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SBC DIGEST: Longtime Pathway editor Hinkle dies, HBU changes name; SBTS Norton Lectures focus on biblical interpretation

Longtime Missouri Baptist paper editor Don Hinkle dies

JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri (BP) — The longtime editor of the Missouri Baptist Convention paper The Pathway has died. Don Hinkle founded the paper and led it for more than 20 years. Hinkle announced Sept. 13 that he was planning to step down on Jan. 1, 2023.

In a tweet on Friday morning (Sept. 23), Ben Hawkins, associate editor of The Pathway, wrote, “During his two decades of service at The Pathway, Don deeply loved serving the Lord and serving Missouri Baptists through Christian journalism and through his public policy work with the Missouri Baptist Convention.”

The story on The Pathway on Sept. 13 praised Hinkle, “An Air Force veteran, Hinkle has been a reporter for The Daily Press in Newport News, Va., The Tennessean in Nashville, The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., and was editor of The Daily Herald in Columbia, Tenn. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Christopher Newport University, Newport News, Va., and master’s degrees in Christian education and theology from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a graduate of the WORLD Journalism Institute and is a fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.”

Funeral arrangements are incomplete at the time of publication.

HBU changes name to Houston Christian University

By HCU Communications Staff

HOUSTON (BP) – Houston Baptist University has changed its name to Houston Christian University, President Robert B. Sloan announced during a Sept. 20 open forum with faculty, staff, past and present trustees and students.

“Houston Christian University more accurately epitomizes our student body and reflects the faculty, staff, alumni and community we serve,” Sloan said.

“We are committed to being a distinctively Christian university that welcomes all Christians to benefit from our excellent academic programs. This historic university appeals to people all across the spectrum of Christian denominational life, and this new name clarifies who we are.”

The renaming is part of a growth campaign to expand the university’s residential campus to 4,200 students and online campus to 5,800 students.

“We want to extend the influence of our mission while also appealing to as many students as possible,” Sloan said.

The university has considered a name change several times over the last 16 years, Sloan noted. A task force of trustees arrived at this new name after two years of consideration, research and prayerful review, he noted. On May 17, the board of trustees officially approved the change.

The university is partnering with Carnegie, a leading higher education marketing and enrollment strategy firm “to take our brand of traditional Christian higher education to the next generation of students,” Sloan said.

During the forum event, Sloan also affirmed the university’s core convictions, saying its historic Christian commitments have not and will not change.

“We believe that authentic and faithful Christian higher education, rooted in a scriptural worldview, is ever more critical in a fractured society in need of reconciliation, hope, and healing,” he said.

“By changing to Houston Christian University, we are striving to be even clearer about our convictions. We are committed to Jesus Christ. We are committed to the Scriptures. We are committed to the Gospel and its power to draw all people to Christ. And we are committed to being ‘salt and light’ in the world.”

Houston Christian University’s mission statement is “to provide a learning experience that instills in students a passion for academic, spiritual and professional excellence as a result of our central confession, ‘Jesus Christ is Lord.’”

The recent name change marks the second time university leaders have changed the institution’s name. Originally launched in 1960 as Houston Baptist College by Stewart Morris Sr., the university was renamed Houston Baptist University in 1973.

Morris, one of the university’s “founding fathers,” voiced enthusiastic approval of the name change.

“I believe the name Houston Christian University is perfect. I am especially proud that the word ‘Christian’ will be in the name, since it truly represents who we are, a university where everyone is welcome,” Morris said.

“I am excited about the progress and plans, and I believe the founding fathers would have all approved as well. I applaud Dr. Sloan and the trustees. God bless HCU!”

Read the full story here.

Seminaries are textual communities, Vanhoozer says in annual Norton Lectures

By Travis Hearne/SBTS

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) – A seminary should foster a culture of theological reading that will help form Bible-literate disciples, theologian Kevin Vanhoozer told the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary community at the annual Norton Lecture Series, held September 12-14 in Heritage Hall.

Vanhoozer is Research Professor of Systematic Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and is the author or editor of more than 20 books, including Is There a Meaning in this Text?; The Drama of Doctrine; Faith Speaking Understanding: Performing the Drama of Doctrine; and Biblical Authority after Babel: Retrieving the Solas in the Spirit of Mere Protestant Christianity

He delivered three lectures on “Mere Hermeneutics: A Proposal for Transfiguring Biblical Interpretation.”

Battles over what it means to be biblical have raged throughout church history. But Vanhoozer’s proposal of “Mere Hermeneutics” attempts to unite Christians over a shared understanding of biblical interpretation. The interpretive key, according to Vanhoozer, views the redemptive storyline of Scripture as the primary frame of reference for interpreting the Bible.

“We as Bible readers not only need to test the spirits but we must test the hermeneutics,” Vanhoozer said. “The Bible is a human instrument in what is ultimately divine discourse, and we should approach it that way. The Bible is God’s personal address to His chosen people and contains everything we need to know as God’s people to become a holy nation.”

Mere Christian Hermeneutics, therefore, focuses on the response of the reader as well as the meaning of the text. Readers should become like Christ and expect to encounter him through a right interpretation of Scripture, he said.

“Seminaries should cultivate biblical literacy – teaching what every Christian needs to know to read the bible rightly,” he said. “A seminary is a reading culture to create disciples who are literate citizens of the Gospel. Disciples who know how to follow Jesus and represent Him on earth as He is in heaven.”

To read the Bible rightly requires a theological reading of Scripture that presupposes a Christ-centered frame of reference. As divine speech, believers should read the Bible as authoritative, as communicating the light and knowledge of God.

“Biblical interpretation is an uphill climb,” Vanhoozer said. The mountaintop is the place where one is most likely to hear the voice of God. We read Scripture to hear, know, and meet God. We must get the text right and then read God’s word in a way that we can stand in the light and become children of light.”

Vanhoozer pointed out two dangers common with theological readings of Scripture: limiting the divine or theological layer to the text or drifting into allegory by straying from the literal meaning of the words.

Read the full story here.

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