INDIANAPOLIS (BP)–Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s commitment to missions and world evangelism is perhaps best exemplified by Southeastern graduate Larry Elliott, his wife Jean and the other two Southern Baptist missionaries martyred in Iraq on March 15, Daniel Akin said in his report to the Southern Baptist Convention.
On hand to highlight that theme of sacrificial and willing service was the Elliotts’ son, Scott, who, at Akin’s request, issued a challenge to Southern Baptists to follow God’s leading faithfully, even when that must be done at high personal expense.
“With my parents it didn’t matter if it was too hard, too far, too uncomfortable or too dangerous,” Scott Elliott told messengers June 16 in Indianapolis. “When God called them, they simply said, ‘Yes, Lord.’ I wonder if that could be said of us. Tonight, if any of you feels the call to go anywhere, I would encourage you to say, ‘Yes, Lord,’ no matter what that is.”
Akin also invited Phil Neighbors, a Southeastern graduate and pastor of Valley Baptist Church in Bakersfield, Calif., to address the convention. Neighbors is co-pastor of the home church of Karen Watson, who was killed alongside the Elliotts.
Neighbors read excerpts from a letter Watson wrote in the event of her death.
“When God calls there are no regrets,” Watson wrote. “I was not called to comfort or success, but to obedience. To obey was my objective. To suffer was expected. His glory is my reward.”
“My prayer,” Neighbors said, “is that [Watson’s letter] would inspire all of us to be better witnesses for the Lord Jesus.”
Akin noted that missions is one of the four major emphases of his administration at Southeastern, as the seminary endeavors to train young men and women to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth just as former Southeastern students Larry and Jean Elliott did.
“Southeastern Seminary hopes to be worthy in the days ahead of men and women like these precious missionaries,” Akin said.
In addition to its focus on missions, Southeastern will continue to be a leader in the areas of biblical counseling, evangelism and expository preaching, Akin said. Stating that he felt “very honored and humbled” to serve as the newly elected president of the institution, Akin vowed that Southeastern would continue its course in bringing honor and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ by training students to live for the same Gospel for which the four Southern Baptist workers in Iraq died.