WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s trustees voted April 19 to affirm both the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy and the Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
The statements outline what many consider to be the basic conservative evangelical position in regard to issues of biblical inerrancy and gender roles, respectively.
Southeastern President Daniel Akin said the two statements, which were previously used informally as interpretive guidelines to both the SBC’s Baptist Faith and Message 2000 and the seminary’s Abstract of Principles, will serve to make clear and cement Southeastern’s position on these crucial issues for the future.
“Southeastern Seminary wants to be crystal clear,” Akin said, “as to where it stands on the Word of God and the biblical roles of men and women in the home and the church. Our trustees and administration believe the formal adoption of these two statements strengthens and affirms our convictions and commitments on these crucial doctrines.
“Given the continual drift to the theological left by those who profess to be evangelical concerning the Word of God and the enormous gender confusion that is running rampant throughout our culture this very day, Southeastern Seminary wants there to be no doubt concerning its position in these two areas that are vital to the life and health of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The Chicago Statement was drafted in 1978 by the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy, and the Danvers Statement was published in 1988 by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Current and former Southeastern faculty members participated in the drafting of both statements.
Also during the meeting, Southeastern officials announced that Akin will be inaugurated as the school’s sixth president on Oct. 27. The trustees then voted to move their fall meeting back two weeks to Oct. 25-26 to coincide with the celebration.
“We are excited to be able to set aside these dates to honor our Lord Jesus Christ, who has sent us His man to lead Southeastern into the future,” said Bart Neal, Southeastern’s vice president for institutional advancement and co-chairman of the inauguration committee. “I am confident this will be one of the greatest days in the history of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.”
Akin was elected president of Southeastern in January by a unanimous vote of the trustees.
The inauguration service will be held at 10 a.m. in the seminary’s Binkley Chapel. Paige Patterson, former president of Southeastern and now president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas, will be the featured speaker.
Several special events are scheduled for inauguration week. Featured speakers include R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky, and James Merritt, pastor of the Atlanta-area Cross Pointe Church.
Trustees approved a 2004-05 operating budget of more than $18.4 million dollars, a 2.58 percent increase over the current year, according to Ryan Hutchinson, vice president for administration.
The budget includes a 2 percent salary increase for all employees, and a 15 percent increase in healthcare costs. Because Southeastern pays all of its employees’ health insurance costs, Akin pointed out that the actual compensation increases for employees range from 4 to 7.5 percent in the new budget.
Trustees voted to approve changes to the seminary’s master of divinity degree program, add concentrations within that degree and add new degree programs.
In addition to M.Div. concentrations in pastoral ministry, counseling, church music, education, women’s studies and international and North American missions, Southeastern will begin offering concentrations in apologetics, evangelism and worship leadership in the fall. Trustees also authorized two new concentrations, biblical theology and biblical hermeneutics, to the school’s growing doctor of philosophy program.
The new degree program offering is a non-thesis master of theology degree, which could be completed by students in about a year following the completion of an M.Div.
Faculty promotions were awarded to Shawn Madden, from assistant to associate professor of Old Testament and Hebrew; Nanette Godwin, from assistant to associate professor of church music and keyboard; John Davis, from associate professor to professor of church music; Keith Harper, from associate professor to professor of church history; and Jim Porowski, from associate professor to professor of child and family development.
Elected to join the faculty as assistant professors were Bruce Ashford, Russell Woodbridge, Brad Reynolds and Scott Kellum. All but Reynolds received their Ph.D. degrees from Southeastern; Reynolds earned his at the College of William and Mary.
Ashford teaches theology and philosophy at Southeastern College at Wake Forest, in the school’s History of Ideas program. For the past eight years, he has also been a frequent speaker at camps, crusades and conferences throughout the United States.
Woodbridge specializes in church history and theology, also teaching at Southeastern College. He is also a former church planter, having served with the International Mission Board in Austria.
Reynolds teaches in the field of Christian education, specializing in
youth ministry. He has been working on designing classes at Southeastern in youth ministry.
Kellum, a New Testament and Greek scholar, has been teaching introductory and advanced courses at both the seminary and college levels at Southeastern for several years.