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FROM THE SEMINARIES: Midwestern adds Barrett, Charles, Smith to faculty; Southwestern prof’s witness yields salvation

In today’s From the Seminaries:
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Matthew Barrett, H.B. Charles, Steven Smith to teach at MBTS

By T. Patrick Hudson

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) — Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Jason Allen has announced that Matthew Barrett, H.B. Charles Jr. and Steven Smith will join the MBTS faculty in varying capacities for the upcoming academic year.

Barrett will serve as associate professor of Christian theology; Charles and Smith will be senior preaching fellows for the Spurgeon Library while maintaining their local church ministries.

“Rarely does a seminary get to add to its faculty an individual with the gifting and accomplishment of Matthew Barrett, H.B. Charles or Steven Smith,” Allen said.

Barrett, Charles and Smith reflect “God’s blessing on Midwestern Seminary wherein in recent years He has been pleased to send us a new generation of accomplished scholars, dedicated churchmen and devoted Southern Baptists who are committed to Midwestern Seminary’s vision of existing ‘For the Church,'” Allen said.

Barrett has served as lecturer and tutor of systematic theology and church history at Oak Hill Theological College in London since 2015, having previously served at California Baptist University as assistant professor of Christian studies and at Biola University as an adjunct professor in biblical and theological studies.

He has also ministered in the local church setting as senior pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church in Riverside, Calif., and in various preaching and teaching roles since 2003.

“Dr. Barrett has already become a distinguished theologian, especially over the past several years with the release of two major works, ‘Reformation Theology’ and ‘God’s Word Alone,'” Allen said. Barrett also is the author of “40 Questions about Salvation,” “John Owen on the Christian Life” and “Four Views on the Historical Adam” and the founder and editor of Credo Magazine focused on “biblically-grounded, Christ-exalting reformation and transformation in the church today.”

“As a systematic theologian,” Barrett said, “I am thrilled to come to a seminary that actually places a premium on theology, believing it to be absolutely central to the health of the church. While many schools have severed the academy from the local church, Midwestern refuses to embrace such a dichotomy but instead has embodied the biblical marriage between doctrine and doxology.”

Barrett holds a Ph.D. in systematic theology and an M.Div. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and an undergraduate degree from Biola.

Regarding Charles and Smith, Allen said they are “two of this generation’s most well-known and gifted preachers and teachers of preaching. They represent so much of what is right about great preaching and are eager to share their ministries with Midwestern Seminary and as an extension of the Spurgeon Library.”

Charles and Smith will serve the seminary community via preaching God’s Word and instructing students in the discipline both in classroom and conference settings.

Charles is the pastor-teacher at Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville and Orange Park, Fla., where he has served since the fall of 2008. He previously led Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles for nearly 18 years. Succeeding his late father, Charles began his pastorate at Mt. Sinai at age 17 as a high school senior.

Charles, who was elected this summer as president of the 2018 Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference in Dallas, regularly speaks at churches and conferences around the country. He is the author of seven books and writes regularly for a blog on his church’s website.

Smith has been pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock, Ark., since January 2017, previously serving in multiple roles at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary from 2004-2016, including professor of preaching, dean of the College at Southwestern and vice president for student services. He has also pastored churches in Texas and Virginia.

A regular conference speaker, lecturer and teacher, Smith is the author of “Dying to Preach: Embracing the Cross in the Pulpit” and “Recapturing the Voice of God: Shaping Sermons Like Scripture.” He holds a Ph.D. in communication from Regent University, an M.Div. from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and an undergraduate degree from Liberty University.

Charles described Charles H. Spurgeon, a renowned London pastor during the 1800s, as his “historical preaching hero,” crediting Midwestern with “more than carrying on his legacy and extending his work by training a new generation of preachers for the church.”

Smith said Midwestern’s Spurgeon Center and library is a “repository of history yet located on a seminary campus, making it accessible to the next generation of preachers. In this way the center is a stimulus for inspiration, research, but principally exists to stoke the fire for the Word in the hearts of the next generation.”


Brief evangelism encounter leads to salvation

By Katie Coleman

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) — Although restaurant servers have little time for small talk, Barry McCarty, professor of preaching and rhetoric at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, has found there is still an opportunity to share the Gospel even in brief interactions.

McCarty pulled up to the drive-through window of a local Long John Silver’s fast-food restaurant in Fort Worth in mid-April and was greeted by an employee, Demetrius, who immediately recognized McCarty and said, “I read that book you gave me!”

Two months earlier, McCarty had visited that same restaurant and was served by Demetrius. With a long line of other customers, McCarty only had about a minute with Demetrius.

McCarty asked Demetrius if he was saved; Demetrius replied that he was unsure. McCarty then gave him a Pocket Testament League copy of the Gospel of John with the plan of salvation and he encouraged Demetrius to read it.

“The best news I could give him was that God loves him and sent His Son to die for his sins,” McCarty says. “The whole story is right in there.”

In the months since, Demetrius read the book in its entirety. When McCarty asked him if he believed what he read, Demetrius responded, “Oh, yes. I believed. I have trusted in Christ.”

Amazed that a seemingly small and simple interaction had resulted in the salvation of Demetrius, McCarty said he was reminded of the value in making the most of even small moments. “You may only have a few seconds with somebody in a fast-food drive-through…. It is just that you put the Gospel in their hands and the Gospel did its work and won them to Christ,”

For the past two years, McCarty has carried with him at least one pocket-sized copy of John at all times. Since then, he has had the opportunity to plant many Gospel seeds, with those he encounters receiving the Good News and a valuable resource to take home.

“There have been several times that I have come back months later and discovered that that person has accepted Christ because the Holy Spirit spoke to them out of the Gospel…. You don’t have to be eloquent and you don’t have to do a picture-perfect job of presenting it as long as you get the Gospel in their hands. What have you got to lose? Someone you might give a Gospel to might have everything to gain.”

    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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