Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) hosted an evening of Casual Conversations with Daniel Akin, president of SEBTS, Andy Davis, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Durham, N.C., J.D. Greear, lead pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C. and Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).
A large number of faculty, students and friends of SEBTS gathered for an evening of worship and casual conversations on culture and theology. Greear moderated cultural conversations on politics, marriage, homosexuality, abortion and race, and Davis moderated theological conversations on Calvinism, eschatology, church polity, and evangelism.
The event, held on Dec. 3 in Binkley Chapel on the SEBTS campus, started with worship by Donnie and Meghan Hollis from Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, N.C.
Moore began by sharing about his role at the ERLC. He represents specific issues that concern Southern Baptists and equips pastors and churches to think and speak about current issues from a biblical perspective.
These topics include immigration, sex trafficking and same sex marriage. Akin stated, “I think Russell will be able to speak prophetically, not to align with either political party, but to align with biblical truth.”
Moore shared the four categories of importance that he focuses on: religious liberty for everyone, human dignity including the right to life, the protection of family stability and how to live justly in a civil society.
Throughout the discussion a general theme of love and compassion for one’s neighbor was expressed in the participants responses. It was evident that the Gospel was the lens that these leaders viewed current issues believers face today.
Moore encouraged the audience to find common ground with those they interact with about issues. One strategy is to share both theological information and personal implications despite their beliefs.
Moore also seemed optimistic about the long-term state of the problems believers currently face being solved in the extended future.
Concerning theology, Greear said, “There is a tendency to downplay theology in the local church.”
Akin also stated, “Theology helps us think better in terms of biblical truth. … We should processes [truth] with our hearts and minds.”
The panel discussed variances between Arminianism and Calvinism and came to the conclusion that both views balance one another, as iron sharpening iron, to continue to acknowledge God’s sovereignty and grace for mankind.
Davis shared his heart as a local pastor to have non-believers walk into his church on a Sunday morning off of the street and be able to hear a clear presentation of the Gospel.
As the panel came to a close, biblical manhood and womanhood was discussed. Akin commented on the two distinct roles for men and women, as God created them in His image. Greear stated that the Bible calls people to look outside of themselves for their identity, not by looking within because the heart is deceitful.
Moore and Davis added that the example of the marriage relationship between Christ and the church is the biblical model for gender roles.
Moore and Greear will return to SEBTS on Feb. 7 and 8 for the Ekklesia 20/20 Conference. For more information about the conference, please click here.
To listen to watch this conversation online, please click here.
To view photos from this event, please click here.
The mission of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Southeastern is an institution of higher learning and a Cooperate Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention.