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FROM THE SEMINARIES: MBTS convocation, dedication for founding president; Boyce receives teacher education certification

In today’s From the Seminaries: Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; Boyce College at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Midwestern opens semester with convocation, building dedication

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) — Fall convocation is a time of “consecrating ourselves anew for the task of ministry preparation,” Jason Allen, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, said in formally opening the new academic year Aug. 21 at the Kansas City, Mo., campus.

In addition to Allen’s message from James 1:19-25, the seminary’s newest faculty member, Andreas Köstenberger, signed the Articles of Faith. After convocation, the Midwestern community honored the seminary’s first president, Millard Berquist, by dedicating the campus administrative wing in his name.

Allen, in his convocation message, warned that being a minister of the Gospel is to “Play with Dangerous Things.”

Any minister who does not receive God’s Word with careful reflection or does not receive God’s Word with intentional obedience is in danger of “snoozing through their grand assignment,” Allen said, further cautioning against becoming too lackadaisical.

“Inasmuch as there is discontinuity in what we teach and what we live, there is danger in that,” Allen stated. “Inasmuch as there is discontinuity between what we hear and how we obey, there is danger in that as well.”

In explaining that each minister must receive God’s Word with careful reflection, Allen noted how this is typified in James’ words in chapter 1, verse 21.

“To live the Christian life is to be involved in a collision of interests,” he said. “The Word, the Spirit, the ministry and the forces of light all come at us in one way, and the other would be things of darkness, filthiness and the vestiges of wickedness that unfortunately remain.

“Of this collision, James would say, ‘You engage this collision by humbling yourselves — receiving, digesting the Word implanted.’ The picture we get here is that spiritual growth and the preaching and teaching of God’s Word is a deep work.”

Once the Word is received, Allen said, one must act on it with intentional obedience.

A minister’s obedience shouldn’t come from an understanding that it earns salvation or keeps one’s salvation, Allen said, or that it gains a favorable standing in the sight of our Lord.

Instead, ministers should “pursue faithfulness as those who have been immersed in the goodness of God; those who have been lavished in the grace of God; those whose standing in Christ is certain and unshakable.”

There is a danger ministers and other Christians face in being self-deluded about hearing or preaching the Word of God but having no interest or desire in applying it, Allen said. This can be avoided, however, by having a willingness to reflect protractedly, thoroughly, and by intentionally obeying God’s Word.

“As we begin a new academic year and all of the possibility it portends,” Allen said, “we dare not be the type of people who could hear, teach or preach the Word without any intent to sincerely reflect upon or to intentionally obey it.”

Also during convocation, Midwestern’s newest faculty member, Köstenberger, signed the Articles of Faith in promising adherence to the seminary’s confessional statements: the Baptist Faith & Message 2000, the Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood; and the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. Kostenberger is the 114th MBTS faculty member to sign the Articles of Faith.

Köstenberger, who came to Midwestern Seminary after 20 years at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, will serve as research professor of New Testament and biblical theology and as director of a forthcoming Center for Biblical Studies. He was elected to the faculty during April’s trustee meeting.

Rounding out the day’s festivities was the dedication of the seminary’s administrative wing in honor of Millard Berquist, Midwestern’s first president who died in 1990. Before a crowd that included a number of Berquist’s family members, Allen unveiled a plaque commemorating the founding president’s service and efforts.

Allen reflected on stories he had read and heard about Berquist’s election as president as well as his vital role in property negotiation, assembling the original faculty, initial building projects and early school life at Midwestern.

Of Berquist, Allen said, “To found anything, whether it is a business, church or what would prove to be a major institution, is no small task. Dr. Berquist and his wife Gladys gave their lives to leading this institution, and that is a remarkable thing. We are grateful for their tremendous service to the seminary community and the Southern Baptist Convention in the earliest years of our school’s existence.

“In honoring Dr. Berquist’s extraordinary contribution toward these foundational elements of Midwestern Seminary — now 61 years after the institution was established — it is only fitting and right that on this August day, we dedicate this building — to now be known as Berquist Hall — after him.”

Berquist was elected by the trustees as president on Oct. 8, 1957. He presided for 15 years, retiring on July 31, 1972 but continuing administrative duties until February 1973 when his successor, Milton Ferguson, took office.

During his ministry, Berquist served as pastor of several churches, including Price Hill Baptist Church in Cincinnati, Riverside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., and First Baptist Church in Tampa.

In Southern Baptist denominational life, Berquist served as president of the Florida Baptist Convention and two terms as a trustee at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. After retirement from Midwestern, trustees elected him as president emeritus and he served as interim pastor for churches in Missouri and Florida.

Berquist and his wife were married for 62 years; the couple had one daughter, Barbara.


Boyce receives teacher education certification

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) — The Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) voted Aug. 20 to grant provisional certification to Boyce College’s teacher education program for its track focusing on teaching in public schools, either in Kentucky or elsewhere.

Three tracks are offered in Boyce’s teacher education program (TEP). In addition to the one now certified, the other two tracks are non-certified, with emphases on ESL and classical education respectively. The core educational curriculum for all three tracks meets state standards for education degrees.

Boyce teacher education graduates, whose degrees already meet Kentucky curricular requirements, will now be able to apply directly for a state teaching license in public schools. The certification goes into effect immediately. The provisional status represents a required three-year probationary period on the path to full certification.

“Our teacher education program is a natural extension of our mission to prepare young people for service in the church and in the world,” said R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary. “The ministry of teaching is so central to Christianity that this program is one of the most exciting dimensions of the life of Boyce College. Everything we do is for the church and for the cause of the Gospel, and this new certification will allow us to send Christian teachers, trained at Boyce College, into every level of educational and academic life in the United States.

“This will make a difference not only in the classroom, but in the hearts and minds of those who will sit in those classrooms,” Mohler said.

Boyce education professor Melissa Tucker, who chairs the teacher education program, said the new certification contributes to the multifaceted way Boyce College seeks to prepare educators.

“We want to ensure that our students have a high-quality teacher preparation program, a biblical worldview and are working in the public schools in order not to only provide children with a great elementary experience but also to reach those children for Christ,” Tucker said shortly after the EPSB vote.

“The teacher education program has been one of the most energizing and successful degree programs at Boyce College in recent years and this important milestone underscores its quality,” said Matthew J. Hall, the college’s dean. “Our graduates have been the most vivid demonstration, with a 100 percent job placement rate after graduation. Teachers are entrusted with an extraordinary stewardship from the Lord. For those given this high calling, there is no better place for preparation.”

Tucker said the TEP degree is now set up to meet the diverse needs of the growing number of students enrolled in it.

“We know that we have students who want to reach children all over the world and want to teach them with a biblical worldview,” Tucker said. “Whether a student wants to be non-certified with an ESL/ENL emphasis or a classical education emphasis or certified so they can go directly into the public school, Boyce TEP has our strong Bible classes and then adds on the strong education pedagogy our students are ready to go into the world.”

More information about the teacher education program, as well as other degree programs at Boyce College, is available at boycecollege.com.

    About the Author

  • SBC Seminary & BP Staff

    Cassity Potter writes for Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; Art Toalston is senior editor of Baptist Press, the SBC’s news service; Alex Sibley writes for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; and S. Craig Sanders writes for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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