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FROM THE SEMINARIES: SWBTS archaeology; SBTS counseling conf.; MBTS theology journal

Today’s From the Seminaries includes items from:
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

SWBTS archaeology faculty, students shine at annual meeting

By Eunsun Han

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) — The archaeology department of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary took center stage at the 2016 meeting of the Southwest Commission on Religious Studies, with SWBTS faculty and students presiding over two sessions and giving a total of eight presentations.

Ph.D. student Bruno Soltic said the SWCRS meeting “proved that the Tandy Archaeological Institute is a giant in the Southwest in Near Eastern archaeology. Southwestern Seminary “stands alongside other schools like Harvard, UCLA, Princeton and University of Michigan,” said Soltic, who presented on the topic of “Revisiting Biblical Bamah/Bamoth: Recent Trends in Biblical Archaeology.”

A particular strength, Stolic noted, is that evangelical, professionally trained archaeologists are teaching a top-notch academic program at the Fort Worth, Texas, campus.

Charissa Wilson, a master of arts student who also presented at the March 11-13 conference in Irving, Texas, noted that the annual SWCRS meeting provides a great opportunity for Southwestern students to interact with professionals and scholars from various academic backgrounds.

“It provides a local venue for Southwestern students to join in on the conversations of this field,” Wilson said. “This has been true for me, and the participants can only benefit from the exchange and grow as scholars and communicators.”

Wilson won the award for the best student paper for her research on the location of the biblical city of Aphek.

Southwestern’s SWCRS participants also seek to make a statement as evangelical Christians during the conference, said Lucas Grimsley, a Ph.D. student who presided over a session and also presented a paper at the meeting.

“We not only want to show ourselves to be at the top — engaging top scholars at top conferences — but at the same time, we want to display our Christian faith, to show what Christians are and who Christ is,” Grimsley said. “We are trying to honor Christ by doing the best that we can in our field.”

In addition to Grimsley, Wilson and Stolic, Southwestern faculty and students represented at the 2016 SWCRS meeting included professors Tom Davis and Ryan Stokes as well as students Cameron Coyle, Charles Wilson and Benjamin Ioset.

“I think we have one of the highest student participation rates out of most schools and most departments, and that is also reflected when we go to national conferences as well,” Grimsley noted. “We have very active students who are really passionate about getting involved, and we have professors who are supportive of the students going to this. They really encourage the students and set them up to be able to do that.”

SBTS Counsel the Word addresses depression, Bible’s comfort

By Annie Corser

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) — The Bible provides comfort and hope for people in the pit of despair, speakers said during a Counsel the Word conference at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, April 26-27.

When a person says he or she needs “something more than the Bible,” it reflects a misunderstanding of the character of God, said Heath Lambert, executive director of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors and associate pastor at First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida. “God finished the Bible in about 90 A.D. and He has not been waiting for the last 2,000 years for really smart unbelievers in the 20th century to come up with something that would really help. … He gave us those things because that’s what we need for our trouble.”

Lambert focused on the importance of ministers preaching the Word and the sufficiency of the Bible to comfort depressed persons in his two sessions at the April 26-27 conference, themed “How Long, O Lord? Depression and Hope in a Complex World.”

“Comfort comes to people in pain from the Word of God and no place else when we know that a good God is using His superior wisdom and His superior power to bring about a superior good,” said Lambert, who also is an assistant professor of biblical counseling at Southern.

Only through the ministering of the Word do people learn that God remains good in the midst of suffering, helping the Christian understand that the purpose of pain is for the glory of God because of His love for them, he said.

“Love is not when God takes action to make us immediately feel good and take away our pain,” Lambert said. “God’s love is seen when He sends us through a trial and He leads us to love Him more and know Him more … whatever it takes to help us love Jesus more than we love the comforts of this life.”

Jeremy Pierre, dean of students at Southern, spoke about the power of the imagination to “expand our vision beyond what we can see.”

“The ideal reality that people were made for is to be in the direct presence of God. Depression occurs because we don’t quite live in that reality. The Christian imagination reaches toward that experience in the present difficulties of life,” said Pierre, also an associate professor of biblical counseling and director of the seminary’s Ph.D. program in biblical counseling.

Using Job as an example of a person in the pit of despair, Pierre set forth 10 statements describing imagination and suffering, including how God gave imagination as an aid to worship and how an imagination shaped by Scripture can be “activated” by suffering.

“All [Job] could see were crumbled houses, dead children, destroyed crops, oozing skin, compassionless friends, a hard wife. These were the things Job was taking in with his five senses. But God spoke to him of things that went beyond that, things that were not immediate and present to him,” Pierre said.

“God was stirring the imagination of Job with faith. Faith sort of takes over our imagination and uses it for the glory of God.”

Additional conference speakers included Edward T. Welch, counselor and faculty member at Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation, and Stuart Scott, professor of biblical counseling in the graduate school at The Master’s College in Santa Clarita, Calif. Breakout session topics included prayer strategies, psychiatric medication, common mistakes, and how the church can care for depressed members.

Audio and video from the Counsel the Word event will soon be available online at sbts.edu/resources.

MBTS journal relays range of “Biblical Studies” in new edition

By T. Patrick Hudson

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) — Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary released its Spring 2016 issue of the Midwestern Journal of Theology on May 2, titled “Biblical Studies.”

The new edition addresses such topics as the 16th-century scholar Erasmus; whether the Bible contains forgeries; and how the Reformers interpreted Jesus’ teaching on marriage and divorce.

MBTS President Jason Allen said of the journal’s new edition, “As Midwestern Seminary pours every ounce of its energy and resources toward serving the local church, the MJT offers an opportunity to accomplish this task through the publication of this scholarly, yet practical resource.”

Journal editor Michael McMullen noted that the journal’s keynote article is from Midwestern’s own Thorvald Madsen, dean of graduate studies, director of the Ph.D. program and professor of New Testament, ethics and philosophy at the Kansas City, Mo., campus.

“Dr. Madsen’s ‘Of Coins and Crosses’ is an excellent study of Matthew 17:24-27 in ‘the Shadow of the Passion,'” McMullen said. “In this essay, he expertly shows how, in this passage, we see both humility and grandeur, as well as both compliance and anticipated victory in Christ’s words and actions. [Madsen] argues that what Jesus does in paying the tax compares to His being baptized by John: Neither gesture is strictly necessary; however, their avoidance would invite questions that could not be immediately answered. Therefore, Jesus is baptized and He gives the collectors what they ask, though by means that manifest His deity. Madsen concludes that the Messiah pays His dues, and soon enough He will pay ours.”

Among other articles in the journal:

-– “Erasmus before the Storm” by Timothy George, founding dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. George focuses on the contribution of the Dutch scholar to Christian history: The year before Luther’s “95 Theses” in Wittenberg, Germany, Erasmus’ first edition of a critical Greek New Testament was published in Basel, Switzerland — an event that George writes can hardly be overstated in the history of New Testament studies.

— “Does the Bible Contain Forgeries” by Terry Wilder of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, serving as the Wesley Harrison Chair and Professor of New Testament and associate dean of the Ph.D. program. In his article, Wilder examines arguments both for and against the claim of biblical forgeries, concluding that the evidence unquestionably points to the trustworthiness of Scripture.

— “The Reformers’ Interpretation of Jesus’ Teaching on Divorce and Marriage” by Jason Lee, dean and professor of theological studies at Cedarville University in Ohio. Lee examines the Reformers’ interpretation of Jesus’ teaching on divorce and marriage, especially as found in Matthew 19. Lee argues that while there is some colorful diversity in the Reformers’ comments, they clearly affirm a biblical view of marriage that God has designed it for intentional union, the blessing of children and permanent unity as husband and wife.

The Midwestern Journal of Theology can be viewed online at mbts.edu/journal. It also is available in print. To subscribe, contact Midwestern’s academic office at 816-414-3745 or [email protected].

Compiled by Baptist Press senior editor Art Toalston from reporting by Eunsun Han of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; Annie Corser of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; and T. Patrick Hudson of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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  • SBC Seminary & Baptist Press Staff

    Compiled by Baptist Press senior editor Art Toalston from reporting by T. Patrick Hudson of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; Robert Chapman of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; and Alex Sibley of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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