Fifty years ago, experts in theological education said seminaries must adopt a secularized message in order to survive. As president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, it is my privilege to report that just the opposite is true. The numbers tell the story. We remained steadfast to God’s Word and are now experiencing the largest enrollment in the institution’s history.
For the last completed academic year (2015-16), there was a record non-duplicating headcount of 5,373 students. Of those, 2,099 students were enrolled in the Master of Divinity program—an increase of 6% from the year before. The enrollment of 1,466 students at Boyce College was an 8% increase from the year before.
“We thank God for the vitality of an institution, founded in 1859, that is experiencing such growth and momentum in the 21st century”.
The training of pastors is absolutely central to our mission. That’s the first assignment given to us by Southern Baptists. The main mechanism whereby we do that is the Master of Divinity degree. And I’m very thankful to report that we have the largest group of Master of Divinity students not only in Southern Seminary’s history but in the history of the Christian Church.
These enrollment numbers represent an incredible stewardship and a sign of God’s good pleasure. We thank God for the vitality of an institution, founded in 1859, that is experiencing such growth and momentum in the 21st century.
One of the most exciting developments of the past year has been the launch of Southern Seminary’s Hispanic Initiatives, which has enrolled 115 students in Spanish language master’s courses in its first full academic year and has formed partnerships with pastors and churches who we see as the crucial leaders for an awakening of Christ’s church in the Spanish-speaking world.
Additionally, Boyce College continued to expand. We announced the development of a new Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE) degree program at Boyce that will enable young Christians to make a difference for Christ at every level of our society. We also introduced the Augustine Collegiate Review, an undergraduate research journal that will address theological, cultural, and philosophical topics from a Christian perspective.
Students came this year from 63 countries and all 50 states and over the course of the year, hundreds went out from Southern Seminary as preachers, church planters, and missionaries. At our May commencement ceremony, we graduated students who are already headed to Uganda, Germany, Venezuela, Brazil, Dominican Republic, China, and more. We’re so thankful that Southern Seminary’s reach encompasses the entire world. There is not a populated continent on the planet without multiple graduates of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary serving in ministry.
Please continue to pray with me that the ministry of Southern Seminary would be faithful to Scripture and to the Great Commission as we seek to prepare God-called ministers to preach the gospel in all of the nations of the earth.
R. Albert Mohler Jr.