by Lauren Crane
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary seeks to be faithful to the mission of God – the Great Commission – even in the midst of criticism over affiliations with those who believe differently, said president Daniel Akin.
During the 2010 Seminary Report at the Southern Baptist Convention, Akin addressed the messengers of the convention on the state of the seminary of which he is president.
Akin said the purpose of Southeastern has been and continues to be the fulfilling of the Great Commission. This has recently manifested itself in the creation and continuation of local-church partnerships, recognizing that there are some things seminaries do better with the collaboration with local churches.
“We’re convinced there are some things ministers learn only in the context of the local church – the furnace of the local church, where they’re refined and prepared,” Akin said. “It is our prayer that by 2015, we can be in partnership with more than 100 churches across our convention so that we can have men and women who are not only at Southeastern, but who are under a Godly mentor who is allowing them, day in and day out, to see what goes on in the life of the local church.”
Akin said he believes partnering with local churches is the future of healthy, theological education. “We (the seminaries) are called to serve you, and we believe the local church can serve us as we come together in doing good, healthy, theological education that prepares men women for mission field and prepares men and women for the local church, as well.”
Akin said Southeastern’s heartbeat, in partnership with the local church, is to get the gospel message to the 1.6 billion people who have never heard the name of Jesus, and the millions more who have very little access to the gospel.
“Today, we take up the challenge to train more to go to the nations, to train more to go to the underserved parts of America, to go to the big cities where the need for the gospel is so evident, and to go to the rural outposts, as well,” Akin said.
This commitment to the Great Commission and training Great-Commission Christians leads Southeastern to invite people to campus who may hold differing beliefs, in order to stretch the minds of the students, Akin said, in response to motions that Southeastern cease to invite those with differing beliefs to campus.
“There are occasions when people will disagree with us, but sometimes we even have atheists on campus, people who do not agree with us, so our students can figure out what they believe and why they believe.”
Southeastern equips their students by training them in a myriad of fields, from associate’s degrees to doctoral degrees. Thanks to the faithful support of Southern Baptists, Akin said Southeastern has, by the grace of God, been able to train more and more men and women in fields such as missions, pastoral leadership, Biblical counseling and more.
“If God would be so kind to allow us to see and be a part of a Great Commission Resurgence, we will all join hands together to see that the nations are brought to the throne of King Jesus, then that is a great and glorious thing.”
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.