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SBC DIGEST: 5 honored as evangelical scholars during ETS; La. search committee accepting nominations; Wayne Jenkins, dead at 70, led La. evangelism 28 years

DENVER (BP) — Five evangelical scholars were honored during the Southeastern Theological Fellowship dinner held in conjunction with the Evangelical Theological Society’s 70th annual meeting, Nov. 13-15 in Denver.

The fellowship, which held its first dinner in 2013, seeks to build camaraderie among academicians from multiple denominations and encourage excellence in scholarship for the glory of Christ.

Bruce Ashford, provost at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., welcomed guests from seminaries, liberal arts colleges, research universities, publishing houses and other entities to the dinner.

Addressing the attendees, Ashford spoke of “the unified vision of reality that theological scholarship can offer.”

“If the Christian life could be compared to an exam in which we are measured by our faithfulness to Christ in a particular historical context, many of us feel like the 21st century is an insanely challenging one,” he said. “We find it challenging precisely because we are Christian scholars working in a secular age.

“Western higher education will lose much of what is good about it unless Christian scholars fulfill our role as salt and light,” Ashford said.

The honorees, representing five different seminaries, colleges and universities, received awards for their excellence in research, writing and displaying the characteristics of a Great Commission scholar in both the classroom and Christian scholarship:

— Peter Gentry, Donald L. Williams Professor of Old Testament Interpretation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

— Nathan Finn, provost and dean of the university faculty at North Greenville University in Tigerville, S.C.

— Matthew Emerson, Dickinson Chair of Religion and Associate Professor of Religion at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee.

— Kevin Vanhoozer, research professor of systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Ill.

— Matthew Pinson, president of Welch College, a Free Will Baptist college in Nashville.

After accepting his award, Vanhoozer addressed the audience on the importance of holding to the Word of God, the Gospel and the Spirit’s power in biblical scholarship.

“Let us form a society not of biblical literature,” Vanhoozer said, “but a society of biblical literacy.”

For Baptist Press coverage of the Evangelical Theological Society’s three-day meeting in Denver, click here.


Louisiana search committee accepting nominations

ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP) — The Louisiana Baptist Convention’s Executive Director Search Committee is receiving nominations for a successor to David Hankins, who has announced his retirement effective June 30, 2019, having led the convention since 2005.

Search committee chairman Waylon Bailey, pastor of First Baptist Church in Covington and chairman of the convention’s Executive Board, said in a news release the process for recommending candidates, or for interested individuals to apply, entails sending names and resumes to [email protected] or, via mail, to Dr. Waylon Bailey, c/o First Baptist Church, 16333 Hwy. 1085, Covington, LA 70433.

Materials must be sent electronically or postmarked no later than Jan. 15.

Bailey was elected as the search committee’s chairman during its inaugural meeting Nov. 27 when the 15-member committee began developing a profile of the type of candidate they are seeking to lead Louisiana Baptists.

“We want to do our very best for the future of our state,” Bailey said. “Our state needs Louisiana Baptists in order to be its very best.”


Wayne Jenkins, dead at 70, led La. evangelism 28 years

ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP) — Wayne Jenkins, who served 28 years as Louisiana Baptists’ director of evangelism until his retirement Jan. 31, died Nov. 13 at age 70 in Pineville.

David Hankins, executive director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, said Jenkins was “a blessing to Louisiana Baptists and beyond. His willingness to pour himself out for the Gospel, even during his lengthy battle with cancer, should challenge all of us. His passion for people and willingness to try new ways to engage them with the Gospel is resonating in eternity.”

Keith Manuel, the convention’s director of evangelism and church growth, described Jenkins as a major influencer for evangelism.

“He was a classic director of evangelism,” Manuel said. “He didn’t just talk and ideate about evangelism. He was a practitioner. His life was dedicated to sharing the Gospel internationally, nationally and locally. There will be thousands who received Jesus’ salvation, who stand before the throne of God worshipping the King of Kings for eternity because of the witness and the work of Wayne Jenkins.”

Jenkins was a Baton Rouge native who surrendered his life to Christ at age 16 and soon sensed a call to ministry. As a student at Louisiana College, he was an active member of the Baptist Student Union and participated in summer missions to Jamaica. After graduating, Jenkins earned a master’s degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas and served 25 years as a pastor in six churches in Texas and Louisiana, lastly at Cook Baptist Church in Ruston when he was called to lead the state convention in evangelism in 1990.

Jenkins initiated a number of projects as evangelism director, but two were especially dear to his heart: 33 annual mission trips to Brazil in conjunction with a missions organization he founded, Beyond the Walls — recording more than 100,000 professions of faith and the construction of more than 65 churches — and the Harvest, the largest evangelistic initiative ever among Louisiana Baptists, enlisting nearly 900 of the convention’s 1,650 churches in praying for every home and sharing the Gospel with every person in the state.

Longtime evangelist Sammy Tippit, one of Jenkins’ classmates at Louisiana College, said their friendship helped nurture his passion to share Jesus with others.

“God used Wayne mightily to share Christ with people around him as well as people around the world,” said Tippit, founder of Sammy Tippit Ministries in San Antonio, Texas, and the current president of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists.

Jenkins’ role with the convention, Tippit said, “was much more than a job responsibility for Wayne. It was the passion of his life. He lived what he taught and trained churches to do the same. His heart wept for the world. He travelled to places like Hong Kong, Angola and Brazil to preach the Gospel and train others to do the same.

“Many Christian leaders in Brazil have contacted me since Wayne’s passing to tell me how God used him to impact their lives and churches,” Tippit said. “I’m sure that Wayne will meet thousands of Brazilians in heaven because of the work he did there.

“Wayne Jenkins ran the race of life well and finished as a champion,” Tippitt continued. “I spoke with him immediately after the Southern Baptist Convention in June, and with voice trembling he said, ‘I just want to be used of God!’ He never stopped. During the last couple of months of his life, we prayed together almost daily. His heart longed for people to come to Christ as much as it did in those early days at Louisiana College.”

Louisiana College honored Jenkins for his soul-winning legacy during the 2018 state evangelism conference by forming the Dr. Wayne and Martha Jenkins Center for Evangelism and Missions. The center will be a resource of information and inspiration for Louisiana College students and Louisiana Baptist churches in training and mobilizing people to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ at home and abroad.

Jenkins credited Louisiana College as a formative influence, not just in meeting his future wife Martha there.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better place for me to help shape and prepare me for the calling on my life,” he told the Baptist Message state newspaper earlier this year. “I was an introvert when I went to LC and they brought me out of it. More importantly, I received much spiritual guidance from the BSU and my professors who taught me lessons that I have taken into my various roles of ministry. Also, I received a great deal of experience conducting youth-led revivals all over the state. I owe LC and the BSU a huge debt.”

When he was not on the road sharing the Gospel or spending time with his wife, four daughters and 16 grandchildren, Jenkins was involved with his Sunday School class at Philadelphia Baptist Church’s Horseshoe Drive campus in Alexandria.

“My life is one of the tens of thousands affected by Bro. Wayne’s spiritual legacy,” pastor Philip Robertson said. “How do you serve as pastor to a spiritual giant like Wayne Jenkins? For me, it was mostly taking every opportunity to listen and learn from a man who I knew was a true man of God.”

Jenkins’ funeral was held Nov. 16. In lieu of flowers, the family requested memorials to Beyond the Walls, c/o Highland Baptist Church, 607 Victory Drive, New Iberia, LA 70563.

    About the Author

  • SEBTS, Baptist Message & BP Staff

    Compiled by Baptist Press senior editor Art Toalston from reporting by the communications staff of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Philip Timothy and Brian Blackwell of the Baptist Message, newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.

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