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Dockery, Akin: Christian colleges & seminaries share partnership

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–Southern Baptist colleges and seminaries are partners in educating the next generation of Southern Baptist pastors and leaders, according to David Dockery, president of Union University, and Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

“For the good of the Southern Baptist Convention, the seminaries need the colleges and universities, and the colleges and universities need the seminaries,” said Dockery, who was on Southeastern’s Wake Forest, N.C., campus Feb. 11 to speak in chapel.

Both Dockery and Akin are well-known leaders in education in the SBC. Prior to assuming the presidency of Union University in Jackson, Tenn., Dockery served on the faculty of Southern Baptist seminaries. Akin, meanwhile, has presided over undergraduate programs during his seminary career, including Southeastern College at Wake Forest, a Southeastern Seminary program, and Boyce College, the undergraduate program of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

Akin said that while Southern Baptist seminaries welcome students from all areas of life, he is excited to see a student at Southeastern who has been trained at an evangelical Christian college or university.

“They have already been in the process of cultivating a genuine Christian worldview,” Akin said. “A minister that has had several years of [biblical] preparation [before seminary] has several advantages.”

Dockery and Akin both used that phrase — Christian worldview — to describe the type of training that goes on at evangelical colleges and universities like Southeastern College at Wake Forest and Union University.

“We have an overarching commitment to provide a Christ-centered education that prepares men and women to serve in church and society,” Dockery said of Union. “We understand the role of institutions like Union is to serve the churches.”

Dockery said that though Union is a liberal arts school with a broad-based curriculum, it is serving the churches by training future lay leaders to “think Christianly, and be the salt and light of the Gospel in their sphere of influence.”

Colleges and universities thus are partners with the seminaries in growing healthy churches, Dockery said.

Southeastern College at Wake Forest, on the other hand, is a Bible college dedicated to training future pastors and ministers. But its vision intersects with a liberal arts college like Union, Akin said, when it comes to making Christian thinking and Gospel proclamation a priority.

Akin, who has two sons enrolled at Union, said the need for evangelical Christian colleges and universities has never been greater.

“Having your worldview shaped, molded and firmed up has never been more critical,” he said. “I can think of no better place where that can happen than at an evangelical Christian college or university.”

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  • Jason Hall