SEBTS women’s livestream focuses on practicing theology amid brokenness
June 11, 2020
As the country rages with racial tension, disease and death, how do Christian women respond to these issues in a godly way? How do women put theology into practice and lead others to do the same when worldwide brokenness is so deeply experienced?
These topics and many more were addressed at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s (SEBTS) women’s livestream event on June 9, which took place in lieu of the annual Women’s Leadership Breakfast at the Southern Baptist Convention. Missie Branch, assistant dean of students to women at SEBTS, moderated the panel discussion with Dr. Karen Swallow Prior, Kristie Anyabwile and Dr. Julia Higgins.
Prior, who is joining The College at Southeastern faculty this fall as its first research professor of English and Christianity & Culture, believes God is using brokenness to awaken the world to the sin that already exists. The key to pressing on amid the pain is to ask the right questions about the current circumstances.
“God is revealing these horrible, painful truths to us, and he’s allowing us to see what has been there all along,” said Prior. “It’s difficult, but it’s also a great mercy. We are all left—myself included—with the decision every day: What do we do with what God is revealing to us now, do we see it and how do we respond?”
Prior believes she has not only been called to teach, but to create spaces for evangelicals to dialogue and discuss hard topics. Oftentimes, Christians can become so polarized on a variety of issues on social media. Whether in the classroom or on social media, Prior believes her calling is to help filter through the misinformation and provide spaces for honest, helpful dialogue both for students and evangelicals collectively.
“What we actually see and live and experience can oftentimes get diluted by the projection that we see on the screens and on social media such that we can no longer distinguish fact from fiction and truth from distortion,” said Prior.
Even in the challenges 2020 has brought, Anyabwile discussed how she has seen triumph in the midst of adversity. Anyabwile, a speaker, pastor’s wife and editor of “His Testimonies, My Heritage: Women of Color on the Word of God,” explained that the Lord has been helping her learn how to have redemptive conversations with those who hold different perspectives.
Likewise, Anyabwile discussed how she is continuing to minister to the women in her church during this time. The Lord is teaching her how to lead women to recognize God has given them a voice to unashamedly speak truth.
“Particularly women of color, and women in general have felt voiceless so in the opportunities that the Lord gives me, part of what I’ve been trying to do as I lead and shepherd is model— inasmuch as the Lord gives me grace—truth, clarity and being unapologetic with the truth,” said Anyabwile.
Higgins, associate dean of graduate program administration and assistant professor of ministry to women at SEBTS, explained that as she leads her students to stand for justice, she encourages them to first look at Scripture. As Micah 6:8 reads, “Mankind, he has told each of you what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.”
“We can’t follow that command unless we first reflect on God and his justice and how he accomplished justice for himself by sending his son,” said Higgins.
She believes the response of Christians during these days should be marked by love. This response is born out of our reflection upon the gospel and all that Christ has accomplished on behalf of his people.
“As Christians, we can be leaders in exhibiting Christlike kindness and graciousness towards those who are anxious and stressed,” said Higgins.
During the remainder of the discussion, panelists responded to a variety of questions from women on issues of race, ministry and leadership. Click here to hear the full discussion.