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Southern Seminary trustees establish Henry Institute, hire new faculty

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–Southern Baptist Theological Seminary board of trustees’ executive committee authorized the school to establish The Carl F.H. Henry Institute for Evangelical Engagement during its Feb. 3 meeting.
Named for the man regarded by many as the most important evangelical theologian of the 20th century, the institute will hold annual summit conferences each spring where eight to 12 leading experts will gather to engage issues of importance to the church and society. Their research will be published and presented each fall at public
seminars as information helpful to the local church.
In an agreement reached Jan. 28 with Crossway Publishers, the first project of the new institute will be the republication of Henry’s six-volume “God, Revelation and Authority” which is out of print. The project will be completed in January 1999 and will culminate with a major conference on the future of evangelicalism.
Henry has been one of the primary shapers of the evangelical movement, seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. observed. “As a Baptist evangelical, he consistently engaged the issues of the day with a defense of biblical truth and the integrity of the gospel.” Mohler called “God, Revelation and Authority” “one of the most significant
evangelical works of the century.” Regarding trustees’ approval to establish the institute, Mohler said, “I believe by this action we have made history.”
Mohler announced the appointment of three faculty, and trustees meanwhile elected a new member to the faculty. Bruce Ware was elected professor of Christian theology. Ware will join the faculty this summer from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Ill., where he is
associate professor of biblical and systematic theology.
Steven Corts, chairman of the trustees’ academic personnel committee, said Ware’s addition to the faculty and his commitment to evangelical theology marks a new era at Southern Seminary. “His strategy and practice is to engage all forms of theological thought but at the
same time is to not only identify those schools but also to identify their weaknesses and then to give an evangelical theological response,” said Corts, pastor of Edwards Road Baptist Church, Greenville, S.C.
“That is something … we believe is very necessary for the grounding of future pastors and missionaries in their work.” Mohler related. “It was only a clear word from God that he was to come that led him to accept this, he is so happy at Trinity where he is.”
Ware will be nominated for tenure at the April meeting of the board of trustees.
Mohler announced the appointment of E. David Cook as professor of Christian ethics. At Oxford University in England, Cook is fellow and chaplain at Green College and is director of the Whitefield Institute. He will remain on the college faculty. Cook is also clinical ethicist at
John Radcliffe Hospital.
“This historic joint appointment in which we will share this professor across the Atlantic with Oxford University says something about the front line faculty that is being developed here,” Mohler said.
Hal Ostrander was appointed associate professor of Christian theology for the seminary’s new James P. Boyce College of the Bible. Ostrander is associate professor of biblical studies and philosophy at Dallas Baptist University. Mohler praised Ostrander as “a very fine
theologian” who “caught the vision of what it would mean to catch students at this undergraduate level and start to teach them consistently from the Christian worldview. The idea of pulling together a top-flight Bible school program and combining it with a great books worldview approach has really caught on with professors who want to be a part of that.”
Mohler also announced the appointment of Theodore Cabal as dean of the new Bible college. Mohler called Cabal one of the leading apologists in Southern Baptist life.
“This is an historic list of appointments,” Mohler noted, “and a very significant action taken as the executive committee elected Dr. Bruce Ware to this faculty. This helps bring to wholeness the quality of evangelical scholarship that represents the faculty of Southern
Seminary.” Mohler said he expects to announce within the next month two more appointments for the Boyce Bible College faculty in biblical studies and in Christian ministries.
Mohler told trustees the seminary will likely report a growing enrollment for the current spring semester. He noted more than 400 students were enrolled in “J-term” classes which meet during the month of January, and doctor of ministry degree programs have exploded. “We make clear our determination to teach not just preaching, but expository preaching,” Mohler said, referring to the new doctor of ministry degree in expository preaching, which was offered for the first time last fall.
“By God’s grace we have seen this institution make clear its commitment to the gospel,” Mohler said. “Now we need to make sure we are sending out the gospel. We won’t be satisfied until every student here considers whether God is calling him or her to the foreign mission field. … Our students are up to that challenge.” Mohler told trustees
he continues to marvel at the students coming to Southern.
“It is one thing to make the faculty line up to the Word of God. It is another thing to see students come who are committed to the Word.”
Mohler said the spirit on campus has been transformed, which is most evident in seminary chapel services. The list of chapel speakers for the spring semester speaks volumes about what has happened at the
seminary, he noted. The “Who’s Who” list of chapel speakers includes Jay Strack who will speak Feb. 26 and will lead a conference that week on evangelizing “Generation X.” Bill Mackey, new executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, will speak in chapel April 23. Mohler told
trustees, “Our commitment to him is that we want our students to be on the front line of every evangelistic and missionary endeavor of this state convention.”
In addition, Jerry Rankin, president of the International Mission Board, will speak March 17 in a “get ready” visit for the fall IMB trustee meeting and the first foreign missionary commissioning service to be held on Southern Seminary’s campus next September. He also noted
Phillip Johnson, professor of Law at the University of
California-Berkeley, will speak March 24. Johnson is “probably America’s most profound deconstructor of Darwinism.”
Mohler reported the seminary’s Southern Baptist Journal of Theology is growing in subscriptions and in influence. He commented that he is pleased to walk in pastors’ offices around the country and see dog-eared copies of the journal on their desks. The next issue of the
journal, Mohler reported, will be used as a textbook in the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth.
In other business, the executive committee elected interim trustees. Bruce Benton of Chattanooga, Tenn., was named to fill the term of Fred Steelman, and David Horner of Raleigh, N.C., was named to fill the term of Bud Parrish, who moved to Oklahoma.
The next full board of trustees meeting is April 20.

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  • David Porter