Southern Seminary’s calling remains ‘trust,’ said Mohler during president’s report
As he is about to begin his 27th year as the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, R. Albert Mohler Jr. emphasized the rich and deep theological training students are receiving at the school.
Southern Seminary is “unapologetically Southern Baptist,” and remains as committed as ever to train men and women for gospel ministry. Thus, every word of the school’s title carries weight, he said.
“Every single word in the name of Southern Seminary is vitally important,” Mohler said. “We are, without apology, a theological seminary for the training of pastors and ministers.”
Mohler referenced the high priestly prayer of Jesus in John 17 as inspiration for Southern Seminary’s calling.
Jesus prayed that his Father would sanctify his people “in truth” in John 17, thereby defining the nature and focus of theological education, and by extension the mission of Southern Seminary, Mohler said.
“We exist not only that a coming generation would be trained and prepared and educated for service in the churches, pulpit, and mission fields … but that Christ’s church, by their ministries, would be sanctified by the truth — the revealed truth of God, the Holy Scriptures,” he said.
In an age of quick-serve theological education, where many degree programs are entirely available online and the requirements for graduation are lowered, Southern Seminary is committed to providing the full depth of ministry preparation.
“At a time in which there are many denominations and many seminaries trying to figure out how little they can offer in order to get the job done most quickly, we are determined to do it most faithfully,” Mohler said.
“In the coming generation, ministers and pastors are not going to need less Bible; they are going to need more Bible.”
Mohler characterized Southern Seminary’s mission as a “stewardship of truth.”
“Southern Seminary is trusted for truth,” Mohler said. “There is no adventure like training young preachers. There is no joy like seeing them go out. There is no satisfaction like seeing a young man who is called to the preaching ministry and see his mind grow full and his heart grow even more full.”
During his address, Mohler noted that this year is 40 years removed from the beginning of a groundswell movement later identified as the Southern Baptist Convention’s “Conservative Resurgence.”
The resurgence centered on the doctrine of the Bible’s inerrancy, and the subsequent battles were over the full truthfulness and reliability of Holy Scripture. Those years of controversy were challenging, but they were also an essential part of Southern Baptists’ forging of their denominational identity into the 21st century and beyond.
“Let us thank God for what he has done for 40 years,” he said. “In the biblical span of generation, this denomination did not die, it did not turn, it did not compromise, it did not bend the knee. By God’s grace, in 2019, Southern Baptists stand upon an unapologetic affirmation of the inerrancy of the Word of God, and you expect rightly that your six theological seminaries will stand — without apology, with eagerness, and with joy — in that affirmation and all that it entails.
“And I just want to assure you: trusted for truth begins at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.”
Mohler also gave a report as chair of the Council of Seminary Presidents, telling the convention that both the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives and Seminary Extension programs are thriving.
Both programs are critical to the past and the future of the Southern Baptist Convention, he said, and ensure that every Southern Baptist can know the history of the convention and that any Southern Baptist can have access to theological education.