The Second Annual Southeastern Theological Fellowship Meets at ETS
January 19, 2017
The meeting of the Southeastern Theological Fellowship was held at the 66th annual Evangelical Theological Society meeting in San Diego, California on the evening of Nov. 19. The purpose of the event was to recognize and encourage theological scholarship.
Bruce Ashford, provost of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, said, “At Southeastern we often speak about our desire to fulfill the Great Commission. We all recognize the gravity of this mission and the importance of the role we play in training the next generation of Christian leaders.”
“We all do what we do because we believe in the hope of Jesus Christ, and we have heard his call to go and make disciples of every tribe, nation, tongue and people,” Ashford said.
Ashford recognized five scholars that exemplify excellence in their disciplines. These scholars included: Scott Bridger, assistant professor of World Religions and Islamic Studies and director of Jenkins Center for the Christian Understanding of Islam at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; David S. Dockery, president of Trinity International University; and George Guthrie, Benjamin W. Perry professor of Bible and senior fellow of the R. C. Ryan Center for Biblical Studies at Union University.
Ekhard Schnabel, Mary F. Rockefeller distinguished professor of New Testament studies at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary; and Malcom Yarnell, professor of systematic theology, director of the Oxford Study Program, director of the Center for Theological Research, and chair of the systematic theology department at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary were also honored.
“These academicians have shown themselves to be effective communicators of the depths of Christian Scholarship while providing outstanding oversight in the classroom or in academic administration,” he said.
Addressing the attendees, Ashford said, “We appreciate the way in which you train and prepare men and women for their respective vocations. We recognize that part of your contribution is serving and training the next generation of Christian leaders and scholars.”
Ashford quoted John Henry Newman, a 19th century religious historian, who said, “Excellence needs a center.”
“As Christian academicians the center for excellence must be Christ and his glory,” Ashford said. “As Christian scholars we bear the burden of wedding together the depths of academic rigor while fanning the flame of affections for Christ. This is no easy task.”
Dockery provided a plenary address titled “Confession, Church and Community: A Distinctive Approach to Evangelical Scholarship.” He charged theological scholars to educate from the Christian tradition that is rooted in the Trinitarian God.
“We recognize we are not alone,” he said. “We are part of something bigger than ourselves.”
Dockery encouraged the audience to train men and women to provide culturally appropriate responses to “the great questions of the day.” He utilized Augustine’s thesis in “The City of God” as an example of how to prepare students for ministry.
“Faith seeking understanding must issue forth in faith speaking understanding,” Dockery said.
He also believes that theological education should be done for the purpose of sending men and women into great commission ministry.
Jonathan Six, director of alumni development at Southeastern, reflected on the evening. “It brings me great joy to be able to bring together the faculty, students, alumni and friends of Southeastern Seminary to encourage and celebrate excellence in evangelical theological scholarship,” he said. “From the outset, our desire has been to provide a sense of camaraderie and appreciation for the contributions of those involved in academia.”