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FROM THE SEMINARIES: NOBTS youth apologetics conference; SWBTS students’ sharing bears fruit

NOBTS holds first-ever apologetics conference for youth

By Marilyn Stewart/NOBTS

NEW ORLEANS (BP) – Contend, a first-ever apologetics event for high school students at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College Jan. 7, brought together 250 students for a one-day conference on topics affecting youth today.

Frank Turek, president of CrossExamined.org, a popular speaker, and author of “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist,” headlined the event and challenged students to think deeper about the faith.

“Cliché’ Sunday school answers are insufficient to address the realities of our contentious culture,” said Greg Wilton, Leavell College Dean. “Apologetics helps students wed biblical fidelity with intellectual resolve to present hope and truth that can only be found in Christ.”

Turek posed four questions: Does truth exist? Does God exist? Are miracles possible? Is the New Testament true? Since each question can be answered “Yes,” Christianity must be true, Turek explained.

Turek advised students to respond when asked if God exists by saying, “I know God exists by His effects.” Turek went on to identify “effects” as: the universe had a beginning; the universe has a finely-tuned design; and a moral law exists that humans find compelling.

“In other words, I’m reasoning from effect back to cause,” Turek said. “If there’s a creation, I’m reasoning back to a creator. If there’s design … then I’m reasoning back to a designer. If there’s a moral law written on our hearts, [meaning that] we know certain things are right and certain things are wrong … then there must be a cause known as a moral law-giver.”

This reasoning from “effect” back to cause points to three arguments for God’s existence: cosmological, design and moral arguments, Turek explained, and all provide grounding for belief in God. 

Gary Habermas, a top scholar of Christ’s resurrection and NOBTS visiting professor, shared in the closing plenary session of his wife’s death from cancer. Believers should expect suffering in life, as Jesus suffered, Habermas said, but cautioned that during trials believers must rely on biblical truth and not emotions.

“We must be very careful how we talk to ourselves about God,” Habermas said.

In suffering, believers must remind themselves that God will not forsake them, that God will remain true, and should keep Scripture close that speaks truth about God’s faithfulness, Habermas said. Most importantly, believers should remember the resurrection.

“It’s the greatest blessing, the greatest answer,” Habermas said. “Nothing’s like it in eternity.”

Breakout sessions covered topics from cosmology to atheism to responding to today’s gender issues with love and biblical truth.

“Contend was an opportunity for Leavell College to put 1 Peter 3:15 into practice,” Wilton said. “We provided students a day to revere the Lord Jesus as holy in light of the pressures of culture while also giving them ways to respond with gentleness and respect about the reason we find unshakeable hope and truth in Jesus.”

SWBTS students lead more than 130 people to Christ during fall 2022 semester

By Ashley Allen/SWBTS

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) – More than 130 people professed faith in Christ as 84 students who were enrolled in Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Introduction to Missiology and Contemporary Evangelism practicums shared the Gospel almost 1,100 times during the fall 2022 academic semester, seminary leadership announced today.

“Southwestern Seminary professors offer students weekly scheduled times through ‘Everyday Evangelism’ so they can join the professors to evangelize the greater Fort Worth community in its neighborhoods, parks, and local college campuses,” said Interim Provost Matt Queen. “In addition, a number of practicum students utilize the seminary’s relationship with NeedHim Global, in order to share the Gospel over digital platforms. However, the vast majority of students’ evangelistic encounters occur by their own initiatives.”

On average each student enrolled in the practicums shared the Gospel almost 13 times during the semester, which was more than twice the number of Gospel presentations per student enrolled in the practicums during the spring 2022 academic semester.

John D. Massey, dean of the Roy J. Fish School of Evangelism and Missions, associate professor of missions, and Charles F. Stanley Chair for the Advancement of Global Christianity, said the required practicums for the Introduction to Missiology and Contemporary Evangelism courses are designed to “inspire and equip students to become active witnesses for the Gospel of Christ.”

“As a Great Commandment and Great Commission seminary, SWBTS has been known for its training and equipping in evangelism and missions,” Massey added. “The Fish School has the opportunity and privilege through these practicums to mobilize and equip students from all schools in the seminary to share the Gospel of Christ under the supervision of professors who are active witnesses for Christ.”

Massey said the Introduction to Missiology practicum “is designed to give students the opportunity to share Christ cross-culturally” while the Contemporary Evangelism practicum, under the coaching and help of a professor, “requires students to share a complete Gospel presentation with 13 people throughout the course of the semester that includes a call to repent and believe in Christ.”

Professors play a crucial role in equipping students for evangelism in the classroom, but also while they are engaged in sharing the Gospel, Massey said.

“Our professors of evangelism and missions have given their lives to share the Gospel of Christ with a lost world and to equipping others to the do the same,” Massey explained. “They not only teach students the how and why of evangelism, but each one is actively sharing Christ on a weekly basis. We not only require practicums, but we go out with the students and demonstrate in real world situations how to have a Gospel conversation with the lost.”

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