump over these verses to get the resurrection because that’s the way we sing the songs, that’s the way we preach the message, and that’s the way we present the gospel.”
SBTS Experienced Record Enrollment and Revenues in 2020-21, Seminary Leaders Tell Trustee Board October 14, 2021
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary experienced a record year in both revenues and enrollment in 2020-2021, seminary officials reported to Southern’s board of trustees at its fall meeting.
The seminary exceeded budgetary expectations in three key areas: tuition revenue, receipts from the SBC Cooperative Program, and donor giving. Student enrollment also increased during the pandemic.
Southern Seminary President, R. Albert Mohler Jr. reflected on the crucial task the trustees fulfilled at their October 11-12 meeting:
“I’m very thankful for the men and women who serve on our board of trustees. They are remarkably faithful and committed board members who hold the institution in trust for the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention. This meeting was yet another indication of the seriousness with which they take that task, and it was a meeting in which we were able to report the blessings of God upon the institution. The board of trustees made historic decisions, heard reports, and fulfilled responsibility to the Southern Baptist Convention.”
Reports to the trustees showed the good news of God’s grace toward SBTS during the past 18 months.
Though SBTS reduced tuition rates for the 2020-21 school year, tuition and fees were $3.4 million greater than the amount budgeted, attributable to a sizeable increase in enrollment.
Dustin Benge has been appointed as the new vice president of Communications at Southern Seminary, President Albert Mohler announced Monday.
Benge, a two-time graduate of SBTS and a former staff member at the seminary, will begin in his role on December 6. He was also appointed to the faculty as associate professor of biblical spirituality and historical theology.
“I have known Dustin Benge for years,” Mohler said. “He combines so many gifts and strengths, and he is exactly who we need to lead our communications program and to teach in our biblical spirituality program.”
“Dustin’s deep convictions, giftedness in communications, energy in the classroom, come together in a wonderful way. He is a true scholar-administrator, and we eagerly look forward to having Dustin and Molli back on the campus.”
Presently, Benge and his wife, Molli, live in Bridgend, Wales in the United Kingdom, where he serves as provost and professor at Union School of Theology, a position he has held since 2020. Benge received his MDiv from SBTS in 2011 and a PhD in biblical spirituality from Southern in 2018. From 2018 to 2020, he was creative director at the seminary. He has served for many years as a lecturer and senior fellow for the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies.
Colleagues, family, and friends remembered Gregory B. Brewton as a humble, godly professor and faithful minister in the local church Saturday afternoon at a memorial service in Alumni Memorial Chapel on the campus of Southern Seminary.
Brewton, who had served as the Carolyn King Ragan Professor of Church Music and Worship since 2002, died early Monday morning at age 65. He was the head of the Department of Biblical Worship at SBTS and a devoted member of Ninth & O Baptist Church.
Southern Seminary President, R. Albert Mohler Jr. reflected on the impact of Brewton as an academic, churchman, and ardent disciple of Christ.
“His skill in the classroom, his skill as a mentor and as an instructor, was all based on the fact that he was first and foremost called to Christ as a believer and then called as a minister of Christ’s church,” Mohler said.
Mohler spoke of Brewton as teacher, colleague, and friend. Mohler also pointed to Brewton’s Christian character, demonstrated in his willingness to serve. Mohler described Brewton’s servant heart as indicated “smile first,” explaining that Professor Brewton would smile even before he knew what he was being asked to do for students.
Mohler also underlined the powerful influence of a Christian teacher, reflected in the promise that untold numbers of Christians, including some not yet born, will be blessed through the ministries of those taught. “He teaches on through his many students, now in ministry to the glory of Christ,” Mohler explained.
Phillip Landgrave, who died September 24 at age 86, left behind a legacy of faithfulness to his family and energetic service at Southern Seminary and in a host of local churches in Louisville and across the South.
Southern Seminary President Albert Mohler remembers him for his work as a composer and the tremendous level of energy he brought to ministry.
“Phil Landgrave was a whirlwind of energy and composition,” Mohler said. “He composed more than 500 published works of church music. He contributed hymns to the Baptist Hymnal and many other works. He was a devoted servant of Christ and a master teacher.
“To know him was to know a fury of creativity and a tremendously gifted musician. He invested his long teaching ministry at Southern Seminary and left an indelible mark on hundreds of students.”
Landgrave was survived by his wife, Gloria, three children, and eight grandchildren. His son, Kevin, died suddenly earlier this year from a brain aneurysm. The Landgraves were married for nearly 62 years—their 62nd anniversary would’ve been today—October 4.
Born in Marion, Indiana, Landgrave began part-time on faculty at SBTS in 1964 before moving to faculty full-time the next year as associate professor of church music. Landgrave served on Southern’s faculty as V. V. Cooke Professor of Church Music for 35 years. He retired in 2000 and continued as a senior professor until 2013.
“I can only imagine how many Christians walk around with spiritual songs ringing in their minds, without knowing that it was Phil Landgrave who wrote that tune,” Mohler said. “Friends and family remembered Landgrave waking up in the middle of the night with a tune in his mind, and writing down the tune before it left him.”
WORLD, a noted bi-weekly Christian news magazine, recently announced that SBTS President R. Albert Mohler Jr. and professor Andrew T. Walker will team up to manage a new conservative commentary on pressing current issues, WORLD Opinions, which launched today.
Mohler was named opinion editor and Walker will serve as managing editor. Mohler believes now is the time to present uncompromising Christian conviction.
“We are living in a great battle of ideas.” Mohler said. “What we need is one place with authoritative, respectful, thoughtful, unequivocally Christian and conservative opinion, from a range of voices who share that commitment.”
WORLD Opinions comes bundled with a subscription to WORLD Magazine and will feature columns from some of today’s leading voices. It will be part of WORLD’s digital platform.
Walker, who serves as associate professor of Christian ethics and apologetics at SBTS, is thrilled for the opportunity to connect the theological convictions of readers to a well-articulated political conviction.
“As managing editor, I will be providing thought leadership to the overall project, making sure that WORLD Opinions is occupying the right theological and intellectual lanes in its content, tone, and direction,” he said.
A Commitment to the Biblical Languages Helps Guard the Faith, Plummer says in Faculty Address September 29, 2021
A commitment to learning Greek and Hebrew—the original biblical languages—helps preserve orthodoxy in the local church, Rob Plummer said Sept. 22 in the annual Faculty Address at Southern Seminary.
In an age when evangelical institutions are cutting language requirements, Plummer gave five reasons why the languages are necessary and then pointed to four modern challenges. Plummer serves as the Collin and Evelyn Aikman Professor of Biblical Studies. The entire address may be viewed here.
“Because we at Southern Seminary value the breathed-out inerrant Word of God as the final authority for our Christian beliefs and practices, we must be students of the original languages,” Plummer said.
Plummer argued that neglecting the original languages is one of the first steps institutions take toward embracing liberalism.
“A rejection of biblical authority goes hand in hand with the removal of the biblical languages from a seminary’s curriculum. In these days of catastrophic moral and cultural decline, if we are not lured by the never-changing Scripture, we will soon look no different than the culture around us.”
Now more than ever, preachers, teachers, and students need confidence in handling God’s Word. Plummer emphasized that training ministers to rightly divide the Word of truth in the original Greek and Hebrew is the best way to prepare the next generation of Christian leaders.
SBTS Mourns Loss of Beloved Church Music Professor September 27, 2021
The Southern Seminary community is mourning the loss of professor Gregory B. Brewton, who died early Monday morning after a sudden medical crisis.
Brewton had served as the Carolyn King Ragan Professor of Church Music and Worship since 2002 and was head of the Department of Biblical Worship. He taught students at Boyce College and Southern Seminary for almost twenty years. He was 65.
Southern Seminary president Albert Mohler said that Brewton was “one of the most faithful, kind, committed, and gifted teachers of his generation and he shaped hundreds of worship leaders and musicians in the service of the church.”
Mohler also reflected on Brewton’s arrival at Southern Seminary.
“We were looking for a gifted musician and worship leader who shared our theological convictions and would add strength to our church worship program. We found all that and more in Greg Brewton. He was always ready to help and to lead. He was loved far beyond Southern Seminary through his leadership of Doxology.”
Doxology is a vocal ensemble that often sings in chapel services and campus events, and is known through choral tours and recordings of beloved Christian hymns.
The Jenkins Center for the Christian Understanding of Islam at Southern Seminary hosted its annual Academic Lecture Series August 27–28 with keynote speaker Gabriel Said Reynolds (PhD, Yale University). Two sessions were held at Southern Seminary and featured a total audience of over 200 students, pastors, and community members.
Ayman Ibrahim, professor of Islamic studies at SBTS and Director of the Jenkins Center, knows the lectures will serve to advance the gospel in the Muslim world.
“We were astonished at the turnout,” he said. “The Academic Lectures serve our vision to establish a scholarly Christian understanding of the many strands of Islam. Our mission is to equip students, pastors, and missionaries with an awareness of the Muslim world, in all of its diversity, to boldly and respectfully proclaim the gospel to our Muslim neighbors to the ends of the earth.”
The event highlighted current controversies in Quranic scholarship.
To engage advanced issues, the center invites Christian experts on Islam to participate in the annual lecture series. Reynold’s specializes in Quranic studies and Muslim-Christian relations.
He addressed whether there is a “Meccan” and a “Medinan” Quran, and then discussed the similarities and dissimilarities between Allah and the God of the Christian Bible.
The 18th annual Heritage Classic Golf Tournament—held Monday, August 23 at Big Spring Country Club—raised $253,000 for SBTS and Boyce students.
The tournament included 116 golfers, most of whom were SBTS donors, and the money was directly applied to the Southern Fund to underwrite tuition costs for students studying at Southern Seminary and Boyce College. SBTS President R. Albert Mohler Jr. said the day of golf will have a lasting effect in helping the gospel advance through theological education.
“It means a lot that we can have golf played to the glory of God,” Mohler said. “It will make a difference on the mission field and in the pulpits of our churches and places we will never go, places we’ll never see. That is absolutely glorious. What a great way to spend a day.”
The event culminated during the closing ceremony when Timothy Babatunde (SBTS) and Joel Warren, a Boyce College student who is also working toward an MDiv at SBTS through the school’s seminary track, each received the $5,000 Rick Bordas Memorial Scholarship.