Scholars honored during fourth annual Southeastern Theological Fellowship at ETS

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During the 68th annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in San Antonio, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary recognized five evangelical scholars at its annual Southeastern Theological Fellowship dinner.

SEBTS Provost Bruce Ashford welcomed guests from liberal arts colleges, research universities, seminaries, publishing houses and more to the event, encouraging them to stand strong in Christian scholarship in a culture that often views it as weak. “Our Lord reigned from a tree, and if he could reign from a tree, then we can do Christian scholarship from a position of cultural weakness, as the world defines weakness. We have the power of the gospel,” he said. 

“The way of the cross is sacrificial and so our scholarship will be sacrificial,” said Ashford. “Just as Jesus ministered as a homeless itinerant teacher, so we can be willing to serve our students and our nation from a position of weakness.”

The honorees, representing five different colleges, universities and seminaries, received awards for their excellence in research, writing and displaying the characteristics of a Great Commission scholar in both the classroom and Christian scholarship. The following scholars received awards:

– Jason Duesing, provost and associate professor of historical theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, Missouri 

– Bob Stewart, professor of philosophy and theology, Greer-Heard chair of faith and culture and director of the Institute for Christian Apologetics at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, New Orleans, Louisiana

– Ray Van Neste, professor of biblical studies and director of the R.C. Ryan Center for Biblical Studies at Union University, Jackson, Tennessee

– Esther Meek, associate professor of philosophy at Geneva College, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania 

– Scott Rae, dean of faculty and professor of Christian ethics, Talbot School Theology, Biola University, La Mirada, California

After accepting his award, Rae addressed attendees regarding his experience working at a Christian school in California, where Senate Bill 1146 is being considered. The bill would disallow any use of state funds for institutions that make distinctions based on religion. Rae encouraged all Christian universities and colleges to be prepared to continue in good teaching and excellent scholarship despite restrictions that may come in the future. 

The Southeastern Theological Fellowship seeks to foster community between various colleges, universities and seminaries of several denominations. “We gather here in recognition of Christian community…so that we can be formed and nourished in our scholarly identities [and] in turn nourish our students and the people to whom we write,” said Ashford.

Ashford called the meeting a gathering of “evangelical scholars whose members are faithful to Christian scripture, who allow their faith to shape their learning, who nourish one another in their Christian scholarly identities, who spur one another to scholarly good works and whose interaction with one another is genuinely collegial, friendly and marked by grace and humility.”

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