Posts by Annie Corser
Alumni and students gathered to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Seminary Wives Institute at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with a May 4 gala. The event featured testimonies from graduates from 1999 to 2017, representing ministries from all over the world. Each testimony revealed the eternal impact of SWI from Louisville to Zimbabwe.
The history of SWI dates back to Feb. 5, 1997, when Mary Mohler hosted some of the faculty wives to discuss interest in creating a new program to train seminary wives. On May 8, 1997, 85 women attended an informational meeting for prospective students. The result of that meeting launched the SWI program in fall 1997 with 125 students and the vision of Mohler and three co-founders: Sharon Beougher, who still serves as an SWI faculty member; Virginia Walker; and Menda Sue Hatfield.
“People showed up; classes started,” Mohler said at the gala. “And we were on a roll and things were going well, but we needed help … and the Lord so kindly grew this faculty as he grew Southern Seminary’s faculty. And so as my husband’s hiring these wonderful new faculty members, wives were coming along with them, and the amazing fact is God in all this was bringing faculty wives who had an interest in helping us, and each had an interest that was not already being covered.”
Notable SWI faculty who helped set the foundation for the program include Tanya York, who came in 1997; Jodi Ware, 1998; Katherine Magnuson, 1999; Jaylynn Cook, 2000; Nora Allison, 2003; and Caffy Whitney, 2005.
Despite inclement weather, 400 volunteers from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Boyce College participated in the fifth annual 1937 Project, April 22. The event commemorates the school’s relief efforts in the Great Flood of 1937, when the Ohio River rose to more than 50 feet, creating one of the worst floods in American history.
“The phrase that keeps coming to mind about [the 1937 Project] is ‘the favor of the Lord,’” Pierre wrote in a Student Life e-newsletter. “We made contact with many fellow volunteers, neighborhood residents, and city workers. We had many gospel conversations. One person even professed Christ as Lord and is seeking fellowship at a great neighborhood church. This is the wonder of serving.”
According to Southern Seminary’s Student Life Office, volunteers logged about 1,200 community engagement hours throughout the city, including projects at Scarlet Hope, Oxmoor Lodge Retirement Home, Louisville Rescue Mission, Keystone Learning Academy, and Portland Promise Center. The mayor’s office assigned the seminary community to two specific projects — Smoketown Neighborhood Cleanup and Shawnee Neighborhood Cleanup — where about 300 people disbursed to pick up trash and share the love of Christ with residents.
As part of the cleanup in the Shawnee neighborhood, Boyce professor Kevin Jones led a group to work on a century-old church building that recently became the home of No More Limits Church, pastored by Emery Scott Lee. Affected by water damage and years of vandalism, the church was almost “completely destroyed,” Jones said. Despite the damage, Lee still had hope.
Pastor Lee’s “vision is that the church will become a beacon of light in the Shawnee neighborhood. His hope is that his church will be a place where the gospel will be fully displayed,” Jones said.
“Pastor Lee prayed for our institution, volunteers, and the Body of Christ. In turn, I prayed specifically for him, his church, his family, and the community,” Jones said. “Myself and the other volunteers with our team look forward to a continued relationship with Pastor Lee. The goal is to make a continued difference, not an annual event. We will meet with him this summer to strategize ways for of collaboration.”
The 1937 Project joins with Mayor Greg Fischer’s Give A Day week of service. Fischer spoke to volunteers during the morning rally before they were sent out to various project sites. The mayor encouraged volunteers and remarked how Southern Seminary has been essential to accomplishing his plans for making Louisville a compassionate city.
“In all the craziness of the weather that morning, Mayor Greg Fischer expressed privately how shocked he was at the incredible turnout,” Pierre wrote.
The 1937 Project was part of Southern Seminary’s first ever Giving Days, a four-day initiative April 20-23 aimed at supporting the mission of the institution providing students, alumni, donors, and faculty the opportunity to tell their stories, support the institution financially, and serve the community of Louisville.
Southern Baptists should prioritize prayer for unity and evangelism, said Southern Baptist Convention President Steve Gaines at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s April 11 chapel service.
“I’m praying that the priority of the Southern Baptist Convention [is] that we will become literally a house of prayer. I’m praying that when people think about the Southern Baptist Convention the very first thing they will think of is this: That’s the group of folks, those are the folks that pray,” Gaines said.
Examining the method of the early church, Gaines explained 10 truths about the importance of prayer from Acts 4:23-31. Gaines said the early church provides an example of how prayer reveals the intimacy of a Christian’s relationship to God. People talk with and about those whom they love, and prayer is one way Christians talk with God, he said. The book of Acts is about people praying to God and sharing Scripture with others.
“Everywhere they went, they prayed and they witnessed,” said Gaines, senior pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee. “They loved the Lord. And so just naturally, out of their lives flowed prayer toward the Lord and evangelism and witnessing toward other people.”
Southern Baptists need to unite in order “to advance the kingdom of God together for God’s glory,” said Texas Baptist leader Jim Richards during The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s March 21 chapel service.
“What we have [as churches in the Southern Baptist Convention] is definitely much more in common than we have apart. And our heart and our soul is that we are to be together,” said Richards, executive-director of the Southern Baptist of Texas Convention.
Preaching from Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, Richards’ sermon focused on how Southern Baptists can work together. Church cooperation through associations and conventions created efforts to train ministers and support feeble churches, he said. The Southern Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program supports worldwide missionary efforts and promotes doctrinal accountability.
American politics cannot destroy the kingdom of God and should not leave Christians living in fear, said Southern Baptist leader Kevin Smith during a Nov. 8 chapel message at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
“Whatever’s going on in the American culture around us, the Bible-believing Christian never runs around like Chicken Little,” said Smith, executive director of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware.
In his sermon, “Politics and the Passion of Christ,” Smith reminded Christians to take a clear stand to show their main identity and commitment is to Jesus Christ as Lord and King. Smith said his main text, John 19:1-16, shows how religious leaders in the midst of political uprising verbally claim that Caesar is their only king rather than declare allegiance to Jesus as Lord.
The reality of death for all people should compel more Christians to take risks in spreading the good news of Christ’s resurrection among unreached people groups, said David Platt, president of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, during a Sept. 29 chapel message at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
“We know that risk-taking, death-defying missions in difficult, dangerous to reach places is to be envied in this world,” Platt said. “When you know that Jesus has risen from the dead, then no matter where he leads you and no matter what it costs you to, the proclamation of this good news in difficult, dangerous to reach places who haven’t heard this good news is the most enviable life in the world. It’s not in vain. Life is not in vain whenever you’re doing whatever the resurrected Christ has told you to do.”
Christians should not seek hope or protection in kingdoms of this world, said Boyce College Dean Matthew J. Hall in a Sept. 27 chapel message at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. While many evangelicals feel weighed down by their responsibility to vote in the upcoming presidential election, Hall said Christians should place their confidence elsewhere.
“O, how we need pastors and leaders who do not capitulate to the fear, the rage, and the hand-wringing that marks our day,” said Hall, who was appointed dean of Boyce, the seminary’s undergraduate school, in June. “We need bold public witness for truth, but we don’t need to panic. May we be good and faithful citizens involved in public life, motivated by love for God and love for neighbor, absolutely — but always mindful that Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world and it is not contingent on any election or any president or any kingdom of this world.”
Participation in the divine nature of God leads to a life of spiritual effectiveness and productivity, said Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee President Frank Page during the Aug. 30 chapel message at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
“This divine provision says we are born complete with that which we need for life and godliness,” said Page, a former SBC president who has served as president and CEO of the executive committee since 2010. “This means that the DNA necessary for spiritual greatness is already present at the moment of your rebirth. … It shows that God never has to do a recall on any Christian and say, ‘I need to add back something that I failed to put in in the first place.’ It shows this deep, beautiful divine nature that he’s given us is already present in our lives.”
Preaching on 2 Peter 1:3-10, Page said the passage affirms the gospel, arguing that it is by God’s grace, glory, and goodness there is salvation. The seven characteristics of godliness listed in 2 Peter 1 build upon each other and continue to reveal the fruit of salvation.
“We have been given the spiritual DNA for godliness and power — by his glory and by his grace — and for that should we praise his name,” Page said. “I believe what this is saying is simple: That when the divine nature that God has given you at your birth grows up in you to a certain kind of knowledge of him and godliness in him, that it becomes very clear that you are a child of God. That you belong. It’s evident not only to you, but it’s evident to those around you.”
Page challenged students to think through what they pray for and to long for a deeper love for God, partaking in the divine nature and growing the seven characteristics to avoid being short-sighted or forgetful, as the passage warns.
After Page’s sermon, SBTS President R. Albert Mohler Jr. introduced Bible collector David Parsons, founder of Truth Remains in Seattle, who presented a first-edition 1534 English translation of the New Testament by William Tyndale. A central figure in the Protestant Reformation, Tyndale was the first person to translate the Bible into English from the original languages and laid the groundwork for the King James Version almost a century later. According to its website, Truth Remains exists to teach Christian history through its collection of first-edition English Bibles from the Reformation period.
“I want you to know what I hold in front of you this morning is one of the few surviving complete copies [of Tyndale’s translation] of the gospel of Jesus Christ in English, the New Testament, that exists,” Parsons said.
Saying that it is one of two remaining Tyndale New Testament Bibles in existence, Mohler emphasized that those in attendance would most likely never see one again.
“There are no more of these,” he said, “And the important thing to recognize is this: William Tyndale so believed in the translation of Scripture into the vernacular, into English, that he became a martyr.”
While Christians should not venerate a book as a relic, Mohler said, they should honor the Scriptures, recognizing that Tyndale’s translation played a vital role in one of the most significant periods in church history.
“There would be no Reformation without the translation of Scripture. And in our tradition — the English-speaking tradition — there would be no Reformation, there would be no Baptists, without the translation of the Scriptures into English,” he said. “Tyndale was at work on his translation before Luther nailed his Theses to the door.”
The chapel service also featured a live discussion between Mohler and NASA astronaut Jeff Williams, who appeared onscreen through a downlink interview from the International Space Station.
Audio and video of the Page’s chapel message are available at sbts.edu/resources.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — Gospel ministers must proclaim God's Word with the urgency of eternal consequences, said President R. Albert Mohler Jr. in his May 20 commencement address to the 2016 graduates of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
During the institution's 216th commencement exercises on the seminary lawn, 284 master’s and doctoral students from 44 states and 15 countries received their degrees. A week earlier, a record 150 Boyce College graduates received certificate, associate, and bachelor’s degrees.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — The Bible provides comfort and hope for people in the pit of despair, said speakers at the Counsel the Word conference at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, April 26-27.
“When you say, ‘You need something more than the Bible,’ that actually makes a statement about the character of God,” said Heath Lambert, executive director of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) and associate pastor at First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida. “God finished the Bible in about 90 A.D. and he has not been waiting for the last 2,000 years for really smart unbelievers in the 20th century to come up with something that would really help. ... He gave us those things because that’s what we need for our trouble.”
During his two sessions, Lambert focused on the importance of ministers preaching the Word and the sufficiency of the Bible to comfort depressed persons. The theme of the two-day conference was “How Long, O Lord? Depression and Hope in a Complex World.”
“Comfort comes to people in pain from the Word of God and no place else when we know that a good God is using his superior wisdom and his superior power to bring about a superior good,” said Lambert, who also serves as assistant professor of biblical counseling at Southern.