Southern Seminary ‘thriving’ in face of secularization, Mohler reports to SBC messengers

Communications Staff — June 16, 2016

IMG_1001ST. LOUIS, Mo. (SBTS) — The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s record-setting enrollment numbers testify to an ideological paradox of the cultural revolution, said SBTS President R. Albert Mohler Jr. during his June 15 report to messengers during the SBC annual meeting in St. Louis, Missouri.

Despite the supposed death of conservative theological education foretold by mainline liberalism 50 years ago, the confessional seminaries of the SBC are healthier than ever, said Mohler. Although experts in theological education said only seminaries that adopt a secularized message would survive, that has not been the case, Mohler said, pointing to the fact that for the first time in its history Southern Seminary’s enrollment had exceeded 5,000 students in the 2015-2016 academic year.

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“Here’s the great paradox: the seminaries that followed that methodology and adopted that trajectory are the seminaries that are dead or are dying,” Mohler said. “It is the seminaries that have refused to bend the knee … that are not only surviving but by God’s grace, thriving,” Mohler said.

Mohler said more is required of Southern Baptist seminaries now than any other time in the history of the convention. Although the gospel message itself never changes, the challenges before the graduates of Southern Seminary are dramatically different than when the seminary was founded in 1859.

“We are on the hinge of history right now, of such massive change,” Mohler said. “The secularization that is going on in the society around us, the massive intellectual worldview challenges we now face, the moral revolution that now so characterizes our times is producing a context of ministry that is not only markedly different than that experienced by previous generations, it is one that is increasingly marked by hostility towards the cause of Christ and his gospel.”

Concluding his report, Mohler thanked messengers for their support and for funding the seminary through the Cooperative Program, which helps prepare ministers to face the rising cultural challenges concerning gender identity and sexual orientation.

“There are more young men training for the gospel ministry and to pastor churches on the campus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary right now than have ever been at any place in the history of the Christian church. And for that we are so very, very thankful,” he said.

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