Mohler: Religious Liberty Vital to Christianity June 17, 2021

NASHVILLE (BP) – A theology of conversion, such as Christianity, necessitates religious liberty because regeneration of the heart cannot be achieved by coercion, Albert Mohler said Tuesday (June 15) during “Baptists Thinking Biblically: A Conversation on Religious Liberty.”

The late-night event, hosted by Southern Baptist Theological Seminary at the Music City Center in Nashville, featured Mohler, Southern’s president, and Andrew Walker, associate professor of Christian ethics and apologetics and associate dean of the school of theology at Southern.

“In the history of Western civilization,” Mohler said, “religious liberty as we know it really came out of a culture committed to the understanding of human beings as imago Dei – made in the image of God – of a conversionist faith that, though obscured during the Middle Ages, still made a distinction between those who professed the faith and those who did not.”

Originally, religious liberty did not mean a freedom to reject belief in God “because that wasn’t even an intellectual option,” Mohler said. It meant a freedom “not to be coerced – especially after the Reformation – into a particular confession, be it Catholic or Protestant.”

Religious liberty sounds so strange to many now “because the default position is no longer theistic belief but the secular condition,” Mohler said.


Inaugural Apologetics Conference Looks at Reformed Apologetics June 11, 2021

The first annual Southern Seminary Apologetics Institute, a conference examining how Reformed apologetics looks in a secular age, took place May 10-11 at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Featured speakers included Albert Mohler, Timothy Paul Jones, and J. V. Fesko.

Jones, director of Southern’s Center for Christian Apologetics, was happy to see the conference happen after it was postponed from May 2020 due to the pandemic.

“This inaugural Apologetics Institute didn’t take place exactly when or how we expected,” he said. “It was originally scheduled in May 2020, but had to be postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus. Even with the limitations, it was a delight to have a room full of students eager to engage deeply with theologically-grounded apologetics.”

The Institute focused on the question “What does apologetics look like for those whose theology has been shaped by the Reformation?”


SBTS Appoints New Senior VP for Institutional Administration May 20, 2021

Jonathan B. Austin has been appointed as the new senior vice president for institutional administration at Southern Seminary, President Albert Mohler announced Thursday afternoon.

Austin, who has served as Mohler’s executive assistant and chief of staff since 2017, will begin in the role on August 1. In this role, he is following Craig Parker, who recently announced his retirement after serving SBTS in that role and others for many years.

“Jon is a remarkable leader and one of the most capable managers with whom I’ve had the experience to work,” Mohler said.

“He has a remarkable background, including having served as a partner in a law firm. He reveals a deep love of Christ and great Christian character. He is also a graduate of Southern Seminary. I know the entire Southern Seminary family will take great satisfaction in Jon’s appointment.”

An Oklahoma native, Austin holds an undergraduate degree in business from Oklahoma State University and a law degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law. He practiced law for nearly 15 years at a specialty firm in Oklahoma City and was a partner in the firm. His primary areas of practice were in business transactional work, commercial real estate, and non-profit law. Austin graduated from SBTS on May 7 with a master of arts in theological studies.

Austin is a gifted and experienced teacher who also serves as an assistant professor of law at Boyce College. Prior to his move to Louisville in 2016 to attend SBTS, Austin served as an adjunct professor at the University of Central Oklahoma and taught for the Oklahoma Bar Association. Jon and his wife, Erin, have four children. They are members of Ninth & O Baptist Church.


SBTS and Boyce College Send Out 593 Graduates May 8, 2021

Though a time may come when they are tempted to wonder how much good they’re doing in gospel ministry, everything faithful ministers do for Christ will impact both time and eternity, Southern Seminary President Albert Mohler told graduates Friday afternoon during the seminary’s spring commencement.

In the seminary’s 227th commencement, 241 students received degrees. There were 325 total graduates for spring semester, with 241 walking across the stage to receive their diplomas in Southern’s first in-person graduation since December of 2019. From the class of 2020, which was unable to hold a live commencement service due to the pandemic, 167 returned to walk with the class of 2021.

In total, Southern and Boyce College—the seminary’s undergraduate school—sent out 593 graduates, including those from 2020.


Spring Conference Highlights: D&T and Renown May 3, 2021

Two conferences during the spring semester helped usher in a gradual return to normal outreach at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

From April 22 thru 24, The Institute for Biblical Worship hosted the annual Doxology and Theology conference at Southern Seminary.

Noted artists and speakers considered the shared glory of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and their distinct workings within corporate worship.


Graham School Offering Three Major MDiv Degrees Online—Seven MDivs Now Fully Online April 29, 2021

The Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is now offering MDiv and MA degrees in three key areas that are fully online.

Paul Akin, dean of the Graham School, said SBTS wants to enable those already working in ministry to stay in their current position while pursuing a master of divinity.

“We want to make sure we are making theological education as accessible as possible to as many people as possible,” he said.


Noted Preaching Scholar Abraham Kuruvilla Joining SBTS Faculty April 26, 2021

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has announced the appointment of noted preaching professor Abraham Kuruvilla as its newest faculty member.

Kuruvilla formerly served as senior research professor of preaching and pastoral ministry at Dallas Theological Seminary. He is also a practicing medical doctor who has specialized in dermatology.

Kuruvilla holds an MD, a PhD in immunology, and a PhD in hermeneutics and is the author of numerous books including A Manual for Preaching: The Journey from Text to Sermon (Baker, 2019) and several volumes on Genesis, Judges, Psalms (forthcoming), Mark, Ephesians, 1 and 2 Timothy/Titus (forthcoming) in a series of theological commentaries for preachers. His book, A Vision for Preaching: Understanding the Heart of Pastoral Ministry (Baker, 2015), was a 2016 Preaching Today book award recipient. He has also contributed widely to various medical journals over the past two decades.


SBTS Trustees Celebrate God’s Grace in Making School Stronger Than Ever April 20, 2021

In their spring meeting Monday afternoon, trustees of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary unanimously approved a $48.1 million operating budget for 2021-2022 and celebrated God’s mercy in enabling the school to flourish despite the challenges of the past year.

The new budget represents a $10.9 million increase from the budget trustees approved for the 2020-21 fiscal year. During the 2020-21 school year, the seminary has witnessed record levels of giving, a record number of donors, and record enrollment.

“When you look at Southern Seminary and Boyce College and understand where we are, it’s by God’s grace,” President Albert Mohler said.


Students Brave Rain to Serve Louisville through 1937 Project April 19, 2021

On April 10, a rainy Saturday, 106 students served the city of Louisville through the Bevin Center’s 1937 project. Each year, SBTS and Boyce volunteers spread out across Jefferson County and work in the community. Along with parks and churches, Coleridge-Taylor Elementary was among the worksites this year.

"Several of my roommates and I were able to participate in this year’s 1937 Project.” said Tommy Nissen, SBTS MDiv Student, “our site was Coleridge-Taylor Elementary. We put up fencing, repaired garden boxes, cleaned out chicken coops, mulched, weeded, raked leaves, and prepped the grounds for the rest of the semester and the summer.”


Written to Christians or Almost Christians? Mohler and Schreiner Debate Warning Passages at TGC21 April 16, 2021

Does Albert Mohler’s view of the warning passages in Hebrews need to be straightened out?

The SBTS president good-naturedly teased Schreiner on Twitter that Tuesday’s late-night event at The Gospel Coalition’s 2021 National Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, amounted to precisely that. Schreiner, longtime New Testament professor at SBTS, and Southern Seminary’s president discussed the warning passages in Hebrews before a sold-out crowd of more than 250. The theme of TGC21 was the book of Hebrews.


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