Southern Seminary’s extensive involvement at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting

Communications Staff — June 21, 2019

Through its two booths, Southern Seminary and Boyce College connected with more than 1,200 prospective students, alumni, and friends during the week.

Southern Seminary was well represented at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, June 11-12. The school connected with more than 1,200 prospective students, alumni, and friends between both Southern and Boyce booths at SBC annual meeting. Southern also had nearly 800 people request more information from admissions, alumni, and SBTS Communications.

Highlights for the week at the annual meeting included President R. Albert Mohler’s annual seminary report, the seminary luncheon, alumnus Noe Garcia’s election as the second vice president of the SBC, and various panels featuring Southern Seminary administrators and graduates.

Below is a run-down of the news coverage from the week.

Southern Seminary’s calling remains ‘trust,’ said Mohler during president’s report

As he is about to begin his 27th year as the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, R. Albert Mohler Jr. emphasized the rich and deep theological training students are receiving at the school during his annual seminary report at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting, June 12.

Southern Seminary is “unapologetically Southern Baptist,” and remains as committed as ever to train men and women for gospel ministry. Thus, every word of the school’s title carries weight, he said.

“Every single word in the name of Southern Seminary is vitally important,” Mohler said. “We are, without apology, a theological seminary for the training of pastors and ministers.”

In an age of quick-serve theological education, where many degree programs are entirely available online and the requirements for graduation are lowered, Southern Seminary is committed to providing the full depth of ministry preparation, Mohler said.

Mohler characterized Southern Seminary’s mission as a “stewardship of truth.”

“Southern Seminary is trusted for truth,” Mohler said. “There is no adventure like training young preachers. There is no joy like seeing them go out. There is no satisfaction like seeing a young man who is called to the preaching ministry and see his mind grow full and his heart grow even more full.”

Jimmy Scroggins announced alumnus of the year at alumni luncheon

Albert Mohler Jr. announced Jimmy Scroggins as the 2019 alumnus of the year during the alumni luncheon at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting, June 12.

Scroggins, lead pastor of the Family Church in West Palm Beach, Florida, is a two-time graduate of Southern Seminary and former dean of Boyce College. Mohler presented Scroggins with the 2019 Distinguished Alumnus Award of Southern Seminary during the luncheon.

During the luncheon, Mohler expanded his thoughts from the seminary report. Mohler had referenced the high priestly prayer of Jesus in John 17 as inspiration for Southern Seminary’s calling.

Jesus prayed that his Father would sanctify his people “in truth” in John 17, thereby defining the nature and focus of theological education, and by extension the mission of Southern Seminary, Mohler said.

“The unity of the church is Christ, and the unity Christ brings is in truth,” Mohler said. “May all those living know that this seminary is to be trusted for truth.”

In the previous year, Mohler celebrated his 25-year milestone as the president of Southern Seminary. This anniversary was not just about the past, Mohler said, but the continued strategic witness of the seminary into the future.

“I want to continue faithful and strong and sweet and joyful to the end, preaching the gospel, even if the Lord allows, until I’m 102,” Mohler said.

Protecting abuse victims is central to church’s mission, leaders say at B21

Protecting sexual abuse victims is central to the mission of the church, said a panel of denominational leaders during the Baptist21 luncheon on June 11 in Birmingham, Alabama.

The panel featured Danny Akin, Albert Mohler, J.D. Greear, Jen Wilkin, Russell Moore, and Dhati Lewis, and was moderated by Nate Akin, the director of Baptist21. The six panelists addressed a broad range of issues, from sexual abuse in the church to complementarianism and racial reconciliation.

J.D. Greear, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, said he is often told that emphasizing the protection of abuse victims distracts from the mission of the gospel. This mindset is “foolish,” he said.

“This is the mission,” he said. “The mission as a shepherd is presenting the church and the gospel and everything that is attached to it as a safe place for the vulnerable.”

Some critics claim that complementarianism, the theological view that men have a unique leadership role in the church and the home, is more susceptible to sexual abuse and dysfunction.

According to Jen Wilkin, noted author and Bible teacher, there is no theological boundary line in sexual abuse cases. It exists in every theological camp and denomination, she said.

Yet the precise practices within complementarian churches are often insufficient, Wilkin said. Churches often misidentify abusive marriages as merely bad marriages

“Complementarianism [can] become just as dangerous a place for people who are in systems of abuse as in any other theological environment,” she said. “Just because we have a theological position that we are deeply convicted of does not mean our practice is good.”

Mohler added that the Southern Baptist Convention is not going to reevaluate its commitment to complementarianism any time soon. But, Mohler continued, all Southern Baptists should consider what faithful complementarianism has to say about the sin of sexual abuse.

“Since we believe the Bible teaches complementarianism, [the question is]: ‘How can we be most faithfully complementarian?’ Mohler said. “That is a good question, and it relates to the abuse question. You can’t be complementarian and cover up and facilitate abuse. You also can’t act like we come to the conversation with a blank slate.”

In other news during the annual meeting, Southern Seminary alumnus Noe Garcia was elected the second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Garcia has a doctor of ministry degree and executive leadership from Southern Seminary.

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