SBTS collegiate conference sets attendance record

Communications Staff — February 21, 2008

The annual Give Me An Answer Conference for college students at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary set another record for attendance this year.

More than 1,300 students from 23 states attended the school’s annual conference, held Feb. 8-9, which addressed the topic “Immortal Combat: Is It Finished? Missions, Spiritual Warfare, and the Kingdom of Christ.”
In the general sessions, Southern Seminary professors sought to answer questions ranging from “Do gender roles cross cultural boundaries?” to “Do we see missions in the Old Testament?” and “What are church planting options in the 21st century?” Other sessions examined Satan and spiritual warfare (see sidebar) and the cost of discipleship in missions.

Students attended from as far away as Pennsylvania and Texas with 130 groups trekking to Southern’s campus. Director of Admissions Scott Davis said the topic and sessions were well received by the large audience. The conference is an important recruiting tool for the seminary, with 10-15 percent of students who enroll at Southern Seminary listing the event as their first point of contact with the school, Davis said.

“The feedback was very positive,” he said. “Some said it increased their appetite for God and others said the weekend helped them decide about their calling to ministry. Some had said our numbers would be down because we were talking about missions, but I feel like it was extremely well received. We had more groups than ever and a record attendance.”

Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. and Theology School Dean Russell D. Moore served as keynote speakers. Mohler opened the conference by pointing out that God manifests His glory through the salvation of sinners, making evangelism and missions a crucial enterprise for every believer.

“We are absolutely right that our motivation for evangelism is that there are people we know and people we love and people who we have not yet seen who are headed for hell,” Mohler said.

“We understand what the stakes are, we understand the difference between heaven and hell. We understand that we too are sinners that deserve nothing but damnation and eternal punishment in hell, that it is the righteous demonstration of the wrath of God toward sin. But we understand that God in His mercy saved us through the blood of His Son.

“We come to understand that that is not just so we will avoid hell and go to heaven, but it is ultimately so that God’s glory will be displayed in us…The whole story is that God is bringing glory to Himself and that He has assigned the church to be the people through whom He will accomplish what brings Him greatest glory and what brings Him greatest glory is men and women from every tribe and tongue and nation that we get to see gathered before the throne of God.”

Moore reminded students that to participate in missions and evangelism is to proclaim the Gospel of a Sovereign King who has triumphed over Satan, a King whose Kingdom will one day come in power and glory as guaranteed in Scripture.

“If we really understand that we are living here in a colony in a kingdom that is about to be knocked down, that we are doing all of these missions behind the lines of a serpent king who is about to be destroyed,” Moore said, “then we will understand that when we are preaching the Gospel to the girl who is throwing up because she wants to be a supermodel or preaching the Gospel to the boy who is listening to death metal, we are giving a threat to the power that stands behind them.

“But there is a power that will crush his (Satan’s) head and it has Roman spikes through it. That’s the Gospel, that’s the Kingdom, that’s Christ.”

General sessions from the conference will be available on the Give Me An Answer website, http://www.givemeananswer.net/, in the near future for $10 for the entire conference. Audio from past conferences is available for $5.

Are you ready to become a pastor, counselor, or church leader who is Trusted for Truth?

Apply now for summer or fall studies

Classes begin in June & Aug.