A complete scroll of the Torah dating to the 16th or 17th century was given to The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in a presentation at Alumni Memorial Chapel, Sept. 1. President R. Albert Mohler Jr. accepted the scroll from Ken and Barbara Larson, thanking them for their contribution to the seminary’s understanding of the Bible.
“We promise to be good stewards of this gift,” Mohler said of the scroll, which was laid out for public viewing on a table in the front of the chapel. “We’re thankful to the Lord for putting this on your heart, and even in the moments before chapel this morning, it was very clear there is an immediate magnetic draw of Christians in seeing the Word of God in this way.”
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.
Speeding around Earth at 17,500 miles per hour, American astronaut Jeff Williams spoke with President R. Albert Mohler Jr. and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary community during chapel, Aug. 30, through a NASA downlink interview from the International Space Station.
Williams, commander for Expedition 48 of the International Space Station, has spoken on the SBTS campus and regularly listens to Mohler's podcast “The Briefing” in orbit. He set the record for the most time spent in space by an American Aug. 24, passing the mark of 520 days set by Scott Kelly. When he returns from orbit after his 172-day mission on Sept. 6, he will set a new standard for days by an American in space at 534 days, according to NASA’s website.
MEDIA ADVISORY: Astronaut Jeff Williams to speak live from International Space Station in Aug. 30 SBTS chapel service
LOUISVILLE, KY (SBTS) — NASA astronaut Jeff Williams is scheduled to participate in a live interview with R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, on Aug. 30 at 10 a.m. during the seminary’s chapel service in Alumni Memorial Chapel. The event is open to the seminary community and will be livestreamed at sbts.edu/live.
A friend of SBTS who has previously spoken on campus about his explorations, Williams and his Soyuz crewmates were launched on a 172-day mission to the International Space Station on March 18 of this year. On Aug. 24, Williams surpassed Scott Kelly’s previous record of 520 days to become the American with the most cumulative days in space. The current mission is Williams’ fourth spaceflight and third long-duration stay on the space station.
Although contemporary culture embraces continual change and the revision of core beliefs in the name of progress, the Christian church should be marked by faithfulness to the settled Word of the Lord, said R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, at the Aug. 23 fall convocation.
“While everything may be appearing to change around us — and far more so apparently in 2016 than in 1979 or in 1859, the reality is ‘the grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of the Lord endures forever,’” Mohler said.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — The newly-appointed associate dean of academic innovation at Boyce College is “a master teacher, a gifted administrator, a proven churchman, and a devoted husband and father,” said Matthew J. Hall, dean of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s undergraduate school. Louisville native Kevin Jones, assistant professor of teacher education since 2014, has more than a decade of experience teaching in public schools and colleges, in addition to his service in church ministry roles and community organizations.
"As one of Christian higher education's fastest-growing institutions, these are extraordinary times of opportunity for Boyce College,” Hall said. “Dr. Kevin Jones is the right man at the right time to help our efforts to lead the college into this exciting future. Dr. Jones will play a vital role in leading our efforts to develop new degree programs as well as continuing to ensure excellence in teaching as one of Boyce College's distinctives."
With fresh news reports about Islam appearing daily, and the need for global gospel proclamation as critical as ever, Christians need to learn how to engage with Islam theologically and strategically, said two professors at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary during the Aug. 8-9 Alumni Academy.
Ayman Ibrahim, Bill and Connie Jenkins Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at Southern Seminary and senior fellow for the Jenkins Center for the Christian Understanding of Islam, and John Klaassen, associate professor of global studies at Boyce College, led the seven sessions of the Alumni Academy, which culminated with a Q&A with both Ibrahim and Klaassen.
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (SBTS) — R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary presented the 2016 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year award to Russell D. Moore at the seminary’s June 15 alumni luncheon during the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting.
“Russ Moore has already made history and there is much history still to be written. He has madeSouthern Seminary proud in so many different ways,” said Mohler, who also presented Moore a commemorative plaque. “It is high time that we make this presentation and celebrate Russ Moore as Alumnus of the Year of the institution very proud to claim him as our own.”
Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC and SBTS Ph.D. graduate (2002), also formerly served as professor of Christian theology, dean of the School of Theology, and senior vice president for academic administration at Southern Seminary.
“This school didn’t just educate me,” Moore said. “I look around this room, the best friends in the world that we have, I look at students that I love. I look at a place where, when we arrived home with our first two children, there was a parking lot full of people waiting for us ... I can’t thank Southern Seminary enough for being our family.”
In his annual presentation to alumni and friends, Mohler called for increased boldness for the challenges facing Southern Seminary. Using Acts 4:23 as his text — in which the disciples react to their bold proclamation of the gospel before the Sanhedrin by praying for more boldness — Mohler said more is required of the seminary as it looks to the future.
"I think there’s the temptation for us to simply be thankful for how bold the Lord has allowed us this school to be,” Mohler said. “But what we really pray for is that the Lord would make us even more bold, because what will be required of us in the future is even far greater than what has been required in the past ... Everything we’ve done thus far — sweet and precious and instructive as it is — is just, by God’s grace, a foretaste of what’s to come.”
Mohler referenced a resolution that had passed the previous afternoon at the SBC annual meeting, which renounced the display of the Confederate battle flag. He said it was a necessary but preliminary step in addressing the sins of previous generations of Southern Baptists, and that the seminary will require greater boldness to address continued issues of racial tension within the church.
“The burdens of history and the mandate invested in us has to be always on our mind,” Mohler said. “The great failure of the Southern Baptist Convention and the great failure of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is exemplified and realized in nothing more powerful than our failure to our African-American brothers and sisters through more than a century-and-a-half. I’m humbled by the fact that I think this is a permanent stain that the Southern Baptist Convention will have to bear as a mark, just to prevent us from the temptation of denominational hubris.”
Mohler also discussed the seminary’s recently launched Hispanic Initiatives, which seeks to reach the Spanish-speaking world with theological education. The program, which is part of a movement to cultivate diversity in the seminary community, includes the hiring of two Latino professors and the availability of Spanish online courses at a reduced cost.
“With every passing day and every passing year, the Southern Baptist Convention has to look more like the nation, more like the world, more like the marriage supper of the Lamb — or we’re going to look less like Jesus.”
Mohler also recognized the June 10 announcement that Matthew Hall would be the next dean of Boyce College, the undergraduate school of Southern Seminary, which has grown an enrollment of 1,200 students.
The more than 450 attendees of the luncheon also received a copy of the "President's Report," a publication providing a summary of the 2015-16 academic year.
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (SBTS) — The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s record-setting enrollment numbers testify to an ideological paradox of the cultural revolution, said SBTS President R. Albert Mohler Jr. during his June 15 report to messengers during the SBC annual meeting in St. Louis, Missouri.
Despite the supposed death of conservative theological education foretold by mainline liberalism 50 years ago, the confessional seminaries of the SBC are healthier than ever, said Mohler. Although experts in theological education said only seminaries that adopt a secularized message would survive, that has not been the case, Mohler said, pointing to the fact that for the first time in its history Southern Seminary’s enrollment had exceeded 5,000 students in the 2015-2016 academic year.
Celebrate God's faithfulness to Southern Seminary.
“Here’s the great paradox: the seminaries that followed that methodology and adopted that trajectory are the seminaries that are dead or are dying,” Mohler said. “It is the seminaries that have refused to bend the knee ... that are not only surviving but by God’s grace, thriving,” Mohler said.
Mohler said more is required of Southern Baptist seminaries now than any other time in the history of the convention. Although the gospel message itself never changes, the challenges before the graduates of Southern Seminary are dramatically different than when the seminary was founded in 1859.
“We are on the hinge of history right now, of such massive change,” Mohler said. “The secularization that is going on in the society around us, the massive intellectual worldview challenges we now face, the moral revolution that now so characterizes our times is producing a context of ministry that is not only markedly different than that experienced by previous generations, it is one that is increasingly marked by hostility towards the cause of Christ and his gospel.”
Concluding his report, Mohler thanked messengers for their support and for funding the seminary through the Cooperative Program, which helps prepare ministers to face the rising cultural challenges concerning gender identity and sexual orientation.
“There are more young men training for the gospel ministry and to pastor churches on the campus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary right now than have ever been at any place in the history of the Christian church. And for that we are so very, very thankful,” he said.
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has appointed Matthew J. Hall as dean of its undergraduate school Boyce College. Hall, assistant professor of church history, has served as vice president for academic services at Southern Seminary since 2013.
"Matthew Hall is just the leader to take Boyce College into the next stage of its future,” said R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary, who appointed Hall to the new position. “He is academically prepared, experienced, and ready to lead one of the fastest-growing programs in higher education. I have had the honor of working with Matthew Hall for several years in the highest levels of Southern Seminary's administration. With this appointment we have the right man at the right time for the right school. It is a great day for Boyce College. Dr. Hall will be able to build on the great work accomplished by previous teams and direct Boyce College to the future."