Akin calls attendees to ‘choose the wise road’
By Chad Burchett/SEBTS
WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) – Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s spring convocation Jan. 24 featured a message from Psalm 1 by President Danny Akin and a moment of recognition for the family of the late Ralph Logan Carson.
“When you come to a fork in the road, what does the wise person do?” Akin asked as he introduced Psalm 1. “In our text today, we are confronted with two men, two roads, and two destinies. … In Psalm 1 God gives us a compass that can guide us when we come to a fork in the road so that we might choose the right road, the wise road, the best road.”
As the introduction to the Psalter, Psalm 1 is a wisdom psalm that outlines two contrasting ways of life. Warning attendees to beware of drifting spiritually, Akin explained that the extended contrast between the righteous man and the wicked man, the wise road and the foolish road, in Psalm 1 is particularly instructive for God’s people as they consider their way of life.
“What does a spiritually prosperous life look like?” Akin asked. “He walks in the counsel of the godly. He stands in the path of the righteous. He sits in the seat of the hopeful. He studies the Word of God. He acts with wisdom. He is devoted to God’s will. This is the truly prosperous life.”
“The blessed person loves the Word of God,” Akin said, urging attendees to cling to God’s word. “For the blessed man, it is a joy and not a burden to learn the word and to live it.”
Pointing attendees toward Christ — the true and ultimate blessed man — Akin charged students to walk in the strength and wisdom that Christ supplies, choosing what pleases God and training themselves by the word of God to reject what displeases him.
“Psalm 1 is a perfect portrait of the Lord Jesus Christ,” he said. “Jesus is the blessed man of Psalm 1, so let us be faithful to follow Him.”
Celebrating the academic achievement of students in The College at Southeastern, Scott Pace, dean of The College, recognized 90 students who met the requirements for the fall 2022 dean’s list. Students on the dean’s list have completed a minimum of 12 credit hours with at least a 3.75 GPA for the semester while also maintaining good academic standing and an overall 3.0 GPA.
“Your accomplishment reflects a diligent pursuit of God’s call on your life,” Pace said. “We congratulate you and celebrate your achievement.”
During convocation, Akin, faculty, students and staff also recognized the family of the late Ralph Logan Carson in whose honor Southeastern dedicated the academic building on its west quad later that day (see below). Having served as a pastor, missionary, and distinguished professor of Christian theology at Southeastern, Carson is remembered for his faithfulness to God’s Word and his passion for the Great Commission.
“When it came time to rename our academic building on the west quad, I was flooded with recommendations about the same person – Logan Carson,” Akin said. “After bringing his name to the faculty, there were no dissenting voices, and after bringing his name to the trustees, Dr. Carson was a unanimous decision.”
“Dr. Carson was a remarkable man. I was blessed to see Psalm 1 lived out beautifully in the life of Dr. Carson, who so loved God’s Word.”
A legacy of Great Commission service: Southeastern dedicates Carson Hall
By Chad Burchett/SEBTS
WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) – On Tuesday (Jan. 24) Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary rededicated the academic building on its west quad, naming the building in honor of the late Ralph Logan Carson. Carson, who served for 15 years as a professor of Christian theology at Southeastern, is remembered for his integrity, his love for Scripture and the Church, and his passion for the Great Commission.
Born blind to a single mother in rural McDowell, N.C., Carson first encountered the Scriptures at the Negro Division of the North Carolina State School for the Blind and Deaf, where he lived from 1939 until 1951. Converted and baptized in 1948, Carson became a dedicated student of his Braille Bible, which awakened in him a desire to formally study and teach God’s Word. Despite others’ skepticism, Carson flourished in his pursuit of education, receiving two bachelor’s degrees, a Master of Theology, and a Doctor of Philosophy.
During his academic journey, Carson married, became licensed to preach, and even moved for a few years on mission to Nigeria with his wife and son before returning to the states with their newly adopted daughter. Over the course of his ministry, Carson faithfully pastored several congregations on the East Coast. While serving as a pastor, Carson also taught at Montclair State College and Gardner-Webb College before being hired in 1994 to teach theology at Southeastern as the first African American professor of the seminary.
In 1995, Carson also served as a charter faculty member of The College, and in the years that followed, he published several books, including his autobiography, “With Gladness and Singleness of Heart: My Life with the Lord” (2006). In August 2003, Carson received Southeastern’s Excellence in Teaching Award and retired in 2009 as Distinguished Professor of Christian Theology. Carson went to be with Jesus on Nov. 3, 2018, beloved by his family, church congregations, fellow faculty, and thousands of students.
“As a longtime professor and statesman of Southeastern, Dr. Carson faithfully embodied the spirit and Great Commission mission of our institution,” said SEBTS President Danny Akin. “He was unwaveringly committed to the authority, infallibility, inerrancy, and sufficiency of God’s Word. Because he loved God and His Word, he loved God’s mission. Dr. Carson was a Great Commission pastor, professor, and disciple maker, serving Southeastern with integrity, pastoring several churches with a shepherd’s heart, and even serving on the mission field in Nigeria for three years. It is our joy to honor this legacy.”
During Tuesday’s chapel service, Akin, faculty, staff and students took a moment to honor Carson’s legacy of faithfulness and recognize Carson’s family who were in attendance.
Following the chapel service, Akin invited attendees to participate in a dedication ceremony outside Carson Hall, where Southeastern unveiled the renamed building as well as two new bronze plaques commemorating Carson’s legacy, several framed portraits of Carson and a framed biography of Carson’s life.
“We are delighted to honor Dr. Carson’s Great Commission legacy as someone who not only overcame great challenges by faith and perseverance but also finished the race well and committed his life to fulfilling the Great Commission in the Church, in the classroom and among the nations,” Akin said. “We pray that the building will be a reminder of his legacy and that the students who are trained in its classrooms will be inspired and challenged to faithfully serve the Church and fulfill the Great Commission wherever God sends them.”
“Perhaps no one from this community has overcome more than Dr. Carson,” said SEBTS Provost Keith Whitfield. “Yet, he did not just overcome. He excelled, and he did so for the love of Jesus Christ, his Lord and Savior. He did so for the love of the truth. He did so for the love of the Church. He did so for the love of the world. He did so in line with his personal motto: ‘In Christ, strive for excellence.’ His legacy as a faculty member should indeed be honored to remind us all of the role that the faculty plays in the life of the institution and to give the faculty a model for which to follow.”
Akin presented Carson’s daughter Tricia with a framed portrait of her father and a resolution from Southeastern’s trustees, expressing their appreciation for Carson’s lifetime of faithful Great Commission teaching, preaching, and ministry.