Hardin-Simmons trustees vote to close Logsdon Seminary
By Ken Camp
ABILENE, Texas (BP) — Hardin-Simmons University’s (HSU) board of trustees have voted to close Logsdon Seminary, President Eric Bruntmyer announced Friday (Feb. 7).
“The board approved new programs, and it closed other programs at the undergraduate and graduate level including Logsdon Seminary and its programs,” Bruntmyer stated. “In the next week, the appropriate deans and vice presidents will be communicating the details of these actions.”
Trustees “made these decisions with prayerful consideration and spiritual discernment, emphasizing that Hardin-Simmons will continue to hold to the Christian values on which it was founded,” Bruntmyer wrote.
In a subsequent statement from HSU issued Feb. 8, the university clarified that the Feb. 7 trustee decision affects Logsdon Seminary and its graduate programs, but the Logsdon School of Theology will continue to provide undergraduate Christian education.
“Current seminary students will be provided a teach-out program to finish their degrees,” according to the latest statement.
Students will continue to participate in chapel services and weekly Bible studies, Bruntmyer wrote Feb. 7, and will have “expanded opportunities to participate in ministry events locally and abroad and to take additional Bible courses.”
Bruntmyer noted the board had adopted The Way Forward, a strategic financial plan that calls for an annual evaluation of all academic programs and provides “a sustainable framework” that positions the university favorably in “an increasingly competitive marketplace.
“Under The Way Forward, Hardin-Simmons University will always pursue financial excellence, which will allow us to maintain our academic excellence,” he wrote. “In the coming weeks, months and year, the HSU campus will change. Structural adjustments like these are important as we strive toward achieving financial excellence not only for ourselves, but for those to come.”
In Oct. 2018, HSU trustees voted to close four Logsdon Seminary extension campuses in Coppell, Lubbock, Corpus Christi and McAllen, Texas, along with other cuts in programs and personnel.
At the time, Bruntmyer noted that some external revenue sources were evaporating, pointing particularly to decreased Southern Baptist Cooperative Program support. He also noted the Baptist General Convention of Texas was eliminating pro-rata funding for all its partnering universities, which includes Hardin-Simmons.
HSU’s Logsdon School of Theology began offering seminary programs in 1995. HSU trustees officially established Logsdon Seminary about nine years later.
Midwestern Seminary hosts 9Marks conference
By T. Patrick Hudson
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) — Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary partnered with 9Marks to host “A Conference on the Gospel” Feb. 4 in Kansas City, Mo., with sessions aimed at providing a biblical understanding of the Gospel.
Keynote speakers Mark Dever, Zach Schlegel, Brian Davis, Bobby Scott, and Jeremy Treat spoke on how the Gospel is essential for the local church, salvation and reconciliation with God.
“We are grateful to partner with 9Marks to encourage pastors and ministry leaders from around the nation,” said president Jason Allen.
“Through such events, we also desire these pastors and ministry leaders to know that they can trust Midwestern Seminary to provide unparalleled theological education for not only themselves but for those called into the ministry from their churches.”
Dever, senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., led the conference’s first session focusing on the Gospel and its role in the local church.
Dever warned the audience to “never assume that everyone knows and understands what the Good News is.” He then defined the Gospel, saying, “The good news is that God, through Christ, is reconciling sinners to Himself so that all who have repented of their sins and trust in Christ alone for their salvation are forgiven for their sins. The punishments have fallen on Christ, our substitute, who was crucified, died, buried, was raised, ascended, and is returning.
“I took about 40 seconds [to] say that to you,” he continued. “So, there is no reason that you can’t, in your own fellowship of Christians, often remind each other of what the Good News is. Make sure the Good News is clear. There are many ways it can be said, but the news itself is wonderful.”
Dever also noted that the local church holds special responsibility for shaping and preserving the Gospel. Once a church is established, then that body should be a “pillar and foundation of Gospel truth.”
Schlegel, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Upper Marlboro, Md., brought a message about how words are vitally important for anyone who is communicating, but they’re even more essential for pastors. The reason pastors should feel the weightiness of their word selection is because carelessly preached words could wreck lives, or they could wreck churches.
Preaching from 2 Timothy 2:14-26, Schlegel highlighted how the apostle Paul taught Timothy to deal with false teachers in the church. As such, an example is provided for how today’s pastors can protect their churches and protect the Gospel. Schlegel captured Paul’s words in metaphors of the good worker, the clean vessel and the Lord’s servant.
A “good worker,” that is the pastor, is to remind the church body of the Gospel, lead them away from quarreling, handle God’s word rightly, and strive to be approved by God. The pastor as a “clean vessel” is to distance himself from false teachers and false teaching.
“Pastor, settle in your mind right now about the sufficiency of God’s word for our task,” Schlegel said. “Hold fast to God’s word. Preach God’s word. Stay away from the ear-tickling ideas of man that twist and ignore the words of God so you will be a vessel for honorable use.”
The conference’s next message was delivered by Scott, pastor of Community of Faith Baptist Church in South Gate, Calif., who was tasked with encouraging attendees to be faithful witnesses for Christ and with showing them how they can train others to present the Gospel message as clearly as possible.
Over the centuries, Scott explained, God has used ordinary people to proclaim His Gospel message. Scott then walked the audience through specific examples of the Bible’s redemption story, particularly seeing Jesus in the Old Testament, and he keyed on the fact that today’s believers need to read the story, trust in the story, and refer to the story in order to tell others the story.
In concluding, Scott advised, “Go back and tell your people the Gospel is a story, and they can tell the story. It is a story about our King, who came to rescue us by dying in our place, conquering sin, death, Satan, and everything else. And he arose victorious to grant salvation to any and all who repent and believe. That’s the story.
“I tell people the story — and you know what happens — some will scoff, some will mock, and some will listen. Regardless of what happens, be faithful and tell the story.”
Treat, pastor for preaching and vision at Reality Church of Los Angeles, brought the next message, sharing where the theme of the kingdom of God comes from, why it matters, and how it relates to the Gospel.
Treat defined the kingdom of God as “God’s reign through God’s people over God’s place.” He added that there is significance in adding “of God,” because “if you talk about the kingdom as some kind of utopian paradise, but you don’t mention God, then you’ve completely missed it. No, the kingdom is a vision of the world reordered around God’s sovereign love. So, it’s about the reign of God, but God reigns through his people. And so, God reigns through his people over a place, the kingdom of God.”
Showing how the kingdom of God ties in with the Gospel, Treat said the kingdom shows us that the Gospel applies to all of life. Additionally, we should make our faith public, as that’s how the Gospel is spread.
Treat also noted that the kingdom shows the Gospel is communal. Once we are saved individually, we are also saved into a body — the church, he said.
In the conference’s final session, Davis, pastor of Risen Christ Fellowship in Philadelphia, Pa., preached from 1 Corinthians 15:9-10 and provided insight into the posture of Gospel ministers.
The top priority in a pastor’s life is the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. With this priority in mind, the appropriate posture, Davis explained, is to minimize oneself and to magnify the Lord.
Speaking to a pastor’s humility, Davis referred to the apostle Paul, who minimized himself in light of the real priority.
“Paul elaborated on this glorious Gospel of Christ. He was compelled to humiliate himself by showing his own dishonor and weakness and unworthiness even to be a bearer of the message. So, he aimed at rightly prioritizing the message to rightly posture himself as a minister. The minister must know and show that he himself is empty. They must minimize themselves.”
To view all sessions of “A Conference on The Gospel,” visit www.mbts.edu/9marks20.