SWBTS trustees affirm Pattersons, approve cultural center
FORT WORTH (SWBTS)-Trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary issued a statement of affirmation of the president, approved the establishment of a cultural engagement center, declared a gain in student enrollment and elected two new faculty members, Oct. 17. Additionally, trustees handled other business matters of the seminary.
In light of recent public attacks, trustees unanimously approved a statement of affirmation in support of President and Mrs. Paige Patterson. The statement emphasized Patterson's integrity and openness and called for the attacks to cease, citing that they are a poor witness to a lost world.
"Dr. Patterson had no knowledge of this resolution," said Chairman T. Van McClain, adding, "He had nothing to do with the drafting of this resolution; this was completely the product of the trustees." After voting on the statement, trustees gave Dr. Patterson a standing ovation followed by a time of prayer for him.
Southwestern's Board of Trustees agreed to partner with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention to establish The Richard Land Center for Cultural Engagement on its Fort Worth campus. The center will provide a location for focused research, conferences and the study of Christian morality and action.
"Religious liberty is under attack today in our own country, where we never thought it would be," said Patterson. The partnership will pave the way for individuals across America to have the opportunity to study and research ethics, public policy and other cultural and philosophical issues. Details for the opening and function of the center will be discussed in the future, and the boards will combine their efforts to secure funding for the venture.
Richard Land has served as the president of the ERLC since 1988 and has been a representative for Southern Baptist and Evangelicals' concerns before Congress, U.S. presidents and the media. He hosts three nationally syndicated radio programs and was recognized as one of "The Twenty-five Most Influential Evangelicals in America" in 2005 by Time magazine.
The ERLC is an agency of the SBC and focuses on the effects that social and moral concerns have on public policy issues. Its stated mission is: "To awaken, inform, energize, equip, and mobilize Christians to be the catalysts for the Biblically-based transformation of their families, churches, communities, and the nation."
Southwestern has experienced consistent growth in enrollment for the second consecutive fall. This enrollment is the highest in five years. Thomas White, vice president for student services, said that this appears to be an upward trend which represents additional God-called ministers of the Gospel.
Trustees elected Waylan Owens as an associate professor of pastoral ministry in the School of Theology, effective Jan. 1, 2008. Owens received both his Ph.D. (1992) and his M.Div. (1987) from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of West Florida in 1983. Over the past decade, Owens has served in several positions at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary: He was vice president of institutional effectiveness and assessment, associate professor of pastoral ministry, liaison to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and to the Association of Theological Schools, and special assistant to the president. He has also served as a senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Soldotna, Alaska, and at Crosby Baptist Church in Crosby, Miss. During his time in Alaska, he was also a member of the executive board of the Alaska Baptist Convention. Owens and his wife, Elizabeth, have four children: Blayne, Joshua, Grace and Mary.
Trustees also elected Cky Carrigan as associate professor of evangelism in the Roy J. Fish School of Evangelism and Missions, effective Jan. 1, 2008. Carrigan earned both his Ph.D. (2000) and his M.Div. (1995) at Southeastern Seminary. He received his bachelor's degree from The Criswell College in 1992. Carrigan has served as an adjunct professor of in evangelism and missions at Southwestern Seminary since 2006, and he has taught adjunctively at both Southeastern Seminary and Midwestern Seminary as well. Carrigan served as the senior pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Rocky Mountain, N.C., and as pastor of West Oxford Baptist Church in Oxford, N.C. He has also contributed writings to several books and periodicals: These include "The Mormon Mirage," published in the Southwestern Journal of Theology, and "Who Do Men Say that I Am? The Sublime Christology of Colossians 1:15-20," published in Here I Stand: Essays in Honor of Dr. Paige Patterson. Carrigan and his wife, Janna, have three children: Apryl, Bonnie and Adam.
In other business, unanimous approval was also granted for the construction of a Homemaking House, providing an instruction facility and student housing for the seminary's homemaking concentration. Inside the house will be three primary teaching areas: a multi-function room for instruction which also contains computer resources; a room for students to learn about working with and laundering textiles; and a kitchen, complete with appropriate appliances and a horseshoe-shaped counter for instruction in food preparation. The plan is for it to be available in August 2008.
SEBTS track focuses on orality studies
WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)- In a continuing effort to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the nations, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary's trustees approved a new track in orality studies for the master of arts in intercultural studies degree.
The program, approved during the trustees' Oct. 15-16 meeting at the Wake Forest, N.C., campus, is geared to train students to share the Gospel in non-literate societies through oral storying.
The degree, believed to be unique among evangelical seminaries, will offer high-level training in Bible storying techniques which have been found to be an effective evangelism tool among cultures with a predominantly oral tradition. The degree was developed in consultation with the International Mission Board.
Three new courses in orality studies will focus on working with non-literate people groups: Orality Theories, Bible Storying and Orality Practicum.
Additionally, the traditional M.A. in intercultural studies has been revised to a 54-hour track, instead of the current 63 hours, and is recommended for people who have already served on the mission field or are currently serving.
"As a Great Commission seminary, we want to be involved in every avenue of getting the Gospel to the nations," SEBTS President Daniel Akin said. "We believe this new orality track will help equip those with a heart for these people groups to more effectively share Christ and disciple new believers.
"Ultimately our goal is to get the written Word of God into the hands of every people group on the planet. Until that is achieved, we dare not delay in passing along by verbal means God's truth to those whose culture is orally driven," Akin said.
Also during the meeting, Gary Bredfeldt was elected to the faculty as a professor of leadership, education and discipleship. He has been serving in the capacity of an appointed professor since August.
While at Southeastern, Bredfeldt is developing a new strategic initiative called iLEAD (International Leadership, Education and Discipleship).
In other business, Heath Thomas, most recently of Cheltenham, United Kingdom, was presented to the board as an appointed instructor of Old Testament and Hebrew. He is also a Ph.D. candidate in theology and religious studies. Thomas has taught at the University of Gloucestershire, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas and Oklahoma Baptist University.
Steven Ladd was promoted to the position of associate professor of theology and philosophy. Ladd has been serving as the assistant professor of theology and philosophy at Southeastern since 2002. He also has served as instructor of theology and Bible as well as a research fellow.
SBTS president says pastors need softer side to be like shepherds
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)-Most graduates from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary will serve as pastors, so it is crucial they know how to preach the Gospel accurately and lovingly shepherd their congregations, R. Albert Mohler Jr. told seminary trustees during their annual fall meeting Oct. 9 in Louisville, Ky.
Drawing on 1 Thessalonians 2 where the Apostle Paul reminds the church at Thessalonica that he ministered tenderly to them "like a nursing mother and a faithful father," Mohler said he wants the seminary to send out pastors who possess Paul's attitude toward their churches.
"We want to see the kind of courage and boldness [that Paul exemplifies], that kind of fearlessness in the face of opposition," Mohler said. "We want them to feel a sense of urgency and be as brokenhearted over lost people as Paul is in Acts 17 when he sees a city filled with idols and his heart is broken. He has a convulsion of concern for people he knows are going to hell. One of our great challenges here is to inculcate in our students the boldness we see in the Apostle Paul.
"But the greater challenge for us is to inculcate in them the gentleness to be with Christ's people," Mohler said.
Many of Southern's 4,400 students did not grow up in a local church, Mohler pointed out, and they have not experienced the lifelong exposure to a caring pastor and congregation that influenced the previous generation of Southern Baptist ministers.
In addition to hearing the president's report, trustees for the first time elected three current Boyce College professors to tenured positions. Boyce College dean Jimmy Scroggins was elected as associate professor of evangelism, Mark McClellan as professor of Christian theology and missions and Jim Orrick as professor of literature and culture.
The trustees adopted a policy allowing Boyce College professors who teach theology to be eligible for tenure. They must meet the same criteria as Southern Seminary professors and will sign the Abstract of Principles. In the future, the board will consider tenure for Boyce professors at each fall meeting and for seminary professors in the spring.
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