Mohler: SBC seminaries ‘ground zero’ for cultural response
Southern Baptist seminaries are “ground zero” for how churches respond to the rapid moral shift in American culture, said R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in his June 16 report to messengers at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting.
“We're living in a world that's going to demand more and ever more when it comes to faithfulness on the part of our students and graduates,” Mohler said, speaking about the imminent Supreme Court decision on the legalization of same-sex marriage. “There will be no place to hide. And that just reinforces for us how important what happens on our campuses is, and I say that for all six seminaries. It reminds us at Southern Seminary what's at stake and why it's so important.”
Mohler said this is an example of why seminary education is “deadly dangerous” business, because theological drift in seminaries affects entire denominations. In the face of such danger, Southern is committed to biblical fidelity, he said. Mohler noted that this convention marks 30 years since the record attendance of the 1985 annual meeting in Dallas during the height of the conservative resurgence. The commitments Southern Baptists make today, he said, will be remembered 30 years into the future.
“I just want you to know our commitment is we're going to stand firm,” Mohler said. “We're going to stand in the gospel, we're going to stand in the inerrancy of Scripture, we're going to stand in the faith once for all delivered to the saints, and we're going to stand with you together.”
Mohler insisted the seminary could not carry out its assignment without the prayer and Cooperative Program gifts of Southern Baptists.
“We are now in a situation where there are more young men studying for the pastorate on Southern Seminary's campus than there has ever been in one place at one time in the history of the Christian church,” Mohler said. According to the newly published “President's Report,” nearly 4,792 total students are enrolled at Southern with1,952 Master of Divinity students.
“Just imagine how irritating that is to people who would wish for Christianity to have some very different message than the gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said. “And they wish for the trajectory of the church in America to be something other than doctrinal fidelity.”
In response to a joint question from SBC President Ronnie Floyd to all the seminary presidents in regard to what their greatest joy is about theological education, Mohler said he enjoys seeing students "swimming upstream" against the culture by standing on the inerrancy of Scripture and the exclusivity of the gospel.
Meanwhile in his report, Mohler said that although Southern is committed to keeping the “gold standard” of face-to-face education as its main task, the seminary's recent launch of the Global Campus will use technology to reach new fields.
“We can now offer by means of our Global Campus theological education based upon the faith of Southern Baptist churches -- which is the faith once for all delivered to the saints -- to anyone anywhere on the planet any time of day,” Mohler said. More information about Southern's Global Campus is available online at sbts.edu/globalcampus.
In a new development this year, all six seminary presidents presented their reports jointly. After the report, each president introduced the next and prayed over him. In his introduction of Mohler, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary President Daniel L. Akin, who formerly served as Southern's vice president for academic administration and dean of the school of theology, thanked him for his friendship and representation of Southern Baptists.
“I've often reflected on how impoverished Southern Baptists would be if God had not given [Mohler] to us as a wonderful gift,” Akin said. “What he has done at Southern Seminary really is nothing short of a miracle and by God's grace the flagship seminary of Southern Baptists is sailing beautifully today in the right direction.”