LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–Doctoral students at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary will soon have an opportunity to sit under one of the world’s great expository preachers.
Beginning in 2003, students enrolled in the doctor of ministry in expository preaching program will be able to study under Stephen Olford, the 84-year-old preacher credited by many for a resurgence in expository preaching, during a weeklong seminar in Memphis, Tenn., at the Stephen Olford Center for Biblical Preaching.
While in Memphis, students also will study under Olford’s son, David Olford, as well as such seminary professors as Daniel Akin and Hershael York.
The D.Min. in expository preaching degree is a three-year program that includes four seminars. Three seminars take place on the Southern campus, the fourth one at the Olford Center. Students will have assignments to complete before and after each seminar.
“Stephen Olford is one of the premier expository preachers of the last century,” said Akin, dean of Southern’s school of theology. “We believe that this will make a very strong program only stronger.”
Stephen and David Olford spoke at Southern Seminary in April as part of Power in the Pulpit, a daylong event intended to strengthen pastoral skills. During their brief stay, they agreed to begin a partnership with the Louisville, Ky., school.
David Olford, president of Olford Ministries International and director of studies at the Olford Center, said students will enjoy the atmosphere provided at the Olford Center. He noted that the slogan at the Olford Center is “ministry to ministers is ministry to multitudes.”
David Olford is scheduled to speak four times at the seminar, his father five.
“We’re thrilled,” David Olford said. “We believe that if we can impact the lives of ministers, we have a multiplication-type of ministry. If we can impact their lives — much like a seminary — they are going to impact multitudes.”
Expository preaching involves the verse-by-verse explanation of a particular chapter or book of the Bible. Expository preaching, Olford said, should be the aim of all ministers.
“It boils down to your understanding of the nature of Scripture,” he said. “If you believe Scripture to be the self-revelation of God, then that’s what we need to be about in terms of our communication. People can learn from creation, they can learn from conscience, they can learn from mutual experience. But saving truth and maturing truth ultimately need to be based on the Word of God.”
Akin said that the elder Olford has had an incredible impact on the evangelical church.
“Jerry Vines and Adrian Rogers will tell you that they learned to preach by listening to Stephen Olford,” he said. “His influence has been tremendous — not only within SBC life but even more so beyond it.”
When he was a seminary student, Akin said he often listened to Stephen Olford on cassette tape while driving in his car.
“Someone introduced me to his preaching ministry, and I can still remember one semester driving back and forth to seminary listening to his verse-by-verse teaching through 2 Corinthians,” Akin said. “It was one of the most shaping influences on my life as far as developing my philosophy of preaching.”
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