SBTS collegiate conference impacts students with the exclusivity of Christ

Communications Staff — March 3, 2009

A desire to take the Gospel to non-believers in his college context drove University of Alabama senior Andrew England to the Give Me An Answer: Collegiate Conference 2009 at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

England said the conference, held Feb. 20-21, helped equip him to fulfill his desire.

“The session that stood out the most was the elective on teaching the only Savior to postmoderns by J.D. Payne,” said England, who attends Alabama’s Huntsville campus.

“I was particularly interested in the topic because I am an art student in our liberal arts university and am surrounded by people with the mentality that there is no absolute truth. It was helpful to hear a presentation on how to share the Gospel with such people.”

England was part of a group of 15 students that Chip Dean, pastor of student and college ministries at Capshaw Baptist Church in Harvest, Ala. (near Huntsville), sent to the conference. For Dean, a Southern Seminary graduate and former ambassador, the decision to send a group (Dean was unable to attend) was an easy one.

“Southern’s collegiate conference is the best Christ-centered, collegiate event that I know about,” he said.

“For college students who are interested in furthering their study in seminary or another graduate level field, or just continuing their personal study of theology Southern is where it is at. I wanted to make sure they could hear the best guys in the world so they can continue to grow in their life with Christ.”

The theme for this year’s conference, which is an annual event, was “Only One Savior? The Uniqueness of Christ in a Postmodern World.” Plenary sessions featured R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern, and Russell D. Moore, senior vice president for academic administration and dean of the School of Theology at Southern.

Mohler hosted his radio show live in Alumni Memorial Chapel to kick off the event and contemporary music artists Shane & Shane performed in concert.

Oren Martin, assistant director of admissions at Southern, said the event’s topic sought to highlight the exclusivity of Christ in an increasingly pluralistic world.

“We live in an age that increasingly minimizes or rejects the uniqueness of the person and work of Christ, so we wanted to serve students by equipping them with biblical truth so that they might be better prepared to share the glorious — exclusive — Gospel of Jesus Christ in truth and in love,” he said.

“Shane & Shane complemented the preaching and teaching of the Word and helped prepare the minds and hearts of the attendees to hear and heed to the ministry of the Word.”

Chris Lawrence, college pastor at Hardin Baptist Church in Hardin, Ky., brought nearly 30 students from his church to the conference. This is the third year Lawrence has brought a group to the event, with 60 attending last year (this year, another conference took place the same weekend as Southern’s, he said).

Lawrence, who will graduate with a master of divinity from Southern in May, said several different elective sessions impacted his students, with one teaching the material he learned in his Sunday school class the next day.

“Some of our students were particularly excited about Dr. Moore’s ‘What About the Man on the Island?’ presentation,” Lawrence said. “Some of our students really enjoyed Dr. Lawless’ session, ‘Preparing to Teach the Only Savior on the Mission Field.’ We had Dr. Lawless speak at our church. A lot of our students also enjoyed Dr. Whitney’s session ‘The Simplicity of Devotion to Christ.’ One of our students even taught on what Whitney presented at Sunday school the next morning.”

England said he valued Southern’s commitment to truth overall, and Moore’s adoption story in particular (Moore has a forthcoming book on the topic: “Adopted for Life” — Crossway, 2009).

“In an age when many of our churches and even seminaries don’t value the truth, it was refreshing to hear the truth proclaimed and Scripture handled so well,” he said. “It was interesting to hear Dr. Moore’s adoption story. How he it related to the Gospel touched me because my fiancée and I are considering adoption once we get married.”

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