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TRUSTEES: MBTS launches capital campaign

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary trustees affirmed the integrity and leadership of President R. Philip Roberts and trustee chairman Gene Downing and the overall direction and mission of the seminary during their Oct. 15-16 meeting in Kansas City, Mo.

The board also launched the seminary’s new capital campaign and approved the promotion of four professors and two budget amendments.

Detailed plans for “Building for the Future!” were unveiled to the board Oct. 15. Trustees had approved the capital campaign trustees during their October 2006 meeting.

Gifts to the campaign will be used for endowment of faculty support and campus maintenance; the construction of a new chapel to provide needed space for corporate worship, educational seminars, concerts and special events; new apartments to provide additional on-campus housing due to increasing enrollment; and the new library and renovations to meet the seminary’s expanding academic offerings, including the Ph.D. program.

“We are very pleased to give a positive report regarding our institution’s financial health,” Roberts said. “We are also delighted to be able to present for the first time our new capital campaign Building for the Future! We thank the Lord for what He has done for this institution and look forward to the future of MBTS.”

The trustees approved the promotion recommendation of their academic development committee for four faculty members: Tony Preston as associate professor of pastoral leadership; F. Alan Tomlinson, professor of New Testament and Greek; Michael D. McMullen, professor of church history; and D. Mark DeVine, professor of theology.

“We are encouraged by our faculty -– godly men, very practical-minded, as well as ‘brainiacs’ when it comes to theology,” trustee R. Michael Landry of Florida said. “Those are the kind of men that you want teaching our students, but they also have a very practical feel for ministry. We were very, very encouraged by the interviews we had.”

Preston earned a doctor of ministry degree from Reformed Seminary, a master of divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a B.A. from William Carey College all while pastoring. He is a veteran pastor, having served for 22 years at churches in Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and Arkansas, and he continues to pastor on a regular interim basis. He also has been professor of evangelism at Southwest Baptist University in Missouri and has served on the Christian Life Commission (now Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission) of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Tomlinson holds a doctor of philosophy degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary and a B.S. from the University of Tennessee. Prior to coming to Midwestern, Tomlinson had worked as an industrial engineer for the Tennessee Valley Authority, an office manager for a certified public accountant and dean of men at a Bible college. Tomlinson was named Midwestern’s professor of the year for the 2000-01 academic year.

Born in England, McMullen won, over stiff competition, a major British government scholarship for his doctoral work on Jonathan Edwards through the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and Yale University. He has pastored in Kirkintilloch, Scotland, and has served as a part-time lecturer at Aberdeen and as a distance tutor at St. John’s College and the Open Theological College, both in England. He has authored several books, including “Hearts Aflame,” “Clouds of Heaven,” “The Passionate Preacher,” “The Prayers and Meditations of Susanna Wesley,” “God’s Polished Arrow” and “The Unpublished Sermons of M’Cheyne.” He is also associate editor (church history) for Oxford University’s New Dictionary of National Biography.

DeVine holds both a doctor of philosophy and a master of divinity from Southern Seminary and an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Clemson University. After teaching theology at MBTS from 1994-98, DeVine moved to Thailand to serve with the International Mission Board, returning to the seminary in 2001. He is the author of “Bonhoeffer Speaks Today: Following Jesus at All Costs” published in 2005 and has contributed to the “Disciple’s Study Bible.”

In addition to the professors’ promotion, MBTS academic dean Thorvald Madsen II reported that the seminary is continuing its work on the Ph.D. program, which includes the search for new faculty members and the enhancement of library holdings.

Madsen also reported that MBTS professor of Old Testament, Hebrew and archaeology Steven J. Andrews has taken groups of students to Tel Gezer, a dig in Israel.

The seminary’s FUSION program for students coming out of high school and entering college is becoming a fully operational program with the International Mission Board, trustees were told. Through the program, students can receive intensive theological training and subsequent deployment for four months to work overseas under the supervision of an IMB missionary.

In the first of two budget amendments, $100,000 will be utilized from the general fund surplus in support of new library acquisitions to meet accreditation requirements for the Ph.D. program. Second, as requested by Roberts, all current administration, faculty and staff -– exclusive of the president -– will be awarded a one-time bonus from the general fund surplus for their work during the 2006-07 academic year.

“We have an excellent faculty who are faithful to Holy Scripture and well-equipped to teach, and staff who are wonderfully gifted by the Lord,” Roberts said.

For more on trustee action relating to Roberts and Downing, see Baptist Press’ Oct. 16 article. The next trustee meeting is scheduled for March 17-18.
Amelia Hendra is Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s communications director.

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