B&H Publishing Group Names Andreas Köstenberger Director of Acquisitions for Its Academic Program

We at BtT are happy to congratulate both Andreas Köstenberger and B&H Publishing Group, as B&H announced today that Köstenberger is the new “Director of Acquisitions” for their academic program. Köstenberger takes this new post in addition to his roles as director of Ph.D. Studies and professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C, and editor of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (JETS).

Brad Waggoner, vice president and publisher of B&H Publishing Group, commented on the decision: “When Dr. Thom Rainer assumed the role of president and CEO at LifeWay Christian Resources, he demonstrated his commitment to substantive academic publishing by creating the B&H Academic imprint. Since that time B&H Academic has grown in reputation and quality.

“As we continue to prioritize the importance of academic publishing, we have invited Dr. Köstenberger to join our efforts in acquiring significant authors whom God has gifted to help equip the next generation of leaders for the church. It is my firm expectation that Dr. Köstenberger will utilize his knowledge as a scholar and his expertise in leading others to enhance B&H’s commitment to and effectiveness in academic publishing for all of our colleges and seminaries and ultimately for the sake of the local church.”

Daniel L. Akin, president of Southeastern Seminary, added, “Andreas Köstenberger is one of evangelicalism’s finest New Testament scholars and a gift to our seminary. We are delighted to share this gifted academician with co-laborers in the gospel. This is a good thing for the work of the Kingdom and the building up of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Köstenberger states, “In light of the considerable resources it brings to the table, there is definitely a window of opportunity for B&H Academic (as) several major publishers have moved to the theological left in recent years. The first specific priority I see for B&H is to nurture a culture of academic excellence. We must make a case that biblical Christianity and excellence – in everything we do – are not only perfectly compatible; excellence is the only logical commitment for anyone who has truly understood the character of God and His calling on our lives.”

In addition to his classroom and editorial posts, Köstenberger is the founding president of Biblical Foundations, an organization with the aim of “restoring the biblical foundations of the home, the church and society.” He is also the author, editor and translator of more than 20 books. Köstenberger will begin his work with B&H on Sept. 1.

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B&H Publishing Group produces Bibles, church supplies, and academic, reference and trade books that are distributed worldwide. The company is widely known for the No. 1 New York Times bestseller The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick as well as popular titles from Beth Moore (Praying God’s Word) and Henry Blackaby (Experiencing God). Other leading B&H authors include Vicki Courtney, Priscilla Shirer, and Thom Rainer. Their Holman Bible Publishers division, with roots dating back to 1738, recently developed the highly regarded HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible) translation and is also the largest United States publisher of Spanish language Bibles._gamesmmo online para mobiles

Aspect 7(a): A Mission Based on Local Church Initiative and Supplemented by Entities and Associations (national convention, seminaries, IMB)

(By: Danny Akin & Bruce Ashford)

Through four centuries of history, Baptists have displayed a remarkable continuity in doctrine and practice. With historic Christianity, we have confessed that God is Triune, that his Son is fully God and fully man, that salvation comes by grace alone through faith alone, and that the Scriptures are the very words of God.[1] In addition, we have held that the church is regenerate in its membership, autonomous under the headship of Christ, and free from state control. These last three distinctives relate to the doctrine of the church. Baptists have always been serious about church and specifically about the local church. It is through his churches that Christ disciples his children, directs his mission to the lost, demonstrates his glory to a watching world, and extends his kingdom.

What does this mean for the Southern Baptist Convention? The SBC was formed as a network of local churches who partnered together for the sake of mission. In the last 50 years, however, she has become more and more of a denominational bureaucracy. We must help our denomination return to her roots. The SBC of the twenty-first century must be a missional network, just as the churches of Acts were a missional network. Our focus must be the gospel, and our means of cooperation must be primarily “churches partnering for the sake of mission.” Thom Rainer has urged our churches to simplify and streamline so as to maximize their effectiveness, and we think that this applies to our convention as well.[2] The roadmap for revisioning the SBC, as well as any institution or entity within the SBC, will always involve two ideas: local church and missional cooperation.

What then will the Southern Baptist Convention look like if we re-vision it for the 21st century? That is, of course, a very difficult question to answer, a question that exceeds our abilities of and the scope of this post. However, we can point out the broad contours of what it might look like, and raise some pertinent questions along the way. One issue that we might examine is our name. We are the Southern Baptist Convention, but “Southern” neither describes who we are or who we want to be. Perhaps we should modify our nomenclature to better describe our nature as a transregional network of churches. A second issue that our churches might agree upon is that the Cooperative Program needs to be continually re-examined to make sure that it is serving the churches in the best way possible. One of the great motivators during the Conservative Resurgence was the fact that 60 cents of every dollar went to a moderate/liberal bureaucracy. One of the great motivators for a Great Commission Resurgence is the fact that often 60 cents or more of every dollar never leaves the state and often goes to bureaucracies that spend not nearly enough of it on missions and church planting (regardless of whether it is North American or international missions).[3]

What are some challenges ahead for the seminaries? One challenge the seminaries face is how to locate as much of our education as possible in the local church. Is there a reason not to return certain courses of study, such as pastoral ministries, to their native environment in the local church? Another challenge we might face is how to provide the most affordable seminary education. Are there ways we can streamline our institutions? A third challenge is for the seminaries to reject the temptation to be divisively competitive and instead commit to being a network of truly cooperative campuses. Such a network could, for example, provide a combination of on-campus and distance education to international missionaries in a way more beneficial that what is offered presently. A final challenge is for the seminaries to remain vigilant to ensure that our professors are doing theology primarily for the church and secondarily for the academy.

What are some challenges ahead for the International Mission Board? The International Mission Board has taken major steps to re-organize for its 21st century mission. One challenge for the IMB is how to continue to restore mission initiative to the local church, just as our churches must repent for ceding all mission responsibility to the IMB.[4] Local churches must become Great Commission churches who recruit, disciple, and support their members as they go on mission. They must stop recommending candidates who are unfit (morally, spiritually, or otherwise) for the field, and must stop sending candidates to the field while never really intending to support them. Further, our churches must realize that the IMB is not the true “sender” of missionaries. The local church is. Churches send missionaries. Some churches will be able to call from their midst a team of church planters and handle all of the discipleship and team dynamics as they go to the field. The IMB provides oversight, further training, and strategy. Other churches may send only one member to the field, in which case they may partner with other churches in putting together a team to reach a particular people group, and to hold that team accountable. Regardless, we must work hard to help our churches blossom into Great Commission churches.


[1] Dockery, Southern Baptist Consensus and Renewal, 58-98. Dockery cites Francis Wayland who, in 1861, wrote: “I do not believe that any denomination of Christians exists, which, for so long a period as the Baptist, has maintained so invariably the truth of their early confessions…The theological tenets of the Baptists, both in England and America, may be briefly stated as follows: they are emphatically the doctrines of the Reformation, and they have been held with singular unanimity and consistency.” Francis Wayland, The Principles and Practices of Baptist Churches (London: J. Heaton and Son, 1861), 15-16.

[2] Thom Rainer, Simple Church: Returning to God’s Process for Making Disciples (Nashville: B&H, 2006).

[3] I (Danny Akin) spoke to this issue in “Axioms,” 16-18. Paige Patterson addressed this issue in Patterson, “My Vision of the Twenty-First Century SBC,” in Review and Expositor 88 (1991), 37-55. He argued that Baptists emphasize cooperation and resist connectionalism, and yet ironically the state conventions’ control of money is a form of connectionalism. He suggested that the local church itself should decide which percentage goes to the state and which to the national. Ed Stetzer’s research demonstrates that SBC pastors overwhelmingly want their CP dollars to go to North American and international church planting. Ed Stetzer, “Cooperative Program Research and Your Opinion,” www.edstetzer.com, (December 22, 2008).

[4] Jerry Rankin writes, “It is not the responsibility of the International Mission Board to do missions on behalf of Southern Baptists; the Great Commission was given to every church, every believer and every denominational entity. The IMB is to serve, facilitate, and enable God’s people to be obedient to our Great Commission task.” Rankin, To the Ends of the Earth, 105. 179-204.

Aspect 5(a): A Mission Driven by Biblical Theology (Revelation, God)

(By: Danny Akin & Bruce Ashford)

For three decades now, the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention have united over their belief in the inspiration, inerrancy and sufficiency of Holy Scripture.[1] Unlike those (such as Schleiermacher or Freud) who see Scripture as a human construction void of any revelation, and unlike those (such as Barth or Lindbeck) who see Scripture merely as a witness to divine revelation, we confess that the Christian Scriptures are the very words of God. This we have made very clear. What we have not made clear, however, is whether we are committed to allowing our high view of Scripture, and the concomitant doctrines of historic Christianity, to determine and shape our ministry methodology.

Because the Christian Scriptures are indeed the very words of God, we want to mold our strategies and methods according to those words.[2] And while this might seem to be a yawningly obvious observation, we must pay careful attention in light of the fact that often we do not allow the Scriptures to drive our methods of evangelism, discipleship, church growth, and church planting. We find ourselves speaking loudly about inerrancy, while undermining that same conviction by our practices.

One of the significant challenges in upcoming years, therefore, is ensuring that we build a theologically-driven missiology in which Scripture and sound doctrine provide the starting point, the parameters, and the trajectory for our method and practice. “It has become apparent,” David Dockery writes, “that a firm theological foundation is important for faithful Gospel proclamation. Pastors, theologians, evangelists, and lay people must work harder at closing the gap between theology and the work of evangelism so that our theology is done for the church and our proclamation is grounded in biblically based theology.”[3] We must consciously, carefully, and consistently seek to understand the biblical narrative and its implications for church practice, and in particular for our missiological method. Building a theologically-driven missiology is hard work because (1) as our global, national, and cultural contexts change from era to era our missiology must be re-worked and re-written afresh; and (2) proof-texting does not suffice to handle such complexities faithfully. Many of the particular challenges that we face are not addressed explicitly by Scripture. Rather, we must call forth the deep-level principles in the Bible and allow them to speak with propriety and prescience to the issue at hand.

This is not to say that we may not learn from extra-biblical sources. Arthur Holmes is right: All truth is God’s truth! We benefit from reading widely in history, current affairs, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, psychology, marketing, and other disciplines. It is God who has given mankind the capacities to develop such disciplines and who allows us the great privilege and responsibility of using those for his glory. While Scripture alone provided knowledge of special doctrines (e.g. the Trinity, the Incarnation, and salvation by grace through faith alone), through our human faculties God has provided knowledge of other aspects of his good creation. God is the giver both of Scripture and of the created order, and the two are not in conflict with one another. When properly interpreted, they agree.[4] Therefore we do not ignore what we learn from extra-biblical sources, but we also must not allow anything other than biblical doctrine to have the driver’s seat in forming our method and practice.

Take, for example, the biblical doctrine of God, which is absolutely central to the life of the church but in some ways is overlooked in the mission of the church. The Scriptures describe how God does all that he does for the sake of his name, for his renown, for his glory. He created man for his glory (Is 43:7) and chose Israel for his glory (Is 49:3). He sent our Lord Jesus Christ so that the Gentiles would give him glory (Ro 15:8-9) and then vindicated his glory by making propitiation through his Son (Rom 3:23-26). He sent the Spirit to glorify the Son (Jn 16:14) and tells us to do all things for his glory (1 Cor 10:31). He will send his Son again to receive glory (2 Thess 1:9-10) and will fill the earth with the knowledge of his glory (Hab 2:14; Is 6:1-3). Indeed, all of this is so, “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:10).

God in all of his blazing glory stands at the center of the universe. He is the fountainhead of all truth, all goodness, and all beauty. And it is the increase of his glory that is God’s ultimate goal and man’s ultimate purpose.[5] An implication of this doctrine is that if our ultimate goal is to glorify God, we are set free from unbridled pragmatism. Ultimately, we seek to please God rather than to manipulate or coerce professions of faith, church growth, or church multiplication. We are directed away from the temptation to engage in evangelism and discipleship that subverts the gospel or the health of the church, and are free to proclaim the gospel God’s way and leave the results to God.


[1] Of course, not all Southern Baptist churches would affirm the inerrancy of the Scriptures. However, the majority of Southern Baptist churches do, and this is reflected in confessional statements such as the Baptist Faith & Message (2000).

[2] Thom Rainer makes this point in The Book of Church Growth in which he devotes one-third of the book to an exposition of the classical loci of systematic theology, explaining how those doctrines should drive our church growth strategies. The Book of Church Growth: History, Theology, and Principles (Nashville: B&H, 1993).

[3] David Dockery, Southern Baptist Consensus and Renewal, 94.

[4] This is not to say that theologians and (natural or social) scientists never disagree. Often they do, but the disagreement is not found in any inherent conflict between Scripture and the natural world, but rather in theologians’ and scientists’ interpretations of the two. Either group might err and either group is therefore subject to correction. Because of our idolatry and the effects of the Fall, God’s special revelation provides “the lenses” through which we study the created order. See David K. Clark, To Know and Love God: Method for Theology (Wheaton: Crossway, 2003), 259-94.

[5] Jonathan Edwards, in his The End for Which God Created the World, gives the most well-known and extended reflection upon this doctrine. Technically, The End is the first part of a two-part book by Edwards entitled Two Dissertations. See Two Dissertations, Ethical Writings, ed. Paul Ramsey, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 8 (New Haven: Yale University, 1989). It should be noted, however, that although Edwards was a Calvinist, this doctrine is not one that should be trumpeted primarily or exclusively by those who are Calvinists.download angry racer free