Mohler: truth, legacy and vision mark history of SBTS
As the Southern Baptist Convention's flagship seminary celebrates its 150th anniversary, R. Albert Mohler Jr. told attendees of the annual meeting that The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary's story is one of "truth, legacy and vision."
In the annual seminary report to SBC messengers, Mohler, Southern's ninth president, said the institution is built upon a commitment to the truthfulness, inerrancy and authority of Scripture.
Southern seeks to preserve that commitment to biblical orthodoxy, Mohler said, by having faculty members agree to teach "in accordance with and not contrary to" Southern's confession of faith, the Abstract of Principles. This requirement was a part of the founding vision of Southern's first president James Petigru Boyce.
"Nothing could be more dangerous than a theological seminary that is not clearly and explicitly and continually and always grounded in truth," Mohler said. "Southern Seminary from its very conception was an institution that was designed to be a confessional institution.
"That means that it was not just a theological school from the beginning, it was a theological institution that was held by the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention in a sacred covenant to certain sacred truths that define the Christian faith and Baptist conviction."
The seminary's sesquicentennial anniversary comes at a fitting time, Mohler said, because 2009 is also the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the Conservative Resurgence in the SBC, a recovery of the inerrancy of Scripture in the denomination that began in 1979.
"This is a 30-year-reminder of what it cost this denomination to regain its institutions and to reassert its theological integrity," he said, "and to reclaim and clarify that it expects its theological institutions to be uncompromisingly tethered to the truths upon which they were established."
Under Mohler's administration, which began in 1993, Southern has undergone a reformation similar to that of the SBC: a recovery of biblical fidelity after decades of dominance by liberal theology.
"Thank you Southern Baptists for loving Southern Seminary enough to correct her and bring her home and home she is," he said.
Mohler said Southern is once again faithfully executing the orthodox theological legacy of its founding faculty, Boyce, John Broadus, Basil Manly, Jr. and William Williams.
The support of Southern Baptists have helped to put the seminary back upon a solid theological footing, Mohler said, and they have provided profound support for the institution throughout its history.
"We look back with a great sense of gratitude, first to God, and then to all those believing men and women, those Baptists who supported us throughout all those years, all those who gave their lives for the establishment of this school," he said.
"Let us remember that there are millions of Southern Baptists who are not here, millions who have never attended a Southern Baptist Convention and have never set foot on the campus of the seminary. But they have given generously and sacrificially of their funds to make certain that the Gospel will get to the ends of the earth and that the pulpit will become a place where the church of Jesus Christ is watered by the Gospel."