“The Bible Is the Curriculum,” Mohler Says in Annual Fall Convocation Address
The curriculum at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Boyce College is not about the Bible or things related to the Bible, it is the Bible, seminary president Albert Mohler told students and faculty Tuesday morning in the school’s annual fall convocation at Alumni Memorial Chapel.
Preaching from 2 Peter 1, focusing on verse 19 where Peter, having spoken in previous verses of the transfiguration of Jesus which he witnessed, said of Scripture, “we have something more sure to which you do well to pay attention,” Mohler said God’s Word must saturate the curriculum at a faithful seminary.
“This is a call to attentiveness to Scripture in all of life,” Mohler said in his 30th fall convocation address. “But let’s face it, as much as it is about all of life, here we are in this hour, in this place, asking God’s blessing upon the task of Christian higher education and theological education. We are playing with fire, brothers and sisters. We are walking right up to the edge of the precipice and looking down.
“The stakes we know are so high, and if it’s true for all Christians in all places, in all times until Jesus comes, it must especially be true of us that we do well to pay attention to it.”
Mohler said that if the Bible is the authority of all authorities for the follower of Christ, if it is, as Martin Luther put it, “the norm above norms that can’t be normed,” then the subject matter that Southern Seminary and Boyce College are called to build everything upon rings clear.
“There would be a lot of Bible in the curriculum,” he said. “There would be a lot of learning how to learn the Bible in the curriculum. But it also means that the Bible, rightly understood, is the curriculum. It means that the inspiration and authority of the Bible and the centrality of Scripture and attentiveness to the Word of God is not just about the portions of a Christian worldview curriculum directly devoted to scriptural study.
“It’s about Scripture saturating everything we do and everything we learn and everything we teach in such a way that we are doing well to pay attention to the Word.”
Ministry students must be taught faithfulness to God’s Word, Mohler said, because when Scripture speaks, God speaks. Mohler encouraged students to treasure their studies, their teachers, and their fellow students.
“What a tragedy and what unfaithfulness there would be if we fail in the task of attentiveness to the Word of God,” Mohler said. “I encourage you to treasure each other—students to treasure faculty, faculty to treasure students, and all of us to treasure every member of this community. Let us treasure the opportunity of learning and above all let us treasure Christ.”
You may watch the entire convocation service here.
During the service, three SBTS and Boyce College professors signed the Abstract of Principles, the seminary’s historic confession of faith: Tyler A. Flatt, associate professor of humanities at Boyce College, Justin A. Irving, Duke K. McCall Professor of Christian Leadership, and Abraham Kuruvilla, Carl E. Bates Professor of Preaching. Irving and Kuruvilla were installed into these respective endowed chairs.
In signing the Abstract, professors agree to teach its doctrines “without hesitation, mental reservation, nor any private arrangement” with seminary leadership. Signing the document is a sacred moment for professors, Mohler said, because of the public nature of the act.
“Unabashedly, the founders of this institution referred to it as the seminary’s creed,” Mohler said. “The Abstract of Principles is a classic statement, easily recognized in the Protestant confessional tradition. It is a specific statement following in the Westminster tradition. It is a distinctively Baptist statement that serves a Baptist institution. The stipulation is that it is no imposition upon one who would take up the professorship at a theological institution, a Baptist institution, that he be required to teach Baptist doctrine.”
Mohler introduced seven new faculty members: William R. Bishop, associate professor of church music and worship; Mitchell L. Chase, associate professor of biblical studies; J. T. English, associate professor of Christian Theology; Kaspars Ozolins, associate professor of Old Testament interpretation; Jimmy H. Scroggins, professor of Christian ministry; Curtis W. Solomon, assistant professor of biblical counseling at Boyce College; and Daniel J. Stevens, assistant professor of New Testament interpretation at Boyce College.
The seminary also welcomed six new members of its trustee board: Margaret G. Beachy of
Crestwood, Kentucky, Glen W. Braswell of Lancaster, Kentucky, Tamara J. Buck of Conway, Arkansas, Stephen A. Jones of Highland, California, Mark A. Jordan of Louisville, Kentucky, and Courtney D. Reissig of Little Rock, Arkansas.