May “Towers” looks at theology in thought and action May 7, 2012

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.

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Don’t waste your summer: course suggestions from Prof. Greg Wills May 1, 2012

Southern Seminary summer courses offer a unique opportunity to study with experts visiting our campus. Not only that, but the summer provides an excellent venue for students to spend concentrated times of study with some of their favorite SBTS faculty. There are a number of incredible opportunities this summer on both fronts.

Study opportunities with visiting faculty:

  • You could take Religion and the Founding of the American Republic, taught by colonial and early American history expert Daryl Cornett, June 25-29. Cornett is the author and editor of the recent book Christian America? (B&H Academic, 2011);
  • Another option is Religion and the Civil War with Daniel Stowell, June 18-22. Stowell is a Civil War-era expert and director of the Papers of Abraham Lincoln project. He is also the author of Rebuilding Zion: The Religious Reconstruction of the South 1863-1877 (Oxford University Press, 1998);
  • You could also take Contemporary Theology, June 25-29, with the inimitable Greg Thornbury, who is dean and professor at Union University’s School of Theology and Missions;
  • Beyond that, you could take Systematic Theology II, July 16-20, with Micah Carter, a terrific lecturer who directs adult ministry publishing at LifeWay.

If you're hoping to take a class with one of your favorite SBTS professors, there are plenty of excellent options:

  • For starters, you could take C. S. Lewis: His Life, Works, and Legacy, June 11-15, taught by Dan DeWitt, dean of Boyce College and passionate C. S. Lewis enthusiast;
  • Another option is Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism, June 18-22, taught by Owen Strachan, a tremendous scholar and expert on fundamentalism and evangelicalism;
  • In addition to these, you could take Systematic Theology I, July 2-6, with Steve Wellum;
  • Church History I, June 11-15, with Shawn Wright;
  • Biblical Theology, July 29- Aug. 1, with Jim Hamilton;
  • For those who might be interested in attending the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention June 17-20, you can not only attend and earn class credit for going, but also spend time with seminary Dean Russell Moore, who will lead students on a tour of New Orleans as he lectures about the SBC.

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A complete list of course offerings is available at www.sbts.edu/summer2012. Students wanting to register for summer courses may do so through their Moodle Web portal.

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SBTS trustees adopt comprehensive master plan, add faculty April 17, 2012

The Board of Trustees of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary approved a master plan to repurpose and refocus the seminary’s physical campus, April 17, 2012. This dramatic step represents the most significant physical revitalization of the seminary since moving to its current location in 1926.

“One of our chief responsibilities in this generation is to ensure Southern Seminary is propelled into the future unconstrained by limitations that we have the responsibility to address now,” said SBTS President R. Albert Mohler Jr. “The campus of Southern Seminary is merely a tool, but it’s a very important tool for our ability to fulfill the mission that has been entrusted to us. For that reason, we need to take responsibility in this generation to make certain that the campus continues as a great asset to our mission and does not become a liability. That explains this very significant effort to address long-term issues, and also important opportunities for the campus.”

Dan Dumas, senior vice president for institutional administration, said about the adoption and implementation of the master plan: “After restoring the theological heritage of the seminary in the late 20th-century, we are committed to restoring the historic buildings of this campus in order to align them with our mission.”

During the next 10 years, the master plan will dissolve $52 million in deferred maintenance and position the campus for immediate and future structural and financial sustainability. Phase one will restore and update the campus, primarily in terms of housing and administrative offices. This phase requires the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention to approve a $20 million loan during its annual meeting in New Orleans, this June.

The master plan will repurpose the historical Mullins Complex as a state-of-the-art facility for Boyce College, the undergraduate school of Southern Seminary.

“Moving Boyce College into the Mullins Complex in the heart of campus will facilitate the greatest integration of the college into the life of the seminary since its inception,” Mohler said. “It will accelerate our programs that link the college and the seminary together in order to get committed missionaries and pastors onto the mission field and into the churches as quickly as possible. It will also maximize the stewardship of all of our campus facilities.”

Phase two will advance the learning community of Southern Seminary, primarily through renovation of the James P. Boyce Centennial Library. Phase three, without requiring any firm commitments, anticipates future development.

In addition to approving the 2012-13 budget, the Board of Trustees voted to grant James M. Hamilton Jr., associate professor of biblical theology, with tenure. The board also promoted Timothy Paul Jones, currently associate professor of leadership and church ministry, to full professorship.

“Jim Hamilton and Timothy Paul Jones are two of our most creative, visionary professors,” said Russell D. Moore, senior vice president for academic administration and dean of the School of Theology. “They are not only writing the books the next generation of Christians will read, they are also pouring their lives one by one into students here on this campus. I couldn't be happier to have them as part of this great, historic faculty.”

Mohler echoed Moore’s sentiment, stating that Hamilton and Jones model Christian scholarship: “Professors Hamilton and Jones are not only capable scholars, but deeply committed Christians and involved churchmen who model for our students just the right picture of what it means to be a Christian scholar.”

More information about Southern Seminary is available at www.sbts.edu; more information about Boyce College is available at www.boycecollege.com

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April “Towers” addresses the priority of distinctives, primacy of the gospel April 9, 2012

The April 2012 “Towers” is now on stands and online.

Remember the song from Sesame Street that goes something like, “One of these things is not like the other”? Well, that’s what this issue of “Towers” is about. Of the many different things that define a given church, one commitment reigns over the others – the message of Jesus Christ. Ligon Duncan and Josh Harris tell readers that the primacy of the gospel is not like the other commitments of a church.

Also, we look at the remarkable story of the tornado that, in early March, swept through Henryville, Ind., and brought a unique opportunity to the township’s First Baptist Church.

April's "Towers" also includes G.K. Beale talking about his new book, A New Testament Biblical Theology, SBTS Press releases A Guide to Adoption and Orphan Care and a before-unseen tour of underground Southern.

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.

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Mohler hosts President Jimmy Carter on Thinking in Public podcast March 26, 2012

Thinking in Public, a long-format interview program hosted by The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr., features a conversation with former United States President Jimmy Carter. Carter served as the 39th U.S. President and received the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize – the only U.S. president to win the award following his presidency.

In light of Carter’s recently released book, NIV Lessons from Life Bible: Personal Reflections with Jimmy Carter, Mohler and Carter discuss his background, influences, biblical interpretation and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Carter’s conversation with Mohler, “The Bible Meets the Modern Age: A Conversation with Former President Jimmy Carter,” is available on iTunes and at Mohler’s Web site, www.albertmohler.com

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Moore addresses assurance in First-Person article March 21, 2012

Southern Seminary's Russell D. Moore addresses the importance – or unimportance – of a Christian knowing the date, time and place of his or her conversion in Baptist Press' First-Person column, March 20, 2012.

In the article, Moore, dean of the School of Theology and senior vice president for academic administration, discusses the misnomer that some preachers and evangelists espouse, seemingly intimating that every person's conversion is sudden, abrupt and dramatic, a moment on which one can attach a date and time. However, Moore points out that some people come to faith in Christ through a slower realization of the gospel.

"Sometimes our churches reinforce this misunderstanding," he writes. "Preachers talk about assurance of salvation as though it were about remembering a past experience, and doing a mental autopsy on the sincerity of that. The people we allow to give testimonies in our churches and in our publications all seem to have a dramatic tale to tell.

"That's not what the Gospel is about."

Rather than a message about placing one's trust in a dramatic or emotional experience, Moore contends that the gospel is about trusting in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

"The point of the Gospel isn't celebrating an experience; it's believing a Man who is your crucified, resurrected, reigning Life," he writes.

The entire article – "Do you know when you were saved?" – is available at the Baptist Press Web site.

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March “Towers” talks dead people March 16, 2012

The March 2012 "Towers" is now on stands and online.

“Dead Among the Living” isn’t a new band stirring mosh-pits or a new show on the AMC network – though it might work for both. Rather, it’s a word-picture of a too-common group of people who borrow the presumed benefits of church-goers: a conveniently powerful God and a feel-good community of, well, just good ‘ol people. They’re sitting in the pews of your church and mine. They probably look like you. But they’re dead.

In this March 2012 issue of “Towers,” Steve Watters, along with Timothy Paul Jones, helps readers think through this phenomenon, then Mike McKinley helps pastors learn to reach the spiritually dead who sit in the pews at church, the dead among the living.

Also in "Towers," Andrew Peterson talks about the Christian imagination and Bruce Ware tells parents how to teach the Bible to their children.

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.

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Boyce College holds essay contest for full-tuition scholarship March 14, 2012

If you are a prospective college student interested in enrolling at Boyce College for the Fall 2012-Spring 2013 Worldview Studies Certificate Program, this contest is for you.

Boyce College is hosting an essay contest that will grant a full-tuition scholarship to one lucky winner. Your essay should include what you believe the importance of a Biblical Worldview has to do with success on a college campus. All submissions MUST be original. Plagiarism in any form will not be accepted. You can use quotes and outside sources, but make sure you give adequate recognition to your sources through either footnotes or citations. Entries should be at least 500 words, but no longer than 1,000 words. Footnotes and citations do not count towards the word limit.

The winner will be awarded a full-tuition, at the SBC-student rate, scholarship for the Fall 2012-Spring 2013 Worldview Studies Certificate Program. Your entry can be submitted via email to boyce@sbts.edu Make sure your essay is in a Word document attached to the email. Include your contact information in the body of the email. All submissions should be sent in by June 4, 2012.The winner of the essay contest and tuition scholarship will be notified via email July, 16, 2012.

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Schreiner, Wellum, Strachan contribute to latest 9Marks Journal March 8, 2012

Southern Seminary's Thomas R. Schreiner, Stephen J. Wellum and Owen D. Strachan each contributed articles to the latest 9Marks Journal, available online. In light of the 2012 Together for the Gospel conference's theme of the "Underestimated Gospel," the March-April 2012 9Marks Journal devotes itself to theme of "The Underestimated Doctrine of Conversion."

Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, writes two articles, "Conversion and the Story of Israel" and "Conversion in the New Testament." The first article discusses how the doctrine of conversion is anticipated in the Old Testament, and the second article explains how the promise of conversion becomes a reality in the New Testament.

"The story of God’s triumph over the serpent promised in the Old Testament (Gen 3:15) becomes a reality in the New Testament," Schreiner writes. "The Old Testament promised a new covenant, a new creation, a new exodus, and new hearts for God’s people. And there is an inaugurated fulfillment of all of these promises through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is proclaimed in the New Testament."

Wellum, professor of Christian theology, discusses the necessity of conversion in his article, "Conversion, God, and the Whole Self." Conversion is necessary, Wellum argues, because of man's sinfulness, God's holy character and how conversion "affects the whole person, and it affects the person as a whole."

"Christian conversion depends on the sovereign and supernatural work of the triune God in people’s lives," he writes. "In conversion, God brings people from spiritual death to life. This enables them to abhor what they once loved – their sin and rebellion against God – and to turn and trust in Christ."

Strachan, assistant professor of Christian theology and church history at Boyce College, surveys the history of the American church's understanding of conversion in his essay, "His Arm Is Strong to Save: A Trajectory of Conversion in America." The article highlights influential figures such as Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Charles Finney, D.L. Moody, Billy Sunday and Billy Graham.

"This is not an essay to discuss whether America is a 'Christian nation'," he writes. "Rather, I want to scan the past three centuries of American evangelical history to ask this question: how have Christians in different periods understood conversion and, more specifically, the means of conversion."

The Schreiner, Wellum and Strachan articles, along with the rest of the contents of the March-April 2012 9Marks Journal, are available at the 9Marks Web site.

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Republican Leader McConnell reads Mohler’s letter on Senate floor March 1, 2012

During the Senate's March 1, 2012, discussion of the proposed Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell read from the floor Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr.'s letter concerning the Department of Health and Human Services' recent policy that requires religious institutions to provide employees with contraceptive and abortifacient services.

The Senate Minority Leader from Kentucky appealed to Mohler's letter among many other "religious leaders and concerned citizens" from his state in order to make his case for what has been shorthanded "the conscience amendment," concluding his presentation by reading the entirety of Mohler's letter. The amendment would have allowed employers to opt out of providing health care coverage to which they might object on moral grounds.

According to CNN, the Senate killed the amendment with a 51-48 vote, the Democrats motioning to table the proposal. McConnell insisted on a floor vote regarding the amendment sponsored by Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri.

Mohler in his letter to McConnell argues that the contraceptive policy undermines religious liberty and forces Christians and many other Americans to violate conscience in order to comply with it. Referring to the Obama administration's policy as a "gross and deliberate violation of religious liberty," Mohler's letter includes a request for Congress to provide an immediate remedy to the policy.

"This is a policy that will either require millions upon millions of Americans to accept a gross and deliberate violation of religious liberty, or to accept the total secularization of all education and social services," Mohler writes in his letter to McConnell, noting the objections to the policy are rooted in centuries of teaching, belief and moral instruction.

A video excerpt of McConnell's presentation supporting the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act is available on YouTube at the following URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqSiuueO2rE&feature=channel_video_title. McConnell begins reading Mohler's letter near the 2:52 mark of the video.

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