Southern Seminary professors feature prominently at annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was well-represented at the 71st annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) on November 20-22 in San Diego, California.
Stephen J. Wellum, Professor of Christian Theology and editor of The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology at Southern Seminary, presented one of the three plenary presentations on the final morning of the event, underscoring the school’s commitment to rigorous evangelical scholarship and its relationship with like-minded scholars.
This commitment was exemplified by the addition of two new modular concentrations to Southern Seminary’s historic doctor of philosophy program, which seminary president R. Albert Mohler Jr. announced during the Southern Seminary late night event on November 21. Starting in the Fall 2020 semester, the seminary will offer Ph.D. modular programs in both biblical studies and historical and theological studies.
“[The Evangelical Theological Society] is a representation of the impact of this institution through you and through this faculty on the North American evangelical world,” Mohler told a group of Southern Seminary students, alumni, and friends at the late night event. “It’s been a symbiosis. We have benefitted so much throughout so many years from the research and scholarship of evangelicals beyond the Southern Baptist Convention, without whom you could not explain the conservative redirection that took place at Southern Seminary.”
In his plenary session titled “From Alpha to Omega: A Biblical-Theological Approach to God the Son Incarnate,” Wellum explained from a systematic perspective how the entire Bible (including the Old Testament) is about the Son, Jesus Christ, and why the early creeds reflected a wholly faithful interpretation of Scripture.
“Scripture is centrally about one thing: What our triune God has planned in eternity and executed in time to redeem his people and to make everything new in Christ Jesus,” Wellum said.
During his presentation, Wellum emphasized how Christians should read Scripture in light of what Scripture is: God’s Word written through time by human authors who offer a unified message about God’s glory in Christ.
The New Testament shows how the Old Testament is ultimately fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ, who is the end point of both human history and the testimony of the biblical authors. By understanding the Bible’s “unfolding plot line,” believers can trace out the person of Christ in the message of all Scripture, Wellum said.
“God’s entire plan, starting at creation, reaches its end (or telos) in Christ,” Wellum said.
According to Wellum, the ancient creeds written during the Council of Chalcedon and the Council of Nicea were faithful representations of this central message of Scripture, not distortions of it. Although the creeds often use extra-biblical language, they do so in order to reflect the Bible’s fundamental message. Through these creeds, the church showed how the Bible fits together through its various authors and genres and passed on a “rule of faith” that is important for the continued health of the church, Wellum said.
“Confessions are only secondary standards, but as these standards reflect Scripture well, they become very foundational for us,” he said. “Yet, as important as they are, they can never replace Scripture. Although they accurately summarize and theologize rightly about Christ, we are constantly driven back to Scripture.”
Schreiner’s scholarly ministry honored with a festschrift
During the week, friends, colleagues, and former students of Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, presented a festschrift in his honor during the B&H Academic luncheon at the 71st Evangelical Theological Society annual meeting in San Diego, California, November 20.
As they did so, they extolled Schreiner’s prodigious scholarship and godly character to a room filled with people who have benefitted from both during his 37 years of teaching ministry.
The volume, God’s Glory Revealed in Christ: Essays on Biblical Theology in Honor of Thomas R. Schreiner, was published by B&H Academic and edited by Denny Burk, James M. Hamilton Jr., and Brian Vickers — each of whom studied under Schreiner as doctoral students at Southern Seminary. “I’m tremendously grateful for his preaching in the church, the scholarly writing … and his humble Christlikeness,” said Hamilton during the luncheon.
All three men were on stage at the luncheon to officially present the festschrift to Schreiner. During the event, friends, colleagues, and family spoke at length about Schreiner’s influence on their lives and ministries.
Schreiner has taught at Southern Seminary since 1997 and has written or edited more than 25 books, in addition to contributing chapters to more than 20 volumes. His most significant works include The Law and Its Fulfillment, The King in His Beauty: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments, New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ, and his exegetical commentary on the book of Romans, which was published in 1998 and reprinted as a second edition in 2018. He previously taught at Bethel Theological Seminary for 11 years and Azusa Pacific University before that.
The book features chapter-length contributions on the topic of biblical theology from many scholars and pastors who are personal friends with Schreiner, including John Piper, D.A. Carson, Robert Yarbrough, Mark Seifrid, Simon Gathercole, and Russell Moore. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary since 1993, wrote the foreword to the volume.
“Where Professor Tom Schreiner is found, faithful teaching is found,” wrote Mohler in the Foreword. “One of the greatest privileges of my life is to teach and serve among some of the leading Christian scholars of our day, and Tom Schreiner is in the highest rank among them. He is the very model of a Christian teacher and scholar.”
During the week, 18 different faculty members representing Southern Seminary presented papers at the meeting, along with 12 current or graduated doctoral students. The presenting faculty papers were as follows:
- Robert L. Plummer, “Romans 3:19-26: Greek Exegesis as ‘Polarized Lenses’ for the Theological Summit of Romans” and “Contra Origen: Martin Luther on Allegorizing the Biblical Text”
- Michael A.G. Haykin, “The St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre and the Reformation in France” and “Retrieving the Color of Sin”
- Jonathan Arnold, “The Heresy of This Evil Person and Grand Heretick: Matthew Caffyn & 17th-Century Christology”
- Ayman Ibrahim, “Jesus in Islam’s Scripture: The Quranic Son of Mary between Heresy and Orthodoxy” and “Christian ‘Citizens’ in Sacred Muslim Texts: How Middle Eastern Christians Survived the Age of ISIS”
- Dustin Bruce, “Mission and Eschatology: A Comparative Study between John Gill and Jonathan Edwards”
- Bruce A. Ware, “The Hermeneutics of Progressive Dispensationalism”
- Barry Joslin, “New Covenant Worship”
- Adam Howell, “An Aramaic Logos?: Evidence of Targumic Christological Interpretation in the Church Fathers”
- Tyler Wittman, “John Webster on Philosophy and Metaphysics” and “Essentialism & Personalism and the Relational Trinity”
- Lilly Park, “A Theological Perspective on Verbal, Emotional, and Sexual Abuse”
- Jonathan T. Pennington, “Joseph the Just: A Virtuous Exemplar in Matthew” and “Small Teaching Strategies”
- R. Albert Mohler Jr., “The Evangelical Predicament: Islam, Religious Liberty, and Gospel Witness in Tension”
- Bryan Baise, “The Gifts Reserved for Age: The Contours of Friendship and Care for the Elderly”
- James M. Hamilton Jr., “Preaching Christ in All the Psalms: Pastoral Reflections on a Three Year Journey” and “A Biblical-Theological Approach to the Most Sublime Song”
- Gregg R. Allison, “The Perspicuity of Scripture According to Martin Luther”
- Thomas R. Schreiner, “Soundings on Simul Iustus et Peccator”
- Timothy K. Beougher, “The Reformed Pastor meets Twitter: Richard Baxter’s Directions for Profitable Discourse”