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Akin delivers first address as SEBTS president at convocation

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary will be guided by Scripture and devoted to the lordship of Jesus Christ, Daniel Akin declared in his first message as president of the seminary.

Akin’s message highlighted the seminary’s wintry convocation at the outset of the new semester on a campus covered in snow and ice. The new president outlined from Ephesians 4 his seven-point vision for the seminary and its mission to produce red-hot followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Akin, named the sixth president of Southeastern on Jan. 15, began by speaking warmly to students and faculty about his joy to serve as president of the seminary. “It is a tremendous honor and privilege to come back,” said Akin, who served as assistant professor of theology and dean of students at Southeastern from 1992-96. “I never dreamed God would bless me with this honor. I want you to know that I already have you in my heart, and I love you.”

Akin made clear in his message the primacy of God’s Word in all that the seminary will do.

“We live in a day where there is great theological confusion,” Akin said. “This seminary will always receive its marching orders from the Bible and not the culture. Everything we do will be purified through the filtered water of God’s Word.”

The first principle Southeastern must embrace, he said, is a complete surrender to the lordship of Jesus Christ in all it does.

“There is only one Lord, and His name is Jesus,” Akin said. “That is not up for discussion or debate … All that matters in life is that you please the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Second, Akin said Southeastern must be committed to a growing knowledge of theological truth so that its students not only will know what they believe but why they believe it.

“This is a seminary that believes truth matters,” Akin proclaimed. “Theology is crucial. Loving God involves your mind as well as your heart.”

Third, Southeastern will be committed to a radical passion for the exclusive Christian missionary mandate, which proclaims along with the Apostle Peter that there is “no other name under heaven … by which we must be saved.”

Fourth is a devotion to personal evangelism for Jesus Christ, while, fifth, Akin noted, the institution is dedicated to training pastor-teachers to equip the saints for ministry, a practice that can be found lacking in many American churches today.

“If the people in our pews are biblically illiterate,” Akin said, “the blame lies in the pulpits. We cannot change what has happened in the past, but we can absolutely make a difference in what happens in the future.”

Sixth, Southeastern must have an unashamed emphasis on expository preaching as the best way for building up the body of Christ and arming it against theological error and for spiritual maturity, Akin said, adding that pastors should serve their congregations “a biblical diet of truth on an expository platter.”

Finally, Southeastern aims to give consistent attention and focus on biblical truth as the means to be conformed to the image of Christ, Akin told the chapel audience, encouraging them to be “more like the Lord Jesus as you are running in the race that He has called you to run.”

“Isn’t it amazing this plan that we’re a part of?” Akin remarked in closing. “May we as a seminary be found faithful to trust God in that plan day by day.”

As part of the convocation ceremony, five professors, including Akin, signed their names to the Abstract of Principles and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, formalizing their covenant with the seminary to teach according to the core doctrines of the faith and traditional Baptist principles.

The five faculty members signing the documents were: Akin, professor of preaching and theology; R. Alton James, associate professor of missions; Lawrence W. Mayo, associate professor of music; Steven W. Ladd, assistant professor of theology and philosophy; and David W. Jones, assistant professor of Christian ethics.
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: STARTING WITH THE WORLD, AKINS INTRODUCED and SIGNIFICANT SIGNATURE.

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  • Kyle Smith