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FROM THE SEMINARIES: Southern’s ties to new Ky. gov.; church aids NOBTS students; 9Marks/SEBTS focus on church discipline

EDITOR’S NOTE: “From the Seminaries” includes news releases of interest from Southern Baptist seminaries.

Tragedy led new Ky. governor into seminary missions initiative
By S. Craig Sanders

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) — The Nov. 3 gubernatorial election is “good news for Kentucky that someone with Matt Bevin’s values has been elected convincingly,” R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said after Bevin’s nine-point landslide win over Democratic nominee Jack Conway.

“Matt Bevin is a man of character; he is a Christian who loves the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Mohler said of Bevin, a businessman who has never held political office and who endowed a key missions arm of the Louisville seminary.

Bevin’s relationship with Southern Seminary began after the tragic loss of his oldest daughter, Brittiney, who was killed in a car accident in front of the seminary’s campus in September 2003.

Brittiney had expressed a desire to serve in international missions and the night before her death had written a “dangerous prayer” in her journal that God would “place brokenhearted people in my path and fill me with You so that I can let Your love heal their pain.”

Mohler said the family’s grief was “transformed into a massive commitment to Christian missions.”

In October 2012, Matt Bevin partnered with the seminary to endow the Bevin Center for Missions Mobilization, which deploys students for missions work to fulfill Brittiney’s dream to reach the nations. Through Bevin’s support, the center has expanded its international and domestic mission trips, hosts missionaries in residence, offers training events, and produces a global missions summit each spring.

When the center opened three years ago, Bevin said he was “confident” Southern Seminary “is an institution that will steward this in a way that will serve God best.”

Bevin and his wife Glenna have nine children, four of whom were adopted from Ethiopia. They are members of Louisville’s Southeast Christian Church.

Bevin, who will be inaugurated Dec. 8, is only the second Republican elected as the state’s governor in four decades. More information on Southern Seminary’s Bevin Center is available online at missions.sbts.edu.

For an article titled “3 ways to pray for Governor-elect Matt Bevin” by Andrew T. Walker, director of policy studies for the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, click here.

Church’s gift cards aid NOBTS internat’l women, homeschoolers

By Marilyn Stewart

NEW ORLEANS (BP) — International women students and the homeschool community at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary have been given gift cards totaling nearly $5,400 from First Baptist Church in Minden, La.

The gifts were part of First Baptist’s month-long emphasis on “every member a missionary” and Cooperative Program giving for Southern Baptist missions in Louisiana, nationally and internationally.

Leland Crawford, FBC Minden’s pastor, and his wife Rose delivered the cards along with canvas school bags filled with school supplies for each of the 93 homeschool children on campus during the seminary’s mid-October trustee meeting. Crawford, an NOBTS alumnus, serves on the NOBTS trustee broad.

International students and student wives representing 11 countries — South Korea, Egypt, Romania, India, Colombia, El Salvador, Brazil, Taiwan, Argentina, Burkina Faso and Haiti — received the gift cards during a the reception hosted by Rhonda Kelley, wife of NOBTS President Chuck Kelley. The gift cards were valued at $15, $20 or $25.

“My international friends and I were super excited and thankful for the gift cards,” Romanian student Maria Tone said. “They were such a blessing and came at the right time. We praise God for always providing.”

The 218 “Cards of Blessing” marked the third year FBC Minden has provided gifts to NOBTS students. Each year the church has targeted a different group of students. In 2013, First Baptist delivered 60 home-cooked meals to seminary families. In 2014, the church distributed gift cards to NOBTS single students.

Rose Crawford said her memories of being a student wife at NOBTS and raising three daughters prompted her vision for the church’s initiative. God was faithful though the days were lean, she said.

“We struggled financially … the Lord always supplied all our needs,” she said. “We didn’t have extra, we didn’t have excess, but we had what we needed.”

Church discipline is 9Marks topic at Southeastern

By SEBTS Seminary Staff

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) – Church discipline was the focus of the seventh annual 9Marks conference at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, attended by nearly 800 pastors, church members and seminary students from 16 states.

The conference included six sessions and several panel discussions with speakers Danny Akin, Mark Dever, Garrett Kell, Thabiti Anyabwile, Mez McConnell and Ligon Duncan.

“The New Testament has a great deal to say about church discipline,” said Akin, Southeastern’s president. “This fact alone makes it all the more remarkable that no aspect of church life in our day is more neglected than this one. It is a dangerous neglect.”

In his message, Akin preached from 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 on “The Basics of Church Discipline,” discussing practical steps to carry out godly correction rooted in the redemptive work of Christ.

Dever, senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., and president of 9Marks, opened the conference, laying a foundation for church discipline from Matthew 16 and 18 as a vital aspect of the church. A good understanding of church discipline, he said, begins with a good understanding of church membership.

Defining church discipline, Dever said in its fullest sense it is discipleship. “Our churches should be marked by genuine concern, care and love,” he said. “Part of that means we want people to repent of their sins.”

Kell, lead pastor at Del Ray Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va., developed these ideas further, emphasizing God’s intent to save and care for His people, “wishing that none should perish.”

“The love that Christ has shown you and has shown me is intended to warm our hearts toward wandering sheep,” Kell said. “Church discipline is not about administration, but about salvation.”

Anyabwile, pastor for church planting at Anacostia River Church in southeast Washington, D.C., spoke on the posture that makes church discipline work, reminding the audience that humility is essential for redemptive church discipline.

“When we come to correcting God’s people, we had better be wary of what is in our own hearts,” Anyabwile said. “To forget humility is to forget the Gospel.”

McConnell, founder and ministry director of 20Schemes and senior pastor of Niddrie Community Church in Edinburgh, Scotland, explained the importance of church discipline in protecting the church from false teachers.

McConnell noted the difference between false teachers who intentionally seek to divide and Christians who hold an errant belief. “Unchecked sin and false teaching is a disease that spreads through the church [that must be corrected],” he said.

Duncan, chancellor and CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary and the John E. Richards professor of systematic and historical theology, closed the conference by highlighting how church discipline brings congregational unity.

“The Lord Jesus uses church discipline to cultivate respect, godliness and peace in a congregation,” Duncan said. “Peace and unity do not just happen. It takes work, because we are a collection of redeemed sinners.”

Panel discussions focused in greater detail on the topic of each session and specific situations pastors and church members might face.

Southeastern’s Equip program, part of Southeastern’s Center for Pastoral Leadership and Preaching, hosted a breakfast panel Sept. 26. Jim Shaddix, who holds the W.A. Criswell Chair of Preaching at SEBTS, moderated a discussion between Akin and Duncan on the role of preaching in the life of a local church.

9Marks’ mission is to “equip church leaders with a biblical vision and practical resources for displaying God’s glory to the nations through healthy churches.” The nine marks of a healthy church entail preaching, biblical theology, the Gospel, conversion, evangelism, membership, discipline, discipleship and leadership.

To watch the conference’s plenary sessions and panel discussions online, go to http://9marksse.org.

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  • SBC Seminary Staff