Let the Lord fight your battles, Greenway encourages students at convocation
By Timothy McKeown/SWBTS
FORT WORTH (BP) – Doing the Lord’s work may bring attacks, but the battle belongs to the Lord, President Adam W. Greenway encouraged students during his Aug. 23 convocation message at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Texas Baptist College, drawing upon the solace of David’s words in Psalm 18 and warnings in the nearly century-old words of L.R. Scarborough, the seminary’s second president.
“Do not succumb to the temptation to fight the battle yourselves, to take on the weapons of the flesh, to rely upon all the wisdom of this world,” Greenway challenged. “Cast yourself upon the Lord afresh and anew, His mercies, His goodness.”
In the first chapel service to begin the fall 2022 academic semester, Greenway welcomed new students, new trustees and new professors to Southwestern Seminary and TBC.
During the service, Joshua A. Waggener, professor of church music and worship in the School of Church Music and Worship, signed the seminary’s Book of Confessional Heritage, which Greenway described as “one of the most solemn acts” undertaken by faculty members. He noted that Southwestern Seminary was the first Southern Baptist institution to adopt the Baptist Faith and Message as its confessional statement and “since 1926 our seminary has held without hesitation, reservation or apology to all that is contained in the Baptist Faith and Message as adopted and amended by the Southern Baptist Convention” calling it Southwestern’s “faith and message.”
Elected by the board of trustees in April, Waggener previously served on the faculty of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Durham University in the United Kingdom.
Five appointed faculty members were also introduced, including Jonathan Atkinson, assistant professor of biblical studies at Texas Baptist College; Marc W. Brown, assistant professor of church music and worship in the School of Church Music and Worship; Michael L. Copeland, assistant professor of missions in the Roy J. Fish School of Evangelism and Missions and associate director of the World Missions Center; P. Chase Sears, assistant professor of biblical studies at Texas Baptist College; and J. Stephen Yuille, professor of pastoral theology and spiritual formation in the School of Theology.
In Greenway’s convocation message, he said despite challenges, believers must remember that “He is greater than all. What may seem like a mountain before you, our great God can shake that mountain down to dust.”
Recognizing the current strife and dissension in the broader culture as well as within Southern Baptist denominational life, Greenway noted Scarborough, who served as president from 1915-1942, addressed similar issues in a 1924 tract entitled The Fruits of Norrisism about fundamentalist opponent J. Frank Norris.
Greenway read from portions of the tract in which Scarborough said the movement was “wholly destructive in spirit and methods” and thrived “on sensationalism, misrepresentation and false accusations of good men and true causes. It masquerades … in order to ride into public favor and cast poisonous suspicion on the leadership of the causes of constructive Christianity.”
2023 SBC meeting will have a place for every ‘family member’
By Marilyn Stewart/NOBTS
NEW ORLEANS (BP) – When Southern Baptists say “annual meeting,” what they mean is “family reunion.”
Willie McLaurin, interim president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee, told the crowd gathered at Leavell Chapel on the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College campus that the June 11-14, 2023, annual meeting in New Orleans would be “a huge family reunion.”
Pastors, associational leaders, and church members met at NOBTS for the SBC 23 Kickoff event, Aug. 22, an event highlighting fellowship and volunteer opportunities expected at next year’s annual meeting.
Fred Luter, former SBC president and pastor of New Orleans’ Franklin Ave. Baptist Church, echoed McLaurin’s sentiment by urging church leaders to encourage their members to attend. Luter said annual meeting attendees would hear reports from the entities their congregations support through the Cooperative Program such as the International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, and the seminaries.
“You are part of the Southern Baptist Convention,” Luter said. “You should want to see the national convention in action.”
McLaurin urged Southern Baptists to volunteer by visiting https://sbcannualmeeting.net/volunteer/. A guide for planning a visit to New Orleans is available at https://nobts-visitnola.com/ with information on restaurants, family fun activities, and mission service projects.
Luter gave another reason church members should attend the annual meeting.
“Most importantly, you will meet some of the best people you’ll ever meet,” Luter said. “This is your SBC family.”
‘Mission field, mission force’
Jamie Dew, NOBTS and Leavell College president, welcomed event participants and said the seminary is “thrilled” that the annual meeting will be held in NOBTS and Leavell College’s home city where students are actively sharing the Gospel.
“[New Orleans] is a place that needs the Gospel, but it is also a place that can prepare people to give out the gospel,” Dew said. “It is both the mission field and the mission force. I’m excited to show that to Southern Baptists.”
Dew pointed to the variety of active ministries in the city including, urban, evangelistic, medical, and other mercy ministries. Dew explained that New Orleans is a “beachhead” for God’s kingdom and a strategic mission field where God is at work.
Jay Adkins, director of the Local Encouragement Team and pastor of New Orleans area Westwego Baptist Church, looked back to the impact Southern Baptists made through an unprecedented disaster relief initiative following Hurricane Katrina, 2005, and the doors it opened for the gospel. Adkins said he prays next year’s Crossover event, the pre-convention evangelism initiative, will do the same.
“I pray for a fertile field here … for the Gospel witness to be a lighthouse all over this place,” Adkins said.
David Dickard, president of the 2023 Pastors’ Conference, asked listeners to pray, come and give to the pastors’ conference. Dickard noted the importance of the Pastors’ conference and announced an initiative to endow the conference and “encourage those for generations to come.”
“As Southern Baptists, we believe in missions, we believe in evangelism, and we believe in the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Dickard said.