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Key Bapt. leaders to speak at MBTS symposium

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) — A collection of key Southern Baptist leaders that includes Frank S. Page, Ronnie Floyd, Paige Patterson, Thom S. Rainer, R. Albert Mohler Jr. and David Dockery is slated to speak at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Sept. 28-29 symposium, “The SBC and the 21st Century: Reflection, Renewal & Recommitment.”

Midwestern Seminary President Jason Allen, who will also present a keynote address, announced today (March 18) the symposium will be the first edition of a triennial symposium held on the Kansas City, Mo., campus. He said the symposium is designed to address the Southern Baptist Convention, its heritage, identity and future.

“This is shaping up to be one of the most consequential events in the SBC in recent years, and we are grateful to be hosting it at Midwestern Seminary,” Allen said. “Nothing quite like this has been held for some time within the SBC, but I believe engaging these issues is integral to our Southern Baptist work, and the opportunity is ripe for this event to make a substantial contribution to the SBC for years to come.”

Allen noted the symposium is open to anyone who would like to attend.

“‘The SBC and the 21st Century’ is for pastors, denominational servants, laypersons, and anyone else who cares about our collective work as Southern Baptists,” he said. “For all those who care about the SBC and its future, this is the place to be this year. We designed the symposium for key SBC stakeholders to speak to urgent denominational matters in a way that serves the entire SBC. It is going to be a special two days, and I believe that God is going to use it in a profound way to impact our Southern Baptist Convention.”

The event will be available via livestream, through postings on the school’s website, and each presenter’s paper will be compiled into a book.

“We are pleased to be partnering with B&H Publishing to produce a book that will stem from the conference. The book will be released at the 2016 SBC Annual Meeting in St. Louis,” Allen said. “We believe the presentations taking place at this symposium will serve to strengthen the SBC, and the release of this book will extend its reach.”

Floyd, SBC president, said, “I look forward with great excitement to learning, growing and investing in the upcoming Midwestern Symposium on the Southern Baptist Convention.

“I am convinced this gathering has the potential to be a defining moment for each of us who are seeking God’s future for our convention,” he said. “Any conscientious Southern Baptist will discover this experience to be both enlightening and challenging, so join us in this journey.”

Page, president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee, said, “I am excited about being a part of the upcoming symposium, ‘The SBC and the 21st Century: Reflection, Renewal & Recommitment.’

“We desperately need this kind of event to have a clear understanding of where we have been, where we are, and where we need to go,” he said. “My prayer is that it will result in our being more effective in accomplishing the Great Commission of our Lord.”

Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said, “This generation of Southern Baptists stands at Ground Zero of cultural transformation, missiological opportunity, and theological emergency.

“This is the right time for Southern Baptists to ask hard questions, think seriously about the future, and talk about what faithfulness to Christ will demand of us. ‘The SBC and the 21st Century’ is the right conversation at the right time.”

More information on the symposium, including a full schedule of events and how to register, can be found at www.mbts.edu/sbcsymposium.

Speakers and their topics for the conference are as follows:

— Jason Allen, “Training the Next Generation of Pastors, Ministers, & Missionaries: Southern Baptist Theological Education in the 21st Century”

— Frank S. Page, “The Cooperative Program and the future of Collaborative Ministry”

— Ronnie Floyd, “Kindling Afresh the Gift of God: Spiritual Renewal, Strategic Reinvention, & the SBC”

— Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Seminary, “Guard What has been Entrusted to You: Counsel to a new Generation of Southern Baptists”

— Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, “By the Numbers: What SBC Demographics Tell Us about our Past, Present, and Future”

— R. Albert Mohler Jr., “Southern Baptists and the Quest for Theological Identity – Unavoidable Questions for the 21st Century”

— David Dockery, president of Trinity International University, “Who are Southern Baptists? Toward a Trans-generational Identity”

Panel discussion sessions include:

— Allen, Floyd, Mohler, Patterson, and Page, “Passing the Baton: Raising Up the Next Generation of SBC Leaders”

— Anthony Jordan, John Yeats, Paul Chitwood, Tim Lubinus and Jim Richards, “The Future of State Conventions”

— Allen, Rainer, Floyd, and Mohler, “Facing the Future Together”

Breakout session presentations include:

— Jason Duesing, provost of Midwestern Seminary, “A Denomination Always for the Church: Ecclesiological Distinctives as a Basis for Confessional Cooperation”

— John Mark Yeats, undergraduate dean of Midwestern Baptist College, “16,000,000 Southern Baptists? Recovering Regenerate Church Membership”

— Christian George, assistant professor of Historical Theology and curator of the Spurgeon Library at Midwestern Seminary, “Downgrade: 21st Century Lessons from 19th Century Baptists”

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