Southern Seminary Magazine 89.1: Eternal Truth in Changing Times

In an age when fundamental truths are increasingly under attack, pastors don't need less theological training, they need more. That's why the faculty members of Southern Seminary are committed to teaching biblical truth that equips the called for faithful ministry. Everything we are, everything we do, everything we teach, is based upon the knowledge that God’s Word is truth—inerrant, inspired, infallible, totally true and trustworthy. The theme of this issue of Southern Seminary Magazine is eternal truth, unchanged and unchanging in changing times.

In an age when fundamental truths are increasingly under attack, pastors don't need less theological training, they need more. That's why the faculty members of Southern Seminary are committed to teaching biblical truth that equips the called for faithful ministry. Everything we are, everything we do, everything we teach, is based upon the knowledge that God’s Word is truth—inerrant, inspired, infallible, totally true and trustworthy. The theme of this issue of Southern Seminary Magazine is eternal truth, unchanged and unchanging in changing times.


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President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

In changing times, we stand on eternal truth. In an age when fundamental truths

are increasingly under attack, pastors don’t need less theological training—they need

more. That’s why the faculty members of Southern Seminary are committed to teaching

biblical truth that equips the called for faithful ministry.


he experience of commencement

at Southern Seminary and Boyce

College is always glorious, but this

year’s commencements were a stunning

display of God’s promise. In a single day,

we graduated almost 700 students in two

great outdoor ceremonies that drew thousands

of family members and friends onto

the seminary lawn. God gave us a spectacular

day and the theme was unrestrained

joy. We saw all these graduates, arrayed in

their regalia, ready to go out into the pulpits,

into the mission fields, into the work

of the Lord.

As our seminary hymn declares, they are

“soldiers of Christ, in truth arrayed.” They

join the long line of faithfulness that came

before them.

A day like that means more than usual for

Southern Seminary, maybe more than ever.

After more than a year of determined struggle,

by God’s grace we came through the international

crisis, had a full program of on-campus

classes and did what Southern Seminary and

Boyce College exist to do—raise up the next

generation of Christian preachers, pastors,

leaders, and servants who follow the call of

Christ to assignments all over the globe.

How was this possible? God did it, of

course. How can we ever express adequate

gratitude to God for his grace and mercy

and provision in the past year? God did it

through his people. Southern Baptists gave

faithfully through the Cooperative Program.

Friends of this sacred school gave us

the support we needed to see this task done.

Students came from all over the world to

learn the truths of God’s Word. Faculty

members were determined to teach, and

bravely they did. Key leaders on this campus

just got the job done, day after day.

So, what now? We stay at the task, with a

commitment deeper than ever, hearts even

more full of joy, and a world ever greater

in need. Soon, we will welcome hundreds

of new students to the campus and to the

Southern Seminary and Boyce College

family. If you want to be encouraged, just

come to the campus and walk on the seminary

lawn and see the students and their

families and share the joy. Just talk to the

students. You will meet some of the most

dedicated young people you can imagine,

drawn from all across the United States

and from more than 70 nations of the

world. You will see teenagers just beginning

their college adventure and young

seminary couples pushing strollers. You

will see the future of Christian ministry

and service right before your eyes. You

will see the promise of God.

Everything we are, everything we do,

everything we teach, is based upon the

knowledge that God’s Word is truth – inerrant,

inspired, infallible, totally true

and trustworthy. The theme of this issue

of Southern Seminary Magazine is truthtruth

unchanged and unchanging.

Where do we go from here? Onward.

Onward, then, ye people,

join our happy throng,

Blend with ours your voices,

in the triumph song;

Glory, laud, and honor,

unto Christ the King;

This through countless ages men and

angels sing.









34 39

SPRING 2021. Vol. 89, No. 1.

Copyright © 2021

The Southern Baptist

Theological Seminary



President Mohler’s new book takes

a deep dive into the profound

cultural issues the church is facing

in 2021 and beyond.





A student works hard to learn the

biblical languages in seminary then

begins to forget them out in the

ministry. How should he retain such

useful knowledge?





Hard questions made her search for

answers. Seminary taught her that

God’s Word is able to provide them.


Southern Seminary Magazine Staff:

Vice President of Institutional Advancement:

Edward A. Heinze

Director of Communications: Jeff Robinson

Creative Director: Stuart Hunt

Production Manager: Evan Sams

Managing Editor: Jared Kennedy

Feature Illustrations: John Zurowski

Cover and Graphic Design: John Zurowski,

Benjamin Aho

Photographers: David Ward, Stuart Hunt,

Sydney Zurowski

Contributing Writers: R. Albert Mohler, Jr., Jeff

Robinson, Andrew T. Walker, Travis Hearne,

Forrest Strickland, Jared Kennedy

Southern Seminary Magazine is published


biannually by The Southern Baptist Theological

Seminary, 2825 Lexington Road, Louisville, KY

40280. The magazine is distributed digitally

at equip.sbts.edu/magazine. If you would like

to request a hard copy, please reach out by

emailing communications@sbts.edu.




The church must draw from deep

MAIL: The Southern Baptist Theological

Seminary, 2825 Lexington Road, Louisville,

KY 40280

ONLINE: www.sbts.edu

EMAIL: communications@sbts.edu

CALL: 1 (800) 626-5525, ext. 4000

springs of truth even as it lives as

a moral minority in a hostile world.


4 10 16








Distance students can now get degrees

online in seven different areas from

biblical counseling to worship.



SBTS not only coped with the pandemic, but

thrived financially and numerically. Seminary

officials quickly put together a plan that

steadied the school for the duration.


If one doesn't possess the freedom to

act out one's most primary beliefs, one

is not free in even the most basic sense

of the word.



From the President: Onward


Remembering Nick Challies.


Peter Gentry Retiring After 22 Years

of Faithful Service


An Academic Center With a

Missionary Heart


Deep Personal Convictions About

Corporate Worship.



Faculty Profiles: Paul Akin and Tyler Flatt


The Glory of God at the Heart of

Pauline Theology


The Holy Spirit: Cultivating Depen-

Podcasts: Feeds for Your Soul

dance and Calming Fears










SBTS Offering Seven MDiv Degrees

Entirely Online


Rather than being oriented toward generalists

in ministry, these online degrees are oriented

toward the specialist with a narrower ministry


• WORSHIP LEADERSHIP. This degree is for

the worship pastor or music minister who is already

deeply rooted in the local church, already

working in vocational ministry.

• ISLAMIC STUDIES. This degree is for those

who are already serving on the mission field—

or who plan to serve in a similar venue in the

future—in regions or countries that are heavily

populated by adherents to Islam. There are

currently 1.8 billion people worldwide who

adhere to Islam, so this degree is especially vital

for missions and evangelism. This program

includes two classes in Arabic. Most classes in

this program are taught by Ayman Ibrahim, a

world class scholar in Islamic studies.

• BIBLICAL COUNSELING. This program includes

the practicum, which is done through

distance learning and not on campus as in the



he Billy Graham School of Missions,

Evangelism and Ministry at The

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

is offering MDiv and MA degrees in

three key areas that are fully online. SBTS

now offers seven MDiv degrees fully online.

Paul Akin, dean of the Graham School, said

SBTS wants to enable those already working in

ministry to stay in their current position while

pursuing a master of divinity.

“We want to make sure we are making theological

education as accessible as possible to as

many people as possible,” he said.

“There are so many pastors and church

leaders that are serving in different kinds

of roles that don’t allow them to pick up

and move to Louisville to campus, so we’re

always thinking through how to deliver

high-quality theological education to as

many people as possible.”

“We want to

make sure we

are making


education as

accessible as

possible to as

many people

as possible.”

These three degrees are available both as

a master of divinity, which entails 88-plus

hours of credit, or as a master of arts, which

is 54 hours. The new degrees now mean SBTS

has seven MDiv degrees that are fully online.

The other four online MDiv degrees include

biblical and theological studies, christian

ministry, great commission studies, and


Akin said, “We are increasingly finding

people who have already found their

dream job in a local church, and they don’t

want to leave to go to seminary. They already

have the job they would want after

seminary, realize they need more training

or equipping, but can’t pack up and move

their family. These are the online degrees

for that person.”

For full information or to apply for

any of these seven degrees, please visit







An Oasis

of Truth

in a Secular




he greatest question of our time," offered

historian Will Durant, "is not communism

versus individualism, not Europe

versus America, not even East versus the West;

it is whether men can live without God." That

question, it now appears, will be answered in

our own time.

For centuries the Christian church has been

the center of Western civilization. Western culture,

government, law, and society were based

on explicitly Christian principles. Concern for

the individual, a commitment to human rights,

and respect for the good, the beautiful, and the

true—all of these grew out of Christian convictions

and the influence of revealed religion.

All of these, we now hasten to add, are under

serious attack. The very notion of right

and wrong is now discarded by large sectors

of American society. Where it is not discarded,

it is often debased. Taking a page out of Alice in

Wonderland, modern secularists simply declare

wrong, right, and right, wrong.

Quaker theologian D. Elton Trueblood once

described America as a “cut flower civilization.”

Our culture, he argued, is cut off from its Christian

roots like a flower cut at the stem. Though

the flower will hold its beauty for a time, it is

destined to wither and die.

When Trueblood spoke those words over

two decades ago, the flower could still be seen

with some color and signs of life. But the






blossom has long since lost its vitality,

and it is time for the fallen petals to be acknowledged.

"When God is dead," argued Dostoyevsky,

"anything is permissible." The permissiveness

of modern American society can scarcely be

exaggerated, but it can be traced directly to

the fact that modern men and women act as if

God does not exist or is powerless to accomplish

his will.

The Christian church now finds itself facing

a new reality. The church no longer represents

the central core of Western culture.

Though outposts of Christian influence remain,

these are exceptions rather than the

rule. For the most part, the church has been

displaced by the reign of secularism.

The daily newspaper brings a constant

barrage which confirms the current state of

American society. This age is not the first to

see unspeakable horror and evil, but it is the

first to deny any consistent basis for identifying

evil as evil or good as good.

The Church Must Be the Church

The faithful church is, for the most part, tolerated

as one voice in the public arena, but

only so long as it does not attempt to exercise

any credible influence on the state of affairs.

Should the church speak forcefully to an issue

of public debate, it is castigated as coercive

and out of date.

“Deep springs of

permanent truth

will reveal the

church to be a

life-giving oasis

amidst America's

moral desert.”

How does the church think of itself as it

faces this new reality? During the 1980s, it was

possible to think in ambitious terms about

the church as the vanguard of a moral majority.

That confidence has been seriously shaken

by the events of the past decade.

Little progress toward the re-establishment

of a moral center of gravity can be detected.

Instead, the culture has moved swiftly

toward a more complete abandonment of

all moral conviction. The confessing church

must now be willing to be a moral minority,

if that is what the times demands. The church

has no right to follow the secular siren call toward

moral revisionism and politically correct

positions on the issues of the day.

Whatever the issue, the church must speak

as the church—that is, as the community of

fallen but redeemed, who stand under divine

authority. The concern of the church is not to

know its own mind, but to know and follow

the mind of God. The church’s convictions

must not emerge from the ashes of our own

fallen wisdom, but from the authoritative

Word of God which reveals the wisdom of

God and His commands.

The church, in short, must hold fast to the

unfailing truth of God and his Word.

The Heretical Imperative

Peter Berger, who before his death was one of

the most influential sociologists of our day, argued

that the “heretical imperative” of the modern

era is the imperative to choose. In Berger’s

analysis, in the premodern era one did not need

to choose one’s beliefs.

Instead, in the West, virtually everyone was

born and baptized into the Roman Catholic

church. In other words, identity was externally

fixed for individuals. In the modern secular

world, however, this is no longer the case.

Choice is endemic in every area of life — we

simply cannot avoid it. As a result, Berger concludes

that in the modern age we must take responsibility

for our identity. It is no longer given;

it is self-determined.

In our culture, people who think themselves

autonomous will claim the right to

define all meaning for themselves. Any truth

claim they reject or resist is simply ruled out

of bounds by society at large. We will make

our own world of meaning and dare anyone

to violate our autonomy.

This is why evangelism is often perceived

as insensitive or even threatening in our

culture. Evangelism demands that we press

the authority of Scripture and the claims of

Christ on sinners as we invite them to the free

gift of salvation provided through Christ’s

atoning work.

Will We Serve Lesser Gods?

The American church is faced with a new situation.

This new context is as current as the

morning newspaper and as old as those first

Christian churches in Corinth, Ephesus, Laodicea,

and Rome. Eternity will record whether or

not the American church is willing to submit

only to the authority of God; or whether the

church will forfeit its calling in order to serve

lesser gods.

The church must awaken to its status as a

moral minority and hold fast to the gospel we

have been entrusted to preach. In so doing,

the deep springs of permanent truth will reveal

the church to be a life-giving oasis amidst

America’s moral desert. Given our present

predicament, we are headed into a period

when the acids of modernity will require the

greatest level of conviction and the most stupendous

level of clarity—a clarity that we will

only have as we attest to the truth of God and

his revelation.

In the end, the issue is always truth—truth

revealed, truth obeyed, truth received, truth

proclaimed. In an age of pervasive uncertainty

and unsteadiness, the church must remain

committed to God’s truth.

We will be in this battle until the end of time.

“The confessing

church must now

be willing to be a

moral minority, if

that is what the

times demand.”





Resilient In a

Time of Crisis

SBTS Remains Ahead of the Curve and Hits

Record Enrollment During COVID Response



hanks to the commitment of the

Southern Seminary community and

the Lord’s favor, SBTS and Boyce

classrooms remained open through the fall

and spring semesters—reaching record enrollment

for fall (3,323) winter (1,511) and

spring (3,225).

While more than 1,300 American colleges

and universities shifted to online or hybrid

classrooms in the fall—and with 65 percent

of colleges reporting declining enrollment—

Southern stayed ahead of COVID-19 and

completed a healthy academic year.

Higher education faced a crisis. But Southern’s

mission to train Christian ministers endured.

Last year SBTS President Albert Mohler

said: “We are facing a challenge that is without

precedent for anyone living. It is taking a toll

on our hearts, even as we understand the very

same sense of seriousness and gravity that falls

upon our churches, our state conventions, and

our common work together. We certainly did

not choose to experience this challenge, but

the Lord has called us to faithfulness—even in

the midst of this crisis—and to serve Southern

Baptists with everything we have and everything

we are as we look to the future.”

Testing Was Key to Staying Healthy

Brent Small, associate vice president of Human

Resources, said testing was central to

success. Immediately after students were

sent home during the 2020 spring semester,

Small and the rest of the staff got to work.

“If we’re going to remain open,” Small

said, “we’re going to have to test.”

Due to the fast action of Small and others,

Southern acquired a rapid testing machine

and put it to good use. Having a testing machine,

however, was not enough.

“Once we had the equipment, we had to come

up with a way to schedule, track, and administer

the testing.” Small said. “We also needed a

plan to care for anyone who tested positive.”

Campus Technology and the Hagan Clinic

were indispensable to the operation as

well. A plan was implemented to randomly

test 15 percent of the population per week.

Along with testing, classrooms were fitted

with plexiglass shields and desks were

spread out for social distancing.

With the students coming soon, all employees

were tested with zero positives. As

fall approached and the testing began, there

were zero reentry cases and zero spread in

the dorms. Southern performed more than

4,000 tests with only 32 positives. Classrooms

remained open.

On July 31, 2020 shortly before classes

were set to resume, Mohler addressed the

Southern community: “We have never been

more prayerful or careful in preparing for a

new academic year.”

To stress the responsibility of individual

community members toward one another,

SBTS added a line to the school covenant urging

adherence to the COVID regulations.

Mohler added, “The covenant is a reminder

of the fact that we owe one another every

effort to protect one another.”

Without the dedication and service to one

another, Southern’s fall and spring semesters

could have looked different. But love for

neighbor and the desire to provide the finest

Christian education triumphed.

“Everyone took it seriously.” Small said,

“It was a lot of hard work on the clinic, tech,

and the students. But it was the Lord’s favor

in the end.”

Tuition Reductions and the Path to Record


Polling shows 67 percent of colleges and universities

reported decreased revenue from tuition

and student housing during the pandemic. But

Southern preemptively acted by lowering tuition

15 percent and eliminating the $250 online class

fee. SBTS and Boyce College went on to reach full

enrollment for the fall and spring semesters.

The decisions came from a meeting of the

SBTS Board of Trustees on April 20, 2020.

In a virtual meeting, the board approved a

revised budget which cut tuition.

Financial board chairman Rick Staab says

the actions were unanimously supported and

required “quick and decisive action.”

“Under Dr. Mohler’s leadership the entire

administration has taken bold steps to reduce

costs, consolidate operations and revise

the annual budget.” Staab said “in an effort

to position the institution for whatever the

near future may demand. The financial board

is unanimous in its support of Dr. Mohler




faced a crisis.

But Southern’s

mission to

train Christian






and his staff, and we affirm the appropriateness

and effectiveness of the actions taken to

position the seminary for the future recovery

of normal operations.”

Lowering tuition, while American financial

problems persist, is a step towards

fulfilling Southern’s mission of providing

accessible theological training.

Baptist press reported that SBTS and

Boyce College reached a total enrollment

of approximately 5,500 students for the

2019-20 academic year. The 2020-21 year

numbered 8,059.

Provost Matthew Hall said, "Christian

higher education and theological education

were already experiencing seismic

shifts before the COVID-19 pandemic, but

those have only accelerated. In the past year

we have seen scores of institutions buckle

under the pressures of diminishing enrollment

and unsustainable business models.

“That makes what God has done here at

Southern Seminary and Boyce College all

the more extraordinary. Our great ambition

is to see this record number of students ever

more faithful to Christ, more confident in

the power of his Word, and more committed

to the Great Commission."

Mohler added that Southern’s enrollment

success is due in part to a commitment

to online education. With all of the

major degree programs available online—

including over 100 courses—Southern was

ahead of the game as institutions across

America moved to distance learning.

“Now we know why that investment was

so important. . . . The same faculty that

draws students to the campus draws students

online,” Mohler told Baptist Press.

“Our students are experiencing economic

stress and the goal is to pass along all possible

savings to the students.”

Lowered tuition and more accessible

distance learning are just a couple steps

Southern has taken to renew a commitment

to theological education during the

uncertain times. Continued full enrollment

demonstrates the success Southern’s

measures have generated.

“Our determination is to act responsibly

now, so that Southern Seminary continues

to lead the Southern Baptist Convention,

fulfilling the mission given to us since 1859

and emerging from this challenge even

more faithful than we began,” Mohler said.

But through all the necessary changes,

some things remained the same, and SBTS

continued to send graduates out into various

fields of service.

Graduated More Than 500

In Southern’s 227th commencement in May,

232 students received degrees from the seminary

and 236 graduated in the fall, both numbers

an increase from the previous year.

In words addressed personally to the fall

graduates, Mohler pointed them to Luke 2:15–

20, which he described as the first preaching

of the gospel—a fact that’s often overlooked,

but one that well illustrates the God-called

steward’s most fundamental mission.

“They made known the saying that had

been told them concerning this child, the

saying that the angels had given them,”

Mohler said.

“We need to do exactly what those shepherds

did. That’s really the task of Christian

ministry, that’s really the task of Christian

proclamation—to make known the saying we

have received. It’s not just one saying, it’s not

just the angelic declaration of the identity of

the baby in the manger, it is beyond that; it

is the entirety of all that is revealed in God’s


“You’re going to preach and teach the

Word of God. You’re going to share the

gospel of Jesus Christ. You’re going to be

heralds of the gospel. You’re going to be

stewards of the mysteries of Christ. Whatever

your ministry, wherever the Lord may

take you, you’re basically going to be imitators

of these shepherds.”

Touch the Heartbeat

of the City


A city’s skyline, no matter how iconic,

isn’t the heartbeat of a city: the people are.

Every one of those hearts needs Jesus.

The new DMin in Urban Ministry from

Southern Seminary is designed for men

and women called to plant and revitalize

churches in urban settings anywhere in

America and around the world.

Cities need strong churches. City churches

need strong leaders. And strong leaders

need the DMin in Urban Ministry from

Southern Seminary.

Learn more at SBTS.EDU/URBAN.







Boyce College Community Remembers

Nick Challies as a Young Man “Living

and Breathing for God”


Mohler Elected President

of the Evangelical

Theological Society



riends, family, and faculty members

gathered November 6, 2020, on the

lawn at Southern Seminary to remember

the life of 20-year-old Nick Challies

who died suddenly three days earlier.

Nick Challies was the son of noted evangelical

blogger and author, Tim Challies.

Challies, a Boyce College junior and Toronto,

Canada, native, collapsed suddenly

while playing a game with his sister, fiancée,

and other students at a park near Southern

Seminary’s campus. Efforts by emergency

personnel to revive him were unsuccessful.

Testimony after testimony described

Nick Challies as a young man who worked

tirelessly to build strong relationships, prioritized

others, and lived every moment all

out for the glory of his Savior. Nick grew up

in church and was saved at age 13. He came

to Boyce College and Southern Seminary in

2018 after sensing a divine call to pastoral


“He came home after his first semester here

and he was a different person,” said Michaela

Challies, Nick’s sister. “He was a person who

was living and breathing for God . . . I know

that I’ll think about the things he never got to

do, but then I’ll think about what he’s doing

right now, what he’s wanted to do since he

was 13 years old—he’s living with the Lord.”

While at the seminary, Nick met his fiancée,

Ryn Conley, and his sister, Abigail,

joined him this year as a freshman student

at Boyce. He had made numerous friends

and had become a leader among students.

“All the pieces were falling into place that

would position Nick for many years of

faithful ministry,” Mohler said.

“Every single student is a gift,” Mohler

said. “Every single student is a stewardship.

Every single student is a test: are we really

who we say we are? Do we really teach what

we say we teach? Do we really serve whom

we say we serve? Every student becomes

proof of what an institution really is and

what it really believes, who it really serves.

In the brief time in which he was with us,

Nick Challies affirmed that we are who we

say we are and we’re the kind of school that

would draw the kind of student that Nick

Challies was.”


outhern Seminary President Albert

Mohler was elected president

of the Evangelical Theological Society

(ETS) in November during the organization’s

72nd annual meeting. Due to

the pandemic, the meeting of evangelical

scholars met virtually. The meeting was

originally scheduled to meet in Providence,

Rhode Island.

Previously, Mohler had served as vice

president of ETS, having been elected to

that office during the 2018 annual meeting

in Denver, Colorado.

“I am deeply honored to serve as president

of the Evangelical Theological Society,”

Mohler said. “As a young evangelical, I came

to respect and admire this society for its identity

as a society of evangelical theologians

that would demonstrate the highest quality

of theological and biblical scholarship.

“Formed by men of the stature of Carl

F. H. Henry and others, this has been the

central point of scholarly conversation for

evangelicals in the United States for well

over half a century. I’ve been pleased to

serve as an officer of the society and I’m

now very honored to be its president.”

“It is vital that ETS

continue to promote

scholarship built

upon the inerrancy

of Scripture and a

commitment to

biblical orthodoxy.”

Mohler is the third member of the

Southern Seminary faculty to serve as

ETS president in the past 11 years. Bruce

Ware, T. Rupert and Lucille Coleman

Professor of Christian Theology, served

in that role in 2009 and Tom Schreiner,

James Buchanan Harrison Professor of

New Testament, was elected in 2014. Gregg

Allison, professor of christian theology, is

the current secretary of ETS.

Southern Seminary has had a deep and

abiding commitment to ETS and leadership

roles in the society as seen by the fact

that several of our faculty members have

also served as president and each annual

meeting sees dozens of our faculty and

students presenting important papers defining

and defending conservative evangelical

scholarship,” Mohler said.

“Serving in ETS leadership is an important

stewardship because of the way

the society helps frame the conversation

among conservative evangelicals. It is vital

that ETS continue to promote scholarship

built upon the inerrancy of Scripture

and a commitment to biblical orthodoxy.”





Religious Liberty

Made Me a Baptist



am a little embarrassed to admit this

considering I am a professor at a Baptist

seminary, but I came to be a passionate

Baptist not because I thought baptism

by immersion was the most compelling

foundation but because Baptist ecclesiology

was the natural outcome of what I understood

to be the correct theory and practice

of religious liberty. That may sound confusing,

so let me unpack it.

I grew up in central Illinois going to a

Southern Baptist church. If you grew up outside

the geographic South, you may have attended

a Southern Baptist church without

any real sense of it feeling explicitly Baptist.

That is because in the North, at least in my experience,

we did not understand ourselves as

Baptist as much as just Bible-believing Christians.

I remember going to the church we went

to because, well, they believed the Bible without

qualifying it a thousand times over with

nuance and deference to our cultured despisers.

In other words, they were not theological

moderates or liberals. If you would have asked

me as a teen if I were a Baptist, I would have

answered yes, but only because I understood

that I was not Catholic.

Feeling a call to ministry, I went to a Baptist

college in southwest Missouri (Southwest

Baptist University). Upon graduation, I went to

the seminary where I now teach, The Southern

Baptist Theological Seminary. At both institutions,

I took Baptist history classes and became

aware of our history and our theological distinctives,

which I appreciated at the time but

still did not feel overly zealous about.

Coming of Age

This was not the fault of the professors. In fact,

looking back, I recall that my two Baptist history

classes were well taught, and the professors

were passionate about their subject. Perhaps

owing to my general immaturity, ideas

like regenerate church membership, believer’s

baptism, baptism by immersion, congregational

authority, local church autonomy, and

religious liberty did not really animate me.

That does not mean I disagreed with them; I

agreed with them because they seemed biblical.

But ecclesiology was not front and center

in my earlier theological angst. Questions

about Calvinism, inerrancy, and the emergent

church were front and center.

It was not until I “came of age” that my first

“If one does not possess

the freedom to act on

one’s most primary

beliefs, one is not free

in even the most basic

sense of the word.”

jobs, incidentally, led me in a more fervently

Baptist direction. My first jobs out of seminary

were for think tank and advocacy organizations

that focused on social conservative causes

like the sanctity of life, marriage, and, well,

religious liberty. Of course, I had heard of the

issue, but at the time, I did not understand its

urgency. What is now a token issue of concern

for Christians was not so a decade ago. In 2008

to 2010, there was a different cultural climate.

Many of the religious-liberty challenges

we are encountering now were predicted, at

the time, by documents like the Manhattan

Declaration. This joint document of Catholic

and Protestant luminaries declared in

somber tones that were the government to

continue its leftward lurch, a reassertion of

religious-liberty rights would be necessary, as

would the possibility of civil disobedience. I

knew I was treading in deep, turbulent waters.

I recall that as I was getting my feet beneath

me careerwise, I was having to play catch-up

on an issue that I was told was fundamental

but was now threatened.

So I got to work in both Kentucky’s capital

and our nation’s capital on, among other things,

religious liberty. I was largely unfamiliar with it,

aside from what little I had learned in my Baptist

history classes. It certainly was not, at the time,

the top-tier pillar or foundation to my public

theology as it is now. I argued for it because, well,

my job required me to.

My work required me to read on the

subject, and that is what I did. The heavy

reading load in religious-liberty theory did not

initially convince me of religious liberty’s importance

as much as my immersion into the advocacy

world of social conservatism, which


Liberty for All: Defending

Everyone’s Religious Freedom

in a Pluralistic Age

Andrew T. Walker

(Brazos Press 2021, $39.99)

In this profoundly timely work,

Walker argues for a robust

Christian ethic of religious

liberty that helps the church

defend religious freedom

for everyone in a pluralistic

society. "Whether explicitly

religious or not," says Walker,

"every person is striving to

make sense of his or her life.

The Christian foundations of

religious freedom provide a

framework for how Christians

can navigate deep religious

differences in a secular age.

As we practice religious liberty

for our neighbors, we can

find civility and commonality

amid disagreement, further

the church's engagement

in the public square, and

become the strongest

defenders of religious liberty

for all." The book begins with a

foreword by noted Princeton

scholar Robert P. George.







necessarily and rightly treated religious liberty

as a lifeblood issue. Because I was enamored

of the intersection of first principles, theology,

and political philosophy, religious liberty afforded

me the opportunity to merge topics I

was already passionate about but on which my

inchoate understanding still needed tuning.

Limited or Coercive

As I would learn, the posture a state takes

toward religion is one of the most decisive

indicators of whether it will be broadly

pluralistic and limited or tyrannical and

coercive. I would also learn that unless you

have the requisite liberties to act on your

convictions, you cannot do much of anything,

whether worship in your church or

advocate in the public square. If one does

not possess the freedom to act on one’s most

primary beliefs, one is not free in even the

most basic sense of the word.

The idea that persons are endowed with

self-constituting capacities that endear

them to religion made more and more sense.

If religion informs morality, then morality

in public life hinges on the doctrine of religious

liberty. Life, I came to understand,

entails various types of liberties (speech,

association, religion) in order for it to be authentic,

meaningful, and worthwhile. The

presence of these liberties determines what

type of life someone will have in their community.

In short, religious liberty is deeply

intertwined with human flourishing and

the common good.

All of these questions about religion

and society led to a flood of first-principle

questions, among them the following:

• How does one understand what truth is?

• How does an individual come to grasp religious


• What posture should the state take toward


• How is one’s quest to understand truth

related to their personhood?

• What is the relationship between moral

obligation and religious foundation?

• What are one’s obligations to the state? To


• What are the jurisdictions and responsibilities

of the state?

• What are the jurisdictions and responsibilities

of the church?

• Who gets to decide who is right and wrong

about such matters as religion and morality?

• What is the relationship between religious

liberty and other liberties?

Baptist's and Freedom

When I began to answer these questions,

I was led to a distinctly Baptist ecclesiology.

It was in the Baptist tradition, which

had helped birth religious liberty in North

America through the likes of Roger Williams

and John Leland, that I saw the principles

of religious liberty most fulsomely applied.

How so? Because the questions above

are best answered in light of key Baptist

ecclesiastical distinctives that focus on the

individual and the associations they form

in life.

Based on both natural law and overlapping

similarities with principles that emerge from

Scripture, like widening concentric circles,

religious liberty is based on an understanding

of (1) individual assent, (2) group association,

and (3) institutional distinction. These

are reflected in the practices of individual

conversion and regenerate church membership,

which entail a distinction between

membership in the church and membership

in society and between the institution of the

gathered church and the institution of the


I do not believe other ecclesiastical arrangements

are hostile to religious liberty.

I am thankful for godly Presbyterians, Lutherans,

and others who stand for religious

liberty. However, a rightly ordered account

of religious liberty bears the richest fruit

within a Baptist ecclesiology.

Religious liberty implies a recognition

that individuals make conscientious decisions

to participate in group associations

that have different requirements and different

callings than the rest of society and

the state. In my view, these truths lead one

inside the walls of a Baptist church.

Editors’ note: This article is excerpted from Andrew

Walker’s new book, Liberty for All: Defending

Everyone’s Religious Freedom in a Pluralistic Age.

Used by permission of Baker Publishing Group,



ext fall, for the first time since 1999,

masters-level students at Southern

Seminary won’t be able to take Peter

Gentry’s Hebrew class.

Dr. Gentry is retiring from teaching after

22 years of teaching the Old Testament, Hebrew

and Greek grammar and morphology

(word forms), various exegesis classes, and

more at the seminary.

The bookshelves and stacks of books that

populate the floor space in his office like

a dense forest bespeak of a life given to research,

study, and teaching the biblical languages.

A popular question to ask Gentry is

“How many languages do you know,” a question

he’s never answered.

“Right now, I’m working in a dozen languages,”

he said, laughing. “Counting them would

be something like David taking the census.”

“If You Have No

Morphology, You

Have No Theology”

Peter Gentry Retiring After 22 Years of Faithful Service


He points to the various sections of books

on the shelves and floor: there are sections

of Hebrew, Aramaic, Phoenician, Akkadian,

Syriac, Babylonian, the Targums, the Latin

Vulgate, the Dead Sea Scrolls and others.

There are also dozens of books on topics

ranging from medieval Judaism to geography,

plants, and animals of the Ancient Near

East, scores of commentaries, lexicons, and

an entire bank of works on the church fathers

and systematic theology.

Gentry has taught virtually every subject

within the realm of biblical and theological

studies, including both Hebrew and Greek at

the doctoral level. It’s difficult to isolate one

favorite class he’s taught.

“I’ve always been a big believer in the importance

of the biblical languages,” he said.

“The course that I enjoyed teaching most

was probably beginning Hebrew. . . . It was

always my desire to drive students back to

the sources—the great cry of the Reformation,

ad fontes—giving them skills to access

the sources for themselves.”

Gentry joined the SBTS faculty before the

1999 fall semester. In addition to teaching

hundreds of students at SBTS, he has written

several books, and has perennially worked

on scholarly projects in biblical languages,

including directing the Hexapla Project—republishing

critical editions of early fragments

of the Greek Septuagint under the auspices of

the International Organization for Septuagint

and Cognate Studies. He edited Ecclesiastes

for the Göttingen Septuagint Series and is

currently working on the edition of Proverbs

and also writing a commentary on Isaiah.

During his years as Southern, Gentry

wrote or co-wrote several important books,

including Kingdom through Covenant: A

Biblical-Theological Understanding of the

Covenants, a work he wrote with close friend

and SBTS colleague Stephen J. Wellum.

Crossway published an abridgement of that

work in 2015, God’s Kingdom through God’s

Covenants: A Concise Biblical Theology.

Prior to his coming to SBTS, Gentry

served on the faculty of Toronto Baptist

Seminary and Bible College for 15 years and

taught at the University of Toronto, Heritage

Theological Seminary, and Tyndale Theological


A native of Canada, Gentry grew up in

both the Philippines and Southern Quebec,

where his father pastored churches for

nearly four decades. Gentry’s father attended

Dallas Theological Seminary and led a

Brethren church then was called to a Baptist

church. Growing up the son of a pastor

shaped Gentry as a churchman which has

been central to his life and ministry.

Professor Gentry and his family were members

of Highview Baptist Church for several

years and now belong to Franklin Street Baptist

Church where Gentry teaches a Sunday

school class he was instrumental in founding.

While he is retiring from full-time classroom

work at SBTS, Gentry is by no means

retiring from ministry. He hopes to continue

participating in PhD seminars at SBTS

and will also teach classes as a visiting professor

at Phoenix Seminary.






An Academic Center

with a Missionary Heart

Jenkins Center Going Strong in Equipping

Students and Laypersons to Engage Islam



OVID-19 has done nothing to quarantine

the urgency of the ministry of

Southern Seminary’s Jenkins Center

for the Christian Understanding of Islam.

Ayman S. Ibrahim, PhD, the Bill and Connie

Jenkins Chair and associate professor

of Islamic studies, serves as director of the

Jenkins Center which continues to help

equip students and other Christians to understand

Islam and to engage Muslims with

the good news of Jesus Christ.

“Our goal is to help the church to learn

how to connect with Muslims and how

to understand different aspects of Islam

and how Islam is presented and practiced

worldwide in different ways,” Ibrahim said.

“We’ve developed our unique way of

ministry here in terms of writing—we write

a lot of pieces, including articles, book reviews,

blog posts, and we also write books.

Every book I publish is supported by the

center. Although we’ve had to adjust to not

traveling here and abroad, we’ve not backed

off the ministry over the past year at all.”

Ibrahim began with the Jenkins Center

in July of 2015, a few months after it was established.

In that time, he has trained dozens

of students and written many articles

on Islam and now serves on the committee

on Islam for the Evangelical Theological

Society (ETS). He gave a plenary address

at the ETS annual meeting last fall and last

November published an important book on

Islam through Baker, A Concise Guide to the

Quran: Answering Thirty Critical Questions.

The book sold nearly 1,000 copies within

the first two months and has opened doors

to Ibrahim for interviews about Christianity

and Islam with several media outlets.

Ibrahim describes the Jenkins Center

as “an academic center with a missionary

heart.” In addition to academic lectures and

events designed to bring experts on Islam

to campus, the Jenkins Center exposes students

to Islam by traveling to heavily Muslim

regions in the U.S. and abroad. Ibrahim

looks forward to those trips resuming after

COVID-19 is fully under control.

“Our goal is to help the

church to learn how to

connect with Muslims

and how to understand

different aspects of

Islam and how Islam is

presented and practiced

worldwide in different


Ibrahim said the number of children

born into Muslim families in America is

growing, but the number of converts to

Islam is not. The latest studies show that

roughly the same number of Muslims are

de-converting from the faith as non-adherents

are converting in America. In

other places like eastern Iran and Muslim-dominated

Algeria, conversions to

Christ are on the rise.

He encourages students to read the Quran,

but with some guidance from his new


“The Quran is a very disconnected text,”

he said “It is very hard to follow. I think

it’s very valuable for Christians to read the

Quran just to know the text that Muslims

revere and to value the Bible we have. The

more you go through the Quran, the more

value you will have for the Bible.

“The Bible was written over millennia,

but from Genesis all the way to Revelation,

there is unity even though there is diversity

in the writing. But the Quran is very different.

It is very scattered. It will make you appreciate

the Bible even more.”

If a Christian has a Muslim neighbor

and wants to engage him, where is the best

place to start? Ibrahim said it’s important

not to shrink back from discussing religion

with them.

“Befriend them, and before you leave the

first meeting ask them a religious question,”

he said. “Usually, Americans are reluctant

to speak of politics and religion, but Muslims

are open to talking about religion immediately.

If you don’t talk about religion

within two minutes, they will talk about it.

They’ll invite you to (embrace) Islam.

“Asking questions is always the greatest

philosophy for interacting with Muslims

because you don’t appear like you are attacking

them. Ask questions that are meaningful

like, ‘Are you religious?’ or ‘What do

you know about the life of Mohammed?’

Present the image of Jesus in your loving

heart and in your loving attitude. Don’t

leave the first meeting without planting a

seed. Maybe you ask a question that would

help you present the gospel at the next

meeting or to continue the conversation.”

A Concise Guide to the

Quran: Answering Thirty

Critical Questions

Ayman S. Ibrahim

(Baker 2020, $22.99)

What is so unique about

Islam's scripture, the

Quran? Who wrote it,

and when? Can we trust

its statements to be from

Muhammad? Why was it

written in Arabic? Does

it command Muslims to

fight Christians? Why

is it so important for

Christians to know what

Muslims believe? Dr.

Ibrahim frames this vital

discussion by answering

30 questions.






Deep Personal

Convictions about

Corporate Worship

An interview with Matthew Westerholm


Seminary Adds Three

Professors to Faculty


In the fall of 2020, President R. Albert Mohler Jr. appointed three new professors

to the faculty of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.


atthew Westerholm has seen it all in

church music. And God has used all

the encounters of his years in music

ministry to shape his God-centered, Christ-exalting

views of corporate worship today.

In this interview, Westerholm, discusses how

God has grown him as a church leader. Westerholm

serves as associate professor of church

music and worship and is executive director for

the Institute for Biblical Worship at SBTS.

When did you first become interested in music?

Who were the strong musical influences in your

life early on?

Music has always mystified me. It probably

began standing in church on Sunday morning

between a dad who sang tenor and a mom who

sang alto. I’d listen and wonder, “What is this

magic harmony thing that I'm hearing?”

Then, in high school, our youth worship

leader discipled me and also dropped me into

the deep end with piano. Instead of making

chord charts, he would photocopy the overheads

and put them in front of me. In rehearsal,

he’d call out the chords as he sang “Holy,

Holy, Holy” or “We Bow Down” by Twila Paris,

and I’d try to write them down furiously. He

helped me learn to hear and see music.

I also had a great band director in high

school. He was Roman Catholic, but he respected

my faith. He could see the way Christian

faith motivated excellence in music, and

he pushed me. He let me take an independent

study where he sent me in a room with a keyboard

and a sequencer and let me explore.

You know, “Here’s a sandbox. Go make some

castles.” Having him encourage my creativity

was super important.

When did you sense a call to church music?

I went to Trinity College in Chicago as a music

performance major. While I was there, I got

hired by some churches in the Chicagoland

area to play piano for their new contemporary

worship services. I did that initially to help pay

my way through school. But in the process, I

met worship team members who were more

excited about sneaking a Metallica riff into the

prelude than they were about the glory of God.

I also met worship pastors who had a dysfunctional

relationship with their senior pastor.

So, during the sermon, the band would go

back to the “green room” instead of sitting under

the Word. It broke my heart in a profound

way. That’s not how it’s supposed to be. I talked

to an amazing and wise young lady—who is

now my wife—and she had me figured out. She

said, “This is what you should do with your

life. You should do church music.” The Lord

used her and those circumstances to open me

up to his call and also to give me deep personal

convictions about corporate worship.

In your time as a worship pastor, what are some

of the pitfalls you’ve seen churches fall into?

In my early days in ministry, I served in a

very attractional, franchise-style, multi-site

church. That environment shaped my heart

in ways I didn't like. In that context, it was

assumed that we should be doing identical

services at all of our church’s locations. I was

designing services that could be put in a box

and sent anywhere: Just open it up, and do a

service that will bless God's people. Designing

those services seemed like a personal honor.

But, over time, I began to see this was the opposite

of what I wanted to do. Through that

experience, I discovered I’m a Baptist. I believe

in the autonomy of the local church, and the

importance of contextualized ministry.

You serve as the executive director of the Institute

for Biblical Worship. What are your hopes

and dreams for the Institute?

The Institute for Biblical Worship is the outward

facing arm of our Department of Biblical Worship.

Our plan is for the Institute to be a place

where local church leaders go when they’re looking

for reviews of new church music or when

they’re asking questions about corporate worship.

Worship leaders have questions: Is it okay to

use music from a different theological tradition?

Should we employ more liturgical practices?

More revivalist practices? The Institute won’t

prescribe what your church should do; we don’t

want to commend a particular system of practices

or a particular ethos for every service.

As a Baptist, I believe biblical worship is a

call to contextualized worship. We obviously

must include what the Bible commands

for our worship services, and we must do so

with great joy. But the Bible also prescribes

and describes a great variety in local church

practice. I believe it’s the Institute’s job to

help local church leaders navigate that variety

by providing the best thinking and the

best conversation on these subjects.

Scott Connell

was appointed as professor of church music

and worship. He also serves as pastor of

worship and communications at historic

First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida.

Connell is a face familiar to the Southern

Seminary family, having obtained a PhD in

christian worship at Southern and serving

as associate professor of music and worship

leadership for eight years at the seminary.

Scott and his wife, Mary, have seven children.

“I am really glad that Scott Connell is rejoining

the Southern Seminary music and biblical

worship faculty. He is a fine professor, an excellent

musician, and a skilled minister and worship

leader. His experience in the local church

is invaluable, and his heart for ministry and

music is infectious,” said Mohler.

Bradley Green

was appointed to serve as professor of philosophy

and theology. Green holds an MDiv

from Southern Seminary and a PhD from

Baylor University and is the author of several

books, including Augustine of Hippo:

His Life and Impact (Christian Focus, 2020),

Covenant and Commandment: Works, Obedience,

and Faithfulness in the Christian Life

(IVP Academic, 2014).

Green will also continue as professor of theological

studies at Union University in Jackson,

Tennessee, where he’s served since 1998. Green

and his wife, Dianne, helped found Augustine

School, a Christian liberal arts school in Jackson.

The Greens have three children.

Mohler said, “Brad Green combines a

first-rate Christian mind with years of proven

experience in the classroom. He is a true

Christian scholar and professor who sees his

teaching role as ministry. His scholarship is

a great gift to the church.”

John Henderson

(PhD, University of North Texas) was appointed

as associate professor of biblical

counseling. He also currently serves as

an associate pastor at University Baptist

Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas, primarily

overseeing the counseling, equipping, and

family ministries.

Previously, John served as associate

pastor at Del Ray Baptist Church in Alexandria,

Virginia as well as a counseling

pastor at Denton Bible Church in Denton,

Texas. He is a board member of the Biblical

Counseling Coalition and also serves on the

board of the Association of Biblical Counselors.

He is author of Catching Foxes: A

Gospel-Guided Journey to Marriage (P&R,

2018), a book for marriage preparation. John

and his wife, Ruth, have five children.






Feeds for Your Soul

Four podcasts with thousands of listeners originate from SBTS and extend the seminary’s ministry

to thousands beyond the seminary—encouraging pastors, missionaries, and church planters, as

well as laypeople.


The Briefing is SBTS President Albert Mohler’s daily podcast. Last September, the program celebrated 10

years of analyzing daily events in the news from a Christian perspective.

The Briefing’s audience is significant: at least 80,000 listeners per day and 400,000 downloads per

week. The decision to move from a one-hour radio show to a 25-minute podcast was motivated mainly

by the medium’s flexibility both for host and listeners. “The Briefing is intended to be where enduring

Christian truth and the headlines collide, where biblical truth and matters of cultural urgency intersect,”

Mohler said. “And that’s what makes it fun. I get to talk about—and help Christians think about—

the most important issues of the day. That keeps me at it.”

Faculty Profile: Paul Akin



The Amazon to Himalayas podcast was launched in October 2020 and produces new episodes on a

weekly basis during the fall and spring semesters, taking breaks in winter and summer.

Paul Akin, dean of the Billy Graham School of Evangelism, Missions and Ministry, hosts the program.

Each episode features a conversation with a missionary who shares how God is at work in their particular

missional context. Amazon to the Himalayas has featured guests from all over the globe including

Kenya, Brazil, Middle East, Europe, North America, South America, and all over Asia. “I have heard from

many missionaries that they have been encouraged to hear what the Lord is doing in other parts of the

world,” Akin said. “They are often isolated and unaware and this provides a way for them to hear encouraging

things that are happening in other parts if the world.”


Aimed at encouraging church planters in an urban context, The Urban Ministry Podcast launched in

2019 with two dozen episodes.

Each episode features a minister serving faithfully in an urban context, sometimes internationally,

sometimes here in the United States. Timothy Paul Jones, C. Edwin Gheens professor of Christian Ministry

and director of the Dehoney Center for Urban Ministry, hosts each episode. “Many listeners are also

serving in church revitalization,” Jones said. “I want people to love the locations where God has placed

them, whether that’s in the city, in a small town, or in a rural context. I hope that God works through their

renewed love of their context to equip listeners to share the gospel more effectively wherever they are.”


Pastor Well is a podcast by a veteran pastor-theologian aimed at pastors at all stages of the ministry.

Hershael York, dean of the School of Theology and professor of preaching at SBTS and longtime pastor

of the Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort, Kentucky, hosts the program.

Pastor Well launched in May of 2019 and recently wrapped up its third season. In each episode, York

interviews well-known and lesser-known figures in ministry from across the evangelical world and the

Southern Baptist Convention. Recent episodes have featured Steve Gaines, Johnny Hunt, Ray Ortlund,

Michael Reeves, and Christopher Ash.


oming to Southern Seminary to serve

as dean of the Billy Graham School of

Missions, Evangelism and Ministry

was a homecoming for Paul Akin.

Akin first moved to Louisville at age 12

when his father, Danny Akin, was elected

dean of the School of Theology at SBTS,

where he remained for eight years.

“I have fond memories of this time and of

growing up around SBTS in the Louisville

area,” he said. “We were new to Louisville, the

Mohler s were so gracious and welcoming to

us. Our families would get together and enjoy

meals. There may have even been a water balloon

fight between the four Akin brothers and

Dr. Mohler. Louisville and SBTS have always

felt like home, and I’m so grateful to be back.”

Akin’s world was turned upside down

during his freshman year in college on a mission

trip to Southeast Asia. There, he met a

fellow student who had never heard of Jesus

Christ. Growing up in America, particularly

in the realm of the Southern Baptist Convention,

made it difficult to believe there was a

person out there who hadn’t heard of Jesus or

his death on the cross.

“God used that experience to change the

course and trajectory of my life,” Akin said.

“Fast-forward a few years and my family

(wife, and six-month-old son) moved to East

Africa and later to the Middle East to live and

work among Muslim people. God had put a

special burden on my heart for Muslims, and

we committed to serve for a minimum of two

years with the IMB, sharing the gospel and

trying to make disciples among Muslims in

Africa and the Middle East.

“Following this time living overseas, I

spent the next decade of my life training,

sending, and serving alongside missionaries

all over the world through the local church,

the International Mission Board, and now

through Southern Seminary. Regardless

of my location or vocation, involvement in

missions and the Great Commission is central

to who I am in Christ.”

In God’s good providence, Akin shares a

birthday with one of his missionary heroes,

Jim Elliot. Both were born on October 8.

Akin also considers Billy Graham to be one

of his heroes, both for the sort of man the late

evangelist was and for his love for lost souls.

“It’s almost surreal to be called to serve as

dean of the school named for him, the school

that’s part of the seminary around which I

spent many of my formative years.

“I am extremely humbled and excited to be

serving as dean of the Billy Graham School,”

Akin said. “I have always considered Dr. Graham

a hero and example of what it means to

be a Christian man. His passion for personal

evangelism and the Great Commission is

what I have always admired most. To be entrusted

to carry on that legacy here at SBTS

and to champion the Great Commission

from this position is humbling but also very

exciting, and I want to serve the Lord faithfully

in this role.”

Akin has been dean a relatively short

time, but he has already been helped as a

young leader by Southern’s renowned veteran


“Our faculty have served all over the globe

as pastors, missionaries, and church leaders,”

he said. “God is bringing students to us from

all over the world. By God’s grace, our reach,

focus, and footprint is truly global in scope.

“As a result, this school is uniquely poised

and positioned to influence the cause of the

Great Commission for decades to come. I

want to lead this school to love the Word of

God, cherish the gospel of God, prioritize

lost people, and to actively engage in God’s

mission of redemption here and around the

world. It is this task and endeavor that I give

my time, energy, and resources to accomplish,

with the Lord’s help.”





Faculty Profile: Tyler Flatt


he only thing Tyler Flatt enjoys more

than teaching is learning.

Flatt, who has served as assistant

professor of humanities at Boyce College since

late 2016, and program coordinator for Humanities

since 2019, looks forward to the eschaton

because there he’ll have unlimited time

to learn.

“I love to learn about the world around me,

and I'm looking forward to the day in heaven

when time will never be short, when I can

learn all about the worlds and the universe

that God has made,” he said.

“I look forward to taking delight every day in

all of the things he's made and the way that he's

made them. Learning about the world around

me is endlessly rewarding. And in the midst of

these difficult times, I have had a little bit more

time to do some learning on different subjects,

which has been a consolation in strange days.”

Perhaps Flatt's favorite time in world history

is the classical period, an epoch that

produced some of the most profound literature

in human history.

Flatt is a native of Ontario, Canada, and

holds a PhD from Harvard University and

a MA from the University of Toronto. Flatt’s

passion is teaching the classical tradition in

general and Great Books I and II in particular.

The seeds of his love for the classical period

and classical education were sown in an encounter

with Greek mythology at a young age.

“I remember as a kid, I had a book of Greek

and Roman mythology, and I think there was

some Norse mythology in there too. I grew

fascinated by those stories, many of which are

not necessarily true or good or beautiful, but


they got me interested in how the Greeks and

Romans looked at the world, and then I started

learning about their history. Then when I

was in high school, I started getting into classical

literature—at first in English translation.

“From the history I got into the literature

and philosophy and once that happened, I

just said, ‘I don’t want to always be relying on

translations. I would love to encounter these

authors in the original.’”

His mother taught chemistry at the University

of Waterloo, which is in his hometown.

Since it had a strong Classics Department,

the choice was simple for undergrad

studies and that began the journey that

brought him to Boyce today.

Flatt grew up in a Christian home and was

converted to Christ at age seven. While in

high school, a desire to learn theology began

to germinate in his heart and mind. He became

absorbed in the Scriptures and began

to read authors like John Calvin, Martin Luther,

and John Owen.

And through the influence of a family

friend who was a professor, Flatt knew what

he wanted to spend his life doing.

“For lots of people, it takes them a long time

to figure out what they're supposed to do,”

he said. “But for me, I'm not a well-rounded

person. I'm one of those pointy people where

the gifts and opportunities that God has given

me are all kind of concentrated in some

very specific areas, and so from a young age

it was clear to me that I wanted to grow really

deeply in knowledge, and I wanted to help

other people grow in knowledge too.”

He hopes to see students recover the tradition

of developing the Christian mind and

using the classics broadly in their ministries.

In partnership with Rob Plummer and the

Daily Dose Team, he has established the Daily

Dose of Latin, available by YouTube subscription,

in which he walks viewers through

a book of the Vulgate. Together with Melissa

Tucker, he’s also helped to develop the Classical

Education Minor at Boyce, which aims at

equipping teachers with a thorough knowledge

of classical pedagogy to serve in the

growing number of classical schools.

“I like to ask students who are skeptical of the

‘pagan classics’ a provocative question: ‘I want

you to name for me a single major Christian

thinker or theologian born before 1950 who was

not steeped in the classical tradition,’” he said.

“And nobody can because there are none.

“Whether you start at the early end with

Tertullian, or Cyprian, or Clement of Alexandria,

or even as recently in our own time

as C. S. Lewis, all of these great thinkers on

whom we rely in the Christian tradition

were steeped in classical literature. And

that's because they found it extremely useful,

not only for understanding the world

around them, but also for becoming better

and more sensitive readers of Scripture.

“Regardless of what ministry our students

at Boyce may be engaged in, a classically-inspired

education is going to equip them to

communicate persuasively and powerfully.

Getting in touch with the literature, philosophy,

and history of the classical tradition

will endow them with a treasure-house of

time-tested wisdom and good sense about

the world and about humanity.”







Cultural Shifts,

Political Regimes, and

the Constant Need for

Biblical Teaching

Mohler talks about The Gathering Storm



ver the last hundred years, a cultural, moral,

and political shift has taken place in Western

society that has led to broad devaluing and

rejection of Christian truth claims both privately

and in the public square. The place of Christian convictions

have gradually eroded, and this erosion will

have tectonic effects on modern society. Evidence

for how this shift has reshaped and will continue to

reshape modern society is available for all to see, if

people will only look, argues R. Albert Mohler Jr. in

his newest work, The Gathering Storm.

The Gathering Storm addresses questions like worldview,

western civilization, marriage and the family, gender and

sexuality, as well as other topics. These are issues you have

spoken about publically in some way for over thirty years.

Why this book now?

In every generation, Christians have been called upon to

understand our responsibility for the particular cultural

moment and context within which we find ourselves.

This has been true throughout the history of Christianity.

But when we look back at church history, there have

been times when there was a particular urgency about

asking the question of our responsibility, because the

culture had experienced such a massive transformation.

It’s not just the transformation of the culture in the big

tectonic plates of economics and politics, but also at the

deeper level of morality and even the understanding of

reality and the consumption of truth. There are times in

which it seems all of these things are coming together,

and that's exactly what characterizes our time.

I have self-consciously borrowed the title, The Gathering

Storm, from Winston Churchill, who is one of my

heroes of history. Churchill largely stood alone during

the 1930’s, as he saw the storm of war gathering. Others

denied that Churchill had even seen clouds, but history

proved him horrifyingly right. When Churchill wrote

his history of the second World War, he entitled the first

of those six volumes, The Gathering Storm. Like Churchill,

Christians need to see and understand the gathering

storm in our own day, and then we need to step into

the next responsibility, which is thinking seriously and

biblically about what the times will require of us.

Secularization has the effect of eroding truth claims over

long periods of time—even in the church. What can a Christian

do to ensure their own faithfulness and defend against

secularization eroding their own convictions?

Our beliefs are contaminated unless we do two things,

and these two things are paramount. First, we must turn

to the Bible so that the living, breathing, and infallible

Word of God will cleanse us of cognitive contamination.

We cannot expect that our thinking will be biblical

unless we are immersed in the Scriptures, unless our

The Gathering Storm:

Secularism, Culture, and

the Church

R. Albert Mohler Jr.

(Thomas Nelson 2020, $18.99)

A storm is coming. Western

civilization and the Christian

church stand at a moment of

great danger. The storm is a

battle of ideas that will determine

the future of Western

civilization and the soul of the

Christian church. The forces

we must fight are ideologies,

policies, and worldviews that

are deeply established among

intellectual elites, the political

class, and our schools. More

menacingly, these ideas have

also invaded the Christian

church. From threats to religious

liberty and redefinitions

of marriage and family to

attacks on the sacredness

and dignity of human life, the

perils faced by the West and

the church are unprecedented.

How should Christians

respond to this challenge?

thinking is predicated upon the truthfulness of God’s Word.

We must hear God speak, obey him, and have our minds filled

with the cognition that comes from the Bible.

Second, we must be deeply involved in the life of a local

church. As it meets together in worship and shares the gift

of Christian fellowship together, a local church practices

communal cognitive detox. That is part of what we’re doing

when we gather for worship. We do renew our minds with the

songs we sing. If the songs we sing are robustly biblical, then

we are fulfilling what Paul exhorted the Colossians to do: We

are encouraging and cognitively correcting one another with

psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Then, by our prayer, we

are cleansing our thinking and beliefs. Of course, the same is

true when we sit under the preaching of God’s Word.

When we participate in a healthy local church, our minds

are transformed by the kind of constructive brotherly and

sisterly Christian conversation that can only come in fellowship

there. Sometimes we have to say, “What do we exactly

mean,” or, “What you said is almost right, but maybe we

can learn to put that in a way that's even more biblical.”

In our time—especially in the West—historic Christian convictions

are both disapproved of and also increasingly seen as

hostile to the status quo. What precursors from history might

encourage Christians today?

My ultimate confidence in writing The Gathering Storm is

that Jesus Christ is Lord, and thus no storm will mean the

end of Christianity, the end of the church, or the end of truth.

Nevertheless, a gathering storm can represent a real and an

unavoidable challenge for us. Through its twenty centuries

of existence the church has had to face all kinds of storms.

When you think about our particular cultural moment, we

are being told that we are on the wrong side of history, that

we hold positions that cause human suffering and unhappiness

rather than human flourishing. But we must recognize

this: Christianity was born into a hostile culture.

Christianity first emerged in the first century in the context

of the Roman Empire. Throughout the next three centuries

after Christianity emerged, Roman emperors came

to the conclusion that Christianity was a subversive threat

to the flourishing of the empire. Emperor after emperor

sought to do everything within

his power to make clear that

“We are not without

the confidence

that we are on the

right side of history,

because we are

on the right side of


Christianity was on the wrong

side of history. Yet, we know

it was the Roman Empire that

fell, not Christianity.

For the Christian Church

during those centuries of persecution,

it was horrifying in

so many ways. Persecution

required the church to work

out, with fear and trembling,

its theology based upon the

Bible. But that persecution

created an environment for

an incredibly powerful gospel

witness to the Roman Empire.

So much so that the Roman

Empire, in its last years, tried to get on the right side of the

church, believing, all of a sudden, that the church was on

the right side of history.

God is sovereign over the times, as he is sovereign over

all things. We are not in this time by accident, but we’re also

not in this time without the lordship of Jesus Christ, the

power of the holy Scriptures, the saving truth of the gospel,

the reality of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, remembering

that Christ said, “upon this rock, I will build my

church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” We

are not without the confidence that we are on the right side

of history, because we are on the right side of eschatology.






The Published Works of

Southern Seminary Faculty

and Alumni in 2020-21

The faculty and alumni of Southern Seminary are widely

published and respected as leaders in evangelical scholarship

and ministry. Here is a sampling of their prolific output

over the past year.

Embodied: Living as Whole People in

a Fractured World

Gregg R. Allison

(Baker Books 2021, $19.99)

The Person of Christ: An


Stephen J. Wellum

(Crossway 2021, $18.99)

Character Matters:

Shepherding in the

Fruit of the Spirit

Aaron Menikoff

(Moody Publishers 2020, $14.99)

The Gathering Storm: Secularism,

Culture, and the Church

R. Albert Mohler Jr.

(Thomas Nelson 2020, $24.29)

The Child is Father of the Man

Tom Nettles

(Christian Focus 2021, $14.99)

The Church: An Introduction (Short

Studies in Systematic Theology)

Gregg R. Allison

(Crossway 2021, $14.99)

Jesus the Great Philosopher:

Rediscovering the Wisdom Needed

for the Good Life

Jonathan T. Pennington

(Brazos Press 2020, $18.99)

Paul, Apostle of God’s Glory in

Christ: A Pauline Theology, 2nd


Thomas R. Schreiner

Small Preaching: 25 Little

Things You Can Do Now to

Make You a Better Preacher

Jonathan T. Pennington

(Lexham Press 2021, $18.99)

Taming the Tongue:

How the Gospel

Transforms Our Talk

Jeff Robinson

(IVP Academic 2020, $50.00)

(The Gospel Coalition 2021, $12.99)

The Holy Spirit (Theology for the

People of God)

Gregg R. Allison and Andreas J. Kostenberger

(B&H Academic 2020, $44.99)

Hebrew for Life: Strategies for

Learning, Retaining, and Reviving

Biblical Hebrew

Robert L. Plummer, Adam J. Howell, and

Benjamin L. Merkle

Liberty for All: Defending

Everyone’s Religious Freedom in a

Pluralistic Age

Andrew T. Walker

(Brazos Press 2021, $19.99)

40 Questions about Biblical


Oren R. Martin, Jason S. DeRouchie,

and Andrew David Naselli

(Kregel 2020, $27.99)

(Baker Academic 2020, $22.99)

A Way with Words: Using Our Online

Conversations for Good

Daniel Darling

(B&H Books 2020, $17.99)

Deep Discipleship: How the Church

Can Make Whole Disciples of Jesus

J. T. English

(B&H Books 2020, $22.99)

A Concise Guide to the

Quran: Answering Thirty

Critical Questions

Ayman S. Ibrahim

(Baker 2020, $22.99)

Nehemiah: A Pastoral and

Exegetical Commentary

Terry Betts

(Lexham Press 2020, $28.99)





Introducing Southern Seminary’s

NEW PhD in Biblical Studies

Remain in the pulpit while earning the credentials to

teach at a college or seminary. Southern's hybrid class

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without relocating to Louisville.

Learn more at SBTS.EDU/PHD


The Glory of God at

the Heart of Pauline


An Interview with Thomas R. Schreiner

o matter what you think of

the apostle Paul, if you are a

serious teacher of the Bible,

you’ll have to come to grips with

him. Thomas R. Schreiner, associate

dean of the School of Theology

and James Buchanan Harrison

Professor of New Testament Interpretation

and professor of biblical

theology at Southern Seminary, has

spent much of his life studying Paul

and the complexities of his theology.

In the second edition of Paul, Apostle

of God's Glory in Christ, which

has been revised throughout to engage

the latest Pauline scholarship,

Schreiner seeks to unearth Paul's

worldview by observing what Paul

actually says in his writings, laying

out the most important themes and

how they are connected. According

to Schreiner, “The passion of Paul's

life, the foundation and capstone of

his vision, and the animating motive

of his mission was the supremacy of

God in and through the Lord Jesus

Christ.” While continuing to return

to this foundation, Schreiner explores

themes such as the inclusion

of the Gentiles in God’s people, the


power of sin, God’s liberating work

of grace, and the unity of the church,

as well as the often-neglected topics

of Paul as a missionary and his apostolic


What is new in the second edition?

I included some newer works on

Pauline theology and reconsidered

every line as I revised it. I would

say, however, that upon reading the

work again it is substantially the

same book. I felt free to revise but

for the most part I was pleased with

what I wrote before.

How have Pauline studies changed

since the first edition? What challenges—such

as the New Perspective

on Paul—have arisen?

The new perspective isn't new anymore!

Still, I continue to interact

with it, as I did in the first edition.

The apocalyptic reading of Paul has

become more popular, and I interact

to some extent with this perspective.

Of course, Pauline theology

has branched off in so many directions

with post-colonial readings,

feminist readings, anti-imperial

readings, etc. My book, however,

centers on an exposition of Paul’s

theology from the biblical text, because

I wanted to write a book on

Pauline theology that centers on

what Paul himself said.

What other books on Paul would you

recommend that pastors and teachers

who regularly preach and teach

God’s Word read?

I love Stephen Westerholm’s writings.

He writes beautifully and

in a compelling way. See his Perspectives

Old and New on Paul and

Justification Reconsidered. I think

Westerholm has the best treatment

of the New Perspective on Paul.

I don't agree with some significant

parts of James Dunn’s The

Theology of Paul the Apostle, but

I learned much from reading his

book. I also don't agree with N.

T. Wright's take on the New Perspective,

but I especially enjoyed

his Climax of the Covenant. His

two-volume work on Paul, Paul

and the Faithfulness of God, has

many good insights but it is far too

long for most readers.

You're a scholar who writes in a way

that’s accessible for pastors and even

thoughtful laymen. How would you like

to see pastors benefit from the book?

I hope pastors have a better understanding

of Paul, because that would

mean they would have a better understanding

of the whole Bible, and

of God himself. Paul’s theology is

particularly important because he

reflects, in a unique and extensive

manner, on the significance of the

fulfillment of God’s saving promise

in Jesus Christ. When we see the

place which Paul’s writings occupy

in the canon of Scripture, we see why

his writings are so important for understanding

who God is and what he

has accomplished in Jesus Christ by

the power of the Holy Spirit.

Paul, Apostle of God's

Glory in Christ: A Pauline


Thomas R. Schreiner

(Baker Academic 2020, $44.99)

Schreiner seeks to unearth

Paul's worldview by observing

what Paul actually says in

his writings and laying out

the most important themes

and how they are connected.

According to Schreiner, “The

passion of Paul's life, the

foundation and capstone of

his vision, and the animating

motive of his mission was

the supremacy of God in and

through the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Now in its second edition, Paul,

Apostle of God's Glory in Christ

remains a sound, insightful,

and trusted exposition of Paul's

theology that is well-geared to

the needs of seminary students

and working pastors.






Help! I’ve Lost My Greek

and Hebrew

Howell and Plummer discuss strategies and

motivation for retaining Hebrew



inisters of God’s Word are

expected to know the languages

in which God’s Word

was originally written, Hebrew and

Greek, with some Aramaic. But often

those who have previously studied

Hebrew and Greek allow their knowledge

of the languages to slip away, as

the pressures of ministry reshape priorities

and commitments. In Hebrew

for Life, Adam J. Howell (with Robert

L. Plummer and Benjamin L. Merkle)

seeks to give readers the motivation

and accountability to continue growing

in their understanding of Hebrew.

When people think of a textbook on

the biblical languages, they stereotype

it as filled with declensions,

grammar rules, and worksheets.

How is this book different?

RPL: This book was designed as a

personal trainer for Hebrew. Everyone

knows you should exercise,

but most people don’t go to the gym.

However, if they hire a trainer, then

they have someone who tells them,

“You need to do this. You need to do

that.” The trainer encourages them

not to stop when it’s difficult, and

the trainer also gives them a plan

for making progress. In a way, this

book is a paperback personal trainer

for biblical languages.

You reference the “law of the harvest”

as a motivating factor for learning Hebrew.

What is it and how does it drive

our study?

AJH: When it comes to the original

languages, we have to focus on the long

game. In our culture, we want things

fast. We assume we can finish everything

we need for the languages in

two semesters. But understanding the

biblical languages is a lifelong journey.

I'm hoping we can convince people of

this. Even if you only get the minimal

semesters, there's plenty more to know,

learn, and love about the original languages.

For most people, it will take

many years to reach a level of enjoyment.

So the “law of the harvest” is this:

the diligent work of planting and watering

must happen now, and the payoff

may not come until later. So, long

for the harvest days when you can sit

down and open up your Hebrew Old

Testament and Greek New Testament

and read them with love and great joy.

Luther said: “If through our neglect

we let the languages go, we shall lose

the gospel.” Why do you think our perception

of the original languages’ importance

has shifted today?

AJH: I can speak to Hebrew particularly.

One reason is that people are

intimidated by it. I tell my students

that Hebrew is more intimidating

than it is hard. The script is entirely

foreign to us, and you read it backward

when compared to most of our

native languages. Second, positive

advances in translation techniques

have led some to assume the original

languages are unnecessary. Thankfully,

we do have good English translations,

but this doesn’t cancel the

value of learning the languages. Finally,

there’s an undercurrent in our

culture: we don't want to do difficult

things like learning Hebrew.

RLP: It’s a lot easier for someone to

waste time on YouTube videos or

spend hours skimming through Instagram

and Facebook than it is to

work on learning Hebrew and Greek.

But when you think about how many

thousands of hours we spend on

trivial and unimportant matters, it’s

shocking. We need to be challenged

by this uncomfortable truth: we do

what we love. We must be careful to

reinforce our love for God’s Word

rather than trivial things.

How would you encourage someone

who has fallen away from studying the

original languages?

AJH: It can be done. A lot of people

think they’ve fallen too far from their

previous studies. Pride may even get

in the way and they’ll start thinking

“It’s not worth starting with the alphabet

again.” To that person, I would

say: you can do it, and it’s worth it.

RLP: Seeing people successfully return

can be a great motivation. I've

personally seen many people come

back successfully with less ability and

more years on them than the person

reading this interview. Success in returning

to the biblical languages is

not a matter of raw intellectual ability;

it’s a matter of desire and strategy.

Hebrew for Life gives you the strategy.

If you choose to read it, you already

have a desire—one the book will fan

into flames. The future is bright for

the person who has enough motivation

to read a book like this.

Hebrew for Life:

Strategies for Learning,

Retaining, and Reviving

Biblical Hebrew

Robert L. Plummer, Adam

J. Howell, and Benjamin L.


(Baker Academic 2020, $22.99)

Three experienced biblical

language professors inspire

readers to learn, retain, and

use Hebrew for ministry,

setting them on a lifelong

journey of reading and loving

the Hebrew Bible. This highly

practical volume incorporates

research-tested strategies for

learning; presents methods

not usually covered in other

textbooks; and surveys helpful

resources for recovering

Hebrew after a long period of


Today’s Churches

Need the Whole

Counsel of God

Southern Seminary introduces

the NEW Doctor of Ministry

in Old Testament Exposition

Though often neglected in the pulpit, the

Old Testament richly displays the glories

of God in Christ, for those trained to

study it carefully. This concentration

equips pastors toward faithful preaching

and teaching by focusing on particular

language and exegetical skills related to

the study of the Old Testament with a

special emphasis on application in the

local church. NOW OPEN TO MA


Learn more at SBTS.EDU/OT





Cultivating Dependence

and Calming Fears

An Interview with Gregg R. Allison


The Holy Spirit (Theology

for the People of God)

Faculty books

Recent titles written by the faculty of Southern Seminary

Gregg R. Allison and Andreas

J. Kostenberger


he Theology for the People

of God series by B&H Academic

combines biblical and

systematic theology in dialogue with

historical theology with application

to the church and life. The series addresses

the classic loci of systematic

theology by pairing a biblical scholar

and a theologian. The first volume released,

The Holy Spirit, pairs Andreas

J. Köstenberger, research professor of

New Testament at Midwestern Seminary,

with Southern Seminary’s own

Gregg R. Allison, professor of christian


Can you explain the outline of the book?

Our approach in the outline of

the book resonates deeply with

my personal approach to doing

theology, that is, that our practical

theology is rooted in exegetical,

biblical, historical, and

systematic theology in dialogue

together. Andreas wrote the first

half of the book, looking at all the

passages about the Holy Spirit in

the Old and New Testaments. It

was wonderful to work with him.

Then, I wrote the second half,

providing a systematic theology

of the Spirit aimed at the church.

When we’re doing systematics,

we can’t just move directly from

biblical to systematic theology,

because, when we do the exegetical

work, we already have our

theology in mind. But we have

to begin somewhere. Because we

believe in the authority of the

Bible, it’s both right and helpful

to begin with the text, allowing it

to correct our assumptions, then

moving forward from there.

How would you expect this book to

be used profitably by students of

the Bible?

It’s an exhaustive work that's going

to be helpful for any student of the

Holy Spirit. Anyone who wants to

look at every passage in the Bible

that talks about the Holy Spirit will

have Andreas’s first half; every passage

is discussed. But, more importantly,

we pray and hope that people

who read our book would become

more consciously dependent upon

the Spirit, being filled by him and

walking with him. We also hope

that that readers of the book will

have some of their fears about the

Holy Spirit calmed.

What other aspects of our doctrine of

the Spirit are significant for pastoral


There are three key doctrines. First,

the Spirit and the Word. Baptists are

well-known as people of the book,

but we’re less well-known as people

who entrust ourselves to the Spirit.

The reformers achieved a great balance

here. We call upon pastors and

Christians to regularly ask the Spirit

for illumination so they may rightly

understand the Bible and have soft

hearts to respond to God’s Word.

Second, the Spirit and salvation.

Readers will be amazed at how every

mighty act of God in saving us is

connected in some way to the Spirit.

Before we believe, the Spirit convicts

us of sin. He brings about the work of

regeneration, unites us with Christ,

brings about our adoption, and gives

us assurance; he sanctifies, guides,

and ultimately will resurrect us. Finally,

the Spirit and the church. The

Holy Spirit gave birth to the church

when he was poured out by the Father

and Son on the day of Pentecost,

and it’s the Spirit who gives birth to

new churches today; he directs, empowers,

and pushes churches to engage

as a witness to the world.

(B&H Academic 2020, $44.99)

Why do evangelicals tend to

treat the third person of the

Godhead like a member of the

junior varsity team? Allison

and Kostenberger take an

in-depth look at the Holy Spirit

from biblical, theological,

and historical standpoints.

And it also deals with various

views on contemporary issues

surrounding the Spirit such as

the continuation or cessation

of the so-called sign gifts, how

the Spirit shapes our worship,

and much more.

The Child is Father of the Man

Tom Nettles

(Christian Focus 2021, $14.99)

This book is not merely a summary

of Nettles’ massive 2013 theological

biography of Spurgeon. In this new

work, Nettles isolates 10 key convictions

that appear in Spurgeon’s life either

before or immediately after his conversion,

and traces them through his

life as he develops into the charming,

interesting, confident, humble, spiritual–minded

man and pastor whose work

and witness dominated evangelicalism

in the last half of the 19th century.

The Person of Christ: An Introduction

Stephen J. Wellum

(Crossway 2021, $18.99)

A volume in the multi-volume Short

Studies in Systematic Theology series,

Wellum helps readers to see the falsehood

of the claims that Jesus was far

more than a wise philosopher, a social

revolutionary, or the founder of a religion—he

is very God of very God. Wellum

argues for the divinity of Jesus according

to the Scriptures in line with historic,

creedal Christianity.

The Church: An Introduction

Gregg R. Allison

(Crossway 2021, $14.99)

This volume, also part of the multi-volume

Short Studies in Systematic

Theology series. It helps define the

church and its mission by presenting

an overview of the specific doctrines

and practices of different churches

and denominations. Allison lays the

foundation for a better understanding

of local church communities and the

way they diverge from one another, but

he also shows how they are ultimately

united as the body of Christ and the

temple of the Holy Spirit.

40 Questions about Biblical


Oren R. Martin, Jason S. DeRouchie, and

Andrew David Naselli

(Kregel 2020, $27.99)

To understand what the entire Bible

teaches about any given subject, we

must practice biblical theology. By surveying

the whole canon of Scripture, we

can best discern what God has revealed

about any particular issue. But doing so

requires answering a number of important

questions: What type of biblical

theology will we choose? What overall

story does the Bible tell? How should we

understand the relationship between the

Old and New Testaments? How does our

topic fit within salvation history? How do

we apply the truths we discover?





Confident in God’s

Unchanging Word

Lenny Hartono's ministry in the Hardest



Introducing the NEW Doctor of Ministry

in Discipleship and Christian Education

from Southern Seminary

Designed for Christian educators and those leading

ministries to children, students, women, or adults.

Open to MA and MDiv graduates



enny Hartono grew up in a small

town, Tulungagung in East Java,

Indonesia. She was raised by a

Buddhist father and a church-going

mother. She came to the US in 1999 to

pursue a marketing degree, and the

Lord saved her during her junior year

of college. “After saving me,” says Hartono,

“the Lord put his desire in my

heart to pray and fight for the salvation

of the rest of my family. God saved my

mom, my big brother, brother-in-law,

little brother, and later on, my dad”

After graduating, Lenny worked for

six years in a small business in Shelbyville,

Kentucky, and attended a small

church in Louisville.

“God used that church to grow me

in my faith, in love for his Word, and in

love for the lost.”

Hartono returned to Indonesia in

2010 and then spent two years in China,

studying the language and sharing

the gospel with Chinese people. When

she returned to the States, she again

worked for the business in Shelbyville.

While working there, a friend who

was going through a difficult divorce

approached Lenny and asked for her

advice and counsel. Lenny tried to help

the best she knew how, but Hartono was

at a very different stage of life. Though

she’d been discipled in a local church

and even served overseas, she knew that

counseling her friend through her experience

alone would not suffice. Hartono

knew she needed a different basis: “I

told her, ‘I’m single,’” says Hartono, “but

I can be confident because I have the

Word of God.’” God’s Word is timeless

and unchanging, and it provided exactly

what her friend needed to hear. “I was

so blown away that God was able to use

my counsel,” Hartono said. “It was then

I realized that the Word of God really

does change people’s hearts regardless

of what situation they are in.”

While working in Shelbyville, Hartono

had responsibility for around 150 staff

people at the local business. While she was

there, some of the female staff opened up

to her about their life struggles.

“Instead of being overwhelmed by

their suffering, God began to give me

his compassion toward them,” Hartono

said. “I’d share truths from God’s Word,

but I’d often get stuck in hard cases.”

Hartono was developing a love for

counseling others, but she knew that

she lacked the kind of formal training

she’d need to be the best possible counselor.

She began to pray about it, asking

the Lord to help her find the training

she needed. Through her older brother

Jemmy, Hartono was introduced

to Southern Seminary, and she began

classes in the fall of 2015. Hartono’s

time at Southern was transformational.






From Oregon to

Louisville to the

Deep South

SBTS Grad Patiently Revitalizing

Georgia Church


“The Word of God

really does change

people’s hearts

regardless of what

situation they are in.”

“I not only learned more about counseling,

but I was changed. I had professors who told me

that I had to change first before I could be used

by God to change others,” she said.

“And now, Southern Seminary has equipped

me to counsel others. In the hardest cases, I

can be confident because it is the Word of God

that changes lives.”

Hartono received her MA in biblical counseling

in 2019. After graduation from Southern,

Hartono served for a short time as a case manager

and counselor at the Southern Indiana

campus of Re:Center Ministries, a gospel mission

organization that reconciles homeless and

hurting people to God, family, and community

through the power of Christ and in partnership

with the local church.

Hartono provided counseling services and

lead support groups and classes for people at risk

of homelessness.

“God’s grace enabled me to connect the counselees’

felt needs with their true need for Jesus Christ;

I was usually able to share the gospel with each

counselee during our first or second session.”

In March 2020, as quarantine restrictions due

to the COVID-19 pandemic began to be put in

place, Hartono flew home to Indonesia earlier

than she had planned. Coupled with the news

of the pandemic, Hartono received unexpected

news that her father had been admitted to an

intensive-care unit. Eighteen minutes after her

plane landed in her home country, Hartono’s

father went home to be with the Lord.

“I had not seen Dad in two years,” Hartono

said, and “even though I came home much faster

to see him, I only saw his dead body. It was

hard to process.”

Hartono has wrestled with how God can be

faithful in the midst of her father’s death and her

sudden transition back to Indonesia: “Things

have been so heavy that I’ve asked, ‘Why me,

God?’” “God does not owe me an explanation,”

Hartono said, “But, in his kindness, he’s given me


She pointed to the comfort she’s found in

Hebrews 4:15–16: “For we do not have a high

priest who is unable to sympathize with our

weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in

every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore,

let us approach the throne of grace with boldness,

so that we may receive mercy and find

grace to help us in time of need.”

Hartono now finds that she needs the same good

news she’s spoken to others in their hard places.

“One thing I know. In each of my sufferings,

God’s Word remains unchanging and timeless.”

And Hartono is already having opportunities to

comfort others with the same comfort that she

has received from God (2 Cor. 1:3–4).

“In every conversation I’ve had about my

Dad,” Hartono said, “the gospel has been proclaimed.”


aron Menikoff was uncertain

about taking a church in Georgia,

a Deep South state he was

unfamiliar with, a place vastly different

from his native Oregon.

But after much prayer and consideration,

Menikoff submitted to what

he came to know was God’s will, and in

June of 2008 Menikoff, a two-time SBTS

graduate, was elected senior pastor of

Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Sandy

Springs, a suburb just north of Atlanta.

The thought of moving to a region that

was somewhat foreign to him was more

than a bit uneasy, made worse by Menikoff’s

soon realization that much of the

so-called Bible Belt’s Christianity was little

more than a cultural adornment.

“I joked how ironic it was that my

friend, Michael Lawrence who is from

the South, moved to pastor Hinson Baptist

Church in Portland while I, being

from Oregon, landed at Mount Vernon

in Atlanta.

“However, not only did I trust God’s

providence in moving people around as

he sees fit, but I also saw God’s wisdom

in placing a man from another culture at

Mount Vernon. I grew up in an unbelieving

home in secular territory. That has

given me a unique voice to speak into a

region filled with nominal Christianity.”

A Church in Decline

Upon arrival in Atlanta, Menikoff found

a church in dire need of revitalization. It

wasn’t what he’d expected—the situation

was far worse. And there was really

no “honeymoon period” for him as several

of the church members left because

he didn’t view pragmatic numerical

growth as the church’s leading priority.

“When I arrived, I expected to find a

conservative church accustomed to fairly

light preaching with little emphasis

on robust theology,” he said. “I expected

to find a church with a heart for missions

and an eagerness to grow spiritually and

numerically. The church had been in a

season of decline for a number of years

and wanted to see that trend reversed.

“I quickly discovered the church had

no meaningful membership. The attendance

on Sunday morning bore little

resemblance to the directory. Most

members said they valued a strong,

Word-centered ministry. Nonetheless,

I faced some resistance to too much

preaching about the cross.

“A good portion pinned their hopes

for the church’s future on an exciting

children, youth, and music ministry

to grow the church. The majority of

members who left








in those early years didn’t appreciate my

approach to these particular ministries.”

Menikoff knew it would be a long, slow slog

to reach a reasonable level of spiritual health

at Mount Vernon, and it indeed was. He took

years preaching and teaching sound theology

and biblical ecclesiology even on things as basic

as church membership, hospitality, and church

polity. Over time, the church adopted the New

Testament teaching on a plurality of elders and

learned how to live out the “one another” admonitions

as taught in the New Testament.

Other dominoes of church health began

to fall into place: biblical evangelism, discipleship,

family ministry. Attitudes began to

change as the church embraced a spirit of

warm generosity toward fellow members

and other churches. God raised up mature

elders to assist with the ministry and servant-hearted

deacons to help serve fundamental

physical needs.

The first key that unlocked needed change

in the church was expository preaching.

“The revitalization process took years,” he

said. “It took me a while to feel comfortable

preaching week in and week out. I’m glad

much of the church was patient with me as

I grew in this area. Preaching isn’t the only

thing I do, but is the most important, and I

saw a robust preaching ministry as fundamental

to our church’s future.

“We didn’t unveil a special program. I simply

sprinkled teaching in these areas everywhere

for the next decade. Looking back, this

allowed me to stay focused on some areas in

which we really needed to grow and improve.”

Oregon to Capitol Hill to Louisville

Menikoff’s journey to pastoral ministry began

in Washington, D.C. in the mid-1990s.

He came to faith in Christ soon after his

senior year in high school and after graduating

from the University of Oregon moved

to D.C. for an internship in 1994 with the

U.S. senator from Oregon.

The senator attended Capitol Hill Baptist

Church and Menikoff began to visit as well. His

first Sunday at the church was the Sunday before

a new pastor was installed. The new pastor

was Mark Dever. Meeting Dever turned out to

be a life-changing providence for Menikoff.

“It’s there that I first heard expositional

preaching, experienced biblical hospitality,

and fell in love with the local church,” Menikoff

said. “I enjoyed working in politics—I’d

gone on staff with Senator Mark Hatfield his

final term—but I loved the church more than

working on the Hill. In late 1996 I went on staff

as a pastoral assistant (at CHBC) before heading

off to seminary a few years later.

Menikoff moved with his wife, Deana, moved

to Louisville in 2000 and completed his MDiv

at SBTS in 2003. He graduated with a PhD in

church history in 2008. The Menikoff family

grew as Aaron and Deana had three children

while in Louisville and continued to grow as

they adopted a fourth after moving to Atlanta.

A Ministry Marked by Dever

During his years in seminary, Menikoff served

as an elder at Third Avenue Baptist Church

and has also continued to work closely with

Dever and 9Marks Ministries, contributing

articles and videos as well as speaking at numerous

9Marks events.

Said Menikoff: “I remember listening to

Alistair Begg teach on preaching. He said, ‘Everything

I learned about preaching I learned

from Dick Lucas’—the great London preacher.

Similarly, I could say everything I learned

about pastoral ministry I learned from Mark

Dever. When I read his little book Discipling I

can honestly say he modeled for me what he

wrote about in that book.

“I had the privilege of being a member of

his church before 9Marks even existed. I’m

thankful for this ministry because I know

it flows out of a genuine, faithful ministry

in a local church—one I got to be part of for

so many years. I’m thankful his ministry has

expanded through 9Marks.”

Writing, Preaching, and Encouraging Associationalism

Last year Menikoff published his first book

through Moody under the imprint of 9Marks,

Character Matters: Shepherding in the Fruit of

the Spirit, a work aimed at the spiritual health

of pastors. Mount Vernon’s ministry footprint

continues to expand in Atlanta and beyond.

Menikoff and the church pour into the Greater

Atlanta Baptist Network, an association of

like-minded churches designed to encourage

and equip member churches.

Mount Vernon hosts a one-day conference

for pastors and laymen involved in local

church ministry called Feed My Sheep.

The conference will mark its 10th anniversary

in 2022 and will host its first event this

October for pastor’s wives.

“One of my passions is helping pastors rediscover

a vision for local associations or networks,”

he said. “The current conversations

we are having at the national level are contentious,

in part, because we’ve lost the ability to

relate to one another at the local level. If we

think ‘denominationalism’ is what happens

through national entities, we are a missing the

biblical example of churches who genuinely

know, encourage, and equip one another.

“I’m glad we can partner together nationally.

However, that national partnership will fray if

it is not underscored by robust local associational

life. This is what we’re seeing right now.”

Even as Mount Vernon continues to grow,

Menikoff is thankful for the path God has

taken him down in ministry including the

eight years his family spent in Louisville.

“I’m grateful for this extended season to

study on campus at SBTS under great theologians

and as an elder at Third Avenue Baptist

Church,” he said. “Those years in school

were very challenging, I’m not sure I could

have lasted much longer! I’m really glad I

had an on-campus experience. God used

this season of study to help prepare me for a

lifetime of learning and teaching.”

“The current conversations


are having at the

national level are

contentious, in part,

because we’ve lost

the ability to relate

to one another at the

local level.”

A Legacy of Wisdom and


How Dale and Mavis Smith Support Southern



ale and Mavis Smith moved to Kentucky

from East Tennessee 57 years

ago. They came to start a feed business—one

that was unique to the area at the

time. Before the move, Smith purchased a

large feed mill he towed around from farm to

farm in the back of his truck.

“We went to them, to the bigger farmers,”

Smith said, “and we could grind around 2,400

pounds of feed with all the necessary minerals

in about 20 minutes.” Each week, Smith would

run his route, visiting the big farms in a different

Central Kentucky county each day.

“There was nothing like that in Kentucky at

the time; so, I went up to Pennsylvania to learn

how, and then I just started doing it.”

The Smiths live in Cave City, outside of

Glasgow, Kentucky. Over the nearly six decades

they’ve spent in Barren County, the

couple has owned three family businesses. It

began with the feed business. Several years

later they became distributors for the Ashland

Oil Company. Then, in the early 1980’s, they

opened a machining shop. I asked Mr. Smith

what was similar about the three business

ventures. He told me, “They weren’t! That’s

the adventure. You get to learn all of this stuff.”

When talking to Smith, he made it clear right

away that he’s an eager and humble student: “I

didn’t go into each business and tell people what

to do, how their line of work should be done. Instead,

I kept my ears open, and I learned a lot.”

Smith also kept his ears open to hear from

the Lord. Smith considers his relationship with

God to be central to everything he does in business:

“In every decision, you first talk it over

with God. Then, you do the best you can and

leave the rest up to him.”

Mr. Dale Smith recently celebrated his

eighty-fourth birthday. At this point in his

life, Smith has much to pass along to others.

But in a recent conversation, he couldn’t stop

talking about those who had first poured into

him. He reflected on the role of his pastors at

Glasgow Baptist Church in his discipleship.

The Smiths have been members there since

they moved to Kentucky.

He remembers, too, an evangelist whose

vision encouraged him to begin supporting

Christian seminary education. But one individual

who stood out particularly in Mr.

Smith’s mind was Clark Madison:

“One day I was approached by an older

Christian gentleman; he was one of the godliest

men I knew, but we were competitors in the

machining business in the same town. We decided

to become partners.”

Madison-Smith Machine and Tool Company,

which the two founded in 1983, began in a

4,000-square-foot facility, and it has earned

a stellar reputation delivering industrial services

such as machining, welding, and rigging

for more than thirty years. “We started with a

little machine shop then we put in a factory and

then we moved factories,” Smith told me. The

company now boasts a 63,000-square-foot,

cutting edge facility.

Smith’s partnership with Clark Madison

was a great grace, and now he and Mrs. Smith

are eager to pass on the same gracious legacy

to others. The Smiths first became supporters

of Southern Seminary in 2013 after they sold

the machine and tool business. They became

foundation members in 2015. Part of their eager

support stems from the trust the Smith’s

have in Southern’s leadership, beginning with

R. Albert Mohler Jr. Smith described Mohler as

humble, gracious, and committed to leaving a

trustworthy legacy for the next generation.

“We’re convinced Dr. Mohler has the seminary

on the right track,” he said.

The love they have for Southern is something

the Smiths share together.

“The more you get to know everyone at the

seminary, the more you love them,” Smith said,

“We love those people to death up there.”






Three Fall Giving Campaigns

Raise $1.5 Million for the

Southern Fund


Treasuring the Message

Remembering the Life of Barbara Bartow



outhern Seminary’s Fall Giving Day,

Heritage Golf Classic, and Year End

Giving Campaign combined to raise

$1,560,000. The fundraising success came

at a time when higher education was facing

a crisis.

Vice president of communications edward

Heinze was thankful for the loyalty of

the SBTS donor base.

“Our core donor base has stood with us

through this tumultuous season.” He said

“They saw the unique needs of our students

and increased their financial support to help

ensure that economic pressures didn’t result

in a decline in graduates.”

Southern hosts three main giving day


· The Heritage Golf Classic (August 24)

raised $220,000

· Fall Southern Giving Days (September

17-18) raised $567,000.00 [The previous

record was $304,000 in 2018]

· Year-End Giving Campaign (December)

raised $773,000.00

The combined collections are designated

to the Southern Fund which helps tuition

rates remain as low as possible.

“We like to state that every dollar raised in

the Southern Fund is one less dollar our students

have to pay in tuition” Heinze said “It’s

a vital revenue source that has a significant

impact on our students and the cost of their

theological training.”

Proclaiming eternal truth in changing

times has been Southern’s mission. The donor

base, according to Heinze, is committed

to seeing SBTS train ministers of the gospel

to fulfill this mission.

“Our donors are looking at the culture and

the need for the gospel domestically and internationally.

In response, they have increased

their financial support of our students.”

Graduates from SBTS are trusted. Heinze

recognizes that the biblical fidelity of Southern’s

faculty give its supporters confidence.

“Because they have a high regard for our

faculty and the training provided in our

classrooms—they see graduates as a highly

effective way to advance the gospel to a

world in need.”

Finances didn’t disrupt the progress of

students. While institutions across the

nation are struggling to keep their doors

open, Southern is achieving record enrollment.

Between the 15 percent tuition

reduction and the increased giving from

the donor base, graduation numbers are

projected to hold steady.

“They are looking at our commencement

ceremonies each May and December

with delight and hope” Heinze said. “This

year, while producing numerous challenges,

will still end with trained ministers

heading out to serve the church and advance

the gospel.”


rivate and a lover of books, Miss Barbara

Bartow was a servant of Christ.

Scribbling on a scrap of paper—as

she was accustomed to—she summarized

the message of the Bible. The message she

would treasure until being called home last

year. Now—delighting in the presence of

her Lord— she declares the same message:

“The history of the redemption of humanity

and the account of a man, Jesus.

God’s Son.”

Miss Bartow was an only child. Her family

suffered in the Great Depression, but they always

prioritized faith in Christ. Her mother

was a gifted church organist. Her father was

a mill worker. For generations, the Bartow

family worshiped at Red Clay Creek Presbyterian

Church in Wilmington, Delaware.

She avoided fancy dress and preferred a

simple life. But Bartow excelled in her studies,

especially history. She graduated early

from high school as part of the World War

II effort to advance gifted students into the

workforce. But her pursuit of knowledge

was not quenched. Bartow went on to receive

degrees from the Universities of Delaware

(BA 1947), Pennsylvania (MA 1951),

and the Drexel Institute of Technology (MS

1955). A member of the academic honor society,

she was breaking ground in the male

dominated world of scholarship.

After a career as a research librarian,

she retired in 1996. But she didn’t acquiesce.

Bartow and her lifelong friend, Jenny

Spurgeon, maintained a meticulously catalogued

personal library. Jenny and Miss

Bartow previously met as librarians at the

University of Delaware. They had an instant

bond over their shared commitment

to Christ. Relocating to Jenny’s hometown,

White Pine, Tennessee, they both

would end up attending the same church,

First Baptist Church Morristown.

Miss Bartow’s passion for education and

the gospel will be her legacy. Upon her passing,

she left a bequest to the James P. Boyce

Continental Library at the Southern Baptist

Theological Seminary.

Her gift was designated to supply written

and digital resources for the study of church

history. Initially, she only wanted to provide

print materials. But was eventually convinced

of the need for digital products. Her

gift was valuable at a time when the need for

digital resources were at an all-time high.

The 2020 COVID pandemic surged Southern’s

dependence on technology.

Modest, scholarly, and godly, Barbara

Bartow’s legacy will be carried on through

the students at Boyce and SBTS. As ministers

take the gospel to the ends of the

earth, they will be indebted to her gracious

contribution, and will continue Bartow’s

chief aim—proclaiming the message of the

redemption of humanity. And exalting Jesus

Christ, God’s Son.






Gratitude for God’s Unchanging

Grace in Ever-Changing Times

very challenge in a Christian’s life

must be met with God-honoring resolve.

During this past year we’ve

faced our share of challenges in sustaining

Southern’s mission, but we’ve remained

faithful, steadfast, and engaged in our calling.

What is that calling? To equip the students

whom God entrusts to us to be biblically

faithful pastors, missionaries, and

Christian leaders both at home and abroad.

Every organization has a bottom-line

objective it pursues each year. For some

it’s growing profits and maximizing shareholder

wealth; for others it’s invention and

the development of new technology or a

better way. Here at Southern Seminary,

graduates are our bottom line. Indeed, we

believe the world needs our graduates—eager

students trained by our devoted faculty

in unchanging truth that pours out of an

ancient book authored by God. We truly

believe what we sing in our seminary hymn

at each commencement:


Soldiers of Christ, in truth arrayed,

A world in ruins needs your aid:

A world by sin destroyed and dead;

A world for which the Savior bled.

In the economic uncertainty of the past

year, we were resolved to guard against a

reduction in the pipeline of gospel ambassadors

being sent out to advance the cause

of Christ. So determined were we to sustain

graduate numbers that we implemented a

15 percent tuition reduction for the 2020-21

academic year to help our students stay the

course and progress in their training in a

lean economy. This resulted in commencement

exercises in which we celebrated the

sending out of 829 graduates.

It’s hard to imagine an institution reducing

its revenue not suffering fiscal harm as

a result. But we have a story we are eager to

tell, one of God’s provision and protection

during these uncertain days. It’s true that

we committed ourselves to extreme fiscal

discipline and a reduction of operating expenses,

but that wasn’t enough to carry us

through the last year.

Truth is, we needed students—and God

sent them in record numbers. Over the past

academic year, we enrolled more students

and sold more class hours than in any previous

year in SBTS history.

Truth is, we needed Southern Baptists to

continue to support us through generous

Cooperative Program giving—and they did.

We marvel at the sustained faithfulness of

Southern Baptists who have helped us keep

tuition rates affordable.

Truth is, we needed the long-standing

patrons of Southern Seminary to stand

in the gap and help us undergird our students

financially—and they were more

than generous. With their support we’ve

sustained enrollment and graduated the

students God has called to ministry in

local churches and mission fields around

the world.

Every dollar given to the

Southern Fund is one less dollar

that a student will have to pay in

tuition. You play a vital role in

referring donors and giving to

support the thousands of

Southern students that are

coming behind them.

Learn more about supporting

students at Southern Seminary

and Boyce College by visiting





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