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TRUSTEES: SBTS trustees approve $48M budget, elect faculty

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) — Trustees of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary unanimously approved all recommendations in the board’s April 18 meeting, which included the election of two faculty members, the budget for the 2016-17 academic year, and a $14-million renovation plan for Fuller Hall.

In what Southern Seminary is calling a “historic measure,” trustees approved the recommendation of its Financial Board for the 2016-17 budget of $48 million, an increase of 9.9 percent over the previous year.

The board also approved a $14-million renovation of the seminary’s Fuller Hall, which is the third phase of the 10-year Master Plan that began in 2012 to address deferred maintenance. The project will be completed by Michael Winstanley Architects & Planners and Messer Construction, who completed the renovation of the Mullins Complex in 2014. The renovated Fuller Hall will serve the seminary’s need to house the school’s growing enrollment.

Elected to the faculty, effective Aug. 1, were C. Berry Driver, professor of church history, and Michael S. Wilder, J. M. Frost Associate Professor of Leadership and Discipleship.

Driver has taught since 2014 at Southern when he was appointed librarian of the James P. Boyce Centennial Library. Prior to coming to Southern, Driver served for nearly 20 years as dean of libraries and professor of systematic theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He earned a doctor of philosophy at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, a master of science in library science from the University of Kentucky, a master of divinity from Southwestern, and a bachelor’s from the University of Alabama.

Wilder, who is also senior pastor of First Southern Baptist Church, Floyds Knobs, Ind., has taught at Southern since 2006 and serves as associate vice president for doctoral studies. He earned his Ph.D. in Christian education from Southern in 2004, his M.Div. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and his bachelor’s from Clayton State College.

The trustees designated Daniel M. Gurtner as Ernest and Mildred Hogan Professor of New Testament Interpretation, effective when he joins the faculty July 1. Since 2005, Gurtner has taught at Bethel Seminary as professor of New Testament. He received his Ph.D. from St. Andrews University in Scotland.

Trustees also elected two faculty members to endowed chairs: Randy L. Stinson, senior vice president for academic administration and provost, as Basil Manly Jr. Professor of Leadership and Family Ministry, effective Aug. 1, and Gregory A. Wills, dean of the School of Theology, as David T. Porter Professor of Church History, effective immediately.

Addressing the trustees, Mohler drew attention to record enrollment numbers, specifically citing the 1,200 students enrolled in Boyce College as “a sign of God’s favor” that the seminary’s undergraduate school would grow so quickly in less than 20 years of existence.

“In the course of the last 12 months, there have been over 5,000 students enrolled in the totality of Southern Seminary,” Mohler said. “That’s just never happened before. That’s an amazing number. I don’t think we ought to let that pass without imagining what that represents: Every one of those a precious life; every one of those an incredible potential for ministry.”

Mohler also encouraged the trustees to attend the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in St. Louis. “It’s a convention not to miss,” Mohler said, and he invited trustees to the seminary’s SBC alumni and friends luncheon, June 15 at noon in Ballroom 221 of America’s Center.

The board also:

— elected without opposition the 2016-17 slate of officers: John Thweatt, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Pell City, Ala., as chairman; Matt Schmucker, executive director of Together for the Gospel and a pastor at Anacostia River Church in Washington, D.C., as first vice chairman; John Montgomery, dean of spiritual life at California Baptist University, as second vice chairman; and Clint Pressley, senior pastor of Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., as secretary.

— recognized six outgoing trustees whose terms of service end in 2016: Brian Autry, from Richmond, Va.; E. Todd Fisher, from Shawnee, Okla.; Philip Gunn, from Clinton, Miss.; Perrin Powell, from Spartanburg, S.C.; Paul Taylor, from Orange, Texas; and Phillip West, from Valdosta, Ga.

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  • S. Craig Sanders