9Marks at Southeastern focuses on prayer; Historian and Princeton professor Jack Tannous delivers fifth SBTS Jenkins Center academic lecture; Midwestern Seminary faculty, students to present papers during ETS meeting.

9Marks at SEBTS focuses on prayer
By Lauren Pratt

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) — This year’s annual 9Marks Conference at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) brought together dynamic preachers from all over the country to teach on the topic of prayer. This is the 12th consecutive 9Marks at Southeastern conference for pastors and church leaders, held at the end of September.

Speakers included Danny Akin, president of SEBTS; Mark Dever, senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church (CHBC) in Washington, D.C.; H.B. Charles Jr., pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla.; Brian Davis, pastor of Risen Christ Fellowship in Philadelphia; Shai Linne, Christian rapper and elder at Risen Christ Fellowship; Thabiti Anyabwile, pastor of Anacostia River Church in Washington, D.C.; and John Onwuchekwa, pastor of Cornerstone Church in Atlanta.

Davis opened the conference with a sermon about the necessity and quality of Christ with regard to prayer. Preaching from Luke 10:38-42, Davis explained that serving void of a dependent posture and communion with Christ is empty.

“It’s possible to do things about Jesus without Jesus,” said Davis.

He noted that Martha feverishly attempted to do many tasks in order to serve Jesus while Mary chose the better portion — communion with Jesus Himself.

Onwuchekwa followed Davis, drawing upon Matthew 6:9-15 to preach about the power of prayer. He explained that Jesus is telling His disciples both to make the aim of their prayers God’s glory and to posture themselves in dependence on God for their earthly needs.

“When we pray, all we’re doing is recounting the faithfulness of God. We’re asking God to do things that He already wants to do,” said Onwuchekwa. “You know what that means? That means this: Christian, you are a better historian than you are a detective. Your hindsight works much better than your insight.”

Onwuchekwa said that Christians should enter each day in dependence on God while simultaneously confident in His ability to provide for them.

Akin led the third session of the conference, preaching from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22, noting eight exercises given by Paul that are designed to help believers stay spiritually fit for ministry.

As Paul exhorted the Thessalonians to pray unceasingly, so believers today should make prayer a habitual part of life, Akin added.

“Our God is a listening God, and if He is always listening then we should always be praying,” said Akin.

Linne closed out the afternoon session with a message from Isaiah 12. He explained how this passage reveals singing as a form of prayer. He noted that singing in response to God is done both individually and corporately. Singing to God as an alternative way to pray, he said, is a gift from God that can soften hearts.

“If you’re feeling cold towards the Lord, one of the gifts He’s given you is the gift of song,” said Linne.

Linne also explained that praying to God through song can and should be done corporately as well.

H.B. Charles closed out Friday evening with a message from 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5 describing the passage as “mutual prayer for difficult times.” In his message, he laid out spiritual priorities that should characterize the mutual prayers of pastor and congregation.

Charles emphasized the priority of the Bible in prayer. Charles noted, “Prayer and scripture are inextricably linked to one another. Both must be alive and well if the church is going to be healthy.”

Charles reminded attendees that Paul’s concern in this passage was that the Lord would direct the church to love Him and the Gospel with all their heart.

Dever opened the Saturday morning session highlighting nine ways his church seeks to incorporate prayer into the life of the congregation. Dever explained that he seeks to incorporate various forms of prayer in his church — long, short and spontaneous. One of the longer prayers in CHBC’s services has a directed focus on confession. He explained that pastors need to preach the Gospel to their people continually as a way to “marvel afresh at [God’s] grace.”

“The gospel is our mast to make it through this world,” said Dever.

Dever closed his message reminding attendees that prayer gives witness to the reliability of God.

Anyabwile closed out the conference on Saturday with a message from Luke 18:1-8. In his message, he described the widow’s persistent plea to an unjust judge as a “scene where brokenness meets brutality.” The story, he explained, symbolizes the dependent posture that should be exemplified in God’s people.

“A prayer that stops at nothing can achieve anything,” said Anyabwile.

Anyabwile insisted that the purpose of this passage is not meant to produce guilt in the believer. The purpose of the passage is to encourage the believer to lean into God through prayer, who desires to answer His people.

Over the weekend, a lunch panel discussion on hot topics in pastoral leadership was held for attendees hosted by the doctoral programs at Southeastern Seminary. Saturday morning, the Center for Preaching and Pastoral Leadership hosted a breakfast panel discussion about the role of pastoral prayer.

9Marks at Southeastern plans to relaunch the conference in 2020, revisiting each mark, starting with church government. 9Marks seeks to provide resources to churches nationally and internationally that help develop healthy, growing congregations.


Tannous delivers fifth SBTS Jenkins Center academic lectures
By SBTS Communications

LOUISVILLE, KY. (BP) — Princeton University history professor Jack Tannous recently visited Southern Baptist Theological Seminary to deliver the fifth Jenkins Center academic lecture. More than 180 people attended the event in Heritage Hall to hear Tannous, assistant professor of history at Princeton, deliver a series of lectures titled, “Middle Eastern Christians on the Eve of Islam.”

Tannous is an expert in the Christian communities of the Near East during the early medieval period, and his lectures explored Muslim and Christian dynamics in the Middle East during the early medieval and medieval periods. His academic credentials are extensive, having earned a bachelor of arts from the University of Texas, a master of philosophy from Oxford University, and a doctor of philosophy from Princeton.

Tannous researches not only the cultural history of the eastern Mediterranean, but also Eastern Christian Studies, Patristics, Greco-Syriac and Greco-Arabic translation, early Islamic history, the history of the Arabic Bible, and the Quran. He is also the author of the 2018 book, “The Making of the Medieval East: Religion, Society, and Simple Believers” and is currently writing a new book titled, “Lovers of Labor at the End of the Ancient World: Syriac Scholars Between Byzantium and Islam.”

According to Ayman S. Ibrahim, SBTS associate professor of Islam Studies, having a scholar like Tannous at Southern Seminary for an event sponsored by the Jenkins Center was a great learning opportunity for his students.

“Since we aim to study Islam in a rigorous way, we seek always to explore the recent discussions around Islam in scholarly circles,” Ibrahim said. “There is no one better equipped than Jack Tannous to provide us with the current discussions around Islam and the encounter of Muslims and Christians during the earliest period of Islam.”

During the lecture, Tannous focused on how Christian and Muslim communities related to each other in the Middle East during the early medieval period. Before the 7th Century, the Middle East was linguistically diverse and generally Christian, Tannous said. Speakers of Greek, Aramaic, Coptic, Arabic, and other languages populated the region.

But between 630-640, Arab armies swept through the region, leading to Arab tribes immigrating to the Middle East from Western Arabia and the introduction of Islam into the Fertile Crescent and Egypt. Today, the area is overwhelmingly Arabic-speaking and Muslim, with even those who don’t ethnically self-identify as Arabs still speaking the language.

In his series of lectures, Tannous challenged some common perceptions of Christian/Muslim relations during this period and explored why the cultural situation in the Middle East changed so significantly. Tannous addressed two key questions in his lectures: how did this massive cultural transformation happen, and what became of all the diverse inhabitants of the Middle East who were there before the seventh century.

Tannous also explored the Christian presence throughout the medieval Arab world and the influence of Christianity on the language of Arabic itself. His analysis routinely questioned traditional perceptions of the exact cultural and religious situation in the medieval Middle East.

“Traditional attempts to understand Christians and Muslims in this period often focus on texts, which depict a learned Christian debating a learned Muslim over theological differences,” he said. “[But] we need to figure out what ‘Christian’ meant, and also what ‘Muslim’ meant, and not assume that the views of the theological elite were representative of what everybody on the ground actually believed.”

According to Ibrahim, Tannous’ lectures were helpful for his students as they attempt to do similarly rigorous scholarly research.

“I thought Dr. Tannous’ arguments were balanced,” Ibrahim said, “and he supported his conclusions with a lot of evidence from archeology, historical texts, Christian sources, and Muslim sources. These lectures are meant to expand our horizons and help us think about how we can do better research in Islamic Studies, and Dr. Tannous did just that.”

The event was hosted by the Jenkins Center for the Christian Understanding of Islam, which according to its website exists to establish a scholarly Christian understanding of the many strands of Islam and to equip students, pastors, and missionaries with an awareness of the Muslim world in its diversity.


MBTS faculty, students to present papers during ETS meeting

By T. Patrick Hudson

KANSAS CITY, Mo., (BP) — Midwestern Seminary will be represented by 40 faculty members and current Ph.D. students as they present scholarly papers, moderate sessions, and participate in panel discussions at the 71st annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) in San Diego, Calif., Nov. 20-22. The theme of this year’s meeting is “Christ in All Scripture.”

“At Midwestern Seminary we take seriously the stewardship we have in educating the next generation of pastors, missionaries, and ministry leaders for service in the local church. High-level scholarship is amongst our training goals, and an excellent place for this to be showcased is the ETS annual meeting,” said Jason Allen, Midwestern Seminary’s president.

“At ETS, our faculty and many of our brightest Ph.D. students are afforded the opportunity to exhibit this top-notch scholarship, interacting with the most significant issues affecting today’s theological landscape.”

Midwestern Seminary Provost Jason Duesing added, “While I am grateful that our faculty regularly presents papers at ETS, I am especially thrilled to see many of our Ph.D. students having the opportunity to join them this year. It is a tribute to them and their ability.”

Midwestern Seminary professors and students taking part in the meeting and their topics are as follows:

— Stephen J. Andrews (professor of Hebrew and Old Testament): “The Ketef Hinnom Inscriptions and the Existence of Apotropaic Texts in the Hebrew Bible”

— Alan Branch (professor of Christian ethics): “Should Children Be Given Drugs to Stop the Natural Process of Puberty?”

— Jared Bumpers (director of student life): “‘No Other Name’: A Biblical Theology of Preaching in Acts”

— Todd Chipman (assistant professor of biblical studies): “The Prodigal God is too Expensive for Us: Narrative Discourse Analysis in Luke 15-16”

— Dustin J. Coleman (Ph.D. student): “Jesus as Davidic Sufferer in Mark’s Gospel”

— Jenny-Lyn de Klerk (Ph.D. student): “‘Even the Worst of Men’: John Owen on Loving Enemies”

— Jason S. DeRouchie (research professor of Old Testament and biblical studies): “Seeing and Savoring the Divine Son in All of Scripture” & “Text Hierarchy and Argument-Tracing in Biblical Hebrew”

— Jason G. Duesing (provost and associate professor of historical theology): “Who’s on First: Leile or Carey? Assessing the Implications of the Father of Modern Missions”

— Mark Fugitt (Ph.D. student): “The Utilization of Hermeneutics and Homiletics to Sustain the Crusade Against the French Cathars”

— Joseph David Garner III (Ph.D. student): “A Free Church in a Free State: E.Y. Mullins and Religious Liberty”

— Radu Gheorghita (professor of biblical studies; director of Romanian doctoral program): “Cross Pollination of Septuagint and New Testament Christologies? The Textual Evidence Examined”

— Robin Dale Hadaway (professor of missions): “Secret Disciples: Their Role in Culture (John 20:38-42)”

— Nathan William Harris (Ph.D. student): “Sonship and Superiority: How Second Temple Angelology Informs the Christology of Hebrews 1-2”

— Rodney A Harrison (professor of Christian education; dean of post-graduate studies, distance education, and effectiveness): “More Than Matthew 18: Embracing Biblically Informed Practices to Navigate Conflict”

— N. Blake Hearson (associate professor of Hebrew and Old Testament): “Presuppositions and Meaning: Deuteronomy 12 and the Centralization of Worship Theme Reconsidered”

— John L. Inman, III (Ph.D. student): “A Theology of Christ’s Rule of Heaven in Edwards’ Homiletics”

— Carissa Jones (Ph.D. student): “Martin Luther’s ‘Table Talks’ in Relation to His Theology of Discipleship”

— Jason P. Kees (adjunct professor): “Having our Hearts Sprinkled: The Influence of Ezekiel 36:25-26 on Hebrews 10:22”

— Andreas Köstenberger (research professor of New Testament; director of the Center for Biblical Studies) & Margaret E. Köstenberger (associate professor of theology and women’s ministry; faculty coordinator of women’s ministry programs): “Equipping for Life: Excellence and Parenting”

— David Andrew Lee (Ph.D. student): “Richard Baxter, Evangelist: Gospel Engagement in the Face of Death and the Nearness of Eternity”

— John Lee (associate professor of New Testament): “Divine Christology of Paul the Apostle: An Evaluation of Major Proposals”

— Kyoohan Lee (Ph.D. student): “Luke’s OT Theology in Acts 2: Recapitulation of Jesus’s Hermeneutical Paradigm (Luke 24:27, 44)”

— Thorvald Madsen (dean of graduate studies; Ph.D. program director; professor of New Testament, ethics, and philosophy): “Even the Crumbs Are Enough: Matthew 15:21-28 as a Prelude to the Feeding of the 4,000”

— Robert Matz (assistant professor of Christian studies; assistant director of online studies and institutional effectiveness): “Preaching Christ through Scripture: How Barth’s Homiletic Necessitates Scripture As Revelation”

— J.R. Miller (Ph.D. Student): “Jesus in the Torah: A Response to John Walton’s Lost World Ethics”

— Michael D. McMullen (professor of church history; editor of the Midwestern Journal of Theology): “‘Best Kept Under Lock and Key’: William Wilberforce’s View of Theophilus Lindsey”

— Travis J. Montgomery (Ph.D. student): “An Ironic Redemption: Luke’s Use of Psalm 2 LXX in Luke 23:1-25”

— Jesse Payne (Ph.D. student): “Here’s to You, Mrs. Henry: Helga Henry as Wife, Scholar, and Friend”

— Brandon Rhea (Ph.D. student): “Labor on the Lord’s Day: How Spurgeon’s Sabbatarianism Impacted His Ecclesiology”

— Craig Shigyo (Ph.D. student): “The Branch and the Nazarene: Reconsidering Matthew 2:23 in Davidic Context”

— Daniel Slavich (Ph.D. student): “A More Pleasant Elevation: Christological OT Exegesis in Hilary of Poitiers’ De Trinitate”

— Champ Thornton (Ph.D. student): “The Temple Origins of the Body of Christ Concept”

— Madison Trammel (Ph.D. student): “Interwar Fundamentalism after the Scopes Trial: A Study of Newspaper Reports, 1920-1930”

— Owen Strachan (associate professor of Christian theology; director of the Center for Public Theology): “It Was the Will of the Father to Crush Him: On Penal Substitution and Divine Wrath”

— Rustin Umstattd (associate professor of theology and ministry; director of the D.Ed.Min. program): “A Theological and Pragmatic Framework for the Co-Vocational Pastor”

— Mark W. Williams (Ph.D. student): “Paul’s Use of ‘and Such were Some of You’ as a General Principle for Biblical Counselors”

— Terry Wofford (Ph.D. student): “Book I of the Psalter’s Typology of the Active Obedience of Christ”

— Jonathon D. Woodyard (Ph.D. student): “Moderator of New Testament Synoptic Gospels I”

— John Mark Yeats (dean of students; associate professor of church history): “A Devil of a Time: 19th Century Evangelical Corrections to the Fictionalization of the Devil.”

    About the Author

  • BP and SEBTS, SBTS, and MBTS Seminaries staff

    Lauren Pratt is Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s news and information specialist. T. Patrick Hudson is the assistant professor of Communications and History at Spurgeon College and as Institutional Editor at MBTS.

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