FROM THE SEMINARIES: Johnny Hunt/SEBTS join for Exchange; Golden Gate to host Baptist assoc.; H.B. Charles Jr. at SBTS summit
EDITOR'S NOTE: "From the Seminaries" includes news releases of interest from Southern Baptist seminaries.
Today's From the Seminaries includes items from:
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Timothy+Barnabas hosts Exchange at Southeastern
By Cassity Potter
WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) -- Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and the Timothy+Barnabas ministry led by Johnny Hunt partnered to offer SEBTS students an Exchange leadership conference Oct. 29 led by the pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., and former Southern Baptist Convention president.
John Ewart, director of Southeastern's Center for Pastoral Leadership and Preaching, said, "Their ministry was interested in working with us as we helped them to see what this event could look like on other campuses as well."
Ewart and Southeastern President Danny Akin began working with the Timothy+Barnabas ministry of Hunt and his wife Janet in planning the event about a year and a half ago.
Timothy+Barnabas, on the Web at http://timothybarnabas.org, is a ministry to instruct and encourage church leaders to impact the world. In its 20-plus years, Timothy+Barnabas has hosted more than 8,000 pastors in 50-plus events in the United States. Internationally, the ministry has worked in 29 countries.
The Exchange conference opened with a chapel service during which Hunt, a member of the advisory board for the SEBTS Center for Pastoral Leadership and Preaching, encouraged students with his own testimony. "If God can use me, God can use anyone," he said.
Hunt recounted how God called him, a 16-year-old dropout with alcohol problems, first to faith in Christ and then to be a pastor. "You never know what God is going to do with you," he said. "I really want God to be glorified."
Preaching from Philippians 2:12-13, Hunt reminded students of God's power through them. "What you're able to do is not what you bring to the table but what God can do with you," he said. "God gives the person the will. He energizes us to do the work."
After lunch, students attended breakout sessions geared toward men and women. Hunt encouraged the men about their future church leadership roles. "Turn ministry over to your people," he counseled, "and they will turn leadership over to you."
Hunt also encouraged the men to constantly pour into people and encourage their churches to equip its members. "A church will not continue to grow unless it produces new leaders," he said.
Women students and student wives attended sessions facilitated by Janet Hunt. Speaker Kathy Litton, challenged attendees to always be missional in their ministries. "When you do ministry make sure it's mission-engaged," said Litton, the North American Mission Board's national consultant for ministry to pastors' wives. "As leaders you will set an example as someone who is oriented both to people inside the church and outside the church."
Litton also encouraged the women to own their own personal development in the areas of spiritual condition, mission, emotional growth, intellectual ability, cultural sensitivity, physical well-being and leadership. "Being passive and unintentional about our own development is not appropriate," Litton warned. "The number one reason we should work on our own personal development is stewardship of what God has given us."
Golden Gate Seminary to house Baptist association
By Rebekah Wahlberg
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (BP) -- The Inland Empire Southern Baptist Association will relocate to Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary's new Ontario, Calif., campus next summer.
"We are delighted to support church planting and other IESBA ministry priorities," said Jeff Iorg, Golden Gate Seminary president. "We prioritize churches and know that working with IESBA will connect us more closely to the churches in the area around our new campus."
The Inland Empire Southern Baptist Association's decision to move comes with the full approval of the IESBA executive board and the association's 230-plus churches.
"The executive board and our churches were overwhelmingly confident with the move," said Deryl Lackey, IESBA director of missions. "That's no small thing."
Although Riverside, where the IESBA office has been for more than 15 years, is a hub of the Inland Empire, Ontario is more centrally located in Southern California to major freeways and an airport, which will help the association better serve its churches.
The association's current building is for sale. Its new office will be housed in 2,200 square feet of office space on the fifth floor of Golden Gate Seminary's Ontario building.
"This will allow us to do joint ministry together," Lackey said, noting that the close proximity to seminary students will help foster relationships between developing leaders and churches in the IESBA.
Golden Gate Seminary, Iorg concurred, aims "to model ministry partnerships for our students and help them to appreciate and cooperate with denominational partners."
Lackey said the Inland Empire Southern Baptist Association has "a great partnership with Golden Gate. They're a blessing to us, and we hope we're a blessing to them."
SBTS summit underscores convictional courage in preaching
By S. Craig Sanders
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) -- Churches need expository preachers confident in God's authority and power to confront complex cultural situations, speakers said during Southern Baptist Theological Seminary's Oct. 27-29 Expositors Summit.
"The Holy One took our place, the Crucified One rose again, and the Risen One is seated at the right hand of the Father, and the Seated One is coming back again," said H.B. Charles Jr., pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. "As the culture around us grows more hostile to the truth and so many in the church compromise their convictions to keep up with the times, may God help us to have the courage of our convictions."
Charles, who appeared at the annual preaching conference for a third consecutive year, drew from Acts 2:22-24 when Peter presented God as the chief witness to confirm Jesus' identity as Christ and Lord. Charles noted that "you will never preach to a crowd as hostile as the crowd Peter preached to on the Day of Pentecost."
Pastors must preach boldly because "there are no skeletons in God's closet," Charles said, emphasizing the reality of Christ's death and resurrection. Charles insisted pastors must preach the whole counsel of God, including the nature of Christ and the relationship of divine sovereignty and human responsibility. That's because "the Bible is not a cafeteria where you can take what you want and leave the rest behind."
"May God so work in us that we go back to our assigned places of ministry with a renewed confidence in the sufficiency of Scripture," Charles said. "If we don't turn to the Scriptures, people will not be changed even if someone rises from the dead. Be reminded of the sufficiency of God's Word."
Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr., in a pair of sermons from 1 Corinthians, said pastors now face an "infinite array of complex and awkward situations" because of the culture's celebration of sin. Examining 1 Corinthians 10:1-22, Mohler said the Corinthian syncretism was a "subtle idolatry," a casual disregard for the power and prevalence of idol worship in their culture. Just as the children of Israel sat down to eat and drink in the presence of the golden calf, Mohler said, so also were Corinthian Christians eating food sacrificed to idols and ignoring the conscience of others.
"We can't join in the celebration of that which is sin," Mohler said. "It's not just about our conscience, but their conscience. We dare not do anything that would mislead their conscience."
Although the issues may be complex and confusing to many Christians, Mohler said, they must not be ignored or dismissed.
"We're all Corinthians now," Mohler said. "The great concern of our hearts is that we not be idolaters now."
Expository preaching not only confronts culture, but it provides comfort to suffering people, said Derek W.H. Thomas, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, S.C., in a series of sermons on suffering.
In the historic Oct. 4 flood in Columbia, 120 homes in Thomas' congregation were destroyed. Shortly before many of his members found themselves homeless and in financial ruin, Thomas began preaching a 12-week series on the Book of Job. Preaching from Job 42 at the Expositors Summit, Thomas said preaching today "lacks a sense of the majesty of God."
"We must not shirk from preaching the whole counsel of God," Thomas said. "God is sovereign. That's what people need to hear during times of trial."
Thomas encouraged pastors to point suffering people to the "sovereign God who holds the world in His hand" and said declaring the majesty of God is the "only type of preaching that can sustain broken hearts."
"God is sovereign. There is no darkness in which you cannot feel the warmth of His embrace and the certainty of His overwhelming providence," Thomas said.
In a sermon concluding the three-day conference, Charles preached from Jude 24-25 on the perseverance of believers. Reflecting on 25 years of pastoral ministry, which began at age 17 leading Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church of Los Angeles, Charles called for Christians to "trust and praise" God for His keeping power.
"God is able to keep you when you cannot keep yourself," Charles said.
Jude's letter is a "call to arms to stand and fight for the faith," he said, and it demonstrates how true believers persevere even amid false teaching. Christians are to strive for "consistent obedience" rather than "sinless perfection," he explained, saying it is a "miracle" not only that believers are saved but that they remain saved.
"What God does for you is not about you. It is all about Him," Charles said. "To trust the God who is able to keep you is to praise the God who is able to keep you."
The conference also featured a panel discussion on preaching and preparation, as well as seven seminars with pastors and scholars from across the country. In a preconference Oct 26, multiethnic church leaders addressed the issue of racial reconciliation. Audio and video of the Expositors Summit 2015 will be available online at sbts.edu/resources