God’s grace ‘more than sufficient’ for SEBTS, Akin reports to messengers

President Danny Akin of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) delivered his report to Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) messengers on June 13 during the SBC annual meeting in Dallas, Texas.

In light of recent allegations, which involved the mishandling of an alleged rape report at SEBTS during Paige Patterson’s presidency in 2003, Akin addressed the challenging times the school has faced along with the matchless abundance of God’s grace in the situation.

“We have faced some challenging times, but God’s grace has been more than sufficient,” said Akin.

Along with the tumultuous events that have highlighted SBC news for weeks, Akin spoke candidly of the place and care women have at SEBTS.

“Southeastern is absolutely committed to providing the safest environment for all of our students but especially our women,” said Akin.

Akin celebrated the many successes SEBTS has seen in the past year, including the increase in its minority and female student population on campus through its Kingdom Diversity Initiative (KDI) led by Walter Strickland, associate vice president for diversity and instructor of theology. Through the implementation of KDI in 2013, SEBTS has increased its non-white student population by 53 percent and its female student population by 37 percent in the five years of KDI’s existence. More specifically, the non-white and female student population at SEBTS stands at 16.83 percent and 32.74 percent, respectively.

“We are absolutely committed that the church on earth is going to look like the church in heaven,” said Akin.

Akin also celebrated the fact that SEBTS exceeded 4,000 students who are enrolled at the school during the 2017-18 school year and currently has a 4,155 online and campus student population.

“[The Great Commission] is not just a theme; it’s something we live out,” said Akin, noting that at SEBTS every classroom is considered a Great Commission classroom, where students learn and live out the mission of God.

In speaking of The College at Southeastern, Akin spoke positively of its growth and development through the continuation of the House System, the residence life for college students, and the History of Ideas curriculum in which college students study a variety of historical authors, both secular and Christian.

Other developments at SEBTS over the past year include the North Carolina Field Minister Program, which began in August 2017, which trains men in the Nash Correctional Institution in Nashville, North Carolina to be ministers in the context of the prison system. SEBTS welcomed 29 students to the program in August to begin their training at The College at Southeastern in partnership with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety and Game Plan for Life led by Joe Gibbs.

Southeastern’s Global Theological Initiatives is continuing to develop with the addition of its Asian Leadership Development office. Along with this addition, 18 students from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic graduated with a Master of Arts in Christian Studies along with 24 students from Oaxaca, Mexico who graduated with a Master of Arts in Theological Studies. Many of these graduates are professors and convention leaders in their respective countries.

“It is our calling to equip every student to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission, said Akin. “By His grace and for His glory, we want to do this until King Jesus returns.”

During the time for questions from the messengers, Kimberly Waggener, a messenger from Dayspring Church in Hot Springs, Arkansas thanked Akin for the way he handled recent allegations involving Southeastern and for his statement regarding the protection of women who attend Southeastern.

“Thank you for the statement you just made about how Southeastern is approaching their protection and dealing of young women and students with integrity,” said Waggener. “We are sending one of our young women to you this fall and entrusting them to you with confidence.”

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