Posts by Zachary Ball
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — A renowned church historian with expertise in foundational American ideas and a medieval theology scholar will be joining the faculty at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. John David Wilsey and Tyler R. Wittman will begin their professorships in the fall semester.
“John Wilsey is a wonderful scholar of American Christianity,” said SBTS President R. Albert Mohler Jr. “John Wilsey’s expertise, especially in issues of church and state and religious liberty in the United States, and his concern for accuracy and appreciation in terms of history, all of these are great gifts that he brings to this new position at Southern Seminary.”
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — President R. Albert Mohler Jr. announced the appointment of two senior vice presidents at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, installing Craig Parker as senior vice president of institutional administration and Matthew J. Hall in a newly created role as senior vice president for academic strategy. Parker, currently vice president of institutional advancement, and Hall, dean of Boyce College, will both continue to serve in their current roles in addition to their new responsibilities.
Parker has previously served as vice president for business services and vice president for institutional advancement at Southern Seminary. He grew to know and love Southern Baptists through his service in administrative roles in Tennessee, including 15 years as senior administrator at Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova — the church once pastored by Adrian Rogers and a significant church in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — Ministers of the gospel are not partakers in a career, but recipients of a divine calling, said President R. Albert Mohler Jr. in his May 19 commencement address to the 2017 graduates of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
During 219th commencement exercises on the seminary lawn, 318 master’s and doctoral students received degrees. A week earlier, 149 Boyce College students graduated, and the combined 467 degrees conferred to Southern and Boyce students represents the largest commencement in Southern Seminary’s history.
“At every Southern Seminary graduation we remind one another of the great and essential fact that the Christian ministry is not a mere profession — it is a divine calling,” said Mohler. “The ministry is one of Christ’s gifts to his church. It is among the most serious — and indeed the most serious — and joyous of all callings.”
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — College graduates must reject a life of ease, comfort, and material possessions, and embrace the cross-bearing challenges of the Christian life, said John Piper at the May 12 commencement of Boyce College, the undergraduate school of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Piper, whose daughter Talitha was among the 147 graduates, is the first person from outside the Southern Seminary community to give the commencement address at a Boyce College graduation.
In Piper’s address, the well-known preacher and founder of Desiring God Ministries said Christians face a lifelong battle between two competing foundational philosophies, or two opposings selves. This “sacred schizophrenia,” according to Piper, forces believers to fight their “false self” that grapples for personal fame, glory, possessions, power, and comfort. The true self, however, exhibits self-denial and a Godward focus.
“The denying self loves real life that lasts forever, loves Jesus as all-satisfying, loves meaning more than money, loves the praise of holy heaven more than the praise of sinful earth,” Piper said, drawing on Jesus’ lessons about true discipleship in Mark 8:34-38. “The denying self is the true you.”
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — The comfort of Scripture and promises of God are necessary to sustain pastors through the trials of ministry, said Larry Sykes Jr., Clyde T. Francisco Preaching Award recipient, during an April 27 chapel service at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
“The difficulties you may face in ministry may be so daunting they may make you question God’s choice to even call you and send you at all,” said Sykes, pastor of Greater Good Hope Baptist Church in Louisville’s Parkland neighborhood. “You are going to go out of here and minister to a culture that is dilapidated and decaying. ... You can take comfort in Scripture.”
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — Kentucky First Lady Glenna Bevin urged 300 attendees during an April 24 Woman’s Auxiliary luncheon at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary to step out of their comfort zones and get involved with foster care and adoption. Glenna and her husband, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, have adopted four children from Ethiopia and have pledged to improve the state’s foster care system.
“Our state is on the precipice,” she said. “It will be lost if we don’t step up. There is much work to be done in our own backyards.”
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — Young Christians are called to be “salt and light” and share the gospel where God has placed them, said Southern Baptist leaders during Boyce College’s Renown Conference, March 17-18.
“You don’t have to have a Bible college or seminary degree to get this understanding that Jesus has put me in the place he has me; he said, ‘Go home to be salt and light,’” said Eric Geiger, author and vice president of LifeWay Christian Resources.
Christians should model the Apostle Paul in praying with purpose because God is personal, powerful, gracious, loving, and generous, said Oklahoma Baptist leader Anthony L. Jordan at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s March 14 chapel service.
“The fact of the matter is that if you ever want to wonder about how generous your Father is, just look to the cross,” said Jordan, executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.
In his personal study, Jordan has been walking through the prayers of the Apostle Paul and describes reading them as entering into the prayer closet with Paul. Preaching from Ephesians 3:14-21, Jordan said Paul approaches the throne of God on his knees, not in a casual way, but with intensity.
The theatrical release and controversy of faith-based film The Shack represents a “theological disaster,” said R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in a March 8 episode of “The Briefing.”
“The real danger, the seductive danger of The Shack, is that it’s presented as a retelling of the Christian story,” Mohler said on his daily podcast. “Christians armed by Scripture and committed to the Christian worldview should highly value fiction and thus evaluate it by Christian norms. But we can never value a vehicle for importing heresy into the church or misrepresenting Christianity to the watching world.”
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — Theological reflection on technological advancements in communication and science must counteract an uncritical approach to technology that threatens human existence, said bioethicist C. Ben Mitchell during the Norton Lectures at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, March 1-2.
“We have to reject uncritical consumeristic adoption of digital technologies,” said Mitchell, provost, vice president for academic affairs, and Graves Professor of Moral Philosophy at Union University. “Remember our humanity and resist excarnation. ... Resist the notion that efficiency is the summum bonum, the chief end, and seek to have our desires formed by the good news of the incarnate Christ.”