Greenway cautions students to guard their hearts during studies

By Ashley Allen/SWBTS

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) – Students pursuing theological education must carefully guard their hearts against pride and being unloving, President Adam W. Greenway preached during a Jan. 25 convocation message officially opening the spring semester at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Texas Baptist College.

During the service, three faculty members recently elected by the Board of Trustees publicly signed the seminary’s Book of Confessional Heritage, and two newly appointed faculty members were introduced.

In the first chapel service of the new academic semester, Greenway acknowledged some students were just beginning their scholarly pursuits while others were nearing the completion of their studies. However, he said he was “mindful” of the tendencies that could occur at any stage in theological education if believers are “not guarded.”

While affirming the “importance and centrality” of theology, as well as academic and intellectual pursuits, Greenway warned about the “temptation” that certain methods of academic pursuits are “not virtuous” and “can impact or affect you in terms of your personality type, your disposition, your wiring in ways that may even seem unconscious, perhaps.”

Greenway preached from Ephesians 1:15-19, but also read verses 3-14 of chapter 1, in which the apostle Paul writes about the spiritual blessings of salvation “in Christ.”

“There’s a way to read those verses and think, ‘Aren’t I something?’” Greenway said. “If we always put the accent mark on the ‘me’ rather than the ‘He,’ our theology is always going to go astray.”

However, Greenway added, “We can never truly understand and see ourselves rightly if we don’t understand truly and see God rightly.”

Greenway said as new students begin to study “there’s also a temptation and tendency to where as we begin to have a more rigid, robust theological understanding” that instead of knowledge bringing humility and “an awe-filled wonder of what God has done,” it leads to pridefulness, arrogance, argumentativeness and combativeness.

Reflecting on the passage’s concluding verses, Greenway reminded the assembly of Paul’s thankfulness for the faith the Ephesians possessed, but also the love they had for all the saints.

“It’s not just the content of their faith—that they had a level of theological, doctrinal, philosophical, apologetical precision—but that it manifested itself in an attitude and in actions of love,” Greenway said, adding the actions of the church at Ephesus reflected Jesus’ words about love and action in John 13:35.

Noting that “in a climate and culture, where the way that you’re going to get the most attention from some” is by being “combative and volatile,” Greenway encouraged students to refrain from doing those things because they are “completely in opposition to what the Lord expects from us and what God’s called us to be as His people.”

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Allen addresses faithful stewardship at MBTS convocation

By Michael S. Brooks

KANSAS CITY (BP) – President Jason Allen opened Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s spring semester with an Academic Convocation message calling students to faithfully steward all the Lord has entrusted to them. The service took place in the Daniel Lee Chapel Jan. 25.

Additionally, one newly elected seminary faculty member, Camden Pulliam, signed the institution’s Articles of Faith during the service.

With the convocation sermon, Allen began a semester-long chapel series that will feature Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College faculty preaching through the parables taught by Jesus throughout the Gospel narratives.

Preaching from the “Parable of the Talents” found in Matthew 25:14-30, Allen explained the parable speaks primarily to the issue of stewardship.

“At times, we limit the scope of this parable to comments about financial matters,” Allen said. “However, this parable presents for us a broader lesson on stewardship. Life is stewardship. Ministry is stewardship. Leadership is stewardship. We all have a sacred trust.

“Life is short. Time must be stewarded, and it is to be stewarded in a way that is distinctly spiritual, Christian, and biblical, not humanistic or material. We are called to have a kingdom mindset, a spiritual stewardship, and a biblical worldview that teaches us how to live, lead and how to serve in light of eternity, which is set in our hearts.”

In the parable, Jesus describes a wealthy master who goes away for a time, leaving three of his servants in charge of his business affairs. Jesus uses the illustration to teach His followers how to use their time and abilities as they await His return.

From the text, Allen reflected on Jesus’ exhortation to His followers, noting the parable portrays Christ’s followers as “slaves” of Christ who are entrusted with the work of God’s kingdom while Jesus, Himself, is away.

“We are slaves of Jesus; we belong to Him,” Allen said. “We have no rights, but we have a great responsibility. We have a heightened stewardship as those owned by the King.”

Allen highlighted the servants’ response in the parable as each one is given a different measure of responsibility from the master. The first two servants, Allen said, fulfilled their responsibilities while the third went his own way, earning the indignation of the master.

“The master represents Jesus while He is away,” Allen said. “The slaves in the parable represent us – waiting, longing, stewarding and serving. The talent represents all Ge has entrusted to us individually.

“We have a customized stewardship, and we will be held accountable for our stewardship of what the Lord has entrusted to us. For those in this room and beyond it listening in, the Lord has entrusted specific gifts, abilities, experience and opportunities to each of us. We are responsible for them.”

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