In Case You Missed It

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1) Art Rainer, VP of Institutional Advancement at Southeastern, offers some reasons why ministry leaders often quit after three years. He also provides some resources to help.

2) Ed Stetzer takes a look at the connection between biblical literacy and Bible engagement.

3) At First Things, Timothy George, Dean of Beeson Divinity School, writes about the life and mission of William Carey and the lessons we can learn from it.

4) From the Center for Pastor Theologians, Todd Wilson offers some valuable advice to seminary students. “Don’t begrudge the suffering that God sends into your life.”

5) Jeremy Writebol discuses how Christians should respond to Ebola in the U.S.

Preparing SEBTS Students for the SBC Annual Meeting

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As many readers will know, the SBC Annual Meeting will gather in Houston on June 11–12, 2013. In conjunction with the Convention, I teach an elective travel course at Southeastern Seminary titled The Southern Baptist Convention. The course is divided into three components. First, we meet on campus for one full day to discuss Southern Baptist history, theology, and polity, as well as specific information related to the upcoming annual meeting. Second, the students read several books and articles and listen to numerous audio resources related to these themes. Finally, the students attend the SBC Annual Meeting itself. While at the Convention, the students attend most of the proceedings, meet a couple of times with key SBC leaders, hobnob at the SEBTS booth, and attend the SEBTS Friends and Alumni Luncheon. Most also attend auxiliary events such as the Pastor’s Conference, Baptist 21 Luncheon, and 9 Marks at 9 events, among others.

I thought I would pass on to you some of the resources I use to prepare students for the SBC Annual Meeting. Obviously, we spend quite a bit of time walking through the Convention program, which, along with numerous other helpful resources, is available online. In addition to my lectures and guided class discussions, the students also watch or listen to several lectures, sermons, and panel discussions. This year, I’ve required them to watch the various Baptist 21 panel discussions from previous years (available at the B21 website), which are a helpful gauge of the “hot topics” in the SBC in recent years. I also required the students to watch one of the panels from last year’s 9 Marks at 9. The panel, which included Mark Dever, Al Mohler, and Danny Akin, discussed Fred Luter’s presidential election, the nature of SBC cooperation, and Calvinism, all of which remain important topics a year later.

I also point the students to four lectures or sermons. They watch David Dockery’s fine sermon “Participants and Partners in the Gospel,” which was preached in SEBTS chapel back in February. The sermon is vintage Dockery, calling for denominational unity around the gospel and basic Baptist orthodoxy for the sake of the Great Commission. Students also listen to Dockery’s lecture “The Southern Baptist Convention since 1979,” which helps to orient them to recent Baptist history. The final two lectures are Timothy George’s “The Future of Baptist Identity in a post-Denominational World,” which remains a timely topic, and Al Mohler’s “The Future of the Southern Baptist Convention,” an address that every Southern Baptist needs to listen to at least once.
The students read two books and over a dozen journal articles or book chapters. The first book is Roger Richards’ History of Southern Baptists (Crossbooks, 2012), which is the most recent history of the SBC. The second book is a helpful collection of essays titled The Great Commission Resurgence: Fulfilling God’s Mandate in Our Time (B&H Academic, 2010), edited by Chuck Lawless and Adam Greenway. The latter volume touches upon most of the current tension points in the SBC from a perspective that advocates unity for the sake of gospel advance.

Unfortunately, for reasons of copyright I can’t make most of the additional essays I require available outside of the class. The students read chapters, articles, and booklets written by SBC leaders and thinkers such as Danny Akin (on the Great Commission Resurgence), David Dockery (on Baptist theology), Nathan Finn (on Baptist identity, Calvinism, and the future of the SBC), Timothy George (on Baptist theology), John Hammett (on regenerate church membership and the ordinances), Chuck Lawless (on Calvinism), Al Mohler (on Baptist identity), Paige Patterson (on the Conservative Resurgence), Ed Stetzer (on missional churches), and Malcolm Yarnell (on the priesthood of all believers).

One resource that I can make available to you is Dr. Patterson’s e-booklet “The Southern Baptist Conservative Resurgence: The History, the Plan, the Assessment ” (Seminary Hill, 2012). In this booklet, was which was originally published as three separate articles in The Southwestern Journal of Theology, Dr. Patterson offers a first-hand account of the Conservative Resurgence. It is a helpful look at recent Baptist history from one of the most important shapers of that history. It is also a reminder that Dr. Patterson needs to publish a volume that brings together his collected articles and essays, a topic I have pestered him about in the past. (And again, now, on a public blog . . .)

Anyway, I hope you find these resources helpful. And I hope that many of you will consider attending the 2013 SBC Annual Meeting in Houston. Perhaps I will see many of you there.

(Note: This post was cross-published at Christian Thought & Tradition)

Book Notice: The Great Tradition of Christian Thinking: A Student’s Guide

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Now here is a book (and an entire series) worth reading for pleasure, requiring for your children/students, and purchasing for the library. David Dockery and Timothy George’s The Great Tradition of Christian Thinking: A Student’s Guide (Crossway, 2012) is the first book in the Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition series (edited by Dockery). The Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition series is designed to provide an overview of the distinctive way the church has read the Bible, formulated doctrine, provided education, and engaged the culture. Especially designed for college students, these books will show how the Christian intellectual tradition shapes our understanding of the various academic sub-disciplines and aspects of created reality.

To that end, The Great Tradition of Christian Thinking kicks off the series by surveying the history of Christian thinkers and the distinctive ways they have the Bible, formulated doctrine, provided education, and engaged the culture.

There are presently three other books in the series forthcoming in 2012: Political Thought: A Student’s Guide by Hunter Baker (Union University); Philosophy: A Student’s Guide by David K. Naugle (Dallas Baptist University); Literature: A Student’s Guide by Louis Markos (Houston Baptist University).

This series promises to be a valuable tool in the hands of educators and students seeking to grow in and expand the Christian intellectual tradition. BtT gladly welcomes this series and recommends it for all who seek to know and love Christ and his good creation.