WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) — Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary trustees heard reports on the seminary’s projected sixth year of record enrollment, elected Jim Shaddix and Stephen Eccher to the faculty and celebrated God’s continued provision during their spring meeting.
The meeting was among April 19-21 events at Southeastern’s Wake Forest, N.C., campus that included a special chapel service featuring Chuck Quarles, professor of New Testament and biblical theology, who preached about his aspirations for Southeastern students.
“I hope every graduate from Southeastern will be characterized by passion, tears, holy boldness, evangelistic zeal and deep conviction,” Quarles said, drawing from Acts 20. “[The apostle] Paul’s ministry was a tearful ministry, and God seldom blesses a tearless one.”
Underscoring the need to faithfully share the Gospel, Quarles said, “People around us are dying in their sin and sometimes we give up on the Gospel. We labor and labor and assume that it is to no avail, but little do we know what eternal difference God might make in some soul.
“The Gospel is still the power of God unto salvation,” Quarles said. “I want every graduate to believe that with all their heart and be determined to carry the Gospel across the street and around the world.
“I want to teach and pray in such a way that students have the right Gospel method and message,” Quarles said. “We call it the Great Commission, not the ‘Good Commission,’ because it can never be improved upon, even by our clever innovations.”
The board of trustees and Southeastern Society, an organization of seminary supporters from all walks of life, met for the presidential address and reports. Seminary President Daniel Akin recognized recent accomplishments of the seminary including its sixth year of projected record enrollment. Unduplicated headcount has increased to 3,305 through the spring semester, up from 3,118 in the spring of 2014.
Chuck Lawless, SEBTS vice president for graduate studies and ministry centers, spoke on Acts 19 and spiritual warfare at a banquet that evening.
“I want our students so walking with God that hell knows them by name,” Lawless said. “I want them planting churches that make hell shake a little bit. I want them to know that when they go out hell knows they exist. That’s our task.”
Lawless challenged trustees and guests to seek God’s power in prayer and in the Bible. “Pray we will find the power of God when He has driven us to our faces,” he said. “The only way we do the work God has called us to is on our knees.”
To close, Akin told the audience. “To go is the default mode around here at Southeastern Seminary. It shouldn’t surprise us that the task of going is hard, because the Bible calls this task war.”
In addition, during their spring meeting Southeastern’s trustees:
— elected new full-time faculty members Jim Shaddix as professor of preaching and Stephen Eccher as assistant professor of church history and reformation studies.
Shaddix, pastor of teaching/training at The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., also has taught at Southeastern since 2012, with prior teaching posts at New Orleans and Golden Gate seminaries. He holds a doctor of philosophy degree from New Orleans Seminary, doctor of ministry and master of divinity degrees from Southwestern Seminary and an undergraduate degree from Jacksonville State University in Alabama.
Eccher has taught church history and reformation studies at Southeastern since 2013 and has led several mission trips with the seminary. He holds a doctor of philosophy degree from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, a master of divinity degree from Southeastern and an undergraduate degree in religion from Palm Bleach Atlantic College in Florida.
— approved faculty promotions of Bruce Ashford to professor of theology and culture; Brent Aucoin to professor of history; David Jones to professor of Christian ethics; Scott Kellum to professor of New Testament and Greek; and Mark Rooker to senior professor of Old Testament and Hebrew.
— approved the 2015-16 proposed budget of $25.9 million, a 1.68 percent increase over the current budget.
— approved the purchase and renovation of the Paschal House, a historic house built in 1908 by G.W. Paschal, who taught Latin, Greek and the classics and served in a variety of administrative roles at Wake Forest College (now University). Considered by many as the premier historian of North Carolina Baptists, Paschal authored several books, including the two-volume “History of North Carolina Baptists” and a three-volume “A History of Wake Forest College.” The purchase of the Paschal home concludes the acquisition of a total of 15.5 acres from the Paschal family. This land completes a multi-decade goal of purchasing the property contiguous to the southwest corner of Southeastern’s campus.
— thanked former board members Brian Akers of Maryland, Sonny Holmes of South Carolina and Michael Palmer of Virginia for their 10 years of service to SEBTS. New members will be elected in June.
During chapel on Tuesday in which James Merritt delivered a sermon on Ecclesiastes 1:1-11, the seminary commissioned 21 International Church Planting (2+2/3) students and their wives.
“You are going to the nations because there is a God who sent Jesus to deliver people from death,” said Merritt, a former Southern Baptist Convention president who is pastor of the Atlanta-area Cross Pointe Church.
To watch portions of these events online, click here).
To view photos from the board of trustees and Southeastern Society meetings, click here.