Theological education ‘matters now more than ever,’ Dew tells messengers

By Marilyn Stewart/NOBTS

NEW ORLEANS (BP) — Jamie Dew, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College president, greeted messengers by expressing how glad he was Southern Baptists had come to New Orleans and how “delightful” it had been to host them.

Photo by Robin Cornete

Noting the uniqueness of the city, Dew said New Orleans has “everything,” from diversity in religious beliefs, brokenness and opportunity, and wealth and poverty.

“We have said from day one that we believe that if you can do ministry in our city, you can do ministry anywhere,” Dew said, “because this city brings everything to bear on your formation and on your ministry.”

Dew thanked Southern Baptists for entrusting him, his family and his team with the responsibility of preparing students for ministry and for their continued support through Cooperative Program giving. Serving alongside hardworking Southern Baptist churches that are humble and faithful to Christ gives him “hope and pride,” Dew said, adding that NOBTS and Leavell College are committed to preparing students to support SBC churches well.

Pointing to culture’s chaotic condition, Dew said there are wrong ideas at every turn.

“Theological education matters now more than ever before … correcting those lies, those mistruths with the truth of God’s Word is absolutely essential,” Dew said.

Training up a new generation that are theologically sound and willing to “go into the darkness” is crucial Dew said. Dew expressed his gratitude for the six “wonderful” Southern Baptist seminaries that are committed to that work.

Dew explained that the NOBTS mission statement is a commitment to prepare servants “to walk with Christ, proclaim His truth, and fulfill His mission,” a task that is accomplished by instilling into students’ “DNA” the principles of servanthood, devotion, proclamation, and mission. 

As followers of Jesus, believers must follow Christ’s example and become a servant to others, Dew said. Dew pledged that the seminary takes the job of implanting these principles into students’ lives “very seriously.”

“My dear friends, I want you to know that we get up every single day and give ourselves to doing the work you put us there to do,” Dew said. “It’s a tremendous honor and a privilege. You’ve given me the best job in the whole world.”

Dew responded to two questions from the floor.

Rodney King, a messenger from Laurel Creek Baptist Church, Rock Island, Tennessee, expressed gratitude that slavery had been abolished and then asked, “Would we allow a special class of people to be exempt from the law that abolished slavery. If we won’t do that, why do we allow a special group of people to murder their unborn children with impunity?”

Dew responded that he did not know the specific group of people the question referred to, but said, “I would simply say with you, we share to the core of our being a commitment to end abortion as soon as possible. We are deeply committed to a pro-life agenda and everything we can [do] to eradicate that.” Dew added that students and members of the faculty and administration serve and volunteer in pro-life organizations in the city.

Simeon Salve, Franklin Baptist Church, Franklin, Arkansas, asked, “How does one apply to NOBTS?”

“Nobts.edu or come talk to me today, my friend, and we will get you hooked up very quickly,” Dew responded.

Akin celebrates Great Commission stories in SEBTS report

By Chad Burchett/SEBTS

NEW ORLEANS (BP) — During his report at the SBC annual meeting, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary President Danny Akin celebrated the school’s efforts into expanding Great Commission impact.

Akin reported that Southeastern commissioned 41 students and families this spring to serve internationally as missionaries, joining the 94 current Southeastern students already serving with the International Mission Board. These 41 units were accompanied by 18 students and families who were also commissioned to serve in church planting and revitalization ministries through the North American Mission Board.

These 18 units join thousands of Southeastern alumni already serving across North America, who are nurturing Great Commission churches to have a heart for the nations.

“Southeastern Seminary continues to send in large numbers men and women to the hard places, and we could not do that without your assistance,” Akin told messengers during his report. “Most of those students are on some level of scholarship – many of them are fully being scholarshiped.”

Thanks to several generous donors, many residential MDiv students at Southeastern can receive full tuition scholarships as they study on campus.

Akin also noted two uniquely encouraging examples of Southeastern’s programs that receive full scholarship funding to train students in hard-to-reach places.

Southeastern recently celebrated its third graduation in its North Carolina Field Minister Program, commissioning 14 incarcerated men to be ambassadors of the Gospel by biblically counseling and mentoring the incarcerated population of North Carolina. These 14 graduates join Southeastern’s 35 already-deployed field ministers to now serve 11 different facilities across North Carolina.

Those efforts are show specifically at the Foothills Correctional Institution in Morganton, whose population includes many juveniles.

“The Biblical Recorder reported that on April 27, 21 of these teenagers and young men had put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ and had been baptized into our Lord’s name,” recounted Akin. “Southeastern has four field ministers who are there, ministering among that prison population. That is just a token of what is now happening across the North Carolina prison system.”

Akin spoke of his recent experience in Istanbul, Turkey, where he attended the historic commencement ceremony for Southeastern’s first graduating class of 23 students in its Persian Leadership Development (PLD) program.

Offering the world’s first fully-accredited biblical and theological bachelor’s and master’s degree completely in Farsi, Southeastern’s PLD program now includes more than 3,500 Farsi-speaking students from around the world.

Akin noted that Southeastern’s PLD program beautifully embodies its Great Commission mission by training Persian Christians to make disciples in the hardest-to-reach places in the world, including Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

The PLD program is an important part of Southeastern’s Global Theological Initiatives (GTI) — a strategic effort to equip strategically position leaders of the global church to make disciples and strengthen local churches around the world.

After two years of raising more than $5 million in charitable giving, Southeastern raised in excess of $6 million for the first time in its history.

This year, Southeastern not only welcomed its largest college and seminary preview day groups in the history of the institution, but also expects one of its largest ever incoming college and seminary classes.

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