Faith & Work Project Helps Christians Honor God in Everyday Life April 21, 2023

All Christians make decisions about personal finance, vocation, and economics.

With the release of two new books from the Faith & Works Series, Healthy and Wealthy? A Biblical-Theological Response to the Prosperity Gospel and Rich in Good Deeds: A Biblical Response to Poverty by the Church and by Society, the Faith & Work Project wants to help Christians think through these “ordinary” life decisions from a biblical perspective.

In a recent event in The Bookstore at Southern, Rob Plummer, professor at Southern and general editor of the Faith & Works series, discussed Scripture’s practical teaching on wealth and prosperity with authors and Southern faculty members: James Hamilton, Timothy Paul Jones, and Michael Pohlman.

Hamilton, Old Testament professor at Southern, critiqued the prosperity gospel and said Proverbs and Ecclesiastes offer a more satisfying vision for life.

“Wisdom is better for you than money,” Hamilton said. “What you really need is to experience God and to enjoy his goodness in his way. If you know God, he will provide everything you need, and you can trust and be content with his provision. The health, wealth, and prosperity gospel misses all of that.”

Marxist ideology, on the other hand, strips the world of all things sacred and reduces everything down to power relationships.

“These secular ideas operate on the idea that money is a supreme good,” Hamilton said. “The wisdom in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes calls this vanity. We know from the wisdom literature that the only way to have meaning is to enjoy God’s good gifts.”

Plummer also interviewed Jones, professor of apologetics and philosophy at Southern. Jones sought to recover ancient wisdom for our modern context, arguing that the ethics of the early church provide a model for ecclesial apologetics.

“The church is an argument for the Christian faith,” Jones said. “We don’t just serve to create opportunities to share the gospel, but we should live in a way that our lives are inexplicable without the presence of God. The early church took loving their neighbor seriously and demonstrated the truth of their beliefs by their ethics.”

To fix the ethical lack in many Christians, churches must return to Scripture and address the theological roots behind caring for the poor.

“Our lives should be so soaked with Scripture where every moment Scripture leaks out of us,” Jones said. “Wrong theology will work itself out in wrong practice. Sometimes we try to get the outward expression right without seeing the theological truth behind the ethics.”

Mike Pohlman, professor of Christian preaching, argued that a Pauline view of suffering conflicts with a health and wealth gospel.

“The prosperity gospel is the tragic news that God exists not for his own glory but for your appetites,” Pohlman said. “The prosperity gospel sanctifies vices like greed and coveting and turns the true gospel into an idol, and the idol is us.”

The key to understanding Pauline suffering, according to Pohlman, is seeing it as the design of God. Paul’s words in Romans 8:17 teach that the believer enters into glory through suffering.

“The means to get to glory include the cross,” Pohlman said. “Only Christianity offers hope rather than band-aids for the bleeding arteries of our suffering.”

For more information on the Faith & Work Project, visit the website.


Trustees Prepare for Upcoming Semester and Affirm Health of the Institution in Spring Meeting April 18, 2023

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary's Board of Trustees convened on Monday for their annual spring meeting to discuss the budget, faculty elections, and conduct regular board business. The board also honored Dr. Albert Mohler on his 30th anniversary as president of the seminary.

The board approved an operating budget of $52.3 million for the 2023-2024 fiscal year, a 3.6% increase from the previous year. Despite this increase, Southern Seminary and Boyce College will continue to offer some of the most affordable tuition of any institution in the Southern Baptist Convention due to the institution's strong financial position and enrollment.

Josh Powell, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, stated, "This meeting of the Board of Trustees was a testimony to the health of our institution. Our three schools are healthy, our finances are incredibly healthy, and the leadership is strong and united. We consider this the blessing of the Lord and a testimony to the leadership of Dr. Mohler."

President Mohler was able to attend a rescheduled work session, where he updated the board on his health after being hospitalized for bilateral pulmonary emboli. He expressed gratitude to his doctors and nurses for their care as he continues to rest and recuperate to an expected full recovery.

The board presented Mohler with a reframed document, which was initially given to him by the Presidential Search Committee on February 19, 1993, inviting him to become the ninth president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Powell praised God's providential direction of the search committee in selecting Mohler as president 30 years ago and affirmed the board's continued prayer for Mohler's recovery.

In addition, the board unanimously elected three faculty members, including Paul Akin as Associate Professor of Missions, Kyle Claunch as Associate Professor of Christian Theology, and Adam Howell as Associate Professor of Old Testament Interpretation. Sabbatical leave was also approved for professors Adam Howell, Ayman Ibrahim, Timothy Paul Jones, and Melissa Tucker.

The working session concluded with the board honoring Phillip Bray (MO), who served for 12 years as a trustee, fulfilling a partial term before being selected for ten additional years of service.

In reflecting on the spring meeting, Mohler said, "I am very thankful to God for the strength and vitality of this institution and so thankful for the governance of a very faithful board of trustees, who serve Southern Baptists remarkably well in fulfilling their crucial responsibilities. The board’s actions set us up for a remarkable new academic year to come."

The spring meeting of the Board of Trustees for The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was a testament to the Lord's favor on the institution and an opportunity to reflect on his provision of strong leadership, faculty, and financial stability as the school looks forward to a new academic year.


Jeremy Pelton Appointed VP for Enrollment Management April 12, 2023

Jeremy Pelton has been named Vice President for Enrollment Management at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In making the appointment, President R. Albert Mohler, Jr. pointed to Pelton’s experience as Director of Admissions at Southern Seminary and Boyce College since 2018. In that role, Pelton implemented the latest data-collection technology and oversaw multiple record-breaking incoming classes.

Mohler pointed to Pelton’s skills and his commitment to Southern Seminary.

“Our Admissions team is outstanding, and Jeremy Pelton will bring next-level leadership to this essential part of the Southern Seminary leadership team. I am very thankful that Jeremy has taken on this new role, and I look forward to seeing what the Lord does through him in strengthening Southern Seminary and Boyce College and assisting young people to follow God’s call with joy and obedience.”

Paul Akin, SBTS Provost, says Pelton is one of the most highly gifted and experienced leaders at Southern and appointing him to this new role will strengthen the institution.

“Jeremy Pelton is one of the most competent and gifted leaders serving Southern Seminary and Boyce College,” Akin said. “He is a systems builder, relates well with students and faculty, and has done an outstanding job as our Director of Admissions. I am excited to see how God continues to use his gifts for the strengthening of this institution as his leadership and influence expands into the area of Enrollment Management and beyond.”

Pelton graduated with a BA from Kansas State University in 2012 and has worked in admissions for higher education since 2010—at K-State as an Admissions Representative from 2013–2015, and then moving to Boyce College as an Admissions Counselor in 2015. Since joining the Southern Seminary and Boyce College staff, Pelton has served as the Associate Director of Admissions and Director of Admissions.

Pelton is thankful for the new role and is thrilled to help SBTS and Boyce College prepare and equip students to serve churches.

"I'm very thankful to be overseeing the Enrollment Management division,” Pelton said. “I view this role as a stewardship to the students, staff, and churches that we help to serve. As a student myself, I'm more convinced than ever that the training provided at Southern Seminary and Boyce College is immensely valuable for those called to serve the church."


Author and Ethicist Jason Thacker Joining Boyce Faculty March 17, 2023

Southern Seminary President Albert Mohler has appointed noted ethicist Jason Thacker as assistant professor of philosophy and ethics at Boyce College. Thacker, one of the foremost scholars on the intersection of faith and technology, currently serves as Research Director for the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission, where he will continue to serve as a Research Fellow after joining the Boyce College faculty.

President Mohler said Thacker’s background makes him an invaluable addition to the college’s faculty.

“Jason Thacker is an outstanding, young evangelical scholar who is doing cutting-edge work on artificial intelligence and many other areas. What we desperately need in this generation is a sustained evangelical engagement on issues of technology, intelligence, and a biblical understanding of humanity. Jason Thacker is poised to be one of the most significant ethical and theological thinkers of his generation.”

Dustin Bruce, Dean of Boyce College, believes Thacker is the right voice to equip students for ministry in a digital culture.

“Jason Thacker has distinguished himself as a preeminent Christian ethicist,” said Bruce. “He makes a welcome addition to the Boyce College faculty, as we seek to educate students to meet tomorrow’s challenges with eternal wisdom. His scholarship and love for the church will help believers think carefully about the intersection of technology and their faith.”

The right to privacy, artificial intelligence, and social media are unique issues facing Christians in the digital age—but Thacker’s scholarship confronts each of these challenges with well-reasoned biblical wisdom.

Thacker’s books include: The Age of AI: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity (2020), Following Jesus in A Digital Age: Biblical Wisdom for Digital Culture (2022), and Track: A Student’s Guide to Social Media (2023).

He also edited the recent volume The Digital Public Square: Christian Ethics in a Technological Society (2023) and has published scholarly articles on Christianity and technology.

Thacker, who has served as a Boyce Adjunct Instructor since 2021, has earned his MDiv and is a PhD candidate in Ethics and Public Policy at SBTS. He is excited to remain a part of the Southern community in a new role.

“My years at Southern Seminary were so formative for me,” Thacker said. “It is a true honor to rejoin this campus community as a faculty member as we all seek to apply the unchanging truths of God’s word to the moral and social questions of our day. There is a level of depth and nuance at Boyce that is unparalleled in Christian higher education, and I am thrilled to play a part in what God is doing in the lives of our students.”

SBTS Provost Paul Akin said Thacker is a perfect fit to help students respond to the digital challenges facing the church today.

“There is a clear need for more Christian leaders who can help us think biblically and carefully about technology,” Akin said. “Jason Thacker is widely respected as that kind of leader and wants to help develop those kinds of leaders in the next generation. I am really excited for our students to learn from him in the classroom and for our pastors and churches to benefit from his teaching and writing on these urgent topics.”


SBTS Hispanic Program Adds Doctor of Ministry Degree February 20, 2023

Southern Seminary is now offering a fully Spanish online DMin degree with cohorts starting once a year.

SBTS Provost Paul Akin said the new degree will build upon the success of Southern’s Online Hispanic Program (OHP), which has equipped ministers across the Spanish-speaking world since 2016.

“The Spanish DMin is held to the highest standard of academic rigor,” Akin said. “At the same time, it is tailored for pastors and church leaders. The online format gives Hispanic pastors and church leaders an opportunity to immediately apply what they are learning in their local context.”

Southern has a history of leading efforts in Spanish theological education and is one of the few institutions accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) approved to offer MA and MDiv degrees fully in Spanish. As OHP enrollment increased, so did the demand for post-graduate education.

Roberto Carrera, director of the Online Hispanic Program, and Felipe Castro, director of Hispanic Initiatives, saw the need to offer the DMin. Carrera was previously named Director of OHP in 2021.


Understanding Small Details Can Enhance Your Bible Reading, Scholar Says in Annual Gheens Lectures February 10, 2023

Six surprising details will forever change your Bible reading, Peter Williams told the Southern Seminary community during the 2023 Gheens Lectures, held February 8–9 in Heritage Hall.

English New Testament readers often take these six details for granted: question marks, capital letters, quotation marks, paragraphing, verse division, and punctuation. But Williams said these markings are additions to the Greek text. While sometimes helpful, these translation decisions can distract readers from the author’s original meaning.

“Question marks weren’t used consistently until the fifth century and the original letters weren’t upper or lowercase,” Williams said. “For centuries, Christians read their Bible’s fine without punctuation and speech marks. Some of the useful marks in our Bibles went from optional and helpful to now binding our interpretation.”

Williams serves as principal of Tyndale House at Cambridge in England and is one of the leading Bible scholars in evangelicalism. The topic of the lecture series was “Surprising Aspects of Jesus’s Teaching.” He is a member of the translation committee for the ESV Bible.


SBTS Hosts Renowned Scholar Robert George for Lecture, Panel with President Mohler February 7, 2023

Moral truth is attractive and leads to human flourishing, Robert George and Albert Mohler said during a discussion in the Bookstore at Southern. George serves as McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and is one of the world’s most respected voices within American social conservatism.

George delivered a lecture on natural law and the crisis of Western morality, then joined Mohler for a conversation on social conservatism. Andrew T. Walker, professor of ethics at SBTS, led the discussion. The lecture was sponsored by the Carl F. H. Henry Institute for Evangelical Engagement.

“We are in a new intellectual context,” Mohler said. “When the liberals of the last century claimed to save Christian morality from Christian theology, they lost both. For SBTS, we are proud to be cobelligerents against evil with Dr. George. But more than that, we are proud to be co-thinkers.”

George and Mohler discussed the state of contemporary conservatism; For George and Mohler, true conservatism differs from blood-and-soil nationalism and popular expressions of neo-conservatism.


Without the Word of God, Our Curriculum Would Be a Vapor, Mohler Says in Spring Convocation Address February 2, 2023

The foundation for Southern Seminary’s curriculum by which it trains ministers may be boiled down to one truth, President Albert Mohler said Thursday in his annual spring convocation address: God has spoken.

Speaking on Isaiah 40:1-5 Mohler said that the most important truth humans can know is that “the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” The existence of the self-revealing God is the irreducible foundation for the entire Christian faith. Thus, those truths undergird every class and every program in Southern Seminary’s curriculum. Convocation service was held Thursday after it was postponed Tuesday due to inclement weather.

“In the college and seminary, we are unashamedly and unabashedly committed to the faith once for all delivered to the saints,” Mohler said. “And we only know what it (the faith) is because he is there, and he is not silent. We only have a clue what Christianity is because he is there, and he is not silent. We have no way to know what is right belief and what is wrong belief except for this: he is there, and he is not silent.


We’re All Apologists Now, Jones Says in Annual Faculty Address

The apologetic landscape has changed and defending Christian morals is one of the chief tasks today, Timothy Paul Jones, professor of apologetics and family ministry at SBTS, said in Southern’s annual Faculty Address.

Previous generations asked, “Is Christianity true?” but a primary question being asked of the faith today is, “Is it good?”

“Apologetics is no longer limited to scholars and theologians,” said Jones. “Cultural and social changes have turned apologetics into an unavoidable consequence of living publicly as a Christian. Pursuing the Christian way of life will inevitably require a defense of this way of being in the world—not merely for apologists, but for all of us.”

Jones said the Christian ethic is no longer assumed as a positive good for society. The current cultural climate is similar to the one in which the second-century church lived; we can glean much wisdom from those early Christians, he said.

“This is not the first time Christians have faced the charge that their faith is immoral,” said Jones. “My goal is to consider the ways second-century Christian apologetics might inform what we do in our churches and classrooms in the 21st century.”

Jones observed three truths from second-century apologetics that may benefit current churches.


  1. Christians practiced radical civil good without bowing to the civic gods.

Second-century Christians posed a threat to the social order because their monotheism opposed the reigning civic religion of that day. Jones applied this principle to the 21st century where Christian values clash with the dominant secular morality.


One Year Later, Mayfield Coming Back after Devastating Tornado December 13, 2022

Until Jesus returns, December 10, 2021, will live in infamy for citizens of Mayfield, Kentucky.

That night, “the Beast” tore through town.

Just before 9:30 that evening, one of the strongest tornadoes to hit the United States in the past decade—a storm so ferocious it moved one National Weather meteorologist to nickname it “the Beast”—roared through the center of downtown Mayfield. What the nocturnal beast left in its wake was hard to fathom: 1,300 homes and businesses severely damaged or completely destroyed, nine late-shift workers killed at a candle factory on the outskirts of Mayfield and 24 total killed in Mayfield/Graves County.

Within about a 90-minute span, the marauding twister obliterated the city of Mayfield and then smashed through smaller western Kentucky towns of Benton, Princeton, Dawson Springs (site of 14 deaths), and Bremen. Its winds reached nearly 200 mph, the surreal damage left behind ranked the tornado at an EF4 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. All told, “the Beast,” spent more than three hours on the ground, traveled 165 miles, and took 58 lives.

Wes Fowler, pastor of First Baptist Church of Mayfield, hunkered down with his family and another staff member in the church as the storm leveled his hometown and his home church. You may read his account here.


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