‘Amazing Grace’ panel to be held at MBTS
By Brian Koonce/The Pathway
KANSAS CITY (BP) – A panel of musicians, church historians and theologians will discuss the impact and legacy of the hymn “Amazing Grace” and its author Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 10 a.m. Central at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
2023 marks the 250th anniversary of the song, penned by small-town preacher John Newton in 1773. It would go on to become one the most well-known songs in history.
“Our hope is that our students will get a little taste of what it’s like to study hymnody and understand that it’s not a completely separate subject from church history; it’s one and the same,” said Angela Swain, associate professor of music at MBTS and one of the panelists.
The discussion will cover everything from Newton’s radical conversion to his time preaching in 18th-century England, discussing his time as a slave trader and his eventually becoming a slave of Christ.
“We’re hoping to bring out everything about his life so that it’s like a diamond shining in the brilliance of the darkness of his past,” she said.
Swain will be joined on the panel by Matt Swain, the assistant dean of worship ministries; Thomas Kidd, research professor of Church history; Michael McMullen, professor of Church history; John Mark Yeats, professor of Church history; and Jason Allen, MBTS president.
As part of the event, attendees will sing two versions of “Amazing Grace:” the “modern” version associated with Chris Tomlin as well as a rendition of all the verses Newton wrote accompanied by organ and piano.
“We want people to learn that studying hymnody has value,” Swain said. “We all ought to own a hymnal in addition to our Bibles.”
For more information, go to mbts.edu. The chapel can be streamed live or after the event at www.mbts.edu/events/chapel.
SBTS hosts renowned scholar Robert George for lecture, panel discussion
By Travis Hearne/SBTS
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) – Moral truth is attractive and leads to human flourishing, Robert George and Albert Mohler said during a discussion in the Bookstore at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. George serves as McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and is one of the world’s most respected voices within American social conservatism.
George delivered a lecture on natural law and the crisis of Western morality, then joined Mohler for a conversation on social conservatism. Andrew T. Walker, professor of ethics at SBTS, led the discussion. The lecture was sponsored by the Carl F. H. Henry Institute for Evangelical Engagement.
“We are in a new intellectual context,” Mohler said. “When the liberals of the last century claimed to save Christian morality from Christian theology, they lost both. For SBTS, we are proud to be cobelligerents against evil with Dr. George. But more than that, we are proud to be co-thinkers.”
George and Mohler discussed the state of contemporary conservatism; For George and Mohler, true conservatism differs from blood-and-soil nationalism and popular expressions of neo-conservatism.
“American conservatism was never blood and soil or throne and altar,” said George. “We American conservatives believe in a creedal nation where our identity is built on a shared commitment to the principles found in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution – which is why anyone can become an American.”
George said a unified culture must flow from the nation’s founding ideas. Mohler agreed and pointed out the difference between true conservatism and many of those who label themselves as conservatives.
“I think one of the most crucial distinctions we can make today is between right-wing and conservative,” Mohler said. “Just wanting to blow up the left doesn’t make you a conservative. A conservative believes in permanent things and first principles.”
Midwestern Seminary hosts 9Marks Conference on Evangelism
By Brett Fredenberg/MBTS
KANSAS CITY (BP) – Midwestern Seminary partnered with 9Marks to host “a conference on evangelism” Feb. 7-8, with sessions aimed at providing a biblical understanding and convictional urgency in the task of evangelism.
Keynote speakers Jason Allen, Mark Dever, Mack Stiles, Brian McKanna, Geoff Chang, Zach Shlegel and Brad Wheeler brought messages surrounding the doctrine of evangelism and the practice of Gospel proclamation in the life of local churches.
Mark Dever, senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, led the conference’s first session by asking the question, “What is our mission?” After preaching from Romans 10, he answered, “To lead others to call on Jesus and be saved.”
He went on to say, “Belief in God’s sovereignty actually fuels our evangelism and desire to bring God’s glory to the ends of the earth. You have been called to global missions. Either to go yourself or for your church to send missionaries.”
Jason Allen, president of Midwestern Seminary, delivered the conference’s second message, seeking to establish and recover the exclusivity of the Gospel for the task of evangelism from John 14.
He began by defining exclusivity, saying, “Jesus is clear, and Scripture is clear – there is no other way, no other name, and no other path to heaven.”
To promote exclusivity in the church, Allen said pastors must preach Christ-centered sermons, track evangelistic efforts, speak of evangelistic encounters and more.