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Southern Seminary training ‘discipled warriors,’ Lawless says

FRANKFORT, Ky. (BP)–Southern Baptist Theological Seminary students are “willing to march into hell to get the Gospel to the ends of the earth,” Chuck Lawless said at the Southern Seminary luncheon during the Kentucky Baptist Convention Nov. 15.

Displaying a picture of a recent graduate, Lawless told dozens of Southern friends and alumni, “This picture represents for me what I want us to be. And that is a seminary training men and women to take the Gospel to the world as, what I call, discipled warriors. And that is men and women who are willing to march into hell to get the Gospel to the ends of the earth. And we believe we’ve got those students.”

Lawless, who serves as dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth and Brookes Professor of Evangelism and Church Growth, noted Southern’s commitment to missions and evangelism. The Graham School currently has 800 students — a total that makes Southern’s evangelism school larger than 80 percent of all U.S. seminaries, he said.

Southern is especially thankful to all its supporters who make it possible to send out missionaries across the world, Lawless said, adding that the seminary’s graduates serve courageously in dangerous places, including numerous Muslim regions.

In addition to sending career missionaries, Southern also is committed to sending students on short-term mission trips, Lawless said.

“We are sending our students all over the world led by professors and faculty,” he said. “And we want to know that Southern Seminary is making its mark in taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth. And we believe that’s happening as we raise up students and they prepare to go.”

This year the seminary will send three teams to Mississippi on hurricane relief trips, two teams to the Pacific Rim and a team each to Kenya, southern Peru, south Asia, Guatemala, Paris, northern Peru and Canada.

“My prayer is the day would come when God would provide the funding so that every student on our campus could go overseas one time during his or her M.Div. work,” Lawless said. “I’m convinced that if can get our students overseas, we’ll have more missionaries-to-be. God has the money. God has the resources to provide that. I’m praying that God would do that.”

As the seminary expands its missions and evangelism program, Southern has been able to reach new groups of students with innovative degree programs, Lawless noted. The seminary now offers a master of divinity taught entirely in Spanish and a Vietnamese master of divinity. Students who work fulltime can complete a master of divinity taught completely during weekends or in the evenings.

“We want to be where the education needs to be,” he said. “We want to be providing everything we can provide to help our denomination be everything God wants us to be.”

Citing Acts 19, Lawless said Southern’s goal is to produce ministers who will impact the world so significantly that hell fears the seminary’s graduates.

“I want God to use our institution in such mighty and powerful ways that, most importantly, God is glorified in every single thing we do,” he said, “and underneath that, that hell itself shakes because of what we do.”