Southeastern Seminary (5): A Community Devoted to Faithfulness & Excellence

[Note: This blogpost is the final installment in a five-part series which articulates and expounds Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s mission to be a Great Commission seminary.]

In this brief and concluding installment of the current series on Southeastern Seminary’s mission to be a Great Commission seminary, I wish to note very briefly our desire for our work to be marked by faithfulness and excellence. As participants in the life of this seminary, we find it incumbent upon us to do our work faithfully in the hope that our work might also be marked by excellence. Excellence cannot always be achieved, though faithfulness can. We can always do our work faithfully by allowing Scripture to be normative and formative in our teaching and writing, and by engaging in our work with the purpose of knowing and loving God, and participating in his mission in this world. To the extent we are able, we will work together as a community of scholars and teachers, integrating the various disciplines and remaining in conversation with other fields of learning.

Most importantly, we will work hard to evoke from our students a curiosity and excitement about the things of God.  To be a stagnant or lazy faculty member is a sin. Although he was not writing about seminary professors, George Steiner’s quote, to which we referred earlier, is salient: “To teach seriously is to lay hands on what is most vital in a human being. . . . Poor teaching, pedagogic routine, a style of instruction which is, unconsciously or not, cynical in its mere utilitarian aims, are ruinous. They tear up hope by its roots. Bad teaching is, almost literally, murderous and metaphorically, a sin. It diminishes the student, it reduces to gray inanity the subject being presented.” As seminary professors, may we never reduce to gray inanity the breathtaking splendor of our Subject—the Triune God himself. May our efforts be pleasing to him. May we teach in a manner worthy of our calling.

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I appreciate the interest this series has received from readers inside and outside the Southeastern community. For those who might be interested, I’ve made this blog series available as a single essay. You can download the essay below.

Bruce Riley Ashford, “A Great Commission Seminary

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  1 Comment

  1. Nathan Petty   •  

    I appreciate this post.

    I am a 60-year old grandfather who teaches mostly to those in their 70s and 80s, and this post encourages me to live out these truths in the teaching God has entrusted to me.

    This reminds me that every teacher of the Gospel, and there are millions of us worldwide, must be vigilant not to see our calling as anything other than life and death.

    May the “splendor of our Subject” be openly displayed and celebrated in our teaching.

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