Mohler writes about Internet at Washington Post May 29, 2012
The Internet, like all technology, comes with blessings and curses, Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. argues in a recent article at The Washington Post. In light of the May 20 gathering of 40,000-plus Orthodox Jews at Citi Field in New York City, an event held to discuss the dangers of the Internet, Mohler comments that evangelical Christians too have concerns with the technology that permeates much of contemporary human experience.
"Like the Orthodox Jews at Citi Field, most evangelical Christians see real and present dangers on the Internet, ranging from pornography to a loss of authentic communication and human relatedness," he writes. "Thanks to the Internet, a toxic dump of pornography is just a click away, destroying lives and souls."
So, is the Internet the enemy of faith? No, Mohler concludes. While Christians must keep in mind that "the dark side is always close at hand," they must also learn how to be "in the world, but not of the world." To remain relevant in the cultural conversation, he contends that Christians must utilize the Internet to facilitate discussion. "To be absent from the Internet," Mohler writes, "is to be absent from many of the most important conversations and debates of our times."
Mohler addresses further the tension between the advantages of online communication and its inherent limitations with respect to genuine human interaction:
"There is no way to avoid the Internet and remain relevant to the cultural conversation. And yet, a digital preacher is not going to preach your funeral, nor visit you in the hospital."
Mohler's article – "Is the Internet the enemy of faith?" – is available at The Washington Post Web site.
Long-term SBTS professor Wayne Ward dies at 90 May 24, 2012
From 1953 until 1991, Ward was professor of Christian theology at Southern Seminary, and in 1983, he became Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology, the same professorial chair that Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. presently holds. Upon his retirement, he was appointed senior professor of Christian theology.
“Wayne Ward was born to be a teacher,” Mohler said. “He brought incredible energy and commitment to the classroom. Through his classroom teaching and doctoral supervision, he touched and influenced thousands of lives. He had one of the longest tenures of any professor in the history of this institution, and it is a matter of academic legend that he served on more doctoral committees than any other member of Southern Seminary’s faculty.
“Wayne Ward was the very first Southern Seminary professor I ever met. He was a powerful preacher and he came regularly to my home church to preach January Bible studies. He befriended me and my family and later became a member of my own Ph.D. committee. Ward had an infectious love for students. He cared deeply for people. He was a peacemaker on the faculty, and he was a man whose life represented so many of the most historic events of the 20th century – events he not only witnessed, but helped shape,” he said.
Mohler continued: “The power of a teacher is incalculable, but few lives make that point so clearly as Wayne Ward. He lived long enough that many of those whom he taught in his ministry have already served and gone to glory, but there remain countless gospel ministers and missionaries who would point to Wayne Ward as a great influence in their lives.
“When Wayne Ward would teach theology in the classroom, his teaching lectern would become a pulpit. He would literally pound the pulpit and raise his voice to a high preaching tone, due to the fact that he not only loved to teach theology, he loved to preach and the two came together in him in an incredible way. Those of us who knew Wayne Ward as teacher were perhaps most touched by Wayne Ward as husband. His devoted care for Mary Ann through the many years of her illness and infirmity was one of the greatest testimonies I have ever seen of a husband’s devotion to his wife. That, among so many other things, will be long remembered by the Southern Seminary family.”
Duke K. McCall, Southern's seventh president (1951-1982) remembered: "Wayne Ward began teaching at Southern Seminary the very year I became president (1951). He was both a colleague and a friend. We served many, many years at Southern Seminary together. He was an energetic teacher and a preacher popular in the churches."
Ward earned a bachelor of arts from Ouachita Baptist University, a bachelor of divinity (now master of divinity) and doctor of theology (now doctor of philosophy) from Southern Seminary. He did post-doctoral studies at Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University in New York City, as well as at the Universities of Zurich and Basel, Switzerland, where he studied with widely known theologians Karl Barth, Edward Schweitzer and Oscar Cullmann.
Born July 28, 1921, in Piggott, Ark., his father working as a prosecutor and later as a judge, Ward seemed bound for a career in law. As early as high school, he took shorthand notes in the courtroom, and during his time at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark., he became chief reading clerk for the Arkansas legislature. However, in 1941, while serving as state Baptist Student Union president, Ward surrendered to the call to preach and served at three Arkansas churches before graduating college magna cum laude in 1943.
One of Wayne Ward's earliest memories was of meeting E. Y. Mullins, Southern's fourth president, when Ward was a small boy in the early 1920s. Mullins, a titanic Baptist personality, made a huge impression on the youngster. Years later, Ward would occupy the very professorial chair held by Mullins.
Ward was closely connected to a vast Baptist network. As a boy, he spent much time in the home of the Kelley family in Piggott, Ark., where Ward grew up with Charles S. Kelley, bonding as brothers. Later, Kelley's children would include Chuck Kelley, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Dorothy (Kelley) Patterson, wife of Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
After World War II, Ward began studies at Southern, and following the completion of his doctoral studies, he was elected to the faculty as professor of Christian theology in 1951. He wrote several books and contributed many articles and chapters to reference volumes and other titles. Among Ward’s works are his The Drama of Redemption, The Word Comes Alive and Is the Bible a Human Book? (each published with Broadman Press, which is now B&H Publishing).
Ward was a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, the American Academy of Religion, the American Schools of Oriental Research and the American Association of University Professors. Ward’s tenure as a teacher also afforded him the opportunity to teach overseas on many occasions, including locations in Europe, the Middle East and South America. For 47 years, he served as interim pastor for more than 30 churches in the American South.
During his more-than-four-decade career in teaching and ministry, Ward became acquainted with several famous personalities, including Bill Clinton and Martin Luther King Jr. First meeting Clinton when he was eight years old, Ward later encountered him while serving as interim pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock when Clinton was governor of Arkansas. Clinton and his wife, Hillary, attended the church at the time and traveled with Ward on a tour of the Middle East. As a result, Ward and his wife, Mary Ann, developed something of a friendship with the Clintons.
Ward met King while he was teaching at Union Theological Seminary. King was in town for a World Council of Churches meeting, and he asked Ward for assistance with formatting and citation in his doctoral dissertation.
Ward was also a pilot, earning his license at age 15. By the time of World War II, he had logged in hundreds of hours in a single-engine aircraft and also became a lieutenant in the Naval Air Rescue Service. During the war, Ward flew air-rescue and hospital planes for four years, including spending several months retrieving survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. He survived three crashes as result of enemy fire or storms, and during the World War II era, he experienced an additional crash as a passenger aboard a commercial plane headed to Los Angeles.
Ward became a widower in 2007, when Mary Ann, passed away on Nov. 18 of that year. The two were married June 15, 1943. He leaves behind three children: Larry Wayne Ward, Rebecca Ann Fulgham (James) and David Heath Ward; four grandchildren: Jason Ward Fulgham, Ashley Ann Fulgham Phillips, Jacqueline Marie Ward and Thomas Lee Ward; and a great-grandson: Holden West Phillips.
The family will hold visitation services at Shannon Funeral Service in Shelbyville, Ky., from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m., Friday, May 25. A funeral service will begin at 6 p.m.
On Saturday, May 26, an additional visitation will take place at Crescent Hill Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky., from 10 a.m. – noon, with a funeral service beginning at noon. Public burial will follow immediately at Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Ky.
With Fred Luter poised to become the first African-American president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) next month, the subject of the denomination's history with race relations is on the front burner. WDRB, a FOX affiliate in Louisville, Ky., recently aired a story about the matter that featured commentary from Southern Seminary faculty members R. Albert Mohler Jr. and T. Vaughn Walker. Paul Chitwood, executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention and a former faculty member at Southern, also appears in the story.
The report, produced by Lawrence Smith, highlights the historical significance of Luter's likely election at this year's national convention, which will be held in New Orleans, June 19-20. As a denomination that originated out of conflict over slavery, the installment of an African-American president would represent substantial progress for the SBC with respect to racial integration.
"The history of the Southern Baptist Convention is tied to the history of America," said Mohler, president of Southern Seminary, in the report.
"You just look at how America has been transformed on issues such as race relations, and the Southern Baptist Convention is very much a part of that. Now, that's to our shame in that we should have been leading when sometimes we were following."
Walker, WMU Professor of Christian Studies and professor of black church studies at Southern, stated that Luter's election as SBC president is, for him, on par with Barack Obama's election as the first African-American president of the United States.
"I never thought I'd see that in my lifetime. I'm delighted that it has occurred in both instances," said Walker, who in 1986 became the first full-time African-American faculty member at a SBC seminary.
The luncheon will be at noon, Wednesday, June 20, at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, in the La Nouvelle Orleans Ballroom, Sections A & B, Level Two. Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. will present a ministry update on behalf of the seminary.
Tickets purchased before June 11 are $20. If available, tickets at the door and Southern Seminary convention booth are $25. Seating is limited. Those interested may register here.
In CNN Belief Blog's "My Take" column, R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary, addresses the charge that Christians inconsistently isolate and condemn homosexuality.
After all, the Bible forbids the eating of shellfish and the wearing of mixed fabrics, among other things. Mohler points out that such ceremonial laws were given to Israel for a particular purpose at a specific point in redemptive history.
"An honest consideration of the Bible reveals that most of the biblical laws people point to in asking this question, such as laws against eating shellfish or wearing mixed fabrics, are part of the holiness code assigned to Israel in the Old Testament," he said.
"That code was to set Israel, God’s covenant people, apart from all other nations on everything from morality to diet."
Mohler explains that the New Testament rescinds dietary laws for Christians (see Acts 10:15). However, the Bible speaks to sexual morality in a different, more unified sense. "When it comes to homosexuality," he said, "the Bible’s teaching is consistent, pervasive, uniform and set within a larger context of law and Gospel."
Still, why do Christians continue to place importance on homosexuality? Mohler explains:
In the first place, that question is answered by the simple fact that it is the most pressing moral question of our times. Christians must be concerned about adultery, pornography, injustice, dishonesty and everything the Bible names as sin. But when my phone rings with a call from a reporter these days, the question I am asked is never adultery or pornography. It is about homosexuality.
Mohler also deals with other "inconsistencies" people raise concerning the Bible's witness to slavery and polygamy. He concludes by saying that Christian love requires nothing less than telling the truth about sexual sin.
"Christian love requires that we believe and teach what the Bible teaches and that we do so with both strong conviction and humble hearts," Mohler said. "The Church must repent of our failures in both of these tasks, but we must not be silent where the Bible speaks."
The entire article, "The Bible condemns a lot, but here's why we focus on homosexuality," is available at Belief Blog.
“We set [graduates] loose to do what God has called and gifted and empowered them to do – to teach and preach the Word of God, to shepherd the flock of God, to guard the good deposit and to follow the pattern of sound words, to herald the good tidings of the gospel, to teach the church, to counsel believers, to reach the unreached and to comfort the afflicted,” R. Albert Mohler Jr. told the 209th graduating class. “They are set forth to defend the truth, to contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints, to mourn with those who mourn and to minister in Christ’s name and stead.
“Take everything good you received here, and leave anything that does not glorify God and strengthen Christ’s church. Remember all who made this possible for you, knowing that all these things were provided so that the church may be faithfully taught and the nations gladly reached.”
Also at graduation, Mohler presented the Findley B. and Louvenia Edge Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence to Peter J. Gentry. Joining the seminary in 1998, Gentry is professor of Old Testament interpretation. He is also the author, along with SBTS’ Stephen Wellum, of the forthcoming book, Kingdom through Covenant, available this summer.
Mohler’s entire address is available in audio and video at the SBTS Resources page, www.sbts.edu/resources. A complete transcript of the address, “To Utter What Has Been Hidden Since the Foundation of the World,” is available at www.albertmohler.com
Ware, professor of Christian theology at Southern Seminary, taught the course in four sessions, each giving framework, foundation and development of the Bible’s presentation of the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition to the course’s four main sessions, the event included two panel discussions featuring Ware dialoguing with other Southern Seminary professors about christological issues.
In the first session, Ware focused on the doctrine of Trinity in order to provide background for how one should understand the person of the Son. He exhorted attendees to learn to read their Bibles with “trinitarian lenses,” seeing that in many passages of Scripture, pronouns like “he” and “him” refer not to God generically but to a particular person of the Godhead. Thus, putting on trinitarian lenses opens up the Bible to help people to see what is already there.
Further, in order to have orthodox trinitarianism, Ware explained, one must have the two pillars of identity: distinction and equality. Without distinction among the persons of the Godhead, one has unitarian monotheism (one god, one person). Without equality of identity, one has tritheism (three gods, three persons). To have authentic monotheism, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit must share the same identical nature, not merely the same kind of nature. The Bible presents a complex rather than simple monotheism. In surveying the biblical and historical data concerning the doctrine of the Trinity, Ware stated that relationships and roles distinguish each member of the Godhead from one another.
In the second session, Ware dealt with the Son as the eternal Word, the second person of the Trinity. As the eternal Word, the Son activates, implements and carries out the design and will of the Father, indicating the inherent hierarchy that exists among the Trinity. Though all three are equally God, the Father has authority over the Son, and the Father and Son have authority over the Spirit, both in eternity past and in the economy of redemption.
Ware drew attention to John 1:1-5 in order to show that the Word is both identified with God and distinguished from God. The Word’s participation in creation necessitates the conclusion that he too is God because apart from him “nothing came into being that has come into being” (John 1:3). “What is implicit in Genesis 1 is made explicit in John 1,” Ware said. And though a point contested by some evangelical theologians, he stressed the clarity of the biblical teaching of the Son’s submission to the Father before and during the incarnation.
According to Ware, more than 40 times in John’s Gospel, Jesus says that he came to do the will of his Father (e.g., John 6:38; 8:42; 10:36). The Father initiated the plan for his eternal Son to come into the world, as texts such as John 3:16-17; Galatians 4:4; Hebrews 1:1-2; and 1 John 4:9-10 indicate. The Father’s plan from eternity has been to bring to pass his purposes through the Son (Eph 1:9-11; 3:8-12).
“The eternal Son, God the Son, is both fully God and fully equal to the Father, while he is fully Son and eternally in a relationship of agent of the Father, carrying out the work and implementing the will of the Father in full submission and obedience to all that the Father has planned,” Ware said.
In the third session, Ware discussed the incarnate Son. As in eternity past, the Son – as the one who became forever incarnate in taking upon himself a human nature in addition to his divine nature – submits to the Father’s will (see John 8:28-29; 1 Cor 11:3). In the Bible, Ware pointed out, one never encounters an instance in which the Son exercises authority over the Father. The Son obeys out of love for the Father (John 14:31) and in view of his future reign and exaltation (Ps 2:7-9; 1 Cor 15:25-28).
Ware addressed Jesus’ relationship to the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the Spirit-anointed Messiah of whom the Old Testament prophesies, and as the incarnate Son, he lives an authentically human life by relying on the Spirit. And beyond living as a human being in submission to the Spirit, Jesus performed miracles by the power of the Spirit (Matt 12:28; Acts 2:22; 10:38).
Building off of Philippians 2:5-8, Ware taught that Jesus did not give up any of his deity in assuming a human nature. Rather, he gave up the privileges of his deity and experienced a truly human life. This, he noted, is subtraction by addition. The Son’s deity is not taken away in the incarnation, but the incarnation does veil it.
In the fourth session, Ware talked about the Son as the exalted Lord. Having completed the task that the Father set before him, the Son reigns as the glorified king, though still under his Father’s authority and in the continued power of the Spirit. As a result of his successful mission, Ware explained, the Son defeated the penalty and power of sin, as well as conquering Satan’s power over humanity (1 Cor 15:54-57; Col 2:13-15). Also, the Son earned the right to sit at the Father’s right hand from which he rules and reigns over the nations, maintaining his rights as savior of the elect and judge of the non-elect (Heb 1:3; Eph 1:18-23; cf. Ps 2:7-9; Matt 28:18-20; John 6:37-39). And at the consummation of all things, the Son as the exalted Lord will return to reign with his bride, the church (Dan 7:15-18; Rev 22:1-5).
The event’s Tuesday-night panel discussion featured Ware and two other members of Southern’s faculty, Zane Pratt and Thomas J. Nettles. Owen Strachan, assistant professor of Christian theology and church history at Southern’s Boyce College, moderated the panel. Ware, Pratt and Nettles discussed a range of topics, such as the need to communicate the deity of Christ to Muslims, church history’s relationship to biblical doctrine, the nature of Christ-centered preaching and the normative trinitarian pattern for prayer.
The Wednesday-night panel consisted of Southern Seminary professors Gregg R. Allison, Jim Hamilton and Stephen J. Wellum along with Ware. Allison served as moderator, raising for the panel questions pertaining to how practical church issues relate to Christology. Responding to questions from both Allison and the audience, the panel members gave insights about baptism, the Lord’s Supper, church discipline, weddings and funerals, with a christological focus.
An effort of Southern Seminary’s alumni relations office, Alumni Academy seeks to offer ministry enhancement and ongoing theological learning to the institution’s alumni. Alumni Academy events are of no cost to Southern alumni, and for a nominal fee, alumni who attend can bring with them members of their church staff. Southern Seminary faculty members R. Albert Mohler Jr., Randy Stinson, Joe Crider and Gregg R. Allison will each teach course offerings in the coming months.
More information about Alumni Academy is available at events.sbts.edu
In a May 11 post at CNN's Belief Blog, Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. and Wheaton College President Philip Ryken provide unsolicited advice to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney about his imminent commencement speech at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.
As leaders of prominent evangelical schools, Mohler and Ryken surmise that Romney should speak to evangelical interests openly and honestly as a Mormon and politician.
In his portion of the post, Mohler recommends that Romney not only stay true to his Mormon convictions as he communicates to his audience, but also appeal to his concerns and goals in public policy that overlap with those of evangelicals. And furthermore, he should point out that he does not aim to become their pastor but their president.
"[Romney] should not try to bridge the theological gulf that separates Mormons from evangelical Christians, but he should point directly to common concerns and shared convictions about the crucial issues facing our nation," Mohler writes.
"He should remind the audience at Liberty University that he is not running to be their preacher but to be their president. He should speak to shared political and policy concerns, making clear the fact that his policies emerge from a deep reservoir of commitment."
In demonstrating his shared interests with evangelicals, Ryken suggests that Romney speak about religious liberty.
"I would give Romney the same advice that I offered in a letter to President Obama when the White House asked for comments on the health insurance mandate: promote religious liberty as a first and fundamental freedom," he writes.
Both Mohler's and Ryken's comments are available in their entirety at Belief Blog: "Unsolicited Advice: What should Mitt Romney say at Liberty University?"
The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., voted to receive J.D. Payne as its pastor of church multiplication, May 6, 2012. This comes after the church’s elders recommended Payne to the congregation during April.
"I'm grateful to God for his grace in leading J.D. to Brook Hills,” said David Platt, senior pastor of the Church at Brook Hills. “As we are training pastors and church planters in the local church to serve throughout North America and the nations, I can't think of a better person to lead this way in the local church. I look forward to seeing how the Lord uses him in the days ahead to lead the Church at Brook Hills and other local churches to passionately make disciples and intentionally multiply churches.”
Since 2002, Payne has served with the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and Southern Seminary as associate professor of church planting and evangelism and director of the Center for North American Missions and Church Planting, as well as being a national missionary with NAMB.
“We’re going to miss J.D. Payne incredibly. Our loss is Brook Hills’ gain,” said Zane Pratt, dean of the Billy Graham School, noting that Payne would continue with Southern Seminary in an adjunct role.
Payne spoke fondly of his time at Southern: “The past 10 years have been an incredible blessing. The men and women who make up the faculty at Southern are wonderful – and dear friends. I will most definitely miss them.
“I loved being able to be a part of an environment where students have been hungry to get out of the classroom and into the field sharing the gospel and planting churches. I’m very humbled to have been here the past 10 years.”
Payne will officially start his position with Brook Hills July 1. As pastor of church multiplication, he will oversee Brook Hills’ church planting efforts in North America, which includes working closely with the church’s pastor of global disciple-making in matters related to cross-cultural church planting. Payne’s responsibilities will include developing an equipping center that will seek to mobilize the church’s 4,200 members for evangelism and discipleship, helping people from all stages of life and leadership to become more faithful and effective disciple-makers. The center will also provide opportunities for the church to raise up future leaders in these areas.
During the course of last 14 months, Payne said he conversed with Platt about helping them find someone who fit the role of church multiplication pastor. Platt contacted Payne after reading Payne’s work. For some time prior to this, Payne and his wife, Sarah, sensed a new direction in terms of God’s call on their lives. Payne thought he would continue in academia in some form. However, as he continued to give counsel to Platt and the leaders at Brook Hills, he began to consider the position of pastor of church multiplication for himself.
“The more I thought and prayed after David and I first spoke the more I felt like the Lord was probably leading me in this direction,” he said.
Soon after this, Platt asked Payne if he thought about taking on the role himself, and after several trips from Louisville to Birmingham, along with times of fasting and praying, Payne decided to pursue the position. After Payne interacted with the elders and leaders at Brook Hills to determine that he was on the same page with them theologically, missiologically and philosophically, the church moved forward with making him its pastor of church multiplication.
Interestingly enough, Payne said, noting that it is to his embarrassment, he knew little about Platt and the Church at Brook Hills other than what he read, heard and saw in the media.
“Up until about 14 months ago, I knew practically nothing about the Church at Brook Hills. I knew practically nothing about David Platt. I never read his books. I only heard him preach three times in chapel at Southern,” he said.
“Other than that, I knew nothing.”
Payne explained that Platt’s deep theological commitments wed with a robust yet simple understanding of missiology appealed to him since becoming familiar with Platt. Now, he will join Platt on a more direct level in reaching the ends of the earth with the gospel.
Payne and Sarah, who have been married since 1995, have three children: Hannah (10), Rachel (7) and Joel (5). For the last nine years, Sarah worked as a part-time physician in internal medicine and pediatrics, serving the uninsured at a Louisville clinic. She will continue similar work serving at a clinic in Birmingham.
The April 2012 “Towers” is now on stands and online.
We’ve all seen and heard the two extremes. One is the German-reading, bearded fellow who prefers theology only in old brick buildings. The other is the county-seat pastor who shivers at the idea of Augustine and Calvin and wants only to pursue the “real” task of soul-winning. And then we’re stuck wondering, “Which is more important: theory or practice, thought or action?”
In this “Towers,” Timothy K. Beougher and Owen Strachan help readers think about this issue and see that, properly understood, action rises out of thought. The two are intrinsically related.
The May issue also includes an interview with Capitol Hill Baptist Church pastor Mark Dever about his two new books, an illustrated overview of the 2012 Together for the Gospel conference and Southern Seminary's newly unveiled 10-year master plan to reset and restore the campus.
Additionally, we take a satirical look at the quirks and idiosyncrasies of Seminary-Guy: our SBTS hipster.
Southern Seminary Resources publishes “Towers,” Southern Seminary Magazine and other seminary publications digitally as well as physically. Check out the Resources page for an improved online reading experience.