Southeastern announces new project with John Templeton Foundation

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) is proud to have begun a major, three-year project in the arena of theological anthropology called “Being Human: Theology and Praxis,” funded by the John Templeton Foundation.

This project seeks to propel research, dialogue, and perspective development at the academic level among Southern Baptist faculty, Southeastern students, pastors, and other denominational leaders. The project will also provide opportunities for interdisciplinary engagement around topics of high relevance to the 21st century church. Such topics will fall under the annual themes of “Defining Humans,” “Forming Humans,” and “Challenging Humans.”

“We at the Bush Center for Faith and Culture are excited about the Being Human: Theology and Praxis project,” said Ken Keathley and Benjamin Quinn, Director and Associate Director of the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture, “There is no doctrine more in need of careful consideration for our cultural moment than Anthropology. How we define humans and how we understand the human condition inform us in so many areas related to the Church’s mission—counseling, ethics and apologetics, just to name a few. Starting with Scripture as our final authority, we will engage with a broad arena of academic disciplines as we explore what it means to be imagers of God and how to live faithfully before God in his world. We are grateful to the Foundation for the grant that makes this project possible.”

The $1.53 million grant to fund the Being Human: Theology and Praxis project will allow SEBTS to host many events ranging from annual academic workshops and scholars in residence programs to special campus-wide events, public-forums, live-streamed conferences, and more. Through these events and through partnerships with sister institutions and other likeminded organizations, the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture will publish several online and multimedia resources that will both inform and guide the public in cultivating a biblical worldview.

“Central to Christian public witness in today’s society is how we answer the questions: what is unique and valuable about human beings? And then, how the answers to those questions lead us to honor, engage, and even care for one another within our communities and in our broader society?” said Keith Whitfield, Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor of Theology at SEBTS. “In the middle of the 20th century, C.S. Lewis said that we’ve never met an ‘ordinary person.’ That is true. Yet, in our society, we have essentially lost a transcendent accounting for that wonderful truth. I am grateful for the commitment of Drs. Keathley and Quinn at the Bush Center to equip our students and serve our churches over the next three years to focus on how the Christian faith establishes and explains that humanity was made a little lower than the angels and God crowned us with glory and honor (Ps. 8:5).”

Founded in 1987, the Foundation supports research and dialogue on the deepest and most perplexing questions facing humankind. The Foundation funds work on subjects ranging from black holes and evolution to creativity, forgiveness, and free will. It also encourages civil, informed dialogue among scientists, philosophers, theologians, and the public at large.

With an endowment of $3.8 billion and annual giving of approximately $140 million, the Foundation ranks among the 25 largest grantmaking foundations in the United States. Headquartered outside Philadelphia, its philanthropic activities have engaged all major faith traditions and extended to more than 190 countries around the world.

Southeastern believes every classroom is a Great Commission classroom. Students view their degree programs through the lens of a great God and a global, gospel focus. Southeastern offers over 40 degrees, ranging from undergraduate to Ph.D. Since 1950, Southeastern has been training men and women to fulfill the Great Commission and is proud to have students and alumni ministering throughout the United States and around the world.

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