TRUSTEES: Track focuses on oral societies

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)--In a continuing effort to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the nations, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary's trustees have approved a new track in orality studies for the master of arts in intercultural studies degree.

The program, approved during the trustees' Oct. 15-16 meeting at the Wake Forest, N.C., campus, is geared to train students to share the Gospel in non-literate societies through oral storying.

The degree, believed to be unique among evangelical seminaries, will offer high-level training in Bible storying techniques which have been found to be an effective evangelism tool among cultures with a predominantly oral tradition. The degree was developed in consultation with the International Mission Board.

Three new courses in orality studies will focus on working with non-literate people groups: Orality Theories, Bible Storying and Orality Practicum.

Additionally, the traditional M.A. in intercultural studies has been revised to a 54-hour track, instead of the current 63 hours, and is recommended for people who have already served on the mission field or are currently serving.

"As a Great Commission seminary, we want to be involved in every avenue of getting the Gospel to the nations," SEBTS President Daniel Akin said. "We believe this new orality track will help equip those with a heart for these people groups to more effectively share Christ and disciple new believers.

"Ultimately our goal is to get the written Word of God into the hands of every people group on the planet. Until that is achieved, we dare not delay in passing along by verbal means God's truth to those whose culture is orally driven," Akin said.

Also during the meeting, Gary Bredfeldt was elected to the faculty as a professor of leadership, education and discipleship. He has been serving in the capacity of an appointed professor since August.

While at Southeastern, Bredfeldt is developing a new strategic initiative called iLEAD (International Leadership, Education and Discipleship).

The vision of iLEAD, Bredfeldt said, "is to establish an international center for leader-teacher development and leadership research that offers doctoral- and master's-level programs of study in leadership, education and discipleship predicated upon a biblical worldview."

Bredfeldt described his election to the faculty as "an enormous honor. I have the highest of regard for this school, its faculty and its administration. Southeastern is an institution with an uncompromised commitment to the Great Commission. It is that Great Commission commitment which aligns exactly with my own heart, calling and gifts."

The board also learned about new auditing procedures being implemented by McGladrey & Pullen, Southeastern's external auditors. Southeastern was asked by the firm to pilot the new procedures, making it among the first nonprofit entities North Carolina to implement the new standards during its 2007 external audit.

The changes will help the administration identify and focus on correcting areas of weakness within the internal controls, said Ryan Hutchinson, senior vice president of business administration. He said the new procedures also will help SEBTS leadership make decisions to improve the institution.

In other business, Heath Thomas, most recently of Cheltenham, United Kingdom, was presented to the board as an appointed instructor of Old Testament and Hebrew. He is also a Ph.D. candidate in theology and religious studies. Thomas has taught at the University of Gloucestershire, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas and Oklahoma Baptist University.

Steven Ladd was promoted to the position of associate professor of theology and philosophy. Ladd has been serving as the assistant professor of theology and philosophy at Southeastern since 2002. He also has served as instructor of theology and Bible as well as a research fellow.


Lauren Crane is a news & information specialist at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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