EDITOR’S NOTE: “From the Seminaries” includes news releases of interest from Southern Baptist seminaries.
Today’s From the Seminaries includes items from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Midwestern names dean of Korean studies
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (MBTS) — Sung Jin Park has been named dean of Korean studies and associate professor of biblical studies at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo.
Park has been an adjunct professor of biblical studies at Midwestern since 2012.
“Dr. Park by experience and reputation is uniquely qualified to lead our Korean program,” MBTS President Jason K. Allen said. “It is significant to note that our Korean program is one of the largest in the evangelical world, and we are expectant Dr. Park will lead it to new heights.”
Park’s vision for his new position within the Midwestern’s Korean studies department is to align with the overall mission of the seminary to exist for the church.
“My vision for Korean studies is to equip Korean pastors and seminarians with biblically sound principles and to prepare them to be biblical role models in their own pastoral situations for the church,” Park said. “Being a biblical role model does not stem from suggesting a new church growth model or proposing a revolutionary evangelism program. Rather, it is based on biblical integrity as manifested in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity as found in 1 Timothy 4:12.”
Park holds a Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible and Near Eastern studies from Hebrew Union College and master’s degree in Hebraic and cognate studies from the Cincinnati college; a Th.M. in Old Testament and New Testament from Dallas Theological Seminary; and an undergraduate degree from Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea.
Park is in the process of writing “Towards Biblical Hebrew Poetic Typology: Generative Metrical Approach” (working title). His articles have appeared in such academic journals as Hebrew Studies; Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages; Biblica; Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentlich Wissenschaft; and Ugarit Forschungen. He has also contributed articles to the Lexham Bible Dictionary and the forthcoming book, “Where Shall Wisdom Be Found? A Grammatical Tribute to Professor Stephen A. Kaufman on the Occasion of His Retirement from Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion (Eisenbrauns).”
In his ministry experience, Park has served in various roles at the Cincinnati Chinese Church, including teaching pastor, youth Sunday School teacher and positions on the pastoral staff. He was also the Bible study instructor at Arlington (Va.) Chinese Church and English Bible study senior leader at Sa-Rang Community Church in Seoul, South Korea.
Park also holds undergraduate and master’s degree in material science and engineering from Korean universities. Prior to being called into ministry, he worked as a research engineer for Hyundai Motor Company Research Institute for six years.
Park and his wife Alice have three children, Eileen, Eunice, and Euclid.
Hindu funeral pyre stokes seminarian’s passion for missions
By S. Craig Sanders & Andrew J.W. Smith
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — Smoke rolled to the heavens as the bodies of devout Hindus burned upon pyres in a religious ceremony at one of the largest Hindu temples in the world. Family members circled their deceased loved ones and stoked the flames before shoving the ashes off the riverbank into the Bagmati.
Across the street from the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal, six students from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary witnessed the religious ritual as a “sobering” spiritual reality.
“I felt so brokenhearted for these people who have no hope after watching them burn the bodies of eight people who recently died, probably mirroring what they were experiencing in hell,” said Dennis McDaniel, a student member of the mission team who traveled to South Asia this summer.
Compelled by the display of hopelessness, McDaniel approached four holy men on the steps of the ancient Hindu temple to establish a connection that transcended cultures.
McDaniel, of Corydon, Ind., was one of 45 students who served on short-term trips with Southern Seminary’s Bevin Center for Missions Mobilization, which was founded in 2012 to cultivate evangelism, missions and church planting across the world. Seven faculty-led teams comprised of Southern Seminary and Boyce College students spent two weeks on four different continents to reinforce the Gospel work of alumni serving overseas.
“Our desire is to serve the churches that are in these different areas, to go and undergird the work that our alumni are doing in various places around the world and support their long-term vision for making the Gospel go forth in those areas,” said Garrett Milner, student life director at Southern Seminary and member of the South Asia team.
In the trips, spread across May and June, students served in the Himalayas; Central Asia; South Asia; Brazil; France; Salt Lake City; and Baltimore.
“Each mission trip is designed to plunge students into the deep end of the mission field, where alumni are faithfully serving,” said Bevin Center director Jim Stitzinger III, who envisions every SBTS and Boyce College student experiencing “the global work of Jesus firsthand.”
Michael Wellman, student missions coordinator and intern for the Brazil team, said short-term mission trips are most effective when the students are well-trained beforehand to invest in the missionary’s long-term work. The team visited three different regions within Brazil, each with its own distinct needs, requiring a thoughtful and varied approach.
“As Scripture says, some plant, some water, but God gives the growth,” Wellman said. “In some areas, what we were doing was planting the seed and allowing the missionary to come along and water. In others, we were watering what he had planted and strengthening his ongoing ministry.”
While some Christians are called to go overseas and others are called to support and send them, Stitzinger said that every young Christian can benefit from a short-term mission trip.
“It’s one thing to learn in the classroom about the global Gospel need, but it is another to sit on a mountainside in Brazil and talk to someone who will only hear the Gospel from you in her lifetime,” Stitzinger said. “Every lesson heard under fluorescent lights sitting in parallel rows will be stamped into your DNA as you evangelize on the streets of a predominately Muslim country.”
After seeing the global need for the Gospel, the students voiced a renewed eagerness to work for the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
Timur Nesbitt, the student intern on the Central Asia trip and Boyce student, encouraged his teammates to maintain mission fervor after returning to the United States, even by engaging in opportunities in their own contexts around Louisville where the seminary is located.
“Coming back is the beginning. Don’t come back and say, ‘I’m done with my mission work.’ No, you continue with your mission work — that never stops,” Nesbitt said. “Be involved with your local church, go reach out to locals here in the city.”
For McDaniel, who graduated with an M.Div. shortly before venturing, that means uncovering the “lostness in America hidden in church pews” as he prepares to plant a church in southern Indiana.
Reflecting on the burning bodies at the Hindu pagoda, McDaniel fought back tears while insisting on the Christian imperative “to stand in front of the gates of hell and tell our loved ones that they can go to hell, but they can go to hell over my dead body — that we’ll do all we can to tell them about Jesus.”
For more information about missions trips through Southern Seminary’s Bevin Center, go to missions.sbts.edu.