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FROM THE SEMINARIES: Mohler, Allen express gratitude to God for fall semesters

The 2020 fall semester is a precious gift from God, Mohler tells students

By Jeff Robinson

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) — Why should seminary education remain a priority during a pandemic? Because difficult times don’t change the mission of institutions like Southern Seminary, but make it all the more urgent, President R. Albert Mohler Jr. said Tuesday morning (Aug. 25) in the fall 2020 convocation address for The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Preaching from Psalm 91:1-6 and illustrating with C. S. Lewis’ 1939 sermon “Learning in War-Time,” preached at Oxford University at the outset of World War II, Mohler said neither war nor pandemic changes the fact that Southern is called to teach and learn and send out graduates to preach the Gospel in a dangerous, fallen world. Until Jesus returns, there will never be a time that will allow Christians to teach and learn in peace and safety.

“We will never be surrounded by anything less than deadly dangers,” he said. “And we are preparing those who will serve Christ in the church and in the world by sending them out into a world which is even more dangerous.”

Drawing on Lewis’ sermon, Mohler outlined three dangers students face during crises such as a war or pandemic: excitement, frustration and fear. Students must resist all three, especially fear.

“We can resist fear, not because we are stronger than COVID-19 or because we’re stronger than fear,” he said. “We’re not strong. We’d better recognize that. But we are sheltered by the Most High God. This new academic term comes under the shadow of the Almighty. It’s where we’ve always been, and it’s really important that we understand it now.”

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MBTS holds convocation in new normal

By T. Patrick Hudson

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) — Fall Convocation at Midwestern Seminary proceeded Aug. 26 as it has since 1957 – only with a twist.

In addition to the usual pomp and pageantry of the service, due to safety concerns over COVID-19, the great hymns normally belted out by attendees were somewhat muffled by protective masks, and faculty, students, and guests usually seated shoulder-to-shoulder now were socially distanced in the chapel and in overflow classrooms across campus. Many even took in the service via livestream.

The twists and uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, however, did not dampen the seminary community’s joy, as attendees reveled in worshiping Jesus together in chapel for the first time since March.

Midwestern Seminary President Jason Allen expressed the mood best, saying, “This feels and, indeed, is different from any other fall semester we’ve experienced in our history, but it is still good, sweet, and right that we are here at this time doing what we’re doing.”

Allen added that when compared with the start to previous semesters, this convocation may be found lacking in some ways. However, when comparing the way the semester has started to what the pandemic has wrought over the past five months, “There is a joy, eagerness, and thankfulness to God that, in spite of all of that’s taken place, we can be here together learning, studying and teaching for Christ’s church in this place today,” he said.

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