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SBTS: Family ministry promoted in Australia; more news

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s vision for Family Equipping Ministry has begun to spread across the globe in recent months.

Timothy Paul Jones, professor of Christian leadership and education in Southern’s school of church ministries, spent several weeks in Australia speaking at two conferences on family ministry for the Anglican Church in Sydney.

Jones first spoke at Youth Works College, a small school in the Australian bush, where he urged students to become leaders of Gospel-centered homes that will, in turn, positively impact local churches.

The college also sponsored a youth ministry forum for which Jones was the keynote speaker, and he also was the featured speaker at a conference on a theology of children’s ministry, attended by staff members from about 50 churches.

“They were hungry to hear about family ministry,” Jones said. “Their churches are actually more segregated than ours are in terms of age. They will have a worship service for each generation — adults, children, older adults — and they are hungry for ways to connect the generations.

“I also had the privilege of speaking at one of the largest Anglican churches in eastern Australia, Menai Anglican Church, to all their weekend services and proclaimed to them the vision for family ministry,” Jones said. “The people were incredibly kind and gracious and open…. Literally, Southern Seminary is having an impact with Family Equipping Ministry around the world.”

Unlike the Anglican Church in its home country, England, and in the United States, the Sydney diocese is conservative, largely holding to biblical inerrancy and inspiration as well as a complementarian view of gender roles in the home and church.

One unique factor in Australia is that public schools include Bible classes. The school system operates out of a genuine pluralism and offers classes in Christianity and other world religions such as Buddhism and Islam. Jones said he encouraged conference attendees to capitalize on the opportunity in public schools for the sake of the Gospel during his trip last fall.

“They have an incredible opportunity to be able to get a hold of the kids in public schools at that level,” Jones said. “One of the things I encouraged them to do that they didn’t seem to be doing as a whole was to make contact with those kids’ families.

“I told them, ‘You have a unique opportunity in your culture that we don’t even have in ours in America. You can make contact with and make some sort of connection with the parents of those kids you have in Scripture classes in public school, then you have huge opportunities there.'”

NETTLES A FINALIST FOR BOOK AWARD — P&R Publishing announced in February that Thomas J. Nettles, author of “James Petigru Boyce: A Southern Baptist Statesman” and professor of historical theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has been selected as one of three finalists for the 2010 John Pollock Award for Christian Biography.

The John Pollock Award for Christian Biography is awarded each year by Beeson Divinity School at Samford University and carries a cash prize of $5,000 to the author. The winner will be announced in May and an award presentation will be scheduled for sometime in the fall. Typically, the presentation includes a public lecture by the selected author at the Samford University campus in Birmingham, Ala.

The biography, published last summer, chronicles Boyce’s founding of Southern Seminary and focuses on Boyce’s theological development, his lifelong struggle in establishing the seminary and the theological controversies that shaped Baptists in the last half of the 19th century.

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary, called the biography “a masterpiece, combining keen insights with a definitive historical account.”

Other finalists for the 2010 award are Herman Selderhuis for “Calvin: A Pilgrim’s Life” (IVP) and John Wigger for “American Saint: Francis Asbury and the Methodists” (Oxford).

Upon learning of the nomination, Nettles said, “What an honor even to be included in this list.”

The Pollock Award was established in 2001 and is named for the British author of more than 30 books on religion, the majority of them being biographies of Christian leaders.

Recent recipients include Barry Hankins (2009) for “Francis Schaeffer and the Shaping of Evangelical America” (Eerdmans) and Jonathan Aitken (2008) for “John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace” (Crossway).
Jeff Robinson and Emily Griffin write for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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