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FROM THE SEMINARIES: Convocations at Midwestern, Southeastern; Stephen Rummage joins MBTS faculty

MBTS convocation opens semester, Stephen Rummage announcement
By T. Patrick Hudson

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) — Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Jason Allen formally opened the new academic year by addressing new and returning students and faculty, staff and guests during fall convocation Aug. 20.

In addition to his message from Isaiah 6:1-8, Allen introduced Stephen Rummage as professor of preaching and pastoral ministry as well as senior preaching fellow for the C.H. Spurgeon Center & Library. Also, recently elected faculty member Todd Chipman — Midwestern’s first Ph.D. graduate — signed the seminary’s Articles of Faith.

A new school year is an appropriate time for renewal and consecration of one’s life, Allen said in his convocation message. Regardless of one’s relationship with Christ and his or her calling in ministry, being set apart moves Christ’s followers to be more faithful and fruitful in serving Him.

Isaiah 6:1-8, he said, reminds anew of the character of God, the character of Christ, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, confronting us with the holiness, sovereignty, power and majesty of God who must be relied on in all facets of life.

Pausing to reflect on such things, Allen continued, is countercultural in a society given to busyness, clutter, triviality, entertainment and other things that fight for attention.

However, focusing on God — particularly during busy seasons — can be a welcome respite, Allen said.

“Thus, to pause and reflect on the grandeur of God is something of an interruption, but a needed interruption,” he said. “Moreover, to think about this passage and our calling is helpful in reminding us of the gravity of our work.”

The prophet Isaiah, Allen said, experienced similar circumstances in his day, but when he entered the presence of Jesus in His throne room and experienced His holiness, might and majesty, all concerns for the things of the world melted away. Isaiah was left with complete contemplation upon his state before the Lord, realizing his uncleanness and need for redemption.

In consecrating ourselves and focusing on this passage, numerous truths come to light, Allen said.

First, there is a King on His throne who is sovereign over all things — regardless of any earthly circumstance.

Second, the characteristic attributed to God in this passage is His holiness. The seraphim’s ongoing praise of “Holy, Holy, Holy” demonstrates their smitten state before the Lord whose holiness is so unspeakable, so unfathomable, so incomprehensible that they will never get over this characteristic of the One whose presence they exist within.

Third, being in Jesus’ presence reveals our sinfulness, Allen said, yet God is gracious and generous in His forgiveness.

“Here’s the glory of consecration,” he said. “God has infinite grace. He doesn’t leave us in a state of contrition and brokenness and humility and repentance. He’s not a God who holds our head under water. He’s a God who lifts us up. He’s a God who restores, and we’re all here today as followers of Christ because in our own way, time, place and setting, we have experienced that grace and forgiveness.”

Finally, we are called to serve this great God, Allen said. The Lord asks who will go out and proclaim, without reservation, His glory. Isaiah responds, “Here am I. Send me.” To eventually get to this place, Allen said one must be humbled and lowly before God in consecration. As it was with Isaiah, may it be the same with us.

To hear Allen’s complete convocation message, visit: https://www.mbts.edu/2019/08/fall-convocation-with-dr-jason-allen.

As part of the convocation, recently-elected faculty member Todd Chipman signed the seminary’s Articles of Faith, promising adherence to the school’s confessional statements: the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, the Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, the Chicago Statement on the Inerrancy of Scripture, and the Nashville Statement.

Chipman, the 117th faculty member in Midwestern’s history to sign the book, has served at the seminary in the classroom and in online teaching for more than five years as appointed assistant professor of biblical studies. He also holds the distinction of being the first graduate of Midwestern Seminary’s Ph.D. program. Chipman’s election to the faculty took place during April’s trustee meeting.

Stephen Rummage joins Midwestern’s faculty

Allen announced that Stephen Rummage has joined Midwestern’s faculty as professor of preaching and pastoral ministry as well as senior preaching fellow for the C.H. Spurgeon Center & Library.

Rummage will continue his role as senior pastor of Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, serving at Midwestern by commuting to Kansas City, Mo., for doctoral seminars and to instruct graduate and doctoral students in the discipline of preaching in both classroom and conference settings.

“Dr. Rummage brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field of preaching and ministering within the local church,” Allen said. “He has also served extensively and is well-respected for his leadership within our denomination. Our students will deeply benefit from his preaching and pastoral ministry insight.

“I’m also thankful for the partnership with Quail Springs Baptist Church that though Dr. Rummage will maintain his full responsibilities as senior pastor there, he’ll be on our campus multiple times a year, leading doctoral seminars, teaching master of divinity intensives, and supervising doctoral students.”

Rummage said he is “honored and very thankful to be joining the Midwestern family. Under Dr. Allen’s leadership, the school has gained a widespread reputation for training exceptional people to serve the church.

“My greatest passions and strongest areas of calling are preaching the Bible, sharing the Gospel and shepherding God’s people,” Rummage said. “I’m eager to be a part of what God is doing at Midwestern, and I pray the Lord will use me to encourage and strengthen the next generation of pastors who come there to study.”

Rummage became senior pastor of Quail Springs Baptist Church earlier this year, previously serving nine years as senior pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Fla. He has also led churches in North Carolina, Virginia and Louisiana and has served on the faculties of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C, and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also a popular speaker at churches and conferences across the country.

He holds an M.Div. with a specialization in biblical languages from Southeastern Seminary and completed his Ph.D. in preaching at New Orleans Seminary.

In denominational service, Rummage served as the 2017-2018 president of the Florida Baptist Convention as well as chairman of the SBC Executive Committee from 2016-2018.

He is the author of several books and the founder of Moving Forward, a radio teaching ministry which airs daily nationwide. He and his wife Michele have one adult son, Joshua.

To learn more about academics at Midwestern Seminary, visit www.mbts.edu/academics.


Akin, in SEBTS convocation, ties Psalm 142 to missionary Ann Judson
By Lauren Pratt

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) — Students, faculty and staff filled Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Binkley Chapel to mark the beginning of a new semester at the 2019 fall convocation.

SEBTS President Danny Akin highlighted three ways the life of missionary Ann Hasseltine Judson is reflected in Psalm 142.

“Following Jesus is not a game; following Jesus is a call to forsake all,” Akin said.

First, Akin noted that God hears the cries of every believer, with this being exemplified in Judson’s conversion at age 16 along with her call to the mission field at age 21. Through these key moments in her life, Judson diligently poured out her heart to the Lord, which Akin underscored as an example for every believer to follow.

“We have a God who anywhere, anytime and under any circumstances hears our prayers,” Akin said.

Second, he said Psalm 142 shows that God knows what His children are going through, recounting multiple examples of how the Judsons endured hardships that the Lord foreknew and used in their lives, including the deaths of children and a ministry partner.

Lastly, Akin noted that God will deliver His children because He is their refuge, which is found in verses 5-7.

“Ann Judson would experience the truth of verse 7, but not in the way that perhaps we expected or hoped,” Akin said. “Yes, there would not be a ‘gathering of the righteous’ around her on earth, but I suspect there was a glorious gathering of the righteous around her in heaven.”

Along with Akin’s address, four faculty members were recognized during the Aug. 22 convocation.

Allan Moseley and Greg Welty both received this year’s Faculty Excellence in Teaching Awards. Moseley is senior professor of Old Testament and Hebrew; Welty is professor of philosophy.

Scott Pace and Walter Strickland signed Southeastern’s Abstract of Principles and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. Pace serves as dean of The College at Southeastern and associate professor of pastoral ministry and preaching. He was installed in the Johnny Hunt Chair of Biblical Preaching in August 2018 and was elected to the faculty in April 2019. Strickland serves as associate professor of systematic and contextual theology and associate vice president for diversity. He also was elected to the faculty in April.

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  • SBC Seminary Staff