Akin and Greear challenge alumni and friends to remain humble before the Lord

A call for repentance and a challenge to rely humbly on the Lord remained a central theme of this year’s Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) Alumni and Friends Luncheon.

J.D. Greear, president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, referenced Proverbs 24:16, which says, “Though a righteous person falls seven times, he will get up, but the wicked will stumble into ruin.”

“You show your righteousness not by never falling but by what you do when you fall,” said Greear, explaining that this is the culture he sees at Southeastern. 

He told attendees that the number seven indicates a state of completion, meaning that for the person mentioned in the verse, falling is a state of being. A “healthy gospel culture” is created, Greear said, when those who fall can learn to look to Jesus, which in turn affects positive change in relationships with others.

“That is the spirit that is exemplified at Southeastern Seminary through its leadership, through its graduates,” he said.

Akin followed Greear’s address, speaking candidly to the audience of how the school and greater SBC need to move forward in light of recent events, involving the mistreatment and misrepresentation of women in the denomination.

“Brothers and sisters, we have indeed gotten right our theology,” said Akin, “but in recent days, I think we have been painfully reminded that maybe our practice hasn’t always matched up as well with our theology.”

Akin added, “It’s one thing to believe something, but it’s something altogether different to live it out.”

In light the recent allegation that an alleged rape of a SEBTS student was not reported during Paige Patterson’s presidency in 2003, Akin expressed this situation as the “most painful, most heartbreaking” situation he has had to face in his 15 years of presidency at SEBTS. However, he trusts great days are ahead for SEBTS.

“I do believe that we’re going to come out on the other end a better, stronger, more Christlike seminary,” said Akin.

Akin said he is trying to “create a kinder, gentler complementarianism, not an arrogant, hierarchical patriarchal kind of complementarianism,” one where women at are welcome and can pursue any degree offered at SEBTS.

In the midst of leaders who have resigned or been fired from key leadership positions in the SBC, Akin expressed the need for all attendees to examine their hearts before God.

“I believe it’s a call from God for us to make sure we walk humbly before our Lord because any good thing that he is doing here, it is a result of his goodness and his grace and not our intellect,” said Akin.

Akin highlighted three key aspects he wants to see at SEBTS moving forward: remaining focused on Southeastern’s theological identity, maintaining a Great Commission focus and working with humility.

“I’m very thankful for where we are today, but I also know where I believe God wants us to go, and I’m absolutely convinced we will get there on our knees,” said Akin.

To close out the luncheon, Shane & Shane led alumni and guests in a time of worship.

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