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Midwestern ‘no longer a part of the problem,’ Roberts says

INDIANAPOLIS (BP)–As the Southern Baptist Convention marked the 25th anniversary of its conservative resurgence, R. Philip Roberts, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, gave testimony to the revival that has taken place at the Kansas City, Mo., campus.

During his report to the SBC June 16, Roberts said Midwestern, once known for its liberal teachings, is “clearly no longer a part of the problem, but a part of the solution.”

Roberts recounted that one of Midwestern’s professors had published a book in 1961 depicting Genesis as a legend and saying that history was not at the heart of its writing. Instead, Roberts said, “[This professor] claimed that Genesis was the embellishment of a lost generation that had certain dreams and aspirations about their view of God.

“Happily, that is no longer the case,” Roberts told messengers. “I can stand before you this morning and tell you that we at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary are inheritors of the clear, decisive and needed thorough redirection of convention education within the Southern Baptist Convention to embrace the truth that the Bible, the Word of God, is God’s revelation; His depository of saving reality without any mixture of error; His inerrant book.”

Roberts continued, “Genesis is now taught at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and embraced by its president and staff not as fiction or fable or fantasy but as fact. The Bible is God’s truth. And we believe that the first book of the Bible is the record of God’s creative work in the physical realm but also is the record of His initiatory work in the realm of redemption.”

Presenting SBC President Jack Graham with a facsimile page from the Guttenberg Bible, Roberts said, “This is the first chapter of John’s Gospel, and on this page are these words, ‘In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.’ Also on that page are those words, ‘And to as many as received Him to them He gave the power to become the children of God, even to them who believe in His name.’

“At Midwestern Seminary, not only do we believe that it is important that we believe the Bible,” Roberts said, “but as we have heard several times this morning, to practice and apply the Scriptures.”

Roberts further noted, “Along with our other seminary brethren and constituents and our sister seminaries, we make a firm commitment to apply the truth of God’s Word in the realm of Christian marriage.”

He reported that in November 2003 a group of Southern Baptist scholars met at Midwestern to frame the Kansas City Declaration on Marriage. “We wish to give you a copy of that same declaration,” Roberts told Graham, “… to serve as a symbol and a sign of our commitment to the practice and application of biblical truth.”

In closing his report, Roberts said, “There are many great and good things happening at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary including a record year in institutional development; the establishment of Midwestern Baptist College; and the commissioning and completion of our first phase of refurbishing on our first building project in the last 40 years of Midwestern Seminary.”

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  • Susan Reed