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FROM THE SEMINARIES: Jan. 10 deadline set for NOBTS nominations; NOBTS chosen for 3,000 microfilms of ancient manuscripts; MBTS’ Spurgeon College to offer communications degree

NOBTS presidential search sets Jan. 10 nominations deadline

NEW ORLEANS (BP) — Recommendations or resumes for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s presidency must be submitted to the presidential search committee by Jan. 10, 2019.

Committee chairman Frank Cox’s Dec. 4 announcement followed the 11-member committee’s second meeting, which Cox said was marked by a good spirit and progress.

“We spent time in prayer not only for our school but for other entities that are looking,” Cox said of presidential search committees for the SBC Executive Committee, LifeWay Christian Resources and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Chuck Kelley, NOBTS president since 1996, announced his retirement Oct. 2 at the concluding service of the seminary’s 100-year anniversary celebration. Kelley will serve until July 31, 2019, as chancellor.

After the Jan. 10 deadline, the committee will consider all candidates and “narrow the field and begin the interview process,” Cox said, adding, “We have received many recommendations and resumes from across our Southern Baptist family for qualified people to serve in this capacity.”

Committee members came away from the meeting with a positive attitude for the future, Cox said, adding, “We would like to ask Southern Baptists to continue to pray for us.” Cox is senior pastor of North Metro Baptist Church in Lawrenceville, Ga.

Names and resumes should be emailed to Cox at [email protected] or sent via postal mail to Frank Cox, c/o North Metro Baptist Church, 1026 Old Peachtree Road NE, Lawrenceville, GA 30043.


NOBTS to receive 3,000-plus microfilms of ancient manuscripts

NEW ORLEANS (BP) — New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary has been chosen as the recipient of a notable microfilm collection of ancient manuscripts from monasteries in Egypt, Greece and Israel.

The International Greek New Testament Project awarded its collection of 3,000-plus microfilms to NOBTS’ H. Milton Haggard Center for New Testament Textual Studies (CNTTS) in September. The seminary was chosen as the new owners of the collection over prominent institutions in England, Germany and the United States in part due to the Haggard Center’s willingness to make the collection available to scholars for on-site research.

“For on-site research, this collection puts us in a very elite class in North America,” said Bill Warren, director of the CNTTS. “The Haggard Center is one of the best places around to study original source documents from the New Testament and church history.”

The collection is a master set of microfilms produced by the Library of Congress, the International Greek New Testament Project (ICNTP), American Schools of Oriental Research and other partners.

The late Kenneth W. Clark led expeditions to Saint Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, the Mount Athos Monastery in Greece and the Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem in 1949 to photograph the manuscripts.

The documents span from the fifth through 15th centuries A.D., including many writings from early church fathers as well as New Testament documents in as many as 12 different languages such as Greek, Syriac, Georgian, Coptic, Armenian, Arabic, Turkish and Ethiopic.

Warren, of NOBTS, said this master set of microfilms was housed at the University of Manchester’s John Rylands Research Institute for many years. Rylands returned the set earlier this year to the IGNTP, which then invited schools and institutes to submit proposals to receive, house and preserve the collection. With the winning proposal, the CNTTS will receive the collection for only the cost of shipping from Europe to New Orleans.

While the bulk of the microfilms are not New Testament or even Greek-language documents, Warren said the collection is an important addition to the Haggard Center’s holdings as a valuable research tool for scholars in a number of disciplines including biblical studies, church history and theology.

As with many important microfilm collections, the set is available in digital format. However, Warren noted a key advantage in preserving the microfilms and making them available to researchers.

“Often the microfilms offer better quality than the digital copy,” Warren said. He sets the value of the collection at approximately $120,000.

CNNTS, founded at NOBTS in 1998, is devoted to the study of the New Testament text in the Greek manuscripts. In addition to the recently obtained microfilm collection, the center’s library includes 900 printed, digital and microfilm New Testament manuscripts. The center also holds several important facsimile codices like the fourth century Codex Vaticanus, one of the oldest and best Greek New Testament manuscripts, and the Codex Petropolitanus Purpureus. Scholars at the center study and compare these manuscripts to help ensure the reliability of the Bible.

“The depth of scholarly work that undergirds our Bibles is primarily done at a handful of settings around the world,” Haggard said, “including here at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary at the H. Milton Haggard Center for New Testament Textual Studies where the handwritten manuscripts of the Greek New Testament are studied. Those studies provide the solid foundations that we enjoy for our Bible’s accuracy.”


MBTS’ Spurgeon College to offer communications degree

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) — A new degree program in communications has been introduced at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s undergraduate school, Spurgeon College

The B.A. in communications, is “specifically designed to equip students to expand the footprint of Christ’s Kingdom no matter what industry, vocation or geographical location they find themselves in,” the seminary stated in a news release.

The 120-credit hour program includes ministry core courses such as biblical studies and Christian ministry intertwined with training in journalism, public relations, rhetoric, visual communications and other communications-related vocations.

“When we speak of Spurgeon College existing ‘For the Kingdom,’ offering a bachelor’s degree in communications is one of the ways we can fulfill that mission,” MBTS President Jason Allen said. “In a world filled with questions surrounding the credibility and truthfulness in many areas of communications, most notably journalism, this degree track will instill training and application from a Christian worldview for our students that will be rich in credibility, ethics and accuracy.

“Through these studies, students can take the skills they’ve learned and apply them in bivocational ministry from most anywhere in the world. This enables us to fulfill the Acts 1:8 mandate of taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth.”

The degree is fully accredited through the Higher Learning Commission and students can earn their degree at Spurgeon College’s Kansas City campus, completely online or through a combination of online and on-campus classes.

Spurgeon College dean Sam Bierig noted that just as Charles H. Spurgeon helped found more than 60 ministries that had great social and cultural impact, so also Midwestern wants to train students who will be engagers of the public sphere.

“Spurgeon College is preparing students for a lifetime of Christian service inside and outside of traditional ministry roles,” Bierig said. “The B.A. in communications is just one more avenue open for students to be trained for broader Christian service in the marketplace and public sphere. It is our great hope that the Lord would use our B.A. in communications graduates to advance Christ-glorifying journalism and media content throughout various industries stateside and abroad.”

One other benefit to students in the communications program will be a full semester of applying the skills they’ve learned through an intensive practicum course.

“What can be more beneficial than practical, hands on experience?” Bierig asked. “Through the practicum, students will be paired up with departments on campus and in other locations to hone the skills they’ve worked hard to learn throughout their coursework.

“Employers are constantly requiring experience from applicants. By writing journalistic stories and press releases, coordinating public relations events, engaging in public speaking opportunities and producing graphic design portfolios, students can enter the workforce with confidence and proficiency in these skills.”

Courses toward the new degree will be offered beginning in fall 2019, with core classes being developed and added into the course rotation incrementally over the next three years until the program is completely populated.

To learn more about the bachelor of arts in communications, visit https://www.spurgeoncollege.com/bacomm.

    About the Author

  • NOBTS, MBTS & BP Staff

    Compiled by Baptist Press senior editor Art Toalston from reporting by Gary Myers of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and T. Patrick Hudson of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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