Posts by Aaron Cline Hanbury
BALTIMORE — “Vast shifts” in American culture present an “unmistakably huge” task to future generations of pastors, missionaries and evangelists, said R. Albert Mohler Jr. in his annual report to the Southern Baptist Convention on the state of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
“We can no longer live with the illusion of what sociologists used to call ‘American exceptionalism,’” said Mohler, who this summer begins his 22nd year as president of the Southern Seminary. “America, as it turns out, was not the exception to the trend of secularization; we were just behind Europe. And we are fast catching up.”
He described the “vast shift from the experience of American society over the last 200 years,” citing recent polls that indicate one-third of Americans younger than 30 claim no religious affiliation. And, claiming that no one alive today experienced “a time such as this,” Mohler said that Christians now live “in a time morally when the world is turning on its axis.”
BALTIMORE — Devoted to infusing a comprehensive theology into the life of his congregation and revitalizing churches in the nation’s capital, Mark Dever has earned special recognition from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary, presented Dever with the distinguished alumnus of the year award at the seminary’s alumni luncheon during the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), June 11, 2014.
In 1994, Dever arrived on Capitol Hill to pastor an elderly congregation that was weary after nearly a half century of decline and weighed down with pouring its limited funds into the maintenance of a city block of real estate.
Strachan to lead Southern Seminary’s Henry Institute May 27, 2014
“Owen Strachan is one of the finest young scholars and leaders serving the church today,” Mohler said. “He is also a veteran observer of the culture and a faithful theologian of the church. That is a powerful combination, and that explains why Owen Strachan is now the right leader for the Henry Institute. I look forward to seeing what Owen will do with this strategic platform and research center. Carl Henry would be very proud of this appointment.”
The Henry Institute, established in 1998, takes its name in honor of the life and work of Carl F. H. Henry, who is widely regarded as the most important 20th century evangelical theologian.
Mohler: Christian ministry is ‘breathtakingly uncomplicated’: ministers must open their mouths May 19, 2014
God calls Christian ministers to open their mouths so that others can “hear his voice, believe and be saved,” president R. Albert Mohler Jr. told the 2014 graduates of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Two hundred fifty-five students received degrees — masters’ and doctorates — during commencement exercises on the seminary lawn, May 16, 2014. A week earlier, May 9, 107 students received degrees — certificates and bachelors’ — from Boyce College, the undergraduate school of Southern Seminary.
In an address from the Acts 10 titled, “‘So Peter Opened His Mouth’ — The Preacher’s Calling Reduced to Five Powerful Words,” Mohler explained that the “Bible presents an astonishingly simple method of preaching.”
Mohler drew from verse 34, where the text records that the apostle Peter “opened his mouth,” suggesting that these words encapsulate “the essential act of preaching reduced to five earth-shaking words. So Peter opened his mouth.” And, Mohler said, the “most clarifying way to understand the preacher’s task is to consider its most quintessential act — the opening of the mouth.”
“So Peter opened his mouth. He obeyed the call. He fulfilled his calling. He did not remain silent or hide, he opened his mouth and declared all that God had commanded him to say,” Mohler said.
Thomas J. Nettles, professor of historical theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary since 1997, is retiring from full-time teaching after 38 years in the classroom.
Nettles’ teaching has involved “areas which I have thought are important and even critical for the health of Christianity and for the health of Baptist churches,” he told Southern Seminary Magazine as the spring semester comes to an end.
“I have sought to help students become better pastors by helping them to understand the critical truths that churches have been built upon in the past.”
Before joining the faculty at Southern nearly 17 years ago, Nettles spent 21 years at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Mid-American Baptist Theological Seminary and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
Donald S. Whitney, now a fellow professor at Southern Seminary who was among Nettles’ students at Southwestern, has since developed a decades-long relationship with him.
“Tom has shepherded me countless times, both when I was pastoring and during the past 19 years as a professor,” Whitney said. “On so many occasions when I was burdened, I made my way to Tom’s office, where he always welcomed me, listened as long as I needed to talk, offered counsel and prayed with me.”
Nettles’ students can attest that his classroom is a place of joy and song. A gifted singer, he often breaks spontaneously into a song or hymn.
Boyce College is waiving application fees and offering other assistance to Mid-Continent University students who desire to continue their education. Mid-Continent will close in June, university officials announced this month.
“Boyce College is well-equipped to serve a significant number of Mid-Continent University students who are looking for transfer options to complete their programs of study,” said Matthew J. Hall, vice president for academic services at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Boyce is the undergraduate school of Southern, the flagship seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention.
“Both through our residential offerings as well as 100 percent online options, we are eager to welcome any MCU students who God calls to study here,” Hall added.
R. Albert Mohler Jr. argued that the exclusivity of the gospel is not an apologetic burden, but rather life-giving good news, during a general session at the 2014 Together for the Gospel conference, April 8-10.
The biennial conference for pastors and church leaders brought together more than 7,500 men and women from all 50 states and 29 different countries to consider various aspects of evangelism. More than 60 percent of those in attendance were younger than 40 years old. And of all attendees, more than 3,100 of them identified as Southern Baptists. In addition, more than 27,000 digital devices — computers, smart phones and tablets — streamed the conference online from 100 different countries.
Mohler, who is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, called his sermon, “The Open Door is the Only Door: The Singularity of Christ and the Integrity of the Gospel.”
“We come to celebrate and declare the great fact that we are unashamed of the gospel and to point to Christ as the door of salvation and to pray, with the apostle Paul, for an open door for the proclamation of the gospel,” he said.
Ten students from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary spent a week of their spring break on the streets in Detroit, Mich., evangelizing, ministering to the homeless and sharing the gospel with Muslims in the community.
The seminary’s Bevin Center for Missions Mobilization sent the team to struggling Detroit neighborhoods, March 29 - April 6, to partner with the North American Mission Board’s urban ministry program, helping local church plants and evangelism in the area.
The Detroit team is one of 11 mission trips the Bevin Center for Missions Mobilization at Southern Seminary and the school’s D3 youth camp will send during the spring and into late summer. With about 70 participants total, teams will work in domestic locations, including Maine, Connecticut, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Utah, and internationally in southern France, central and south Asia, Uganda and Brazil during the summer break.
Mark T. Coppenger, professor of Christian philosophy and director of the seminary's Nashville, Tenn., extension center, led the Detroit trip. He said mission trips are “transformative for the short-termers. But, having served as a church planter in a ‘pioneer area,’ I can assure you that volunteers can be a great encouragement to the saints who live there and are doing their best to be salt and light in the community,” noting the importance of mission trips for urban church plants.
At the beginning of the week, students spent one Sunday ministering at Victory Fellowship Baptist Church whose pastor, Darryl Gaddy, is the moderator for the Greater Detroit Baptist Association.
They also worked with Matt Vroman, pastor of Eastside Community Church. The group helped him canvass the neighborhood in which he ministers through flyer distribution, inviting families to the church. On their final Sunday in the city, the group drove Eastside’s church van to pick up people for the morning worship service. Coppenger preached and the students led the service.
A new book’s “exceedingly dangerous” assertions that homosexual orientation and gay marriage are consistent with a high view of the Bible is refuted by President R. Albert Mohler Jr. and four of his colleagues at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in an e-book, published today.
God and the Gay Christian? A Response to Matthew Vines released this morning, the same day as the official release of Vines’ volume, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships, which has garnered significant attention in the days leading up to its release.
Vines, a 24-year-old former Harvard student, weaves his personal biography of growing up as an evangelical Christian and “coming out” as a homosexual to his parents and now former home church. In the process, Vines left Harvard in order to study the Bible’s claims about homosexuality, which later resulted in the publishing of his book.
“Not every book deserves a response, but some books seem to appear at a time and context in which response is absolutely necessary,” Mohler told Southern Seminary News. “The kind of argument that is presented by Matthew Vines, if not confronted, can lead many people to believe that his case is persuasive and that his treatment of the Bible is legitimate. I think that it’s very important that evangelicals be reminded that the church has not misunderstood Scripture for 2,000 years.”
Published by SBTS Press, God and the Gay Christian? is a 100-page critique of Vines, edited by Mohler, who also contributes a chapter. Other contributors are: James M. Hamilton Jr., professor of biblical theology; Denny Burk, professor of biblical studies; Owen Strachan, assistant professor of Christian theology and church history; and Heath Lambert, assistant professor of biblical counseling. Burk, Strachan and Lambert teach primarily for Boyce College, the undergraduate school of Southern Seminary.
In order to continue to “attract and retain a first-class academic faculty,” said President R. Albert Mohler Jr., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s board of trustees approved updates to faculty employment policies and unified the graduate and undergraduate faculties during its April 14-15 meeting.
Trustees also approved promotions, designations to academic chairs and sabbatical leaves for certain faculty, elected new officers and approved a $40.572 million budget for the 2014-2015 academic year, a 5.87 percent increase from the current year.
All actions of the board were unanimous.
Under new employment policies, all elected faculty will serve under a “simple academic instructional contract” rather than a tenure-based contract. Faculty will be eligible for contract terms of between one and nine years. The new policy is effective immediately and applies to all current faculty.
“Southern Seminary is returning to the classic, traditional method of hiring faculty that has marked this institution through most of its history,” said President R. Albert Mohler Jr. “A tenure-based contract was the basis for hiring and retaining faculty from about 1960 to the present. But we have returned to making the election of faculty by the board of trustees the most important issue, and returning faculty to teaching on the basis of a simple academic instructional contract.”