Seminaries need pastors to call out the called, Patterson says

ST.LOUIS (BP)--The six Southern Baptist Convention seminaries are prepared now more than ever to recruit God-called men and women into theological training, reported Paige Patterson, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, June 11 during the SBC annual meeting in St. Louis.

Patterson, chairman of the SBC's Council of Seminary Presidents, presided over the seminaries' report to the SBC and exhorted Southern Baptist pastors to call out men and women in their congregations interested in seminary training.

Golden Gate and Midwestern seminaries presented five-minute reports recapping highlights from their respective institutions.

William Crews, Golden Gate's president, read a four-paragraph excerpt from a student named Athena who graduated in May with a master of arts in theological studies.

Athena, a former Jew, will be moving to Jerusalem to work in a secular vocation in order to share Christ in the Middle East.

Aware of the risks involved with living in Jerusalem, Athena wrote, "I must trust that my life is completely in His hands. In the end, I know I follow a Sovereign God."

Phil Roberts, Midwestern's president, said the seminary is "well and active" in Kansas City, Mo.

A world-class faculty and administration who adhere enthusiastically to the Baptist Faith and Message is the foundation of the seminary, Roberts said.

"Our philosophy is we don't just have to endorse the Baptist Faith and Message, we get to endorse it," Roberts said.

Roberts reported that student applications have increased and building expansions are imminent.

Roberts introduced Lauren Fippen, a fulltime Midwestern evangelism student who proclaimed that God is using Midwestern's evangelism department to get him excited about boldly proclaiming the gospel.

In the past year, Fippen worked with a downtown Kansas City ministry, which yielded 24 conversions.

"[Evangelism] is contagious," said Fippen to the convention crowd. "I came to realize that God can and will use me if I am available."

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary, also addressed the convention during the seminary report detailing the state of Seminary Extension and the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Achieve.

"We are at the highest state of proficiency," Mohler said, concerning the Historical Library and Archive. "I exhort you to think about our history and make use of the historical library to preserve our future heritage."

Seminary Extension, Mohler noted, offers theological training to pastors and laypeople who cannot attend one of the six Southern Baptist seminaries. Nearly 4,000 students are enrolled across the country.

Southern, New Orleans and Southwestern seminaries were slated to give reports during other portions of the annual meeting.


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