Mohler urges doctrinal fidelity at Southern Seminary’s annual luncheon
Students and alumni of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary can have confidence in the gospel in face of mounting cultural changes because of Christ's death and resurrection, President R. Albert Mohler Jr. said during the June 17 alumni and friends luncheon.
“We have been stripped of the illusion that we're in control of the culture,” Mohler said. “We've got a stewardship and a witness, but clearly we're not in charge; we're not ashamed and we're not afraid.”
Mohler spoke to a gathering of seminary faculty, alumni, trustees, and others during the annual Southern Seminary Alumni and Friends Luncheon at the Southern Baptist Convention, held at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio. Instead of presenting an annual review of the seminary's growth and developments, Mohler spoke about remaining steadfast to biblical orthodoxy as the sexual and moral revolution confronts the church. Attendees of the luncheon received a copy of the “President's Report,” a new 36-page publication providing a summary of the 2014-15 academic year.
Mohler said that standing against the culture's attempts to redefine marriage, sexuality, and gender is about the truthfulness of the Bible and the trustworthiness of God himself.
“Long before mainline Protestants could abandon sanity and biblical revelation on marriage they had to abandon the Bible as God's revelation in the first place,” Mohler said. “In terms of major American denominations, there's only one that stands for the inerrancy of Scripture and what that demands of us concerning doctrine and morality.”
Reflecting on the 1990 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting, which was the last attempt by moderates to regain control during the conservative resurgence, Mohler expressed gratitude for the direction of the denomination in years since. But, echoing his June 16 report to SBC messengers, Mohler said that the seminary remains “ground zero” for training ministers to maintain doctrinal and moral fidelity in the local church.
“In terms of shaping a generation in the faith and doctrine and morals of Christianity, that's a responsibility the churches have entrusted us with in a big way,” Mohler said.
During the luncheon, Mohler presented the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award to Paul Chitwood, executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. Chitwood graduated with his M.Div. (1995) and Ph.D. (2001) from Southern Seminary and has helped to lead a revitalization of Kentucky Baptist churches since assuming leadership of the state convention in 2012.
The luncheon also featured a testimony from Southern Seminary M.Div. student Eric Iverson, an enrollment counselor at Boyce College. Iverson arrived on the campus of Southern Seminary in 2013 from Minneapolis, Minnesota, after 28 years of youth ministry experience. He felt called to pursue formal theological studies through his church's affirmation of his ministerial calling and his reading of Scripture. Since he began working for Boyce, seminary leaders say he has been a major asset in recruiting students.
“The church is the reason for everything that we do,” Iverson said. “It's the reason I get excited recruiting students to come to Boyce because I know if they're coming to study at Boyce, they will be much better church members and know what a good church will look like, and we get to help create a beautiful church experience.”
Luncheon participants joined their voices in unison to sing the seminary's hymn, “Soldiers of Christ in Truth Arrayed,” and close out the annual gathering.