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EDUCATION DIGEST: SWBTS partners with Filipino seminary; SBTS adds apologetics doctorates

EDITOR’S NOTE: In this Education Digest: Southwestern Seminary partners with the Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary; Southern Seminary adds applied apologetics doctorates.

Southwestern to partner with Filipino seminary

By Alex Sibley

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) — Paige Patterson sealed a Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary partnership with the Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary during a visit to Baguio City in the Philippines in January.

The partnership, which was framed during the past year, is being coordinated through Southwestern’s Global Theological Innovation initiative to aid in the theological education of God-called men and women in the Philippines.

Patterson, Southwestern’s president, said, “Such a commitment is strategically important because trained pastors who understand doctrinal and methodological issues from the Baptist perspective are essential if Baptists are to continue to have a significant witness [throughout the world].

“By reconnecting with seminaries all over the world, Southwestern has the opportunity not only to be blessed by these brothers and sisters from many nations but also to lend whatever expertise we may have to the task of training the next generation of pastors in those places,” Patterson said.

Patterson was the featured speaker at the Philippine seminary’s 46th annual Lide-Walker Bible Conference entailing a series of lectures on various theological topics.

Armand Canoy, president of the Philippine seminary, said it would be an “exciting moment for many pastors, church leaders and workers in this part of the globe to see and hear God’s Word through [Patterson] … to be refreshed and be ready for another year of ministry.”

Patterson delivered three lectures on the book of Revelation and led a breakout session on archaeology. Dorothy Patterson, professor of theology in women’s studies at Southwestern, led a breakout session on women’s ministry; Leo Day, dean of the school of church music, led one on worship. Day also led worship during the conference’s four worship services.

Patterson and Canoy formally signed a five-year partnership agreement between the two seminaries in which Southwestern will send faculty to the Philippine seminary to supplement some of the classes that the seminary does not have faculty to teach.

Southwestern first connected to the Philippine seminary through one of the Texas seminary’s trustees, Danny Johnson, a former missionary to the Philipppines who now serves as director of missions for the Pulaski Baptist Association in Arkansas.

Johnson suggested the partnership to Patterson, who in turn asked Global Theological Innovation staff to explore the possibility. When discussions between Southwestern and the Philippine seminary made it clear that a partnership would benefit theological education in the Philippines, the two parties moved to formalize a relationship.

In the partnership, Southwestern also will work with the Philippine seminary in evangelism, discipleship, leadership development, church planting, missions and involving students in ministry through Filipino churches and missions endeavors across Asia.

Day, reflecting on his part in the trip, said it was significant “to learn how we, Southwestern, could partner academically with the Philippine seminary. Through our partnership, we will be able to serve them by sending students and faculty to help fulfill our shared mission in spreading the Gospel through preaching and musical worship.

“I can’t wait to go back to see the students who hunger and thirst for God through musical worship,” Day added. “It’s in their eyes. I feel it in their hearts. I hear it when they speak.”

Deron Biles, Southwestern’s dean of extension education, also was among those who visited the Philippines, speaking at the seminary’s Summit for Extension Education. “The fact that Dr. Patterson came to the Philippine seminary was significant for them,” Biles said, “as it marked a formalization of our partnership, and having the president there signified our commitment to the project.”

Southern offers apologetics doctorates

By RuthAnne Irvin & Mackenzie Miller

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) — Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has initiated D.Min. and D.Ed.Min. degrees in applied apologetics to equip ministry leaders as their churches confront current issues and reach people with the Gospel.

“Apologetics remains indispensable for biblical ministry, therefore, the study of apologetics should be regarded as fundamental in ministry preparation,” said Ted Cabal, professor of philosophy and apologetics. “No one obeys our Lord’s Great Commission to evangelize without apologetics.”

The D.Min. degree is a 32-hour program and the D.Ed.Min. a 46-hour program, both designed to be completed in 36 months. The doctoral programs include modular courses offered in the winter and summer terms.

The degrees encourage cohort learning, which program leaders say promotes spiritual comradery and the building of long-term relationships. Cabal and Timothy Paul Jones, the seminary’s C. Edwin Gheens Professor of Christian Family Ministry, will teach the seminars along with guest apologetics experts.

“The Southern Seminary D.Min. in applied apologetics is uniquely designed to shape a new generation of apologists by bringing together academic studies of history and cultural issues with real-life engagement in apologetics,” Jones said.

The program unites the experiences and expertise of professors from the School of Theology and the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry. “The result of this synergy of two schools, two professors and renowned guest lecturers is an apologetic degree that is practical and academic, historical and philosophical, evangelistic and culturally engaged,” Jones said.

The study of apologetics correlates to the Gospel in everyday interactions, Cabal said. Every belief has a reason behind it, including those of unbelievers, he said, and every conversation is influenced by these beliefs. In each interaction, if evangelism is done without care for the reasons behind the beliefs, “the powerfully subversive Good News” is mishandled. Studying applied apologetics must lead to careful prayer for the Spirit to tear down non-Christian worldviews and lay a foundation to build up a belief system founded on the Gospel, he said.

“While apologetics saves no one,” Jones said, “its truth is the necessary corollary to the Gospel.”

More information about the D.Min. and D.Ed.Min. in applied apologetics is available at sbts.edu/dmin.

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