Southeastern celebrates scholars during ETS dinner

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary faculty, staff and colleagues gathered for the Southeastern Theological Fellowship dinner to celebrate the outstanding scholarship of five individuals during the 71st annual Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) meeting.

SEBTS acting provost Keith Whitfield welcomed guests from liberal arts colleges, research universities, seminaries, publishing houses and more to the event, noting that its purpose was to “elevate and celebrate the work of God’s people for the kingdom.”

“This event represents Southeastern’s culture and our mission so well,” said Whitfield. “Our president calls us to be a Great Commission seminary, and that means as a school we also recognize that our mission is bigger than our institution.”

Every year, SEBTS honors five colleagues in various categories of scholarship. These include those who have exemplified extraordinary work in a Southern Baptist college and university, a Southern Baptist seminary, an evangelical college and university, an evangelical seminary and a SEBTS alumnus. Award winners included the following:

• Kelly Kapic, professor of theological studies at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia
• Craig Keener, F. M. and Ada Thompson professor of the New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky
• Roy Ciampa, former professor of New Testament and chair of the division of biblical studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina
• Stephen Presley, associate professor of church history and director of the Southwestern Center for Early Christian Studies in Fort Worth, Texas
• Elizabeth Mburu, associate professor of New Testament and Greek at Pan African Christian University as well as the International Leadership University and African International University in Nairobi, Kenya

In 2008, Mburu became Southeastern’s first female Ph.D. graduate, leading the way for more women to follow in the path of pursuing advanced degrees in theological education. During the Evangelical Theological Fellowship dinner, Mburu gave the keynote address in which she challenged fellow scholars to consider how partnering together in the work of scholarship can bring unity among believers of all ethnicities.

“The Church, as it stands, is like a half-finished song—one beautiful to listen to but has an unfinished quality that leaves one yearning for more,” said Mburu, who also serves on the editorial team of the Africa Bible Commentary and the African Society for Evangelical Theology.

She is the African regional coordinator for Langham Literature and is a curriculum evaluator for the Association of Christian Theological Education in Africa. Mburu is married to her husband, Caxton, and they have three adult children.

“You might ask, ‘Why, in a discussion about scholarship, would I focus on the Church?’ It’s because I believe, ultimately, our scholarship exists to serve the Church,” said Mburu. “That’s why partnership is so crucial.”

The Southeastern Theological Fellowship seeks to build camaraderie and foster fellowship between scholars of multiple denominations and encourage excellence in scholarship for the glory of Jesus Christ.

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