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SEBTS trustees revise statements of identity, mission

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–Trustees of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary adopted revised statements of identity, confession and mission for the seminary during their annual fall meeting, Oct. 9-10 in Wake Forest, N.C.

The three new statements were described as reflecting the spirit of Southeastern in a way that is faithful to the institution’s heritage and its future.

“The revised mission statement is simply a more succinct expression of the mission given Southeastern by Southern Baptists years ago,” David Nelson, senior vice president of academic administration and dean of faculty at Southeastern, said. “We wanted to anchor our expression of that mission in the context of Southern Baptist identity and a confessional fidelity that is true to the Scriptures.”

The new statements read as follows.

— Southeastern’s Statement of Identity: “Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is an institution of higher learning and a Cooperative Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention.”

— Southeastern’s Confession: “Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary affirms the Bible as the authoritative Word of God. We covenant to teach in accordance with and not contrary to the Abstract of Principles and the Baptist Faith & Message. We further affirm the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy and Danvers Statement on biblical manhood and womanhood.”

— Southeastern’s Mission: “Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary seeks to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20).”

In other business, the board approved recommendations for a $4 million renovation of the library to be the next task on the seminary’s master plan, once construction of Patterson Hall is complete. The project will not include any additions to the master plan but does represent a realignment of priorities.

“We look forward to renovating our library since it has not seen a major update since the 1970s,” said Ryan Hutchinson, senior vice president for business administration. “This project will allow us to provide expanded space for our holdings and create an environment much more amenable for our students as they use our library resources to enhance their theological training.”

Also, seminary President Daniel L. Akin announced the appointment of John Ewart as director of professional studies and distance learning, effective Nov. 7, which means Ewart will head the seminary’s doctor of ministry and distance learning programs.

Ewart, who has been a pastor for the last several years, previously served at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., in a similar role. Akin expressed enthusiasm for Ewart’s experience in areas that will be critical to the seminary’s growth in coming years.

“I am very excited about what Dr. Ewart will bring to the campus of Southeastern with his expertise in distance learning and the D.Min. program,” Akin said. “He will take our school forward with these programs in great ways, and we are excited to have him aboard.”

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  • Joy Rancatore