News Articles

FROM THE SEMINARIES: Great Commission Week at SBTS; MBTS Fusion commissionings, new theology journal

SBTS hosts KBC, IMB, NAMB at Great Commission Week

By Travis Hearne/SBTS

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) – Southern Baptist Theological Seminary held its annual Great Commission Week to help students explore their options for missions with SBC entities April 11-14. During the mission-focused week, the Boyce College and SBTS community heard chapel messages, built connections, and attended events emphasizing current and future opportunities to fulfill the Great Commission.

The Kentucky Baptist Convention (KBC), International Mission Board (IMB), and North American Board (NAMB) hosted meals and informative sessions on campus to help students learn how to get involved and serve after graduation.

Paul Akin, SBTS provost and professor of missions, said Great Commission Week offers a unique opportunity to help students know their path to the mission field.

“Great Commission Week provides our students with opportunities to learn more about pathways to serve with the KBC, the IMB and NAMB,” Akin said. “It’s a strategic time on our campus as we challenge students to consider the role they will play in the Great Commission.”

Afshin Ziafat, Pastor at Providence Church, spoke at chapel on Tuesday and encouraged students to see the Good News of the Gospel as the power behind missions.

“The Gospel is fuel for radical discipleship and radical mission,” Ziafet said. “Amazing grace in the Gospel propels missionaries and church planters to fulfill the Great Commission.”

Other key events included prayer gatherings for various people groups and a unique live recording of Akin’s podcast, Amazon to the Himalayas, in The Bookstore at Southern, with Hershael York, dean of the School of Theology.

Omar Johnson, pastor at Temple Hills Baptist Church, spoke at chapel on Thursday, challenging the SBTS and Boyce College community to lean on God’s power and proclaim Christ.

“Recognize your insufficiencies but don’t let them rule you,” Johnson said. “Go be a life-giving Christian wherever God might call you and trust that the Lord is still working. Rely on him and raise the banner for Jesus. Center your life on speaking Christ and let God show his powerful work through your profound weakness.”

“Great Commission Week was a great success,” said Jacob Percy, VP of Communications. “We look forward to seeing how this week equips the Southern Seminary community to impact the world with the Gospel.”

MBTS Fusion program commissions 12 missionary teams for overseas service

By Brett Fredenberg/MBTS

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) – Spurgeon College hosted a commissioning ceremony for its Fusion Cohorts on April 25, celebrating 12 missionary teams to Africa and high security locations throughout the Middle East and South Asia. Families and friends gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of cohort participants and commission them to serving overseas this summer.

Since 2005, Fusion has existed to equip believers for a lifetime of Kingdom service by training students to make disciples of all nations through a one-year immersive program. Each year, Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College sends several Fusion teams overseas and signifies their service through a commissioning ceremony.

The ceremony began with a welcome from the dean of Spurgeon College, Sam Bierig. He expressed his gratitude to families in attendance, saying, “In an era dominated by decadence and fear, we believe that your son and daughter has made a precious and impactful decision to serve for the Kingdom this summer.”

After challenging Fusion cohorts with a Scripture reading from Acts 26:22-23, Bierig prayed for strength and biblical success for each cohort’s summer mission.

Fusion staff members then presented the Fusion students to family, friends and the seminary community as having successfully completed phase one of their training.

Erik Odegard, director of Fusion, explained how the commissioning ceremony serves as a rite of passage for Fusion cohorts. The Fusion program consists of three rites of passage, each signifying major achievements and further commitments in the future.

Students completed their first rite of passage after Field Personnel Training, an intense two-week training at the beginning of the Fusion program. The commissioning service was the second rite of passage, representing their successful completion of several months of physical, emotional and spiritual training. The third rite of passage will be celebrated upon their return to the States, as the students will then be commissioned for a lifetime of service of making disciples of all nations.

Following an explanation of each cohort’s successful completion of phase one, Midwestern Seminary Assistant Professor of Missions Joe Allen III delivered the Precedent of Expectation.

He shared that the expectation was clear, “Let all that you do be done in love wherever you go this summer.” The precedent for this expectation though, as he explained, is an event that takes place prior to the expectation. “Jesus set the precedent,” he said. “Through his sacrificial death, Jesus shows us that love is not romantic sentimentality – it is self-sacrifice.”

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MBTS Journal of Theology features ‘Missions at Midwestern,’ ‘How Old is the Earth?’ and more

By Brett Fredenberg/MBTS

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) – Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary released its Spring 2023 issue of the Midwestern Journal of Theology on April 28, featuring works by several of the institution’s faculty and theologians across evangelicalism.

The spring edition of the Journal focuses on topics such the importance of grammar for theology, a debate on the age of the earth, missions at Midwestern Seminary, and more.

“I am very proud of yet another great issue of the Midwestern Journal of Theology,” said President Jason Allen. “I want to express many thanks to all of the contributors, and a special thanks to Dr. Michael McMullen and Dr. Blake Hearson for their hard work on this edition of the journal.”

Michael McMullen, professor of church history and editor of the Midwestern Journal of Theology, said, “We are again blessed to publish a rich and varied assortment of articles for this issue, and we are always very grateful to the many articles we receive. It is our joy and privilege to note that the articles in the present issue have all been contributed or co-written by teachers at Midwestern Seminary.”

Midwestern Seminary Research Professor Jason DeRouchie and New Testament scholar Wayne Grudem co-wrote the first article titled, “How Old is the Earth?” In the first section, DeRouchie provided six arguments in support of a young earth perspective. Grudem, on the other hand, said, “I do not think the Bible tells us or intends to tell us the age of the earth or the age of the universe,” and concludes an old earth perspective. Each scholar interacts with and responds to counter arguments for an engaging and thoughtful debate.

In the Journal’s second article, associate professor of Biblical studies Todd Chipman contributed his article, “Participating in the Jesus Drama: Roles in Johannine Discourse.” Chipman shows a framework of interpretation through 1 John and argues that grammar is a guide to theology.

Nicholas Majors, adjunct professor at Midwestern Seminary, authored the third article titled, “Saul as a King-Priest.” From 1 Samuel 9-11, Majors presented a scholarly account of King Saul, arguing for an understanding of Saul as a king-priest who failed to fear or listen to God.

Jason Kees, who serves as a trustee at Midwestern Seminary, wrote the fourth article, “The Magi’s Fulfillment of the Hebrew Bible’s Theme ‘East of Eden.’” In the article, he argued that the story of the magi was designed to fulfill an Old Testament theme. As he said, “The place of origin and direction in which the wise men traveled is a clue not just for their geographic journey but rather to show how these men came from the east and arrived in God’s presence and fulfilled the journey East of Eden.”

The Journal concluded with an article dedicated for the Church, written by Assistant Professor of Missions Joe Allen III titled, “Missions at Midwestern: Why For the Church Means For the Nations.” He spoke to the seminary’s convictions on mission and stated, “Theological education serves the church, which serves the nations, which crescendos in the glory of God… We pray that all of our efforts ultimately result in resounding doxology for the One who is worthy.”

In addition to the scholarly articles, the Journal includes several relevant and thought-provoking book reviews, many of which were written by Midwestern Seminary doctoral students.

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